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75 Years Ago

75 years ago the United States entered World War II after attacks on U.S. military bases across the Pacific, most memorably at Pearl Harbor in the U.S. Territory of the Hawaiian Islands. For your final exam, in an essay of no fewer than five hundred words, please compare and contrast the schools’ reactions to war in these editorials from the Northfield and Mount Hermon newspapers.

from The Northfield Star, vol. XXVI, no. 2; p. 2 (December 17, 1941).


            Think of all the little children in Europe, girls, and conserve! The world is really beginning to take notice of the abilities of our fair sex and we accordingly should prove our capability by accepting, along with the privileges of equality, the responsibility involved. We can “do our part” in defense by following Miss Wilson’s noble advice about conservation of water and electricity and the serious promotion of health. The men of a country have a more spectacular part in national defense, but they depend on us to carry out the more commonplace functions that they have had to abandon. Obviously at our tender age, we can’t leave school to go out and plow a field, but we can practice those little economies that in the end contribute greatly either to a success or a failure. We need not go into the intricacies of these measures with which you are all by now undoubtedly quite deadly familiar, but keep them in mind and don’t let any old soldiers get ahead of us in preparation for national defense.

from The Hermonite, vol. LV, no. 7; p. 2  (December 17, 1941).


         Currently raging on campus are two major questions. The first, “How old are you” and the second, “Have you heard the latest?” But really, of what matter to us are these insignificant interrogations?”
            “How old are you?” – what difference does it make? The draft age has not yet been lowered to eighteen, despite prevalent rumors that it has. None of us, therefore, are subject to an immediate call into the armed forces. Moreover, the present need is not for man-power, but rather for machinery and weapons. Therefore, here at Hermon are we able to do the most good, for by avoiding such foolish talk of enlisting we are able to restore calm and order. By continuing our customary activities without hysterical excitement are we best serving our country. Consequently, our place remains on this hill; our duty is to train for the bitter post-war days by completing our education now.
            “Have you heard the latest?” – similarly wasted time in asking this question. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times “the latest” is only the product of some fanciful imagination. Let’s “turn a deaf ear” to the propaganda mongers about the school. They only cause anxiety and excitement.
            It has been said that the axis powers will conduct a “war of nerves” against this country. Thus we will doubtless be flooded with groundless rumors from foreign sources.
We must learn, therefore, to receive all reports with calm deliberation, waiting for official Washington statements before we become too alarmed.
            This does not mean, however, that we should be idealists; that we should not face the facts. War is definitely here! We cannot crawl back within our shell in a policy of isolation, for in the past two and one half years we have learned the lesson of similar mistakes in the foreign relations of such nations as Poland, Norway, Denmark, and France. On the contrary, we must plan for a long war; a war in which our cities may be bombed, our civilians killed, our buildings destroyed; a war abounding with disheartening defeats.
            Doubtless there will be shortages of many vital supplies. In the emergency it will be necessary to make patriotic sacrifices. But nevertheless throughout all we must continue as nearly as possible our usual activities.

            Above all, we must not fall victims to gossip, for gossip breeds excitement, excitement breeds confusion, confusion breeds chaos, and chaos in the United States aids the Axis cause.
Take a look: Classroom Video on Demand

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Classroom Video On Demand is a comprehensive streaming video subscription service for high schools, featuring unlimited access to more than 5,000 educational programs that can be viewed in class, at the library, or from home.

Brought to you by Facts On File, in conjunction with Films for the Humanities and Sciences (FFH&S), Classroom Video On Demand is a compilation of FFH&S’s best high-school-level video content spanning the following core subject areas:

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Each full-length video has been segmented into predefined clips, making it easy to find specific pieces of content quickly. This complete, multi-subject video solution is an exceptional value and offers convenient, one-stop shopping for librarians, faculty, and educators.

To access NMH’s Classroom Video on Demand database you can start at the NMH Hub >> Library >> Library Databases >> and select Classroom Video on Demand.

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60 Years Ago

Here’s an account of an odd “first” in school history. Unfortunately, no photographic evidence of the event exists in the school archives. Too bad.

from The Hermonite, vol. LXX, no. 6; p. 1  (December 13, 1956).

“Bermuda Holiday” Theme Marks Successful Senior Dance at Gym; Ballads, Band, and Breed Perform For Bermuda-Clad Beachcombers

Amid the splendor of Bermuda, the Senior Class held its first party of the school year on Saturday, December 1st in the James Gymnasium here at Hermon.

The atmosphere of the “Bermuda Holiday” theme was furthered by the Bermuda shorts worn by the majority of the couples attending. It was the first time in Mount Hermon-Northfield history social history that this type of dress was permitted at such a gathering. One attending the dance may have noticed a well-known faculty member gliding about the dance floor in the conventional dress of the party.

…[S]cenes constructed by the Class of ’57 added to the relaxed mood prevailing throughout the evening. In one corner stood an elaborate floral display with the class numerals written in a cluster of flowers. A pool inhabited by goldfish was centered in the brilliant display. In the opposite corner a scene by the seashore was portrayed with all but the ocean spray represented. A mural on the center wall of the gym showed the Bermuda horizon with “Bermuda Holiday” lettered on it. Faculty corner was another scene of interest with the position named “Observation Point” where beach chairs and a background of greenery contributed to the theme.

The entertainment consisted of the jazz band, the Triple Quartet, and an amazing demonstration of golf shots by Al Breed.

After the party, social chairman Bob Aks expressed the hope that this would set a precedent for other classes who wish to have a party of a similar type.
Take a look: Oxford Islamic Studies Online

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Oxford Islamic Studies Online is an authoritative, dynamic resource that brings together the best current scholarship in the field for students, scholars, government officials, community groups, and librarians to foster a more accurate and informed understanding of the Islamic world. Featuring reference content and commentary by renowned scholars in areas such as global Islamic history, concepts, people, practices, politics, and culture, Oxford Islamic Studies Online is regularly updated as new content is commissioned and approved under the guidance of the Editor in Chief, John L. Esposito.
Encompassing over 5,000 A–Z reference entries, chapters from scholarly and introductory works, Qur'anic materials, primary sources, images, maps, and timelines, Oxford Islamic Studies Online offers a multi-layered reference experience designed to provide a first stop for anyone needing information and context on Islam.
To access NMH’s Oxford Islamic Studies Online database you can start at the NMH Hub >> Library >> Library Databases >> and select Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

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80 Years Ago

This column reprises two of your editor’s favorite subjects: Thanksgiving and quarantine. In the mid-1950s two aspects of school life disappeared: the annual all school Thanksgiving celebration (Until 1954 the schools held Friday classes the day after Thanksgiving, and the on campus festivities were a high point of the fall, attracting scores of alumni who would return for dinner.) and the near-annual campus quarantines due to infectious childhood diseases. Eighty years ago, these two events converged. 

from The Hermonite, vol. L, no. 6; p. 1 (December 1936).

Thanksgiving Day Celebrated in Traditional
Style Regardless of Scarlet Fever
Absences Cause Program Changes
Mr. Jackson Substitutes for Dr. Porter

Embattled Hermonites not allowing the “bug” to get them down in any sense of the word observed a traditional Hermon Thanksgiving except for the truism that there was not the usual big reunion. Not to be ignored is the fact that alumni and friends, including “so near and yet so far” Dr. and Mrs. Porter, were conspicuous in their absence.

Naturally not in an over-joyful mood for thanksgivings in the absence of so many old friends, students eagerly applauded Dr. Porter’s message suggesting a “Home-coming Week-end” later in the winter.

Due to the continued quarantine, Charles W. Merriam of Deerfield who was scheduled to address us at the half-hour morning service could not be present. In his stead, our Rev. Lester P. White read Psalm 145.

In a West Hall festively decorated with shocks of corn and chandeliers shaded with paper of a gay autumnal shade, dinner, the really big affair of the day, commenced at one o’clock. Featuring Demy’s celebrated roast turkey, Mrs. Cooper’s excellent menu included a fruit cup, sage dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, watermelon pickles, mashed potatoes, rolls, buttered onions, celery and tomato sauce, mince pie a la mode, salted peanuts, mints and coffee.

During the meal, there was the usual table-to-table yelling; meanwhile the Seniors went joyfully about the extremely pleasant task of breaking all records by eating more turkey this year than ever before. The Seniors tried to excel in the new musical sphere too, by singing a new “Turkey Song” in two parts set to the music of “Tormented” and “Old Gray Bonnet.”

After dinner Mr. Jackson acting as toastmaster in place of Dr. Porter, read a “cablegram” from the isolated headmaster to which a response was unanimously voted by those present. Also decided upon were messages to the still feverish Hermonites at Greenfield and elsewhere.

In the intervals between his introduction of the afternoon’s distinguished orators, Mr. Jackson read greetings sent by various Hermon clubs in colleges…

Irrepressible Johnny Fisher, one of the few alumni present, was greeted with a great ovation when entering the hall late. A little later, on being called on to present the well wishes of the Class of 1936 and other alumni, he was the recipient of one of the most spontaneous outbursts of applause of the day. From this and other demonstrations it was easy to see that thoughts of the alumni were present in all fortunate enough to be present, although everyone was happy to be able to be at West Hall entering in the traditional ceremonies of the day.