Yale College Senior Wins Inaugural Hegel Prize for Essay on New Haven Life

Yale College senior Gabrielle Brainard, Class of 2001, will receive the Yale Club of New Haven's first-ever Richard Hegel Prize for her senior essay that focuses on life in New Haven from 1870 to 1979 at an awards ceremony on May 14 at noon in the President's Room, Woolsey Hall, corner of Grove and College streets.

Yale College senior Gabrielle Brainard, Class of 2001, will receive the Yale Club of New Haven’s first-ever Richard Hegel Prize for her senior essay that focuses on life in New Haven from 1870 to 1979 at an awards ceremony on May 14 at noon in the President’s Room, Woolsey Hall, corner of Grove and College streets.

Brainard, a Morse senior, was selected by a team of faculty judges from among 12 entries for her essay titled “Party Walls: Understanding Urban Change through a Block of New Haven Row Houses, 1870-1979.” Her essay focuses on the Court Street area between Olive and Academy streets in New Haven over 109 years. Linda Koch Lorimer, University secretary and vice president, will present Brainard with the award during the Yale Club’s annual meeting.

“It’s a wonderful way for the Yale Club to celebrate the bond between New Haven and Yale in its Tercentennial Year,” said Melanie Ginter, of the Yale Club. “Gabrielle’s essay is an ideal way for people to see the changes New Haven has undergone through two centuries. The Yale Club is pleased to honor her with the inaugural prize.”

The $500 prize is named after Richard Hegel, Class of 1950 (Engineering), the municipal historian for the city of New Haven, who has arranged to have Brainard’s work published in the Journal of the New Haven Colony Historical Society.

“In her writing, ‘Party Walls,’ Gabrielle Brainard has created a significant part of New Haven historical writing,” said Hegel. “She has placed a sociological history of the Court Street area into the physical setting, where the buildings have essentially remained the same while she traced the human elements within these buildings and the difficulties they went through.”

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