Timeline, 1745 – 1964
1745: A residence is built at 4 rue de Chevreuse. Little else is known about the property or its first inhabitants.
1793 – 1795: A small, rather unimportant porcelain factory opens at the site.
1798 – 1824: The Dagoty brothers take ownership and expand the factory, making it the premier porcelain manufactory of the era.
1824 – 1834: 4 rue de Chevreuse is transformed into an orthopedic and therapeutic center for children.
1834: Jean-Jacques Keller acquires the property and establishes France's first Protestant boarding school for boys. Around 30-40 students reside and study at the Institut Keller each year.
1890: After nearly sixty years in education, the Institut closes its doors due to financial difficulties, but the Keller family retains ownership of the property.
1892: Reverend Dr. Morgan of The Church of the Holy Trinity leases a parcel of the property (5 rue de la Grande Chaumière) from the Keller family. St Luke’s Chapel is erected on this parcel, in the back garden of what is now Reid Hall. Known as the “English Episcopal Chapel,” the “Little Tin Church,” or “St. Luke’s in the Garden,” the chapel serves the Anglophone community on the Left Bank.
1893: Elisabeth Mills Reid leases 4 rue de Chevreuse from the Keller family and establishes the American Girls’ Art Club, a residence and social hub for young American women studying the arts in Paris.
1911: Mrs. Reid purchases the property and its adjacent parcels from the Kellers and finances several major construction projects: a new exhibition space (now the Grande Salle), additional dormitory rooms (now the Institute building), and a medical clinic for students (now the Maison Verte).
1914 – 1922: During WWI, the Girls' Art Club ceases its activities. Mrs. Reid converts the property into a military hospital for French and American soldiers. It then becomes the European headquarters of the Red Cross.
1922: After the war, Mrs. Reid loans the property to the American University Women’s Paris Club. Conceived by a group of American university women led by Virginia Gildersleeve (Dean of Barnard College), the Club provides lodgings for American women studying or working in Paris. The property also houses the Association française des femmes diplômées des universités (AFFDU) and other educational organizations.
1926 – 1927: Dorothy Flagg Leet (Barnard Class of 1917), a former secretary at the Club, becomes Acting Director, then Director.
1927: The five-year experiment proves successful, largely thanks to the leadership of Dorothy Leet and Virginia Gildersleeve. The American University Women's Paris Club is incorporated as an official residential facility dedicated to promoting the educational, cultural, and social interests of American university women in Paris.
1928: The property is officially named Reid Hall in honor of Elisabeth Mills Reid and her husband, Whitelaw Reid.
1929: A fourth story is added to the dormitory facilities to house artists' studios. The roof of the 18th-century Chevreuse building is fully refurbished.
1934: St Luke's Chapel is dismantled and religious services are no longer held at 4 rue de Chevreuse.
1938: After more than a decade of transformative leadership, Dorothy Flagg Leet resigns her post at Reid Hall and returns to the United States.
1939 – 1946: The University Women's Club closes during WWII and Reid Hall is placed under the supervision of the French Ministry of Education. After much discussion, the École Normale Supérieure de Sèvres is permitted to utilize 4 rue de Chevreuse through 1946, saving it from German occupation.
1947: Dorothy Leet resumes her directorship of Reid Hall and readies the property once more for American students. Cohorts from institutions like Smith College, University of Maryland, Yale University, and Bryn Mawr College use Reid Hall as their base. Students are enrolled in courses at the Sorbonne, École du Louvre, and other French universities.
1951: Reid Hall continues to host a variety of American institutions, and establishes its own study abroad program, the “Third Year in Paris”, conceived by Leet and Gildersleeve. The Third Year in Paris welcomes about 20 co-educational students yearly.
1964: Helen Rogers Reid, Elisabeth Mills Reid's daughter-in-law and president of the International Herald Tribune, gifts Reid Hall to Columbia University.
Since its inception Reid Hall has been a significant Franco-American educational, cultural, and social nexus, uniting thought leaders, change makers, and creative minds from all parts of the world for the benefit of its students and visitors. Columbia University far exceeded Helen Rogers Reid's expectations by developing vibrant undergraduate and graduate programs, founding a center for research and innovation, and offering dynamic public events that bridge Reid Hall's storied past with the future of academia.