Who is this Hubbard guy anyway?
Hubbard House opened in 1879, and was named in honor of George W. Hubbard, who was Sophia Smith’s lawyer. It was Hubbard who convinced Sophia Smith to build the college in Northampton, and to shorten the name from Sophia Smith College to Smith College. Hubbard was appointed to the original Board of Trustees from 1871-88, and also served as treasurer of the college during that time. From 1871-72, he was also the President of Smith Charities. In 1875, he donated the clock in the tower of College Hall. According to President Seelye, “He was a man of few words, but of clear thought, sound judgment…A man of rare sagacity and integrity, and loyally devoted to the College.”
What’s so special about Hubbard?
Hubbard House was the fourth residence hall added to campus as part of the cottage plan system. On June 6, 1942, a fire started in Hubbard’s basement. Luckily, most of the residents were already at the Ivy Day celebrations, so there were no serious injuries reported. One of Hubbard’s more notable residents at the time was Marion M. Jackson, the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Jackson. Hubbard has also been the home of Ada Comstock, the namesake of the Ada Comstock Scholars and the future president of Radcliffe College, as well as the first Latina student at Smith. Perhaps the most notable alumna of Hubbard House is Julia McWilliams Child, the French Chef. She lived in Hubbard House from 1930-34, and said at one of Hubbard’s reunions that, “All four years at Hubbard were so wonderful that I can’t pick out just one specifically brilliant incident.”
So what do you do now?
Former Dean Helen Russell is quoted as saying, “It is the spirit of the house that makes Hubbard one of the most desirable places to live at Smith.” Hubbard’s smaller size, with a capacity of 54, makes it easy to have a close house community and welcoming spirit. Also attractive about Hubbard House is the fact that it still has dining, serving healthy options meals, and is located next to Seelye Hall, making the lives of humanities majors much easier. The residents of Hubbard enjoy several traditions, including no television in the common spaces, sock wrestling during reading period, and an on-again off-again rivalry with neighboring Washburn House. The 2008-09 academic year will mark the 130th anniversary of Hubbard House, which the residents hope to celebrate with an anniversary party like the ones that used to be held every 10 years, but which haven’t happened since the 100th.