Historical Row

HISTORICAL ROW: A PASSION FOR POETRY

Did you know that Wesleyan owns one of the country’s most complete collections of William Butler Yeats? Also in Special Collections & Archives in Olin Library, you’ll find more than 30 different editions of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Our poetry collections are both broad and deep: British poets of the World War I era,…

HISTORICAL ROW: “REVEREND DOCTOR JEKYLL AND PROFESSOR HYDE”

The new College of the Environment stands firmly on the foundation of nearly 180 years of science at Wesleyan. From its beginning in 1831, the natural sciences have been a key part of the University’s curriculum. Early science instruction was especially strong in geology and astronomy, and several early alumni made their marks in these…

HISTORICAL ROW: CLEMENT VOSE AND THE COLLECTION ON LEGAL CHANGE

Trick question: What do the 18th-century British legal reformer Lord Mansfield, migratory birds, the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and Prohibition repeal in the United States have to do with each other? Answer: All can be studied through Wesleyan’s Collection on Legal Change. These seemingly unrelated topics offer a glimpse into the riches of a fascinating group…

HISTORICAL ROW: WOMEN RETURN TO WES

For most of Wesleyan’s first century and a half, the issue of whether men and women should be educated together seemed to be considered in forty–year time periods. From 1831 to 1871, all male. From 1872 to 1912, coeducational. From 1913 to 1955, resolutely all male, with no plans for coeducation. But in 1956, the…

HISTORICAL ROW: THE COLLEGE PLAN

Imagine a Wesleyan without academic departments based on traditionally recognized disciplines. Students (perhaps even faculty) live, eat, study, and socialize together in groups organized around intellectual interests. Faculty teach in areas far removed from their academic specialties and students take an active role in developing their own educational programs, in independent study, and even in…

HISTORICAL ROW: WESLEYAN IN THE DEPRESSION

The Great Depression brings a series of iconic images to mind. There’s the unemployment line, the bread line, the line to get money out of the bank before it goes bust. There’s the Dust Bowl and Dorothea Lange’s migrant mother photograph. We think of Black Tuesday, the New Deal, and the Works Progress Administration. But…

HISTORICAL ROW: WILLIAM MANCHESTER, THE WRITER AT WESLEYAN

William Manchester was a well-known figure on the Wesleyan University campus for nearly 50 years. He served first as an editor of university publications, then as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies, later as adjunct professor of history and a writer-in-residence, and, finally, as adjunct professor emeritus. After enjoying modest success writing fiction…

HISTORICAL ROW: THE ONCE AND FUTURE PRESIDENT

One small aspect of Barack Obama’s rise to the White House is actually not groundbreaking: he is far from the first future president to find his way to Wesleyan. Middletown has played host to four sitting presidents and several presidential candidates or future presidents. Long before Wesleyan was a gleam in Willbur Fisk’s eye, at…

HISTORICAL ROW: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND WESLEYAN FREEDOM RIDERS

Most Wesleyan alumni are well aware of the visits of Martin Luther King Jr. to Wesleyan in the 1960s. Clearly the most famous and charismatic Civil Rights Movement figure, Martin Luther King profoundly affected the Wesleyan community. But there’s much more to the story of Wesleyan and the Movement.   Unlike the situation at many…

HISTORICAL ROW: TIME FOR A BREAK!

When you spend your life in a university community, the academic calendar can seem as inevitable as the change of seasons in New England. The new year starts in September, close to Labor Day. Frosh show up early for orientation. Semesters are about 13 weeks long, with a short break in the midst of the…