Academia: Collegiate Gothic Architecture in the United States
Explore America's most breathtaking college campuses—where Gilded Age wealth found a Gothic inspiration.
The Collegiate Gothic style, which flourished between the Gilded Age and the Jazz Age, was intended to lend an air of dignified history to America’s relatively youthful seats of higher learning. In fact, this mash-up of Oxbridge quaintness with piles of new money gave rise—at schools like Princeton and Vassar, Yale and Chicago—to unprecedented architectural fantasies that reshaped the image of the college campus. Today the ivy-covered monuments of Collegiate Gothic still exercise a powerful hold on the public imagination—as evidenced, for example, by their prominent place in the Dark Academia aesthetic that has swept social media.
In Academia, the noted architectural historian William Morgan traces the entire arc of Collegiate Gothic, from its first emergence at campuses like Kenyon and Bowdoin to its apotheosis in James Gamble Rogers’s intricately detailed confections at Yale. Ever alert to the complicated cultural and social implications of this style, Morgan devotes special sections to its manifestations at prep schools and in the American South, and to contemporary revivals by architects like Robert A. M. Stern.
Illustrated throughout with well-chosen color photographs, Academia offers the ultimate campus tour of our faux-medieval cathedrals of learning.
Praise for Academia: Collegiate Gothic Architecture in the United States
A splendidly illustrated book full of insight.
— The New Criterion
Academia masterfully tells the story of the melding of education and the Gothic style, beginning in England in the Middle Ages and continuing across America in its schools, colleges, and universities. William Morgan presents the tale in parallel lines of long captions to superb photographs, coupled with a text that both informs and entertains. . . . A definitive reference and an engaging story.
— Andrew Alpern, architect, lawyer, historian, and author of "Posh Portals," among others
This is a volume that will be informative to specialists, but also a visual delight for the average reader. An indispensable addition to the field.
— John Wilmerding, Sarofim Professor of American Art, emeritus, Princeton University
Academia examines the characteristics of an architectural style whose resonance has long been felt by graduates, but William Morgan also offers us a deeply personal meditation on Collegiate Gothic's meaning for secondary and higher education. It's easy to see our institutions as crucibles for our greatest anxieties and ambitions and, luckily, it's easier to see how their environments shape us as people. Morgan lends us his vibrant impressions of this rich legacy. Architecture matters, and Academia proves it over and over again through the lens of an expert who knows much and a critic who demands more.
— William Richards IV, architectural historian and author of "Revolt and Reform in Architecture's Academy" and "Bamboo Contemporary"