Educational Excellence Since 1912
Hamden Hall Country Day School
Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12
About Hamden Hall


More than a century ago, in the fall of 1912, 17 boys between the ages of 9 and 14 embarked on an all-day pre-preparatory academic program at a stately country day school on Whitney Avenue in Hamden.

It was the fourth such school in the country, boasting the combined benefits of a boarding school experience against the backdrop of home life and family involvement. 

The inauguration of Hamden Hall Country Day School was decidedly unique. The school’s mission was “to maintain a fair balance between physical and mental exercise” so that students could develop “good scholarly habits” and “sportsmanlike conduct on the playing field.” Daily lessons were framed by morning prayers and afternoon sports and recreation. The $350 tuition included transportation on the 8:15 a.m. trolley and a school day that extended until 5 p.m. 
Within a 10-year span, enrollment more than doubled and Hamden Hall’s founder, Dr. John P. Cushing, purchased the spacious school property that had formerly been leased. The Pinehurst Mansion, once the residence of accomplished musician and businessman Morris Steinert and now home to the school’s classrooms, and its expansive estate grounds were officially sold to Hamden Hall Associates, Inc., in June 1927 upon Cushing’s retirement as headmaster.
"The school’s mission was 'to maintain a fair balance between physical and mental exercise' so that students could develop 'good scholarly habits' and 'sportsmanlike conduct on the playing field.'"
In the fall of 1927 came another first for the fledgling school. Hamden Hall went coed, and as such was the first of its kind among country day schools in New England. The school’s mission was also enhanced by two new ideologies: social development and an emphasis on individual growth, as introduced by Hamden Hall’s second headmaster, Gen. Herbert H. Vreeland Jr. “Probably more than at any time in the past, modern youth needs to have developed a social consciousness and a sense of individual responsibility for the group of which he or she is a member,” Vreeland wrote of his vision for the school. “The underlying spirit of Hamden Hall is that of a large family.” During Vreeland’s second year he established a lower school, pre-kindergarten through grade three, housed in a portable classroom that he purchased. Also in 1928 came the formation of the school’s first Parents’ Association – later renamed the Parent-Teachers Association.
Fiscally, Hamden Hall reorganized under the purview of Headmaster E. Stanley Taylor and his wife, Margaret Taylor, during the 1930s. The Taylors took no salary for their administrative leadership on the condition that the school become a parent-owned, nonprofit, tax-exempt, cooperative organization.
By 1935, student population had grown to more than 120 and high school classes had been instituted. The first Hamden Hall graduation exercises commenced in 1937 for five students. 

Growth remained steady following those flagship days, in terms of physical size, student population, and academic achievement. Today’s main campus encompasses 12 acres housing nine major buildings. A 30-acre athletic complex lies 1.5 miles north of the main campus and features fields, tennis courts, and a $13 million indoor athletic center. Our third campus, referred to as "The Castle," is a breathtaking Tudor Revival-style mansion built in 1906. The 3.3-acre property overlooks Lake Whitney and has a storied history as the former Lucerne Mansion built by New Haven architects Brown and Von Beren and later purchased by prominent architect Eero Saarinen.  

More than 625 students from 50 surrounding communities and six foreign countries thrive in our Early Childhood programs, Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. 

The school also remains as tight-knit in terms of the familial community that was fostered a century ago. In June 2012, the graduating class enjoyed another first in the school's storied history - the Class of 2012, at 82 students, was not only Hamden Hall's Centennial Class but also its largest class to date.  

Hamden Hall’s mission continues to challenge students to develop a strong sense of personal integrity and social responsibility while preparing them for demanding academic programs at the collegiate level.

Esteemed Alumni

We Value Tradition Under the Pines...

The fostering of many time-honored traditions is a mainstay at Hamden Hall. Celebrating long-standing customs and practices helps ensure that today's students have connections to their counterparts of yesteryear.

Some of our annual traditions - such as our Valentine Bake Sale - date back more than half a century! Formerly called the Valentine Cookie Sale, the event has been a heartfelt tradition since 1942.

Some of our annual traditions include:
  • The Valentine Bake Sale
  • Lifers' Shirting Ceremony
  • The May Pole Assembly
  • Community-Wide Stuff A Bus
  • World Language Week
  • MayFest
  • Life is Delicious
    • "Hamden Hall Stories": Alumni from Classes in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s recall their special moments under the pines.

Hamden Hall Country Day School

About Us

Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.