Historical Row

HISTORICAL ROW: CAME HELL AND HIGH WATER

More than 65 years ago, on September 21, 1938, Alma Mater and Mother Nature struggled for dominance. Alma Mater was battered and bruised, but not destroyed. The headline in a special issue of the Hartford Courant summed up the battle: “Came Hell and High Water.”   The great hurricane of 1938, a fierce storm before…

HISTORICAL ROW: DOC FAUVER’S LEGACY

Wesleyan’s former playground, Fauver Field, bears the name of Doctor Edgar Fauver, a central figure in the physical welfare of an earlier generation of Wesleyan men. Perhaps best known to today’s students and more recent alumni as the gathering place for the frosh class photo or the site of the annual Alumni Ultimate Frisbee game,…

HISTORICAL ROW: EINSTEIN IN THE ARCHIVES

In 1929, Wesleyan became the first American university to own an Albert Einstein manuscript. Olin Library was barely a year old, and its “treasure room” was still relatively empty. What better gift for the splendid new library and its researchers than a manuscript of one of the greatest thinkers of the day? Albert W. Johnston,…

HISTORICAL ROW: KEEPING SECRETS

Whether your tastes run to bestsellers such as The Da Vinci Code and The Rule of Four or you prefer the New York Times’ coverage of the Presidential inauguration, you probably have been reading recently about secret societies. You may even have turned to wondering about secret societies at Wesleyan, and how they compare to,…

HISTORICAL ROW: POLITICS AS USUAL: THE ORIGINS OF STUDENT POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Wesleyan students’ long tradition of social activism is well known and well documented. From the missionary zeal of the earliest students to the more recent “Justice for Janitors” movement (to name just two of the many, many causes championed over the past 173 years), Wesleyan students have been dedicated to bettering society. Straight-ahead national politics…

HISTORICAL ROW: COUNTING CALORIES

 While Wesleyan can’t really take credit (or blame) for the South Beach Diet, we do count “the father of American nutrition” among our alumni. Wilbur Olin Atwater, Class of 1865 and professor of chemistry, was one of the best known American scientists of his day. Atwater, for whom the “Atwater” part of Hall-Atwater Laboratories is…

HISTORICAL ROW: FOOD FOR THOUGHT

In Wesleyan’s first years, when most students boarded in town or lived in the Old Boarding Hall or the Dormitory (now known as North College), food was simple and plain. Many students were of relatively modest means, and their diets reflected their economic situation. Tantalizing bits and pieces of the historical record from this period…

HISTORICAL ROW: OLIN LIBRARY TURNS 75

Olin Library, dedicated in 1928, has reached the ripe old age of 75. Built by the well-known New York firm of McKim, Mead, and White, and based on original plans by architect Henry Bacon, Olin was constructed during a period of prosperity and expansion at Wesleyan. Three major renovations later, Olin is still a striking…

HISTORICAL ROW: WEST MEETS EAST, WESLEYAN AND THE CHINESE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

In the early part of the 20th century, many Wesleyan alumni traveled to China as part of a movement to introduce Western-style education to the East. Their influence, and the influence of other Western educators and missionaries, was particularly strong in the several Chinese Christian colleges, which were modeled on American liberal arts colleges. Not…

HISTORICAL ROW: WHAT’S IN A NAME?

When you’re chatting about alma mater, do you find yourself explaining which Wesleyan? Ever wish you had attended Middletown College, Winchester College, or even Wultuna? All three are names that alumni of past generations, discontented with the name of “Wesleyan,” suggested as an alternative.   Over the past 172 years, only one small, official change…