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95 Years Ago

The following not only reminds us of our Northfield heritage, but introduces one of the periodicals produced at the seminary. Note the difference in tone between this piece and, say, last week’s. While today’s students do not experience the daily joys of the place that was and is Northfield, it is you who keep alive the Northfield spirit today. Here’s how one Northfield student defined that feeling nearly a century ago. Leaving aside the gendered language of the Northfield Seminary, may all of us do our part to follow the advice herein, to help keep said spirit alive for the next ninety-odd years.

from The Northfield Star, vol. VII, no. 1, pp. 6-7; October, 1922.

A Spirit Gift

Northfield’s greatest gift cannot be defined, not even by a logical definition. It is freer than the air, yet to those who possess it, it is priceless. Every girl may have it if, of her own free will, she desires it, and by honest, purposeful effort strives to obtain it. This gift is not the Northfield “N,” but is generally known by the name of The Northfield Spirit.

Think back to the days when you were a new girl, shy, homesick, and everything seemed so strange. Everywhere you went girls smiled at you and called out a merry greeting. Old girls showed you where you were to take your examinations, where you were to go to have your schedules made out, and helped you solve the puzzles which stared you in the face during those first days. Did you ever stop to think why they were so thoughtful, helping you with the little things which meant so much to you? There is only one answer to this question and that answer is the Northfield Spirit.

Go down on the athletic field when there is a challenge game being played and get acquainted with this same Spirit. Even if no one else is there, you may be sure of Her presence on the field watching the game. She creates the atmosphere of good sportsmanship and it is because of Her that the players can smile at defeat.


That fine spirit of sincere, thoughtful endeavor shown in the classroom, that spirit of constant helpfulness in the halls, that spirit of self-forgetfulness toward one’s friends, the Spirit herself, is waiting to bestow. Do you not want for your very own all these splendid things which make Northfield worthwhile? Just take them, for they are your heritage. They are all embodied in the words Northfield Spirit, and when Northfield has given you that she has given you her best.
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The Schauffler Scholar Series resumes on Wednesday, October 18. Join us at 7:00 p.m. to hear Dr. Lee-Ellen Strawn (Chaplain/Religious Studies & Philosophy) discuss the topic of women's change in modern Korean history with the central question of:

"Who and what empowered Korean women 
at the turn of the 20th century?" 

Dr. Strawn will also explore whether this discussion yields any relevance to today's concerns about a nuclear North Korea.

The program will take place in the Library Wayback. Refreshments will be served. We'll wrap up in time for study hall.

All are welcome! 

The Schauffler Scholar Series provides an opportunity for students and the wider campus community to hear about the scholarly, artistic, and professional pursuits of NMH faculty and staff outside of the classroom.
Knitting @ the Library! Sun 10/22, 4-5 pm

Knitting in the library is BACK! Sunday, October 22, 4-5 pm

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced knitter, come join the fun as we knit together. Bring your own project, or start one! Bring your own needles, or we’ll loan you some! Bring your own yarn, or use some from our yarn stash! Snacks will be served.


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90 Years Ago

With Mountain Day behind us and (maybe) the Rope Pull in our sights, school traditions are very much in view. It may seem oxymoronic to speak of a new tradition; at the very least it’s a risky enterprise. This week shows you why with a description of a “new tradition” which never became an old one.


from The Hermonite, vol. XLI, no. 3, p. 1-2; October 1, 1927.

Senior Class Starts New Tradition

Coil of Rope is to Signify “Pull Together”

At Chapel service on September 27, the senior class inaugurated a new tradition by handing a coil of rope to the junior class.
Perhaps there is no school in the country whose traditions have become a part of its makeup as Mount Hermon. The existent traditions have come to us through the efforts of student and Founder of this institution. We live here as man with man; we get to know each other, but the time we really know and understand each other is the time when traditions are recalled or handed down to us.
We have at present two outstanding traditions, which embody a great deal – the spade and the one-tine fork. The spade, presented by the class of 1890, [Actually it was first presented by the class of 1889. – ed.], symbolizes digging; the one-tine fork symbolizes doing the impossible – eating soup with a fork. At this time the class of 1928 wishes to institute a new tradition symbolizing the idea of pulling. No organization can attain the greatest success unless there are men who are willing to pull. This tradition is embodied in a rope which was used in the recent rope pull, and which is 56 inches long, an inch for every man who pulled for the class. The class of ’28 hopes that this rope will be received in the spirit in which it is given. We ask that the rope be presented at West Hall to the winner of the rope pull the night of the contest. If by chance the seniors should win, the rope should be presented to the sophomore class, but, of course, if the juniors win the rope belongs to them for the year, and so on. Each class as it wins the rope should place its class colors on either end of the rope. We hope that each year the spirit of Mount Hermon will increase and become more beneficial to all concerned. It is not the “pull” we want, but we want to pull together in the spirit of Hermon. This tradition we introduce that the spirit of Mount Hermon might take its proper place in the student life on the campus.



The bit of rope donated by the class of 1928 was won by the junior class of 1929 at the rope pull that fall. A year later, the juniors won again and newspaper accounts indicate that the rope went to the class of 1930, but from that moment the tradition disappears from view. –ed.
Lunch & Learn with the Library! Thu 10/12, 11-2, Alumni Hall

Stop by the Wilson Room in Alumni between 11am-2pm on Thursday, October 12 to learn about the library's services. We'll help you get set up with a free subscription to the New York Times and show you how to access free audio books and e-books.

We'll have books and movies with us that you can check out right from alumni. We'll also have suggestion forms so you can let us know your favorite genres and what books you'd like to see in the library!


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110 Years Ago

Mountain Day pushes TBT to Friday. This week we note the 110th birthday of not one, but two campus buildings.

From The Mount Hermon Alumni Quarterly, vol. VI, no. 1, p. 2; September 1907.

New Buildings

In schools, as in other communities, one of the clearest signs of progress is increase in number of buildings. The returning old student looks to see the changes in this line, even before he greets his friends. And this summer he is not disappointed. At the south, in the rapidly growing cluster of houses about Dwight's Home, is to be seen a nearly completed residence known as Harris Cottage, from the name of the donor. This cottage will be occupied by Mr. Richard L. Watson. At the rear of the laundry [now Social Hall –ed.] is rising the new canning factory. Special interest centers here because the work is done wholly by Hermon labor, because the material is concrete blocks made on the place, and because the building means improvement in one of Hermon's specialties, the industrial system.



Today Harris Cottage is home to the Dowdys. Mr. Dowdy can tell you more about his house than your editor can. Direct all questions to him, but when you do, be sure to wish his home a Happy Birthday. As for the canning factory, it is now better known as Rikert House. After it was a canning factory, and before it became student housing just about 50 years ago, it served for many years as the headquarters of Plant and Property. It is therefore fitting that when the building began its new life as a dormitory, it was named for the longtime director of Plant and Property, Carroll Rikert, class of 1913. –ed.