It is the Friday of Homecoming weekend, known locally as Dartmouth Night. There are plenty of alumni around (in fact members of the Class of 1957 are assembled in one of our classrooms as I write hearing a presentation by the College Archivist), and the bonfire will be set ablaze in a few hours. Before the Dartmouth diaspora could follow the events on social media, those unable to come to campus would often send telegrams to be read out to the crowd.
We have a batch of over one hundred telegrams from 1955-1959. The Dartmouth Club of New Jersey sounded like cold warriors by congratulating Dartmouth for its "exemplary leadership among liberal arts colleges in a free world." While in western Oklahoma the focus was on beating Harvard the next day. In Omaha, the mood was far more serious:
"We join with Dartmouth men everywhere to reaffirm our common faiths and beliefs in the principles that have mad Dartmouth the greatest of all liberal arts colleges. All Dartmouth men are entrusted with many heritages and traditions, as well as responsibilities and privileges. We are counting on you to learn well, and apply yourself diligently, that you may add to, perpetuate, and honor the glory that is Dartmouth's. God be with you tonight, tomorrow, and always."
A handful of students who happened to be in Leningrad that evening on a university exchange program chose a simple, "Vodka toast to team for victorious year."