Chapter 16: Men and Women
Apart from admitting women, enriching the curriculum, and enlarging the physical facilities, the U. of R. authorities in the early 1900's employed various stratagems to increase the student body, widen its geographical distribution, and to make the institution better known. These activities may be subsumed as "publicity," whose first and last rule is: Keep everlastingly at it.
Alumni and undergraduates alike lamented that the college was not appreciated even in the Flower City as well as it should be. "Must the Business Institute [of Rochester] hold a higher place in the mind of the public than the University?" asked (1902) a Senior chapel orator. "Why must Rochester's wealthy citizens give their surplus to Cornell and forget the college at their very door?" "Why must Rochester parents send their sons and daughters to every college... under the sun, rather than to the institution of which they should be proudest of all?" Having outlined ailments, the spokesman went on to propound fundamental remedies: better athletic teams and unstinted loyalty on the part of students, who should consider it a duty to spread the fame, heighten the prestige of Alma Mater. Undergraduates should manifest greater pride in the college and in themselves, proclaimed (1907) a Campus editorial, "We are attending an old and honored institution. We have a faculty, a curriculum, educational ideals of which we may justly feel proud. We have as fine a set of fellows, as clean athletics as any institution in the country. Why then hang our heads... ?"
Secondary schools were, of course, the logical places in which to advertise the University. To that end Rhees carried on an extensive correspondence with schoolmasters in New York State, a trophy was offered for the winner in a New York-Pennsylvania debating league, competitions for scholarships in selected high schools were arranged, and U. of R. yearbooks and a college calendar, first published in 1909, were distributed. Purely for traditional reasons, annual advertisements, were placed in selected Baptist publications. Concerts by musical clubs in secondary schools and in communities formed a healthy way of institutional advertising. Upon his return from Europe in 1909, Rhees explored in an unprecedented manner ways and means of obtaining more publicity, which he believed would be beneficial in fund-raising; a special committee of the trustees, chaired by Alling, concerned itself with developing. good public relations for the college.
"Eager to steer clear of press agent methods," the President solicited ideas from other college executives, Woodrow Wilson of Princeton for one, on how they handled publicity. In 1911, a student Press Club was created, with an advisory group of professors and alumni, in which Ernest A. Paviour, 1910, was the leading spirit. It succeeded in increasing coverage of University news in the Rochester press, but fell short of its hopes so far as high schools beyond the orbit of the Flower City were concerned. Printed matter about the college, it was urged, should be reinforced by an agency to distribute photographs on college life. For a short time, it appears, Professor Slater, a journalist before turning professor, dispatched (1912) copy on the U. of R. to the New York Evening Post for its Saturday page on colleges. To the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, the University sent a series of pictures depicting the campus and its varied activities.
Rochester newspaper editors, now and then, complained that their reporters were not freely given news about the University, while student journalists in turn issued chronic protests that information appeared in city papers before it could be published in the Campus. By and large, though, the Rochester press welcomed releases from the college, and gave extensive, if not in fact excessive, space to sporting events. To ensure greater accuracy, Norman Nairn, non-graduate 1909, a Rochester newsman, was appointed (1912) to supervise copy for the press, and a few years later Paviour assumed the post of unpaid, unofficial publicity agent for his Alma Mater.
By word of mouth and by circulars, "Prexy" appealed to graduates to enroll their sons at the U. of R. and to steer promising candidates to the college. Alumni belonging to the Sophomore Theta Nu Epsilon society endeavored to recruit high school leaders and organized (1912) the first "Sub-Freshman Day," which attracted pupils from sixteen schools to the campus. This stratagem grew into an annual affair. Rochester high schools, it was disclosed in 1911, sent more graduates to the U, of R. than to all other institutions combined. From the East High School 1910 class of 116 members, sixty-eight attended college, forty-eight of them the U. of R. In the first decade of the century about 285 Rochester youths matriculated at the college in their home community. 1
Statistical data on enrollment is less than satisfactory, for sometimes records excluded transfer and special students and sometimes men and women who dropped out during an academic year were not counted. However that may be the general trend is clear enough: registration moved upward. At the close of the first Rhees year the student body stood at 231, thirty-three ladies included. By 1903-1904, the roster of 254 students contained seventy four women, positive proof that the demand for collegiate training by the gentler sex in the Flower City was high. Four years later enrollment had climbed to 362 and for the first time aspirants for a B.S. degree exceeded candidates for the B.A. or Ph.B. As of 1912-13, 433 attended the college, nearly as many as at Amherst, many more than at Hamilton, institutions with which the Campus was accustomed to compare the U. of R. Usually, a two to one ratio as between men and women prevailed.
Students who withdrew before completion of work for a degree posed a standing puzzle for the officers of the college. By way of illustration, the University Bulletin lists for the men's class of 1909 thirty-nine graduates and thirty-one non-graduates, while the corresponding figures for the 1912 class are thirty-six and forty-four. The record of the women, after the first few years, was more favorable; of the class of 1909 twenty graduated and eleven did not; for 1912 only seven women failed to complete their studies as compared with thirty-one who did. (The statistics on "drop-outs" must be taken as the minimum, for the official Bulletin sometimes omitted students who attended only a short time.)
Dishonesty in academic work posed a perennial problem at Rochester as at American colleges generally. Faculty minutes record case after case of "cribbing" or plagiarism, and of punishment by probation or suspension. The first recorded instance of cheating by a woman cropped up in 1911; she soon decided that matrimony was preferable to mathematics. Throughout collegiate America, a movement got under way to put students on their honor in the preparation and performance of academic responsibilities and to report violations to an undergraduate committee, which would impose penalties if the accused was proved guilty; under this system examinations would be conducted without proctors present. Beginning in 1906, student leaders at the U. of R. debated the adoption of an honor code patterned on schemes in vogue at Colgate, Princeton, and elsewhere. The college authorities expressed approval of the idea in principle, but insisted that the students must take the initiative. Year long discussions culminated in 1910 in a proposed honor system. Student reporting of violations formed the crux of the plan. The constitution obligated undergraduates to append a declaration of honesty to examination papers, set up a court to judge alleged violators, and prescribed penalties. For fifteen years, a Wesleyan student explained to the Rochester men, the honor system had worked successfully at his institution.
Nothing more happened for two years at Rochester, but then a second constitution was drafted. Before it could go into force, at least eighty percent of the men would have to ratify it, but when the proposition was put to a vote only about seventy percent registered approval. The rejection was charged up to underclassmen and to less than adequate understanding of the plan. Voted on a second time, the required eighty percent was forthcoming; the faculty endorsed the decision, and in the spring of 1912 the honor code was applied in term examinations.
When a case of alleged dishonesty appeared in the autumn of the year, the student honor committee, which under the constitution had preliminary jurisdiction, conferred on the violation with the faculty Administrative Committee, since the honor system was in a somewhat embryonic state. After it was agreed that the student group was competent to deal with the case, it conducted an investigation, found the accused man guilty, and imposed a penalty. (The erring one withdrew from college.) Responding to a petition, the faculty extended the honor code to classes attended exclusively by women. If the honor system did not represent a perfect method of ensuring academic morality, it was nevertheless a worthwhile experiment, encouraging a mature attitude, a praiseworthy feature of the widening U. of R. horizon. 2
To the existing array of student prizes for excellence, new awards were added. To foster forensic talents, Trustee Alling provided (1900) prizes for debates between teams of - Juniors and Seniors, which were held in the Gymnasium during the Commencement period. Graduates of the class of 1885 donated (1905) a prize for an athlete, which the faculty decreed should go to an outstanding scholar who also excelled in sports. N. B. Ellison set up a prize (1903) for the best essay in political science (later awarded to the ablest Senior man in history), and a Whittlesey Prize for literary excellence would be given (1905) to a student who had contributed at least six articles of superior quality to the Campus ; the editor-in-chief was declared ineligible for this distinction, which was discontinued by the donor after two years.
Other prizes were granted for the best essays on municipal government, on suffrage for women, and on international peace. To stimulate attainment in spoken German, Carl T. Kreyer, 1863, established a German prize on the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation. The historic Stoddard Prize was first shared by mathematics and physics and then the mathematics portion was divided into first and second awards. Two special scholarships, established by Dr. Charles A. Dewey, 1861, in memory of his father, Chester Dewey, professor of the natural sciences in the original U. of R. faculty, enabled superior students in biology to spend a summer in research at the famous Wood's Hole (Massachusetts) Marine Biological laboratory. 3
On the whole, student interest in the various prizes was tepid--in some years awards were not even made--but election to Phi Beta Kappa, on the other hand, was a highly coveted distinction. The first women elected to the Society came from the class of 1903; three of the eight graduating coeds in fact were initiated. The failure of the Society to elect a single man from the class of 1909 stirred up heated controversy and was popularly attributed to higher academic standards, notably in the sciences. Hoeing, secretary of the Society, rejected that interpretation and implied that the men of 1909 had uniformly neglected to unite industry with intellectual ability. Since four women in the class, superior in scholarship across the board, were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, an indignant lady graduate protested that the chapter was in danger of becoming a "woman's club" and had affronted the men of 1909 and the alumni. "It cannot fail," she decided, "to engender bitter feelings against the women of the University." (Later on, Albert D. Kaiser, 1909, was welcomed into honorary membership.)
In a sensational debate on a resolution to abolish Phi Beta Kappa, men of 1910 "unmercifully castigated" the Society. Elections in 1910, however, brought keys to five men, outstanding in the extracurriculum as well as in academic achievement, out of thirty-six in the class; also chosen were ten women out of twenty-five. And the next year the men came off much better, fourteen being elected as compared with five women, the highest percentage of males since the gentler sex had become eligible.
Initiation ceremonial, meantime, had been switched from Anderson Hall to the ballroom of the Seneca (later the Manger) Hotel, followed by a luncheon; at the twenty-fifth anniversary meeting of the Iota Chapter, Professor Slater surveyed the history of the Society. Annually, during the Commencement season, the Society presented an address by an eminent American to which the general public was invited; and, as evidence of its financial health, the Society gave (1904) the University a thousand dollars, and later a still-born proposal contemplated setting up a special lectureship at the college.
Since so high a proportion of students were registered in scientific courses, an undergraduate, as early as 1909, proposed that Sigma Xi should be petitioned for a charter, a goal not reached until 1930. On the opposite side of the ledger, a Campus correspondent recommended that a Kappa Beta Phi Society, in imitation of Hobart and Cornell, should be founded for the poorest scholars in the Senior class. A "Kappa Bete" at Hobart hastened to explain that the organization had been started at his college (1889) and he felt confident that the U. of R. would be granted a charter. According to him, the society stood "for popularity and good fellowship." It was not meant to ridicule scholarship, nor did "Kappa Bete" necessarily pick men with the lowest marks, though it certainly acquired that reputation.4
Befitting the nation of joiners which America has been called, clubs and societies--the extracurriculum in all its variety--flourished on the Rochester campus, as at other colleges. Many a serious minded academician lamented that the "side-shows" had dwarfed "the big tent." Among them was the President of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, who cried: "The work of the college, the work of its classrooms and laboratories, has become the merely formal and compulsory side of its life, and... a score of other things, lumped under the term 'undergraduate activities,' have become the vital, spontaneous, absorbing realities for nine out of every ten men who go to college." 5
At Rochester certain organizations benefited from faculty guidance, while others were exclusively undergraduate enterprises. Except for groups over which the University Council had jurisdiction, administrative controls were confined to informal conferences with student leaders. Musical clubs, Glee and Mandolin, maintained a fair degree of continuity, and for several years a "Famous Rag-Time Quartette" prospered. Extensive concert tours were undertaken; in 1900-01, for example, the Glee and Mandolin Clubs--the former without the latter resembled apple pie without cheese--appeared before seventeen audiences, topped by a performance in the (cold) Alumni Gymnasium. It was customary to hold a dance after the annual home concert. In the autumn of 1904 when interest in music had slumped, a writer alluded to the clubs as "elusive, intangible, ethereal," and two years later attendance at rehearsals was so spotty that it was decided to cancel the usual tour. Yet that same year an orchestra enhanced the musical resources, and in 1910 the "Alumni Rousters," ex-members of the Glee and Mandolin Clubs, reinforced (1910) the undergraduate performers; for good measure, two students, one of them George F. Abbott, 1911, insinuated a comedy skit into the concert program. Alumni of the Glee and Mandolin Clubs formed (1913) a society of their own to encourage musical appreciation, and a short-lived college band played at athletic contests. By way of novelty, the Rochester Glee Club united (1907) with its Amherst counterpart in a joint concert. With the appointment in 1911 of George Barlow Penny as director, musical organizations underwent a sort of renaissance.
As relaxation and to foster a more closely knit University community, Professor Shedd first--who wrote an uncounted number of U. of R. lyrics and Slater subsequently presided over group singing on Friday noon of each week. But apathy soon caused the meetings to peter out. Calls frequently ascended for more and better University songs; "Prexy" offered (1902) a ten dollar prize for the finest new production. Several professors applied their skills to composition; Slater, for instance, turned out (1907) inspirational tunes such as "The U. of R." and "Mother Rochester." A verse of the latter ran:
Come gather now, you loyal sons of Mother Rochester
And cheer your men to victory, if you would honor her.
Then shout aloud for Doctor Stroud* and all his valiant men,
For high and proud above the crowd the Yellow waves again!
Then cheer, fellows, cheer when the victory is near,
And another yard or two will score; and praise never blame...
That's the way to win the game when the tide is turning back
In anticipation of a basketball contest with the University of Pennsylvania, Slater struck off:
The Pennsylvania men are here, so are we, so are we,
What is the song which greets your ear? Genesee, Genesee!
Our men are ready for the foe, and the team is always on
the job you know,
For the honor of Rochester.
On a more exalted level, the versatile senior professor of English composed "Peace for the World," a stirring appeal for international harmony. The class of 1909 relished a song of its own, reading:
In our colors there are seen
The bonds which make our might.
Blue that shows our loyal spirit,
Purity, the white.
Many songs fell by the wayside, for the iron law of the survival of the fittest operated ruthlessly.
Periodically, undergraduates published songbooks containing traditional Rochester favorites together with brand new songs and well-loved melodies of other colleges. A collection in a handsome yellow and black vellum cover, printed in 1908, filled sixty-four pages and could be purchased for seventy-five cents.
The fortunes of the men's Dramatic Club rose, fell, and were restored. When talent was good and interest keen, the Club put on (1903) a polished performance of "She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver Goldsmith; yet more years than not the quality of actors and the plays left much to be desired. Drama moved upward during the undergraduate years of George F. Abbott, 1911, subsequently one of the most popular American dramatists of his generation. After the Senior class presented his original play, "Perfectly Harmless," the Campus remarked presciently, "Abbott certainly has a future ahead of him as a playwright. The situations are astonishingly clever, and not one chance for brilliant repartee was lost... "
Among departmental organizations, the Science Club extended membership to women students; at weekly meetings topics such as "The Minerals of Monroe County" or "The Science of Brickmaking" were discussed, and the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 prompted Professor Fairchild to discourse on irruptions of the earth. A Field Club, founded in 1911, emphasized trips to investigate natural phenomena and original papers. An organization of men and women majoring in mathematics was set up, and the Writers Club experienced a revival. Under the guidance of Professor Morey, history clubs of Seniors and of Juniors met spasmodically.
Debate groups dealt with topics like the abolition of capital punishment, coeducation, and college athletics; government ownership of coal mines was (1909) the subject of a debate with men from Colgate--the first intercollegiate competition of this kind for the U. of R. The guests from the Chenango Valley, upholding the affirmative side, carried home the bacon. Certain of the older (and perhaps wiser) professors laid great store on class debates in their recitation rooms. 6
Until Kendrick Hall became available, fraternity houses were the only college quarters in which men from outside of Rochester could obtain lodgings and meals. That situation tended to strengthen the position of the Greek-letter societies, and they continued to be of considerable significance, in drawing students to the college.
On the whole, the administration regarded the Greek's as a definite asset. Nearly every year, Rhees spoke at the initiation ceremonies of his own Alpha Delta Phi society--"a great and noble fellowship;" both his sons and a nephew joined the fraternity, and he himself served a term as its national president. Since almost three of every four under-graduates had fraternity affiliations, "Prexy" was pleased that membership was not limited to sons of well-to-do homes. True enough, the societies possessed potential for evil as well as good, yet they had disciplinary value and, if guided by "tactful counsel" of professors, they were "a source of distinct benefit." Fraternities aided the academic-enterprise, in Rhees 's judgment, "both in reference to improvement in college work and in correction of irregularities." 7
Standard criticisms of fraternities kept reappearing. Being exclusive, the Greek societies were reproached as undemocratic with inclinations to snobbery; hotbeds of antifeminism , they encouraged indolence and accented social affairs to the detriment of the academic purposes of the college. It was charged, too, that interfraternity rivalries in pledging newcomers and forming coalitions to gain college honors militated against the best interests of the community. However that may be, the fraternities, if anything, enlarged their place in the undergraduate way of life.
To regulate "rushing" procedures, primarily, an intergroup Hellenic Council, an expression of student self-government, was founded in 1906. Eight men of the Jewish faith organized (1911) the Kappa Nu fraternity, which became the mother of a national society, counting twenty-six chapters at its peak. Although praised as "a worthy undertaking" by the Campus, Kappa Nu was not given formal college recognition until 1931, and by then three of the founding-fathers had attained inclusion in Who's Who in America ; in 1961, Kappa Nu merged with Phi Epsilon Pi.
Unsatisfied with its home at (96) Park Avenue, Theta Delta Chi asked (1900) permission to erect a house on the campus, but it was informed that the fixed policy of the trustees rendered the request impossible. So the Theta Delts purchased (1912) a residence on the northeastern corner of Main and Alexander Streets. After a visit to the new home, Rhees reported the undergraduates to be a "fine lot of boys" who were pushing to the top of the fraternities in scholastic standing. The local society, Phi Epsilon (in June, 1920, affiliated with the national fraternity, Theta Chi), acquired a dwelling on Upton Park (13), a few minutes away from the campus, capable of accommodating ten or more men.
Except for Alpha Delta Phi, information on the internal story of the fraternities is scanty. Alpha Delt laid great store on literary contributions by each brother, which were reckoned as equivalent in thought and writing to a course in the college; initiates were obliged to prepare a substantial essay under intense pressure. Neophytes, it is true, were also subjected to juvenile horseplay, like walking endlessly on city streets, blindfolded, or being hauled to the rafters of a building with block and tackle, compelled to sing, dance, and orate, and then swallow the entrails of the holy cat (raw oysters actually); by way of conclusion, faces of the victims were painted and they were pushed onto a street car without a penny in their pockets. Frequently, the Alpha Delt treasury was in sorry straits, but in 1912 a "Genesee" Graduate chapter was formed which brought order out of the financial confusion. 8
On its fiftieth birthday, Delta Kappa Epsilon staged (1906) a gala celebration, starring George P. Draper, 1857, a Rochester lawyer and the oldest surviving brother, and faculty men who were Dekes. When Psi Upsilon held (1908) its national convention in Rochester, the Alpha Delts entertained the guests so sumptuously that proceedings had to be postponed. Straightway the Alpha Delts placed a ban on serving liquor in the house and laid restrictions on smoking. On the fringes, Chi Rho, a Sophomore inter-group society to dictate and correct the behavior of freshmen, made its debut in 1909, and a second Sophomore interfraternity group known as Theta Pi Sigma had emerged the year before. Its stated aims were to cultivate good fellowship between fraternity men, to uphold the finest traditions of the college, and to deepen personal loyalty to it. The boisterous Sophomore society, Theta Nu Epsilon, which the faculty had banned (1900), reappeared (1911) as an alumni chapter, the only one in existence. 9
In the early Rhees period attendance on daily chapel at 10:15 a.m. was obligatory. At the first meeting of the academic year 1900-01, young ladies were seated along the wall at each end of the auditorium in Anderson Hall. As the professors took their places on the rostrum, the male undergraduates cut loose with cheers and college yells which "made the windows rattle and the rafters ring." After explaining a new regulation which allowed "cuts" in classes equal to the number of hours a class met each week, and commenting on the presence of women students, President-elect Rhees spoke on the subject of "anarchy" and the necessity of respect for law. In the future, as then, he often chose to discuss a secular proposition in the tradition of President Anderson; the death of Queen Victoria (1901), for example, inspired a biographical sketch on the estimable Empress-Queen, and on the passing in 1910 of her son, King Edward VII, he was eulogized as the foremost promoter of international concord of the twentieth century.
Speakers from outside the college community often talked about non-religious matters: a stirring appeal by Trustee Alling on student support of extracurricular activities, for instance, or David Jayne Hill on the Hague Peace Conference of 1907. Students enthusiastically welcomed the British scientist, Lord Kelvin, and the eminent Negro educator, Booker T. Washington, first president of famous Tuskegee Institute. In a spirited address on world peace, Hamilton Holt, editor of the Independent, advocated a federal union of countries, the United States leading the way. "Instead of a declaration of independence, we should have a declaration of interdependence," he proposed. A prominent naturalist, Carl E. Akeley, who had Rochester roots, reported on "African Hunting," while Trustee Miner, talking on Germany, attributed the phenomenal industrial upsurge there largely to "monarchial socialism," and declared that pauperism in the land of Emperor William II was by way of disappearing, thanks to national insurance schemes.
Seniors--"golden throated" young men--delivered chapel talks on a diversity of themes; from the class of 1907, to illustrate, Benjamin Goldstein allowed his mind to play on "The College Man," Alvah S. Miller talked about "A College Man's Indebtedness to Society," George T. Sullivan dwelt on "The South as the Coming Commercial Asset," and Howard J. Steere inquired "Is Reduction in the Hours of Labor Possible?"
For a brief period attendance on chapel ceased to be compulsory. But in 1911 the obligatory principle was restored, though meetings were reduced to two each week, one of which was religious in character. Only on conscientious grounds could a student secure exemption, and excessive absenteeism was penalized by extra-classroom study. Due to overcrowding, men and women met separately two days of the week, and the fifth day was given over to the Christian Association. With characteristic tact Rhees suggested to the senior professors that their presence at chapel, whenever "consistent with their work and convenience," would be "sincerely appreciated;" faculty attendance climbed from twenty percent to thirty. 10
As continuing witness to the religious heritage, the customary day of prayer for the colleges was perpetuated, Rhees or a Rochester clergyman delivering the sermon. Students were urged to identify themselves with a city church. To the college Y.M.C.A. a spacious, well appointed room in the Alumni Gymnasium was assigned, where meetings for prayer and song were conducted. The "Y" also published an annual "Frosh Bible, " full of helpful hints to newcomers, and maintained a Bible class and Sunday afternoon services at which Rochester ministers normally preached. Ineffective leadership caused the "Y" to languish at times, yet Rhees was sure it rendered good service, "adapted to the peculiar conditions of a city institution."
Under "Y" auspices, concerned undergraduates took part in the Student Volunteer movement, which recruited American undergraduates for foreign missionary fields. In 1909, the U of R. acted as host for the national convention of the Student Volunteers, which brought over 3,600 youths from more than 700 colleges and universities to the city. Excellent spokesmen like Sherwood Eddy, Robert E. Speer, and British Ambassador James Bryce appealed for lifetime commitment to spreading the Christian gospel in faraway lands. Remote in temper from the revivalism that once stirred Rochester students, the meetings led the Campus editor to comment on the world view that was presented. The whole affair was "deeply and truly religious," he thought. Not the religion of weaklings, but of men of evident intellectual power," and devoid of "the theatrical and the sensational."
U. of R. men participated in annual intercollegiate "Y" conferences at Northfield, Massachusetts. For a few years, a Christian Union of men supplanted the college "Y" and convened periodically to hear able speakers and "to promote aggressive Christian work." Socially-minded undergraduates helped out in community action programs such as a club for boys from the slums of Rochester and the Boys Evening Home directed by Professor Shedd. They also assisted in the work of the newly founded Boy Scouts and in Americanization classes for recent immigrants. Interest ebbed in a few years, however, and then wholly dried up. 11
Despite the varied religious and ethical aspects of the extracurriculum, the general atmosphere of campus and classroom was increasingly secular. For weal or woe, the old-time religious orientation of the college dwindled. Study for a paper in a history course, say, or laboratory exercises overshadowed chapel services. More and more, teachers emphasized intellectual performance and growth and devoted less and less attention to the inculcation of piety or to that elusive something known as "character-building."
Visiting celebrities to the campus extended the horizons of the University community and of interested Rochesterians. Side by side with the art lectures of professor Denio, special lectures were given on village handicrafts in England, and a Miss Dorothea Spinning of England, wearing an ancient Greek costume, presented readings in Greek drama. Frederick J. Bliss of Syria, subsequently the first Dean of Men, lectured on archaeology. "Prexy" denied, however, a platform in the college to lecturers on "controversial religious topics," since a variety of faiths were represented in the student body. 12
On several occasions, a German society in the city subsidized lecturers in the German language, including Rudolf C. Eucken, eminent professor of philosophy at the University of Jena and Nobel laureate in literature, and Carl Hauptmann, brother of the famous man of letters, Gerhard H. Hauptmann. To mark the centennial, of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, classes were suspended and a prominent Rochester pastor, Charles C. Albertson, addressed the student body on "Lincoln's Elements of Greatness." When in 1908 William Jennings Bryan, perennial Democratic aspirant to the White House, talked on "Education," undergraduates of the Republican persuasion cheered lustily for his current opponent, William H. Taft. The Campus account of the affair provoked a Rochesterian to protest that the report was full of coarse humor and errors, utterly unworthy of the University.
Spasmodically, students manifested collective interest in political campaigns. In 1906, a group which wanted Charles E. Hughes to be Governor of New York organized a tumultuous meeting, praising Hughes and heaping scorn and ridicule upon his rival, William Randolph Hearst. "Prexy" went to the gathering wearing the badge of "The U. of R. for Hughes Club." In a straw ballot just before an emotionally charged Congressional election of 1910 in Rochester, thirty-three Seniors voted for a Democrat, James M. Havens, "representative of true democracy," and four for the Republican, George W. Aldridge, "the embodiment of oligarchy," On election day student partisans of Havens served as "watchers" to prevent or report voting irregularities in central city wards. An impassioned demonstration greeted the victorious Havens when he visited the campus to express gratitude to student and faculty supporters. A "straw vote" for presidential candidates in 1912 showed 102 men for Theodore Roosevelt, seventy-five for Woodrow Wilson, twenty-nine for Taft, and only eight for the Socialist, Eugene V. Debs, which evidently meant that neither the Socialist Club nor Professor Shedd had profoundly affected undergraduate political attitudes.
If undergraduate publications were ever censured in a formal manner for transgressions of good taste or propriety, no evidence of it has been uncovered. The principle of a "free press" prevailed, and, as had been true in the past, experience on the Campus or the Interpres constituted a sort of apprenticeship for would-be newspapermen. A committee composed of two professors and the editor of the Campus picked the men for the more responsible posts on the paper. Nothing came of a proposal to start a literary magazine.
Working quarters of the Campus and the yearbook, which had been on the top floor of Anderson Hall, were moved (1908) to the basement of the building. Frequently the paper allocated a column to "Alumni Notes," less often to reviews of books and to the contents of popular magazines, and still less to articles of a general character, though one appeared on "Agriculture and Industry in Japan." Occasionally an undergraduate wrote a piece on a European university or some aspect of the past of the U. of R. An article on the fiftieth anniversary of the college on the Prince Street property concluded, "Who will dare to prophecy what the University will be when the centennial of Anderson Hall rolls around--1961?" The doings of the women students received scant attention; at times, for months on end, readers of the Campus would not have known that women were attending the University.
The tireless pen of T. T. Swinburne, non-graduate 1892, contributed many poems, and in 1912-1913 a spate of faculty accounts of summer travels abroad was published; Bliss, Raymond Havens, and Slater shared their European observations and reflections with the students. It seemed to Slater that recent British social welfare legislation meant that the island kingdom was "well on the way to a complete paternalism." Concerning the Continent he wrote, "There are soldiers everywhere...war clouds are settling over Europe once more;" the belligerent mood of the French press disturbed him greatly. Yet he strongly recommended that students should spend a summer in Europe; costs would average $250 for two months, transportation additional. In a commentary on German universities, where he had studied for four years, a mathematics instructor, S. Douglas Killam, reported, "The German student is much more of a man in many ways than our average undergraduate and his interest and conversation is [sic] that of the man of the world, while our student is still a boy...." professor Denio enlightened readers on "Holy Carpet Day" in Cairo. 13
Commencing in 1904, the Campus allotted much more space than previously to collegiate sports. Under the ablest editor of the decade, Hugh A. Smith, 1907, the quality of the materials, the writing, and the format of the paper improved. Headlines turned bigger and pictures were more plentiful. His ambition to convert the Campus from a biweekly into a weekly did not materialize until the autumn of 1908, when the paper took on the layout of a conventional newspaper of eight pages.
Speaking broadly, the content of the Interpres followed the pattern standardized late in the nineteenth century--short summaries of extracurricular affairs, literary and humor departments, as many advertisements as could be obtained, and profiles of the individuals to whom the books were dedicated. The issue of the class of 1902, however, offered a novelty that hardened into custom: photographs of professors and thumb-nail sketches of their careers, along with pictures of the men in the class and a list of their college activities. The yearbook in 1903 contained pictures of most of the women in the, class, placed in a segregated section, and several later Interpres, though not all, imitated this precedent.
Early in the century a sharp upsurge took place in the sports sector of collegiate life. Not only did the Alumni Gymnasium make feasible prescribed physical training for men, but it gave a major boost to indoor athletic competitions. Interclass games tempered somewhat unsophisticated clashes of one kind and another between Freshmen and Sophomores; a program of interfraternity sports was also established. It was often claimed that intercollegiate games nourished a sense of unity in the student body and that winning teams spread the name and fame of the University. Up to a point, Rhees endorsed these contentions, felt that healthy rivalries with other colleges profited players and spectators alike, and often attended games himself. Yet he tenaciously resisted--and successfully--professionalism, ultra-athleticism (to coin a term), and pressures by alumni who relished athletic spectacles by "big-time" teams. Athletics as recreation was one thing, athletics that distracted from the academic work of the college was something quite different. After a heavy defeat in an intercollegiate contest, it was not uncommon for an irate alumnus to protest that U. of R. professors demanded better classroom performance of athletes than of other students. Complaints of that sort and pleas for greater generosity in granting scholars hips to athletes fell on ears that were deaf.
If athletes performed well, if over a period of years victories on the gridiron or diamond or court matched losses, sober-minded alumni and students were content. Recurrently, professorial voices deplored the "craze" for sports, and called for reformation. And a Senior chapel orator, a gridiron star himself, vigorously condemned football on physical and moral grounds and demanded its abolition. But a faculty committee of 1910 voted to retain the sport, after significant changes had been made nationally in the rules of the game. Letters in the Campus ventilated the pros and cons of professionalism in intercollegiate athletics; and a baseball captain-elect turned in (1910) his resignation saying that he, could not honestly sign a required statement that he had not accepted money for ballplaying.
Rochester joined (1906) the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, which undertook to revise the rules for football in order to lessen the hazards of the game. Partly because it was expensive, partly because it was regarded as meaningless, the U. of R. resigned in 1912 from the New York State Intercollegiate Union.
The University Council, made up of representatives of the trustees (who attended irregularly), faculty, undergraduates, and alumni, was vested with authority in almost everything pertaining to college athletics, and it had jurisdiction, too, over the musical and dramatic clubs and the Campus. Primarily; the Council concentrated on the financial affairs of the various organizations. (No copy of a revised Council constitution of 1910 has been found.) For the purposes of the Council, the trustees appropriated small yearly subsidies, supplementing income from students, donations by alumni, and revenues from the sale of tickets of admission for sporting events; in seasons when the basketball club was outstanding games netted a handsome surplus. By vote of the Students Association in 1912, each male undergraduate was assessed an athletic fee of two dollars, though payment was optional.
Judging by the evidence available,the Students Association played only a very minor, ineffective role in extracurricular life, though its constitution underwent frequent revisions, perhaps with an eye to overcoming or diminishing undergraduate apathy. The University Council, by contrast, displayed sustained vigor. Student representation was raised to five, and in 1906 it was agreed that each fraternity and men unaffiliated with a fraternity should have a direct voice on the Council. Now and then, the Council--or its faculty members--quarreled with the directors of physical education, who often doubled as team coaches. Eager to field winning clubs, they tended to be careless about finances and to disregard faculty regulations concerning student participation in intercollegiate sports.
Recruitment of promising athletes by financial inducements and proselytizing posed annoying dilemmas for the college officials, who were bent on preserving amateur standards in sports. Regulations against subsidizing players were more sharply defined and talk no more was heard of excluding first-year men from intercollegiate competition. 14
Organized cheering grew into a lively feature of games and it was believed that some victories were actually won by "the majestic work of an enthusiastic cheer leader." U. of R. yells, like college songs, tended to be ephemeral. A yell that was used for several years ran:
hoi, hoi, hoi; 'rah, 'rah, 'rah--Rochester!
(repeated three times)
A second retained its popularity into the 1960's:
Rochester! Rochester! Rochester!
Noisy rallies to inspire players on the eve of major intercollegiate contests grew into a popular pastime. "Nearly the whole college," we read, "went in procession (1908) to see "a football team depart from the railway station for a contest with Hamilton. There was no disorder and scarcely any loss of time from college work. When the club returned triumphant, enthusiasm was spirited though not excessive and did not interfere with recitations. "Even painting of the score, 5-0, around the campus was done in moderation, confined to walks and steps." 15
Firmly established before the turn of the century, football reigned as king at the U. of R. While in 1900 thirteen games were scheduled, the number was gradually whittled down to eight. Over the years, keen, if, not in fact fierce, rivalry developed with Hobart College; usually played on Thanksgiving Day on the Rochester campus gridiron, the Hobart game was lavishly publicized by the city press and sports-minded Rochesterians yearned for a home club victory as much as interested alumni. Crowds of 2,000 and more attended. Tally-hos with rooters from Geneva and scores of carriages lined the rim of the playing field. If the U. of R. lacked a college band, professional musicians were hired for the Hobart occasion.
A classic description of football, as then played, was written by the president of the University of California, Benjamin Ide Wheeler--who had turned down an overture to become the Rochester chief executive, and who believed heartily that physical training should have a large place in the college experience. "Two rigid, rampart-lines of human flesh have been created," declared Wheeler in The Abundant Life, "one of defense, the other of offense, and behind the latter is established a catapult to fire through a porthole opened in the offensive rampart a missile composed of four or five human bodies globulated about a carried football with a maximum of initial velocity against the presumably weakest point in the opposing rampart." 16
Country-wide criticism of football, the roughness of the game and professionalism, mounted to a peak in 1905 when nearly a score of players met death on the gridiron, and many more sustained crippling injuries. President Theodore Roosevelt, an earnest champion of the "strenuous life," thundered that the game must either be mended or ended. It was mended in one way by the elimination of certain mass scrimmages and in another by legalization of the forward pass (1906), though several years elapsed before this innovation was extensively employed. With time, the forward pass, which reduced the importance of mere brawn and opened up novel techniques of strategy, revolutionized the game.
Decision-making on football rules was assumed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, organized in 1906. Instead of halves of thirty minutes duration, a pattern of quarters was adopted (1910) with three (later two) minute intervals following the first and third quarters while the teams changed goals, and a fifteen minute breathing space between halves during which the players left the field. During each half each team was allowed three "time-outs" of a minute and a half. It was declared illegal, moreover, to push a ballcarrier or to tackle with a diving motion or to touch a punter; a man receiving a punt might signal for a free catch. Before headgears became regular equipment, players allowed their hair to grow long for protection--"football hair, it was called. Points for a field goal were reduced (1909) from four to three, while a touchdown counted (1912) six points in-stead of five, a try after a touchdown, one point, and a safety two points. That year witnessed a flood of innovations to cut down hazards: a team was allowed four, in stead of three, downs, or units of play action, to advance the ball ten yards, the kickoff line was moved from midfield to the forty-yard stripe, and the length of a standard playing field was fixed at one hundred yards.
The U. of R. eleven of the 1908 season turned in the finest record to that time: seven wins, one tie, and only a single defeat--at the hands of powerful Syracuse University; whereas the U. of R. racked up 140 points, opponents had to be satisfied with a mere 27, Syracuse scoring 23 of them. Jubilant "fans" urged that the scores of the principal wins should be emblazoned on the smoke stack of the heating plant! In a burst of enthusiasm, the University Council in 1909 spent money for equipment so extravagantly that the season ended with a debt of $1,200, which drew a stern rebuke from "Prexy." Not only for football, but for basketball and baseball, the U. of R. in 1909-1910 was awarded championship pennants by the New York State Athletic Union.
In what was perhaps the most spectacular contest of the decade, Rochester in 1911 bowed 6 -5 to the eleven from the Salt City. All the chroniclers do not agree on the exact sequence of events, nor does it matter much half a century later. In the first half William R. Yorkey, 1913, intercepted a Syracuse pass and streaked sixty yards for a touchdown, but the Rochester try for the extra point fell short. Between the halves, U. of R. supporters staged a colorful snake dance and serenaded the players in their dressing rooms, A furious skirmish ensued when men from Syracuse, a thousand strong, tried to raise their orange colors on the Rochester flagpole. Late in the contest, Syracuse, alas and alack, pushed over a touchdown and kicked the extra point. Claiming a "moral victory" and shouting the praises of Yorkey and of stellar defensive players, Rochester enthusiasts joined with Syracuse rooters in a raucous parade on downtown streets.
The Dandelion Yellow also lost in 1911 to Colgate, and under unusual circumstances. Toward the end of the game, Rochester leading, a Colgate back was banished for slugging. The U. of R. captain, Conrad R. ("Duke") Koegler, non-graduate 1912, chivalrously persuaded the referee to reverse his decision, and minutes later the erring opponent raced for the winning touchdown. That year, too, Raymond J. ("Beanie") Brown, 1912, thrilled spectators by kicking four field goals against Union. Coached by George T. Sullivan ("Sully"), 1907, who had excelled as a quarterback in his undergraduate years, the club of 1911, in spite of upsets by Syracuse and Colgate, was accredited as one of the best ever to represent Rochester on the gridiron.
By 1912 , motorcars on one side of the football field, filled with cheering spectators, had replaced the horse-drawn vehicles of a decade earlier. Larger audiences turned out, prompting a Rochester editor to write that "football serves purposes broader than athletics if it draws people to the campus and brings them nearer to the aims of our leading institution of learning."
During this period, several all-time "greats" wore the U. of R. colors: in the backfield, Walter S. ("Jack") Forsyth, 1914, "varsity's gridiron idol," Carl F. Paul, non-graduate, 1905, a real smasher, H. Acton Langslow, non-graduate, 1908 (he remained only one year at the college), and Henry P. Pray, non-graduate, 1911, excellent at punting; on the line "Duke" Koegler who played at tackle took top honors. 17
For sheer popular enthusiasm evoked, the newly invented game of basketball eclipsed football in several seasons. Deliberately devised as a wintertime diversion, this sport had its national debut in 1891; metal baskets and open hoops soon replaced the original peach baskets and backboards of wood (eventually of glass) replaced wire ones. Rule changes were not numerous, though the number of players was cut (1897) to five, the playing time fixed at four ten minute quarters, and the value of field goals at two (instead of three) points. Until the turn of the century, eastern colleges had a virtual monopoly on basketball.
A spunky Rochester youth, Frederick W. Coit, 1901, whose interest in sports at the college lasted to within a few weeks of his death in 1966, organized the pioneer University basketball club in his senior year, coached, and played on the team; it challenged students at the Theological Seminary and other amateur clubs in the area.
The first official University five played in 1901-02, without benefit of a regular coach or uniforms. On January 24, 1902, Rochester in its initial intercollegiate contest defeated Hobart, and, before a "wildly enthusiastic crowd," the U. of R. in overtime play took Hamilton into camp, thanks to Meyer Jacobstein, non-graduate, 1904, who "by a magnificent backward throw over his head, finally dropped the ball in the basket for the winning score."
"The style of play," a participant remembered, "was very different from the present . There was considerably more holding and no dribbling [bouncing]. The player could take only one step with the ball and then had to pass it to someone else. Instead of working the ball down the floor with a dribble, it was frequently passed the entire length to a man under the basket...."
Beginning with the 1907-08 season, the U. of R. captured the basketball championship of the New York State Intercollegiate Athletic Union three seasons in a row. In what was called "a golden era," Rochester teams won thirteen of eighteen games in 1908-09, which elicited hearty praise from Rhees sojourning in Europe, and lost only twice in nineteen encounters the following year; while the U. of R. scored 601 points, the combined opposition, among them teams from far larger institutions, collected only 271. A mere seven men played for the Dandelion Yellow, two Seniors, three Freshmen, and, as substitutes, two Juniors. To accommodate the crowds, major games were moved from the Gymnasium to the nearby Rochester Armory. Excited fans dashed on to the playing floor at times "to berate the referee or take a poke at a visiting player."
"I am very much pleased to comment on the excellent record of the Rochester basketball team," the sports expert on Collier's Weekly wrote, "which not only went through a successful season in the matter of victories... but played cleanly, without resort to unfair tactics. If there were a championship in the East, Rochester would be entitled to it, but its record of clean play is of infinitely greater credit...." Campus editor, Lester O. Wilder, 1911, reminded his audience that the star performers also stood well in academic ratings and they "should serve as models for all students who aspire to athletic fame."
Court luminaries of the time included S. Park Harman, Jr., 1909, a ball-handling magician, who as a graduate student played an additional season in which he tossed in 175 foul shots out of 207 tries (the rules permitted the surest marksman to shoot all the fouls). Superb also were the Ramaker brothers, Benjamin A. ("Ben"), 1910, and George W., 1909 (whose father, Albert J. Ramaker, 1895, protested that the sons devoted too much time and energy to sports), Alcott ("Allie") Neary, 1914, and Herbert J. ("Rip") Benzoni, non-graduate, 1915. 18
In baseball, oldest of U. of R. major sports though by now dethroned from preeminence, the college fared less well than in football and basketball. So heavily did Manhattan College outscore (1901) the players, from the Flower City that a news correspondent mused, "The wonder, is that their men didn't die of heart disease on the circuit of the bases.... If it hadn't been for the fence, they would be running yet." Extensive road trips were undertaken, leading players to complain sometimes that they were too tired to perform at their best. Now and then, Rochester nines came off with creditable balance sheets; the 1908 club equalled the best that had ever worn the Dandelion Yellow on the diamond. On one occasion, at least, "Prexy" Rhees formally opened the season by throwing out the first ball.
Matthew D. Lawless, 1909, who was dubbed "Mr. U. of R." by city sports-writers, picked an "all-star" University nine of the early twentieth century; Edward J. ("Ed") Keiber, non-graduate, 1910, Joseph E. ("Joe") Harrington, 1910, both pitchers who subsequently played professional ball, rarities among U. of R. men, and infielders, George T. Sullivan, 1907, Ben Ramaker, 1910, Richard H. ("Dick") Grant, 1909, George F. Skiff, 1915, and outfielder, Fred M. Chesbro, 1915. 19
What are sometimes called "minor" sports had their ups and downs. The track team won the New York Intercollegiate Track Meet in 1900, came in second the following year, and made another superior record in 1906-07. Interclass field days were held annually in keeping with well-established tradition. At the Alumni Gymnasium, University stalwarts competed with the Rochester Athletic Club in track and other contests, the collegians coming out on the short end of the horn. There, too, interscholastic track games were staged, veteran Professor Gilmore carrying on as referee. A hockey team, first organized in 1907, enjoyed a short span of glory, and tennis likewise had a chequered career. For faculty use, a tennis court was blocked out on the college grounds and several fraternities maintained their own courts; for a while the Greeks made bowling popular. A Canoe Club lasted only a short time. It is not self-evident whether bicycling should be regarded principally as a mode of transport or as a species of athletics; however classified, as late as 1903 new racks for wheelmen were set up in Anderson Hall. 20
To promote a deeper feeling of community spirit, all-University receptions were held in the Gymnasium, and in 1907 college banquets, students and alumni taking part, were instituted. At the first of these affairs "Prexy" led a merry parade around the hall; he observed that such gatherings cultivated "corporate expression" and a sense of collegiate unity. While he balked at singing a solo, Professor Slater, as toastmaster, delighted college banquet audiences as a story teller, par excellence. Rhees inaugurated in, 1902 yearly receptions for Seniors.
Class spirit was quickened by social clubs and at annual banquets with feasting, singing, possibly a baseball match, and yelling. One class liked:
Hobble, gobble, razzle dazzle,
Rip, rop, roar,
U. of R., U. of R., 1904.
Free-for-all fracases ordinarily interrupted the annual Freshmen and Sophomore banquets. A brawl in 1906 when Freshmen stormed a Sophomore party at a Geneseo hotel reached destructive dimensions, and the proprietor summoned police to break up the battle--and save his furniture. Furious tussles also ensued when Sophomore guardians of tradition tried to enforce the rule that greenlings must wear distinctive caps on the campus except, during the winter months. Freshmen class hilarity touched a high-point at the annual burning of the detested "beanies," generally under the surveillance of Rochester police. Clad in pajamas or colorful costumes and headed by a band, Freshmen paraded into the city, serenaded the presidential mansion, and then sat down to a spacious meal in the Gymnasium.
What came to be called "Proc" night caused no little trouble with Rochester citizens. As Sophomores, men of 1910 plastered college properties and prime locations, houses and gateposts, in the city--and even the approaches to Mt. Hope Cemetery--with mammoth yellow posters reciting in bold green characters "Ten Commandments" for Freshmen to obey. Rochesterians whose properties were defaced angrily protested to "Prexy," who sternly commanded the pranksters to remove the proclamations. They obeyed. Earlier, a cow was herded into Sibley Hall, as if in memory of the Boody livestock that once roamed the college grounds.
Teen-age friskiness was quite as exuberant as in the age of President Anderson. Rhees intervened to stop an outburst of underclass rowdyism in Anderson Hall, and he waxed belligerent during the Hallowe'en season when the Sphinxes in front of Sibley Hall were smeared with paint or garbage cans were overturned on the portico. Mischievous lads gaily decorated the porch of "Prexy's" home, leaving paint and brushes behind so that the pictorial design might be modified if the occupants so desired. Freshmen, class of 1912, who etched their class numerals on the roof of Reynolds Laboratory had to pay for the removal and were threatened with further disciplinary action, lest the impression get abroad that hot vandalism could be liquidated with cold cash. Undergraduate antics, student pranks, in short, varied little from generation to generation.
An annual flag rush was added to underclass rivalries. To a tall, greased pole raised in front of Anderson Hall, Sophomores securely nailed their class colors; for five minutes neophyte learners tried to haul down the emblem--yet seldom managed to do so. Decayed fruit, hurled promiscuously, lent special odor to the frays.
Customarily, each class held a dance every year, the "Soph Hop" turning (1904) into the "Soph Joll." Apart from dancing, a play or an original musical comedy was presented; but the "Hop" was restored when it was decided that the preparations for a play consumed too much time. The Class of 1911 turned out a show long remembered, "A Streak of Yellow," with George F. Abbott "putting life and spirit" into the offering. "Rushed," a clever musical farce, high-lighted the Soph Joll of 1907; it poked fun at the extremes to which fraternities went during the pledging season. A "Campus Song" in the production, written by Norman Nairn, non-graduate 1909, retained its popularity for many generations.
Presently, the unending debate over changing the official college colors cropped up anew, certain alumni pleading that yellow should be abandoned since it was the national color of decadent Spain and connoted to some minds a lack of manliness; traditionalists made light of such contentions and saved the day for the Dandelion Yellow. 21
George F. Abbott, by the way, provided a detailed profile of the student way of life at the college in the first decade of the century. Graduates of the U. of R. in his hometown of Hamburg near Buffalo and the grant of a scholarship persuaded him to enroll at Rochester. Since half the students resided in the Flower City, he felt like an alien on the campus. Of his courses, he liked German because Professor Shedd insisted that songs should be sung in the German language, and geology because of an insatiable curiosity about Mother Earth. Classes in Greek taught him to admire everything about the ancient Hellenes except their language. Yet he preferred football, hockey, and, above all, dramatics to book learning; an actor and the writer of successful college plays, he abandoned the idea of training for the law in favor of a theater career. As an undergraduate, "Abbey" earned his board as a waiter and roomed in his fraternity house. He met college expenses by coaching church athletic clubs in the winter and selling cooking utensils or teaching swimming at a camp during the vacation months. 22
While women students were on an equal footing with the masculine element in classes and laboratories, they had distinctive social and class organizations. For years chapel services, however, were joint affairs, the ladies occupying benches along the walls. Welcoming the women in his first chapel utterance, Rhees said, "Women... are our fellow students...Their presence... should be a challenge to our chivalry." As has already been noted, to relieve congestion the faculty decided (1911) the ladies should meet separately for chapel exercises. The college catalogue printed the names of women students in a separate section.
Male attitudes toward the gentler sex, collectively and individually, varied considerably; at times, the President reported reassuringly that "no appreciable friction" existed, but in other years open hostility, nearly complete ostracism prevailed. Men "sometimes elbowed the 'girls' in the corridors," one coed remembered, "or on the stairs of Anderson Hall, shut doors in their faces, or stamped when they entered a classroom." "Yet," she went on, "We 'girls' did not feel at all that we were martyrs .... It is true we sometimes carried chips on our shoulders, having developed an unfortunate sensitivity .... Some among us could not be expected to take a mature point of view and understand that older 'frat' brothers had compelled obedience to certain prescribed injunctions. However, on the whole, we were a light-hearted bunch whose natural exuberance could not be dampened...." Anti-feminist males provoked severe public criticism for coarse rhymes which violated the canons of good taste, such as,
Oh! the co-ed leads a sloppy life, sloppy life,
She eats potatoes with her knife, with her knife,
And once a year she bathes and scrubs
And leaves the water in the tub Oh! My!
Policies of the Interpres responded to the fluctuating moods of the males toward the ladies. Issues in 1903 and 1904 carried pictures of most of the Junior class women, and in 1907 and 1908 they had their own section, edited by coeds; but in 1905 and 1906 women were wholly excluded. As Seniors, the avowedly "woman-hating" class of 1909 resolved, "We will give our financial and moral support to the 1910 Interpres only on condition that no records or mention of the women be incorporated... " The ladies rejoined by publishing a college annual of their own--the Croceus. 23
Partisans in the Flower City of the principle of equality of rights for women often rebuked male undergraduates for churlish postures toward the gentler sex. Following a militant outburst in, the Post-Express (1910), the editor of the Campus flatly denied the validity of the indictment. Yet he hastened to say that "most of the men would prefer the college to be non-coeducational." According to the editor's reading of the situation the relations between the two sexes "should be restricted to the barest civilities," and he believed that "the best element among the women" agreed with him. Pointing to the "horrible example" of coeducation at Syracuse University, it was asserted that "a separate college for the women is greatly desired."
The Rhees administration shared that point of view and worked successfully to create separate buildings for the women. An alumnus of fifty years standing informed "Prexy" that he was "heart and soul with the Holy Spirit and Paul in being opposed" to coeducation. Replying, Rhees stated that "my own views are nearly in accord with yours;" except to receive their diplomas, he explained, women "have never appeared on the Commencement stage and so long as I have my way they never will."
Seldom put into writing, though important in the feelings of many men, was resentment because able and industrious women--"thirsty knowledge-seekers"--carried off so many Phi Beta Kappa keys and other honors for academic excellence. Whether the snobbish stance of many men was significantly responsible or not, a high proportion of the women who entered the college in the first decade dropped out before completing their-studies; in the class of 1905, for instance, only twelve out of thirty-three coeds earned baccalaureates. In time, however, as has been indicated previously, the record improved substantially.
For some males the presence of women encouraged a spirit of amiable tolerance. The men of 1906 debated extending to their feminine classmates the courtesies of Senior class day. Opponents of the idea querulously inquired whether the ladies would smoke the class pipe and assist in planting the class tree. When the proposal carried by a slim majority, Seniors belonging to three of the older fraternities threatened to boycott the class day exercises. Not surprisingly, the women indignantly declined to accept the invitation to the men's party and soon started one of their own. Balancing matters off, several graduates found life partners in the coed contingent, men of 1901 pacing the field. 24
As noted before, in 1900 a room on the first floor of Anderson Hall was fitted up as a "parlor" for coeds. It was plainly furnished with a folding cot, a brown oak desk, a somber brown clock above it, oddments of chairs, and a collection of steel lockers. "No one was ever left an outcast," a coed cheerfully recalled, "for if she came to the girls' room... she found herself in the thick of college life and fun...." As numbers grew, the inadequate facilities were enlarged by a grim study room across the hall, adorned by a portrait of Susan B. Anthony, "our inspiring benefactor and leader." Absolute silence reigned in these sacred precincts. In harmony with coed tastes, the "parlor" was redecorated and a piano was installed. Luncheon service--inexpensive sandwiches and cocoa--originated by the coeds evolved into a daily "Bean Feast;" one student selected the menu and half a dozen others brought the food from home. Subsequently, the college took charge of luncheon arrangements dancing after eating became a popular noontime diversion.
However cramped and circumscribed their facilities, enterprising coeds set about establishing extracurricular organizations, more or less modelled on corresponding men's groups, and they fashioned customs and traditions for future generations. A Women's Student Association which came into being in 1900 started off on a low key, but rapidly improved as spokesman of coed concerns, arranged special luncheons, and a banquet--the first in June, 1901, at the Genesee Valley Club--spreads to celebrate birthdays, and songfests eventually around the Anderson statue. On Washington's birthday, 1901, the Association ventured its pioneer social function: a reception in Anderson Hall for the wives of trustees and professors together with representatives of leading women's societies in the city. This affair grew into an annual custom.
Each class elected officers, and organized parties, dances, and annual banquets; underclassmen liked to have a captive member of the opposing class at their yearly festivities. Classes picked distinctive colors and flowers, 1911 for example, choosing blue and brown and the black-eyed Susan. 1914 outdistanced previous classes by adopting a "mascot," Jean Watkeys Gardner, 1932, baby daughter of two U. of R. graduates--and--one day a Rochester M. D., who served (1943-1946) as medical advisor to the College for Women.
Beginning in 1908, a May Day Festival at the home of a student took its place on the women's extracurriculum. Features were a May pole dance, athletic contests, singing, and supper. That same year, the Seniors initiated their own class day during Commencement week. Having eaten breakfast together, the Seniors wended their way to a platform near the Eastman Building. Two Freshmen pages preceded Sophomores carrying myrtle and daisy arches, beneath which sedate Seniors, in cap and gown, passed, selected Juniors serving as ushers. As the procession moved along, everyone joined in singing the Slater Commencement Hymn. Underclassmen and Juniors wore modish white gowns and mortar boards with distinctive class tassels. Statistical data about the Senior class, its history, its last will and testament (in verse), and a prophecy were read. A Senior delivered an ivy oration, then joined her mates in planting a sprig of ivy in front of the building, and the whole company sang the Alma Mater. If the weather proved inclement, festivities were transferred to the chapel or even to the masculine holy of holies--the Alumni Gymnasium.
Classes entertained other classes at parties, as, for example, when the Sophomores in 1910 arranged a boat trip for Senior guests so that all might have an unobstructed view of Halley's comet. Annually, rules were issued to regulate the campus behavior of first-year coeds; they were reminded to use only the western staircase of Anderson Hall, to preserve total silence in the Library, and not to chew "Wrigley's." It was forbidden them to loiter in college buildings, or to trespass on the circle around the Anderson statue, which was "sacred to the men," or to watch football practice. Whenever the Dean entered a room, Freshmen were instructed to rise; they had also to open doors and give up seats to their "revered superiors." 25
Sororities, in the first phase of coeducation, occupied an important place in the social life of many women. Moreover, in the language of an alumna, "Sororities furnished a united front and gave courage to the minority group of women... lifelong friends were made." Certainly many alumnae manifested warm attachment to their societies over the years and through them to the University itself. In a fairly short time five sororities were formed, all remaining local in character, for affiliation with a national society was frowned upon by the administration.
February, 1903, saw the foundation of Theta Eta and Alpha Sigma; months before that, the idea of a sorority was discussed but laid aside because it was felt, a chronicler of Theta Eta has written, that "the position of womenfolk at the U. of R. was so precarious, it would not be advisable to form any society that would tend to mar the unity of the Women's Association as a whole." With Helen Ellwanger Hanford, 1904, leading, five "favored damsels" meeting around a festive board organized Theta Eta. Before coming into the open, the sorority solicited and obtained the sanction of "Prexy." It was a "broad-minded, large-hearted sisterhood," we are told, "where the spirit of snobbishness is firmly suppressed and good fellowship reigns supreme." A poetess of the sisterhood sang:
In 19-3 the Brothers Wright
Combined an engine with a kite;
The sisters right in 19-3
Set out to conquer gravity;
They chose the lovely Grecian Theta
Combined it with the rhyming Eta
And thus occurred in 19-3
The birth of our sorority...
Even so, regular meetings of Theta Eta possessed an air of gravity, of seriousness, with papers and discussions on art, literature, and music--as well as miscellaneous chatter; for a time the sorority published "The Phaeton,'' no copies of which have been found. Normally, Theta Eta met in the home of a member or for larger occasions in an Anderson Hall classroom; in due course an alumnae association came into being. All the charter members of Alpha Sigma were Sophomores, meetings usually convened in a member's house, and, if its fragmentary records are to be believed, had a lighter flavor than the gatherings of Theta Eta. For initiations and formal dances a hotel ballroom or a Rochester club was engaged and springtime parties were held in houses on a. lake near the city.
Similar in purpose and activities were Theta Tau Sigma (1906), Gamma Phi (1909), and Theta Gamma (1911). Gamma Phi was designed "to find, through friendship, a fuller knowledge of life, and to impart to others the happiness of such inspiration." An early member has written, "The things I remember best are the personal experiences, the good times we had together in meetings and house parties, the warm affection we felt for each other and the really wonderful spirit of harmony among us." An "active and enthusiastic" alumnae organization, started in 1910, met monthly for supper and a planned program, assisted undergraduates in the sisterhood in planning their careers, and collected funds for a student to attend the Silver Bay Conference of the Y. W. C. A. As early as 1904 an Intersorority Council put in an appearance, though it was not formally organized until 1908. Through the Council, two representatives from each sorority regulated "rushing," which was conducted in the Sophomore year, and initiation procedures. 26
A women's Athletic Association, launched in November, 1901, attempted little at first; but in 1904 the Association ventured a "stunt night," which grew into a major and popular affair, rivaling a "gym night" held in the city Young Women's Christian Association. For "stunt" night, coeds arrived in pairs, one wearing masculine attire, the other in a fancy dress or appearing as a clown or a monk or whatnot. A blue ribbon was pinned on the most cleverly costumed couple. Athletic recreations included basketball (some games were played with out-of-town teams), tennis, golf and hockey clubs, hiking and skating parties. College-sponsored programs of physical culture were conducted initially at the Y.W.C.A. and then at the nearby East High School. Underclassmen were required to appear two or three times weekly for gymnastic exercises, dancing, archery, and other sports; the trustees instructed "Prexy" to "procure apparatus for the physical measurement" of the coeds.
Women students maintained a dramatic society, dating from January, 1903, known as D. F. (Dramatis Filiae), which presented light farces at first, principally in homes of students. Sorority competition soon caused the organization to wither away (1906). On Professor Slater's initiative women as well as men played in Milton's "Comus," performed on December 9, 1908, and it was a "decided success," notwithstanding the resistance of an irreconcilable clique of Senior men. In a blistering editorial, the Campus condemned the innovation and vigorously endorsed sentiments of Professor Morey in favor of "coordination rather than commingulation."
In 1910, the Senior women, encouraged by Slater, staged Tennyson's "Princess." "We started our rehearsals at eleven p.m.," William A. Searle, 1906, the director recalled, "quitting at twelve-thirty to one in the morning. ...When the girls still wore high-button shoes... and the skirts were scarcely off the ground, the question of costuming the prince and the other men parts in 'tights' was something to consider... We got by....'Doc' Slater ran good interference" even to advertising "some splendid, shapely legs." Evidently, this unconventionality displeased "Prexy," for he prohibited the women of 1913 from acting in masculine attire and the leading man, Margaret Neary Bakker, 1913, had to substitute knee breeches for a tuxedo. 27
A college Y.W.C.A., brought into existence in January, 1905, held devotional meetings periodically, organized Bible and mission study conferences, and engaged in social welfare work for disadvantaged and elderly folk in Rochester. As a rule, three out of four students signed up. Delegates were sent to an annual intercollegiate "Y. W." conference at Silver Bay on Lake George. To raise money for this purpose, a Kollege Kaleidoscope was dreamed up; patrons witnessed a series of original skits, uncoordinated and often topsy-turvy, by each undergraduate class and sorority; by way of variant a County Fair was arranged in 1910. To acquaint undergraduates with the Silver Bay gathering, a so-called Silver Bay Day was held, featuring typical items on the conference agenda. Alumnae who had profited from a Silver Bay experience set up a club to reinforce the undergraduates.
Music lovers founded (about 1910) a Glee Club, issued songbooks, and composed college rhythms. According to "Fair Rochester,"
True hearted daughters there are found
In love and virtue all abound,
For Good takes lead
In thought and deed
And Right's the creed
"The Fairy Call" started off
By a college dear to me
flows the river Genesee...
Very lively was (1909) the U. of R. chapter of the New York State Equal Suffrage League. Adopting the late Susan B. Anthony as patron saint, members met regularly to hear about and debate franchise rights for their sex, and alumnae supported the undergraduate doings. Not all the coeds, to be sure, endorsed the objectives of the League, Alice Booth Holmes, 1913, writing:
I'd like to be a suffragette,
I really think I should be,
But no one's quite convinced me yet,
Else I most certainly would be...
Debate clubs, a club to promote interest in the German language, and a Junior honorary society, Nu Omega Phi (1909), afforded further extra-curricular opportunities. But the biggest enterprise was the creation (1909) and perpetuation of a yearbook, edited and managed by Juniors. Understandably embittered by the cavalier treatment meted out by the Interpres, the women chose to have their own college annual, for which the name Croceus, a Latin derivative signifying saffron and close to the Dandelion yellow, was adopted over Meliora. For the historian this publication is a veritable gold mine of information. 28
"Our small numbers," the preface of the original Croceus commented, "together with the absence of any dormitory life, have presented almost insurmountable obstacles...." Signing himself, "Your very sincere friend," Rhees greeted the yearbook adventure "with the utmost cordiality," and interpreted it as a further step in "the development of an independent student consciousness." So far as format and content were concerned, the Croceus resembled the men's publication. There were lists of the University trustees, portraits of professors and summaries of their academic careers, lists of the alumnae (soon replaced by correspondence from alumnae who were living abroad or pictures of babies to which graduates had given birth), photographs of the Seniors (later the Juniors) with their extracurricular activities, gay histories of each of the four classes, pictures of sororities, records in athletics, a large literary section of short stories and poetry by undergraduates, advertisements, and pages displaying feminine wit and humor.
In the pioneer issue, professors were preferred targets of good-natured banter. Morey was tagged "Our Uncle William, " Fairchild, "Our Funny Fairy," and then there were "Our Smiling Sheddie," "Our Stately Slater," and "Our Comely Havens." Doggerel pieces, such as "A Maiden's Prayer," incorporated sly snatches about the faculty, and a rollicking sketch on "Various Girl's Ideas of Heaven" exhibited a gift for originality. A quipster converted the slogan of the city of Rochester, "Rochester made means quality," into "Rochester maid means quality." From the beginning the Croceus was an immense success; 800 copies of the second number were published, 300 more than the first.
Dedications in the early issues of the Croceus tell quite a little about the frame of mind of coed leaders. Number One extolled Susan B. Anthony in "love, appreciation and gratitude," and it was said that her resourceful labors to open the doors of the U. of R. to women had gravely undermined her health. (On February 10, 1910, women undergraduates solemnly commemorated the birthday of their choicest idol.) Other issues lauded her sister Mary, "modest and unassuming...sweet and gentle with a distinctive force," and "Our Friend" Mrs. Mary T. L. Gannett, a tireless worker on behalf of the coeds, and the only woman on the faculty, Professor Denio, "a strong and helpful influence, kindly, sweet, and understanding." Parenthetically, Rhees responded affirmatively to an inquiry by a Rochester manufacturer who solicited a faculty appointment for his daughter; her sex would not be a hindrance, but the father would have to pay her salary, the President indicated. 29
Step by step, the University authorities moved toward a more or less independent coordinate college for women, an objective devoutly cherished by the President. He was deeply convinced that "the two groups of students are distinct by nature and no educational theory can abolish the distinction." One sign of the trend was the arrival in January, 1910, of Annette G. Munro as dean for women--before a comparable administrator for men had been named. While considering the Rochester invitation, Miss Munro "confessed a possible disqualification... [in] that she does not believe in coeducation, but, like myself, Rhees wrote, [believes] firmly in offering educational opportunity to young Rochester women who cannot go a distance from home."
Spoken of by the Croceus as a gentlewoman, "traveled, cultured, broad-minded, approachable and sympathetic," Dean Munro came of a family of New England scholars. Sometime a student at Wellesley College, she had taught in a secondary school and worked as a librarian before assuming the Rochester post. At the close of her service, two decades later, an alumna who knew the Dean intimately and admired her remarked upon her gracious presence, her quiet dignity and reserve, her zest and ever fresh enthusiasms, and her profound interest in people. 30
At the Alumnae Association dinner in 1910 a resolution expressed "very great satisfaction with the development...of the past year," especially the creation of the deanship. What some "sweet girl graduates" did not like, however, was the Alumnae Commencement luncheon in Anderson Hall chapel instead of jointly with the men, as previously, in the Gymnasium. One unhappy lady lamented:
Loyal daughters of the College
Can you read between the lines?
Do you hear the warning sounding?
Are you blind to open signs?
When you see the old Alumni,
Guests of honor, gathered in,
And the doors which once were open,
Now shut out the cheerful din.
If content, you've lost the spirit
That once filled us to the brim,
When dear Susan B. was with us
And we fought that we might win...
While the students, uncomplaining,
They may segregate at will,
For alumnae of the college
It's a very bitter pill.
(Probably written by Gertrude M. Jones, 1904.)
Replying to critics, Rhees pointed out that the Gymnasium was not large enough to accommodate all graduates comfortably (about 200 women attended the first separate luncheon) and that the ladies would have more fun by themselves. For subsequent annual Alumnae meetings, the chapel was converted into a gay banqueting hall, popular professors and well-known ladies of Rochester spoke. "We have seen the problems which confronted the earlier classes gradually disappearing under the wise leadership of President Rhees," declared the president of the Alumnae Association. 31
Talk of a set of buildings to carry on the education of women was heard again and again. Some voices even proposed a dormitory, though Rhees opposed that, for he believed that the enrollment should be restricted almost entirely to the gentler sex of Rochester. When women were first admitted, the faculty had ruled that students coming from outside of the city "must board in faculty-approved houses, unless parents designate other places." A revised version read: "For young women...from out of the city it is essential that parents secure residence for them in homes of relatives or friends of the family."
On March 3, 1912, the Executive Committee of the trustees voted, "Whereas the experience of the last twelve years has convinced us, in the interest of the most satisfactory college life and successful training for our women students, it is desirable to provide for them more distinct recognition...by the creation of a College for Women within the University." Consequently, the Board of Trustees was urged to organize a college of that sort as soon as at least $250,000 had been secured; plans were set on foot to purchase land on the southwestern corner of University Avenue and Prince Street, and to engage a consulting architect. The faculty, moreover, ordained (1914) separate instruction for women in required courses for underclassmen and in large elective classes. These moves presaged a fresh chapter in the higher education of women in the Flower City. 32
On recommendation of the President, the trustees set tuition rates in 1903 at seventy-five dollars for the college year and incidental fees at twenty-one dollars for men and fifteen for women. At the same time the diploma fee was reduced from twenty to ten dollars and chemical laboratory fees from thirteen to ten dollars a term. Male students paid (1900) six dollars a year for use of the gymnasium facilities (as did the faculty), and alumni ten dollars. From 1907 onward all undergraduates were charged a matriculation fee of five dollars. Rising operating costs prompted the trustees to consider raising tuition rates to $100, but Rhees persuaded them to settle for ninety dollars. The increase became effective in September, 1912, and was not applicable to students already in college; simultaneously, aid in the form of scholarships was enlarged. Since many students came from lower income families, a trustees strongly recommended keeping expenses down on the assumption that as graduates they would "not only discharge the obligations of their own education, but would make it easier for youths of succeeding generations." As matters stood, the net cash expenditures amounted to about $207 per student, or double the sum covered by tuition and fees; each undergraduate, in other words, benefited from a subsidy equal to what he paid.
Additionally, a large percentage of the undergraduates were granted scholarships to meet tuition charges in whole or part. Appropriations by the trustees or gifts by friends of higher learning modestly enlarged the funds available for scholarship awards to men and to women alike. In a friendly gesture to America's new wards in Puerto Rico, the trustees voted (1900) a free annual scholarship and incidental expenses to a student from the island. Besides, arrangements could be made to defer payment of tuition until after graduation. As of 1908, two out of three students were beneficiaries of scholarships or deferred tuition. For special emergencies, undergraduates in good standing might obtain assistance from a small President's loan fund. (In 1910, the Sherman and Townsend Scholarships for study in an approved graduate school were renamed Fellowships.) For 1904-05 the total cost for a year of study varied from $241 to $386, with the average $296. A decade later the figures had risen by approximately twenty percent. When Kendrick Hall was opened, rentals for rooms ranged from sixty to ninety dollars a year.
An investigation in 1911 disclosed that fifty-three percent of the men were working for remuneration, and seven out of ten of them reported that they had to earn money to remain in college. Hours of employment ranged as high as an unbelievable seventy-eight a week, with forty-four men averaging ten hours. A Students Employment Bureau aided (1912) in finding jobs in the city and quite a few students worked in the college library--at twenty cents an hour in 1904--or in the laboratories; in his first years Rhees personally received applications for University jobs and approved or denied them. 33
The Commencement season represented, of course, the climax and crown of the academic year. Occupying four days of June (five in 1911), the various events matched the ritual that had come into vogue in American institutions of higher learning generally. Preliminary to the formal affairs, professors engaged Seniors in a hilarious baseball game; large crowds congregated to watch "the amusing spectacle," which usually ended in a triumph for "the knowledge dispensers." On Sunday, a baccalaureate service, Rhees preaching, was held alternately in the First and Second Baptist churches; as a new feature in 1906 an evening address was delivered before the Christian Associations in a city church. Monday was given over to the Alling Debate between teams of upperclassmen (in 1911 the Debate was switched to Saturday evening), and to Senior men's class day with speechmaking, serenading college buildings with song, planting of tree or ivy, pipe-smoking, and rounded off with a baseball game and a dinner at a nearby resort. In keeping with immemorial custom, the festivities were disturbed by Junior funmakers, who deployed a hooligan band and delivered mock orations. The ceremonial in 1909 exhibited "the intellectual feebleness" of the class, Acting President Burton thought; only interruptions by Juniors infused some interest in what otherwise would have been "unendurable." But the roysterers exceeded the limits of propriety by introducing a burlesque gang of musicians, which paraded around the Gymnasium during the speeches. Several Senior classes presented merry farces, and the tradition grew up of making a class gift to the college, which "Prexy" accepted with a little speech.
An address sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society and alumni gatherings were the high points on Tuesday. To an unprecedented extent, the administration urged alumni to return for reunions; class parties met at a lakeside tavern or a city hotel or the residence of a classmate; fraternity reunions supplemented the gatherings of the classes. In the evening, alumni converged upon the Gymnasium (or upon a tent erected on the campus) for a smoker, singing, and good fellowship.
Until 1906 graduation exercises were conducted on Wednesday in the Gymnasium, but in that year the scene shifted to the nearby third Presbyterian Church. If the weather was clement, the academic procession formed in Anderson Hall and meandered down Prince Street or Strathallan Park to the church on East Avenue, much as half a century earlier a Commencement parade had made its way from the original University home to Corinthian Hall. Twentieth century pageantry, remote from the business center of the city, lost something of its educational and publicity value. To lend "significance and dignity" to the Baccalaureate and Commencement services, "Prexy" virtually ordered the professors to attend as a body. Before 1910, only the President and the Seniors wore caps and gowns; thereafter the faculty donned academic apparel though the wearing of hoods was optional. In 1906 the, custom began for the classes to wear mortar boards, the Seniors with black tassels, Juniors, purple, Sophomores, red, and the Freshmen "a color that could easily be recognized." Orations by selected members of the graduating class, the award of prizes and honors, the conferring of earned and honorary degrees individually, and a parting exhortation by the President commonly prolonged the ceremonies to the noon-hour or later. At the festival of 1907, the Commencement Hymn "O Mater academica Rocestriensis" written by Professor Slater was first sung. The Latin text and an English version are given in the preceding chapter.
Following the ceremonies, graduates gathered for dinner in the Gymnasium (the women from 1910 on in Anderson Hall), sang college songs, and listened to a presidential commentary on the state of the University and the prospects for the future. In the evening, the Rheeses received in their home; guests dressed in formal evening clothes, though the atmosphere was "cordial and democratic. " On the next day, graduating men had a farewell banquet and a ball in the Alumni Gymnasium. 34
Recommendations for honorary degrees came from trustees, alumni, and faculty, and required approval by the corporation. To Rhees these awards seemed "artificial," "a necessary evil," and he wished "the whole business,'' were in the bottom of the sea." Adamantly opposed to conferring honors in absentia, he insisted that recipients should attend Commencement. " When a European savant applied for a doctorate in literature, expressing his willingness "to make the usual gift of money to the library," he was tartly informed that his request was "offensive in the highest degree. "
To deal with honorary degree awards, a committee composed of the President, two trustees, and two professors was set up in 1910. Candidates, it was prescribed, must be authors of original works, or officers in a university, or of "acknowledged eminence" in, an area of learning or public service. The practice of handing a diploma to honorary graduates began in 1903 and of bestowing hoods ten years later. 35
"The history of a college is the history of its alumni," Professor John R. Slater once remarked. Partial though that estimate is, it directs attention to an important element in the university community. During the first phase of the Rhees administration--and later as well--unprecedented efforts were put forth to bind the graduates more closely to Alma Mater. It has previously been related that from 1904 onward alumni were privileged to elect members of the trustee body; for validity at least a third of the alumni had to take part in the ballotting though in certain years that proportion was not achieved. Moreover, the Campus frequently carried news of special interest to the alumni, and the administration occasionally circulated literature concerning the college to all former students. To assist graduates who had chosen the teaching profession, a Teachers Register on school vacancies was created (1900) and at the outset was much used. About 1905 an energetic, though necessarily small, Alumnae Association came into being.
To the well-organized graduate club in New York City, a Western Alumni Association was added (1902) in the Chicago area, a second in Buffalo, another in Livingston County, New York, and in 1912 a New England club was founded in Boston. Occasional alumni meetings were held in Syracuse, and possibly other cities, and there was a large mid-winter gathering in Rochester, along with the annual. meeting of the Associated Alumni during the Commencement season; at the 1903 meeting a committee was appointed to confer with the trustees on means "by which to secure the larger and more effective service of the Alumni to the University."
Apart from approving plans for a diagram showing the location of class trees on the campus and . urging the trustees to procure more adequate playing fields, alumni financed the construction of the Anderson statue and considered erecting a parallel monument to Professor A. C. Kendrick, who was eventually commemorated in the residence hall, partly paid for by alumni. They helped to raise the money to match the Carnegie offer and shared in the dramatic fund-raising campaign of 1912. Bequests from grateful graduates steadily, if modestly, increased the resources of the college. More original was the launching of a yearly Alumni Maintenance Fund in 1907; Trustee Alling leading, to erase deficits in current expenses. Conducted at first through class channels, the drive of 1909 was carried on by general solicitation; the appeal asked for assistance in view of the enlargement of the teaching staff and of outlays for athletics. For several years, annual alumni giving helped the college to operate without a deficit, and this support was a telling credential for obtaining funds from other sources. The Associated Alumni (a new name for the older Society of the Alumni) and individual graduates contributed to the welfare of Alma Mater by directing prospective students to Rochester. 36
According to the General Catalogue of 1911, the college counted 1,656 alumni and 133 alumnae together with 525 men and 55 women in the nongraduate category. At that point, teaching and the ministry had attracted the largest quotas of graduates, business, medicine, and governmental work of one sort or another followed along.
An alumnus exulted (1905), "while Virginia may be the mother of presidents, the U. of R. is the mother of college presidents, twenty-six of her sons having been called to that office, a matchless record." Matchless or otherwise, he proceeded to enumerate the academic executives, and a more complete roster contained as of 1911 thirty-four U. of R. graduates. Some of them, to be sure, were heads of institutions that by strict definition were secondary schools. 37
An impressive number of graduates in the early part of the Rhees administration found their lifework in college or university teaching. On the faculty roll of the U. of R. itself were: Chemistry, Ralph W. Helmkamp, 1911, and Willard R. Line, 1912, both outstanding in class room and laboratory and friends and confidants of generations of students; Education, Earl B. Taylor, 1912, who also became Director of the Extension Division which, under his leadership, grew into the School of Liberal and Applied Studies with him as Dean; English, Raymond D. Havens, 1902, earlier mentioned, and Lester O. Wilder, 1911, who also carried on for a decade as Dean of the College for Men; Mathematics, Charles W. Watkeys, 1901, and Physics and Astronomy, Floyd C. Fairbanks, 1901. Conrad H. Moehlmann, non-graduate 1902, a disciple of Rauschenbush, 1885, taught at the Rochester (later Colgate-Rochester) Theological Seminary and wrote extensively on historical and social aspects of Christianity; on occasion, Moehlmann offered instruction in religion at the college, too, thus renewing a bond as old as higher education in Rochester. In 1929 the University conferred an honorary doctorate on him.
Among other notable professors were James H. Hanford, 1904, English at Western Reserve; Richard R. B. Powell, 1911, Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia; Edgar J. Fisher, 1906, who taught history and political science at Robert (Istanbul) and Sweet Briar Colleges; F. Stuart Chapin, non-graduate, 1909, sociologist at the University of Minnesota, had a long list of learned monographs and books to his credit; Albert W. Giles, 1909, University of Arkansas geologist and geographer; Charles C. Bidwell, 1904, physicist at Cornell and Lehigh Universities; Roy D. Anthony, 1908, Horticulture, Penn State University; Alden F. Barss, 1910, Horticulture, University of British Columbia; Ernest Little, 1911, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Rutgers, and Herman Betz, 1912, Mathematics, University of Missouri. A naturalist, Ellsworth P. Killip, 1911, headed the botany division of the Smithsonian Institution.
Called "the Aladdin of Broadway," George F. Abbott, 1911, is likewise known as "the most productive all-around man" in the saga of the American theater. Author and producer of more than one hundred plays, his successes extended from light farces through musical extravaganzas to serious, socially significant plays. His Alma Mater honored him with a doctorate (1961) and Broadway managers affixed his name to a theater. Lewis S. Gannett, non-graduate 1912, attained distinction as a columnist and book-reviewer for the New York Herald-Tribune and as an author. The foremost schoolman trained at the U. of R. in this period was James M. Spinning, 1913, who succeeded Weet, 1899, as superintendent of schools in Rochester and won national distinction as an administrator. When the University awarded (1965) Spinning a doctorate in laws, it was said that he had "shown by personal example the possibilities of an unselfish and dedicated life." Advancing to the position of chief librarian at Queens Borough Public Library, Louis J. Bailey, 1905, donated an exceptionally fine collection of bookplates to Alma Mater.
The Stewart brothers, Frederick W., 1901, and Harold S., 1903, were distinguished churchmen and teachers of religion in colleges and they had four other brothers who attended the U. of R., an extraordinary record; from 1896 to 1911, a Stewart was continuously on the campus, longer even than that really for their family home stood on the Prince Street edge of the campus. John W. Johnson, 1909, was widely respected as a theologian, and Albert D. Kaiser, 1909, a beloved physician and Professor of Child Hygiene in the U. of R. Medical School, achieved national recognition as a medical administrator while serving as guardian of public health in the Flower City. The Rochester Academy of Medicine honored him by giving his name to its highest award of merit.
In the area of public affairs, Prentiss B. Gilbert, 1906, stood out. First Director of U. of R. Extension Teaching (1916), he resigned to enter the army, and then joined the State Department; after varied Washington assignments, he represented the United States at the League of Nations and in 1937 he was appointed American Chargé d'Affaires in Germany. A second State Department officer, William R. Vallance, 1910, promoted hemispheric understanding as secretary-general of the Inter-American Bar Association. After serving as consul in several Chinese cities, Ernest B. Price, 1913, switched to academic and business pursuits.
The versatile Meyer Jacobstein, non-graduate 1904, represented the Rochester area in Congress, taught economics at the U. of R. and elsewhere, acted as labor mediator, managed a business training school and a bank, and published a Hearst newspaper. Quitting Rochester for West Point, Albert W. Waldron, non-graduate 1912, rose to the rank of Major-General and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. A well-known lawyer of Rochester, William F. Love, 1903, was elected to the New York State Supreme Court and subsequently promoted to the Appellate Division; for devoted leadership to his college fraternity, he was saluted as "Mr. Theta Delt." In 1946, Martin F. Tiernan, 1906, was cited in an Alumni Award as an internationally known industrialist and a pioneer in water sanitation; a trustee and generous benefactor of the University, his name was assigned to a men's residence hall on the River Campus. Herman M. Cohn, 1907, a Rochester manufacturer, Cornelius R. Wright, 1909, a Rochester lawyer, and E. Willard Dennis, 1910, a Rochester merchandising executive, George G. Smith, 1911, a Buffalo lawyer, likewise served on the Board of Trustees, as did Kaiser and Ernest A. Paviour, 1910. 38
Early alumnae of the college who became career women wrote a proud record, especially as teachers, school administrators, and social workers. Graduates of high achievement included Margaret T. Applegarth, 1908, author of books, short stories, and plays, Edith L. Jackson, non-graduate, 1910, who held the deanship of women at the Paterson (N.J.) State Teachers College, and Dora E. Neun, 1912, who, after earning a Ph.D. in chemistry at Columbia University, chose to go into business and served a term as International President of the Zonta Club, the feminine counterpart of the Rotary Club. To Alvalyn E. Woodward, 1905, a medical researcher, belongs the distinction of being the earliest U. of R. alumna to receive a Ph.D.
Looking backward--and forward--it is evident that 1913 marked the end of the beginning of the Rhees administration. Rather surprisingly, considering his previous life, the President had grown into an experienced and astute educational leader, and that evolution was crucial for the growth of the University. Financial and physical resources had expanded apace, and administrative organization had been brought more nearly into line with comparable American colleges.
The admission of women had substantially enlarged the body of learners (males had increased by approximately one hundred), and involved particular and delicate perplexities. Not only had the teaching force been tripled, but course offerings had been very greatly enhanced. Broader vistas of learning were fostered and professors perpetuated the great tradition of making young people excited and enthusiastic about learning. The extra-curriculum of the college experience had taken on greater breadth and depth, and, by the Rochester community, the college was more generally appreciated and, better understood.
At the Alumni Commencement dinner of 1913, the Reverend John Love, 1868, delivered a long, long poem whose recurrent theme was the familiar injunction of President Anderson, "Bring things to pass." It paid tribute to the eminent personalities of the University past and prayed
Long may a Rhees the cohorts guide
Of our famed University;
By Anderson's his name beside
Shall make world-famed the Genesee. 39
Footnotes to Chapter 16
- Campus, XXVII, Feb 12, 1902. Ibid., XXXII, Feb. 28, 1907. Ibid., XXXVI, March 9, 1911. Ibid., XXXVII, Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 19, 1912. Rush Rhees to Samuel M. Havens; 1899, February 12, 1935. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Woodrow Wilson, November 4, 1909. Ibid. Rhees to Francis Bellamy, 1876, November 29, 1909. Ibid.
- Bird T. Baldwin, "Present Status of the Honor System in Colleges and Universities," U. S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1915, no. 8. Campus, XXXI, April 25, 1906. Ibid., XXXV, May 5, 1 2, 1910. Ibid., XXXVII, Feb. 27, March 19, June 19, 1912. Faculty Minutes ; V, June 10, Nov. 8, 11, Dec. l6, 1912, March 5, 1913.
- Faculty Minutes, V, Sept. 27, Nov. 1, 1905. Rush Rhees to William C. Sheppard, 1885, Nov. 9, 1905. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Susan B. Anthony, Dec. 13, 1905. Ibid.
- Campus, XXXV, December 16, 1909, January 13, 1910. Ibid., XXXIV, June 3, 1909. Ibid., XXXVIII, April 22, May 6, 1913. Harvey F. Morris, op. cit., 14-20. The Society published in 1904 a history of the Iota Chapter and the membership roll. Rhees Library Archives.
- Woodrow Wilson, "What is College For?" Scribner's Magazine, XLVI (1909), 574. For an informative survey of the way of life in American colleges at the turn of the century, see, Henry D. Sheldon, Student Life and Customs (New York. 1901), chapter 5.
- Campus, XXX, Feb. 15, 1905. Ibid., XXXII, Jan. 17, 1907. Ibid., XXXIII, Nov. 27, 1907, Feb. 13, 1908.
- Rush Rhees to W. A. Crawford, Jan. 29, 1902. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Richard D. Harlan, May 4, 1905. Ibid. Rhees to Leonard Dickerson, Jan. 6, 1910. Ibid. Rhees to Ralph K. Jones, May 16, 1910.
- Harvey F. Morris, "Alpha Delta Phi," 39 ff.
- Campus, XXXI, Feb. 28, 1906. Ibid., Jan. 14, 1913. Rush Rhees to William F. Love, 1903, Nov. 5, 1910. Rhees to Adelbert P. Little, 1872, Nov. 4, 1912. Ibid.
- Executive Committee Minutes, Sept. 1900. Campus, XXXII, Jan. 31, 1907. Ibid., XXXVII, Nov. 14, 1911, March 5, 12, 1912. Faculty Minutes, V, Sept. 27, Nov. 2, 1911. Rush Rhees to William C. Morey, et al., Feb. 1, 1910. Rhees Papers.
- Rush Rhees to C. F. Ralston, Nov. 3, 1911. Rhees Papers. Rhees to J. W. A. Stewart, Oct. 9, 1904. Ibid. Henry F. Burton to A. H. Norton, Oct. 1, 1908. Ibid. Campus, XXXV, Jan. 13, 1910. Ibid., XXXVI, March 16, 1911.
- Rush Rhees to C. B. Chapin, March 10, 1910. Rhees Papers.
- Campus, XXXVI, April 13, 1911. Ibid., XXXVIII, Oct. 22, Nov. 12, 1912.
- Campus, XXXII, Jan. 31, 1907. Ibid., XXXVI, Dec. 9, 1910. Ibid., Oct. 29, 1912. Henry F. Burton to Rush Rhees, Sept. 4, 1903, March 13, 1909. Rhees Papers. Louis Bevier, Jr. to Rhees, Feb. 2, 1907. Ibid. Rhees to Grant H Browne, 1885, December 20, 1906. Ibid. Faculty Minutes, V, June 12, 1908.
- Some Songs We Sing at Rochester, 1904, back cover. Henry F. Burton to Rush Rhees, Oct. 14, 1908. Rhees Papers. Campus, XXXV, Nov. 18, 1909.
- Quoted in Frederick Rudolph, The American College and University (New York, 1962), p. 380.
- R. Elbert Angevine, Parade of the Grid Ghosts (Rochester, 1949), pp. 17-51, passim. Eugene Raines, 1902, to Rush Rhees, Dec. 4, 1909. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Raines, Dec. 7, 1909. Ibid. Campus, XXXVI, Oct. 7, Dec. 1, 1910. Interpres, LIII (1911), 140, Records in football from 1889 to 1907 are printed in Interpres, L (1908), 137 ff. Ernest A. Paviour, 1910, "Academic Freedom,'' Brighton-Pittsford Post, Sept. 30, 1965. R D&C, Oct. 25, 1912. Rochester Post-Express, Nov. 29, 1912.
- R. Elbert Angevine, Basketball in Rochester (Rochester, 1951), pp. 9-12. Campus, XXVI, March 15, 1901. Ibid., XXVII, Jan. 29, Feb. 12, 1902. Earlier unofficial games had been played with Rochester Business Institute, the Theological Seminary, and the Rochester Athletic Club. See Chapter Twelve, p.18. Campus, XXXIV, March 3,10,1909. Ibid., XXXV, March 3, 17, May 19, 1910. Eugene Raines, 1902, "Rochester's First Official Basketball Team," RAR, V (1927), no. 3, 73-76. Harvey F. Morris, 1902, "Back in 1910," Ibid., XIV (1936), no. 3, 68-69. A. J. Ramaker, 1895, to Henry F. Burton, January 1, 1909. Rhees Papers.
- Campus, XXVI, May 10, 1901. Ibid., XXXVI, June 1, 1911. Ibid., LV, April 4, 1930. Ibid., LIV, May 10, 1929. R D&C, May 6, 1903.
- Rochester Post-Express, March 2, 1901. Campus, XXIX, Oct. 14, 1903. Ibid., XXXV, Dec. 16, 1909.
- Campus, XXVI, Oct. 17, 1900. Ibid., XXVII, April 23, 1902. Ibid., XXXI, June 15, 1906. Ibid., XXXIII, Oct. 17, 1907. Ibid., XXXIV, May 6, 20, 1909. Ibid., XXXVIII, Oct. 5, Nov. 28, 1911. Rush Rhees to Schultz and Osborn, June 1, 1903, Rhees Papers. Rhees to William S. Ely, May 17, 1906. Ibid. H. F. Burton to Rush Rhees, Oct. 14, Nov. 13, 1908. Ibid. Rhees to John D. Lynn, 2nd., 1912, Nov. 28, 1911. Ibid. Rochester Post-Express, May 16, 1906.
- George F. Abbott, Mister Abbott (New York, 1963), pp. 48-64.
- President's Report, May, 1902. Executive Committee Minutes , April 9, 13, 1900. Interpres, XLIII (1901), 139. Campus, XXXIII, Oct. 17, 1907. Ibid., XXYIV, Oct. 14, 1908. Dorothy Dennis, 1908, op. cit. When the class of 1906 celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, males assembled in one place, the women elsewhere. But ten years later at "a golden decade" reunion all graduates of the classes from 1901 to 1910 agreed to "bury the hatchet and sheathe the hatpin" and "integrated" at a reunion luncheon. R T-U, May 26, 1966.
- Campus, XXX, May 9, 1906. Ibid., XXXV, May 26, 1910. M. C. B. Oakley to Rush Rhees, April 21, 1914. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Oakley, 1864, April 22, 1914. Ibid.
- Cloister Window, III, May, 1923. F. L. Lamsons, 1896, t o Rush Rhees, August 28, 1910. Rhees Papers. Croceus, I (1909), 131, 132. Ibid., II (1910) 144b, 145.
- Jane Crowe Maxfield, 1905,"The Beginning of Theta Eta," Rhees Library Archives. Roberta Peters McFarland, 1922, "Poem read at Theta Eta's 50th Birthday Party-1953." Ibid. Isabel K. Wallace, 1916, "History of Alpha Sigma" (1965), Ibid. Olive J. Crocker, 1917. et al., "Brief History of Gamma Phi" (1967). Ibid. Johanna Ramsbeck Kall, 1917, "Theta Gamma Sorority." Ibid.
- H. F. Burton to Rush Rhees, Nov. 13, Dec. 31, 1908. April 14, 1909. Rhees Papers. John R. Slater to Rhees, Dec. 10, 1908. Ibid. William A. Searle, 1906, to A. J. May, Oct. 7, 1965. Rhees Library Archives. Campus, XXXIV, Nov. 11, 1908.
- Croceus, III (1911), 106. Ibid., II (1910), 168-171. Ibid., IV (1912), 54.
- Croceus, IV (1912), 35, 38 ff. Ibid., I (1909) 176-179, 182, advertisements p. 40. Ibid., (1910) II, 1, 9-11. Ibid., III (1911), 5-7. Ibid., IV (1912), 7-8. Ibid., V (1913), 9. Max Lowenthal to Rush Rhees, March 14, 1911. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Lowenthal, April 10, 1911. Ibid.
- Rush Rhees to John H. Deane, 1866, Nov. 11, 1909. Rhees Papers. Rhees to J. Sloat Fassett, Nov. 20, 1909. Ibid. Croceus, II (1910), 9 ff. Eleanor Slater, 1925, "Annette Gardner Munro," Rhees Library Archives.
- Trustee Records, III, June 1, 1910. Croceus, (1913), 37-38. Ibid :, IV (1912), 38.
- Executive Committee Minutes, VI, April 13, Oct. 27, 1909, March 2, April 22, 1912.
- Trustee Records, III, 1901. President's Report, May 1902. C. W. McCutchen to Rush Rhees, Dec. 30, 1911. Rhees Papers. Rhees to C. P. Norton, Feb, 10, March 24, 1910. Ibid. Rhees to C. A. Barbour, July 2, 1910. Ibid. Annual Catalogue, 1912-1913. Campus, XXXVI, March 2, 1911.
- President's Report, June 1, 1906. Campus, XXXI, May 23, 1906. Faculty Minutes, V, April 6, 1910. Rush Rhees to Joseph H. Gilmore, June 8, 1906. Rhees Papers. H. F. Burton to Rhees, June 24, 1909. Ibid.
- Rush Rhees to Lewis P. Ross, April 20,1903. Rhees Papers. Rhees to Frank S. Fosdick, 1872, Sept. 27, 1905. Ibid; Rhees to Wayland E. Stearns,1885, Jan.15,1907. Ibid. Rhees to Joseph Zavodny, April 28, 1913. Trustee Records, IV, 4, May 16, 1910.
- Campus, XXXVI, May 14, 1911, Trustee Records, III, 1907. Alumni Minute Book, pp. 187-217. H. F. Burton to Rush Rhees, Jan. 28, 1909. Rhees Papers.
- Campus, XXXI, Jan. 18, Feb. 28, 1906.
- Anon., "George Abbott: Theatre Wizard," RAR, XVI (1955), no. 5, 10-11; Maurice Zolotow, "Broadway's Most Successful Penny Pincher," Saturday Evening Post, CCXXVII (Jan. 29, 1955), 32ff. New York Times, Nov. 11, 1965. Margaret Butterfield Andrews, l926, "The Louis J. Bailey Bookplate Collection," URLB, XV (1960), 17-24, Prentiss B. Gilbert, New York Times, Feb. 26, 1939. Anon., "Martin F. Tiernan, '06..." RAR, XII (1951), no. 3, 14.
- New York Times, March 23, 1913. Executive Committee Minutes, VI, June 18, 1913.