Class of 1902

The Class of 1902 with Principal Woodbury (third row)

The first edition, Vol. 1, No. 1, of The Kimball Union, a student-run newspaper, was published in April 1892 in magazine form. It included editorials, school news, essays, poetry, athletics, local events and alumni notes. The editors expressed their hope that not only students and faculty, but alumni would support the paper with subscriptions (cost, $1 annually, 10 cents per issue) and with literary contributions; the alumni magazine did not exist at that time. Similar to the student newspaper of today, now known as The Claw, there was space for student humor and clever wordplay, but expressed in the manner of the times.

“I’m like a tree,” said he to her,
“I’m rooted to your side.”
“Not like a tree,” said she to him,
“You never leave.” He died. – Golden Rule 1892

And to show how far the world has come in the last 121 years, this quote: “Darwin once remarked that our knowledge of the earth was like a hen’s knowledge of a hundred-acre field in the corner of which she was scratching.”

By the fall of 1900, The Kimball Union, Vol. 8 No. 1, had increased the price of subscription from 10 cents to 20 cents per issue, but still a $1.00 annually. This issue introduced the new principal, Ernest Roliston Woodbury, and claimed, “Though Mr. Woodbury has been principal of K.U.A. but a very short time, he has endeared himself very strongly to the hearts of the students, and his career here promises to be very prosperous and happy.” Woodbury, the editor wrote, was born in Farmington, Maine, on July 3, 1871 where his father was associate principal of the State Normal School and his mother had been an assistant teacher. In 1878, the family moved to Castine, Maine, when his father was elected principal of the Castine State Normal School. Young Woodbury, having attended the local schools, graduated from the normal school in 1889 and in 1891, after two years, from Deering High School in Portland, Maine, where he was first in his class.

Woodbury entered Bowdoin College and, after having earned many academic honors, graduated salutatorian of his class in 1895. According to the editor, he was principal in the spring of 1895 of the high school in Denmark, Maine, and became principal of Fryeburg Academy, “a special fitting school for Bowdoin College,” the following fall where he “proved himself a very efficient and successful teacher.” During this time, Woodbury married Fannie Louise Gibson, of North Conway, New Hampshire and, in time, they had three children.

In a subsequent article, the editor wrote that the former principal Prof. W. H. Cummings was enjoying a long sight-seeing trip throughout Europe. He left on August 4th and intended to stay for “a number of months yet … his health is very much improved, and everything tends toward a delightful outing.” … he “has the best wishes of his many friends among students and teachers.”

The 1902 track team wearing their medals

The 1902 track team wearing their medals

Under Woodbury, athletics continued to be an important part of school life, although, as had always been the case, more so for boys than girls. The accepted form of exercise for girls in the previous century had mostly been for dignified walks, sledding, or skating in winter. In 1893, a gym of sorts had been outfitted in the basement of Baxter Hall and girls apparently were able to use the equipment.  One editor wrote, “We hear now and then of some of their feats of strength and agility. For instance, one of them made several successive trips across the overhead ladder, while another cleared something like 3 1/2 feet in the high jump. Doing well, girls!” But by 1904-1905, a few girls clearly demonstrated that they wanted more from athletics when they got together to play basketball. A photograph shows seven of them in exercise bloomers and midi blouses, each with a foot on a ball. The caption reads, “The goal was ‘to correct abnormal tendencies and to form correct habits of carriage and action and physical control.’ ”

In another edition we learn that, “The Academy authorities believe in a reasonable amount of athletics wisely guided and directed. The school has been singularly fortunate in its strong athletic track teams, its base ball and foot ball teams which have won notable victories.” The teams were successful, some with amazing records as in football for 1904: KUA 267 – opponents 6. They beat Vermont Academy by the incredible score of 87-0. Stephen Colby, class of 1955, recently donated to KUA Archives his grandfather’s, Earle Colby of Plainfield, class of 1906, football helmet and the spikes (cleats) that he nailed to his shoes when he played in 1904. In 1904-05, the school agreed to follow the rules recommended by the High Schoolmasters’ Club of New Hampshire. The rules included the following: a team had to consist of only students from their own school; an instructor could only play on the team by mutual agreement of both teams when numbers were short; and that “These students are taking at least fifteen periods per week of prepared work and that they be in good standing in their school work.”

The November 1900 issue included, besides athletics, the first essay by future Editor-in-Chief of The Kimball Union, a new student, Ernest Everett Just.

Next time: Ernest Everett Just, class of 1903