The Ideological Spaces of the Academical Village:
A Reading of the Central Grounds at the University of Virginia 1

A Hypermedia Essay by Jim Cocola



A whole history remains to be written of spaces— which would at the same time be a history of powers ... from the great strategies of geopolitics to the little tactics of the habitat.
Michel Foucault 2

Among the world's many distinguished university settings, perhaps none generates such interest for its specifically spatial singularities as the University of Virginia. Academically and architecturally celebrated, it is the first university to be chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and, together with Monticello, is one of seven built environments within the contiguous United States so designated. 3 Maverick Plan, 1825
The Maverick Plan of the Academical Village (1825)
The Architecture of Thomas Jefferson
Its nucleus, which founder Thomas Jefferson referred to as the academical village, has been honored repeatedly for its exemplary aesthetic properties. But beyond mere aesthetics, the academical village— and by extension, the university— garners its ultimate renown from the productive, provocative and sometimes problematic syntheses of its aesthetic and ideological inheritances.

From the very first, Jefferson's plans for a university were driven dually by architectural and curricular considerations that were inextricably intertwined. Writing to associate Joseph C. Cabell, he spoke of his ambitions for establishing a university with a "material basis... for its intellectual superstructure." 4 The overriding concern for this material basis was that of permanence, for as Jefferson had observed long before in Query XV of Notes on The State of Virginia,


A country whose buildings are of wood, can never increase in its improvements to any considerable degree. Their duration is highly estimated at 50 years. Every half century then our country becomes a tabula rasa, whereon we have to set out anew, as in the first moment of seating it. Whereas when buildings are of durable materials, every new edifice is an actual and permanent acquisition to the state, adding to its value as well as to its ornament. 5

Though the university, as it happened, was built in part of wood, it consists more substantially of marble, and most extensively of bricks and mortar. Durable indeed, the university today adds considerable value to the commonwealth, to the nation, and to the wider world.

What, then, of the university's bricks and mortar— both as Jefferson had them laid, and as they have since been altered? What of its buildings and what of its grounds? What of its demolitions and its expansions? What of its preservations and its renovations? What of its presentations and its receptions? What of its pasts, its presents, and its futures? What of the big tactics of its institutions, especially as they relate to the little tactics of its habitat? What, in short, of its ideological spaces?

"Ideology," as Jefferson once explained, "is the doctrine of thought." 6 As the intellectual doctrines of his university were gleaned from the classical antiquity of the Mediterranean, so too was its material basis. Unremarkable as this may seem at present, in Jefferson's day the revival of ancient Greek and Roman forms on English soil proved controversial enough, and the grafting of such forms on American soil was in fact unprecedented outside of Jefferson's own practice at Monticello and on the capitol square at Richmond, and via the imprint he helped establish in the federal city at Washington, D.C. Whereas major university settings in the United States first tended toward the Georgian (as at Harvard),

Harvard Hall, Harvard University
Harvard Hall (1765)
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Mayumi Watanabe, 1995
A.D. White House, Cornell University
A.D. White House (1871)
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Unattributed, 2002
Alexander Hall, Princeton University
Alexander Hall (1891-4)
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Xinming (Simon) Ou, 2001
and later toward the Gothic (as at Yale), the Victorian (as at Cornell), and the Romanesque (as at Princeton), the University of Virginia established and generally adhered to a style of its own— call it Jeffersonian 7 — often imitated, 8 but never equaled.

Unlike its fellow institutions of higher learning in both America and Europe, the University of Virginia stood out by eschewing religious affiliation. The Rotunda, so commanding at the head of the lawn, may appear perfectly at home to the contemporary eye, and yet, initially, it seemed to many utterly and wickedly out of place. 9 Unique among contemporaries in so many ways, the academical village was perhaps at its most unique in its exclusion of a church— not only from the place of honor, at the center of the grounds, but from the grounds entirely. The spatial organization, reflective of university organization, earned the institution its fair share of excoriation. To many early observers, "a college without a bishop or a doctor of divinity in faculty or on board, and with Jefferson at its head, seemed to many of the devout little less than an invention of the evil one." 10

To quell this criticism, the post of chaplain was established in 1829, albeit with seriously weakened powers. Through 1848 terms were limited to a single year, and thereafter to two years, with a regular rotation of the office distributed among Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist and Presbyterian clergymen. Such restrictions ensured that no dynastic succession by any one denomination could occur during any given student's stay at the university. 11 Although various proposals for the erection of a chapel were floated, a parsonage having been erected in 1855, no cornerstone for a chapel was laid until 1885, and only then in a rather inconspicuous location outside the bounds of the academical village, rather than opposite the Rotunda on the south lawn as many chapel advocates had wished.

The Rotunda
The Rotunda (1826)
Unattributed, n.d.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
The Chapel
The University Chapel (1890)
Unattributed, n.d.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Completed in 1890, the construction of the university chapel was funded entirely by private monies, and reverted directly to the state and the university upon its dedication. 12 On the occasion, Professor of Modern Languages and longtime Pavilion IV resident Maximilian Schele de Vere took the opportunity to draw a stark contrast between the respective spatial aesthetics and ideologies of the venerable Rotunda and the new chapel. "Behind us," he declared, "rise in cold though classic beauty the outlines of a pagan temple.... Before us... the pointed window, the flying buttress... aspiring to heaven." 13 It seems safe to assume that this dig at the founder did not go unnoticed.

In shunning the centrality of religion, Jefferson also shunned the model in which a single building of prominence came to dominate the plan of the university. In this respect— and in many others— Jefferson's university served to answer the shortcomings of his Wren Building, William and Mary
Sir Christopher Wren Building (1695-9)
C.R. Brown, n.d.
The College of William and Mary
alma mater, The College of William and Mary, whose Sir Christopher Wren Building (1695-9) proved costly to build, and costlier to maintain. With such failings in mind, Jefferson argued against the temptation of "building a magnificent house which would exhaust all of our funds." As an alternative to "one immense building," Jefferson saw fit to "strongly recommend... a small one for every professorship, arranged at proper distances around a square, to admit extension, connected by a piazza," in a sort of "village form" which would be "preferable to a single great building for many reasons, particularly on account of fire, health, economy, peace and quiet." 14

The decentralized plan that Jefferson advocated was well in keeping with his larger political philosophy, by turns described as anti-federalism, republicanism, and whiggery, but in all its guises distrustful of centralized, federal and executive authorities. 15 Almost in spite of itself, the republican mode endured in the United States at the centralized, federal, executive level during the consecutive administrations of Virginians Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. Nevertheless, it was a mode on the wane, and only the so-called corrupt bargain of 1824 between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay could forestall the more authoritarian political style that would finally arrive with the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

Toward the end of his life, sensing the impending sea change that would soon transform the political climate of the United States, Jefferson wrote Madison to disparage the scores of young lawyers who "no longer know what whigism or republicanism means." How to correct the imbalance? "It is in our seminary," Jefferson concluded of the nascent university, where "the vestal flame is to be kept alive; it is thence to be spread anew over our own and the sister States." 16 For his part, Madison, who succeeded Jefferson as the university's rector, would later laud the institution as a "temple dedicated to science and liberty" and "a nursery of republican patriots, as well as genuine scholars." 17

Capitol of Virginia, Richmond
Capitol of Virginia, Richmond (1792)
Unattributed Engraving, n.d.
The Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson
Charlottesville was not the first place where Jefferson had attempted to encode an ideology of decentralization into architectural space. As early as 1784 his proposal for a capital complex at Richmond had suggested separate buildings for the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Though the commonwealth dismissed the notion, opting for a single building, Jefferson's vision found new life in the federal city, and survives today in Washington, D.C. in the separate structures of the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court. 18 While a similar sort of decentralization would be replicated in the academical village through the ten pavilions, the crowning element, the Rotunda, would nonetheless provide a focal point to an otherwise dispersed space.

Here, then, is the first of the many contradictions of the academical village. A decentralized space with a center, it is, more than this, a space at once public and private, melding elements of uniformity and regularity with elements of eclecticism and irregularity, employing— simultaneously— an aesthetic of economy and an aesthetic of excess. 19 As Gary Wills recently described it, the academical village "combines the expectable with the surprising," suggestive "of regimentation and individual expression, of hierarchical order and relaxed improvising," ultimately encouraging "a mixture of central control, faculty supervision, private enterprise, and individual initiative." 20

One of the more remarkable aspects of the university— both architecturally and institutionally— is its twin genius for modesty and grandeur. At once meek and magnificent, it has long constrained itself to an often stinting state support even as it has managed, more and more, to generate substantial contributions from the private sector. 21 As its founder scraped together funds from the commonwealth, cobbling together the first few pavilions, he nevertheless (after some false starts with local schist) imported some of the finest marble from Carrara for use on the Rotunda's captials. Abandoned Capital
Abandoned Capital, Ionic Order
Garden III, West Range
Rebecca Arrington, 1986
University of Virginia Online Visual History
This curious mixture of penury and opulence inheres in the very fabric of the place, sometimes to plaudits, and sometimes to scorn. Octo N. Nash, who enrolled as a student at the university in 1834, viewed the Rotunda as both "noble edifice" and "chaste architecture," finding it "simple, it is true— yet grand and pleasing to the eye." 22 Yet another early observer, John B.H. Latrobe, denigrated the university for its "shabby genteel look," acquired in less than a decade, and "already showing marks left by time on its frail materials." 23 In its economies and its excesses, the academical village— and, by extension, the university— presents a paradox of Jeffersonian proportions.

Built to impress, but also built to comfort, neither wholly civic nor wholly domestic, the interlocking public and private spaces of the academical village function together to articulate the university as a hybrid space somewhere between the realms of hall and hearth. An early publicity pamphlet hailed Jefferson's design of "brick and marble," as "more beautiful than anything architectural in the Republic" and "more appropriate to a university than are to be found, perhaps, in the world," distinctive in its "classical design, but rendered less formal by the employment of red brick construction." 24 Whereas the cool white marbles speak to the civic mission of the university, the warm red bricks speak to its domestic offices. Both shades are crucial to the overall design, for if Jefferson meant the pavilions to function, on the one hand, didactically, as "models of taste and correct architecture," he also wished them to serve, domestically, as "snug and handsome lodges." 25

Jefferson's best intentions notwithstanding, the didactic and domestic functions of the pavilions sometimes made for uneasy bedfellows. Although the lower chambers of the pavilions were meant to be reserved for instruction, such was not the case for very long. Harriette Dunglinson, 26 displeased at the prospect of anatomy lessons in the front room of Pavilion X, moved quickly to veto the practice before it began, and other faculty wives soon followed suit, asserting authority over their respective domains. Students, too, went to great lengths to divide spaces of leisure from spaces of learning. As a university historian accounted, "in 1829, in order to make the dormitories more homelike, a doorway was cut through the wall separating each two of them. By this device, one of the rooms could be used as a chamber, and the other as a study, by two young men." 27

Such innovations did some work toward demarcating the public and private spaces of the academical village, but the two remain blurred, and even today it is not uncommon to see a student in bathrobe and slippers passing a sizable tour group under the lawn's colonnades. Finally, the mixed spatiality (part civic, part domestic) of the academical village is what fosters and perpetuates its peculiar genius. Public and private spaces feed off of and reinforce each other. As a recent architectural study noted, "the clarity and stability of the central public square and the clear pattern of the public streets... allow, indeed promote, variation in the form of private pavilions and gardens." 28 Because they co-exist, the commons of the lawn seem all the more in common, and the retreats of the gardens seem all the more secluded.

To the first-time visitor, an apparent uniformity and regularity may seem to organize the academical village. Yet upon closer inspection eclecticism and irregularity are everywhere in evidence. 29

Pavilion III
Pavilion III, West Lawn
Corinthian Order, From Palladio
Unattributed, n.d.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Pavilion IV
Pavilion IV, East Lawn
Doric Order, From Chambray
Unattributed, n.d.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
As the late Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English Emeritus Douglas Day once observed, "what looks like perfect symmetry is actually perfect asymmetry: there is no one thing that quite matches with one other thing." 30 With ten pavilions, five on each side of the lawn, and six hotels, 31 three along each range, the plan indeed suggests an axial logic. Nevertheless, asymmetrically, each pavilion employs a different style of capital (with the exception of Pavilion VI, which relies solely on the colonnade). Designs from Palladio and Chambray complement one another, with no particular pattern to the alternating orders of doric (Pavillions I, IV, VII and X), ionic (Pavilions II, V, and IX) and corinthian (Pavillions III and VIII).

Moreover, though the pavilions appear evenly spaced at a glance, a second or perhaps third look reveals a false perspective employed to compensate for irregularities of elevation. Thus, where the eminence declines, the pavilions grow further apart, creating the illusion of a regular interval despite the irregular terrain. Whereas a symmetrical plan would have yielded irregularity upon irregularity, Jefferson's asymmetrical plan, seemingly regular, is in fact rather irregular upon closer inspection. As a result of the increasing gap, four lawn dormitories run between the first and second pairs of pavilions, six run between the second and third pairs, and seven run between the third and fourth pairs. Similar asymmetries prevail with respect to the hotels and the intervening range dormitories. Third Study for West Range
Third Study For West Range, c. 1820
Attributed to Thomas Jefferson
The Architecture of Thomas Jefferson
Yet these asymmetries also prove asymmetrical. For example, whereas ten lawn dormitories run between Pavilions VII and IX, directly across the lawn only eight dormitories run between Pavilions VIII and X. For good measure, a single dormitory lies beyond each of the southernmost pavilions, adding up to fifty-four in all. One might expect fifty-four range dormitories in kind— and today one would be confirmed in that expectation— yet the original academical village was in fact home to fifty-five range dormitories. 32

Why such an original emphasis on asymmetry, and why such a distrust of regularity? Why, furthermore, have subsequent generations smoothed over so many of Jefferson's original dissonances? The extra dormitory, as noted above, was removed in the middle nineteenth century. The vista to the south, left purposely open and unfinished, was closed off in the late nineteenth century. 33 The color scheme, which once included earthen and metallic tones, was subsequently regularized into a duopoly of brick red and brilliant white. 34

Taken together, Jefferson's foundational asymmetries and the succeeding attempts to regularize them may seem at odds. However, both spatial approaches are motivated by a need for the exercise and justification of power. And for all of the smoothings over, the Jeffersonian tendency to clothe order in chaos persists. The academical village was— and to a large extent, still is— a space of near-matches and near-misses, a space at once expressive of equivalence and elitism. There are plenty of erratic elements in the overall design, and yet— at any given level— all elements are relatively similar, with no one type of thing that much more impressive than any other of its type. The dormitories are more or less equivalent, as are the hotels, the pavilions and the gardens.

Yet, at the same time, there is an unmistakable hierarchy of spaces at work in Jefferson's original design. For example, the bricks of the pavilions tend toward a higher quality than the bricks of the dormitories. In fact, the ten faculty pavilions proved as expensive as did the entire complement of student accommodations— 109 dormitories by way of room, and six hotels by way of board. Each pavilion cost, roughly, somewhere between nine and eleven thousand dollars— except Pavilion III, which cost over sixteen thousand dollars. 35 Moreover, in any given pavilion, the original chamber of the upper floor (reserved for faculty use) tends to posses more elaborately finished cornices and details than the original chamber of the lower floor (intended for student instruction). Beyond the edifices, the upper gardens (originally affiliated with the pavilions, as pleasure gardens) have tended to be more intricate than the lower gardens (originally affiliated with the hotels, as kitchen gardens).

And above all other flourishes, there is the Rotunda, that single thing which is that much more impressive than any other set of things. It is first among three lesser sets of edifices— dormitory, hotel and pavilion— increasingly more impressive, though all clearly subordinate. The capitals of the academical village progress accordingly, Dome Room, Composite Orders and Oculus
Rotunda Dome Room, Composite Orders with Oculus
Tricia Morrow, 2001
University of Virginia Online Visual History
from the spare Tuscans of the lawn dormitiories to the detailed Dorics and the Ionics of eight pavilions, thence to the elaborate Corinthians of two pavilions and the Rotunda's exterior, and finally to the ostentatious Composites of the Rotunda's Dome Room.

To the assiduous observer, then, the asymmetries of the academical village approach ubiquity. Nevertheless, in the bigger picture these countless asymmetries remain subordinated to a larger harmony— the final effect more closely approximating polyphony than cacophony. Among its many strains, certain elements tend to emerge— with no decided favorites or outcasts on any given level, but nevertheless with certain stresses, and with an unmistakable eye toward the measured distribution of authority. But whereas Jefferson was comfortable to dress his authority in the forms of asymmetry and eclecticism, subsequent stewards of the university have taken small pains to reinforce their authority by applying a more regularized, standardized look and feel to the spaces of the academical village. This style, too, serves as expression of power— though, increasingly, in the interests of a more centralized, federal, executive power that has come to function rather coarsely— here as in the commonwealth and in the nation more generally— as its own justification.

Nonetheless, in its original incarnation, the university was as asymmetrical, decentralized and eclectic as its architecture would today suggest. Jefferson conceived of the university as a non-coercive entity, allowing relative autonomy to the individual faculty members and their individual schools, and fostering a mixture of independence and interdependency. The model departed radically from the compulsory curricula employed by other universities of the period. With an entirely elective course of study, involving no class divisions and no requirements regarding attendance or coursework, no set textbooks and no disciplinary system, the University of Virginia, in its first academic year, was as deferential to the judgments of its students as it was distrustful of the judgments of a single authority figure. 36

Such distrust of authority derived from the founder himself, whose will to power was rivaled only by his wish to efface it. Jefferson designed the university's Board of Visitors to be an administrative body with a high turnover rate, and deliberately omitted any provision for an executive structure within that body. In the last sixteen months of his life, he himself served as Rector, functioning as a sort of "first among equals." His executive mettle was tested in the university's very first academic year, when, confronted with instances of insubordination that he termed "vicious irregularities," Jefferson and his fellow visitors opted to impose a much stricter regime of discipline, featuring dull gray uniforms, nine p.m. curfews, six a.m. risings, the prohibition of gambling, and strictures on food and drink beyond the confines of the hotels.

These draconian measures, which remained in force for nearly two decades, proved extremely unpopular, and further exacerbated tensions between a largely American student body and a largely European faculty. Range Dormitory
Range Dormitory
George C. Seward Photograph Collection, n.d.
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Worse still, the restrictions proved extremely difficult to enforce, given that the original ideal of non-coerciveness had been built into very fabric of university. For better and for worse, the academical village was, as one university historian described it, "constructed in such a manner as to limit the scope of a peeping eye." Insofar as "each dormitory was a separate house unto itself," it served as "a legal castle, a monastic cell, that could be securely shut by the occupant against the prying intrusion of his fellow-students, and the suspicious scrutiny of the professors." 37

After the murder of Professor John A.G. Davis outside Pavilion X, in 1840, many of the more impracticable and unreasonable disciplinary measures were relaxed, and in their place the honor system was installed. Given the climate, in which states' rights gained increasing favor over federal authority, centralized command at the university further receded. The post of the presidency remained a notable absence for generations, never surfacing as an issue until the eve of the twentieth century. Even then, the establishment of the office met with fierce (though diminishing) opposition from its initial proposal up through its actual institution in 1904. 38 New Cabell Hall
New Cabell Hall (1950)
Ralph R. Thompson, n.d.
University of Virginia Online Visual History
In certain respects, loyalists to Jefferson's republican philosophy had reason to fear the change.

Over time, as the presidency became a more powerful office, and administrative duties grew more centralized, the academic and architectural modes of the university also assumed more centralized postures. In curricular terms, the great books approach— privileging a common set of canonical texts and general education courses— gained favor in the middle decades of the twentieth century. 39 The shift toward this curricular model dovetailed with a much-needed classroom expansion. Ample and appropriate space for a more centralized curriculum emerged in the form of a more centralized building, New Cabell Hall, which was built in 1950, bringing the preponderance of liberal arts courses together under a single roof. 40

The question of ample and appropriate space for a growing university has faced the university since its beginnings, and remains relevant today. Jefferson first confronted the issue of expansion in the form of the anatomical theatre, built in 1825 to accommodate dissections. The most remarkable aspect of this building, razed in 1938 to make way for Alderman Library, was its spare, utilitarian quality. Unlike the rest of the academical village, it was built with function foremost in mind, its form a relative afterthought. The most modern of all Jefferson's realized designs for the university, it is also the only one that has been demolished.

Anatomical Theater
Anatomical Theater (1825)
Unattributed, 1938 [?]
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Monroe Hill
Monroe Hill (Late 18th. C.) and Dormitories (1848)
Unattributed, 1917
The Holsinger Studio Collection
While Jefferson had left the southern prospect of the academical village open to the wilderness, allotting for a theoretically infinite expansion of the lawn and ranges, such an outcome was rendered less practicable by the increasingly steep grade of the hill and by the presence of a major road not far from the original grounds. Therefore, when further student accommodation became necessary, at mid-century, the visitors looked elsewhere. The first expansion came at neighboring Monroe Hill, where James Monroe had once kept a small farm. This space was converted in 1848 into a set of arcaded dormitories reminiscent of, but distinct from, those of the lawn. These accommodations soon proved insufficient, and a set of seven houses collectively known as Dawson's Row 41 serviced the additional need beginning in 1859, on the brink of the sectional conflict.

How was this space to the southwest of the academical village used prior to this particular expansion? Was this space strictly reserved for student accommodation, or did it serve other purposes? It is difficult to know for certain. As university history officer Raymond C. Bice observed in 1991, "though Dawson's Row is conspicuous in the history of the University... Dawson's Row is not mentioned by historians." According to oral tradition, prior to the construction of the academical village, one or more of buildings in this area may have been used to house Monroe's increasing complement of slaves (which grew from four in 1791 to eight the following year and up to 49 in 1810). Upon Monroe's removal, and the construction of the academical village, any such buildings were less likely razed than used by the university for the same purposes. Indeed, a recent study claimed that "slaves lived in many different university buildings," without ascertaining, or even much conjecturing, which particular extant buildings— if any at all— may have served for quarters. 42

But if slaves were not quartered in Dawson's Row, then where were they quartered? Does any trace of their accommodations survive? New Cabell Hall
Crackerbox (c. 1840)
Tom Bryan, 2004
The Mews, a pair of low-set buildings in the alley between Gardens I and III— which functioned as stables at the very least— are a possible relic, though the more likely vestige is the Crackerbox, 43 a queer two-story cottage to the rear of Hotel F, at the foot of Garden X. Currently home to the doyen of range residents and the range council president, and once described as "the smallest dormitory in the United States," 44 the Crackerbox has served as student accommodation in the twentieth century— intermittently during the 1930s, and continuously since the 1960s, when it was renovated and remodeled.

Prior to that, its history is much less certain. In the early twentieth century, it is known to have been a woodshed, and before that, a kitchen of some sort, perhaps attached to Hotel F. Its date of establishment is rather unclear— omitted from many modern depictions of the academical village, it crops up in a couple of engravings from the mid-nineteenth century. Conventional wisdom holds that it is not an original building, though one account holds that a "Buck Coles's Mother" was born there as early as 1840. How to explain its relative absence from many accounts and depictions of the academical village? On the one hand, "its omission may be due to its insignificance," though a competing theory holds that the "building had [a] reputation years ago" and that "a 'lady?' lived? there." Most provocatively, speculation has surfaced that "Mr. Jefferson, wishing to keep the students away from the lower class establishments in town, established a university 'bordello' in the building." 45

Whatever the truth about the Crackerbox, it is plain to see that its history remains obscure. Does this mean that its history was deliberately obscured? Could it have functioned as a space reserved for illicit sexual activity? If so, did it also serve as a slave quarters at any point, or was it converted into a makeshift "bordello" at some later stage? In any event, the queerness of the Crackerbox is palpable— it is, today, among the more heterogeneous elements of the academical village, and among the most difficult to assimilate into the overall plan of the grounds. A curiosity in all cases, it has become an attraction in some contexts, though in other contexts it has been averted. In her 1975 pamphlet "The University of Virginia: A Walking Tour," Rotunda Hostess Mary Hall Betts fails to include the Crackerbox in her illustrated plan or suggested tour of the academical village. Moreover, the current webmap of the academical village omits the Crackerbox entirely.

If, however inadvertently or subconsciously, various representatives of the university have skirted the legacy of slavery on grounds by avoiding the fact of the Crackerbox, in other instances that legacy has been withheld more decidedly. It may come as a surprise to some to learn that this long legacy of obscurantism yet persists. I refer here specifically to a discrepancy I discovered between the 1993 and 1998 versions of the Pavilion Gardens brochure, providing visitors with an orientation guide to the gardens of the academical village. These two versions, identical in almost every respect, bear a few minor differences of phrasing and some slight alterations of format. Describing the intricate details of the more notable pavilion gardens in the selfsame language, the two versions diverge most significantly in a seemingly innocuous moment. Thus, in 1998:

Anatomical Theater
Lithograph of the University of Virginia, From the East
P.S. Duval, 1849
University of Virginia Online Visual History
 
Monroe Hill
Engraving of the University of Virginia, From the South
J. Serz, 1856
University of Virginia Online Visual History



Other gardens were used for predominantly utilitarian purposes and included smokehouses, and sheds for small animals.



Whereas, in 1993:

Other gardens were used for predominantly utilitarian purposes and included smokehouses, quarters for servants, and sheds for small animals.



Mentioned in 1993 alongside other "utilitarian" outbuildings including smokehouses and animal sheds, the phrase "quarters for servants" (i.e., slaves) 46 was excised from the record in 1998. This latter print version then served as the textual basis for the digital version of this peculiar garden history.

In the interest of full disclosure to the university's community and its guests, both actual and virtual, the language of the print and digital guides to the pavilion gardens should be restored to that of the 1993 version, unless recent evidence to the contrary can be shown to justify the removal. Absent that evidence, how best to understand the ideology behind this change in phrasing? Is it a fleeting denial of the legacies of slavery? Was it a simple mistake? Error seems unlikely here, for, as Marianne Moore once noted, "omissions are not accidents." 47

Whereas textual expurgations prove easy enough to locate, spatial expurgations are much more difficult to discern. The phrase "quarters for servants" can be dropped to little notice precisely because the quarters themselves have been removed beyond much of a trace. What little information remains comes mostly on the strength of period images. Yet precious little is known about the spatial particulars of these gardens (and their various outbuildings) as they existed in the nineteenth century. Jefferson left no specific plans for their organization or planting, and they have been reconstructed since on the most general principles of his life and times. 48

West Gardens, Early 20th C.
Gardens III and V, West Range
Unattributed, Early 20th C.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
East Gardens, 1914
Gardens IV and VI, East Range
Unattributed, 1914
The Holsinger Studio Collection
East Garden
Garden X [?], East Range
Unattributed, 1930
University of Virginia Online Visual History
In the first decade of the twentieth century, both sets of gardens were restored in a mixture of English and Italian styles, the east gardens in 1905-6 and the west gardens in 1908-9. Any extant slave quarters were probably removed at this time, and most likely stood in the west gardens or behind the east range. While the east gardens were perched upon "a rough slope overgrown with gaunt trees and tangled branches," unlikely to support habitations, the restored west gardens were constructed within a space that had formerly served as "a dumping ground for unsightly refuse" dotted, variously, with "a tottering, windowless back-building, a dilapidated shed" and "a pile of bricks, black and mossy from long exposure." 49 Removing the eyesores, and replacing them with larkspurs, these restorations also removed those spatial antecedents of the academical village that had taken root during the early decades of the institution.

Perhaps no single event played as decisive a role in this formative period of the university as the secession movement and the resulting war. As an early edition of the university yearbook boasted, "the first secession flag ever raised in Virginia was made and planted on top of the Rotunda." 50 Yet the university did not succumb completely to the exigencies of the conflict. Varsity Hall, built to the southeast of the academical village as a student infirmary in 1857, served in this capacity for wounded soldiers between 1861 and 1865, as did various other buildings at various other times.

Varsity Hall
Varsity Hall (1857)
Unattributed, n.d.
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Monument to the Confederate Dead
Monument to Confederate Dead, University Cemetery
Ralph Thompson, n.d.
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Through it all, uniquely in the confederacy, the university remained open from Sumter up to Appomattox and beyond. 51

In the aftermath, the university was faced with the challenge of suitably commemorating a resonant conflict. Up until 1888, the official colors of the university were gray and red, in honor of those soldiers that had worn the former and spilled the latter. The switch to blue and orange, seemingly arbitrary, did not go uncontested, especially among the old guard. 52 In 1891, a triumphal arch was proposed for the foot of the lawn, though nothing ever came of this plan. In 1906, a bronze memorial to those alumni killed in the war was unveiled on the north front of the Rotunda. 53 It has since been replaced by memorials to those alumni killed during twentieth century wars, 54 and today the few remaining monuments to the Confederate dead are tucked away in the university cemetery. 55

Trying as secession, conflict and reconstruction proved, the university's most trying day of all did not come to pass until 1895,

Rotunda Annex
Rotunda Annex (1851-3), From the East
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Rotunda Fire
Rotunda Fire, From the South (1895)
The Holsinger Studio Collection
when the Rotunda was partially destroyed by fire. The remnants of that destruction remain evident around the academical village today, with charred capitals from the blaze scattered about grounds, one in Garden IV, one outside Garden V, and one outside the Bayly Museum. 56 Of the Rotunda Annex, built in 1851-3 to provide additional classroom space, nothing remains. The fire was perhaps most devastating to the library, which had grown sevenfold in seventy years, from 8,000 to over 56,000 volumes, only to see its holdings reduced to 17,194 volumes in a single day. 57

After the fire, the Rotunda was renovated, but many smaller collections and specialized reading rooms were distributed to branch libraries in and around the academical village. 58

Rotunda Ruins N
Rotunda Ruins, From the North (1895)
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Rotunda Ruins W
Rotunda Ruins, From the West (1895)
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Despite this attempt at de-centralization, the Rotunda continued to burst at the seams. Stanford White's efforts to maximize space in the course of his renovation and re-design of the Rotunda were of marginal utility, and it soon became evident that the days of the Rotunda-as-library were nearing an end. Yet, rather than attempting to build a newer, more impressive library elsewhere, the WPA-era Alderman Library advanced a completely different spatial ideology. As the sitting university librarian, Harry Clemons, noted, the low heights of Alderman's stack areas, at fifteen feet, combined with "the absence of lofty, monumental effects" functioned to create "homelike surroundings" that stood in sharp contrast to those of the Rotunda. 59

With the university's size tripling over the latter half of the twentieth century, creating large-scale, homelike surroundings that yet remain true to Jefferson's original vision has become a task more easily aspired to than accomplished. As other flagship state universities like The Ohio State University at Columbus and the University of Texas at Austin ballooned, swelling to enrollments of 50,000 and more, the University of Virginia has managed to keep its enrollment under 20,000. Even this size, however, would demand the capacity of one hundred academical villages. Needless to say, the university's growth has occurred more hastily, and less grandly, than that. Through it all, with Jefferson's original design at the core, a more or less humane scale persists in Charlottesville.

In the academical village, the demographic shift, more than a case of simple growing pains, was in fact a case of institutional redefinition. Conversation on the Lawn
May Days: Student Strike on the Lawn
Andy Stickney, 1970
May Days: Crisis in Confrontation
Beginning in the academic year 1970-1, women and African Americans were admitted as undergraduates, at the end— and, in other respects, at the very beginning— of a long battle for equality and integration. 60 For a time, and at its worst in 1980, the resulting housing crunch was so bad that some students resorted to renting motel rooms. 61 Finally, after much discussion with respect to the possibilities of residential colleges modeled after those of Harvard and Yale, and after considerable gridlock over a misbegotten proposal to locate the first of these associations at the newly acquired Birdwood Estate, the first residential college finally opened its doors on Monroe Hill in 1986.

As with private space, public space at the university also remains at a premium. Solutions have not always been pretty, nor have they always been in keeping with the Jeffersonian vision of an academical village. Wilson Hall, a liberal arts building built to remove some of the burden from New Cabell Hall in 1969, was received in the Cavalier Daily as— in a borrowing from Jefferson— "a rude misshapen pile." Hamstrung by "a debased eclecticism," it came across "to the eclectic a bastard in the wrong style, to the functionalist inadequate if not ridiculous and to the futurist antique and irrelevant," finally failing, considered "in the context of Mr. Jefferson's University, an architectural disgrace." 62

The tone of such remarks is representative of the combative relationship between students and administrators in the turbulent era of the conflict pitting the United States against Vietnam. While embattled President Edgar Shannon was able to keep the university open during the May Days of 1970, in the wake of the Kent State shootings, 63 the rift in the community was palpable, and had real ideological-spatial effects. Within five years, a sort of academical suburb had emerged in the north grounds complex, North Grounds
North Grounds
Garth Anderson, n.d.
University of Virginia Online Visual History
with the Law School relocated from Clark Hall, the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration relocated from Monroe Hall, and the Miller Center for Public Affairs established at Faulkner House, all cut off from the main locus of the university. 64 This relocation, partially borne of spatial necessities, and partially borne of ideological fissures, looks more and more permanent, especially in the wake of the recently remodeled Darden School Grounds, abutting the newly constructed David A. Harrison III Law Grounds. Both grounds are far removed from central grounds, and well beyond the daily orbit of most undergraduates. 65

Expansions have come, expansions have gone, and still more expansions are yet in the offing. The latest expansions have been laid out in the form of a Master Plan issued by University Architect David J. Neuman in the Spring of 2003, with a budget initially set at $670 million. One of its most prominent planks, the South Lawn Project, overseen by the Polshek Partnership, consists of a proposal to replace New Cabell Hall with a pair of academic buildings below Jefferson Park Avenue, directly south of the academical village. This particular area has been under constant speculation: first by Jefferson as part of the infinite extension of the academical village; next as the African American shantytown "Canada," which was built up along with the university; then, after the clearance of "Canada, as a parking lot; and later, in the 1960s, as a proposed— but never realized— site for expanded graduate housing.

Other planks of Hughes's Master Plan include renovations to Fayerweather Hall, renovations and expansions for Rouss Hall and Campbell Hall, and additions to the University Hospital, to name only a few. One of the plan's stated ambitions is that of "creating a walking environment," which can serve to "foster a more collegial academic environment... by emphasizing pedestrians and cyclists over vehicles." Above all, in all facets, the goal of the master plan is to succeed in "extending our architectural legacy" by "apply[ing] principles of the Academical Village to new development."

Such medleys of changes— whether attuned, ignorant or indifferent to earlier spatial precedents— are inevitable in the rapidly growing and changing university of the twenty-first century. And while every change must necessarily modify Jefferson's original vision to some degree, the totality of changes finally reinforces a quintessentially Jeffersonian ideology. As he explained, famously, in the midst of the French Revolution,


I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living': that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by an individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society. 66

This 'earth-belongs-to-the-living' philosophy has been threaded into the fabric of the university, to greater and lesser extents, from its beginnings up to the present day. "Truly," as an early editor of the university yearbook concluded, "the worst enemy to her own increased prosperity is her own conservatism." 67

Rotunda Ball, 1894
Rotunda Ball
R.H. Laughlin, 1894
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Rotunda Ball, 1965
Restoration Ball in the Rotunda
Ed Rosenberry, 1965
University of Virginia Online Visual History
At times more progressive, at others more conservative, the ideologies of the university are embedded in its many layers of built environment, and nowhere more prominently than in the academical village. For the myriad of changes, there have been manifold continuities. Each generation has thought to encode its notions in and about the place, 68 just as each generation has attempted to decode the notions of its predecessors. And where institutional mysteries yet remain, or where instutional memories begin to fog, those who would recover the heritage of the university do well do remember Octavio Paz's dictum that "architecture is society's unbribable witness." 69

Be that as it may, on some levels the ideological spaces of the academical village may be imbued with a power structure too esoteric to be assessed via anything other than a lifetime of devoted study. As several commentators have noted, the academical village began to take shape on October 6, 1817, when the cornerstone for Pavilion VII was laid in an elaborate Masonic ceremony overseen by the Widow's Son Lodge #60 of Charlottesville— attended by Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, making it the first gathering of three United States Presidents at a single event. 70 Alderman Library, Reference Room
Alderman Library, Reference Room
Unattributed, n.d.
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Even while speculation has begun to increase of late, the cultural particulars of Masonic influence— on the university, on the commonwealth, on the nation, and on the world— remain as yet little researched, and still less reported, at least in academic circles.

Numerology also seems to figure into the esotericism of the academical village, with the numbers three, seven, thirty-three and seventy-seven figuring prominently in the scheme. Pavilion VII was the first to be constructed, and is embellished with a commemorative bronze plaque from the seventh day of the seventh month of 1977. 71 The Rotunda, measuring seventy-seven feet in diameter, boasts a portico three bays deep on both sides. When the university opened on the seventh day of the third month in 1825, seven professors directed thirty-three students under the guidance of the seven members of the Board of Visitors. One of these students may well have lived at 33 West Lawn, which abuts Pavilion VII. 72 Today, this dormitory is a place of honor currently held by Daisy Lundy, former student council president. It was previously home to Douglas Day, who lived there as an undergraduate, like his great-grandfather before him. As he boasted reticently of the distinction, "other people, especially non-Virginians, do not find this small evidence of dynasty nearly as impressive as I do." 73

The prominences of three and thirty-three seem connected to Masonic origins, but the prominences of seven and seventy-seven seem more obscure. 74 The number seven is, most saliently, associated with the Hands and Torch Chapter of the Mystical Seven Society. This clandestine organization, like the somewhat less clandestine Z and IMP societies, has apparent license to mark its insignia on various university structures. One account described the practice in the middle 1950s as follows: Rotunda, North Front
The Rotunda, North Front Steps
Rebecca Arrington, 2001
University of Virginia Online Visual History


Meticulously painted, and ranging up to 20 feet in height, there are 7s on walls, steps, sidewalks, and streets— almost any stretch of masonry not protected by ivy or a cop. How they get there, in a community that is never completely tucked into bed, has baffled the University for half a century. 75

To the unfamiliar, such graffiti can be rather unsettling. Walking through the academical village in— as it happened— 1977, one Cavalier Daily editorialist's younger brother peppered him with questions like "what is all that white stuff all over the steps up there?" and "why do people go around painting Zs all over the place?" After some reflection, the writer was led "to decide conclusively that Mr. Jefferson would probably not stand for white paint being splayed about his beloved Grounds." 76 With respect to this conclusion, some may feel less decisive, and others may object.

That people of good-will can disagree so sharply about such whys and wherefores is testament to the thorough spatial contradictions of the academical village. A space belonging to first to Virginia, and then to the South, and then to the nation, it is now a space that belongs to the world. Informed by an ideology of liberty, maintained by the institution of slavery, at once collar-up and down-at-heel, luminous and murky, in spots polished and in others plain, as paradigmatic as it is unusual, it is truly a space both odd and even.








Endnotes


1 A research project funded by a Summer 2004 grant from the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund for the Academical Village under the advisement of Cynthia Wall. Thanks also for advice and assistance from Bryson Clevenger, James J. Cocola, Jr., Mary Ann Cocola, Jared Lowenstein, Maurie McInnis, Bridget McLaughlin, Erich Nunn, Jordan Taylor and Richard Guy Wilson.
2 Power/Knowledge 149.
3 Since the University of Virginia was so designated in 1987, the honor has also been bestowed upon the University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid (1998), and the Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas (2000). Other built environments in the contiguous United States to be so designated include Mesa Verde (1978), Independence Hall (1979), Cahokia Mounds (1982), The Statue of Liberty (1984), Chaco Canyon (1987) and Pueblo de Taos (1992).
4 Qtd. in Bruce i.182
5 Writings 280.
6 Qtd. in Cabell 464.
7 Of course, Jefferson did not derive his style out of thin air— beyond the general influence of classical architecture, as from the Pantheon, which provided a model for the Rotunda, there were also the influences of various English and French architects. For example, in designing the overall plan of the academical village, Jefferson seems to have drawn heavily from Jean-Baptiste Le Roy's 1788 plans for a Paris hospital. For more on this influence, see Greenbaum.
8 Vickery (67) discusses numerous campuses that bear the mark of Jefferson's work (and, in his shadow, the later work of Stanford White), Social Religious Building, Vanderbilt University
North Front, Social Religious Building (1915)
Vanderbilt University
Unattributed (n.d.)
including complexes at Sweet Briar College (1902), Johns Hopkins University (1902), the University of Minnesota (1910) and Rice University (1910). Of particular note is the Social Religious Building (1915), today the Faye and Joe B. Wyatt Center for Education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, which looks like an odd cross between the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall.
9 This sense of displacement remains in an entirely different register for the contemporary observer. Although the Rotunda was equipped with a bell in its first decades, the bell tolling on grounds today comes from the chapel. Thus, the careful listener, who would tend to assume that the sound comes from the focal point of the academical village, may be surprised, in certain spots, to discover that the Rotunda is silent, and that the resounding clang comes from the relatively diminutive chapel to the northwest.
10 So claimed the inaugural edition of the university yearbook. See Corks and Curls 1 (1888): 22. Yet how could it have been otherwise? Jefferson himself was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786), according to which


no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

Ironically, this very statute would be misconstrued in the 1990s by the university itself, which found itself on the losing end of a significant United States Supreme Court decision in Rosenberger v. The University of Virginia, 515 US 819 (1995).
11 For a complete table of Chaplains to the University, see Patton 370-1. When L.C. Vass died while preparing to assume the post in 1897, the office lapsed, and has not been revived. Today, apart from the chapel, the central grounds are almost entirely devoid of religious imagery. One notable exception to this general rule is found at the foot of Peabody Hall, where a pair of brick mosaics in the form of the Star of David (or, perhaps, of the Seal of Solomon) decorate the sidewalk approaching the main stairway to the building.
12 Bruce iv.179. For a more complete account of the events leading up to this culminating moment, see Dashiell.
13 Qtd. in Wilson, "Mixed Reviews" 10. Strangely, despite the historical record and Vere's ringing remarks to the contrary, a near-contemporary publication argued that "the Rotunda was built to furnish, first of all, a place for religious worship" (Patton and Dowell 26).
14 Letters from Jefferson to William Thornton, 1817.05.09, and to Wilson Cary Nicholas 1816.04.02.
15 Jefferson's republicanism may serve as partial explanation for his animus toward William and Mary. Preferring the state capital and the state university to remain separated, Jefferson worked to prevent his alma mater's removal from Williamsburg to Richmond— a removal which, if realized, would have been a substantial boon to John Marshall, Jefferson's cousin and United States Supreme Court Chief Justice, whose federalist principles stood at odds with Jefferson's preference for a decentralized authority. For more on the above, see Bruce i.16;100-1.
16 Qtd. in Culbreth 138.
17 Qtd. in Rayner, Chapter 38.
18 For more on these precedents, see Nichols and Griswold 13-5.
Serpentine Wall
Serpentine Wall, Garden II, East Range
Ralph Thompson, 1962
University of Virginia Online Visual History
19 As such, while Jefferson advocated serpentine garden walls as a means of conserving bricks, he also requisitioned hundreds of thousands of bricks in building the pavilions alone, not to mention the Rotunda or the lawn and range dormitories.
20 Wills 10, 17, 64.
21 Today the proportion of public funding continues to dwindle. Two decades ago the figure stood at 28% of the operating budget; today that figure stands at 8%. Hence the recent calls for the university to establish charter status in respect to the commonwealth, gaining more autonomy from an entity that has come to control it more and more by way of precedent than purse string.
22 Letter from Nash to Sarah Platt DuBois, 1834.09.20, Accession #9818, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
23 Qtd. in Wilson, "Mixed Reviews" 8-9. During the second quarter of the twentieth century, a vagrant known as "Tim Murphy," and also as the "shabby patriarch," would come to exemplify— if only in an ironic fashion— the down-at-heel gentility of the university during his seventeen-year tenure as resident "Professor of Bumology," between 1926 and 1943. For more, see "University Tradition Passes With Death of 'Tim Murphy,'" Charlottesville Daily Progress 1943.08.02: 1.
24 Unique n.p.
25 Letter from Jefferson to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1817.06.12. In the end, Jefferson's private fancies were somewhat constrained by the public nature of the academical village. As he explained in a letter to William Coffee of 1822.07.10 (qtd. in O'Neal 24), as a university designer he suppressed his inclination to improvise with architectural detail, since "in a public work I feel bound to follow authority strictly." As a result, the metopes of Pavilion I contain a strictly classical row of human faces, as opposed to a more modern mixture of human faces and ox-skulls, a design Jefferson reserved for one of the chambers at his Poplar Forest residence.
26 Hariette's husband, Robley, served as first professor of anatomy and medicine at the university, and also functioned as Jefferson's personal physician.
27 Bruce i.248-9 and ii.205-6.
Pavilion VI
Pavilion VI
David Skinner, 1976
University of Virginia Online Visual History
28 So argued Boston architectural firm Michael Dennis and Associates in a 1989-90 report titled "Carr's Hill Precinct Study: An Acropolis of the Arts," an as-yet unrealized plan for an on-grounds space devoted to the arts.
29 This irregularity scales down to the smallest details. Originally, all pavilion doors were bottle green, except for Pavilion VII, which, like the Rotunda, had a white door. Every lawn and range dormitory comes complete with fireplace except 50 East Lawn, which lacks space. From time to time, the regular pattern of Chinese Chippendale ornamentation along the lawn breaks into utter randomness, as with the porch railings of Pavilion VI. Another asymmetry is evident along the stairways to the Rotunda's Dome Room, where a small recessed fireplace flanks the east stair, though none exists along the west stair.
30 Llewelyn and Day 12.
31 The Hotels, originally established to minister to the pastoral needs of the students, were planned by Jefferson around a model that would include married couples from various European countries, who would both cook for and converse with clusters of students. This arrangement, filled with problems, staggered through the end of the nineteenth century. For more on this system, see Hogan 72-5. Today each hotel has its own function: Hotel A is home to the Virginia Quarterly Review, Hotel B, or Washington Hall, is home to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, Hotel C, or Jefferson Hall, is home to the Jefferson Society, Hotel D is home to the Teaching Resource Center Hotel E, the Colonnade Hotel, continues to serve as a dining and meeting place for the university community, and Hotel F is home to the Institute for Public History and the Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies.
32 The fifty-fifth range dormitory was removed upon the erection of Levering Hall, which was built as an addition to Hotel F in 1857 (Hogan 40-1, 76). In the process, one of Jefferson's minor asymmetries had been regularized, for the total number of lawn and range dormitories was reduced from the odd 109 to the even 108, bringing about an imposed symmetry of 54 lawn dormitories and 54 range dormitories. That excised dormitory, which belonged to the East Range, once bore the even number of 56, even though no 55 West Range ever existed! Today, with 56 East Range gone, 55 West Range is no longer missed. Another minor asymmetry eradicated. Yet, despite these corrections, another asymmetry on the lawn persists, since there are as yet more dormitories on the East Lawn than on the West Lawn. Therefore, a 55 West Lawn exists, although no 54 East Lawn ever existed!
33 Jefferson had originally proposed a botanical garden for this space, and though exploratory measures were taken to this end in both the 1830s and the 1860s, the space remained open until the 1890s. Harlequin Rotunda
Old Cabell Hall (1898)
Unattributed, 1914
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Following the destruction of the Rotunda Annex by fire in 1895, Stanford White took a commission to erect the buildings today known as Old Cabell, Cocke and Rouss Halls. White's committee made it known that they "should regret blocking the beautiful vista at the end of the present campus" (qtd. in Wilson, "Mixed Reviews" 12-3). Nevertheless, visitors under the direction of rector W.C.N. Randolph, Jefferson's grandson, instructed White to close the vista and proceed at the foot of the lawn. What to make of Randolph's decision to controvert the spatial vision of his grandfather? More than a gesture of architectural irreverence, it might be understood as a strategy of architectural segregation, in which a community of predominantly European descent erected an architectural barrier to distinguish its neighborhood from a neighborhood community of predominantly African descent. That the decision should have been made in 1895 was both a pragmatic response to the exigencies of the Rotunda Fire, and an ideological bracket to the reconstruction era, heralding the incipient return of institutionalized segregation via the United States Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896). Such were the social forces that White's sense of architectural propriety stood little chance of countermanding. For more on White's role at the university, see Yetter.
34 There has been some talk of reverting to Jefferson's original color scheme, with its sandstone Tuscan colonnades and its copper-topped Rotunda dome. When the Rotunda was last renovated, in the middle 1970s, a number of brown shades approximating the original tone were applied to the dome as possible alternatives to white. Harlequin Rotunda
The 'Harlequin' Rotunda
Vaughan and Gianniny, 1975
This so-called 'harlequin' Rotunda is today but a footnote, as alumni sentiment resoundingly favored recent custom, and the dome remains white to this day. As for the colonnades, they too remain white, or, at least, 99 percent of them do. A pair of colonnades were recently restored to their original sandstone to illustrate the original scheme. Yet living memory has not always outstripped historical precedent. When it came to the Rotunda's interior, the university elected to revert to Jefferson's original design, undoing the work of Stanford White's renovation, which had defined the Rotunda for most of the twentieth century. Such examples suggest that the academical village belongs neither to its founder nor to his inheritors, but to some nebulous middle ground between tradition and transformation.
35 The higher cost of Pavillion III, which Jefferson envisioned as his School of Law and Political Economy, derived mainly from an especially ornate set of Corinthian columns complete with acanthus leaves, shipped directly from Italy. Although Jefferson viewed the several branches of learning with equal respect, he reserved a special interest for law and political economy, which he considered his own domain. Accordingly, he devoted more energy and more resources to its earmarked pavilion than to those of the other schools.
36 For more on the unique features of this unfettered curriculum, see Corks and Curls 8 (1895): 24, as well as Bruce ii.73 and Southhall 89. Academically, as architecturally, Jefferson's university served as a model for imitation. Harvard adopted a tempered version of the elective curriculum in 1883, and Brown University today tends to style itself as the forerunner of this most liberal approach to the liberal arts. Ultimately, however, the fashion for disdaining compulsory requirements derives from the absolute freedom of choice evident at the University of Virginia during much of the nineteenth century.
37 Bruce ii.259. So jealous were these early students of their autonomy that they even revolted against an 1826 regulation requiring their names to be painted and hung on signs placed above their dormitory doors. As university lore holds, "the young men usually failed to put them up, until formally warned that the consequence of the omission was a fine; and toward the end of the session, they seemed to derive a joyous satisfaction from throwing them into the nearest ashheap" (Bruce ii.206-7).
38 Bruce v.21-2.
39 For more on this curricular paradigm shift, see Haarlow. Yet another curricular paradigm shift would occur in the late 1960s, when student unrest led to the restoration of less compulsory attendance policies and a more diversified curriculum. See Owen 173, 181.
40 A 1950 fundraising pitch for the construction of New Cabell Hall claimed that "a central Academic Building is not merely desirable; it is essential," for it would be used "to house all College administrative offices and all classes except those in the natural sciences and in the special field of architecture" (10). Ironically, the publication, titled "The Lengthening Shadow of One Man," argued itself out from under Jefferson's shadow in advocating the very mode of centralization that he worked so assiduously to avoid.
41 The name Dawson's Row derives from Martin Dawson, an early patron of the university whose 1835 land grant was subsequently sold in 1858 to generate revenue for the buildings that came to bear his name.

Dawson's Row
Dawson's Row, Unidentified Building (1859)
Unattributed, 1917
The Holsinger Studio Collection
Dawson's Row
Dawson's Row, Unidentified Building (1859)
Unattributed, 1930
University of Virginia Online Visual History
In their century of existence, they proved a heterogeneous thorn in the side of the university. An attempt was made to integrate them into the fabric of the academical village in 1912, when they were renovated and refaced with classical pillars and porticos. Yet by 1953, despite objections from many concerned alumni, all seven buildings had been demolished to make way for other expansion projects. Today, a number of buildings in the area are vernacularly identified as belonging to Dawson's Row, though they may or may not bear structural relationships to the construction undertaken in the late 1850s. For more on the subject of Dawson's Row, see Plunkett, et. al.
42 Plunkett, et. al. 2; 8-10; 11-2. Of the building in question— which today houses the Office of African American Affairs and the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center— Plunkett and his co-authors concluded that "if an architectural study of #3 were to show that it pre-dates the Civil War, we believe the possibility is high that it did house slaves" (14).
43 According to one folk legend, the Crackerbox acquired its name because it was formerly a gathering place for students from Georgia, known as "crackers."
44 Crinkley as qtd. in Lord, Appendix A6.
45 The foregoing discussion of this spotty history is culled mainly from Lord and from the vertical file on the Crackerbox archived at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library. Of particular use from this file is a largely conjectural article by former Crackerbox resident Dave Peyton which appeared in the Cavalier Daily issue of 1974.02.13.
46 Plunkett, et. al. explain that "house slaves were commonly referred to as 'servants,'" citing Randall Miller and John David Smith, eds., "House Servants," Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery (New York: Greenwood P, 1988): 337-341.
47 Moore vii.
48 Most recently, by a pair of landscape architects from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation— Alden Hopkins, who completed the restoration of the west gardens in 1952, and Donald Parker, who completed the restoration of the east gardens in 1965.
Garden VIII, Reconstruction
Garden VIII, East Range, c. 1961
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Garden VIII, Interior
Garden VIII, East Range, c. 1965
University of Virginia Online Visual History
Employing a hybrid English-French style in their designs— as opposed to Jefferson, who might have shaded more decidedly toward a French style— both Hopkins, and to a larger extent, Parker, may have Anglicized their designs, whether wittingly or no, in view of the increasingly tense state of Franco-U.S. relations during the prelude to and the early stages of the Vietnam War. Currently, University Landscape Architect Mary V. Hughes is considering yet another major garden overhaul, mainly for the purposes of managing the rapid growth of the plantings made under the supervision of Hopkins and Parker.
49 Bruce v. 318.
50 Corks and Curls 8 (1895): 22. This occurred in February 1861, two months before Virginia elected to secede, and was likely the work of students from those states that had already joined the Confederate States of America, which then numbered South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
51 Enrollment bottomed out at 46 in 1863-4. For more on this period, see Bruce iii.313-4; 321.
52 For more see Bruce iv.325-6.
53 See Bruce iii.339-40.
54 These include the wars popularly known in the United States as World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The list is much longer in the former case than in the latter two.
55 Brooks Hall
Brooks Hall (1876)
The Holsinger Studio Collection, 1914
Southern nationalism, though dampened in the twentieth century, has never disappeared from the university. In ideological-spatial terms, consider the case of Brooks Hall, a splendid instance of Victorian campus architecture endowed in 1876 by Lewis Brooks, and designed by John R. Thomas, both of Rochester, NY. A gesture of rapprochement, the Brooks Museum of Natural History and Geology was widely celebrated in its day, and remains a distinctive period edifice, impressive on its own merits, if somewhat ill-matched with the architectural style of the academical village. Might a recumbent Southern nationalism have been at play in the 1970s proposal to condemn Brooks Hall, slating it for demolition by 1984? In any event, before the Orwellian date could arrive, the Board of Visitors was persuaded to think better of their decision— given the judgment of the Virginia Historic Landmarks Comission— and today the building houses the Department of Anthropology and other assorted faculty offices. For more on the history of this curious structure, see Hantman.
56 These specimens should not be confused with the abandoned capital in Garden III, West Range, which was carved from Virginia schist and meant for a pavilion, but quickly discarded as inadequate material for the task.
57 Thus, the university's national ranking in number of bound volumes plummeted from 16th to 77th. Yet the library would recover quickly, bolstering its holdings to over 130,000 by 1925, and approaching 600,000 as of 1950. For more on these fluctuations, see Clemons 59-60; 154-5. Today the university library holds nearly 5 million books.
58 See Clemons 85-6.
59 Clemons 141.
60 As though to hasten the process of integration, six female undergraduates were provided immediate housing in lawn dormitories. As a result, for the first time in several years, first-year students came to live among fourth-year students in the academical village. See Owen 241-2.
61 See Anne Richardson and Charles Giametta, "U.Va. Can't Meet Housing Demand," Charlottesville Daily Progress 1980.09.08 and Anne Richardson, "Refuge: Students Rent Motel Rooms for Studying," Charlottesville Daily Progress 1980.12.20.
62 Baer 1.
63 See Owen 203-220.
64 The Corinthian order, which transferred from the capitals of Pavilion III to the capitals of Clark Hall, did not travel on with the Law School to North Grounds. Might this indicate that the Jeffersonian mark is stamped less strongly in the academical suburb? Another indication to this effect may be seen at the Miller Center, housed in a stately 1856 mansion built by university hotelkeeper Addison Maupin. One might have expected the venerable association to stick, but when the university purchased the property in 1963, it chose to rename it Faulkner House, after the then-recently deceased novelist William Faulkner, who was writer-in-residence at the university in 1957-8.
65 The Darden School Grounds, designed in large part by postmodern architect Robert A.M. Stern between 1992 and 1996, present a rather arch attitude toward the Jeffersonian style, as evidenced by its academical village-esque parking garage. Bryan Hall
Bryan Hall
Rebecca Arrington, 1995
University of Virginia Online Visual History
The same sort of architectural irreverence can be seen in the work of Michael Graves, whose Bryan Hall, home to the English Department since 1994, features capitals and colonnades so purely decorative, and so thoroughly diminished, as to border on the absurd.
66 Letter from Jefferson to James Madison, 1789.09.06, in Smith i.632.
67 Corks and Curls 8 (1895): 22.
68 For a possible recent example of such encoding, consider Stephen Malkmus '89 [?] of the indie rock band Pavement, who wrote a song titled "Grave Architecture" on the 1995 release Wowee Zowee.
69 Paz 349.
70 Grizzard, Chapter 1, and Wills 21-2. See also a letter from Jefferson to Martha Jefferson Randolph 1817.08.31, and Alexander Garrett's "Outline of Cornerstone Ceremonies" 1817.10.06. Such ceremonies were not atypical of the period. The Erie Canal, built in roughly the same period, was marked with Masonic rites from Albany to Buffalo— to such an extent, in fact, that the Masonic rite became controversial, giving rise to the short-lived Anti-Masonic Party.
71 The obsession with seven tends to trickle down into the most minor details. For instance, see the study of Pavilion VII by Taylor and Hicks, which includes an apposite list of seven works consulted on page seven.
72 The exceptional nature of Pavilion VII is everywhere apparent. To take a pertinent example, in 1997, the very sponsor of this essay, The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, made a $1,000,000 gift for the restoration of Pavillion VII, at the same time that it made a $500,000 gift for the establishment of an endowment for educational programs related to the academical village. For the full story, see Sublette.
73 Llewelyn and Day 11.
74 There are three orders in the York Rite, and thirty additional orders in the Scottish Rite, adding up to a total of thirty-three. Threes figures prominently in numerous contexts associated with Masonry. For example, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia stands 333 feet tall. Sevens, meanwhile, have various occult associations, and are notable for being the only one of the first ten positive integers to lack a factor or a multiple. This uniqueness may well have appealed to Jefferson's taste for asymmetry and irregularity.
75 See Tyler. Most published accounts of the Seven Society, as it is known locally, date its origins from the early twentieth century, when it first began to mark its insignia on public buildings. For the origins of this practice, see the Cavalier Daily edition of 1905.04.12. Others have suggested that the Seven Society's influence stretches back to the University's beginnings. See, for example, the Charlottesville Daily Progress edition of 1969.04.13, for an article which holds the Seven Society to be a decidedly antebellum institution. An intermediate position is taken by Wyatt-Greene, who claims 1868 as the founding date of the Hands and Torch Chapter of the Mystical Seven Society at the University of Virginia. He ultimately connects that august body's formation to Masonic influences and traces its origins in Charlottesville back to the now-defunct Genessee College, in Lima, New York, where a branch chapter of the Mystical Seven Society emerged in 1853. These roots, in turn, grew from the base organization founded in 1837 at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
76 See Melton. Interestingly, this paint is not always white. Of late, a modicum of black Zs have emerged, most prominently on the steps of Madison Hall and on the steps of Old Cabell Hall.






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Garden V, Interior
Garden V, West Range, 1961
Robert Phillips, Holiday



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2004.12.06 12.33


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