The Influence of School Buildings: Boston Public School Architecture, 1818-1865


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


Boston's Quincy School (1847) was the first purpose-built graded school in the United States, and its small, uniform, single-teacher classrooms have been the dominant model for American school architecture ever since. This study seeks to explain why, given the diversity of early nineteenth-century school types, the graded school building emerged as the central architectural form. Since nineteenth-century Boston was an educational leader and rapidly expanded its stock of school buildings, the city makes an excellent case study for different models of schools, schools relative to parallel institutions, and the architectural process of creating school buildings. The interaction of form and idea inherent in the architectural process is central to art historical issues, including the ways in which architecture represents social institutions and structures social relationships.