The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Mary Bartron Henderson House

Financing of a co-operative dormitory for women, "modeled somewhat on Page  1723the lines of … Alumnae House" was adopted as its major Alumni Ten-Year Program project by the Alumnae Council on October 16, 1937.

It was proposed that the new dormitory be named the Mary Bartron Henderson Memorial House in memory of Mary Bartron Henderson, director of the campaign committee which made possible the erection and opening years of management of the Michigan League, and for many years a leader in alumnae circles (see Part VIII: The Michigan League).

Before her death Mrs. Henderson had made a special investigation of the possibility of additional co-operative housing for women, where through cooperative effort and self-help, the student's living costs could be reduced to a minimum. Her work in this field as well as her outstanding contribution toward the erection of the Michigan League prompted the naming of the new residence for her.

In January, 1938, the Regents approved and enacted the following request signed by Mrs. Lucile B. Conger, Executive Director of the Alumnae Council:

At the October meeting of the Alumnae Council it was unanimously voted to raise funds for the building of a co-operative house for women students… to be a memorial to Mrs. Mary B. Henderson. The Council therefore requests of the Regents permission to open with the University treasurer an account which shall be known as the Henderson Memorial Fund, and in which shall be deposited all gifts sent to the Council for this purpose.


(R.P., 1936-39, p. 435.)

By 1945 the alumnae had accumulated the sum of $45,880, invested in bonds. It had been intended originally that the project would provide for the construction of a new building. In 1944-45, however, as the alumnae and the University continued to plan for the residence, it was realized that increasing building costs made it advisable to buy a well-constructed house which would lend itself advantageously to remodeling on a functional basis. Accordingly, upon the recommendation of the Council, the former home of Dean G. Carl Huber at the corner of Hill Street and Olivia Avenue was purchased.

The site originally selected and approved by the Regents was adjacent to Mosher-Jordan Halls to the north. Under the revised University plans for the immediate construction of new housing units, however, it was decided to use this land for the new women's residence hall. When the Regents designated this site for the dormitory they agreed to provide the alumnae with another site for the Mary Bartron Henderson House. As a result the University participated in the purchase to the extent of $12,500. The total price paid for house and lot amounted to $27,500.

The expansion contemplated could not be accomplished at the time the house was bought, but in order to assist the University in the housing shortage, Henderson House was opened on a temporary basis in the fall of 1945, with fifteen girls instead of the expected twenty-five. A house director was also in residence. Slight remodeling took place at the time the house was acquired.

In 1946 the architectural firm of Colvin and Heller of Ann Arbor was employed to draw up plans for remodeling the house, and $600 was paid for its work. The first plans were not carried out, and in 1950 a new contract with the firm, then changed to Colvin and Robinson, was entered into. The R. E. Davis Construction Company, of Ann Arbor, was awarded the construction contract in the amount of $72,810. The remodeling provided a suite on the first floor for the director. Alterations on the second floor, and an addition to the third floor resulted in space for twenty-nine girls in fourteen rooms. The kitchen and the Page  1724dining area on the first floor were modernized and enlarged.

When Mary Markley House was closed in 1950, in addition to contributing $20,000 to the remodeling fund, Mary Markley House gave furniture, dishes, silverware, linens, and books from the Mary Markley library for the future Alice Crocker Lloyd Library. The alumnae of the University in 1950 established a goal of $10,000 to provide funds for a library and study-room addition to Henderson House in memory of Alice Crocker Lloyd.

In December, 1953, the Regents, on the recommendation of the Board of Governors of Mary Bartron Henderson Memorial House, changed the name to Mary Bartron Henderson House.