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History of the College

The Hill in History

Hamilton's rich historic legacy provides much of the 21st-century College's strength and vision. It also comprises a wealth of fascinating stories that illuminate the College's changing place in the region, the nation and the world. In the Summer 2009 issue of the Alumni Review, we began to share some of those stories in a regular column.

 

Elihu Root’s Nobel Prize: Peace pioneer in the face of war

BY CHARLOTTE HOUGH ’14
Fall-Winter 2012 issue of the alumni review

His likeness portrayed in life size in the foyer of Buttrick Hall, Elihu Root, Class of 1864, stands contemplative. A deep crease sits between two brown eyebrows, and his lips arc almost downward in a frown. One might wonder what he was thinking as the French artist Théobald Chartran rendered his portrait in 1903.

Root had yet to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, but was already building the extensive portfolio in international relations that would lead to the prize a few years later. As secretary of war under presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, he had created a plan to return Cuba to the Cubans, he had written a democratic charter for the governance of the Philippines, and he had directed far-reaching internal changes to the War Department and military education in the U.S. More ...

 

Charter class at Kirkland College faced new frontiers

Spring 2012 Issue of the Alumni Review

To help attract the Kirkland College charter class, the College’s new Admission Office, directed by Carole Walker, took the unusual step of taking out a full-page advertisement in the Dec. 29, 1967, issue of Time magazine. “When you send your daughter to college,” the advertisement asked provocatively, “will she get an education?” At Kirkland, it promised, in language designed to resonate with its target audience in that year of Sgt. Pepper, education would be “a mind-expanding experience.” More ...


During the 1920s, the Hamilton humor magazine the Royal Gaboon found a frequent target in Prohibition, which inspired student liquor runs across the Canadian border.

 

Roaring Twenties: Cars, parties and wild weekends

BY MAURICE ISSERMAN
Spring 2011 issue of the alumni review

During the 1920s, the Hamilton humor magazine the Royal Gaboon found a frequent target in Prohibition, which inspired student liquor runs across the Canadian border. No political issue in the 1920s served to define the decade so memorably, nor divided Americans so bitterly, as that of Prohibition. More ...

 

Root and Carnegie: Friends with a vision

U.S. Sen. Elihu Root, Andrew Carnegie and Hamilton President Melancthon Woolsey Stryker (from left) pose on Oct. 10, 1914,  after an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred on Carnegie  in a Chapel ceremony.
U.S. Sen. Elihu Root, Andrew Carnegie and Hamilton President Melancthon Woolsey Stryker (from left) pose on Oct. 10, 1914, after an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred on Carnegie in a Chapel ceremony.
BY ANDRÉS HENRÍQUEZ ’83
SPRING 2011 ISSUE OF THE ALUMNI REVIEW

U.S. Sen. Elihu Root, Andrew Carnegie and Hamilton President Melancthon Woolsey Stryker (from left) pose on Oct. 10, 1914, after an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred on Carnegie in a Chapel ceremony.

As a program officer at Carnegie Corporation as well as a Hamilton alumnus, I have a special bond with our founder, Andrew Carnegie. And as both the corporation and the College approach landmarks in their history, I celebrate these extraordinary institutions with gratitude, appreciation and — most recently — a bit of research. More ...

 

New Sadove Student Center, Emerson Hall long a campus treasure

BY BETH TEGART
Fall 2010 issue of the alumni review

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson penned those words in his 1870 essay “Domestic Life,” and for more than 80 years they have stood as an apt and telling description of the Hamilton landmark that bears his name. Now, with the dedication of the Sadove Student Center at Emerson Hall during Fallcoming Weekend '10, the communal spirit invoked by the philosopher and poet resonates anew. More ...

Joseph Spurlarke
Joseph Spurlarke, Class of 1889, is believed to have been the first African-American student to ­attend Hamilton.

 

African-American Students in 1920s 'Not to be Insulted'

By Maurice Isserman
Sping 2010 issue of the Alumni Review

The Hamilton-Oneida Academy began as an experiment in interracial education, which proved an abject failure. Its successor institution, Hamilton College, made no claims to interracialism and indeed was a largely white institution throughout its first century of existence. The College enrolled only a single African-American student, Joseph Spurlarke, Class of 1889, in the years between its founding and the conclusion of the First World War. More ...



1918 Flu Pandemic Pushed Hill Toward Modern Health Care

BY DEACON LILE '09
Fall-Winter 2009 issue of the alumni revew

The catastrophic 1918 outbreak of the "Spanish" flu altered the course of world history, changed modern medicine and left a profound footprint on the world's population. However, the virus that caused it almost certainly did not originate in Spain, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter. Epidemiological evidence suggests that the virus first appeared in Haskell County, Kan. The disease was unlike any other flu virus in recorded history. Its victims became violently ill as the disease progressed rapidly through the body, and in many cases proved to be lethal. Un­-­like any other flu outbreak, it possessed an uncommon propensity to kill the healthiest and most vibrant individuals. More ...

 


Morris Brown Jr.
Class of 1864

Civil War Took Brutal Toll on Young College

By Maurice Isserman
SUMMER 2009 ISSUE OF THE ALUMNI REVIEW

Rush Cady of Rome, N.Y., Class of 1862, was one of about 225 Hamilton College alumni who served in the Union Army during the Civil War, most of them as officers. (At least 11 served with the Confederacy.) Cady left college before graduating from Hamilton, joining the 97th Regiment of the New York State Volunteers. His letters home to his family provide a valuable first-hand account of one soldier's view of war; together with other documents related to his wartime service, they are preserved and available online in the digital collection of the Hamilton College Library. More ...
 

 


Treaty Marker Familiar Sight, Forgotten Story

By Richard L. Williams
Summer 2009 issue of the alumni review

Countless Hamiltonians and area residents have driven, walked and jogged past that granite marker on the north side of College Hill Road just west of State Route 233. But what is it and why is it there? More ...

Cupola