Writings by Susan Dickinson

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Somehow there crept into the college life certain tendencies to modernism
quite irrepressible. The most obvious of these was the decision of
the graduating class of '74 to finish their year with a public ball!
As I remember, those who were on the committee to accomplish this, found
it a difficult task and had a pretty tedious and trying time of it.
Only a few of the men really wanted it, so beside all the practical
details involved in putting it through, there was the haunting fear
of final failure in charm and eclat. Palmer's hall, in the top of the
small block where the town hall now stands, was scrubbed up for the
event and in evening light subdued by necessity of oil lamps, was quite
festive in appearance with its rural decorations of daisies and ever-

When the evening came an interesting dinner party of men, at our
own house, caught the spirit of the wicked precedent about to be estab-
lished, and insisted upon strolling up to over-look the dancing from the
gallery that ran across the end of the hall. The young Seniors looked very
attractive as they made the grand promenade, -- and I remember very distinct-
ly that our present Congressman Gillett led, with the beautiful Miss
Foote of New Haven, a niece of Reverend Dr Jenkins. The ball grew merrier
and less stiff as the hours grew small, till these novices must have been
fully satisifed with their wicked experiment of the first ball ever given
at Amherst College, -- and I think the first ever known in the village. As
this happened also to be the night of the President's reception, is it
strange that there were wonderings with aspersions cast on the distinguish-
ed men who failed to appear on that honorable occasion? And why not?
Who would not lament the loss of such guests as Honorable Edward Gillett

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

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Last updated on January 25, 2008

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