Sunday, June 28, 2009

From 1909: Vacation Plans of Wesleyan Faculty

This is from the Hartford Courant of June 28, 1909.

In looking at the Hartford Courant in the spring and early summer of 1909, it has struck me that 100 years ago, virtually all of the news which the Hartford Courant printed about Middletown was about Wesleyan. Every day during the spring there seem to have been 3-6 stories about Wesleyan events (mostly baseball, track, and tennis matches, but some literary, scientific, or other events on campus). I have avoided those so far, mostly because they seemed to my 21st century sensibilities a bit, dare I say, "Shallow and Insular." However, the article below takes "Shallow and Insular" to such an extreme that I could not resist reprinting it in its entirety.

I have added the pictures, many of which are from a History of Sciences at Wesleyan, 1831 - 1942, by Burton H. Camp.


Professor to Mingle Work with Recreation

Wesleyan's chapel bell has rung its last summons to chapel for the college year 'o8-'o9. The commencement activities bring to a close all university affairs, and vacation will begin. While the undergraduates scatter themselves around the country, indulging in all kinds of occupations, more or less mysterious except to the understanding of members of a college community, the Wesleyan professors will likewise regulate their day's activities in somewhat different fashion with the beginning of July.

This is the professors' side of vacation:
President-elect William A. Shanklin will assume control of university affairs the moment Acting President William N. Rice "pronounces benediction at commencement." He will consequently remain in Middletown practically the entire summer--planning for that "greater and better Wesleyan." Acting-President Rice will indulge in as much rest as his desire to "keep active" allows him. For the first few weeks he will rest at Waterville, N.H., in the White Mountains, doing at the same time work on the bulletin of the State Geology and Natural History Society. Later in the summer he will attend the meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Sciences at Winnipeg, Canada. While with the members of the association he will take some of the excursions into the Canadian Rockies and other geological points of interest in the Dominion.

Professor C.T. Winchester has not fully laid his plans. The month of July he will spend in Middletown, but in August he will take a short trip, probably about New England, but not very extended. Professor M.B. Crawford will leave the city about the middle of August to join the summer colony at Waterville, N.H., in the White Mountains.

Professor W.E. Mead will spend the summer abroad. Together with his wife, he will leave America on the North German Lloyd line on July 17 for Northern Italy, where the time remaining before college opens will be spent. The party will tour the mountain country of the region. Professor W.J. James will spend half of July and the whole of September in Middletown, but will be at Martha's Vineyard with his family the remainder of the time.

Professor F.W. Nicolson will spend July in Middletown and will cruise in his boat in August, with Lake Champlain as the objective point, most probably. In September he will go to Canada, where his family will have been from the middle of July. Professor L.O. Kuhns will spend the first part of the summer in Middletown, finishing some of his literary works. The remainder of the summer will be spent at Martha's Vineyard.

Professors W.C. Fisher and William A. Heidel have not laid their plans yet, but Professor Dodge and family will sail on the Rheinland of the Holland-American line to Amsterdam on July 5. He will spend most of the summer in France, but will probably tour England later. While abroad he will do research work on the psychological subject of "Fatigue."

Professor W.G. Cady will spend the month of July at work in the Wesleyan physics laboratory. For the remainder of the summer he will be at Kennebunk Beach, Me., where the family will occupy a cottage. Professor R. H. Fife will spend July at Wellsburg, Va. In September he will finish editing two new books concerned with the German department of the university. Professor B.H. Camp has not laid his plans yet, while Professor A.C. Armstrong's are "not ready to be announced."

Professor W.P. Bradley will spend three weeks of July with his family at Bridge Hampton, L.I., and the remainder of the month with Dr. Benedict at Machinsport, Me. In August he will be on the water and will spend September at Whitefield, N.H.

Professor H.W. Conn will work in the state biological laboratory in July and will lecture during the month at Round Lake, N.Y. In mid-August he will take up his summer home at North Woodstock, N.H. Professor K.P. Harrington also has a summer home at Woodstock.

Professor L.H. Howland will spend the summer at his mother's home in New Bedford, Mass. Professor J.M. VanVleck will summer at Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Coach "Rose" Reiter will teach at the Harvard Summer School of Football during the summer, but will commute to and from West Newton, Mass., where his family will summer.
N.B. As a Wesleyan professor, I can say with some confidence that few of the 2009 faculty see summer as a vacation, or go to the mountains or abroad for "the summer". Most are carrying out scholarly work; in the sciences this occurs in the labs on Church Street, where we are joined by many students. There are, however, a few who keep the spirit of 1909 alive and well by going to a "summer colony" in Nova Scotia; perhaps The Eye should resurrect the tradition of reporting the holiday departures of such local notables.

1 comment:

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

I've always thought an open invitation for interesting vacation photos and stories was appropriate.

Let's do it.