No one, it seems, got as much fun out of an Antioch College Commencement as the local newspaper did. That is if the following article from the Yellow Springs Review is any indication. Their coverage of the graduation exercises for 1896 was spread across two nearly full pages, with no detail spared no matter how trivial.
Amid descriptions of the decorations and plaudits for what a nice job everybody did and pronouncements of biggest and best commencement ever are the substantial things said by the graduates that day. Some of the orations by members of the Class of 1896, for instance, address still relevant subjects. John Mitchell Davidson emphasizes the importance of truth to the pursuit of statecraft. Warren Denison’s “An American’s Highest Duty” says that it is the citizens of a republic that make a republic, and that it is their responsibility to ensure that it has proper leadership and dedicated reformers such as England’s longest serving Prime Minister William Gladstone and Reverend Charles Henry Parkhurst, a Presbyterian minister who in 1892 took on corruption in New York City’s machine government and its lawless police department. Clifford Huntington’s line “Labor will not always submit to to be the slave of capital,” complete with an extra “to” in the original print (reprinted below along with all the other typos), goes well with any number of things overheard during the protests of June 2020.
Noting the presentation of Bibles to the class by “Hon. F. A. Palmer,” 1896 woud be one of the last years that Antioch had an official relationship with an ecclestiastical body. Palmer, one of the founders of the College and an early hero of its fabled financial history, was a banker who wanted to cement its ties with the Christian Church for all time, going so far as to offer a “considerable endowment” in exchange for the resignations of twelve presumably Unitarian trustees at the Spring 1897 Board Meeting. Palmer’s plan would ultimately backfire on him a year later, when in 1898 Antioch’s long, ruinous history of denominational strife finally ended with the Board rejecting his ostensibly reliably Christian faculty appointments.
from the Yellow Springs Review, 19 Jun 1896
Commencement day at Antioch College is always a gala day for Yellow Springs. It is looked forward to with as much pleasure and impatience to the average citizen as is the 4th of July or Barnun’s circus by the small boy. This is the day of all days and preparations and arrangements are made for its proper celebration weeks ahead. Instead of Easter, as is generally the custom, commencement day is the time for the ladies to first show by the light of day the cool and handsome display of finery, summer silks, lawns; and other pretty and fairy appearing costumes, crowned by the most artistic production of millinery, impress I the observer with an idea of holiday finery. Antioch, for the time being at least, is queen of the day. No prettier day could have been selected, even were such a thing possible, than last Wednesday, the date o’f the thirty-ninth annual commencement of Antioch College. The sun arose clear, and as early as 8 a. m. people could be seen wending their way towards the college, the mecca of the day, and by 9 o’clock a constant stream of pedestrians, bicycles and conveyances of different kinds were hurriedly proceeding toward old Antioch. One half hour before the exercises commenced the large chapel was well filled; still they came, until when the orchestra started to play the opening piece of music, every available space was taken and the last sweet strains of the march gently died away amid the applause of probably the largest commencement audience ever assembled in the historic chapel. While from lack of space, we are compelled to give only a condensed account of these exercises, we feel we must at least give a passing notice to the decorations.
The college motto, as usual, had its place in the center of the alcove on the stage, with the societies’ popular motto on either side-”Juncti Junant” of the Union on the right, with “Virtus Nostra Ducens Stella Est” arranged on a star to the left.
A liberal display of floral decorations bordered the platform, while large and handsome ferns marked a line back of which was arranged places where sat prominent visitors and citizens. What attracted the most attention, however, was the arranging of the college colors, pink and blue, artistically draped in graceful folds around the walls of the chapel and with just enough of cedar decoration to give a pretty effect.
To say the exercises were up to the usual high standard is the highest compliment one could offer and one well deserved. We feel, however, we can pay a special compliment to the gradates Wednesday is this: That all the orations were delivered without exception in clear distinct tones, easily heard in every part of the chapel. This is the exception rather than the rule and in this case showed not only careful preparation, but also a confidence in their ability and the power and talent to carry it to a successful termination.
The first oration of the day was delivered by Harlan Allen, of Morganville, New York, on “Culture and Civilization. Mr. Allen is a clear and forcible thinker, his thoughts were excellent and his delivery very good. The synopsis of his oration is as follows: “The growth of the mind is an intricate problem; it depends upon the physical developement of the nervous syslem. It depends upon the impressions and ideas received through this system; it depends upon the transmition of traits and tendencies of former generations. What then is the process by which he may realize the best in himself and in the universe? The reply comes that it is culture both physical and intellectual.” “The cradle of culture is at home and home makes the nation.” “All political institutions founded by men are artificial; and, as the child observes and is influenced by them, they become a part of his environment; when, standing on these ideals of his ancestors, he is able to weigh their defects in the balance of a more cultured brain, and to proclaim to the world a new ideal, then the ignorant populace throw stones and light and darkness struggle for the mastery,” “Thus we see that the institutions of a people depend for their character upon the degree of culture possessed by the masses.”
The next oration was by John Mitchell Davidson, of Xenia, Ohio, who handled his subject “Truth” in a very entertaining manner. He appeared wholly at ease speaking gracefully with every indication of complete at-homeness with his subject. “In the accumulated products of a world’s industry the present generation finds that upon which it must base its growth or retrogression. How then the choice of truth is made from its rightful heritage, with what clear sighted and sure intelligence the intellect is trained to distinguish right, in this lies the entire problem of culture. It is that which makes great leaders, great poets, great statesmen.” But not alone individual truth and purity is demanded. It is necessary for the welfare of every community that the public conscience also be educated. It is necessary that the state think and act for itself, even as it is necessary for the individual thus for himself to think and act, and when truth is finally apparent through such centralized or combined effort, no power is able to withstand it.”
After a very beautiful trombone solo by Mr. Clarence Lafferty of Springfield, which was greatly enjoyed by the audience, we listened to an oration on “An American’s Highest Duty,” by Warren H. Denison, of Hunter’s Land, N. Y. The gentleman acquitted himself with much credit and appeared at home on the stage and his oration was very interesting. “Upon our citizenship depends the success or ruin of our government which we proudly call a republic.” Our public needs men who think and act. It demands such men as Gladstone whose life permeates the nation’s life and who for the sake of principles and morals will sacrifice for a nation a life long object on the eve of of attainment; such men as Parkhurst, whose labors in municipal reform have demonstrated to the world that law can be enforced, that law is not lifeless” We must be educated and train to the duties of citizenship and have an intelligent comprehension of the meaning of government by law.”
This was followed with an oration by C. C. Huntington, of Yellow Springs. Mr. Huntington’s ability as an orator is well known to all our readers and he delivered his oration, “The Conflict of the Ages,” in a manner which held the attention of audience from beginning to end. “Today the world has entered upon another epoch which has brought up for settlement questions far more complicated than any that have occupied the minds of thinking men in the past, far more momentus in character than those that have convulsed Europe with centuries of revolution.” “The enormous inequalities of conditions are creating a discontent in the minds of the laboring classes that foreshadows an impending revolution. Labor will not always submit to to be the slave of capital. History teaches us there can be but one outcome to this struggle. Despotism again will fall and the indomitable forces of freedom win another victory.”
This was followed with a selection by the orchestra and then Stephen Gideon Palmer, of Medway New York, delivered a fine oration on “Trinity.” “Would we be strong physically, it is necessary to exercise the muscles of the body. Would we acquire mental attainments, it becomes necessary to to exercise the intricate nerve fibers of the mind. Would we hold in our grasp moral or spiritual power, then there rests upon us the obligation of bringing into use the capabilities of the soul. Thus shall we be able to give to the world by means. of exercising body mind and soul, a development of this trinity that will place all at the goal of happiness. Then let him who would grow along the line of perfection, unfold with careful attention these elements of his nature; remembering that perseverance is the key that gives true honor and renoun to well developed manhood.”
The closing oration was delivered by Miss Estelle Tufts of Yellow Springs, who was the only lady of the class. Her subject, “The American School of Dialect” was presented in a cheerful and graceful manner, containing a brief sketch of American dialect writers and the impressions they have made upon the minds of the people during the present century. Miss Tufts is an interesting speaker and reflected great credit on the college by the admirable manner in which she delivered her oration. The orations of the graduates are published in the June number of the Antiochian and all should read them.
President Long in a few chosen remarks presented the diplomas to the class, conferring the degree of B. S. upon Clifford C. Huntington; and the degree of A. B. upon John Mitchell Davidson, Warren Hathaway Denison, Steven Gideon Palmer, Harlan Allan and Mary Estelle Tufts. Hon. F. A. Palmer, of New York, then presented each member of the class of ‘96 with a copy of the Bible, the last and best gift Antioch could make them.
After singing the well known hymn “Antioch” the audience was dismissed with the benediction by Dr. McCoubray, of New York.
The commencement dinner followed the graduating exercises and nearly 300 persons sat down to a bountiful repast in the College Dining Hall. After dinner a number of good speeches were made by members of the Board of Trustees Faculty, and prominent guests present. All expressed themselves as more than pleased with the commencement and the outlook for Antioch is now brighter than ever before.
In the afternoon the Antioch Alumni held a very interesting meeting in the college library and work was planned to raise funds to endow a “Horace Mann Chair” at Antioch.
The Star Alumni Association also held a meeting in the Star hall Wednesday afternoon which was very interesting and greatly enjoyed by all present.
At 4 p. m. Wednesday, a large number of the Union Society members and the Union Alumni assembled in the Lecture room and appointed a committee to arrange for a re-union of the old and present members of Antioch Union Society to be held on the afternoon of Commencement Day 1897, in Union Hall.
In the evening occurred the musical recital and graduating exercises of the department of music of Antioch College, under the direction of Prof. and Mrs. G. S. Brown. Each and every exercise was a musical treat. Prof. and Mrs. Brown are both efficient teachers and the fine work of their pupils must have been as gratifying to them as it was pleasing to the large audience in attendance. The program was as follows:
Piano Duo—March des Jeunes Dames, Goldbeck, Misses Miller and Middleton.
Piano Solo—a. Sonatine Op. 20. No. 3 Larghetto, Kuhlau; b. Alpine Horn, Schrimer, C. A. McDaniels.
Vocal Solo — I Know That My Redeemer Liveth, from Handle’s Messiah, Lora C. Middleton.
Piano Solo—Fra Diavolo…………..Smith
Piano Duo—Grand Valse de Concert, Mattei, Misses Little and Stewart.
Piano Solo—Priutemps d’Amour Mazurka, Gottschalk, Emma Southward.
Vocal Duo—I Heard a Voice in the Tranquil Night, Glover, Lora Middleton and C. L. Neibel.
Presentation of Diploma—Pres. D. A. Long.
Antioch Glee Club—The Bridge, . .Lindsay, Messrs. Brown, Neibel, McDaniels,Wills, Neibel, Davidson, Rinehart and Allen.
The music was greatly enjoyed by all. After the musicale the President gave a reception, where young and old, visitors and citizens thronged the large halls and had a good time generally. So ended the most successful commencement in many years.
HORACE MANN DAY.
Tuesday, the 16th, was given to the Alumni for the celebration of Horace Mann’s centenary. In the forenoon two excellent addresses were given, the first by Hon. William Bell, of Indianapolis, and the other by Dr. McWhinney, of Franklin, Ohio. Mr. Bell was a Horace Mann student and paid a glowing tribute of respect to his memory.
In the afternoon, Dr. J. B, Weston, of Stanfordville, N. Y., and a member of Antioch’s first graduating class, gave the address. This was an admirable address and such an one as Dr. Weston always gives. He was followed by an address by Thomas Charles, of Chicago, a Horace Mann student.
In the evening was the reunion of Alumni and friends, which was most delightful. The Glee Club and Union Quartette furnished excellent music. A goodly number of three minute speeches were given by members of the Alumni and trustees. Of these we must mention Miss Rice, the worlds of welcome of President D. A. Long, the speeches of Dr. Thayer, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Mr. Bell, Mr. Tone and Prof. Well’s poem.
A number of letters were read and greetings given from old students who could not be present. It was a very enjoyable occasion. All regretted exceedingly that Dr. Edward Orton was prevented by the order of his physician, from attending and giving his address on account of his feeble health.
ANTIOCH UNION SOCIETY
The seventeenth anniversary of the Antioch Union Society opened at the chapel on Monday evening with a piano duo by Misses Lehow and Stewart. The young ladies did themselves great credit and received the applause of the delighted audience. Mr. Harlan Alen then delivered the president’s annual adress, which was listened to with the greatest interest and pleasure.
The eulogy, “Eugene Field”—”A Study in Humanity” was a well chosen subjecrt and well delivered by Miss Mae McReynolds. It was distinctly heard throughout the entire hall.
Miss Charity Judy then sang a very beautiful solo, after which Miss GEnevieve Little gave a “History of the Society” from the earliest times to the present date, recalling to many Alumni present the happy times spent in society work years ago. The paper was well written and very entertaining.
Mr. Herbert Judy presented a very interesting essay on training the Imagination which was worthy of commendation.
The “Geyser,” the society paper was full of bright and witty sayings and was greatly enjoyed by all. Miss Hazel Miller, the editor, aquitted herself with much credit.
Prof. G. S. Brown rendered one of his beautiful tenor solos. He has a beautiful voice and it is always a treat to hear him sing.
Miss Edith Neal recited a charming selection, entitled “To-morrow at Ten,” in her usual pleasing manner. It called forth much praise.
- H. Dilworth closed the program with a fine oration on “Honesty.”’ The oration showed deep study and a thorough knowledge of his work.
The exercises of commencement week opened an elocution recital by the pupils of Miss Pearl Means. Miss Means is an excellent teacher, thorough and careful. Her pupils gave evidence of the thorough drill the have had. The “Ideal Orchestra” which was to have furnished the music for the occasion for some reason did not appear.
The program opened by Miss Gertrude Baker giving Robert Browning’s “Ratisbon” which was followed by Browning’s ‘Clive’ read by Miss Tufts. Both ladies read in a graceful manner to be commended.
The next was a scene from Hamlet, Mr. James Jones taking the part of Hamlet and Miss McDaniel that of Ophelia. Both persons acted well. Miss Julia Walker read in a pleasing way The Lord of Burleigh.
This was followed by a scene “The school from Scandal” which Miss Hester Shroads took the part of Lady Teazle and Mr. Albert Baker that of Sir Peter Teazle. In this Miss Shroads was perfectly at home, and Mr. Baker never impersonated better. Miss Grace Arthur in her usual charming way read Burdette’s, “Engineer’s Wooing.”
The second scene of “The scandal” followed.
Miss Edith Neal impersonating a Spanish gypsy girl gave Zingarella. This was the most difficult piece of the evening and Liss Neal, in her usual manner, captivated the audience.
The best production of the evening probably was the Shakespearian burleigh in which Mises Shigley, Forbus, McDaniel and Dudley took the parts of Juliet, Portia, Ophelia, and Lady MacBeth. All were perfectly at ease and acted well.
The program closed with reading, ‘The Marbel Dream,” by Miss Ethel Arthur. This was well rendered and given under colored light.
UNION SOCIETY DIPLOMA MEETING
The Diploma meeting of Antioch Union Society was held on Monday morning at 9:30 o’clock. The Diploma meeting, always interesting, was unusually so this year. All the performers were old or present members of Antioch Union.
The program opened with a piano duet by the Misses Alkire and Mellinger. This was well rendered and delighted all present.
Mr. Philo G. Burnham, ‘91, then gave an address on “Our Saxon Heritage.” This was replete with fine sentiment and good thought from beginning to end and deserves especially mention. Mr. Burnham is cordially welcomed back to ANtioch, and his host of friends were more than pleased to have the opportunity of listening to his fine address.
Mr. Lewis S. Hopkins, a present member, gave an excellent oration on the subject of “Crises.” Mr. Hopkins is a clear thinker and delivered his oration in a manner that pleased all.
Miss Annie Lehow, one of Yellow Springs’ best pianists, rendered a very charming piano solo, which was followed by an address by Prof. A. R. Wells on “Old Friendships.” It is needless to say that Professor Wells gave a very good address and he could not have chosen a more fitting subject. His “old friends” were delighted to have him present at this commencement and Antioch Union is proud to honor her Alumnus.
Miss Bertha Stewart present diplomas to the graduate members—Messrs. Allen, Denison, Davidson, Huntington and Palmer. Miss Stewart spoke with deep feeling and impressiveness and her parting words to the graduate members will long be cherished by them.
Mr. Walter Wills closed the program by a song, “Ora Pro Nobis,” which was rendered in his usual fine manner.
STAR DIPLOMA MEETING.
On Monday afternoon the heavy rain kept many away from the Star Diploma Meeting, but those who were there were amptly repaid for going.
The first exercise was a piano solo by Miss Sallie Birch. This was well executed. Miss Birch is rapidly coming to the front as one of our first musicians.
Miss Arnetta Hopping, a last year’s graduate, read a very aceeptable paper on “Woman’s Missions.” This was followed by a reading, “The Deacon Wants a Place,” by Miss Anza Johnson. Miss Johnson appeared perfectly at ease and gave her production in a graceful manner. The Stars were then favored by an impromtu talk by Mr. Harrison Tone, of Texas. Mr. Tonei was a Star graduate thirty-seven years ago, and gave some pleasing reminiscences of college life in early days as well as a description of his chosen state, Texas. The Stars are always glad to welcome back old members.
Miss Lora Middleton and Mr. C.L. Neibel sang a soprano and tenor duo, which elicted much praise. This was followed by an addrees by Rev. S. D. Bennett, “The Remainder.” It was full of good thought. Mr. Bennett is a graduate of the class of ‘88 and was a faithful earnest worker while here in college. We are glad to have him back.
Mr. C. P. Pumphrey presented the diploma to the graduate member, Miss Stella Tufts. Mr, Pumprey gave a good address and spoke in an earnest, forcible manner.
The program closed by a vocal trio by Misses Clara Southward, Effie Middleton and Lucy Birch. This was sung in a pleasing manner.
The 40th Anniversary of the Star Society occurred Saturday evening June, 13th.
The progran opened opened with a piano duo by Misses Vent and Miller which was well executed.
President Miss Estella Tufts delivered the annual address, giving a general view of the society work and an interesting talk on the great benefit derived therefrom. The address was very appropriate.
The paper “A Great Man and a Great Book” by Miss Bessie Wiley was a well written review of Tom Brown at Rugby,
Nelson Clark read a very interesting essay on “Live while preparing to live.” His delivery was very good.
Miss Elizabeth Zahn delighted the audience with a very beautiful Soprano solo entitled “Magnetic waltz.” Her voice is clear, smooth and attractive. It is certainly a great treat to hear her sing.
Mr. Charles Neibel then delivered oration on “Heridity.” The gentleman has a strong clear voice which could be distinctly heard throughout the large chapel.
Miss Ethel Arthur recited “A Medley,” so admirably that it brought fourth great applause.
The Star Quartett then rendered “Annie Laurie” in a very beautiful manner and responded to the encore with another pleasing selection.
Among the many prominent guests who attended commencement this week we note the following::
Hon. J. Warren Keifer, Springfield;
Hon. William Bell, Indianapolis.
Miss Grace Shoe, Piqua Ohio.
Miss Pearl Troxell, Miss Maud Teazell, Plattsburg, Ohio.
Mrs. Rastinell, Bellefontain Ohio.
Mrs. Riley, Ridgeville, Ohio.
Mrs. Bailey, Troy, Ohio.
Miss. Irma Wilson, Fairfield, Ohio.
Miss Glotfetler, Xenia, Ohio.
Miss Rife, Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. and Mrs. Stewart, Cedarville, Ohio.
Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Geneseo, Ill.
Mrs. Thomas Brandom.
Miss Mary Flynn, Alcony, Ohio.
Miss Sadie Markley, Bluffton Indiana.
Dr. W. C. Marshall, Mr. F. E. James, Dayton Ohio.
Miss Rice, Urbana,Ohio.
Thomas Charles, Chicago, Ill.
Miss Florence Seward, Spring Valley, Ohio.
Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Weston Stanfordville, New York.
Rev, E. A. DeVore, Merom, Ind.
Pres. Aldrich, Merom Ind.
Rev. M. J. Miller, Geneseo, Ill.
Joseph Wilby, Cincinnati.
Miss Rebecca Rice, Chicago.
Joseph Wayne, Cincinnati.
Hon. F. A. Palmer, New York.
- Warren Weeks, Dayton.
Hon. H. Tone, Dennison, Texas.
Amos R. Wells, Boston.
Hon. Geo. Arthur, Springfield.
Mr, Eavey and wife, Xenia.
Dr. W. A. Galloway, Xenia.
Mr and Mrs. Andrew Bates, Irwin, Ohio.
Miss Katie Huntington, South Charleston, Chio.
Misses Meriam and Ruth Brigham, Chicago Ill.
Miss Jennie Wagner, Trotwood, Ohio.
Miss Mabel Arthur, Mrs. Emma Wilson, Springfield, Ohio.
- R. Glass, Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Victor Weller.
Mr. and Miss Carrie Smith.
Miss Winter, Westerville Academy.
Many others were present whose names could not be learned.
“Songs From the Stacks” is a regular selection from Antiochiana: the Antioch College archives by College Archivist Scott Sanders.