Scenes from Amherst Life: Part 1


An Exhibition of 18 Photographs from the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections



Alpha Delta Phi Student Room
Sellen House, reputed to be the first fraternity-owned building with dormitory facilities in the country, provided quarters for its members until it burned in 1924. Here, two members of the Class of 1878, Walter B. Mossman (L) and Arthur H. Wellman (R) study in their room. Mossman's book sits in his lap while Wellman reads from a stand mounted on the arm of his chair.

Banjo Club

This musical association performed in concert with the Glee Club. During the
winter and spring of 1896, they played a series of eighteen concerts together.

Williams Captain Meets Coolidge

On November 20, 1920, Frederick S. Bale, '06, introduced Williams College football captain Benny Boynton to Vice- President-Elect Calvin Coolidge, 1895 before the start of the Amherst-Williams game. That moment was the high point of Boynton's day as the Lord Jeffs went on to stun the heavily favored Williams team by a score of 14-7.

Cider Meet Winners

The annual Athletic Association Fall Meeting was an interclass competition. Every Class sent a delegation to the event, commonly known as the "Cider Meet" because a barrel of cider went to the winning Class. In addition to traditional track events like foot races, a bicycle race and jumping and throwing events, it featured such novelties as the Backward Dash, a Three-Legged Race and the Potato Race.

Valentine Dining Commons

Valentine Hall, completed in the fall of 1941, provided the first true dining commons for the College.
It has been enlarged twice since its initial construction to accommodate an expanding student body
and to provide a wider variety of services to the College.

Converse Library Reading Room

This bust of Calvin Coolidge, 1895 designed and executed by Moses Dykaar in 1925 and presented to the
College in 1928 by the New York Alumni Association, surveys the West Reading Room in Converse Library.
The walls of this room were adorned with portraits of the presidents of Amherst.

Championship Crew in Studio

The Varsity Crew of 1872 won the Intercollegiate Rowing Championship for Sixes. In the process,
they set a world record for three miles (16:32) which stands today. While the longevity of the
record is impressive, it is aided by the fact that races have not been held between sixed-oared
shells for more than a century.

Senior Dramatics

Before the Amherst College Masquers were founded in 1916, a major dramatic production was undertaken annually by the Senior Class. Begun in 1881 the tradition is continued here by the Class of 1900 who chose Guy F. Steely's comedy "Hunting for Hawkins" for their Senior Dramatics. Of the premiere, the Amherst Student said, "The performance was a decided success...the various parts were well maintained without exception, and every member of the cast is deserving of much praise."

Eating Club

Before the College offered a centralized dining commons, students had to fend for themselves.
They formed eating clubs with names like "Delmonico's" and "Les Bon Vivants." Here,
a group from Mrs. Hanks Boarding Club poses in front of her house on Spring Street.

Grove Devastation

The broken remains of trees in the College Grove are cut down and removed. While the 1938 hurricane
damaged many College buildings, it made its most lasting impression on the Grove, the majestic stand
of trees on the main quadrangle behind College Row. Trees were planted there on a new plan and
its face is forever changed.

Students Labor at Hurricane Cleanup

In the aftermath of the great 1938 hurricane, a team of students clears a downed tree near Walker Hall.
Classes were cancelled and most students volunteered to help with clean up efforts. Twenty-five
years later Walker itself would be razed to make room for the Robert Frost Library.

President John F. Kennedy's Visit to Amherst

On October 26, 1963 President Kennedy spoke at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Robert Frost Library,
saying, "Libraries are memories and in this library you will have the memory of an extraordinary American, but more than that, really, an extraordinary human being; and also you will have the future, and all the young
men who come into this library will touch something of distinction in our national life, and, I hope, give
something back to it."

Junior Promenade

The Class of 1911 held its Junior Promenade on May 26, 1910 in the Pratt Gymnasium. The
dance program consisted of thirty two numbers, alternating between two steps
and waltzes, ending with a waltz entitled "Campus Dreams" by Edmund Blake, 1897.

Physical Education Class in Pratt Gymnasium

According to a supplement to the Amherst Student of January 17, 1885, "The design of the Gymnasium is to furnish better means for promoting the health of the College in as many ways as possible. And the facilities here are to furnish this exercise with the advantage and stimulus of congregated movements where the whole class may take exercise together, and in rhythmical and synchronous movements known as musical gymnastics, or dumb-bell exercise, adapted to and guided by music." Here, the Class of 1899 under the leadership of their gym captain, Charles DeWitt (front, center) demonstrates.

Crew at Practice

While the racing shells of this era were "straight", that is, without coxswain, the practice boats
often had a seat for a cox, who could simultaneously steer, coach and cajole. Here the 1873
crew practices on the Io (a.k.a. Freshman or Fort) River in the spring. When the weather
turned drier and the spring runoff dissipated, they practiced on the Connecticut.

First Pratt Field Grandstand

This first grandstand at Pratt Field was constructed in 1891, at a cost of approximately $10,000. It had a
seating capacity of nearly 600 and was equipped with dressing rooms for athletes. Fewer than ten years
later it burned in a spectacular fire. It was reconstructed immediately in virtually the same form and
stood until 1931 when fire claimed it again.

College Row

Despite Sabrina's disappearance and the absence of shutters on the dormitories,
this view of Amherst College, showing North College, Johnson Chapel and South
College, has remained virtually unchanged for more than 150 years.

Track Team

Known then as the Athletic Team, these competitors were victorious at the fourth annual
New England Intercollegiate Athletic Association games in Worcester. Held among eight
colleges including Williams, Wesleyan and Dartmouth, the Jeff trackmen won ten of
the eighteen events, while setting meet records in six.