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100 Years Ago

This week’s installment serves to (re)introduce The Northfield Star to readers of this column. For nearly thirty years The Hermonite newspaper had served the interests of both Northfield Seminary and Mount Hermon School, but as time went on the paper seemed to serve Northfield interests less and less well. By 1916 the young women at The Seminary had decided that enough was enough, and started a paper all their own.

from The Northfield Star, vol. I, no. 1; pp. 3-4 (October 1916).

Out for the Paper

Much suppressed excitement was felt all over the Campus on the evening of September 16th, at about seven-thirty. At Marquand it was marked by weird sounds made with combs, continued running up and down of stairs, and occasional pounding of a hammer. Something was on foot that much was evident to the most casual observer.

            At eight-thirty the girls had assembled in the lower halls ready to go out. A drum-major appeared, organized her scattered ranks, and led forth the motley crew to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”, played in ten different keys and sung in as many more. These ranks filed out, met those of East Hall at the door, and together started up the hill. East more than made up for the Marquand Band by her wondrously wrought transparencies which proclaimed shining truths such as “It pays to advertise,” “The truth and nothing but the truth,” “All the news that’s fit to print,” and many more sage sayings…

            Song followed song until the walls fairly rang with the echoes. Not for a long time had Stone Hall seen such a large and enthusiastic gathering of faculty and students alike. The editor-in-chief finally succeeded in making herself heard and announced to us that four different titles had been proposed: “Laurel Leaves,” “The Seminary Shuttle,” “The Northfield Monthly,” and “The Northfield Star.” Paper was hastily torn up; pencils were borrowed; the ballots cast and collected. The girls were dismissed with the promise that they should know the result as soon as possible on Monday morning.

            On Monday morning the announcement that the new paper would be christened “The Northfield Star” was accompanied by much show of enthusiasm and satisfaction. These bits of conversation were heard: “I am so glad.” “I guess that I’ll subscribe, after all.” “I just can’t wait until the first issue comes out.”
Did You Know?

Did you know that the library subscribes to a database that provides access to articles about controversial topics? OpinionArchives provides the full-text of 17 major American opinion magazines from their first issues to the present.

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Goto the NMH Hub >> Library >> Library Databases >> OpinionArchives

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40 Years Ago

Though some athletes return to Northfield Mount Hermon before registration in order to practice, the earlier start to the school year has made weeklong preseason camps a thing of the past. This article recalls them and recounts the first camp for girl’s soccer.

from The Bridge; vol. VIII, no. 1; p. 3 (October 18, 1976).

Soccer: 1st In N.M.H. History

With great enthusiasm expressed by returning team members, and much organized planning on the part of their coach, the NMH girls’ soccer team became the first women’s team in the history of NMH to participate in a pre-season athletic camp sponsored by the school.

Letters were sent out earlier in the summer to 70 students interested in playing any kind of women’s soccer, whether competitively, or intramurally. Out of these 70, 32 participated in the soccer camp. The camp started on September 12th, and continued to the end of the week. Immediately following Sunday’s registration, the girls gathered on the Crossley-Hayden field for their first practice.

Many new drills and skills were introduced to the camp team members. Confusion soon followed. Yet, with practice and supplementary explanations, everything was back to order and groups of 3’s and 4’s were soon spread out across the field. Girls could be seen dodging, tackling, juggling and heading, consequently, there were soccer balls flying in all directions.

Unfortunately, these practice sessions were [not without cost]. New sore and aching muscles revealed themselves soon after morning drills began, continuing throughout the week as new exercises demanded much use from unexpected muscles. Still as time wore on, great potential and talent were shown by the improving athletes.

The players interested in trying out for the varsity and JV teams will continue their practices at Northfield, below Meany Gym. Tryouts will be held at the end of next week. Those who were not able to attend the camp but who would like to try out for the team should get in touch with Dorie Viguers who can be reached at the Northfield Gym.

Many thanks to Coach Viguers, co-coaches Mary Ellen Peller and Liz Michaelson, and the school, for making this camp possible.

With this concentrated week of field practice and blackboard teaching behind them, the eventual teams are sure to be strong and consistent.

If end of season records might be viewed as some indicator of the success of a pre-season camp, this one was quite successful. The team finished with a record of 7-4-0, including a first ever win over Andover, after finishing the season before with a record of 1-5-2. –ed.
New Librarian of Congress makes history

It is moderately unusual for a librarian to be a household name. (Hard to admit, but true.) However, this week, Dr. Carla Hayden made history by being confirmed as the first African American and first female Librarian of Congress. Interestingly, Dr. Hayden is also only the third (out of fourteen) librarians of Congress to be an actual librarian.

Dr. Hayden was most recently the director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland.

In an interview with PBS, Dr. Hayden reflected on the significance of her confirmation.

JEFFREY BROWN: You are the first woman to have this job, the first African-American to have this job. Do these things matter, and, if so, how, especially at the Library of Congress, heading it?
CARLA HAYDEN: I’m really smiling because of Mr. Melvil Dewey, who so many people know as the pioneer in librarianship.
And in about 1876, he decided that it might be good to have women join the profession, because, as he said — and I love this quote — “They can endure pain with fortitude, and they can perform monotonous tasks with patience.”
CARLA HAYDEN: But, more seriously, though, being the first African-American really resonates, because, for so many years during slavery, slaves were forbidden to learn how to read, and some of the laws back then, amputating fingers, 40 lashes and more, just to learn to read.
So, to have an African-American head up the largest institution that signifies knowledge and information resonates with me quite a bit.
Dr. Hayden is a vocal advocate for privacy and intellectual freedom and is expected to lead the modernization and digitization of many of the Library of Congress's systems and resources. She will be the first Librarian of Congress to serve a ten year, rather than a lifetime, term, and will be eligible for reappointment by the sitting President.
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90 Years Ago

When was the first Rope Pull, anyway? That’s a question your editor often gets at this time of year. Inter-class and inter-dormitory competitions involving a “tug o’ war” were certainly part of campus life in the 19th century and D.L. Moody himself is reputed to have taken part in these contests. It was not until the spring of 1925 that the event resolved itself into an annual contest between the junior and senior classes, and in the fall of 1926, Shadow Lake became the venue of choice. This is the 90th anniversary of the event at Shadow Lake: the 91st edition happens on the 18th,

from The Hermonite, vol. XL, no. 4; p. 1 (October 23, 1926).

Much Junior-Senior Rivalry

The Rope Pull

It seems as though the Juniors are racking their brains to think of all kinds of schemes to put some class spirit on the Hill. The recent rope-pull across Shadow Lake is only one of the various means they have taken to obtain their end. And in the rope-pull they did attain their end, for they dragged the Seniors through the mud in grand style, showing that they had something besides wind. The Seniors response to the rope-pull challenge seemed to hearten the Juniors, but the fact that the south goal posts are still red and blue makes the Juniors feel that it takes more than a mud bath to wake up the Seniors. What’s next?

Who will win this year? Go to watch or pull on Sunday and find out. A few statistics:

Since the event was moved to Shadow Lake, the Juniors have only won 14 of 90 rope pulls.
Since the seniors asserted their right to the advantageous east bank, the juniors have won a mere 9 of 83 contests.

In all these years, only eight classes have not tasted the waters of the lake and emerged as double victors, including your editor’s great class of 1978. –ed.
This Week in NMH History 2016-2017  #02 Special Crossley Edition

105 Years Ago

“New” Crossley Hall is one hundred five years old this month. In brief, here’s what the newspaper had to say about it.

from The Hermonite, vol. XXV, no. 1; p. 11  (September 1911).


The loss of old Crossley has been more than replaced by the new Crossley that graces our campus. The Crossley men [it became a coed building in 1974 –ed.] are to be congratulated on their new dormitory.

Note: From blueprints to finished building, Crossley was constructed in less than nine months time. Here is an image from June 1911, showing construction progress. Happy 105th birthday, Crossley Hall!

New, better study areas @ the library -- check them out!

Welcome back! If you've visited the library since returning to campus, you will have noticed some changes.

Over the summer, thanks to the generosity of donors to an endowed fund and the hard work of Plant & Properties, we were able to transform the former Media Room (where the printer used to be; now called the Simmons Room) into a beautiful reading room that invites quiet study and reflection.

Photo of Simmons Room (formerly Media Room)
Simmons Room (formerly Media Room)

The computers moved to the back area of the library, which is now set up for collaboration and group work.

Commons: group work spaces

We've also carved out a little Makerspace across from the Reference Desk, with 2D and 3D printing as well as a large work table.

Makerspace: 2D & 3D printing; collaborative work space

The classroom has been painted an invigorating blue, and IT added classroom projectors to both the classroom and the open learning space in the back of the reference room (which we're calling the Wayback).

Classroom. So blue!

We hope that you'll find a place in the library that's right for you as you set out to study, read, research, work on projects, or put your creative powers to work.

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45 Years Ago

As we begin our 46th year as a coeducational academic institution, we look back to the opening days of school in the pioneering fall of 1971. That year marked our first as Northfield Mount Hermon School.

from The Bridge, vol. 3, no. 5; pp. 1 and 5  (September 13, 1971).

Saga: One in a Continuing Series
You Should Have Seen Us Last Year

Out of chaos has come a semblance of order, and the industrious workers of this summer are now, as one of them put it, “ready for a vacation.” From the recommendations of last spring’s One School Council has evolved a school conceived in the best interests of progress and born in hysteria. Although preparations will, in a sense, never be done, an awesome amount of work of work has been accomplished in an effort to ready the community for its academic pursuits in idyllic surroundings…

Springs of Wisdom
Joining our already spectacular and rejuvenated ranks of faculty will be some seventeen new teachers, houseparents and friends. There are, among them, a couple raised on a kibbutzim in Israel, a chemistry teacher schooled in Aerospace and other technology, a man with a doctorate in drama and fine arts and a great deal of interest in the modern theater, a lawyer, and a member of the 1971 Mount Hermon Summer School who spent her junior year in Denmark. These are but a few of the varied and talented people who will be found in classrooms, offices, dormitories, and under rocks. There are also an increasing number of faculty members who will live in dormitories but will pursue their primary occupations outside of the school, a phenomenon which could go far to encourage more contact with the greater world which, believe it or not, lies “out there.”

Putting Square Pegs in Round Holes and Making Them Fit
A stupendous undertaking which may be brought to your attention through inconvenience or error is the project of scheduling, or perhaps more accurately coinciding students, faculty, busses, minutes, courses, work jobs, athletics, and the computer in such a way that at least three months of classes occur with about 16 students and one teacher in each, and no one actually in two places at once. Consider just for a moment the mind boggling proportions of this task encountered and conquered in not many places in this world, and your respect for Mrs. Renate Henderson and her staff will be manifold. If you have an unimportant conflict to deal with, suffer gallantly. If you do have an insurmountable  problem to report to her, approach with humility and expect to feel somewhat like an ignorant ogre. Know that this woman began with some 1300 such problems and understand her accomplishment.

Absorbing the Totality
Let no one be intimidated by this adventure! On every hand there are exhausted but radiant countenances pleading that, at least to begin with, we put in a fraction of the optimism, enthusiasm and stoicism which we have encountered. To assist in familiarizing the uninitiated and the confused, orientation will be held in clusters and dormitories during the weekend of September 18. Included will be dinner with advisors on Friday, an all-school social endeavor on Saturday, and the first all-school convocation, led by the chaplains, on Sunday evening. Before that time, communication with all manner of old students, student leaders, houseparents, faculty, staff, parents and animals is encouraged.

In the Words of the Prophet
“Do it”; and from the old schools, Northfield and Mount Hermon, the words of Shakespeare, “Take comfort; ye shall no more see my face.”