Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Glutton's Spoon

A wooden spoon.Dartmouth has its share of quirky traditions. One of the oddest involved a giant wooden spoon. Each fall, usually in October or November, the Junior Class would assemble and a series of "honors" would be bestowed on class members. Among the awards was a giant wooden spoon given annually to the "heaviest eater of the Junior Class." The tradition appears to have started sometime before 1871 and continued up to 1906.

The broken-off bowl of a spoon featuring a painting of a man from behind.We have two of the spoons in our collections. One has been painted and shows a student departing from the college with suitcases in hand, above reads, "Thru Dartmouth's Classic Hall I Strayed." The other was presented to Randolph McNutt, Class of 1871. McNutt appeared to have stayed fit despite his hearty appetite, but he did become a fat cat in the business world, amassing a fortune as a distributor of school furnishings and through real estate dealings. He bequeathed $500,000 to Dartmouth in 1927, and two years later, Tuck Hall was renovated and renamed McNutt Hall in his honor.

A printed page reading "Class of '85 Junior Honors November 27, 1883."
Ask for Realia 79 to make yourself feel a little lighter after your holiday feast.