1898 Viewbook of Wabash College [Part II]

In the previous post we saw images from the 1898 Viewbook of Wabash College. In this posting, we will look at a second set of images from that same publication. Let’s start with the fraternities that were active in 1898.

The photo on the lower left is the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and among these 11 young men, one is of particular interest to any member of the Wabash family. The rather serious young man at the right end of the first row is Carroll Ragan, who wrote the music for “Dear Old Wabash” the song we still sing with such gusto over a hundred years later.

And here are the Phi Delts and the Kappa Sigs of 1898. In the photo at the bottom left there is one young man who will go on to command great power and world wide fame – in the back row, second from the left is Will H. Hays – who would become the Chairman of the National Republican Party, push hard for a woman’s right to vote, serve as Postmaster of the U.S. before leaving to head the Motion Picture Producers and Directors Association, otherwise known as the Hays Office.

Also important to remember is that these fraternities were not yet residential. They met in various second floor spaces in downtown buildings. Wabash College The First Hundred Years tells us that it would be a few years yet [1902] before the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity acquired the first home for its members. The Phi Delts got their “new” old house the next fall, 1903. It would be three years before the other fraternities, noting the success that the two residential fraternities were having in recruiting, joined the movement and secured houses as well.

At this time on campus, one of the bigger clubs was the Glee and Mandolin Club pictured below in 1898. Circled in red is another picture of Carroll Ragan. The Glee Club would go on tour, visiting several towns in the area where they were often quite a hit. Sometimes a few just barely making the train out of town as they were delayed due to flirting with the young ladies.

Atop all of this student hubbub, then as now, was the Faculty of Wabash.

Sixteen members in all – some whose names we still remember. At the far left in the second row is Professor Kingery, remembered by most for the building which carried his name for the next 100 years. John Lyle Campbell, front row, second from the left was an alum of Wabash who returned to teach and garnered great fame for the College. He worked professionally in the summer as a surveyor and engineer. The highest profile position he held was as secretary charged with the management of the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. Third from the left on the front row is Mason B. Thomas, “The Maker of Men” whose students helped raise the money to build and furnish the Thomas Laboratories in his honor. And tallest of all is Daniel Dickey Hains on the back row who taught Greek. Also an alumnus, for years at Commencement his classes presented classic Greek theater in the east campus, where Martindale Hall was built.

This faculty was blessed with a tremendous talent for teaching and, for many there was also a long association with Wabash. These teachers brought Wabash into the 20th century, not without growing pains in a landscape transformed by the rise of the public high school and increasingly influence of the state universities.

The building above is the Hovey Museum – originally built as the Polytechnic Gymnasium to house the military readiness and engineering program. With an instructor funded by the government, this program began after the Civil War. Students were taught to march in formation, the finer points of artillery fire, civil engineering and forced into a physical fitness regime. The obvious need for such a program faded and along with it student interest in marching and pulling the cannons. For years this building sat, mostly empty. In the 1880’s a young professor with a lot of enthusiasm and energy, John Merle Coulter, transformed it into the Hovey Museum. The re-purposed building was named for our first professor in the sciences, Edmund O. Hovey.  The  collections, both purchased and donated, were overflowing their rooms in Center Hall. A portion of the Hovey Collection may be seen in the photo page below. The cabinets were full of specimens for studying zoology and botany. The second picture in the trio is of the labs in the second floor used for dissection and hands-on work, while the third picture is of the lecture room.



This next set of three pictures finishes the look at the facilities of the Hovey Museum. The first photograph is a special research area and library for the higher level students. The second picture is of the office and laboratory of Mason B. Thomas, equipped with all of the latest equipment. At the bottom is the greenhouse which was attached to the Museum on the western side. This building was demolished to build the Armory and Gymnasium. The collections were moved to South Hall and decades later dispersed all over the country while the greenhouse was moved to South Hall as well.


That is Wabash as it presented itself in 1898. From the oldest to the newest buildings, including student activities like the fraternities, sports teams and glee club. A very different time and place and yet, in a lot of ways, much is the same. The enthusiasm of our students, the care and teaching of our faculty, a commitment to modern science facilities, all of these are still here today. A part of our history that connects the past to the future.

All best, 

Beth Swift


Wabash College




1898 Viewbook of Wabash College

Welcome to Wabash College!

This picture is one of several that were taken in the late 1890’s and used for a promotional piece advertising Wabash College. As we look at this picture, let’s start at the far right with the brand new Yandes Library [which was expanded and renamed Detchon roughly 100 years later. The next thing we see is the smoke stack for the powerhouse. That structure was located about where our Mall flag pole is today. Moving left is Peck Hall of Science home to Chemistry and Physics. It was demolished to build Waugh Hall, which was demolished to build Hays Hall. Here is a photograph of Peck Hall.

This is a look inside Peck Hall at the Chemistry Department in the 1890’s. And below is the Physics Department.

The next series of pictures are of Center Hall. One item to note in the image below is the water fountain – mostly forgotten now and located on the west side of the Chapel as a planter.

Here are four different classrooms in Center Hall. You may note the Mathematical classroom has tri-pods at the front. There was a time when engineering was a major part of the curriculum.

This next set of images are also Center Hall – the Scriptorium and the Y.M.C.A. room are on the third floor and the College Chapel is the entire second floor of the north wing. Today that space is occupied by Religion and Philosophy faculty and the Tuttle Chapel.

In my next post we will have a look at the Biological Department, a few fraternities and the faculty of the time.

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College


A beauty of a photo

This beautiful photo is from the early 1930s. This is clear because of what is not there – Goodrich Hall which was dedicated in 1938. We can also see that Forest Hall [to the right of the picture] is where the Sparks Center is now.

I love the old cars and the warm, sunny feel of this picture and I hope you do too!

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College

A corner of note…

Folks who know Wabash know this corner. It stands right at the entrance to campus from downtown. This picture came from the scrapbook of John P. Collett given to the Archives by his granddaughter. This photo is from the early 1920’s and except for the brick paving on the street, the corner is much the same. And for the record, those pavers are still there too. When a pothole gets big enough, we can see down to the old bricks. Poston pavers, I expect. Crawfordsville was a center of brick making and the Poston pavers were the best.

And, here under our cold, cloudy skies, it is nice to see a sunny summer day!

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Play it again!

Like so many clubs, groups and traditions here at Wabash the Pep Band has appeared and disappeared over time. Sometimes dependent on a strong director, sometime it came alive because of a strong student or a motivated group of students. I thought that for this post we might look back at some pics of past bands.

This pep band photo is from the 1963 yearbook. This band was under the leadership of Bob Mitchum. It looks like there are plenty of brass players!


This photo is from a snowy Monon Bell game in 1997 at Greencastle. What an adventure that must have been!

This looks to be an all campus pep rally. The band is on the Chapel steps and Butch Shearer is at the microphone.

This short article is from the Bachelor of 1943 lamenting the loss of the band and calling for the formation of a new band, NOW!

This is a colorful shot of this year’s Monon Bell game. The pep band is back and strong as ever. Now I may be a bit biased as it is my husband Jim Swift [son of former mathematics prof Dr. William Swift] who is directing the band. He is the fellow in the Wabash “W” shirt signaling to the band.

And a closer look will show a fellow with a Monon Mohawk playing a sax – that is Henry Swift. At the top right is David Morgan, the head of Campus Services here and at the right middle is Dr. Jeremy Hartnett, a Wabash alumnus and professor of Classics. The band is a mix of students, faculty and staff and members of the local community. All together they make a powerful sound.

Over the history of Wabash the pep band has been a really nice part of the traditions of Wabash. Glad to have it back, it adds a lot to the games, whether you are in the stands or a 1000 miles away and catching it over the internet.

Play it again – From the hills of Maine to the Western Plains…

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College

Before it was the Bell game…

This is a recent gift from Greg Miller [W1983] and it is a beauty.

1919 WC vs DPU001

The Wabash DePauw game is a big event against one of our arch rivals and it is always a hard fought contest. The DePauw game has traditionallyl been a big draw for the fans of both teams and this was why in 1919 it was played in Washington Park in Indianapolis. Here is another look at the game of 1919, the same year as our opening image. This great cartoon was created by J. Allen Saunders [W1920] and printed in the Wabash Magazine in December of 1919 for the summary “Football Issue”.

WM 12 1919 p001

It is clear that Saunders has a talent for cartooning, he would go on to create some of the most notable comics of the mid-twentieth century, and that Wabash was well into its Caveman phase. Note that the Tiger of DePauw has a knot tied in his tail. The 1919 game was played to a tie, one of only nine such in the long series.

In this era Wabash sometimes played in Indianapolis to accommodate the crowds for the biggest games AND for the biggest gate receipts. Nearly all of the student body attended these notable games as at that time there was a reliable and cheap method of transportation to Indianapolis. The Interurban system enabled the fans to travel easily to attend the big games. Here is a former blog post which explains the ease with which anyone from Crawfordsville could travel to Indianapolis.

A hundred years ago…

BUT the game in Indianapolis in 1919 wasn’t yet the Bell Game, because we had no prize until 1932. It was in that year – our Centennial anniversary – that the Monon Railroad donated a bell off of one of their locomotives. The Monon was a line that served both Greencastle and Crawfordsville. It was a bit of a slow starter as the first time we ever played for the Bell the game ended in a tie. Here is summary of that game from the 1933 yearbook. It sounds like a hard fought game between two evenly matched opponents.

1933 YB072

Here is a Bachelor article which explains the gift in more detail.

BA 1932 11 18 p1 Bell for trophy

In a totally different game, here is another write-up from the Wabash Magazine about the 1912 game and although over a hundred years ago, this score seems like some of our more recent games.

1912 WC62 DPU0 WabMag

This team was pretty special and I love the opening sentence, “…using a variety of plays old and new,” which is referring to the daring new play perfected by Wabash coach Jesse Harper. The forward pass was a focus of Coach Harper at Wabash and when he left here to go to Notre Dame, it went with him. It was the key to Notre Dame’s iconic victory over Army in 1913, the game in which Knute Rockne came to national attention.

A rich tradition, the Monon Bell Game. Spirits run high, fans are divided and school spirit runs hot. The Bachelor headline from 1932 perhaps says it best!

BA 1932 11 18 p1

All best,

Beth Swift, Archivist

Wabash College






A little more Bell snow…


Another picture from that same snowy Monon Bell game of 1997. [SEE PREVIOUS POST] In this image we see the Pep Band playing away in the middle of a snowstorm. Snow everywhere! And a close look at the crowd tells us that the Band is almost certainly playing “Dear Old Wabash” which indicates a touchdown for the Little Giants. How cane we know all this from a photo? The Band is playing away and the crowd is singing their hearts out and there’s really only one tune that EVERYBODY knows by heart. Cue the intro, “From the hills of Maine to the Western Plain…” Got to admire the pluck of this band AND the fans too. What a game!

All best,

Beth Swift


Wabash College




Monon Bell – 1997 Forecast? Snow!

PD_329 SnowyWally Bell97


What a day, what a game! Poor old Wally has snow packed in his ears and accumulating on his brow.

Here is another picture of that same game.

PD_329 Sphinx Bell97

The game against DePauw comes late in the season. It might be anything from a snow storm to a mud bowl to a sunny, warm day. Whatever the weather, feelings run hot!



All best,

Beth Swift

Archivist, Wabash College



The Hovey Museum – a pictorial

Hovey P-248 08

This is the Hovey Museum in the late 1890’s.  It was built in the 1870’s, where the Armory stands today, as the Polytechnic Gymnasium.  Following the Civil War the government created military training courses at colleges across the land. Wabash had a course and this building was home to the program with space in the main level for drilling and exercises and on the second level for military arts like bridge building and surveying.

When that program was discontinued the space was empty for a while until a musuem was created to house the collections gathered by Edmund O. Hovey over several decades.

Museum PD-383002


Here is the long hall filled with all sorts of natural history items. It was truly quite a museum in its time.


Museum interior PD-248-03ZOOM


This is the space off to the left where we can see a wide variety of animals on the cases. With a little boost from technology we can even see into one of the cabinets.


Hovey P-248 05 ZOOM II

Shells in the left and coral and starfish in the right cabinet.

Museum PD-383001


Off to the right of the long gallery was a doorway into the faculty offices and a small library of the latest scientific books and journals.

PD-065_05Biology Lab


This is the office as it was during the tenure of Mason B. Thomas, complete with the latest in scientific equipment.


hovey museum 2 (2)

This is the space in the second floor where students worked on their laboratory sciences.

When the zoology department moved into South Hall, along with various collections, it became clear that all of this space was going to waste. That factor and the arrival of basketball rather doomed this old building. As you can see in the first picture, there are a string of poles on either side of what might serve as a basketball court.

So as WWI’s clouds were gathering, Wabash embarked on a new project. Build a gymnasium, the students called out to any who would listen. And the college did just that, and owing the militaristic turn in the minds of all, it was named the Armory.

I hope you have enjoyed this little peek into the history.

All best,
Beth Swift
Wabash College

A lovely man, a lovely grant


PD35 Hutsinpillar 01 LO


One of the most delightful benefits of working as a member of the staff at Wabash is the Hutsinpillar Grant program. It is a very specific grant – for very specific purposes. Every four years the full time members of staff are offered a chance to apply for a grant to be spent only for vacation purposes. In other words, it may not be used to travel for work reasons. Funded by Neil Hutsinpillar, a longtime member of the faculty, the grant was intended to assist those he thought the college forgot.

As Byron Trippet explains in his book Wabash on My Mind, “He had independent private income from a family hardware business….his Wabash salary, even after World War II, was low. But he never lacked money. His tastes were simple and he lived prudently but he indulged himself when he chose to do so…He traveled widely and frequently in the summer times – throughout the United States, often to Europe, a little in Latin America. He was a confirmed bachelor by plan…He made careful blue chip investments and prospered modestly…He refused to take retirement pay when the time came to retire. He said he didn’t need it and didn’t believe in such things. Instead he made gifts now and then to the college. Characteristically, the most important of these was a fund he established after talking with me in the early 1960s to provide travel grants to long-time women employees of the college. ‘The college tends to forget people like Mary Schlemmer and Frances Scott,’ he said, ‘but they are important, too.” Mary and Frances were long time, loyal employees in Center Hall.

Of course the grants are not restricted to women and the amount has risen to keep up with inflation. It is a generous amount – currently at $700. Certainly enough to have an adventure. What a lovely program, and what a lovely man.

Beth Swift


Wabash College