Napoleonic Complex

For over a century and a half, Davidson students have ogled the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling of Philanthropic Hall, watching it play dazzling host to gatherings for debate, literary or academic honor societies. The glass fixture greedily draws eyes from all other ornamental features in the hall, and for good reason: It’s the twin sister of the chandelier under which Napoleon III was married to Eugénie de Montigi in 1853. Crafted in France, the Philanthropic chandelier was exhibited in London’s Crystal Palace before being sent to New York, where, according to college records, it was purchased on behalf of Davidson by a Mr. H. P. Helper.

Contact John Syme ’85 at with your recollections of cool campus artifacts.


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