Today is November 1st, All Saints’ Day. It is a day when we remember those who are gone from our midst; fitting then, that today we also remark the birthday of our former president and headmaster, Elliott Speer. Born in 1898, he became president of The Northfield Schools in 1926, when he was only 27. Six years later, he stepped down to become headmaster of the boys’ school on this campus. This link will take you to some images of Mr. Speer at the Northfield Mount Hermon Archives Facebook page. I've also placed a link here, to a .pdf of In Memoriam Elliott Speer.
The following poem was not written about Speer, but reading it one cannot help but remember our vanished schoolmaster.
The Vanished Schoolmaster
-- Hermann Hagedorn
I hear him laughing down the hall somewhere;
To think that anyone should call him dead
Or talk as though the best of him had fled
To some blue haven of the upper air.
Make no mistake. Glad, calm, and strong to bear
Burdens, he walks these halls, high-spirited,
With you and me in his great heart and head.
We may not see his face; but he is there.
And he will still be there when you and I
Climb feebly the long hill and turn to view
Our gaudier grandeur and our noisier fame,
And see a desert; while afar his cry
Shakes into manhood boys he never knew
And kindles hearts that never heard his name.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Speer.