Thursday, July 2, 2009

1874 EMU Commencement: Pure-D Aitch Ee Double Hockey Sticks

Related to the ongoing serialization of 1874 Ypsilanti teen Allie McCullough's diary.

You thought YOUR graduation ceremony was bad? (Indulgent chuckle). Oh, my dears, you ain't seen nothing yet. Kind readers may remember Allie went up to the Normal School (EMU) to take part in some of the commencement ceremonies. I say SOME OF because the bloody thing went on for TWO DAYS. YES. Endless orations and morally edifying this and uplifting that and...jeez Louise, it was torture. Or would be to DD, who hates pompous ceremonies. Just gimme the paper already. Here's the program for the 2-day commencement ceremony, which took up ONE WHOLE PAGE of the July 4, 1874 Ypsilanti Commercial (that's S E V E N F E E T of 6-point type--yes, I measured it! Lordy!)

Tuesday Evening, June 30th

Opening prayer by Prof. D. Putnam
Chorus: "See, the Conquering Hero Comes," Handel

[That would do it for DD. Oh, but no! We're just getting started!]

Review: "Shelley," by Jay K. Davis
Essay: "Glimpses of God," Ida A. Freeman
Chorus: "How Lovely Are the Messengers," Mendelssohn
Essay: "The Model Teacher," Marie E. Haynes
Essay: "Our Ideals," Sarah L. McWethy
Musical trio: "How Gently and Calmly," Nyvett
Essay: "Night Reveals the Stars," Ella G. Packer
Essay: "Radicalism," Julia Stanelift
Essay: "Antitheses," Carrie Towner
Musical Quartette: "Come, Brothers," Tyrolean Air [come, brothers, let's sneak out of here and get a lungful of that Tyrolean Air down at the Tyrolean Bar!]
Oration: "He Can Who Knows He Can," David Zimmerman
Essay: "Joan of Arc," Sarah Ten Eyck
Glee club: "Here in Cool Grot," Earl of Mornington

Wednesday morning, July 1st:
Chorus: "Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates," Handel [it's not even making sense any more...]
Essay: "The Old and the New," Ella P. Boynton [we're growing old sitting through this thing]
Oration: "Idealism," Walter H. Cheever [5-minute ceremony was my ideal]
Oration: "Our Happiness," Charles R. Ferris [foamy brown beverage would aid in this right about now]
Chorus: "For Unto Us A Child is Born," Handel [does seem like 9 months since we've been sitting here]
Essay: "Nature an Inspirer," Ella Forbes [falls into coma, excuse me]
Oration: "Right," Rufus Crippen
Essay: "Mind and Muscle," Mary L. Gray
Essay: "Music," Ella Gertrude Hang
Oration: "God in History," Samuel B. Laird
Musical quartette: "The Highland Reel," Merz [briefly revives from coma, but reeling]
Essay: "Physiognomy," Mary Clark [what that has to do with graduation I don't know]
Essay: "Mathematics," Kittie L. Sprague [lapses back into coma]
Oration: "Our Country's Anchor," Herbert S. Reed

And then...and only then..."Prof. Estabrook then conferred diplomas upon the graduates of the several courses, after which they rose and received the Principal's parting charge [ha, you thought it was over!] which was full of wise counsel and tender interest."

I've got a tender interest in a nice barley-based beverage right now, and I didn't even sit through this duathlon--I just summarized it! Good sakes, those folks were made of STRONG STUFF!

Speaking of which...ahh, that's better, thank you. Here's to Allie, who survived this ordeal! (clink!)


jml said...

I think you have to consider their alternatives. Idly sitting in a clean auditorium listening to an oration must have seemed like heaven, compared to slopping the hogs or ironing shirtwaists.

Dusty D said...

This is true! There actually was one guy who petitioned the City Council to keep a hog in his little city back yard over on Olive Street, during the Depression...I should root up that newspaper story.

Yes, given the choice of ironing shirtwaists or going to the commencement...