Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Diana Courtyard

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Institution Name: Queens University of Charlotte
Original/Historic Place Name: Young Diana Courtyard
Location on Campus: quadrangle between Burwell, McEwen, Watkins, MorrisonTrexler
Date(s) of Construction:
1924statue sculpted Huntingdon, Anna Hyatt
1940statue cast
1940-1945original construction (courtyard)
Designer: Anna Hyatt Huntington
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: culture, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Function:
ca. 1940-present (2006)outdoor space
 

Narrative:
At the south side of Burwell Hall is a quadrangle containing the Diana Courtyard and the sculpture, Young Diana, Goddess of the Hunt. At one time this area was called the southern quadrangle, but today, it is more commonly referred to as the Diana Courtyard. The Diana statue is one of only a few castings of Mrs. Anna Hyatt Huntington's Young Diana, Goddess of the Hunt and is a unique reminder of youthful spirit. Mrs. Huntington is described as a great sculptor of the Beaux Arts period. The pool and Diana Courtyard were constructed later. In the 1940s and early 1950s, the statue and pool were surrounded by a garden. Later, the garden was removed and replaced by brick walkways.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the grounds were Spartan, with little landscaping. When Dr. Blakely became President in 1940, he saw one of his challenges was to enhance the aesthetic beauty of the campus. Mr. Lewis Skidmore of the High Museum, Atlanta, advised Dr. Blakely that a piece of sculpture would add a focal point of beauty to the landscape. Skidmore stated that Mrs. Huntington had recently given a piece of sculpture to the High Museum and that she might consider donating a piece to Queens College.

Dr. Blakely began corresponding with Mrs. Hyatt Huntington in order to obtain a sculpture for the campus. The Art Department and the student body reviewed the sculptor's catalog of bronze statues, and according to Dr. Blakely "the young women of the campus especially liked Young Diana." He wrote Mrs. Huntington that Queens would accept whichever piece she decided to donate. When her secretary contacted Dr. Blakely, the response states that Mrs. Huntington had one replica of the Young Diana left. She stated, "it would do more good at their [Queens] college than on the Huntington private estate."

The statue was originally sculpted in 1924. Mrs. Huntington cast five replicas of her Young Diana, and they are located throughout the country--one near by in Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina. Our Young Diana was shipped from the gardens at Mrs. Huntington's private estate in Haverstraw, New York. The Young Diana statues received some notoriety in the 1980s. At the time, the actress Bette Davis stated in an interview that she posed nude for a statue called Spring when she was eighteen. She remembered it was with a woman sculpture in Boston. Intrigued by the statement, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts uncovered a statue in storage that was identified as a Huntington Young Diana. There is no direct connection between Bette Davis and Young Diana, but the story adds a little color to the history of the statue.

The image of Diana and the pool has been used on many campus publications, and prior to the University's decision to go co-ed, it was an unofficial "mascot" for the student body. Singing around Diana was a favorite tradition of many alumnae (1940-1960). Groups would strike up a tune when they gathered in the courtyard to wait for the dining hall to open, and today students enjoy dressing Diana for special occasions and hanging announcement placards around her body. She has modeled everything from winter coats to underwear and has been encased in a shower stall for a 3-D art project.
 

References:

"Bette Davis Model For Carolinas Statues?" Charlotte Observer, June 18, 1982.

Letter from Archer M. Huntington to Dr. Blakely. [n.d.] Queens College Collection, Queens Archive. Folder: C89-5, Queens College/Diana Statue, Box 86: Diana Statue Information. Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC.

"Museum Uncovers Statue." Charlotte Observer, June 17, 1982, People Weather section.

 

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Last update: November 2006