Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12
About Hamden Hall

History

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 campus encompasses 12 acres housing eight major buildings. A 30-acre athletic complex lies 1.5 miles north of the main campus and features fields, tennis courts, and a $12 million indoor athletic center. 

More than 575 students from 44 surrounding communities 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.

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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.