Friday, March 18, 2011

Get Katy to the Nunnery!

We are introduced to the town of Hillsover and Arrowmouth College in What Katy Did at School, by Sarah Woolsey, first published in 1873. Katy’s school was based on the Select Family School for Young Ladies in Hanover, which the author had attended sometime prior to her family’s move from Cleveland to New Haven in 1855.

Mrs. Peabody, widow of Dartmouth Professor David Peabody, ran the school until 1850, and Mrs. Hubbard, wife of Dartmouth Professor Oliver Payson Hubbard, continued on from 1852 until 1865. As shown in this brochure from 1861, annual tuition, room and board was listed at $250, while the same expenses at the College averaged $165 that year. The school operated in a house on the current site of Rauner Library until the Hubbards moved the institution into their own house on North Main Street.
“What’s the name of the school?” asked Katy. Her voice sounded a good deal like a sob.

“The girls call it ‘The Nunnery.’ It is at Hillsover, on the Connecticut River, pretty far north. And the winters are pretty cold, I fancy; but the air is sure to be good and bracing.  That is one thing which has inclined me to the plan. The climate is just what you need.”

“Hillsover? Isn’t there a college there, too?”

“Yes: Arrowmouth College.”
Although the descriptions are more colorful in Ms. Woolsey’s novel, town and college publications mention the distracting influence a school for young ladies had on an all male campus. John Scales writes in his sketches of the Dartmouth Class of 1863:
“The chief interest of the students in general centered on the 'Nuns' when they marched out in procession, under guard, on pleasant afternoons to get an 'airing,' and in church on Sundays.”
And John King Lord in his History of the Town of Hanover, 1929, claims that the young ladies “furnished a center of attraction and a subject of conversation of more general interest than any since enjoyed, not even excepting the athletics of modern days.”

Ask for DC History PZ 7.W887 Wha to read Katy's story.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wearers of the Green

That would be Dartmouth Green not Irish Green, despite the time of year.  Why Green and how was it chosen? It's a question that has been asked often over the years, and, nearly as often, has elicited a different answer.

The class of 1866 claims that they were the ones who came up with the idea of a school color and were also responsible for choosing the color green. J. E. Johnson '66, wrote a short discourse in the Bema (a student magazine) in 1917, where he made the claim on the part of his class. According to Johnson, Harvard started the idea of school colors and "passed the buck Dartmouth." A committee of the senior class (the Class of 1866) was appointed to determine a color, but they could not decide. So, they asked the two "best known and best loved young women in town": Sally Smith and Kate Sanborn, the daughter of the president and a professor respectively. The two women decided promptly on green "as being the handsomest of all colors."

Green with envy the Class of 1867 refutes this saccharin story. According to an article by Professor Bartlett published in the Dartmouth Bi-Monthly, William Ketcham, '67, claims the idea of a school color was brought to Dartmouth's attention by Amherst College. He says that Amherst came up in 1866 to teach the Dartmouth men the new game of baseball and arrived flying the College colors (purple in Amherst's case). Not having a color rankled the Dartmouth team. "Sixty-six did nothing about it, however, and it was not until '67 came to the front as the senior class that anything was done."

Frederick G. Mather, also '67, supports Ketcham's claim that it was their class who chose the color, but he has a different story about how it came about.  Mather points to their classmate Alfred A. Thomas as the "originator, promoter and executor of the idea." He claims, and a Dartmouth article from the time period bears out, that Thomas attended a regatta in 1866 where Harvard and Yale turned out with school colors (crimson and blue), but Dartmouth had no color.

None of the '67s cast much light on why they chose the color green, though there is a claim that it was the only "primary" color left (we aren't exactly sure what they considered "primary," we learned it was red, yellow, and blue in our primary school). There was no talk of symbolism or meaning behind the choice.

There is less disagreement over the shade of green. And here we have evidence to turn to. In Rauner's collection is a framed ribbon that is claimed to be the original green selected at the mass meeting in (sic) the fall 1866.

So on March 17th you can wear your green whether it is for St. Patrick's Day or because you are a Dartmouth student or alum, or both.

Ask for: Vertical File: Dartmouth Green (color); and Realia 179, The Dartmouth College Color