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Classroom with long tables and chairs all facing forward. Television at front of room. Elkus / Manfredu Architects Ltd.

Artist's sketch of performing arts rehearsal room and performing arts classroom. Elkus / Manfredu Architects Ltd.

Artist's sketch of lecture hall and classroom. Elkus / Manfredu Architects Ltd.

Leslie Roberts, in profile, at the head of the class.


Scott Wheeler, seated on a high stool facing attentive students. A musical staff is drawn on blackboard behind him.


Leslie Roberts, in profile, at the head of the class.


Thass-Thineman speaking to a class. There is a map on the bulletin behind him.


Architect's rendering of 180 Tremont Street by Elkus/Manfredi, showing the potential usage of the building for students, staff, faculty, and administrators. The illustration includes the basement level, surrounding buildings and the Boylston MBTA station. In the early 1990s, Emerson President John Zacharis began the transition that would relocate Emerson College from the Back Bay to the Theater District. The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of 180 Tremont Street to house classrooms and administrative offices. Now known as the Ansin building, 180 Tremont would become the flagship building of the Campus on the Common.


Lower level photo of the Tufte Center entrance on Boylston Place. People are shown exiting the building. A sandwich board sign next to a street lantern reads “TUFTE” with an arrow. Purple and gold Emerson banners hang from the 2nd floor. Buildings across the alley can be seen reflected in the glass windows. In 2003, the Tufte Production and Performance (PPC) building became the first purpose built structure created and built for Emerson College. It is named in honor of Emerson College trustee Marillyn Zacharis' parents, Norman I. and Mary E. Tufte. The state-of-the-art building was designed by Elkus/Manfredi architects and constructed by the Lee Kennedy Co., at the same time Emerson undertook the restoration of the historic Cutler Majestic Theatre next door. Info sources: Elkus-Manfredi;; Lee Kennedy website; Emporis; Imagine magazine..

Architect's rendering of the 2-story Chickering Hall building with the caption, Our New Home. The first floor is defined by a series of five arches. The drawing includes a horse-drawn carriage on the street. In 1901, the College moved to Chickering Hall, 239 Huntington Ave, where it would stay for only ten years. The Emerson community welcomed the move to this Back Bay location near Symphony Hall. The decision to relocate from the College’s previous address was due in large part to safety concerns. Emerson’s Odd Fellows Hall in the South End was troubled with high rates of crime. From A Century of Eloquence: “The college rented the entire second floor of Chickering Hall which provided nine spacious, well lighted and ventilated classrooms, two of which were small lecture halls (40x22ft), each complete with a platform. After 1903, a portrait of Dr. Emerson, presented by the graduating class of that year, hung in the corridor. Six marble stairways with wrought-iron balustrades led to the second floor. The first floor held the library and the school’s administrative offices, and morning lectures were held in the “superb hall on the first floor, which seated 800.” During this period, Boston caterer D. M. Shooshan’s Ladies and Gent’s Cafe also occupied space on the first floor of Chickering Hall at the address 241-243. An ad in the Emerson College Magazine [Vol. 19] described it as a “First-class restaurant, also a choice line of confectionery. Ice cream and fancy baking of all kinds.” Chickering Hall was owned by piano manufacturing company, Chickering & Sons. It was designed by architectural firm Peabody & Stearns for use as an 800-seat concert venue. After Emerson’s departure the hall was expanded and re-opened in 1912 as the 1,600-seat vaudeville and film venue named St. James Theatre, operated by Marcus. In the 1920s, it become a popular stock company stage, and in the 1930s it was renamed the Uptown Theatre, operating as a movie theatre and catering to college students with second-run movies. The building was demolished in 1963.


The interior of Emerson College's first classroom (then known as Monroe Conservatory or Oratory). Rows of wooden chairs face a small platform framed by drapery, with what appears to be a wood-burning stove on one wall. The doors are etched with the words, Monroe Conservatory.. In 1880, Charles W. Emerson opened the Boston Conservatory of Elocution, Oratory, and Dramatic Art at 13 Pemberton Sq. in Boston. Ten students enrolled in the first class. Within one year, the school was renamed the Monroe Conservatory of Oratory. At the time, Pemberton Square was a mixed use enclave of residences and businesses surrounding a small enclosed garden (resembling Beacon Hill's Louisburg Square). By 1885, the construction of a large courthouse changed the character of Pembertboron Square. This neighborhood is now part of Boston's Government Center, currently occupied by Suffolk University and the state and county courthouses. Our conservatory moved from here to 36 Bromfield Street in September 1886. Look closely at this photo to find a framed image of the State of Liberty hanging on the wall. The much-anticipated statue was constructed in France and shipped to New York Harbor around this time period, but not unveiled and dedicated until the month after our school moved away from this address.

1880 circa

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