Posts Tagged ‘From the Archives’


Far out, man!

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

As anyone who has had experience with archives knows, you can find wonderful things buried  in the files.  One of our student workers came across this fabulous artifact (four of them, in fact), while organizing the personal papers of the late J. Fred Pfeil, donated to the archives by his family.  Dr. Pfeil was a beloved English professor at Trinity from 1985 until his untimely death in 2005. 

The student was thrilled to discover four tickets to the second “day of peace and music” at Woodstock.  Fred would have been 19 when he attended (his birthday was September 21, so he was almost 20), and this would have been just before his sophomore year at Amherst College.

Peace be with you, Fred–many here still miss you.



This week at Trinity, 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

[Contextual note:  This article argues against the “personal” tax (income tax).  In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations.]

December 13, 1910

“Lawson Purdy on Taxation; Prominent Alumnus Argues Against Personal Tax”

“In a recent address before the Albany Historical Society, Lawson Purdy, ’84, president of the New York City Commission of Taxes and Assessments, made a strong plea for the abolition of the personal tax.  Mr Purdy has made a special study of taxation for many years and is considered an expert on the subject.  He argues that because personal property cannot be taxed equitably and by the same method as real estate, the tax on it should be removed.  He has advocated several bills before the legislature which would wipe out all such taxes.  Mr. Purdy claims further that special taxes have withdrawn certain forms of personal property from general taxation.  He offers the following remedies: In that assessors are hampered by the fact that no deeds contain the true consideration for the conveyance of real estate unless they are made by executors and trustees, the law should provide that the true consideration for the transfer of real estate should be stated.  He argues that assessors should be appointed and not elected.  The men who do the actual work should be appointed under civil service rules, which would protect them from dismissal except for cause.  Mr. Purdy says also that the simplest way to deal with the remnant of personal property, now subject to the general property tax, is to abolish the tax.  The loss of the revenue would be more than made good by the increased value of real estate due to the relief from the danger inherent in the system of personal property.  Mr. Purdy’s views were quoted also in the American Magazine for December.  He is president of the Trinity Alumni Association.



This week at Trinity, 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

December 9, 1910

“College Trained Journalists”  (From the Charleston News and Courier).

One or two newspapers have aroused some discussion by asserting that the college-trained men whom they have tried on their staffs have never been even moderately successful, from which it is argued that schools of journalism are worse than useless.  There was a time when medical schools were laughed at.  It was assumed that young men could only be properly trained in doctor’s offices, whereas, as a matter of fact, these were the very places where they received the poorest kind of training.  So also in the legal profession law schools were ridiculed.  Medical and law schools are modern things, and it has not been many years since they were objects of suspicion.  In fact, only when their early students became the older members of the profession did this suspicion die out.

It is manifestly absurd to assume that a man will be ruined for journalism if he is taught journalism as a profession, and it is just as ridiculous to assert that the student will not be greatly benefited by such training, assuming of course that the school which he attends is a food one.  In journalism as in anything else some aptitude for the work is required.  Some men cannot write and never will know how to write.  Others have no power of observation or are woefully deficient in the ability to condense or to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

One great trouble with journalism today is that there are not enough college -bred men in it.  If the press is to influence or make public opinion, evidently the press should itself be controlled by men who have been taught how to think clearly and well, who know the English language, who are acquainted with history and the arts, and who are thoroughly educated in a general way.  Yet the greatest journalists will still be born, not made, no matter how many schools of journalism there are.  The great mass of workers can be trained for their work, but even training cannot make great journalists.  They, like great men in every profession, are born, taking due pains after birth of course to make themselves ready for their life-work.

BEST AD:  Fatima Cigarettes:  “Astronomy:  In the history of cigarettes, Fatimas are stars of first magnitude, brightening the horizon of the college boys’ life . . . and the fellows appreciate their individuality.  Like a meteor they’ve moved rapidly into favor and like the sun they shine above all others.”



This week at Trinity, 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

November 22, 1910


“To the Editor of the Tripod:  Permit me to take exception, both personally and as representing a large class of undergraduates, to your editorial in last Friday’s issue.  You complain that the Library is overcrowded with desultory readers, and that the serious work of others is thereby hampered. 

Dr. Luther, in a talk to the freshman two years ago, hailed with approval the return of the genus “browser.”  I wish I could quote his enthusiastic words on discovering that a long lost species had reappeared.  But there are even stronger arguments than the mention of authorities.

First of all, only a small percentage of the books in the Library are used for reference in the various courses.  The same is true of the magazines.  The college spends hundreds of dollars annually in the purchase of volumes to which no professor refers his classes.  A set of Mark Twain’s complete writings, added shortly after his death, was certainly intended for the man whom the Tripod decries.  This is only an example, to which I might add a whole catalogue.

Secondly, there are certain peculiar advantages in the “browsing” habit, among which I may cite the broad view of the literary field thus obtainable.  To roam along the west gallery, selecting a book here and there to read a random chapter, or perhaps only the table of contents, is a practice easily comparable in value to that of boning out dry references in Logic.  The use of the alcoves by “browsers” is also to be commended for a similar general knowledge in a restricted field.”  –ONE OF THEM

Best advertisement:  Fatima Turkish blend cigarettes: GEOGRAPHY.  “Fatima Cigarettes are bounded on the north by quality, on the south by individuality, on the east by mildness and on the west by value.  In all the world, no smoke just like ’em.”



This week at Trinity, 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

November 18, 1910

[An interesting article by an alum about collegiate sports and their unfortunate focus on star athletes, rather than general physical conditioning for students]

“Alumni Communication”  [Sydney G. Fisher, of Philadelphia, Class of 1879]

To the Editor of the Tripod.  Dear Sir:  I have lately noticed some remarks in the Tripod implying that there was to be an effort to broaden its scope beyond more advertisements and screeching for the football games.  This effort has certainly been fulfilled in the publication of Colonel Cogswell’s admirable and historically valuable Founder’s Day address, and I sincerely hope the effort will be continued. 

When I was at the college a few weeks ago, there were complaints of the small number of alumni that subscribed for the Tripod.  The reason is obvious.  It contains nothing that interests them.  The old Tablet [the Trinity Tabletwas published 1868-1908] always c0ntained a great deal of information about the college, and about the doings of alumni in various parts of the world, and was to my mind a very inspiring and useful college journal.  So far as the alumni are concerned, all of the footbal screeching that interests them could be put in one column, or even in half a column.  We are all very glad that Wesleyan was “done up” the other day, but there are other things of equal importance in the world and in the college world.

Athletics are valuable and necessary, but that particular form of them which consists of eleven men, or nine men, getting all the exercise and the rest of the undergraduate body neglecting exercise and sitting in the grand stand to “root” for the nine or eleven, is not by any means the most commendable phase of the situation.  We may not be able to get rid of it.  It will flourish without encouragement; and it certainly should not be encouraged by those of us who have had experience of life and know the sort of physique required in the commercial and professional worlds.

If I had my way the “rooters” and the “digs” would be all hustled off the benches and compelled to play games and exercise as much as the nine or eleven.  A system of college athletics which makes nine-tenths of the undergraduates ashamed to play games or do anything much but “root,” because they are unable to break records and win distinction, is radically defective[my emphasis].  The craze about records and destruction is, as Colonel Roosevelt once said, the ruination of the general usefulness of sport and athletics in this country. 

The natural athelete, the record man, will take care of himself.  Do not encourage him; for then he overdevelops and carries about for the rest of his days in sedentary life, a muscular system through which the heart finds great difficulty in pumping the blood.  The man to be looked after and encouraged in college athletics is the “dig,” the over-studious, the ordinary chap who after all does the work of the world, or the fellow who shrinks from games and cultivates what he is pleased to describe as his intellect. 

I believe gymnasium exercise is now compulsory for the freshmen.  That is a great gain.  I would go farther and make exercise, either gymnasium or out-of-doors, compulsory for all the classes, including the lordly seniors.  In my time the seniors were regarded as beings who had passed through the drudgery of education and lived a sort of strolling, easy existence among historical and literary studies and the society of young ladies.  They would not have much time for that under my system:  for being older and presumably stronger, the compulsory athletics would be given to them in such doses that every thing that would happen to them in after life would seem easy.

BEST ADVERTISEMENT:  The College Tailoring Co.: “Suits pressed, 40 cents each.  Called for and delivered, 50 cents each.  We clean and press four suits a month for $1.50.”



This week at Trinity, 100 years ago….

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

November 9, 1910


Yale has for the first time been forced to write “no award” after the Greek entrance prize, basing this action on the general inferior quality of the papers presented.  The New York Times, which is authority for this statement, adds that since Greek was made an optional subject for entrance two years ago, the quality of entrance papers in the subject has steadily declined.

It will not be surprising if the publication of this statement shall revive the perennial discussion as to the place of the classics in our educational system.  We shall have grey-headed and high-browed culturalists, unwashed and ungroomed, with frayed cuffs; and we shall hear from the advocates of the “bright, energetic young man” who knows all about carburetors and how to sell insurance, but can’t spell, never heard of the Pantheon, and is altogether as hard as nails.

Now it may be that the dust from the books of the sages is bad for ball bearings; and it is very certain that the fumes and noises of the laboratory and the workshop would be obnoxious in the library.  But the man isn’t chained to the motor, nor need the brain be entirely walled up in books.  Suppose we could realize and engineer quoting Horace, or a poet criticizing highway construction!  Don’t laugh.  I can imagine wilder things than that.  (It is unscientific and illogical to laugh anyway, and some day I’ll prove it to you).

The solution of this whole classical question is never going to be reached by present methods of attacking it, which for the most part consist in expressing one’s own opinions and prejudices and letting it go at that.  It is as if two chemists were to mix the unknown contents of several phials, place the mixture in a safe, and then argue over what the result ought to be.  What we need to do first, is find out what is causing this anti-classical trend, and its probable future tendency; second, what the end must be if the process goes on unchecked; third, if this end is desirable, and if not, how it can be dodged.

The Tripod is glad to offer a valuable prize for the best answer.  Solutions limited to 50,000 words.  Write on both sides of the paper.  After revising your manuscript, put it in the nearest waste-basket.

BEST ADVERTISEMENT:  “Silk Slumber Robes.  We have just received at our Blanket Department a new importation of the exquisitely beautiful Italian silk slumber robes, that are so universally admired.  Suitable for use as couch covers, for extra bed throws, or for the college students’ room–they give a bit of glowing color that adds much to the furnishings.”  (Brown, Thomas & Co.).



This week @Trinity 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

November 4, 1910

Trinity at the Outbreak of the Civil War (Address by Lieut. Colonel William S. Cogswell, ’61 [class of 1861], on Founder’s Day, Nov. 1, 1910.)

I have been asked to speak to you of “Trinity during the war time.”  Although it is not quite fifty years since the close of that struggle, times have greatly changed.  Then events moved slowly; now dynasties are changed in a day without causing more than a passing comment.  Inventions and discoveries that worked revolutions in the fields of transportation and production, and projects once considered the idle dreams of visionaries, impossible of accomplishment, which changed the relations of mankind, are now accepted as matters of course in the feverish pursuit of the age “after pleasure, after gain”–so that it is impossible for you, all born years since the close of that war, to realize the conditions then existing, the all-absorbing interest taken in national politics, the appeals alike to passion and patriotism, to sorrows, devotion, and self-sacrifice with the resultant storm and stress that devoured our country like a flaming sword.  Looking back it seems like a frightful dream; then it was a stern reality that summoned everyone to take his part in the great drama being enacted.  Thanks God the healing hand of time has closed the wounds, discords are forgotten, and from the throes of that struggle has arisen an era of peace and prosperity, of friendly appreciation and good will that is fast making the legends of valor displayed its only memory.

During the fall of 1860 there were about fifty students at Trinity College, then located where the Capitol now stands, gathered from all sections of the country, some eight or ten of whom were from the Southern States.  The professors, with one exception, Professor Edward Graham Daves, were all Northern men.  We were all quartered in Jarvis and Brownell Halls, so you can readily understand that in such a small community the relations between us were very close.  And while of course the issues of the presidential campaign then pending were freely discussed, there was nothing like a separation into factions and no break in the ties which bound us to our Alma Mater and to each other.  None of us realized, in spite of the intense agitation and bitterness attending the election, that the result as determined at the polls would not be accepted.  For a long time after the election and even when in certain of the Southern States action was taken looking toward secession, we could not believe that war was possible.

At this time quite a military sentiment was prevalent in Hartford aroused by the fame attained by the Coly Guard for its proficiency in what was known as the Zouave drill, and, the students catching the fever, in the early Winter of 1860 a company was organized at the college, named, in honor of Professor Daves, the Daves Guard, of which he was a member drilling in the ranks, as did many of the students from the South.  Through the influence of ex-Governor Seymour, a citizen of Hartford, some cadet muskets were obtained from the State Arsenal and drills in the manual of arms and company movements were by permission of the faculty held regularly in the old Cabinet Room in Seabury Hall.  Fowler and Webster of the senior class, who had attended a military school before entering college, were the instructors, and Hardee’s tactics became a well known textbook. 

[This book is in the Watkinson:]

Fowler was Captain, Cogswell 1st Lieutenant, and Webster 2nd Lieutenant of the company.  I am afraid that if the truth were told these officers were entitled to higher marks for proficiency in tactics than in the prescribed studies of the senior class.  About February, 1861, in response to invitations from companies organized in the city, these officers acted as their instructors until sometime in May. 

Such were the conditions at the college when word came of the firing on Sumpter, followed by the President’s call for volunteers.  The change in the relations of the students was as sudden and complete as that between the North and the South.  Those from the Southern States left the College almost immediately, and sorrowful farewells were spoken between those who for years had walked together as friends.  Most of them entered the Confederate service, among them Graham, Eborn, Wooten, Bondurant, and the Derosetts.

Of course this was a time of wild excitement.  Probably the fact that a number of students were from the South and possibly some outspoken declaration of sympathy with rebellion in conversation with citizens made by some of them, gave rise to a rumor of threats made by the “Townies,” as they were called, against the College, and of their purpose to “clean it out,” but this was never taken seriously.  It was well known how the College stood.  All of the professors and a very large majority of the students were known to be staunch Unionists and when a meeting of the citizens of Hartford was called to rally the people to the support of the government President Eliot was invited to make the principle address.

The news of the fall of Sumpter and the President’s proclamation was followed by the immediate call for volunteers by the Governor, and Allen of the Seniors, and Huntington who afterwards commanded the Marines that made the landing at Guantanamo in the war with Spain, of the Freshman class at once enlisted in Hawley’s company of the 1st Regt. Connecticut Volunteers, being among the very first to volunteer from this State.  There was much discussion among the members of the Daves Guard about enlisting or tendering their services to the State, but the depletion in its ranks by the loss of its members going South, and the enlistment of others in the volunteers resulted in no action being taken, and before the close of the term it had ceased to exist.

The Sunday following the fall of Sumpter was marked by the passage through the city by train of the 6th Massachusetts volunteers on their way to the relief of Washington.  The railroad station was crowded with citizens, nearly all of the students were there, and the sight of those soldiers, the first to answer their country’s call, speeding to open up communication with the capital, created a profound impression, forcing home a realization of the fact that we were entering upon a contest, the extent and result of which no one could foretell. 

On Monday a meeting of the students was held on the Chapel porch, speeches were made and resolutions declaring the loyalty of the College, appointing a committee to procure a flag and to get permission to display it from the tower of Seabury Hall, were passed.  Then marching in a body the President and Professors were called upon.  They approved of the action taken and at once granted the permission asked for.

At this time when almost every house is furnished with one or more flags, you cannot appreciate how hard it was to procure one then.  There were but comparatively few flags in the country to supply the sudden demand, we could not find one for sale in the city and a like result attended attempts elsewhere.  Then we called on the girls we knew for help, and they did not fail us.  Soon we had the Stars and Stripes floating over Seabury Hall and never was a symbol bestowed by fair hands more heartily prized than that home-made flag presented to the College by the women of Hartford.

Such in brief outline is the story of the College when the war began.  I have not the data from which to give complete statistics of all “Ours” who served on land and sea during the war, nor is there time to follow their careers. 

“They went where duty seemed to call, / They did not stop to reason why, / They only knew they could but die / And death was not the worst of all. / And death was not the worst of all.”

The roll as I recall it is one of which Trinity may well be proud.  Pearce, Hugg, Broughton, Woodin and Mears from the class of 1858; Stedman, Conyngham and Leaver from 1859; Malory, Davies, Gazier and Stodart from 1860; Allyn, Birckhead, Cogswell, Hawley, James, Miller, Morse, Norris, Sumner and Webster from 1861; Penfield, Ellis and Smith from 1862; Clarke, Goodman, McCook from 1863; Huntington, Dewey, Hopson, Wells and Morris from 1864; with Strong, Vincent and Woodward from classes before my time.  Of these Vincent, Stedman, Norris, Smith, Dewey and Hugg sealed their devotion with their lives.

Vincent fell, like Wolfe, in the hour of victorywhile leading his command which saved the day at Gettysburg by capturing and holding Little Round Top in one of the deadliest hand-to-hand conflicts of the second day’s battle.  Stedman, considered one of the ablest officers in his Corps, was killed in front of Petersburg.  Smith yielded his life in the memorable charge made by the First Brigade of the First Division of the banks Corps at Cedar Mountain.  Norris received his death wound during the desperate fighting in the Wilderness.  Dewey fell in the battle at Irish Bend, La., and Hugg died in the hospital from the effect of exposure while a prisoner. 

It can be safely said that no son of Trinity failed to measure up to the full standard of accomplishment which our Alma Mater expects from the training she bestows.  They all quitted themselves like men, giving their best whether of service or of sacrifice.

Best Advertisement: 

“Clothes for College Fellows.  For Classroom. Fore Receptions.  For Romping.  For Motoring.”



This week at Trinity 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

October 25, 1910

“Alpha Delta Phi Entertains: Enjoyable Rarebit Party and Dance”

“Last Saturday night an informal rarebit [see] party was held at the Alpha Delta Phi house, 122 Vernon Street [lists chaperones and attendees] . . . After some time had been spent around the fire singing college songs, the whole party adjourned to the dining room, where several of the young ladies officiated at the chafing dishes.  The rugs and furniture were then removed from the rooms, and the remainder of the evening was spent in dancing.  Excellent music was furnished by Clark, ’11, on the violin; Moore, ’14, on the mandolin; and Adam, ’14, on the piano.”

Best advertisement:  Brown, Thompson & Co.  “For Hallowe’en / You will find in our Corner Store a line of Novelties, very appropriate in the way of Pumpkins, Ghosts, Witches, Cats, Pumpkin Lanterns, etc., for favors and the like.  For table decorations, we have a nice showing of fancy crepe papers and napkins, also Place cards, Tally cards, and everything you need in the way of Hallowe’en appointments.”



This week at Trinity 100 years ago…

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

Friday, October 21, 1910

“Freshman Rules Posted”

“Freshman!  Conduct yourselves always in a respectful and obedient manner towards your superiors.  Evidence of this respect must be shown by saluting al professors, graduates, and men of higher classes.  All throwing of water or calling out of windows, shouting on the campus or throwing snow-balls is strictly forbidden.  The placing of notices upon the bulletin-board is also prohibited.  Unless accompanied by a man of class, you are forbidden under any circumstances to appear at Heub’s, or in a box at any theatre.  The freshman cap must always be worn except on the Sabbath or when going down town.  The cap must not be disguised or defaced or altered.  In attending all college meetings, sings, and games, promptness is compulsory.  Obtrude not yourselves unbidden into the discussion of your superiors, nor offer advice unsolicited.  Neither make yourselves conspicuous by the display of loud haberdashery or clothing.  Never smoke pipe or cigar or wear school insignia of any sort in public.  Also the wearing of khaki and corduroy and the carrying of canes will not be tolerated.  Sitting upon the college fence is forbidden.  You are further required to step off the board walk at the approach of a superior, and in passing up and down Vernon Street to use the south side exclusively.”

Best advertisement:

FOR MEN’S EVENING DRESS WEAR.  Just received from Switzerland new importations of pure silk mufflers….



This week at Trinity 100 years ago

   Posted by: rring    in Uncategorized

In the October 14, 1910 issue of the Tripod, the following books were among those reported as “additions to the library”:

An Account of Some of the Descendants of John Russell, the Emigrant, by the late Gurdon Wadsworth Russell (Trinity Class of 1835).  The book is still here:

Shakespeare and His Critics, by Charles F. Johnson (gift of the author, and it was reviewed in the Tripod in 1909).  The book is still here:

Music in the Church, by Peter Christian Lutkin.  The book is still here:

Proceedings of the Second National Peace Congress, Chicago, 1909, ed. by Charles E. Beals.  The book is still here:

 Best advertisement:  Promoting the various aspects of the college, including the library:  “The LIBRARY contains about 60,000 volumes, 30 per cent of which have been purchased within the last twelve years.  It is open daily for consultation and study.