Journal Letters: Introduction and Notes
Journal Letters: Chronological Inventory
Journal Leters: Index to Journalists
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Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS., January, 1877.DEAR FRIENDS:
With a New Year's greeting to you all, we begin the story of our pleasant life in the old home during the months since we last wrote.
The opening of the school year found us surrounded by the usual throng of bright-faced girls; the "old scholars " looking happy and confident, the new ones a little timid and anxious, yet eager to become acquainted with their new home. Indeed, we found changes which made it seem somewhat new to us all. One of the most obvious was the tasteful iron fence which now extends along the entire front of the grounds, with broad gates for carriages near each end, as well as narrower ones at the entrance of the walks leading to the various doors. Since the fall of our venerable wooden fence, there has been an interregnum of several years, during which we have been considering all possible fences and hedges, without having any at all. We find it rather agreeable to have a visible and well-defined territorial boundary once more. Another decided improvement is noticeable, in the color of our porticos, cornices, and other exterior finishings, which used to be white, but are now of a brown-stone tint. Looking into the court, one will observe in the north. east corner the new fire-escape, which we are glad to have, though we hope we may never be obliged to use it. By means of its ladders and balconies, one might make her way from the upper stories to the flat roof of the gymnasium, and thence down into the court. For several years, we have had half a dozen fire-extinguishers standing in different parts of the house, and more recently three force-pumps have been added; so that we seem to be tolerably well provided, as far as such things go.
We had fine summer weather during the first weeks of September; and inde6d, sunny skies seemed almost a matter of course throughout the term. We need not mention the details of those first days, since you know the wonted routine so well. There have been, as usual, a few changes in our band of teachers. Miss Sessions is away, taking for a time the Principal's place at Kalamazoo, as Miss Fisher needed rest. Miss Hazen is also absent, enjoying a well-earned vacation with her friends. Our valued and beloved physician, Miss Emerson, has entered upon missionary life in Burmah, as the wife of Rev. Horatio Morrow. We have in her place a graduate of i868, whom some of you will remember as Adaline Kelsey. Our principal teacher of Greek, Miss Bradford, has become the wife of Dr. Gilchrist, of Mclndoes' Falls, Vt. They made us a little visit in October, when they were on their wedding journey; and about the same time Mr. and Mrs. Elliot -- the latter known to you as Lizzie Hodgdon, --were here for a night on their way home from the meeting of the Board. Miss Helena Giles, of the class of i871, is teaching our Greek classes at present. Miss Anna Parsons, who graduated in 1870, is also with us, as well as Miss Mary Cutler, of the class of 1875- You will congratulate us on having Miss Bowers here again after two years' absence. Although her health is not fully restored, she finds herself able to teach the classes in English Literature. Miss Clary returned from her Californian travels Sept. 23, with a large store of pleasant experiences, and scarcely any of a contrary sort, excepting perhaps a delay of a week or more at the Isthmus, which prevented her arriving here as early as she intended.
During the last two weeks of September, we enjoyed a course of lectures on Astronomy from Professor Young. Many of them were brilliantly illustrated by means of the stereopticon. The lectures on the sun, the study of which is the professor's favorite pursuit, were especially valued. The course of lectures on Geology, by Prof. Charles Hitchcock of Dartmouth, opened about the middle of October, and occupied two or three weeks. Our new lecture-room in Williston Hall was inaugurated with this course. It has chairs for between eighty and ninety, arranged tier above tier, and each chair has a leaf attached to the arm, for convenience in taking notes. This leaf can be removed and replaced with the greatest ease, the mode of construction being something quite new, invented for our benefit by the friend to whom Williston Hall owes so much besides its name. It has been patented as the " Mount Holyoke Adjustable Arm-Rest." The lecturer's table, with its manifold conveniences and exquisite finish, is the envy of all the scientific lecturers who see it. Professor Hitchcock seems to feel the same hearty interest in the Seminary which his father had. While here this fall, he busied himself in caring for various matters connected with the geological department, especially in procuring some valuable specimens of fossil footmarks to add to our collection. He has since sent us a complete set of specimens of the rocks of New Hampshire. His family were with us a part of the time while the lectures continued; and the little folks, with their numerous dollies, became great favorites with us all.
Our new building was to have been dedicated on the fifteenth of October; but the work of removing the specimens from the old cabinets, unpacking collections newly received, and arranging the whole, proved so arduous that it was decided to allow another month for it. Recitations in Botany, Mineralogy, and some other sciences, had been going on in the new building from the opening of the term, although the furniture bad not all arrived. Every week had added to the completeness of the various rooms; and by degrees the abundant labors of Miss Edwards among the minerals, of Miss Clapp in the zoological cabinets, and of other teachers in other departments, began to bring order out of chaos. We were surprised to find that we already possessed so much, for hitherto we had not had room to bring together and display the treasures that have accumulated within the last two years. And since it is generally true that "unto him that hath shall be given," we expect to receive still "more abundantly" in time to come. So the weeks passed on, until the appointed day brought together our trustees and friends to rejoice with us in the completion of our new building. Mrs. Gulliver arrived on Monday evening, November ]3th; Deacon and Mrs. Pettey, and Professor and Mrs. Tyler came the day following. The morning of Wednesday was cloudy and wet, but the rain soon ceased, though the sun failed to show his face. All the trustees were here except Governor Claflin, Mr. Durant, and General Walker. The latter was elected only last Anniversary, and his Centennial labors have necessarily absorbed his time ever since. All but one or two of the trustees were accompanied by their wives; but Mrs. Pease and Mrs. Stoddard, whom we expected, were not able to be present.
Immediately after dinner, the trustees held their meeting in Williston Hall. There is a beautiful little room near the main entrance which is called " the trustees' room," though it will also be used as a private study by professors lecturing here, and as a reception room. Its windows look west and south, so that it has sunshine enough, and there is a pretty fire-place in one corner. The lounge, arm-chairs, and desk are upholstered with crimson morocco, which contrasts finely with the delicate wood-color of the furniture and finishings. Henceforth, then, you can imagine the Seminary fathers assembling here for their semi-annual sessions.
The public exercises commenced at three o'clock, in the art-gallery. The newspaper report which we shall enclose to all of you, except these who have doubtless
already seen an account, will make it needless to say much besides. The beautiful painting by Bierstadt had been hung the day before, and its golden light made sunshine for us. I cannot say with what emotions those who have done most in this enterprise saw their hopes and efforts at last crowned with complete success ; but it was a day of heartfelt joy and thanksgiving to us all. With full hearts we dedicated the building, and all it contains or shall contain, to our Lord, praying that He would accept and evermore use for His own glory the gift He permitted us to offer so gladly unto Him.
Most of our friends remained after the exercises closed ; and in the evening we had a delightful gathering in the Seminary hall, so that the young ladies might have an opportunity of becoming acquainted with our guests. Dr. Clark was prevailed upon to remain long enough to speak at devotions next morning. Deacon Porter, who seemed quite well and as cheery as ever, also stayed until the ten o'clock stage. The following morning at devotions, we bad the pleasure of listening once more to Mrs. Gulliver, who spoke to us earnest words on "walking worthy of God."
A week or two after the dedication, we invited the children of the village schools to come on Saturday afternoon, with their teachers, to see Williston Hall. It was a pleasant day, and our invitation found a prompt response. Several of our teachers were present, to do the honors of the 11 Bierstadt," the megatherium, and the rest of our "lions." It was pleasant to see the throng of children, all so bright, pretty, and eager, so full of questions and fancies. Doubtless they had many astonishing stories to relate when they reached home.
This year has brought us, among other good things, several missionary visitors, most of whom have spoken to the school. Miss Lindley and Miss Rood of the Zulu Mission was here the first Sabbath of the term. Dr. Chamberlain of the Arcot Mission spent two days with us in the latter part of September; and directly after the meeting at Hartford, Miss Martha Chamberlain of Honolulu, a graduate of 1883, made us a visit. Rev. Mr. Morse of Thetford, Vt., formerly of the Bulgarian Mission, passed a Sabbath here in October, and told us of missionary life in Turkey. We had a brief visit, also, from Rev. Mr. Pettibone, who conducted an evening meeting. Miss Happer, daughter of Rev. Dr. Happer of Canton, spent a few hours with us one day in November, and this term we have had a short visit from Rev. Mr. Mellen, lately from the Zulu Mission. Several other friends, some of whom were old graduates, have favored us with visits this year; not to mention numbers of strangers who came to see the institution, and particularly Williston Hall.
Our Christmas this year coming on Monday, we began it with a praise-meeting on Sabbath evening. It was conducted by Miss Clary; and passages which she had selected in regard to the birth of Christ and His work of redemption were recited by some of the young ladies. We sang many Christmas hymns, and found it sweet thus to welcome the day that celebrates the birth of our Lord. When we assembled for breakfast next morning, before taking seats we sang Praise God from whom all blessings flow," instead of the usual grace. One of the first things done after breakfast was to transform the Seminary hall into a drawing room, for the day. It looked uncommonly pretty, with the evergreen trees, the plants, the center tables and easy chairs grouped here and there, the pictures, vases, and decorations of various kinds. All day it was enlivened by girlish figures coming and going, and happy voices chatting or singing. The fine weather and excellent sleighing gave opportunity for as many as chose to have an hour's ride. Dinner was served at one o'clock, and we had with us by invitation the Bridgmans of Northampton and the Hitchcocks of Amherst, each family having a daughter in the Seminary.
The entertainment of the evening was a reading, given by Professor Bailey of New Haven. The hall was rearranged for the occasion, and we found ourselves
seated so as to face the clock; beneath which, upon the sitiall movable platform, the reader stood, with the evergreen trees for a background. The selections included a variety of authors and styles, " from grave to gay, from lively to severe ; " and the reading elicited much applause. Miss Steele and her pupils also gave us several fine musical selections in the course of the evening. Thus ended our pleasant Christmas.
We have been wonderfully favored this year in the matter of health. Probably none of us can recollect a year when there was so little sickness, for such a length of time. We feel this the more, on account of the fact that, early in the fall, there were three fatal cases of diphtheria in a family not very far from us, and others in Granby and Holyoke.
As to the religious state of the family, we are thankful to say that the number of those who as yet have no hope in Christ is comparatively small. There were about thirty-five of this class at the opening of the year; a few of these hope they have now found the Saviour, and others are inquiring. On our first "day of prayer," Jan. 8, Miss Edwards spoke impressively at devotions, and Rev. Mr. Knight of South Hadley Falls preached in the afternoon with much power from Isaiah xlv:15. The meetings for prayer during the day were pleasant and encouraging, and likewise the special meetings held daily during that week. The day of prayer for colleges, Jan. 26, was still more interesting and hopeful, especially in the apparent quickening of Christians. Rev. Dr. Laurie of Providence, who was pastor here in former years, was with us, and gave us many precious words of instruction. In the morning, he spoke oil the text, "One sinner destroyeth much good; " in the afternoon, from Christ's words, " Wilt thou be made whole ? " At devotions next morning, he dwelt most tenderly on "the love of the Spirit." We wait and hope for a work of grace that shall bring all the wanderers into the fold. We trust your prayers for this daily ascend with ours.
Yours in behalf of the Seminary,
MARY O. NUTTING.
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