Seabury Hall (Summit Campus)
Seabury Hall, named for Samuel Seabury, the first Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut, was designed by William Burges and Francis Kimball. Construction began on July 1, 1875, and Seabury was ready for occupancy at the beginning of the fall semester of 1878.
Seabury contained lecture rooms, a library with 18,500 volumes, the museum of natural history (which moved to Boardman Hall upon the building's completion in 1900), offices, dining facilities, a chapel, and student residences. Seabury also contained physical and chemical laboratories until 1888 and the President's office was located at 13 Seabury Hall in 1880.
By 1905, the library occupied the southern end of Seabury, and its collection had grown to over 48,000 volumes and 29,000 pamphlets. A librarian was available to help students in the use of the books (freely available from the shelves) and for private and academic research needs.
In addition to its classrooms, offices, and dorm rooms, Seabury was a busy place by 1950, with many essential student services like the student post office, college medical offices and health services, a commons lounge, as well as a store for students to purchase books and other supplies.
Seabury Hall was renovated and restored as part of the $32.9 million dollar Long Walk renovation and restoration project begun on May 21, 2007 and completed on August 28, 2008. Extensive exterior and interior work was done, including: removal of and/or repair of cast iron and lead windows, cleaning of the brownstone exterior, replacing the slate roof with 123,000 new tiles, returning the room suites to their original layout, as well as mechanical and electrical repairs and upgrades.
To complete the renovation and restoration, material was sourced from local, national, and international locations. The brownstone came from quarries in Portland, Connecticut. The sandstone was sourced from the Cleveland Quarries in Amherst, Ohio. A mine in Monson, Maine provided the roofing slate, and the terracotta roof pieces came from the West Meon Pottery in Petersfield, England.
In 2020, Seabury, along with Wheaton (now Trinity) Halls, were cited as two buildings on campus that would be subject to a process for renaming based on research into the connections and/or promotion of slavery by Samuel Seabury and Nathaniel Wheaton, respectively. The call for renaming was brought forth by the Umoja Coalition on campus. Separately, the Primus Project was launched later that year.
The College made the decision in Spring 2021 not to rename Seabury Hall, as pro-slavery treatises purportedly authored by Bishop Seabury were found to be misattributed – the treatise American slavery distinguished from the slavery of English theorists, and justified by the law of nature was written by Samuel Seabury III (the grandson of Bishop Seabury) in 1861. In a letter to the campus community on March 31, 2021, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney expressed her apologies to the Seabury family and intent to reactivate the Committee on Named Facilities and Commemoratives, which was established in 2013, stating that there was a need for “a thorough and deliberate process for the naming (or renaming) of spaces on our campus that articulates clear and specific objectives and criteria.” In November 2022, Berger-Sweeney shared the mission statement and guiding principles decided by the Committee, including that commemorations should reflect Trinity's mission statement and tenets, and that the process should include “scholarly, fact-finding components to weigh the evidence.”
Though it was his grandson that wrote in defense of slavery, there are various primary source documents that do show proof of Bishop Seabury as slaveowner. These include Seabury's father's will, Seabury's journal Many Miles to Go Before I Sleep; a 1790 New London Census of Seabury's household listing several enslaved persons; and 1797 probate documents, particularly an inventory of Seabury's estate, which lists two enslaved people by name.
Trinity Tripod, 04/06/2021.
Trinity Reporter (Fall-Winter 2008), pp. 23-25.
Trinity College in the Twentieth Century (2000) by Peter and Anne Knapp, pp. 31-32.
Trinity College Bulletin (Catalogue) (1950), pp. 35-46.
Trinity College Bulletin (February 1905), p. 61.