Main Navigation

And The Answer Is...

Trivia - Out of Bounds Dormitory

When and why did Rectory acquire Out of Bounds (OOB) dormitory?

Who chose the building’s name, and why the name of OOB? 

What is co-founder Mabel (Mother) Bigelow’s connection to OOB?

In 1957, Rectory was in the process of constructing the (now torn-down) Mabel Brittain Bigelow (MBB) dormitory. Mabel, co-founder of Rectory School with her husband, Frank, then was a widow and had been invited by the trustees to “make her home at the school, [and] it was planned that she would occupy a suite in the new dormitory, which [had] been named in her honor. However, it became apparent early in the summer that the new building [MBB] would not be ready before the beginning of the Winter Term in January [1958]. Also, it was quite evident that all the boys, some eight more than were here last year having been added to the enrolment in anticipation of their going into the Mabel B. Bigelow Dormitory, could not be housed in the existing quarters for students.”

Fortunately, a large, private home, on the opposite side of Pomfret Street from the school but within 300 yards of Rectory’s north gate, was for sale. “Conscious of the need for swift action, the trustees did not hesitate to vote that the house [OOB] be purchased at once [1957].” However, the school could not take possession until the middle of August, necessitating a miracle to get the place painted, repaired, and furnished before the opening of school. In addition, landscaping the surrounding area took the “Herculean efforts of [Building Supervisor] Francis Foley and his fellow workers” because brush and vines, including the “too-well-known noxious plant, poison ivy,” had been allowed to grow freely.

At the time, eighth-grade student, Nick Battles, described the house as having “four bedrooms…which are being inhabited by three little beings apiece. Three boys live downstairs and the rest live on the second floor. Mrs. Frank Bigelow also lives in Out-of-Bounds and has her room on the first floor….Mrs. Thwing and Mrs. Bigelow serve us tea about three times a week. Because the house has so few boys, we have quite a few parties. We have a good time.”

Headmaster John Bigelow’s wife, “’Mrs. John’ is due the credit for naming this addition to the Rectory plant ‘Out of Bounds,’ an apt appellation, since [OOB] lies well outside the campus limits. Moreover, it was she who directed its furnishing, making it a most attractive place to live for ‘Mother Bigelow’, Mrs. Thwing, Mr. Rhind, Mr. Wright and the twelve boys in their charge.”


When and why did Rectory acquire OOB?

1957. Rectory needed additional residential space because the under-construction Mabel B. Bigelow Dormitory would not be ready for occupation at the start of the school year.

Who named this building OOB?

Headmaster John Bigelow’s wife, Doris Bigelow.

Why was the building named OOB?

The building lay outside of the campus’ north boundary.

What is co-founder Mabel (Mother) Bigelow’s connection to OOB?

Mother Bigelow resided in OOB since her soon-to-be living quarters were in the not-yet-completed Mabel B. Bigelow Dormitory.

Information from The Rectory News, November 30, 1957

Image: Out of Bounds, Rectory Archives

  • Bell Tower Bulletin

Campus Location:

Deal House

Contact Information:

Lisa Levesque, Centennial Coordinator

Rectory School Centennial
528 Pomfret Street
P.O. Box 68
Pomfret, CT 06258