Mather House History
Mather House opened in 1970. Mather House was named for Increase Mather (A.B. 1656), seventh President of Harvard (1685-1692), negotiator with James II of the Massachusetts Charter, and father of Cotton Mather (A.B. 1678). After his tenure as President, Increase Mather and his son were instrumental in founding the college which has since become Yale. It was Cotton Mather who suggested the name Yale.
Mather House was designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbot, which has designed all of Harvard's river houses. Established in 1874 by the American architect, Henry Hobson Richardson (designer of Sever), Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott is one of the oldest continuously-practicing architectural firms in the nation and the oldest in Boston. They have designed numerous landmarks in Boston, including South Station, the Arther Fiedler footbridge, and the Boston Public Library.
Mather is composed of two modern buildings: the Low-rise surrounds a courtyard, from which one gains entry to the Dining Hall, House offices, classrooms, the Junior Common Room, Senior Common Room, other common areas, and student and tutor suites; the Tower has student and tutor suites which command a view of the Charles River and downtown Boston.
In the summer of 2016, a group of Mather students, led by Mather Faculty Dean Christie McDonald and Karl Aspelund ’17, came together to conduct research into the life and legacy of Increase Mather, Harvard’s seventh president and the namesake of Mather House. An exhibit of the results of this research was created for the SNLHTC Gallery at Mather House in 2017. The catalog of this exhibit, "INCREASE - WHAT'S IN A NAME? The man, his legacy, and the naming of Mather House" can be downloaded below.