ST. MARK'S of today bears little resemblance to the School as I (98) first knew it at the beginning of the spring term in 1893. The original plan of the structure, an "H," had not then been altered by the numerous wings and indeterminate growths which now blur the old outline; nor had the Lion produced the litter of whelps which cluster to the north of the main building. The school slept, ate and studied under the one roof, and for its play had the surrounding acres unmarked by other structure, unless you can dignify by such title the nameless object which situated at the rear of the school did duty variously as gymnasium, baseball cage, torture chamber and bicycle house, according to the whim of the Sixth Form.
As you approached the School from the front, the effect was imposing but bare. The architect had designed a noble building, which needed only the softening effect of vines and shrubs to be impressive; but thanks to a love for "relay," a nondescript game played on the chapel roof with a tennis ball, the vines had given up the fight and retired in company with the shrubs and grass, leaving the immediate surroundings in perfect condition, as we thought, for our use. To the adult eye accustomed to seeing man and nature work in harmony to hide the crudities of man, the existing conditions must have been an eyesore, but I do not remember any complaints from us. On the contrary: loud were the lamentations when a new and protected consignment of shrubs cut off forever these vantage playgrounds.
Perhaps it was just as well that the exterior of the building held out no false hopes of sybaritical conditions within; the shock when you entered might otherwise have been too great. It was a barracks indeed. A short interview with Mr. Peck; a glimpse of familiar home life as you were hurried, in charge of an unsympathetic old boy, past the sitting-room; a cold glance from the occupant of the supply-room, who, as you found out later, was Miss Wardwell, to be depended on to lend a willing ear to the troubles of the small boy; and then you were in a new world, a wilderness of wainscoted corridors, iron stairways and jail-like fire doors. If there was a picture on the walls, I do not remember it; and as those wainscoted corridors made excellent hockey rinks on a rainy day and I recall no broken glass other than an occasional window, I am inclined to bank on the complete absence of photographs of Roman ruins.
Do you remember your sensations when you first saw that enlarged cranny known as an alcove, in which you were expected to stow yourself and your belongings, including that new wrapper and the picture of your best girl? That's just the way I felt---Number 8; Dormitory A. I think it was number 8. At all events it overlooked the quadrangle and was just the other side of one of the roof-supporting pillars. I recall that last detail, for its bulk made good cover when you were on a reconnoitering expedition after lights out. With your alcove went the privilege of washing at a tin trough in a tin basin a few hundred yards distant. The basin hung upon a hook at your particular spot of the trough. Beneath was a cupboard to hold your toilet articles. These cupboards, having no lock, were usually empty. If you neglected to empty it yourself, some member of the dormitory very kindly attended to it for you. These things have gone. Porcelain tubs and needle showers; be-pictured corridors and vine-clad walls take their place. But for choice, give me a good old water fight in the wash-room of Dormitory A with all the faucets turned on and the week's supply of clean towels on hand.
Of course there were drawbacks. The simple life always has them. The bath-rooms were kept locked except on bath nights, which for the individual came once a week. There was no gymnasium, so during the football season we dressed in our rooms and dried our clothes therein. I have always found that wet football clothes have a peculiarly penetrating odor. If, as I believe, one of the cardinal rules for success in football is to keep your mind on the game, I recommend the above practice. It makes it very easy.
A feature of Saturdays was the arrival from the sewing-room of your weekly allowance of clean clothes. When you came upstairs to prepare for dinner, it was always there sitting in the middle of the bed; an anaemic looking bundle tied together with part of your under-clothing. It contained three shirts, one set of under-clothing, and two pairs of socks. The allowance always ran out by the middle of the week, which forced you to lay siege to the sewing-room for a fresh supply. If you were wise, you had a friend at court and got it. If you had neglected to make the friend, you didn't.
Other facilities were lacking then which today are accepted as a matter of course. The gymnasium was not finished until my Fifth Form year; we had no swimming pool; no running track; no hockey rink or fives court. Library, common-room; all are new. There were but three tennis courts, and the football field had not been graded. Subtract all these improvements from the present school and it would seem there was little left. Yet I cannot recall that time hung heavy on our hands or that the lack of such ready-made amusements stunted our development.
Those were the days of "Momma" Choate, red-headed, blue-eyed and kind-hearted, pitcher of the nine which sent Groton home with the small end of a ten to seven score; of Gouverneur Morris, whose languid manner gave no hint of his present ability to make his readers oblivious of the hour. My earliest recollection of Mr. Barber is of an elderly gentleman who played shortstop, with an aptitude for converting safe hits into outs which proved disconcerting to our opponents. He was also famed for his batting --- having on one occasion knocked a home run over the evergreens in deep center field. I have used the word "elderly" advisedly, to indicate my impression at the time; for when I recall his appearance of a year or two ago, I feel impelled to admit that either he is perennially young, or I was grievously mistaken as to his years on our first acquaintance.
In 1894 two events occurred of notable interest. Mr. Thayer became Headmaster, and St. Mark's won her first victory over Groton in football. Time has proved that the former occurrence was the more important, but I do not recall that this point of view prevailed at that time. The present School, to whom victory is almost a commonplace, --- if that desirable consummation can ever be so termed, --- cannot appreciate the heart-burnings, the intense rancor which the associated thoughts of football and Groton could produce. The School seethed with excitement. I don't mean the gentle ebullition of spirit which passes for excitement nowadays, like the bubbles in a champagne glass, but a real upheaval as when one mixes a seidlitz powder, an excitement which sent the team off that memorable eighth of November, 1894, with the equivalent of the stern mandate to return "with their shields or on them."
History has it that nobody expected St. Mark's to win. We had a green team; Groton a veteran one. The previous year conditions had been reversed and, against Southborough expectations at least, Groton had won. In '94 the critics allowed us a fighting chance but no more. The critics came very near being right.
The first half ended ten to nothing against us. I am sure that during the intermission the only question that could have occupied the minds of the spectators was the size of the final score. BUT, and it was a long-legged "but," the second half developed differently. Fish Benjamin, our Captain and right half-back, by means of a delayed pass, developed such a scoring mania that, when the referee's whistle blew, St. Mark's' score had mounted to twenty-four, while our opponents were still nursing the ten points which had looked so big such a short time before.
There was one nerve-racking period when we led at twelve to ten, during which Groton forced the ball to our five-yard line and then lost it on downs. St. Mark's immediately punted; the kick was partially blocked and Groton recovered it on our three-yard line. However, we held for downs again, and then Fish repeated his earlier performance, which put us out of danger.
Owing to a recent snowstorm the field was in a very wet condition, so it was with difficulty that our smiles could break through the calcimining of mud which overlaid our countenances. We were a dirty and enthusiastic lot when the whistle blew and we rushed to dress. We were still enthusiastic, but only slightly cleaner when we boarded the barge for Ayer Junction. Mr. Thayer had warned us that we had scant time to catch the train. There was only one tub. The water ran with appalling slowness. Eleven baths would have taken eleven hours. We all had to bathe and we did; but never before or since have I seen one tubful of water so shamefully overworked.
We beat Groton again in '95, six to nothing. That was Fred Mills' team. It was a nip and tuck game all the way. We got within scoring distance only once, and then would probably have been held for downs, if Mills had not invented a new play through his own position at left tackle, which took Groton by surprise and secured the touchdown by inches.
All football memories are not so pleasant, however; '96 for instance, when our old rivals got ample revenge and broken winds in running up a 46-0 score. I have always believed that the premature baldness of Steve Nash, our Captain, was brought on by the spectacle of Hawkins running circles round our team. Gordon Brown, afterwards a great captain of a great Yale team, was their leader that day.
Baseball had its thrills, also, though we more than held our own in that sport. No one who saw the third inning of the game in '96 is apt to forget it. The score was in our favor. Groton was at bat; three men on bases; none out, and a heavy hitter waiting at the plate. It was undeniably the breaking point of the game. The batter drove a short fly to right field; a typical Texas leaguer; a practically certain safe hit. The base-runners tore madly for home. Out in the right field, B. F. Pepper, "may his tribe increase," was doing all man could do. It seemed impossible that he could make the catch; but with a wild dive he plunged a long arm at the falling ball, just reached it with two fingers, turned a double somersault, and came up with the ball held fast. The catch was so unexpected that at least one runner had crossed the plate and an easy triple play resulted. After that, in the language of the twentieth century, "there was nothing to it."
As I have said, we had no track in those days. Field events were held on the diamond; track events on the Framingham road. The half mile run started round the turn beyond the present swimming pool and finished, as did all the races, at the main street. It was always a question whether the down-grade made up for the stoniness of the road and the lack of spikes. I rather doubt it, but at all events the records of those days were good, as the boards still show.
Skating we had on Parker pond, now lost in the upper end of the reservoir; coasting on Red Mill hill; swimming at Parker again, or in a little black pond on the Cordaville road where you frequently caught leeches without trying, and the masters caught you if they tried hard enough. Which, to their credit be it said, was but seldom.
However one spent the afternoon, one usually wound up at "Center Store." "Center Store," with Mr. "Mac." presiding behind the marble counter. In those days it was soda water --chocolate vanilla cream for preference---hot chocolate, hot dogs, and ice cream according to the season; but chocolate vanilla cream was the standby and I think accounted for most of the allowances. "Center Store" and Mr. "Mac." were great institutions; Mr. "Mac.," who was never too busy to pass the time of day or pull you out of his sugar barrel; who took as much interest in our victories and donated his empty boxes for the bonfires as cheerfully as though we never plagued the life out of him. I hope the Lion shook a feather from his wings when Mr. "Mac." left us. He deserved that tribute.
Do you still serve "slate" ? Of course you serve something; even twenty years cannot change school life to that extent; but perhaps you call it by another name. "Slate" was never popular, though the stranger seeing the schoolroom after dinner might well have judged otherwise from the number that patronized the entertainment, and the large proportion who were habitués. It was, in fact, an insidious habit. The boy who once acquired it could be depended upon to turn up daily for more. Fondness for "slate" varied according to the season of the year. The new boys fairly revelled in it during the first snowstorm. Many a boy wished he had secured ten instead of five marks when the hour was up and he was delivered by the master's nod of dismissal to the tender mercies of the old boys waiting just outside with a goodly supply of well-iced snowballs.
I believe the practice is languishing now; but in those days "cocking up" was an ancient and honorable custom. None escaped at least one ordeal, and most of us caught it at intervals all winter. If the snow was in good condition for making snowballs and you were at all fresh or unduly fat, you might well be "cocked up" three times a day. The main execution ground was against the west wall of the schoolhouse, where the old bell used to be, and the library now stands. You were led out by your captor, who had intercepted your escape at the schoolroom door, and were presented, an unwilling victim, to the waiting mob; placed in position against the wall, and bombarded at ten short paces. When you were an old boy, it was great fun. The custom had its good points, but it led to bullying in some cases and thereby lost its value as a discourager of freshness. St. Mark's is better off without it.
Our life was not all athletics, deviltry, and study. It had its home side as well, and very sweet and vivid is the memory of it. You of the lower school---does Mr. Thayer read aloud and Mrs. Thayer patiently let you beat her at checkers on those gala evenings you are excused from the schoolroom? Do the monitors still raid Mrs. Thayer's sitting-room of an evening for scrambled eggs? How we used to impose on her kindness, and how homelike she made those simple evenings.
I should like to be back once more with the old crowd: Frank Pepper sprawled on the sofa rumpling Dyer Hubbard's hair, indifferent to the latter's shrill complaints; Hugh Blythe rising daintily on his tiptoes as he industriously slices the bread and unnecessarily asks our hostess how many slices will be needed; Bert Nason stirring the eggs, considerably interfered with by Oden Hörstman, who suffers from the delusion that he knows how to cook; and the writer waiting patiently for supper to begin. Then Mr. Thayer, belated by affairs of state, and with well-founded anxiety as to the state of the larder writ large upon his countenance, pokes his head in at the door; and the feast is on.
I know we felt that no one would ever take our place in their affections; and I am hopeful that, though we share with many, '97 still keeps a foothold in the niche of remembrance. This we do know: that eggs will never taste so fresh, milk so sweet, or life so clean as in those evenings over the chafing-dish.
WILLIAM GREENOUGH THAYER was born in New Brighton, Staten Island, New York, on the twenty-fourth of December, 1863, the son of Robert H. and Hannah (Appleton) Thayer. He attended Amherst College, from which he was graduated in 1885, and has been President of his class for more than twenty years. In 1888 he received the degree of Master of Arts from Amherst. He was at the Union Theological Seminary in 1885-86 and 1887-88, and received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity at the Cambridge Episcopal Theological School in 1889. In 1906 he was given the honorary degree of Master of Arts by Columbia College, and in 1907 that of Doctor of Divinity by Amherst, when he was also made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was married to Violet Otis, of Boston, on the first of June, 1891. He was a master at Groton School in 1886-87, and from 1889 to 1894, and was elected Headmaster of St. Mark's School on the seventeenth of July, 1894. He was made Deacon in 1889, and a Priest of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1890. He was chosen President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Massachusetts; delegate to the General Convention in 1922; delegate to the Republican State Convention of Massachusetts in 1904; member of the Cooperating Commission of War Council, Young Men's Christian Association; Chairman of the Diocesan Commission on Camps; member of the American Historical Association, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; President of the Amherst Alumni Association of Boston; and Chaplain of the First Regiment, Massachusetts State Guard. He was also made Chairman of the Commission of Church Schools of the Department of Education of the Protestant Episcopal Church, which meets twice a year, and visited and reported on all our Church schools from Maine to Nebraska.
At the meeting of the Trustees on the seventeenth of September, 1894, Harry Burnett, a son of the Founder, was unanimously elected a trustee and Treasurer of the Board. At the same meeting the resignation of Dr. Millett was announced, and at the meeting on April twenty-fifth of the next year the Rev. John Binney, D.D., of the Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, Conn., and August Belmont, Esq., of New York were elected.
Harry Burnett, the son of Joseph Burnett, the Founder, was born in Boston on the first of December, 1850. He entered St. Mark's in 1865, the year of its founding; was made a monitor; was graduated in 1869; and entered Harvard College in the autumn of the latter year. He was graduated with his class, 1873; but at the end of his sophomore year he went to South America on a vessel which had business in Pernambuco, Brazil. After his graduation from college he entered the firm of Joseph Burnett and Company, organized by Joseph Burnett in 1854, and he has been the treasurer of this concern since its incorporation in 1895. Like his father, he has always been deeply interested in church matters, having been Senior Warden of St. Mark's parish in Southborough since Joseph Burnett's death in 1894; Treasurer of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston for about fifteen years; a Director of the Church Home Society; and a member of the Episcopalian Club. He has traveled very extensively, having been around the world, to South America twice, and several times to Europe, Florida and California. His friendships with men and women of nationally known value and ability are almost as widely extensive, and bear testimony, hot always silent, to his own character, ability and modesty. An estimate of his work for and devotion to St. Mark's would involve, like the Founder's, every forward step taken during his connection with the School. He was elected on the seventeenth of September, 1894, to fill his father's place on the Board of Trustees as Treasurer; and how well he has done this for more than a quarter of a century is well known to every St. Mark's graduate. When possible, it is he who presents the Founder's Medal to the boy who wins it.
The situation which met the new Headmaster and the new Treasurer was in many respects a very difficult one. The former, with experience in education, had hesitated to take up the complicated work in whose development and implications he had not been consulted or concerned; and the latter had known from his early boyhood what unselfish interest and keen business ability it was that had brought St. Mark's to a "position second to none in the country." As the situation of the vigorous school, suddenly deprived of its two strongest pillars, cannot be realized today without fancying it lacking Mr. Burnett and Dr. Thayer, so their accomplishment and our fortune cannot be estimated without the same comparison. But it is enough to say that for St. Mark's Harry Burnett proved himself to be the true son of a devoted and able father; and that Mr. Thayer, with ideals definite and strong from the beginning, soon showed that skill and devotion were again at the helm.
At his coming Mr. Thayer found among the masters three who had had at least five years' experience at the School, Mr. W. B. Olmsted, the Senior Master, Mr. W. W. Barber, and Mr. L. F. Sennett. With these as lieutenants, and others who had been engaged before his election, he was at little inconvenience in grasping the numberless details of the School routine and policy; and upon the election of Mr. Olmsted, as Mr. Peck's successor at Pomfret School three years later, Mr. Barber was appointed to the senior mastership, a position he has held ever since. Mr. William D. Rees, who had been in the School a year, was a man of unusual scholarly ability and attainments, interesting characteristics, contagious humor, and the power of gaining the affection of even those boys who had to be disciplined most.(99) With the exception of Mr. Gould, who remained until 1897, the new men remained only a year; and it was not until the following fall that the faculty began to be strengthened with those men consecrated to teaching as a career who have done so much more than can be recorded to make St. Mark's what it is today: F. A. Flichtner in 1895 and J. C. Flood in 1897.
There were forty new boys in the fall of 1894. The Vindex notes that the Sunday afternoon services were now held in the Chapel instead of in church as formerly, and evening prayers in the schoolroom. Dating from the time of Mr. Thayer's coming, this afternoon service, at which the School hymn "Sun of My Soul " is always sung, has perhaps gone deeper into the hearts of St. Markers than any other school memory, with its beautiful and hearty singing of the familiar School hymn, its prayer for a blessing on St. Mark's School and on those who have gone forth from it to labor in the world, and its peace in the beautiful light of the memorial windows. And this fall fortune smiled for the first time on the football team, and Groton was decisively thrashed! The Groton team under Captain Haughton was much larger and stronger than St. Mark's, and at the end of the first half the score stood four to nothing in Groton's favor, mounting to ten at the beginning of the second; but soon H. F. Benjamin and Lawton began a series of runs, with White bucking the centre, and St. Mark's scored. A run of sixty-five yards by Benjamin soon yielded another touchdown; and though Haughton got the ball down six inches from St. Mark's' line, the team held, threw their opponents back, and soon had another touchdown chiefly through a sixty-five-yard run by Lawton. Shortly afterwards Benjamin ran through left tackle seventy yards for St. Mark's' fourth touchdown, making the final score twenty-four to ten, for Benjamin kicked all goals. The average weight of the team was 157 pounds, and the score for the season was 220 to the opponents' twenty. After the football came the Dramatic Club, still under Mr. Sennett's able conduct, a choir concert, and the Fourth Form debates. Mrs. Thayer entertained the dormitory boys in her parlor twice a week; and the dancing lessons began. Evening prayers were now held in the Chapel again instead of in the schoolroom. The dance was a great success, largely through the interest of Mrs. Thayer, who entertained the guests, and with Mrs. Olmsted and Mr. Sennett gave several rounds of favors. It was during this winter that the music room, the first in the corridor next to the dining-room, was used entirely for recitations, and the piano moved to the Fourth Form room, next to the Chapel. The gymnasium came into general use; and at a meeting of the Athletic Association Benjamin, pointing out Mr. Peck's great interest and efforts in collecting the money for its construction, made the motion that it hereafter be called the Peck Gymnasium, which was seconded and unanimously passed. Attention was called to the defects in the football field, and to the fact that the depressions in it were becoming larger every year; and it was not long before the School's benefactor Mr. Belmont came to the rescue. The baseball season was moderately successful; Groton won by a score of six to five, and Andover by six to three, but Adams Academy was beaten by thirteen to two. At the end of the season and of many subsequent seasons the nine and the eleven were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Gardner. On prize-day the exercises, heretofore conducted in the schoolroom, were held for the first time in the gymnasium. The speakers were Dr. John Lindsay, Dr. Chambré, Mr. Bigelow, and the Rev. Mr. King.
On the ninth of October, 1895, action was taken by the Trustees on the death by drowning on August the third of Dr. Robinson's two sons, whom St. Markers of the time will remember, and expression was made of the "faithfulness and devotion with which Dr. Robinson has for so many years professionally served St. Mark's." On Founder's Day resolutions were passed on the death of Dr. Converse on the second of November, with expression of the highest appreciation of his services since the founding of the School, and of his moral and spiritual as well as secular learning. At the meeting on the twelfth of May the Treasurer, Mr. Harry Burnett, donated a lot of land with a cottage house on it, with the understanding that the Trustees were to furnish forever the Founder's Medal established by his father. The Alumni of the School had offered to place in the School Chapel a bronze medallion tablet to the memory of Joseph Burnett, which was to have in bas-relief a likeness of the Founder; and on the eleventh of November, 1896, the Hon. John Simpkins, '79, for the Alumni, presented it to Bishop Lawrence for the Board of Trustees. At the meeting in May plans made by Philip Codman for the proper laying out of the School grounds were presented, the Standing Committee having contracted to build another master's cottage; and at the November meeting the Committee was requested to consider a plan of a scheme for windows in the Chapel. Another systematizing of executive duties was made by the Alumni Association, which presented the plates of the Alumni catalogue to the Trustees on the understanding that they should assume the duty of issuing it at suitable intervals; and the Headmaster was thereupon appointed Curator of the catalogue, to issue it every five years. Various suggestions by the Headmaster with regard to enlarging the facilities of the School were approved.
The boys in September, 1895, numbered 112, and the new masters four, the latter being Mr. W. K. Brice, '91, Mr. H. A. Potter, Mr. F. A. Flichtner, and Mr. W. H. Cambridge. Mr. Cambridge remained many years, and was ordained in the School Chapel on the thirty-first of May, 1898, by Bishop Hall, of Vermont. He was deeply interested in the proceedings of the Missionary Society, and did much work in conducting the services at Westborough and Hopkinton, being Rector of the former. He took a deep personal interest in every boy in the School, and as a preacher showed great skill in his choice and handling of the subjects in which they were most vitally interested.
Frederic Appleton Flichtner was born in Newark, New Jersey, on the thirtieth of April, 1873, the son of George Frederic Flichtner and Julia Edwards Appleton. He attended the School for Boys at Englewood, New Jersey, was graduated from Amherst in 1894, and received the degree of Master of Arts from Columbia in 1895. While at Amherst he was for three years a member of the Amherst "Student" board, played on the baseball squad in his sophomore and junior years, the football squad in the latter, and was tennis champion in his junior year, 1892. Since 1895 he has taught Latin at St. Mark's. The respect and affection of all St. Markers, which began thirty years ago with his efficiency in the classroom, skill on the athletic field, and tact and genial personality everywhere have steadily increased; and every graduate bears witness how closely he associates with him the pleasure of a return to the School.
A house was in course of construction for Mr. Olmsted, the one now occupied by Mr. Flood; and Mr. and Mrs Barber occupied Mr. Gardner's house. The old buildings were being torn down during the autumn, and before long no trace remained of any structure on the original grounds.
The football season was extraordinarily successful, the record being eight victories and one defeat, the latter by only one touchdown at the hands of a heavy Harvard class team on a rainy day. Groton was beaten six to nothing, chiefly through Hare's powerful rushes and a bit of good strategy in the final attack for the touchdown, in which he also figured. There was a bicycle ride on All Saints' Day to Auburndale, a reading by Professor Hayes of Harvard, and an exhibition of magic by Signor Bosco. Meanwhile Mr. Danielson conducted boxing lessons regularly in the gymnasium, and Mr. Rees dumb-bell drill for the four lower forms. The Sixth Form dance came in January; and on the eighteenth the alumni dinner at Young's Hotel in Boston, at which there were forty-two present and Mr. Thayer was the invited guest. Mr. Thayer pointed out how the alumni could help the School; and during the dinner greetings were received from the President of the Alumni Association of the Pacific Coast. Dramatic Club entertainments, "Engaged," and the always available "Lend Me Five Shillings" were unusually well produced because of the skill and hard work of Mr. Sennett; and the choir, likewise trained by him, was requisitioned for two very successful concerts. Another ride to Auburndale, now a regular occupation for a spring or a fall holiday, was held on Ascension Day. The baseball team proved to be a strong one, winning a large proportion of games from such teams as the Harvard Varsity Second, Andover, Worcester Academy and Groton, the last by a score of seven to four. In the spring sports W. T. White, '96, equalled the interscholastic record of ten seconds for the hundred yard dash. A month of mumps and chicken-pox played havoc with both studies and athletics, but the spring sports were held. On prize. day, the twenty-third of June, the principal speaker was Dr. Fiske.
The Vindex felt obliged to round up the golf players in the fall of 1896 and drive them to the football fields. The season's record was reasonably good, but ended with a heavy defeat of forty-six to nothing by Groton. Through the kindness of Mr. August Belmont the services of a physical director, Dr. Cummings, were secured for the more systematic and intelligent planning of gymnasium work. The usual winter occupations were varied by such an interest in photography that two dark-rooms had to be fitted up n the basement. There were more choir concerts, and steady training for the sports, into which this year the throwing of the discus was introduced as a regular event. The Vindex notes the gift by Mr. DeKoven of Chicago of prizes to boys who win the highest number of points in each of the athletic meetings; and prizes for the Second, Third and Fourth Forms for the best final examination in history by Mr. Sennett, who much to the School's regret had announced his resignation from the Faculty, to take effect in June. At the end of a reasonably good baseball season Groton was beaten by seven to five in a game of which the result was in doubt until the last man was out. The principal speakers on prize-day were the Hon. S. W. McCall, the Rev. Dr. W. B. Frisbie, Bishop Lawrence and Mr. Thayer. The loss of Mr. Olmsted, called to the headmastership of Pomfret School, was characterized as a severe one to St. Mark's, and the respect, esteem and affection in which he was held were warmly acknowledged.
The following resolutions were passed by the Trustees on the death of Mr. Peck, which occurred at Pomfret on the eighth of February, 1897. "The Trustees of St. Mark's School have heard with sincere sorrow of the death of William Edward Peck, A.M., Headmaster of Pomfret School. For twenty-three years, from 1871 to 1894, Mr. Peck was connected with St. Mark's, and for twelve of these he was Headmaster. He came to the School six years after its foundation, and served it faithfully and efficiently. During his administration, St. Mark's increased largely in influence and usefulness, its course of study was steadily enriched, and its numbers were nearly doubled. As a teacher, clear and accurate, as a man, strong in body and straightforward in character, he won from his pupils in their boyhood an admiration and affection which only deepened in their later years. Colleagues and pupils alike trusted him and found in him a friend by whom confidence was never betrayed. His cheerful voice, his hopeful spirit made dark places bright, and counsel and help lay in his moderation and wisdom. He has left behind him the memory of the just that is blessed.
"In grateful appreciation of his work for St. Mark's School and for Christian education in this land, the Trustees enter this minute upon their records.
|"WILLIAM LAWRENCE||HENRY N. BIGELOW|
|THOMAS R. PYNCHON||GEORGE P. GARDNER|
|SUMNER U. SHEARMAN||MORRIS H. MORGAN|
|A. ST. JOHN CHAMBRE||DANIEL B. FEARING|
|JOHN BINNEY||HARRY BURNETT|
|FRANCIS C. FOSTER||AUGUST BELMONT."|
In April, 1898, a gift of five thousand dollars was announced from Mr. August Belmont for the purpose of improving the athletic field and grounds of the School. As compared with the field of today, the ground sloped gradually from the stone wall on the east to the low ground beyond the "center field" of the baseball games; and its surface, though well sodded, undulated badly everywhere, making accurate baseball fielding impossible and football strategy difficult. The land, moreover, was not free from springs, and before the system of drainage was introduced the use of the field after ordinary rain was seriously interrupted or impaired. The improvements made possible by Mr. Belmont's gift were therefore deeply appreciated by the boys, and have doubtless had much influence on the quality of the School's athletic contests. At the same meeting another matter of athletic interest was discussed, that of obtaining permission from the Metropolitan Water Board for the use of its Southborough reservoir for rowing by the School. But doubt was not unreasonably felt of the propriety of allowing schoolboys the use of the reservoirs, and the matter was dropped.
There were thirty new boys in the fall of 1897, and the house formerly occupied by Mr. Olmsted was assigned to ten, under Mr. Rees's supervision. Mr. Brice, Mr. Sennett and Mr. Gould had gone, and among the newcomers on the Faculty were Mr. J. C. Flood and Dr. F. P. Gulliver. The latter will be remembered for his scholarship and intense interest in his teaching, as well as for his unfailing kindness and hospitality; and the former, Mr. Flood, has been for more than twenty-five years, and continues to be, one of the most devoted, successful and beloved of those who have made St. Mark's what it is.
John Clarence Flood was born on the twenty-third of August, 1864, near Geneva, New York, the son of Dr. James Flood and Harriet M. Kennedy. He attended the Geneva Classical School; and winning the annual scholarship went to Hobart College in 1880. He was in his senior year elected into Phi Beta Kappa, graduated summa cum laude in 1884, and given the degree of Master of Arts from the same college in 1887. From 1884 to 1889 he was Latin Master at De Veaux, and in 1889-90 Senior Master. For the next seven years he was Headmaster of Kenyon Academy, Gambier, Ohio, where he taught Latin. On the twenty-third of April, 1908, he was married to Annie Adelaide Smith, who shares with him the affection and regard of all St. Mark's boys.
The improvements in the School and its grounds were this year very noticeable: many new trees had been planted as a result of the Trustees' action noted above, and several fine photographs, the gifts of Mr. Harry Burnett, hung in the corridors; for Mr. Thayer had perhaps suspected that the absence of ornament in the School proper might be an invitation to disorder rather than the logical result of it, and if so his wisdom has been proved. At this time a gift of great intrinsic value to the School was made by Mr. Walter Deane (100) of Cambridge, a former tutor, which consisted of the files of the Vindex up to the year 1886; and later in the year Hugh Blythe, presented bound copies dating from 1891. The great importance of these volumes as the only complete record of the school life since 1877 can hardly be overestimated, for the records of the Trustees deal entirely with formal and business matters; and it is to be hoped that the diligent efforts now being made by Mr. Fernald to complete the set will be speedily successful.
In football the wise innovation was made of providing for post-season practice and games, and members of the first elevens were appointed coaches of the lower school teams. The pennants won by the football league champions were put in the dining-room.(101) The season had been only moderately successful, Pomfret having been beaten by a score of eighteen to ten, and St. Mark's defeated in the game with Groton by seventeen to two; but the Vindex remarks that the fall of '97 had been remarkable for the interest and visits of alumni. A new field in the out-of-door life of the school was opened by the purchase of land by Mr. George Gardner and others for a golf course. This at first consisted of but seven holes and was shared with several cows; but it was steadily improved, and finally given by Mr. Gardner to the School.(102) At this time proposal was made of a new wing to the building, which was later to be realized, at a cost of fifty thousand dollars. The activities in all directions are indicated by the establishment by the Missionary Society of an Episcopal Church service in Westborough, where the Advent Chapel was rented for the purpose,(103) and Mr. Hinkle's contribution of one hundred dollars to start a fund for the running-track. An anonymous gift of five hundred dollars was also given for the purpose of decorating the schoolroom. Electric lights, formerly confined to the schoolroom, were now put in the corridors. A number of graduates started to raise money for a fives court; and Mr. Belmont's gift for improving the football field, which necessitated abandoning the use of the field for two years, brought about the preparation of the field to the north of the School, which had come to be called Barber Field. Some missionary work in athletics was carried on in Marlborough by Potts, '98, and R. Watson, '98, who gave gymnasium instruction there every Thursday night. An important advance in regard to athletics was the starting of the Fearing and the Brotherhood Clubs, which resulted in greatly increased interest in the games of the lower school, more general patronage of them by the upper, and consequently a better and earlier cultivation of the coming material for the first teams. On the tenth of May the School was given a half-holiday in honor of Admiral Dewey's victory at Manila. The baseball season was fairly successful, and ended with a victory over Groton by the score of six to five. Because of scarlet fever at Groton the game was played at Worcester, and after two postponements took place on the eighth of June. Groton's score ran up to five before the fifth inning; but in the sixth two bases on balls and four hits enabled St. Mark's to tie. In the ninth Rumsey, who had accepted thirteen chances at shortstop, made a three-base hit, and an error which gave Mr. Flichtner first base allowed him to score the winning run. St. Mark's also won a game by seven to nothing from the University School, which had come all the way from Cleveland, Ohio, and was thus the most distant opponent the School had ever had a contest with. On prize-day, the twenty-eighth, the principal speaker was the Hon. Samuel McCall, whose two sons were then in the School: and his speech on patriotism will be remembered by those who were privileged to hear it.
THOUGH the war with Spain had little immediate influence upon the life of the School, and none upon its routine, the service of St. Mark's graduates was of a piece with that which was performed so splendidly fifteen and twenty years later. The tablet (104) which records it is inscribed as follows:
|C. E. Fox, '68, Lieut. in command U. S. Torpedo
A. Duane, '73, Lieut. Jr. grade U. S. N. commandg. 2nd Dist. C. S. S.
J. C. R. Peabody, '84, Capt. Co. H 8th Mass. Inf. U. S. Vol.
R. S. Fay, '86, 1st Lieut. 8th N. Y. Vol.
J. P. Benkard, '89, Capt. Co. G 12th N. Y. Inf. U. S. Vol.
M. Morris, '90, 1st Lieut. 12th N. Y. Vol.
L. Agostini, '91, 1st Lieut. 8th N. Y. Vol.
V. N. Cushman, '89, Private, Troop A, N. Y. Cav.
E. Littell, '91 " " " " " "
F. L. Lee, '91, " " " " " "
FI. Batcheller, '91 " " " " " "
J. G. Benkard, 92, " " " " " "
\V. M. Benjamin, '93, " " " " " "
D. B. Eldridge, '86, Ordinary seaman, U.S.S. "Yankee"
H. W. Miller, '92, " " " " " "
R. H. King, Jr., 93, " " " " " "
E. F. Wilmerding, '94, " " " " " "
W. S. Simpson, '95, Corporal Rough Riders
J. B. Tailer, '91, Private " "
J. L. Worden, '91, " " "
W. Tudor, '92, " " "
E. W. Pickhardt, '94 " " "
C. P. Hatch, '95, " " "
G. G. McMurtry, '96, " " "
F. Kernochan, '94, Bat. A, Phila.U. S. Vol.
J. \V. Wadsworth, '94, " " " " " "
B. F. Pepper, '97, " " " " " "
E. M. Armstrong, '92, " " " City Troop
S. F. Mills, '96, " " " " "
J. H. Crosman, Jr., '91 Corporal Governor's Troop Pa. Vol. Cav.
G. C. King, '92, 2nd Lieut. Vt. Vol. Co. I
J. W. Browne, '93, Sergt. Maj. 35th Inf. U. S. Vol.
J. G. Oglesby, '96, Capt. 1st Ill. Vol. Cav.
J. M. Watts, '97, Private, Conn. Light Art.
William Tiffany, the son of George and Isabella (Perry) Tiffany, was born at Newport in 1868. In 1879, at the age of eleven, he entered St. Mark's and remained until 1886. He was very fond of riding, and before entering business in New York spent several years on a ranch; and when the war broke out he joined Colonel Roosevelt's regiment of cavalry. He showed great skill and courage at the battle of Guasimas, and was made First Lieutenant, Company K, Rough Riders. At Santiago he caught the yellow fever, and then typhoid; and although he was thought to be on the road to recovery, it is said that lack of food and care on the transport Olivette so weakened him that he died on the twenty-fifth of August, two days after his arrival in Boston. His funeral took place on the twenty-ninth, at Trinity Church, Newport, and was attended by Colonel Roosevelt and one man from every troop of his regiment. The Governor of Massachusetts had sent an escort of troopers from the hotel in Boston to the Park Square Station, and at Newport the Governor of Rhode Island sent to the station a company of state militia. The artillery from Fort Adams was also in the funeral procession, and every flag at half-mast during the day. Tiffany was buried near his distinguished grandfather, Commodore Matthew Perry, and not far from the monument of his equally distinguished cousin, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.
Tiffany was of too light build to take a prominent part in athletics at school, but he entered into all activities with spirit, and was thoroughly liked for his optimistic temper, vivacity and kindliness. His abiding sense of humor created situations which ended subtly in an addition to the affection in which he was held by both tutors and boys; and his manliness and idealism gave him dignity and force. He rebelled indignantly at whatever he believed to be injustice; and it is perhaps this positive quality of fair-mindedness, added to the call of the Rough Riders, that brought him to the opportunity which he met so faithfully.
Hubbard Winslow White, the youngest son of the late Charles Austin White, entered St. Mark's in the year of its founding, and remained until 1872. He then went to Williams College, and was graduated in 1876. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted as a private in the Seventy-first New York regiment, United States Volunteers, one of the three volunteer regiments which with twenty-three regular regiments won the victories in eastern Cuba ending with the surrender of Santiago. He died at Camp Wikoff on the first of September following from disease contracted in the Santiago campaign, and was buried at Forest Hills, near Boston, on September the sixth. White was eligible to membership in the Mayflower Society through Richard Warren, and to the Society of Sons of the American Revolution through his great-grandfathers, Lieutenant Nathan Eaton and Wait Atwood; and he was of common ancestry with Wendell Phillips, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and those who bear the name of Appleton and Gilman, besides other families conspicuous in Massachusetts history. During the hardships in the trenches before Santiago his conduct and bearing characterized him as a true comrade, a noble friend, and an intensely loyal soldier. It is our misfortune that because of the lack of early records we know little of him as a St. Mark's boy except that he was a monitor. He was a famous runner in his day, and it is told that on one of the annual sleigh rides he ran the whole distance to Westborough and back in the sloppy snow behind the sleighs; a performance which seems prophetic enough of the spirit of a man who volunteered as a private for the military service of his country when he was over forty years of age.
AN IMPORTANT suggestion, one which indicates that Mr. Thayer's eye was on the best efficiency and well-being of the masters, was that of sabbatical years, which was referred to the Standing Committee for consideration. It was adopted in 1898, and has proved to be of great value in renewing energy and enthusiasm. The men who have been at the School a certain length of time are given leave of absence in rotation, so that but one more master than before is necessary; and the time is used in travel or in some other employment tributary to the purpose of the plan. At the same meeting, which took place on the eleventh of November, two other matters were referred to the Standing Committee: that of charging a fee for entering a name for membership in the School, and that of lighting the School building with electricity. An explosion of the gas-tank in the basement almost caused serious disaster in the fall of 1899, and shortly afterwards the School building was connected with the electric lighting system of Marlborough, three miles away. This explosion took place at about eleven o'clock at night, and was caused by the entrance of the night watchman with a lighted lantern into a section of the cellar filled with gas by the leaking tank. The watchman, Mr. Washington, was painfully injured, and some damage was done by fire; but the remarkable coolness and systematic activity of the older boys with the fire apparatus, and the obedience and promptness of the younger reassuringly minimized the effects and danger of the accident. At the meeting of the Trustees in April a gift was announced of ten thousand dollars from Mr. August Belmont for the purpose of laying out the athletic field; and Mr. Foster suggested that the portion of the field in front of the School should be named and henceforth known as the Belmont Field. Mr. Foster also moved that a stone or tablet suitably inscribed should be erected on it, and this plan was later extended to include a drinking-fountain.(105) At this meeting George B. Post, Jr., of New York, and Henry B. Chapin, of Boston, were announced as nominees from the Alumni Association for election to the Board of Trustees, and the latter was elected.
There were 120 boys(106) in the fall of 1898, and of the three new masters one, E. B. King, was a graduate of the School.(107) The master's cottage was again used for nine boys, in charge of Mr. Rees and Mr. Flood. Early in the term a half-holiday was granted for the good work done by the boys who had taken the college examinations. A promise was made of a similar gift in future in proportion to the number of honors attained, but in a few years the number increased so greatly as to threaten to interrupt the work of an entire week, and the bargain could not be kept. The school corridors had been further ornamented with excellent photographs, some of old teams and crews, the gift of E. N. Burke, '70; and a bust of Shakespeare, the gift of the class of 1898, looked down for the first time on the schoolroom. Late in the year a new clock which rang all the hall bells electrically was put in the schoolroom. The football team, very successful in most games, was defeated by Groton by a score of eleven to six, through a long run of seventy-five yards in the first half down the edge of the field. St. Mark's score was made by hard, steady gains, mostly by Hinkle and Mr. Flichtner. In the golf tournament the best net score was eighty-eight, made by Ingalls; but it must be remembered that these were the days of solid gutta-percha balls. The work of the Missionary Society had continued vigorously, and on the seventh of December Bishop Lawrence opened the new stone church of the ancient St. Paul's parish in Hopkinton, which replaced that burnt in 1865. The Westborough Mission Church was also opened about a month later, on January the fifteenth. The athletic mission to the Boys' Club in Marlborough was again undertaken every Wednesday evening by two of the older boys. Several gifts were made to the School in the form of prizes for literary work; Mr. Pulitzer gave two hundred and fifty dollars to the library; and a friend who preferred to remain anonymous gave five thousand dollars for a new master's cottage, to be constructed, like the School, of brick and plaster.(108) The dramatic entertainment this year took the form of a minstrel show, and was a great success under the training of Mr. Whittemore; and the School enjoyed a course of lectures by John Fiske. The School Store, which had been founded in 1896 under the management of Hugh Blythe, '97, had now become an important economy. A large closet off the room nearest the dining-room was used as a store-room, and at certain times of the day the manager and his assistant gave out to boys who had orders for them athletic apparel and other articles in general demand, practically at cost price.(109) The general financial oversight was in the hands of a master. On the twenty-second of April the Alumni dinner was held at the Hotel Manhattan, New York, with fifty present, and announcement was made of a thousand dollars paid and three hundred more promised for the new fives courts. A. Turnbull, '82, spoke for the committee on a memorial to Mr. Peck, referring to the large debt of gratitude owed to him when he was Senior Tutor, and announcing that enough had been paid or promised for a beautiful chapel window. With the coming of the spring vacation a golf team was sent against Cutler's, the winners of the interscholastic championship, on the Essex Country Club links at Orange, New Jersey, and it defeated them by a score of nine to four. During this year a study-period was conducted in the old library, under the charge of Dr. Gulliver, for those boys who for any special reason had formerly studied in pairs in the different recitation-rooms. The Fearing and Brotherhood Clubs had stirred up so much enthusiasm in the School that the Vindex was obliged to caution their members not to let class spirit crowd out school spirit; and a most successful baseball season followed, in which Groton was handsomely beaten by a score of twenty-five to six at the Worcester Oval. The whole School witnessed the game after a luncheon given by Mr. Charles S. Barton. The contest started ominously with four runs for Groton; but St. Mark's responded by scoring three. In the second one run came to Groton, and none to St. Mark's; but in the third St. Mark's made four, in the fourth and fifth one each, and in the sixth six on bases on balls and sharp hitting. In the seventh Groton got a run on a three-base hit and a single; but St. Mark's made three by two bases on balls and a three-base hit by Mackay; and in the eighth a fusillade of hits yielded seven more. Groton played courageously in the face of defeat, and the game was better contested than the score indicates; but Hutchinson pitched magnificently, and though hit often, kept the hits scattered. At prize-day, which was the twenty-seventh of June, Rev. George Douglas, D.D., was the principal speaker; and the valedictorian pointed out and emphasized the great improvements in the School and the industry of the Headmaster, who though always tremendously busy was never too much so to answer questions and to give advice.
The next improvement in the School's equipment was arranged in April, 1900, when the Standing Committee purchased land controlling a water supply; and in the fall a windmill appeared to the west of the School. Until this time the School had been dependent on the kindness of Mr. Robert Burnett, who had allowed it the use of his land for the purpose; but now authority was granted by the Board to arrange for securing about seventy-five acres of land to increase the facility. Thanks were also voted at this meeting to Mrs. Robert Burnett, one of the School's best and best loved friends in Southborough, for her gift of a five hundred dollar bond to establish a choir prize. The fact that St. Mark's still had no endowment was brought to the notice of patrons of the School by Bishop Lawrence and Mr. Thayer.
In the fall of 1899 the Rev. Waldo Burnett, who had occupied the rectorship of the village parish for fifteen years, resigned and went abroad. His place was taken by the Rev. Mr. Hazard, to meet whom Mr. and Mrs. Thayer gave a reception to the people of Southborough on the eleventh of May following. The football team,(110) this year playing on Barber Field, had a most successful season, largely due to Mr. Barber's coaching, and beat Groton by six to five, a score so close that until he was half way to the "store " after the game the St. Mark's captain thought the result was a tie. St. Mark's scored soon, and Hutchinson kicked a very difficult goal; but by a "fake" place goal Groton went around the end for a touchdown, and the failure to kick the goal was all that gave St. Mark's the victory. Groton was well stocked with trick plays, but the others were stopped by Hutchinson and Spaulding. The interest in football continued a month after the game among the younger teams and their coaches. Through gifts from Mr. William W. Appleton and Mr. Joseph Pulitzer a great many books were added to the library, which was made more useful by the addition of the new electric lights. The dormitories also were lighted by electricity controlled by switches in the masters' rooms, and from now on there was lamentation on the part of the disorderly. Besides regular gymnasium work(111) under Mr. Rabethge, former instructor at the gymnasium of the University of Michigan, the new game of fives took on increased interest through the Vindex article and talks by Mr. Eustace H. Miles, the English amateur champion of court tennis. The game had already been introduced into Groton, and after some instruction by our friends there soon took a permanent and important place in the winter activities. The courts were opened on the twenty-ninth of January. The winter evenings were this year again varied by a course of charming lectures by Mr. John Fiske. The usual Alumni dinner took place at the Manhattan Hotel, in New York, on the twenty-first of April, with the Rev. Dr. Rainsford and Mr. August Belmont as speakers. The spring athletic activities began with an interscholastic tennis tournament, in which eight schools were represented and St. Mark's won third place with eight points to Andover's thirteen and Hopkinson's eleven. Evidence of pride in our athletics was shown by the successful labor of making complete records of the School's football and baseball teams, which was accomplished with the help of alumni and former masters; and the names were afterwards placed on tablets in the trophy-room. An alumnus whose name was not announced offered a prize for a school song, and two songs were handed in; but neither of these was considered to have fulfilled the conditions imposed, and it was not until the following spring that one considered well worthy of adoption was written by Dudley Davis, '01. This song, "St. Mark's, Let Us Thy Praises Sing," to the tune of "Die Wacht am Rhein,"(112) has since been used on all appropriate occasions; and if the tune somewhat embarrassed the singers ten years ago, it perhaps served to substitute sympathy for merriment over Groton's colors. The rhythm is excellent, the words vigorous and vivid, and the sentiment strong and sincere. The baseball season was moderately successful, but for the first time in five years, on the twenty-sixth of May, St. Mark's was beaten in the Groton game by the close score of seven to six in a twelve-inning game. St. Mark's made four runs in the first inning, and Groton three in the second. In the third and in the seventh St. Mark's made one run, but in the latter Groton made three and tied the score. The battle was then evenly fought until the twelfth, when an error, and a two-base hit by Mr. Sturgis, gave the victory to Groton in the closest game ever played between the two schools. On prize day the speakers were Mr. Wickersham, Bishop Lawrence and Mr. L. Parks. A short service was held in the Chapel at which the memorial window to Mr. Peck, given by the graduates, was dedicated by Bishop Lawrence.
The first sabbatical year was granted to Mr. Barber in 1900-01,(113) and with it went a testimonial from the Trustees in recognition of his long term of service. Dr. Morgan, Dr. Chambré and Mr. Thayer were appointed to consider the subject of scholarships for St. Mark's, and at the meeting in May they submitted the following recommendations: that two be established with a stipend of two hundred dollars each, called trustee scholarships; as many without stipends as with, these to be called St. Mark's scholarships; that until further action all be administered by the Headmaster, subject to the following principles: (a) the recipient must show a high degree of scholarship; (b) the appointments are to be made annually, and a boy may be a candidate for reappointment; (c) those appointed may be already in school, or admitted but not yet in residence; (d) the titles of scholarships are to be printed in the annual catalogue; (e) a general statement about the system is to be prepared by the Headmaster and inserted in the preface of the catalogue. At this meeting also it was voted that the Headmaster be a Committee with power to have photographs of the past headmasters of St. Mark's framed and hung in the School building.
A deep shadow was thrown on the life of the School in the latter part of 1900-01 by the death of one of her boys, Grenville Brown Gilbert, '04, a member of the Third Form, who had entered in 1899, and died after nine days' illness of pneumonia in the early hours of Saturday morning, the sixteenth of March, 1901. A funeral service, which none who attended it can ever forget, was held in the Chapel on Sunday afternoon; and the monitors, with Mr. Thayer and Mr. Miles, whose devotion to the sick boy had been infinite, attended the funeral at Ware. At a meeting of the members of the School resolutions were passed in acknowledgement of the sweet and affectionate nature, the honest, upright and noble character, and the kindly and generous disposition shown in Gilbert's life and activities at the School. It was long before the community could recover itself from the shock of this loss, and its effect will never be forgotten. A beautiful memorial window, whose subject is from George Frederick Watts's Sir Galahad, stands in the Chapel, and testifies to the affection of Gilbert's class at St. Mark's; and when the new wing contemplated by the Trustees was built, the beautiful new library, the expenses of whose interior and furnishings were met by his parents and his classmates, was dedicated to his memory.
Though Mr. Barber was missed in the football season of 1900, the sport started vigorously for the club teams on a new field marked out south of the tennis courts,---in reality on a very old field, the first that the School had ever used,---and ended with a record free from defeats. Through powerful attacks by Hinkle and extraordinary kicking by Dodge, St. Mark's made sixteen points, and succeeded in shutting Groton out. A presidential year always calls out a straw vote, and the opinion of the School was clearly expressed by eighty-seven votes for McKinley and Roosevelt, and thirteen for Bryan and Stevenson. With colder weather came the hare-and-hounds runs; the fives courts became crowded; and an excellent play, written by Guilliaem Aertsen, Jr., '01, and entitled "A Tête-à-Tête with Moxie," was given by the Dramatic Club. St. Mark's defeated St. Paul's team in hockey by three to two; the Chapel Alley Daily Bulletin and the Lion appeared as usual; and then came mumps and pink-eye. An unusually representative Alumni dinner took place on the eighth of February at the University Club in New York, with more than a hundred present; and Mr. Thayer reported that $11,000 towards the $50,000 necessary for new recitation-rooms and laboratories had been subscribed. There was also a Harvard St. Mark's Club dinner at the Hotel Somerset, Boston, on the fourteenth of February, at which Dr. Morgan paid tribute to the work done at St. Mark's by Mr. Thayer. The baseball season ended in a comfortable victory of seventeen to nine over Groton; and in the warm weather the boys were taken over in charge of Dr. Guiliver to Chauncey Pond, near Westborough, where for a year or two swimming facilities had been established through his interest. The great distance to this spot, however, soon suggested the desirability of better things, and largely through Dr. Gulliver's work and enthusiasm a dike was built across the little valley beyond the Marlborough road, and an excellent swimming-pool resulted. In the spring of 1904 this was provided with a swimming-chute, the gift of Mrs. W. E. Iselin.
The new west wing, containing the library, laboratories and a new corridor, had been begun during the summer of 1901, but it was not until the fourteenth of January that the Fifth Form could take possession of their new quarters. Dr. Chase had gone to teach at Harvard, Mr. Rees was absent on sabbatical leave, Mr. Abbott had resigned, and Mr. Whittemore, who had continued the excellent work of Mr. Sennett with the choir since 1897, left at Christmas to go into business. But Mr. Barber was back from his sabbatical year abroad, and Mr. Duane Hopkins and Mr. DeW. V. Hutchings, and in January Mr. N. H. Pride, came to take the vacant places. Mr. Hutchings left the following spring to enter the ministry; but Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Pride spent three and six years respectively at the School, and will be affectionately remembered by all boys who knew them for their invincible optimism, humor and kindliness.
The football season, ending in a defeat of twenty-three to nothing by Groton, gave no cause for reproach because of its indifferent record of games won, since the material was light and somewhat untried. The Vindex notes that a holiday was given on the seventeenth of October in honor of the results of the spring examinations. There was good skating on the reservoir, dancing and banjo and mandolin lessons, and regular gymnasium drill for all but the Sixth Form, beginning on the twenty-fifth of November. Crust coasting, a delightful but rare variation, was possible for at least a few days; and Mrs. Thayer instituted impromptu musicales on Sunday evenings, to which all were invited. The two new fives courts had been finished, but because of faulty construction a crack appeared in one of the walls, and they could not yet be used. The Alumni dinner took place at the University Club in New York on the thirty-first of January, and was notable for the fact that every period of the life of the School was represented by the eighty graduates present. Mr. Thayer was the principal speaker, and Mr. Gordon Bell, a Groton graduate, also spoke. Excellent lectures were as usual delivered at the School during the winter, among them one by Jacob Riis on the slums of New York. It was during this winter that J. G. Coleman, '99, gave the School a thousand dollars to establish an English essay prize.
The baseball team, in spite of the excellent coaching of W. Whittemore, '97, was defeated in many of its games, including that with Groton by the score of five to three, but succeeded in beating the Harvard Freshmen by the same score. The Alumni Association, which had held its meetings on prize day, had decided to change to some date on which less demand would be likely to be made by other engagements, and this year fifty graduates met at the School on the twenty-seventh of May. Mr. Thayer presided at the dinner as host, and A. Turnbull, '82, President of the Alumni Association, was toastmaster. The School's thirty-seventh prize day came on the twenty-eighth of June, with the Rev, W. S. Rainsford, D.D., Bishop Lawrence and Dr. Chambré as speakers.
The physical resources of the School had been added to in the fall of 1902 by the completion of the skating-rink across the Marlborough road. Through Dr. Gulliver's efforts the swimming-pool, just above it, was also successfully constructed later, with a small house on its margin, and the question of skating and swimming places was a thing of the past. Besides Mr. Hutchings, Mr. Flichtner and Mr. Miles were away, though temporarily, and their places were taken by Bronson C. Rumsey, '98, Mr. Rees, who had returned from his sabbatical year, and Mr. Frederic Carrol Baldy. Mr. Rumsey remained until 1906, a conscientious teacher and an inspiration on the athletic field; and in Mr. Baldy the School still fortunately possesses one for whom St. Mark's is thankful: a forceful, inspiring and kindly teacher, a loyal, untiring worker, and a wise and tolerant friend and counsellor.
The light football team was beaten in the majority of its games, including that with Groton by thirty-six to nothing. The lack of weight accounted fairly for the defeats, and the Vindex offers no adverse criticism.
On the thirtieth of October the School was honored by a visit from the Crown Prince of Siam. He had been President Roosevelt's guest; and his presence in this country being with no diplomatic purpose he had been visiting several cities in order to obtain an acquaintance with America. He chose St. Mark's as a representative American school, and brought with him his brother, Prince Chakrabongse, and their suite. He was met at the station by the Headmaster and driven to the School, where a flag with the Siamese elephant in the centre flew from the staff.(114) The boys, assembled in the cloister and the quadrangle, cheered each member of the party as he stepped from his carriage,---though it is to be doubted whether the suite were able to recognize their names at the end of the cheers. The boys then went to their seats in the schoolroom, and the Prince and his party took their places on the broad platform between the two doors. Mr. Thayer then introduced Mr. Peirce, the Third Assistant Secretary of State and the President's representative with the Prince; and at the same time proposed a cheer for President Roosevelt, which was heartily given. Mr. Pierce spoke briefly, and introduced the Crown Prince. After the cordial applause had subsided the Prince arose, and in plain and straightforward manner, and in perfect English, made a short and clever speech. He was followed by Prince Chakrabongse, who also spoke wittily and sympathetically. The party was then shown over the building and grounds, and at the Prince's suggestion watched the football practice on Belmont Field, in which the Siamese ministers were much interested, showing their appreciation of each good play by clapping. Tea was then served by Mrs. Thayer, after which the visitors were driven to their train, declaring themselves much impressed, and hoping to come again.
Football did not stop after the Groton game, and was stimulated by the Harvard St. Mark's Club's offer of cups to the twelve boys playing on the winning team in the league series.
On the thirteenth of February about eighty graduates were present at the dinner at the University Club in New York. The Hon. D. B. Fearing, '78, spoke on athletics; and Mr. Thayer reported the work of the School, announced various improvements and certain changes in policy for the future, and warmly praised the Treasurer, Mr. Harry Burnett, '69, for his interest and efficiency. Barnes, '00, also spoke, and voiced the alumni's appreciation of Mrs. Thayer.
There were twenty-seven couples at the Sixth Form dance on the sixth of February, which distinguished it as the largest held so far. There were timely lectures by Mr. George Kennan on Siberia, and Mr. W. B. Parsons on China, and charming readings by Mr. Copeland of Harvard, always a favorite with the School. By the arrival of spring the swimming pool had filled satisfactorily, being about twelve feet deep in the centre, and clearing constantly through a gate in the dam; and suitable accessories were soon forthcoming. The winter had been severe, twenty-two below zero being the record, but the baseball team was able to get out-of-doors earlier than usual, and the season was an interesting one. Hopkinson's, Thayer Academy, Milton and two or three others were beaten without much difficulty, but Mercersburg, Somerville High and Harvard 1906 had easily won, and the prospect for the Groton game was doubtful. The result, however, was an overwhelming victory of twenty to one, in which St. Mark's made seventeen hits with a total of twenty-six, to two by Groton, and two errors to Groton's seven.
The Alumni dinner on the twenty-sixth of May was notable for its enthusiasm, and for its appreciation of Mr. and Mrs. Thayer. To both is traceable the continual increase of interest among the graduates through their recognition that the alumni are the greatest monument a school can have.
Leave of absence having been granted to Mr. Thayer for the year 1903-04, Mr. Barber was appointed acting Headmaster during his absence, and at a meeting in April, 1904, the Standing Committee reported that the School had been most successful under his care, and the Board expressed their satisfaction for the manner in which he had performed his duties. The Vindex welcomed the Barbers warmly; but perhaps somewhat through Mr. Barber's inability to help, the football season was unsuccessful, St. Mark's winning no games, and losing by the score of thirty-five to nothing to Groton, whose weight and teamplay were greatly superior. The new west wing of the building had been now completed with its library, two new recitation-rooms, new masters' studies and improvements in the old ones, new corridor of rooms, and physics and chemistry laboratories; but the Sixth Form had preferred to keep to the old corridor of tradition, and the new one had been assigned to the Fifth. The usual winter occupations of course included the Sixth Form dance, which was this year larger than ever, thirty-three couples taking part, and through Mrs. Barber's help and interest was very successful. Captain Biddle, whose enthusiasm for football came at a time when it was most needed, forbade all members of the football squad to go to the store in the afternoons; but there was plenty of employment in place of it with energetic gymnasium work and fives playing. On the tenth of May the School welcomed Mr. and Mrs. Thayer, who had just returned from abroad. The base-ball team won a creditable number of victories, among them one by four to three from the strong Mercersburg team in a well-played game, but lost to Groton by four to three in an even game in which Groton's hits were timely and St. Mark's errors were made at critical stages. On the running-track the school had the advantage of instruction from Mr. Lathrop, the former Harvard trainer. The speakers on prize day were Mr. Lawrence Lowell on the reasons for sending boys to college, and Attorney-General Parker of Massachusetts on the subject of school loyalty.
THE first thing that impressed me (115) at school was that Mrs. Thayer called me by my first name the first Sunday evening I was there. It was, of course, parlor night. I was not the only boy so surprised. There must have been some twenty-four of us new boys, but Mrs. Thayer made no mistakes; or, if she did, she explained them so well and disclosed so much knowledge about the boy whom she had mistaken that he felt extra gratified, and the others correspondingly jealous. A very painful contrast (yes, there is a joke hidden there) to this was "cocking up." I was "cocked up" next to a boy who was very much older than the rest of us, who, probably because the actors wished to make the process a demonstration that years were not to be allowed to make a "new kid " any the less new, was the chief target; so that, as not all the throwers, nor even the majority of them, were expert marksmen, I shared his punishment. I have the impression, though I can't say when I got it, that "cocking up" has disappeared. If so, there has been nothing lost. After the time I speak of, I participated in "cockings up" in an active instead of a passive capacity; but I cannot say I ever derived great pleasure from doing so. Moreover, I observed at school, and after that at college in similar events, that the persons who took the most pleasure in them were nearly always the disagreeable ones; and of course, pleasure isn't a justification of "cocking up" any more than it is of anything else. The new boys do not need it to keep them from being "fresh," or as they say out west, "new." The best proof of this fact is a "cocking up" with tennis balls which was administered to a boy in my form in West Corridor, for extra "freshness." Its only result as far as I could see was to make him resentful; a few words from one of the monitors would have brought the desired result without the resentment. One of the pleasantest acquisitions of school and college to me has been friendships with boys or men a few forms or classes below, and I do not flatter myself I am the only one who has the same experience. Such friendships, unless they lead to favoritism, that is, unjust preferment, are an enduring source of strength to the school; and they are much more apt to be developed where there is, on the part of the older boys, an attitude of friendly interest than when the attitude is one of unconcern or of jealous authority.
I remember very well that one of my first ambitions was to be the Editor-in-Chief of the Vindex. Any apparent conceit, beyond a natural pride in mentioning that I achieved it, will, I believe, disappear when I say that it was entirely due to Gordon Arthur Smith and to Joseph Husband that the Vindex in 1903-4, was able to keep up to form. Smith wrote eight stories that year and Husband seven, and they weren't skimpy ones, either. Each of them disclosed the talent which has since shown itself in what they have published; in Smith's work narrative, and in Husband's description, was predominant. Someone, either Lawrence White or George Bull, wrote an Anniversary Poem in the metre of "Hiawatha" on the triumph of "Archer," a fine horse owned by a member of the Faculty, over an automobile belonging to White which stopped on the road and had to be towed home. There were a great many amusing verses written, and drawings made by White, which never found their way into print. He always saw the ridiculous side and his caricatures were famous; I remember one of a gentleman who visited Mr. Barber's Greek class one day, which caused both the class and Mr. Barber a great deal of amusement; and another of a football "pig-pile " with White at the bottom. His imitations, too, were first-class of dear old Bishop Hare, now dead, who talked about "Da-ko-tah" and the "Eendeons," of John Galatti as quarter-back, and of most of us, masters and boys, who had any peculiarities that he could imitate.
Anyone who has not been in Mr. Rees' classroom has missed a great many jokes. We used to quote of him the lines of the Deserted Village
Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he.
He was very generous about counter-jokes, too, unless he thought them bad ones. The steward then was Jaquith, and when Mr. Rees in the opening of Ancient History mentioned the Biblical tradition as to the peopling of the earth, I ventured to substitute Jaquith for Japheth. "Ervin," said Mr. Rees sternly, "there are only forty-two elementary sounds in the English language, and any one, any one, by a slight substitution, can make a bad joke." He told one boy in my form, who was fond of scrapping in class, that he had an "angular disposition."
The most famous victories in my six years were the 16-o game in the Fall of 1900, the 25-6 game in the Spring of 1899, and the 20-1 game in the Spring of 1903. We won no football games the last three years I was in school. When the class of 1901 left, there was a huge gap, and when 1902 left there seemed to be no heavy men at all. Men were continually being laid up---I remember one game we played with ten substitutes ---and there was no adequate system of coaching. It is a great pleasure to see that all this has changed and that we are now getting our share of football victories. I notice that the 16-0 team was coached by Deland, Lewis, Reid and Kernan, and by six alumni, which to my mind emphasizes the value of good coaching, and lots of it. The 25-6 game I did not see, but the 20-1 game, thank Heaven! I did. That was the game in which the two last-moment substitutes shone. Coleman's mother died a week before the game; the infield was shifted, and Landon, who had not been hitting well at all, went in at centre field. He made a star catch and got a three-bagger. Tweed was taken down with appendicitis the morning of the game, and Rodman Fay caught in his place. He got several hits and held the team together in the most splendid fashion. It really was a great achievement.
When 1901 was in the Sixth Form, we beat St. Paul's in hockey (Dec. 15th, 1900, at the St. Nicholas rink).
The year 1901 was an "annus mirabilis." I forget how many men there were in that form, but I believe thirty; there were several leaders among them, and they ran the school well. They won the banner for the sports four years in succession, largely by the aid of C. W. Wickersham, who won a lot of points for them in the featherweights, and was dubbed the "pocket Kranzlein" (Kranzlein was a Penn man who then held a lot of records). A great commotion was therefore caused by the proposal made in the Spring of 1900 to put the sports on the "Brotherhood and Fearing" instead of on the "Form" basis. There was an interesting meeting of the Athletic Association, preceded by some electioneering, at which the proposal was defeated.
The school song was written that year, as the result of a competition initiated by the Vindex. Aertsen wrote an original play, "A Tète-à-Tête with Moxie," which was performed at Christmas time.
That year Alfred Biddle, then a new boy in the Third Form, rose instantly to fame as a result of his recitation of one of the Ingoldsby Legends, "Look at the Clock"; his manner and expression, hard to describe, made it one of the funniest things ever done at the School. There never was a moment's doubt about the prize. When Biddle was on the second eleven, its coach invented a centre kick, which it was up to Biddle to execute. He didn't execute it, or he did so in a peculiar manner, so that he was joked for months afterwards, and there was a song about it in the minstrel show that year. He was a very eager player, and the coaches used to tell him not to stutter with his feet. But he persisted in learning how to play, and afterwards made the Yale "Varsity" as centre.
Extempore speaking was, I suppose, much the same as it is now. The best speakers when I was in school were Brannan, Tweed, Vanderbilt, and George Bull. Vanderbilt's speeches were, I think, the most interesting; he usually took an interesting subject and put a good deal of thought into it. Then, too, as I suppose now, the usual ending was "let us hope"; "Let us hope then that the people will arouse themselves in time, and that this great calamity will not come to pass"; "Let us hope that Mr. Bryan will get the reward he so richly deserves."
The Russo-Japanese war was going on in my Sixth Form year. Mr. Rees was almost the only member of the Faculty, or, indeed, of the School, who took the Russian side; he valiantly explained away the Japanese victories as they occurred, and had at the last only the dubious satisfaction of seeing the vanquished make a favorable peace.
One of the things which strikes me as I look back is the tendency in school, probably in all schools, to repress individuality. This tendency does not exist among the masters, who opposed it, or did in my time, all they could. It has a good side, of course, in correcting mannerisms and queernesses; that is, in polishing rough edges. But it has also a dangerous side, which shows itself in over-zealousness to repress any act which may by any possibility be called "fresh"; in the ridicule apt to be put upon a boy who in English class tries to read or recite in anything but a sausage-machine style, and in the contempt often shown for a boy who is interested in, or pursues something, in which the others have no interest. There is a great danger in standardization; in the almost irresistible desire to make everyone else conform to the observances and rules we conceive ought generally to be held. One of the distinguishing characteristics of one of the great universities of America is--- or has been, for I see some signs of reaction --- the encouragement, not merely the liberty, accorded the individual to pursue, within the limits of good order, his own interests and likings, without loss of caste because they are not those of the majority. If it can be said of college that many who are the leaders there are afterwards followers, and many there obscure afterwards leaders, then much more true is this of school. We must remember, first, that the oldest boy in school is pretty young; second, that a great many people develop late; and third that it is very dangerous for our own reputations as prophets to say of any boy that he is "sad," as the expression used to be.
In the same vein I might mention the tendency to regard effort as ignoble. How many times I have heard it said, with admiration of some one in school, that he never did any work, yet stood in the first five of his class. That sort of praise is little heard after college. In my short experience, I have observed that proficiency, and the success that usually follows it, results only from the most severe, earnest, and persistent effort. "Age quod agis."
It may seem strange to say that there are any drawbacks to Sixth Form year. But there are, as there are to Senior year in college, though they do not appear until afterwards. Sixth Form year gives us the reward of our efforts in school. We are apt to be deflected from our course in our happiness over the success that we have achieved, of whatever character it may be; to forget the effort which brought it about; and so to think that all we have to do is to exist. Criticisms of college men as a class, by employers, are based on the fact that a great many of them are so up in the air with success at college that they think further effort unnecessary and expect to be presidents of banks and railroads within a year; and the Sixth Former is in this respect like the college man, with the greater danger that he still has four years in which to cherish and deepen the illusion.
In my Second Form year there was a fire in the School. I haven't read the Fire Underwriters' report, but I believe it started from an explosion of gas in the basement, resulting from the lighting of a match by the watchman, who smelled gas and wished to see where the leak was. Some time in the night, Dr. Benson, who was in charge of dormitory B, woke me and told me to dress, that there was a fire. I promptly turned over and went to sleep again, and didn't get up until he came again and stood over me while I got into my trousers and coat and sweater. After about an hour it was all over. Some damage was done to the basement and to the schoolroom floor, where the Fire Department had chopped a hole to get the hose to play into the basement. Well, no more fires will come from gas; electric lights were installed about January of 1900.
What a lot of changes there have been since the Fall of 1898. The first I remember was the removal of the old red barn which stood somewhere in the field through which runs the path leading past the town schoolhouse to the main street.
The tennis courts were opened for play January 29, 1900. Belmont field was finished in time for the Groton game in the Spring of 1900. The running track I'm not sure about, but I believe it was first used the same spring. In the Fall of 1901 the wing containing the library was opened; then, after my form had graduated, came the Common Room, and the new entrance, where recitation Room 3 used to be, the addition to Mr. Thayer's part of the building, Mr. Barber's cottage, the swimming pool, the skating rink, the enlargement of the schoolroom, the remodelling of the dining-room, the baseball cage, and many other changes that I haven't mentioned. Before the library wing was built the School was somewhat cramped, and so about a dozen boys lived with a master in the cottage now occupied by Mr. Flood. They were Fourth Formers, I think, with a few from the Third Form; and it was considered a great privilege to be there. Mr. Rees was the master in charge.
Mr. John Fiske gave a series of lectures on the Battles of the Revolutionary War, and a lecture on Benedict Arnold, and on the Salem Witchcraft, my second and third years. Those who heard them will remember Dr. Fiske's pronunciation of the words " rise" and "wounded" and the clearness and dramatic quality of his style. They will remember also that, when he dropped the pointer he was using, he couldn't pick it up again.
The Chapel Alley Daily Bulletin was a very welcome morning paper when I was a "new kid," and it was published each year, I think, that I was in school. In 1900-01 the editors were not industrious enough to get it out on time; and, when an issue was missed, the next one would contain the explanation that the printing press had fallen out of the window. The Lion, I think, also appeared every year; its chief contents were verse and bad jokes; those of the Chapel Alley, puzzles, and equally bad jokes. Perhaps, however, those of the Lion were better (I was an editor of the Lion). Mr. Flichtner won a prize offered by the Chapel Alley in 1900 for the best and most numerous solutions of its puzzles; I remember his amusing acknowledgment of it at the opening of one morning school, and Taft ('00) writing behind him on the blackboard, "Varium et mutabile semper femina."
"The Octette" was a popular institution my Fourth Form year, and I think also the year before. The most amusing experience I had in connection with it was a concert given in a "coffee house" in Boston run by the Rev. Dr. Hilliard. The Mandolin and Banjo Clubs went in with "the Octette," and one of the numbers was a duet by two mandolins. The players were near a stove, and about half way through the duet, the harmony grew harsh and finally became impossible.
One of the best athletes the School ever had was Cecil Barnes, '00, known as "Cyc" because, I believe, of some performance on or with a bicycle. His records in the trophy room show his regular performances, but his special ones were climbing up one of the water spouts from West Corridor into Dormitory A, dumping a bed and descending without being caught; and placing an American flag at the end of the arm of the windmill.
Mr. Thayer paid the form of 1904 the compliment of taking his year off while it was, under Mr. Barber, in authority in the School. We missed him, but we had an opportunity to be with Mr. Barber and to grow fond of him as well as respect him. He, thank fortune, is still with us, likewise Mr. Flichtner, and Mr. Flood and Mr. Baldy. The others we knew have gone. It is melancholy, a mellow, happy kind of melancholy though, when one sees how well the School is doing --- to come back and miss the "old familiar faces," in their old familiar places, and to find changes which, however, we should wish made, were they not accomplished. But then, when we think of all that was given us, and the patience, understanding and affection which our Headmaster, and the first love of all of us, Mrs. Thayer, bestowed upon us at School, and still bestow upon us as alumni, we call to mind the words of Byron, spoken of his own school: