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Fridays with Fred: A ‘Beloit-in-the-teens’ photo album, pt. II

February 7, 2014 at 7:55 am

We return for a second riffle through Harris “Shrimp” Hineline’s “Beloit in the Teens” photo album. (Click here for the first installment of this two-part photo essay)

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Hineline snapped several photographs of the annual production staged by the college’s Shakespeare Society, featuring an all-women cast. On May 28, 1913, the students performed The Tempest outdoors on “As-You-Like-It-Hill,” across from the Smith Gymnasium on the slope near the future Wright Museum of Art. According to the Round Table, the students transformed the hill into an “enchanted isle…from the first scene of the shipwreck on to the freeing of the spirits at last, the audience was held entranced.” Edna Thompson played “the jesting” Trinculo.

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The principal players showed off their resplendent costumes in a group photo, while at least two of the actors appear ready to pop corks and imbibe.

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September 1912 found Professor Erastus Gilbert Smith at his house on Harrison Street, decked out in his pinstriped leaf-raking suit, complete with bow tie and matching cap. Smith was a busy man. He taught chemistry at the college from 1881 to 1921, worked as a consulting chemist for companies and municipalities, and pursued a second career as a politician, serving as mayor of Beloit for three terms and, after retirement, as a state assemblyman.

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Although Hineline did not identify the location, the waterway looks very much like Turtle Creek, a favorite haunt for strolling students and affectionate couples. Vera Smiley, in quiet repose, tests the strength of a massive stump.

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Big Hill Day was a popular annual campus outing for many years, something akin to an autumn version of contemporary Beloit’s “Spring Day.” Students and faculty set off early in the morning, as described by the October 20, 1911, issue of the Round Table:

Wednesday began with a splendid sun and a warm atmosphere.  At the appointed time students came in companies and singly until the campus was alive.  The band, that white-garbed assemblage of musical creatures, appeared and led the crowd down the west hill and up Pleasant Street to the strains of “Hail, Hail, the gang’s all here.”  Even the faint-hearted were undaunted in the face of the four-mile walk to Yost’s Park…[There] a small squadron of launches belonging to Fairbanks, Morse and Company conveyed the crowd to the base of the hill on the summit of which preparations were already in full swing. The eminence was stormed.

Once at Big Hill, they feasted, competed in a variety of contests and made merry.  Hineline documented the tug of war between freshmen and sophomore men. Professor Charles Culver (at left with megaphone) urged them on, while Professor George Collie (at right with bowler hat) served as judge. The freshmen “were easily victors in the final tug.”

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On May 25, 1912, the college hosted the “Little Five Conference Meet.” Beloit finished a strong second, but Knox College came out on top. The Round Table illustrated its story about the meet with Hineline’s photograph of the 440 yard dash, noting that Harold “Spid” Wolcott “gave Yates of Knox a hard run…but finished second.”  Yates won the race with a time of 53 seconds.  A decade earlier, Beloit’s famous athlete, Edward Strong Merrill, had set the college record at 49 seconds. Harvey Flodin, class of 1961, broke the record in 1961 with a time of 48.18 seconds.In 1971, before metric-distance races became standard, John Smith established the world record at 44.5 seconds.

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In Hineline’s era, students attended daily chapel services, except on Saturday. Every Sunday morning they attended the religious institution of their choice, but by that afternoon they were back in the college chapel pews for the required vesper service. Here the Vesper Choir lines up at the side entrance to the chapel, with Pearsons Hall of Science in the background.

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A rare view of the Vesper Choir performing in front of what the 1912-1913 college catalogue described as “a large and excellent two-manual pipe-organ.” In 1930, the college named the chapel after longtime president, Edward Dwight Eaton. Extensive renovations in 1938 included decorative ceiling panels and attractive new pews, all destroyed by a disastrous fire in December 1953. The college rebuilt and then rededicated Eaton Chapel on Dec. 12, 1954.

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Hineline entitled this photograph, taken in April 1913, “All Bowed in Prayer (But Two Seniors Peeked!)”

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A couple of grinning daredevils ride down Riverside Drive, possibly picking up more speed than the newfangled automobile chugging away behind them.

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Hineline’s photographs of a May 1913 production of Pandora, by the Girls’ Glee Club, appeared in both the Round Table and the college’s yearbook, the Codex. Florence Jones starred in the title role.  Hineline labeled this enchanting photograph, “Pandora Welcomed by the Graces.”  Also in May, the Round Table shared an announcement by the sophomore class about the 1915 Codex: “By recommendation of the Board and a unanimous vote of the class, Harry D. Hineline was elected Staff Photographer.” As we’ve seen, he was an excellent choice!

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For many years the college held its annual Commencement exercises indoors at the First Congregational Church on the corner of Church and Bushnell streets.  Hineline’s photograph from June 18, 1912, shows a uniquely two-headed student speaker, with an unperturbed President Eaton sitting just behind, with legs crossed.  A white beard brigade sits to the right, with mostly younger faculty on the left.  Student speeches that day covered a variety of topics, including “The Appeal of Industrialism,” “The Heroic Spirit in Medical Research,” and “Peace and the Common Man.” The Beloit Quartette sang “Wake with the Lark” and “The Indifferent Mariner” and the College Band performed several lively airs before the conferring of degrees.  Among those who received degrees that day, was Lloyd Vernor Ballard, who later taught Sociology at the college from 1913 to 1954.