To the Editor:
As one who has spent nearly 38 years working in the Bicentennial Buildings at Yale, I read with interest the article concerning the enforcement of the no-vending policy in what is sometimes mistakenly called the Rotunda or even Woolsey Hall (“Vendors forced out of Woolsey Hall,” 11/17). The building in question, which connects Woolsey Hall and Commons, is properly called Memorial Hall — a name it was given from the first days, and which is still its correct name.
The Connecticut Historical Society’s Web site contains the following information regarding Memorial Hall: “Yale Civil War Memorial, New Haven, occupies a hallway on the ground floor of Memorial (Woolsey) Hall between the Hewitt Quadrangle and the corner of Grove and College Streets. There is heavy pedestrian traffic to and from the quadrangle through the Memorial to the rotunda and on to the street. The Memorial is dedicated to Yale men, both Union and Confederate, who died in the Civil War.”
Memorial Hall is a monument to Yale graduates of all wars. The walls of the entire first floor are covered with names. The Civil War Memorial is a component of the larger scheme.
If the faculty, staff and students of Yale would call Memorial Hall by its correct name, there would be less of a chance that it might be used for inappropriate purposes, such as selling merchandise or event tickets. The first floor of Memorial Hall is a war memorial, and as such deserves the ongoing respect of all who daily pass through it. The vendors who were turned away meant no overt disrespect to Memorial Hall, but if the Yale community called the building by its proper name, situations such as these likely would never occur.
Nov. 18, 2005
The writer is a Yale University Associate Curator of Organs.