Alumnae Bulletin May 2008


Bryn Mawr's Bestiary


This gryphon is one of the Cloister's 40 animal gargoyles carved from limestone by Scots guildsman Alec Miller in 1910. (They are not properly "gargoyles" but "chimerae," grotesque, non-waterspout figures.) The designs, approved by M. Carey Thomas, were based on carvings at the Oxford colleges of Merton, Wadham and New, the Church of Saint Mary and the Bodleian Library. Thomas wanted a few gargoyles in place by May Day and for Commencement, which was to be held in the Cloisters, with an address by U.S. President Taft to celebrate the College's 25th anniversary. In the spring of 1910, Miller set to work making the scale models in clay of each gargoyle, which he and Thomas placed on the building in various locations, together deciding the best spot for each. Photo by Jim Roese. See the 2001 Special Collections exhibit online: