Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Our little untried craft"

Thus the first editorial staff of the Stylus described it in their inaugural issue of May 1914: "We are starting our little untried craft, 'The Stylus' upon its first voyage, which is always a more or less perilous one simply because of the very newness and unproven seaworthiness of the vessel. In the case of 'The Stylus' even the crew, the editiors, are as new and untested as the craft itself."

It is almost a century later now, and certainly the Stylus has proven "seaworthy," perhaps more so than the editors who launched it could ever have imagined! Pictured here are two of the original Stylus staff, Gertrude Cook '17 and Loyd Coleman '14.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Greek Letter Societies of Yesteryear

The room shown here may look a little sparsely furnished to us, but it was one of several rooms in the old Normal School building set aside for the fraternities and sororities of the day, and undoubtedly was the setting for many lively events. (This room was for the Philalethean fraternity.) These societies were also known as "literary societies" back in the 19th century and were a part of Brockport student life from the 1860s through the 1930s. Especially in the earlier years, when there was no student government, a limited number of clubs and so on, the societies were important sources of social, intellectual and entertainment opportunities. They sponsored debates on topics of the day, held oratorical contests, hosted dances, brought noted contemporary speakers to the school and held athletic contests as well.

By the 1930s the student government had begun, and many of the functions the societies had played were picked up by other bodies or groups, and they became more purely social. Ernest Hartwell came as head of the school in the late 1930s, and planning was launched for the "new" building (today's Hartwell Hall.) Hartwell was apparently unsympathetic to the role of the societies, and did not include rooms for them in the new building, effectively ending a long standing tradition.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Camp Totem

In 1951 the college bought a camp just north of the Adirondacks near Harrisville NY, on the Oswegatchie River. It was a wonderful camp, comprised of nine log style buildings, on fourteen acres of land, and adjacent to a fifteen thousand acre forest preserve. It was used by a variety of college groups, from the campus school to to student and other groups, but its main purpose was to support a camping experience for the Health and Physical Education majors who were concentrating on recreation. As fine a facility as it was, the distance was considerable, and in the 1960s the college sold the camp and bought the property at Fancher, just a few miles away in Orleans County. Pictured here are some Camp Totem student staff in the 1950s.