Currier House opened in September 1970, and is named for Audrey Bruce Currier '56, who was killed along with her husband in a plane crash in 1967. Its four towers are named for distinguished Radcliffe alumnae: Mabel Daniels '00, a composer and musician, Mary Caperton Bingham, a noted newspaperwoman and civic leader, Helen Homans Gilbert '36, former chair of the Board of Trustees of Radcliffe, and Barbara Wertheim Tuchman '33, the Pulitzer Prize winning author.
The first Master of Currier House was Jerome S. Bruner, Professor of Psychology. Ursula and Paul Levine, both biologists, became Co-Masters in 1971. Barbara Rosenkrantz, a professor in the History of Science Department, and her husband Paul took over in 1974. Next came Howard Frazier, Professor of Medicine, and his wife Lenore in 1979. They were succeeded in 1981 by Dudley Herschbach, the Baird Professor of Science, and his wife Dr. Georgene Herschbach, who is Associate Dean of Harvard College. In 1986 Gregory Nagy, the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature, and his wife Olga Davidson, lecturer in Brandeis' Humanities Program, were appointed. In 1991, William Graham, the Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Dean of the Harvard Divinity School, and Dr. Barbara Graham, the Associate Director of the University Library followed at Co-Masters. In 2003 Joseph Badaracco and Patricia O'Brien were appointed as Currier Co-Masters. Joe is the Shad Professor of Business Ethics at Harvard Business School and Pat is the Deputy Dean of Harvard College.
The Currier House arms comprise a red shield, emblazoned with an apple tree surrounded by a bench, all in gold. Above the tree is a black bar, or barrulet, with scalloped edges trimmed with white borders. The red field represents Harvard, the gold tree is the logo that Currier has used since its opening in 1971, and the black bar is taken (like Adam's rib) from the two diagonal stripes of the Radcliffe arms. The tree in fact represents the "Radcliffe apple tree," used as a symbol in the fund drive to complete the construction of Currier House. The narrow white borders are required by a heraldic convention but also refer to the white chevron originally proposed for the Harvard College arms. The combination of Harvard and Radcliffe symbols on the House arms serves as a reminder of Radcliffe's historical role in promoting the education of women at Harvard. The design refers indirectly to the Currier family. The family does not have ancestral arms, but the name, of French origin, denotes artisans who performed the second operation in preparing leather for tanning, that of scraping off the hair. A hide was laid over a rounded log and scraped with a highly curved knife, whose sharp edge was on the inside. At either end of the blade were wooden handles. Such "Currier knives" are suggested by the scallops induced in the horizontal black Radcliffe barrulet. The black barrulet indicates the important place that black and other minority students have had in education at Radcliffe and Harvard. The seven scallops recall the diatonic scale and thereby the strong interest in music and other arts in Currier House. A merely implied reference to the preparation of hides was chosen, in place of a representation of actual knives, to suggest that education is a sort of scraping and tanning of the students to make them more supple and useful for life.