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Buildings and Grounds Collection

Identifier: DC021

Scope and Contents

The Buildings and Grounds Collection documents the construction, decoration, and renovation of the numerous historic buildings on campus. Included are documents pertaining to administrative and classroom buildings, recreational buildings and fields, the campus flora, and the specific houses within The Lawrenceville School house system. Interesting items include documents regarding the numerous renovations to the campus and Frederick Law Olmsted designed Circle. Other items of note include campus maps, blueprints and plans, and deeds and property information from the school's earliest days.

Numerous records of the Department of Buildings & Grounds, which is responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure and landscape on the campus, are also included in this collection.

Note that this collection only contains materials pertaining to the structures themselves, not their uses.


  • 1791 - 2020


Conditions Governing Access

The records are open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies and digital photographs may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from the Archivist. Researchers are responsible for determining any other copyright questions.

Biographical / Historical

The Lawrenceville School boasts a historically significant campus. It features historic sites, notable architecture, and a wide variety of plants and vegetation. The significance of the School's buildings and grounds resulted in it being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Though the building used by The Lawrenceville School when it opened in 1810 is no longer standing, the first and second buildings constructed for the school are still in use. The first building built on campus, then known as "The House," functioned as both a boarding and school house. It has since been renamed Hamill House and currently functions as a boys dormitory. The second campus building, what is now known as Haskell House, was built in 1832 as a classroom building. Haskell remained classroom space until the building of Memorial Hall in 1885, when it was converted to a gym. It has served many functions throughout the school's history. It currently houses fifth form boys.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of The Lawrenceville School campus is what is known as The Circle. The design and construction of The Circle coincided with The Lawrenceville School's refounding and conversion to the house system. Modeled after English boarding schools, the houses, under the guidance of housemasters, were to function as small communities that nurture intellectual development and personal growth. The Circle, both buildings and landscaping, was designed by Peabody & Stearns, in collaboration with Frederick Law Olmsted. The Circle as initially conceived consisted of five boarding houses (Cleve, Woodhull, Griswold, Dickinson, and Kennedy) and the headmaster's residence (Foundation House) with all of the houses surrounding a circular green space. The green space was important to Olmsted's plan. He envisioned a park setting with large trees and a wide variety of tree and plant species. The Chapel and Upper House were added to The Circle not long after the initial building. The buildings are a blend of Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, Romanesque, Arts & Crafts, and English Picturesque

As the student body grew, the campus needed to expand. After receiving a gift from the Father's Association in 1924, the school contracted with the architecture firm of Delano & Aldrich to design an expansion to the campus. The first building constructed was a new classroom and office building known as the Father's Building. This was followed by two houses, Dawes and Raymond. This new expansion became known as The Bowl since it featured and sunken green space flanked by the three new buildings. The Delano & Aldrich design was deliberately hierarchical. The Father's Building was positioned at the top with the students houses below to either side.

The institution of coeducation in 1985 created a need for more housing. The result was The Crescent. Designed by Short and Ford, Architects of Princeton, its shape was intended to complement The Circle house. When The Crescent opened in 1987, it featured four girls houses: Kirby, McClellan, Stanley, and Stephens. A fifth house, Carter House, was added in 2010.

More recently, The Lawrenceville School has undertaken a “Green Campus Initiative” seeking to take a holistic approach to campus sustainability. The initiative focuses on campus energy, materials, land, and water use applying methods that promote ecological literacy, sustainability education and involve the broader community outside of the school. Construction of a solar farm is also underway. It is scheduled to begin powering campus in April of 2012.


88.57 Linear Feet (55 boxes and 16 mapcase drawers)

Language of Materials



The Buildings and Grounds Collection is arranged into seven series: Series 1: Buildings, 1895-2014; Series 2: Building Systems, 1950-2010; Series 3: Deeds, 1791-2003; Series 4: Grounds, 1863-2014; Series 5: Personnel, 1970-2006; Series 6: Subject Files, 1923-2009; Series 7: Campus Maps and Plans, 1886-1998

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The custodial history of much of the material is unclear. Some records were transferred from the Office of Buildings and Grounds to the Archives.


Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with The Lawrenceville School Stephan Archives guidelines.

Related Materials

Additional material on campus construction projects can be found in the Following locations: DC014 Office of the Treasurer records, Series 4: Buildings and Grounds. DC115 Office of the HeadMaster, Various Proposals of Changes to Campus , 1930 - 1932 - Box:75 Folder:15.

Separated Materials

Photographs and slides of the construction of the Kirby Science Center have been moved to the Historical Photographs Collection.


Information in the historical note was gathered from material within the collection.The Lawrenceville Lexicon: A Compendium of All Things Lawrenceville, Merrell Noden, editor, was also consulted.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed by Casey Babcock in 2011. Mapcase contents were processed by Zoe Vybiral in April-May of 2012. The collection was reorganized and re-processed by Rebecca Driscoll and Stephanie Eder in 2018. Mapcase contents re-processsed by Peter K. Steinberg in October and November of 2022. Smaller format documents removed from mapcase and placed in oversize box(es).

Buildings and Grounds Collection: Finding Aid
Rebecca Driscoll
June 07, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The Lawrenceville School Stephan Archives Repository

Box 6128
2500 Main St.
Lawrenceville 08648 U.S.A. US