Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Glutton's 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.

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.

Ask for Realia 79 to make yourself feel a little lighter after your holiday feast.