In the late 1920s Yale University placed orders with the Skinner Organ Company for three instruments. The largest of these was Opus 722, a rebuilding and enlargement of the concert organ in Woolsey Hall. Two smaller three-manual instruments for campus chapels were ordered as well. Opus 852 and Opus 866 (both built in 1931) were placed in Dwight and Marquand chapels respectively. The Dwight Chapel organ was removed in 1971 in favor of a large three-manual organ by Rudolf von Beckerath of Germany, but the Marquand Chapel organ survives to this day.
Most of Opus 866 is located in a chamber on the south side of the chancel, with the pipes of the Pedal Contrebasse in a smaller chamber on the north side of the chancel. Due to height restrictions, many of the larger pipes of the Contrebasse are placed horizontally in the north chamber. The Swell Organ is placed above the Choir Organ, with the Great Organ located between the two and in front of them. A Pedal Bourdon is located to one side of the Swell Organ, and is playable at 16’ and 8’ pitch.
In 1986 the organ was removed from its chamber and completely rebuilt. Every pipe was washed, repaired and regulated for correct speech. All of the mechanism in the console and chambers was thoroughly rebuilt with new materials to replace the materials which perished since the organ was first built. No changes in the technological or musical qualities of the organ were carried out; we hear the organ today exactly as it was conceived by its builder. Opus 866 survives to testify to the ideals of the Skinner Organ Company.