The people and places of Dickinson College

Drayer Dining Hall in 1952

 Photograph courtesy of Dickinson College Archives

The photograph above shows the dining room in Drayer Hall, the first all women's dormitory built on the main campus in 1952, where College women ate three meals a day.  For ten years from 1952, the tradition there was to have a family style meal where everyone would arrive at the same time and everyone would leave at the same time.  A waiter would be assigned to each table.  In 1962, the meal plan was changed to cafeteria style for lunch and breakfast, and family style for dinner.  The waiters in the picture are students.  It can thus be assumed that  lunch or dinner is pictured here because every girl is wearing a skirt.  The dress code for the Drayer Dining Hall is as follows:  For Breakfast and Saturday lunch, a girl could wear either a skirt, bermuda shorts, or slacks.  For Lunch and Dinner skirts would be worn.  For Sunday night Dinner, skirts, nylons, and heels were required to be worn.
In the period of growth following World War II, Dickinson College wanted to increase the number of women enrolled in the college, and as a result, decided to build an all women's dormitory to replace the inconvenient and outdated Metzger Hall and thereby attract more women students.  Built on the Moore side of the campus, it housed 125 students.  The building was equipped with a main lounge for formal entertainment and smaller, informal lounges on each floor for the students' study and leisure.  Drayer also contained an infirmary, two apartments for the House Directors, a laundry and pressing room on each floor, and a self serving elevator.1

 Drayer Hall

 A Room In Drayer Hall

The Drayer Dining Hall had its own kitchen where food was prepared exclusively for Drayer dining.  The kitchen facilities were equipped to serve a maximum of three hundred people, but the Dining Hall could only hold two hundred people at one time.   Dickinson College owned the food system but it was run by the Slater Food system.  A food director was responsible for the service and a purchasing agent was in charge of securing the food.  Food was shipped to the school on a weekly basis.2
The Drayer Dining Hall, the Morgan Dining Hall, and the Metzger Dining Hall were all discontinued and renovated with the introduction of the Holland Union Building in 1964.  The Dining Hall was moved to the HUB so both the student body and food service could be more unified.  The HUB Dining Hall could seat a thousand people and the location was more centralized for everyone. 3 In 1965, the Drayer Dining Hall was converted into more dormitory rooms and the College Health center.4 Now, Drayer still rests in the same place, but, with this convered space where once the women of Dickinson dined together, it can house a maximum of 181 students.

Beth McGuiness

 1). Sellers, Charles Coleman. Dickinson College: A History. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1973, p. 590.
 2). Treasurer Files on Drayer Hall, Box 23, #4 and 5, Dickinson College Archives.
 3). Treasurer Files on The Holland Union Building, Dickinson College Archives.
 4). Sellers, p. 596.