The history of the buildings comprising what is now known as the Schroeder Complex and Cramer Hall is a complicated one. The northern and northwestern portions of the complex were constructed in 1922 to house Marquette’s School of Dentistry, facing 16th Street. A 1922 bequest by Harriet Cramer allowed for the 1931-1932 construction of the portions of the complex that face 15th Street, built to house Marquette’s School of Medicine, previously located at 4th and Reservoir. The two buildings were connected at the northeast corner of the complex. In 1954, Marquette dedicated a new wing added to the southwest corner of the complex, facing 16th Street and attaching to the School of Medicine along the south side. This portion of the complex was funded in part through a gift of former Medical School Dean Eben J. Carey, and his wife, Helene, to allow for the construction of a new and better medical library. A final phase of construction in the late 1950s expanded the Dental School building southward, joining it to the Medical School addition and creating one conjoined facade along 16th Street.
When Marquette’s affiliation with the Medical School came to an end, considerable space opened up in the building. A grant from the Schroeder Foundation allowed for the preservation and extensive renovation of the building that had served as the Medical School’s home. Renamed in honor of Walter Schroeder at a dedication ceremony in 1981, the building brought together under one roof the Department of Psychology, programs in Medical Technology and Physical Therapy, clinics supervised by these academic areas, the Student Health Service, and the School of Education. It also converted the former medical school library into a Science Library to help relieve space problems in Memorial Library.
In 2002 the School of Dentistry moved to a new building on Wisconsin Avenue, again opening portions of the facility up to new uses. The northern and northwestern portions of the building were designated as Schroeder Complex North at that time. The renovated hall was renamed in honor of Harriet Cramer in 2005.
Named for Harriet Laura (Barker) Cramer (1848-1922), a Milwaukee philanthropist and art patron, who left a $1 million bequest to Marquette upon her death in 1922. Cramer worked as a typesetter for the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin newspaper and married its founder, William E. Cramer, succeding her husband as editor and publisher after his death in 1905. Cramer’s donation allowed construction of a building to housed Marquette’s School of Medicine.
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