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History of Unit 1

At the time of the founding of the University, the state declared that there should be no dormitory system, a restriction that was subsequently removed from the law. In 1874, the Regents approved the construction of eight cottages (Kepler Cottages) for the use of students, each cottage to accommodate ten persons. These were leased to student clubs. Until 1929, there were no University-operated dormitories, with the exception of College Hall, a private dormitory experiment for women students that began operation in August, 1909 under the unofficial sponsorship of the dean of women.

With the increase in University enrollment, the need for student housing became evident. The first overt recognition of this need came in the form of a gift from Mrs. Mary McNear Bowles in 1929 for the construction of Bowles Hall, a dormitory with accommodations for 204 men students. This gift was followed in 1930 by one from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for International House (530 capacity, with the American group comprising about half that total). In 1942, Stern Hall (137 women students) was presented to the University by Mrs. Sigmund Stern.

In 1960, the first two units of the $8.3 million residence halls complex were completed. Each hall had living accommodations for 210 students. The first unit was comprised of Cheney Hall (women), Freeborn Hall (women), Deutsch Hall (men), and Putnam Hall (men). Davidson Hall (women), Cunningham Hall (women), Griffiths Hall (men), and Ehrman Hall (men) made up the second unit. The $4.5 million third unit was completed in 1964 and consisted of Ida Sproul Hall (210 women), Spens-Black Hall (210 women), Norton Hall (210 men), and Priestley Hall (210 men).

Service to residence halls and the dining room commons comprised the bulk of the student food services on the Berkeley campus. Beginning with the first residence hall, Bowles, in 1929, service was extended to Stern Hall in 1942, to Fernwald-Smythe Halls in 1946, to Residence Hall Unit 1 in 1959, to Residence Hall Unit 2 in 1960, and to Residence Hall Unit 3 three years later. By the mid-1960s, the halls served about 10,000 student meals daily.

Cheney Hall is named after May L. Cheney. She graduated with the class of 1883 and gained a national reputation for 40 years of finding teaching positions for UC Berkeley graduates, as Appointments Secretary of the Teacher Placement Bureau on campus. She was also was very active in student affairs.

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Christian Hall is named after Barbara Christian (1943-2000). Barbara Christian, scholar and pioneer in the field of contemporary African American literature, died peacefully at her home in Berkeley on Sunday, July 25, 2000. She combined a life of extraordinary generosity and compassion with scholarship that earned her a stellar reputation as a true trailblazer. Along the way, Christian scored a number of significant firsts that speak to her role as an intellectual and institutional pioneer. In 1978, she was the first African-American woman to be granted tenure at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1986, she was the first to be promoted to Full Professor.

Barbara Christian was born in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on December 12, 1943 and came to the United States mainland at the age of 15 to attend Marquette University in Illinois. She earned a Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia University in 1970.

UC Berkeley hired Christian in 1971 in the Department of English. She subsequently transferred to the Department of African American Studies, where she remained until her untimely death. Over the years, she compiled an exceptional record of scholarship, teaching, and service to the university, to her discipline, and to the community at large. The author of almost 100 published articles and reviews, many of which were anthologized in the United States and abroad, Christian was best known for her landmark studies, Black Feminist Criticism, published in 1985, and for her first book, Black Women Novelists: the Development of a Tradition. The latter appeared in 1980 after the rediscovery of the work of important women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen. She was among the first scholars to focus national attention on such major writers as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.

A more detailed history of Barbara Christian can be found here at:

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Deutsch Hall is named after Monroe Emanuel Deutsch (1879 - 1955). Monroe Emanuel Deutsch was born in San Francisco in 1879, and he died in San Francisco in 1955. He received his education in the public schools of San Francisco and in the University of California. In California he lived his life--a skillful and forthright administrator, a far-seeing leader of opinion, a champion of civil and human rights, a warm-hearted friend to thousands and benefactor of more.

After four years of high school teaching he became a member of the University faculty. He advanced through the academic grades, and was appointed Professor of Latin in 1922. His first administrative post was as Dean of the Summer Session in Los Angeles from 1918 to 1920. From 1922 to 1931 he was Dean of the College of Letters and Science, with the additional title of Vice-President of the University in the last years. In 1931 his title was changed to Provost, and he held this office until his retirement in 1947.

Professor Deutsch's studies and teaching were mostly in Latin literature and Roman history. How far his character was formed by these studies, or how far they confirmed his own native habit of mind, it is difficult to say. It is true, however, that there was much of the Roman in him. The precision of Roman speech, Roman concern for legal propriety, and Roman administrative procedure were reflected in the conduct of his life. In his teaching and research he was never lax. He demanded exactness and the sure support of sound evidence.

A more detailed history of Monroe E. Deutsch can be found here at:

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Freeborn Hall is named after Mary Chase Freeborn. Mary Freeborn was a graduate in Social Welfare, and a member of the Associated Charities in the field of women's housing. She was President of the Prytanean Alumnae Association when Ritter Hall, a cooperative for women undergraduate students, was opened. She was the wife of the late Stanley Freeborn, Provost of the Davis campus, and Professor of Entomology. Mary Freeborn was a 'born organizer' in every sense of the word, both in her influential role in helping to create Ritter Hall, one of the first undergraduate cooperatives for women, and in her various and energetic activities in the YWCA and women's clubs throughout the community. An inspiring personality, a dynamic leader in undergraduate and postgraduate affairs, Mary Chase Freeborn should be an inspiration for all those residents of the hall named for her." In Fall 1994, Freeborn Hall became a Substance-Free Environment through the efforts of Aaron Anderson and others.

More information can be found here at:

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Putnam Hall is named after Thomas Milton Putnam (1875 - 1942). Thomas Milton Putnam was a Californian by birth, by virtually all his education, and his life as teacher, scholar, and administrator. He was born on May 22, 1875, in Petaluma. In 1893 he entered the University of California, obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1897 and that of Master of Science in 1899. In the year 1897-1898 he was Fellow in Mathematics, from 1898 to 1899 Assistant in Mathematics. In 1899 he accepted a call from the University of Texas, and was Instructor there for a year. Thence he went to the University of Chicago, where he held a fellowship from 1900 till 1901, and then received the degree of Ph.D. The University of California at once recalled him, and from that time until his death on September 22, 1942, he was a member of the faculty, rising through the various grades: from instructor to assistant professor in 1907, to associate professor in 1915, and to professor in 1919.

In 1914 he became Dean of the Lower Division, and from that time much of his strength and energy was given to the administrative service of the University, in which he was strikingly successful. He held the post of Dean of the Lower Division until 1919, when he became Dean of the Undergraduate Division (title later changed to Dean of Undergraduates), serving in that position until 1940; he was simultaneously Dean of the Summer Session in Los Angeles from 1926 to 1930. Indeed he continuously held administrative posts until June 30, 1940, at which time having attained the age of sixty-five he determined to devote himself to the work of the Department of Mathematics. For a long span of years, also he was associate secretary of the American Mathematical Society.

A more detailed history of Thomas M. Putnam can be found here at:

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Slottman Hall is named after William Bradley Slottman (1925-1995). During his 30 years at Berkeley Bill Slottman enriched the lives of others. He was a brilliant teacher who patiently upheld exacting standards of scholarship and decency while maintaining a humane and humorous perspective on the tangled affairs of central and eastern Europe--a subject which he brought to life for generations of students. Slottman was respected by the scholars in his field. His teachings and conversations showed a mastery of many languages and an understanding of the countless facts of European history at his command. The humanity and erudition which he instilled into his core course, “The History of the Habsburg Monarchy,” made “Slotty” for his students a legend in his time. He is to be numbered among the great teachers of our University.

An authority on ambassadors, Slottman himself was an ambassador for the University. For many years he lectured for the California Alumni Association in various parts of the state, extended welcoming addresses for the Berkeley Summer Orientations programs, and taught Church history at the Dominican School of Religion. A grasp of many cultures and their idioms enriched his splendid sense of humor. His mind could toss off complex witticisms and epigrams. Over the years he honed his form of expression into an art that required the listener's full attention in order to catch the nuances of his utterance. This art was a distillation of an immensely private person's feelings, an art so fine that it approached invisibility.

A more detailed history of William Bradley Slottman can be found here at:

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