Ghosts of Dorm Rooms Past
by Alison Leigh Cowan
"The most detailed reports came from people associated with Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania.
Lauren F. Friedman described her freshman-year dorm in Pembroke West as once having belonged to Katharine Hepburn. It was “a huge jealousy-inducing double, with lovely details and large fireplace,’’ Ms. Friedman wrote. She dimly recalled the number on the door as 103; other alumnae remembered its being 102.
“Having that random connection made her seem more real to me, less like an utterly untouchable movie star,’’ Ms. Friedman continued. “At 18, I had no idea where I was headed, but maybe Katharine Hepburn hadn’t known, either, and she sure turned out O.K. There was small comfort in that.”
Luann Wilkins Abrahams noted that the actress “actually had two rooms at Bryn Mawr.”
“Her freshman year was spent in Pembroke West,” Ms. Abrahams said, “but she moved to the Tower Room on the second floor of Pembroke East for the rest of her time at Bryn Mawr. It was room number 34B until the dorm was renovated and the rooms renumbered in the mid-1990s. I had this room my senior year. A friend who had the room two years prior wrote to Ms. Hepburn” to “ask if the campus folklore was true.”
“Ms. Hepburn responded,” Ms. Abrahams continued, “with a note confirming that it was indeed her room and that she remembered it fondly. The room had a small balcony overlooking Thomas Hall and she was able to climb in and out of her window bypassing the matron at the front desk, when she wanted to sneak out after curfew.”