Located on the south side of the campus, Peet Hall is a five-story building. It offers double rooms along a corridor with community bathrooms on each floor. All rooms are carpeted and equipped with heating and air-conditioning units, beds, dressers, desks, chairs, closets, and Venetian blinds. Each floor has a TV and study lounge area. Peet Hall houses a mixture of 188 undergraduate students.
Date of dedication: November 26, 1957
Number of floors: 5 plus basement
History of the building: Designed to be a women's dormitory; became co-ed in 1980.
Size of the building: 50,721 square feet
Unique features: Large outdoor terrace at basement level.
Named for Dr. Elizabeth Peet (1874-1962)
Born in New York City on March 26, 1874 to a deaf mother and a father who was a deaf educator, Dr. Peet grew up in deaf culture. Her grandfather, Dr. Harvey Prindel Peet, LLD, Ph.D., and her father, Dr. Isaac Lewis Peet, LLD, were principals at the New York School for the Deaf - the son succeeding the father. Amos Kendall, in pursuit of an instructor for the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, offered Dr. Isaac Peet a teaching job, but he turned it down and instead recommended Edward Miner Gallaudet, who eventually became Gallaudet's first president.
Privately tutored by her father, Elizabeth Peet was a scholar. After completing secondary school, she decided to take the Harvard entrance examinations, although she knew she was not interested in attending Harvard. She knew that if she passed the examination, she would be accepted at any university in the nation. She hoped to attend Bryn Mawr or Vassar, and she passed the Harvard examinations, but her father had just retired, and she wanted to stay with him. Dr. Isaac Peet died in 1889, and her mother followed two years later. Elizabeth Peet began her career without a college degree. First she taught at Rhode Island School for the Deaf and was recruited to teach at Kendall School and Gallaudet College.
She came to Gallaudet in 1900. While teaching, she worked on her B.A. degree at George Washington University, completing it in 1918. After that, she received three honorary degrees: master of arts from Gallaudet in 1923, doctor of pedagogy from George Washington University in 1937, and doctor of humane letters from Gallaudet in 1950. Dr. Peet also received a special certificate from the Sorbonne in Paris, France.
At Gallaudet, Peet taught Latin, English, French, Spanish, and a few other subjects. In the Normal Training Department, she taught sign language. She became dean of women in 1910. Students labeled her as a strict teacher, a mother, a nurse, and a kindly guidance counselor. All in all, she was a "Kendall Green Mother."
Once Dr. Peet amazed her students by accepting a challenge to a swimming race. She was a powerful swimmer and could do stunts in the water that would "make a fish green with envy." She had grown up with an older brother who would take her to the river with his pack of favorite hunting dogs and throw her in the water with them, forcing her to become an expert swimmer.
Dr. Peet retired in 1951 after having served under three presidents: Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet, Dr. Percival Hall, and Dr. Leonard Elstad. Outside of Gallaudet, she was a well-known figure in Washington social life. Her community contributions were great. She participated in the following organizations: American Association of Deans of Women, American Association of University Women, Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, Columbia Women of George Washington University, Daughters of the American Revolution, League of Republican Women, Phi Kappa Zeta, Women's Board of George Washington Hospital, and Zonta Club. She was a staunch member of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Recognition of her labors came in various ways - she received a Davis Prize in Speaking, was named dean of women, received several honorary degrees, and, finally, had the honor of a dormitory being named after her.