Entry. Access to Jonathan Edwards is from either York or High Streets. If entering from York, you will pass through the Jonathan Edwards gates into the college courtyard, turning left and following the walkway into the building. Once inside, turn right and enter the JE common room, and then walk through the dining hall entrance on its left wall.
Jonathan Edwards boasts an Elizabethan banquet hall with a high, timbered truss ceiling, an alcove entrance topped with Victorian fretwork and oak-paneled walls that continue the fretwork motif; its two large fireplaces are the only working ones among the residential colleges. Elsewhere in the college is Edward’s tomb and a Senior Common Room that houses portraits and mementos of Edwards and his wife. (Edwards, a 1720 alumnus and child prodigy, was admitted to Yale at the age of 13 and went on to become one of the most celebrated theologians of his era.)
History and Traditions. Jonathan Edwards is one of the smallest of Yale’s residential colleges and one of the first constructed in 1932 when the Residential College System was adopted. Its longstanding traditions include the annual Spider Ball, a formal affair; the “Great Awakening” courtyard picnic (which recalls the religious revival Jonathan Edwards inspired); and an annual water fight in the spring.
“We ate here.” Well-known Jonathan Edwards alumni include McGeorge Bundy, national security advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Lewis Lapham, the noted editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine; U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; and Anne Wojcicki, founder of the DNA-analysis startup company “23 and Me.”