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Page 10 text:
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SEAL OF THE FREE
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WILLIAMS COLLEGE ONE HUNDRED
RESIDENT FITCH of Williams college, about one hun-
dred years ago this Commencement, Wrote to a friend a
letter which shows how little the ideals of this institution have
changed to this date. It reads in part, "Our ambition is to make
good scholars rather than add to our number, and in this we
mean not to be outdone by any college in New England." A
glance at the entrance requirements and at the courses offered by
the college in view of this is most interesting. In a certain sense
VVilliams has been the originator of the present elective system.
The student seeking admission in the very earliest days of the
college had an option. The rule read, "Each student who
applies for admission must be able to accurately construe, read
and parse to the satisfaction of the president and tutors, Virgil's
7Eneid, Tully's Orations, and the Evangelists in Greekg or, if
he prefers to become acquainted with French, he must be able to
read and pronounce with a tolerable degree of accuracy and
fluency I-Iudson's French Scholar's Guide, Telemachus, or some
other approved French author." The curriculum, which aimed
"to see Massachusetts become the Athens of America," intro-
Page 9 text:
Nineteen Nine, our voices free
W e'll raise to-day in praise of thee.
Class thou art without a peer, '
Evermore we'll hold thee dear.
You bring back fond memories old,
Our hearts never will grow cold.
Ye men all along the line,
Cheer for Williams and Nineteen Nine
Page 11 text:
IO WILLIAMS COLLEGE CLASS BOOK
duced the freshman to the study of the languages-English,
Latin, Greek and French, although the latter was omitted for
some time after 1799. This course of study was continued for
the four years, and sophomore year the student indulged in
geography, algebra, mensurations, arithmetic, conic sections and
geometry. The following year he commenced the study of
rhetoric and logic, as an introduction to the work of senior
year-history, national law, ethics, civil polity, theology and
metaphysics. In 1806 the grammar school was discontinued and
there are many records of graduates of this institution refusing
to enter the college and transferring to some "sounder school of
One hundred years before the class of nineteen nine were
seniors 117 students were registered at Williams college. There
were seventeen freshmen, thirty-one sophomores, forty juniors
and twenty-nine seniors. Eight states of the Union were 'repre-
sented. The catalogue published in November, 1809, gives the
list of the teaching force, consisting of the president, vice presi-
dent and three tutors. On September 6, 1809, the Commence-
ment procession marched through the archway in the middle of
West college and proceeded up to the meetinghouse, standing in
the Field Memorial park and constructed at the close of the last
century as a result of the threat of the trustees of the college to
hold the exercises in Pittsfield, if no suitable edifice were built in
the town. There were thirteen orations, three dialogues and
two disputations to be listened to. The people fiocked in from
the surrounding villages for the events ofthe day. Venders of
gingerbread were present with booths and we read that "cider
was not wanting, and it was not difficult to procure a stronger
drink, so as the day wore on there was often a ludicrous mixture
of the literary and what had little affiliation with it," The
Valedictorian of the college, directly before appearing on the
platform, had been dipped into the Green river by several of his
classmates in an attempt to restore l1im to a presentable condition.
In the year 1809, West and East were the only college build-
ings. West, built in 1790, contained the library, studies, and on
the south side of the second and third stories the chapel. A bell
in the belfry was tolled for all meetings and the bclfryman,
usually a student, dared leave his room at the foot of the tower
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