Greek Immersion

This image is a scan of a glass plate negative of a rehearsal for the play Elektra. Performed during Commencement week of 1912, these plays, there were eight of them,  were a yearly ritual for the students of Professor Hain’s Greek classes. Daniel Dickey Hains [W1895] was one of those great alumni teachers and was very popular with his students. He replaced the much loved Zwingli McLain who had died suddenly. In the College’s history, Hains is described as a teacher of great skill and much energy.

The study of Greek had been in decline and Professor Hains was on a mission to revive it. He initiated a course to study Greek literature in translation, but even more importantly he began producing a play each year. The Greek play each year was an English translation but presented as accurately as possible.

The setting was in the east campus, about where the Martindale dormitory is now. That land forms a bit of an amphitheater setting. The sets and costumes were designed to be as accurate as possible, the glee club sang as the choruses, and some original music was composed for them. It is said that folks would come from quite a distance to see these excellent productions.

Elektra even hit the road and played several times at the Winona Lake Chautauqua in 1912. It took a mighty effort and apparently a joint effort, between Professor Hains and his wife, who made the authentic costumes. Of course the students worked hard too. Truly a turn of the last century immersion experience!

Beth Swift