Blue and Green Will be the Predominating Colors — Big Wallets to be Opened.
“No feature of the Yale bi-centennial has proved more exacting in arrangement and has been worked out with more detail, says the ‘New Haven Register’ than that of the general decorations. After several months’ work by the committee these are gradually assuming definite form in detail of design. Blue and green will be the colors used most extensively, blue of course, predominating. The shade of blue used will be a trifle lighter than the ordinary Yale blue, which is too dark for decorative purposes that require display.
It has been no easy matter to secure a large supply of material of uniform color. The Fall River cotton magnate, Matthew C. D. Borden, a graduate of Yale, who has always been sympathetic to Yale enterprises, has secured for the university several thousand yards of blue bunting to be used as the committee sees fit for the bi-centennial decorations. Most of this will be devoted to festooning along College street. Two of Mr. Borden’s sons were Yale graduates.
The decoration of the Yale buildings, while differing widely in detail, will be the same as far as the general scheme is concerned. This design was furnished to the committee by Lewis C. Tiffany and Grosvenor Attorbury of New York, who have shown a keen interest in the success of the celebration and have placed their services at the disposal of the committee in the construction of a design.
To begin with, every window of every Yale building will carry a Yale blue flag of the swallow-tail type, waving at a uniform angle, at a uniform level and of a uniform size, producing a gay effect which it is expected will be especially effective. The lines of the leading buildings will be brought out by the aid of rows of electric lights, hundreds in number, in orange colored globes. Large shields of the distinctive bi-centennial type, banks and wreaths of evergreens, festoons of blue bunting, very large banners of the Union Jack and national tri-color pattern, will be used for the general scheme, with such modifications in detail for particular buildings that will add to artistic effect or seem appropriate in view of the history of each of the buildings.
The decorations of the front of the campus, along the College street side, will be the most elaborate and lavish of any on the campus. From Osborn Hall on the south to Battell Chapel on the north will be stretched a continuous line of Venetian masts, each bearing a Yale streamer. The cross-pieces will be festooned with evergreen garlands and will be strung with orange lanterns.
The general effect of this decoration will be of two lines of festoons from Phelps hall, which will be the main entrance to the campus during the bi-centennial, extending to Osborn Hall on the south and Battell Chapel on the north. The electrical illumination will be concentrated at Phelps Hall, about 700 electric lights outlining the horizontal and vertical lines of the building. A Union Jack, with 45 stars on a blue background, will surmount the battlements of the building. Across its front will be stretched an emblematic shield, eight by twelve feet in dimensions, its frame work decorated with flags and streamers. The shield is of the bi-centennial design already selected. A smaller copy of it has been made by the New Haven Decorating Company for other buildings on the campus and a still smaller copy for the private residences throughout the city of those who wish decorations corresponding with those of the college buildings.
The electrical decorations are under the charge of George E. Foote of the Southern New England Telephone Company. The flags from every window of the building will complete the decoration of the building.
The general effect produced by the decoration of this building will be closely followed in that of the other buildings on the campus. Smaller gateways, minor entrances to the campus will be constructed, on the south at the new Cheney-Ives war memorial gateway, and on the north at the Miller gate. These will be of evergreen arches similar to those at the Phelps gateway.
The decorations designed for Vanderbilt Hall are to be peculiarly artistic in effect. Two long rows of electric bulbs enclosed in lanterns will be hung from the top of the building to the middle of the Vanderbilt yard.
With the exception of some distinctive mark to show its connection with the celebration, every building will be similarly decorated.
Sheffield Hall will he the most elaborately decorated of any of the scientific school buildings. The blue flags from the windows, electric bulbs displaying the lines, and background of evergreens, will transform the historic structure. Similar but less elaborate decoration will mark the biological laboratory, and other prominent buildings of the school.
In the case of the college gymnasium and Hendrie Hall, the main Law School building, the decorations will be concentrated about the bi-centennial shields on the front.
The illumination along College street will be secured by Japanese lanterns which will have been imported from Paris and which look like great oranges. These proved effective at the Paris Exposition a year ago, and at the time attracted the attention of the committee of New York artists.
In the interior of both the academic and scientific campuses will be erected a series of beacons, perhaps 15 feet in length. On the top of each will be a metal basket, containing some combustible material. These will be placed in pairs on various parts of the conspicuous feature of the illumination.
In the center of the campus will be massed strings of electric lights which will be stretched from tree to tree.
Reports of plans of residents of the city to decorate their houses and the streets with festoons and shields similar to those used on the campus are being received. The university authorities will hang blue festoons from tree to tree on College street, from Chapel street to Grove, the frontage of both the old and the new campus.
As soon as every graduate and invited guest arrives he will be given the bi-centennial badge, specially designed for the occasion. This will admit him to all the functions of bi-centennial week. The same badge will be worn by the representatives of the city government invited to take part in the celebration.
The decorations which are to be placed by the city on the Green, will closely correspond to those on the college street front of the campus. That is they will be harmonious in every respect with the campus decorations. It is peculiarly fitting that the entrance to the campus from the Green should be profusely decorated, and the fact that both branches of the common council were nearly unanimous in their wishes to decorate the Green fittingly at the time of the event is taken as a most healthy sign of the feeling of mutual rejoicing by the city at the long and honorable record of the college and as a pledge of its well wishes for the feature in the new era which has dawned for Old Yale.
A slight indication of the manner in which plans for the torchlight procession are being consummated for the bi-centennial is seen in the fact that the Edward Malley Company has already delivered a single order for 3,000 uniforms to be used in the torchlight procession at the time of the celebration.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Newspapers.com, The Hartford Daily Courant, Saturday, August 24, 1901. (top) “Decorations at Phelps Gateway. Photo by Corbin.” Image courtesy of the HathiTrust Digital Library, Princeton University, Yale Alumni Weekly, “The bicentennial: issue of commemoration. An illustrated account of the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of Yale … October [20-23] 1901,” Yale University, 1902