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Buildings History

Harriet Mardre Wainwright Music Building

The Harriet Mardre Wainwright Music Building is a two-story brick building containing teaching studios, practice rooms, classrooms, and offices. The Clara Carswell Concert Hall  is a 175-seat venue used for recitals and performances by the music, theater, and art departments. In addition, the Concert Hall is used by the general public for performances. 


Before the Wainwright music building was built, the site was occupied by a small building known as the “Old Log Hut.” Created in 1942 and paid for by students and alumnae, the “The Hut” was used by students, staff and alumnae for music programs, meetings, and casual social occasions  - and finally as a coffee house. But with an increasing student population and growth in music department, the trustees began to plan the construction of a new music building to tie-in with renovations to the 1949 Jones Hall.

Harriet Mardre Wainwright (1910-1973), a member of the Class of 1932, had expressed in her will the desire to “provide a means through which those seeking knowledge could benefit.” Irving Hudgins Wainwright, who shared his late wife’s belief in independent colleges, helped fulfill her wishes with his contribution to the building fund. With a design in place by architect F. Carter Williams, groundbreaking took place in 1975. When dedicated on Founders’ Day, February 25, 1977, the 21,000 square foot building boasted 22 teaching studios, 8 practice rooms, 3 classrooms and a music library.

Clara Horn Carswell (1892-1986), a Board of Trustees member who had done graduate work in music studies at Meredith, initiated the fund-raising for the new music building with her financial contribution of $100k. In recognition of this gift and her work on behalf of Meredith College, the 175-seat Clara Carswell Concert Hall within the Wainwright Music Building was dedicated on January 21, 1977. Mrs. Carswell and her late husband had also made generous donations to Wake Forest University, Guy T. Carswell’s alma mater. 


Illustration of an aerial view of the Meredith College campus in 1972. 'The Hut' is visible in the lower right corner. This will be the location of the Wainwright Building.

Illustration of the Meredith College campus, 1972.

On this 1972 campus map, "The Hut" is visible in the lower right corner near Jones Auditorium. This would become the location of the Wainwright Building. 

Exterior view of 'the Hut,' a log-cabin style, rustic, L-shaped building with a chimney.

Exterior of "the Hut" on the future site of Wainwright Music Building.

Students, staff, alumnae and guests used 'The Hut' for casual interactions, programs and meetings. People in this photo sing around a piano in a corner of 'The Hut.' The log walls and decorations reflect the relaxed nature and use of the building.

Interior of "the Hut."

Students, staff, alumnae and guests used "The Hut" for casual programs and meetings. The log walls and decorations reflect the relaxed nature and use of the building.

Photograph of senior Harriet Mardre as she appeared in the 1932 Oak Leaves yearbook.

Harriet Frances Mardre Wainwright (1910 -1973)

Harriet Frances Mardre graduated with the Class of 1932 with an A.B. degree. She later served as a trustee for her Alma Mater. Her husband wished to honor her with his donation toward the Wainwright Music Building.

Photograph of Irving Hudgins Wainwright, widower of Harriet Madre Wainwright.

Irving Hudgins Wainwright

Mr. Wainwright shared his late wife's belief in supporting independent colleges. 

Illustration of the proposed music building's design by architect F. Carter Williams.

Design for Wainwright Building, circa 1975

Building design by F. Carter Williams, Architect (Raleigh, N.C.)

President Weems introduces Mrs. Carswell to the attendees of the dedication ceremony and concert..

Clara Horn Carswell (1892-1986)

In this photo from the student newspaper, The Twig, Clara Horn Carswell is introduced by President Weems' at Carswell Hall's dedication and first concert on January 21, 1977. 

Music Library in Wainwright

Music Library in Wainwright

The Music Library is now located in Carlyle Campbell Library.

Carswell Concert Hall is the 175-seat performance space within Wainwright Hall

Carswell Hall

Carswell Concert Hall, the 175-seat recital area within Wainwright, serves as the performance home for Meredith College's music students.

A violin instructor and her student in a classroom in Wainwright.

Violin instruction, 1990

Anthony Vaglio, Jr., instructs several students seated at electric keyboards.

Keyboard and theory instruction, 1999

Anthony Vaglio, Jr., instructs several students seated at electric keyboards. 

Exterior view of the music building in 2017

Wainwright. 2017