Salade Niçoise

It’s time for another Recipe from the Archives – summer salad edition! This week’s recipe is Dr. Catherine Slawy-Sutton’s Salade Niçoise, from Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

The cover of

The cover of Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.

As mentioned in the “Better Than the M & M’s Pimento Cheese” post, the Office Support Staff was born out of an earlier group known as The Chambermaids – a reference to the statues on Chambers Building, where most of the administrative staff worked, and a reference to the fact that the offices were almost entirely staffed by women. The Chambermaids, renamed the Office Support Staff (OSS) in 1982, was aimed at fostering professional development, advocating for needed changes on behalf of staff, and providing opportunities for social engagement. During the 1990-1991 academic year, the OSS compiled Though Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook as a fundraiser. Recipes were solicited from across all areas of campus.

Members of Office Support Staff in Fall 1989. 1st row: (from left to right) Jeanne Mandt, Jane Biggerstaff, Judi Murphy, Ann Callahan, Pat Snow, Mary Wilson, Barbara Mayer, Pat Richart, Mittie Wally; 2nd row: (from left to right) Pat Gardner, Mary Mack Benson, Glenda Erwin, Kristi Mayhew, Cheryl Branz, Jean Martin, Ethel Black, Katrina French, Frances White; 3rd row: (from left to right) Diann Cavin, Gail Hoke, Aileen Vinson, Harriet Kessler, Sara Paige Lewis, Barbara Carmack, Pat Burgess, Frances McCorkle, Jo Archie, Joan Franz, Gail Sloop, Brenda King, Sarah Jackson.

Members of Office Support Staff in Fall 1989. First row, from left to right: Jeanne Mandt, Jane Biggerstaff, Judi Murphy, Ann Callahan, Pat Snow, Mary Wilson, Barbara Mayer, Pat Richart, and Mittie Wally. Second row: Pat Gardner, Mary Mack Benson, Glenda Erwin, Kristi Mayhew, Cheryl Branz, Jean Martin, Ethel Black, Katrina French, and Frances White. Third row: Diann Cavin, Gail Hoke, Aileen Vinson, Harriet Kessler, Sara Paige Lewis, Barbara Carmack, Pat Burgess, Frances McCorkle, Jo Archie, Joan Franz, Gail Sloop, Brenda King, and Sarah Jackson.

The recipe I chose to make, Salade Niçoise, was submitted by Catherine Slawy-Sutton, Professor of French & Francophone Studies at Davidson. Born in Angoulême, France and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Catherine received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Nice and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington. She began working at Davidson College as Visiting Lecturer in 1980, moving to Assistant Professor in 1985, Associate Professor in 1991, and Professor in 1999. Catherine is married to recently retired French & Francophone Studies Professor Homer Sutton (Class of 1971), and the two professors have accompanied Davidson students on several study abroad programs in France.

Catherine Slawy-Sutton in 1997, from that year's Quips and Cranks.

Catherine Slawy-Sutton in 1997, from that year’s Quips and Cranks.

Since Catherine studied in Nice, I assumed she’d know a good Salade Niçoise! I hadn’t yet made a salad for Recipes from the Archives, and this hearty provençal staple seemed like a perfect fit. As Catherine describes it in the Great Expectations cookbook, “This is a recipe for a consistent summer salad.”


Catherine’s recipe for Salade Niçoise and “ze reeal French Salad Dressing” vinaigrette that accompanies it.

I purchased oil-packed tuna in order to get the best flavor, and used tomatoes recently gifted to me by Davidson’s Systems Librarian, Susan Kerr, who grew them in her home garden. With boiling the potatoes and hard boiling the eggs, the preparation time for the salad was a bit longer, but completing the recipe was very easy, and the results are delicious!

Salade Niçoise with vinaigrette on the side.

The finished Salade Niçoise, with vinaigrette on the side.

With the Night Mail

We’ve thanked Wilbur L. Fugate for the donation of his collection of first and limited editions of Kiplng’s works.


WIth the Night Mail

With the Night Mail

Now we want to look more specifically at a work for which Kipling is not well known, With the Night Mail, Kipling’s only work of science fiction.  Kipling was known for his stories about the army, ballads and poems, and “boys’ stories” with a remarkable view of Indian life, so a work of science fiction seems  unusual.

With the Night Mail was published in book form by Doubleday, Page & Co. in 1909, after having been first published in the United States in the November 1905 issue of McClure’s Magazine, and in the United Kingdom in the December 1905 issue of The Windsor Magazine.  The story was also collected in various anthologies over the years.

Title Page

Title Page

Night Mail first pageThe story is set in the year 2000 and concerns a dirigible night flight from London, at a time when the world is controlled by the Aerial Board of Control.

Aerial Board of Control

Aerial Board of Control

The narrator of the story is on board a mail plane, Postal Packet 162, which is traveling from London to Quebec, and the journey is reported in great detail from the expertise of the crew, the details of their methods of radio communication, and the traffic beacons used from lift off to their safe docking ahead of schedule.   The story is accompanied with beautiful illustrations by Frank Leyendecker and H. Reuterdahl, as well as an appendix including fictitious ads, notes, and correspondence.

Thanks to Mr. Fugate for including this work in his collection!



Night Mail illusNight Mail frontispiece









Teachers & Lake Norman

What do you get when you bring 5 public school teachers to the archives?

An amazing amount of energy and a wonderful set of lesson plans designed around Lake Norman topics. Working with Dr. Hilton Kelly, professor of Sociology and chair of Educational Studies, the archives staff reached out to teachers to help us add a collection of learning activities to the Under the Lake site.

Celia Arch presenting her lesson plans

Celia Arch presenting her lesson plans

Along with gathering photos and stories about the lake, the we wanted the website to be a source for research and teaching. How better to bring the lake into the classroom than by having practicing teachers design and create online lessons?  Supported by the Duke Energy Foundation, we recruited local teachers. The 5 finalists were an amazing group and covered the full range of education – kindergarten to high school, mathematics to ESL to social studies and earth sciences. Together they created 11 different lesson plans, some with multiple activities.

Erik Dykes convincing fellow teachers and Little Library staff that maps and math can work tofgether.

Erik Dykes convincing fellow teachers and Little Library staff that maps and math can work tofgether.

The teachers are Celia Arch, Eric Dykes, JoCelyn Roundtree, Carolyn Singleton, Erika Williams.  In one intense week, they learned about Lake Norman, explored the website, learned WordPress and built their lessons. On Friday afternoon they presented their work to their peers and members of the library staff.  The instruction librarians came away with a great respect for the teachers grasp of pedagogy and some new ideas to try out on our students.

As part of the project, the archives team added a collection of digitized area maps to the website.  Included are Lake Norman maps, county maps, town of Davidson maps and college campus maps.

1963 map of newly created lake.

1963 map of newly created lake.

While the activities are geared toward classroom learning, anyone can test them out. Try brushing up on your math skills or write your own essay, draw a cartoon, share a rainy summer afternoon with a child learning together or explore the history the maps show us.

The lesson plan creation team: Eric Dykes, Celia Arch, JoCelyn Roundtree, Erika Williams, and Carolyn Singleton

The lesson plan creation team: Eric Dykes, Celia Arch, JoCelyn Roundtree, Erika Williams, and Carolyn Singleton


Digitizing “An Old Family Friend”: The Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr. Scrapbook

This week’s post was written by Nancy Lingle, a volunteer in the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections. Nancy is a May 2016 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Masters of Library and Information Studies degree, and works at the Davidson Branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library.

Photos from a road trip with college buddies. The scores from an all-important football game.  Notes about family and friends.  An advertisement for shoes for $16.50.  Ticket stubs from a concert.  For many of us, these phrases sounds like things we might see on a typical Facebook or Instagram post.  But in this case I’m describing a book; to be more specific – a scrapbook from a member of the Davidson College Class of 1929. A scrapbook that does not belong to my family, but now feels like an old family friend.

Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr's senior portrait, from the 1929 Quips and Cranks.

Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr’s senior portrait, from the 1929 Quips and Cranks.

I came to know this scrapbook through a class assignment.  I am not a Davidson College student.  (In fact, based on my SAT scores, I’m pretty sure I would never have been admitted.) In pursuit of my MLIS degree at UNCG, I took a class in digital libraries. One option for my final class assignment was to find a local library and ask to work on one of their digital projects.  As a resident of Davidson and having been married to someone with long ties to the college, I was familiar with the archival work that the Davidson College Library had produced.  With fingers crossed, I emailed Jan Blodgett, the college archivist, and offered my services.  Jan, along with Sharon Byrd and Caitlin Christian-Lamb graciously tossed around some possible project ideas that I could work on.  They came up with digitizing a scrapbook, one of the 279 that have been collected by or donated to Davidson over the years. These scrapbooks are stored in the college archives – a veritable treasure trove of documents, photographs and other ephemera related to town and gown.

At first, I was slightly surprised by their choice of this project. With all the “important” books, manuscripts and photos that need to be digitized, I thought digitizing a personal scrapbook was something that should possibly be further down on the priority list.  How wrong I was.

Advertisement for women's shoes for , from a program for "The Girl Friend" at the Auditorium Theatre

Advertisement for women’s shoes for $12.50 to $16.50 , from a program for “The Girl Friend” at the Auditorium Theatre pasted onto page 79 of Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr.’s scrapbook.

Why scrapbooks?  The reasons are many. Scrapbooks give us a more personal account of a period in history.  We can see what was important to an individual at a given time.  Newspaper articles, dance cards, photos showing clothing, hats and shoes all come together to paint a detailed picture and give us a higher degree of insight than a standard text book can offer. Digitizing a scrapbook, while adding descriptive and searchable metadata, adds to our collective resources and knowledge sharing abilities.  By making these resources available to the public, we can give others the opportunity to access material that would otherwise be nearly impossible to see.  Many college and university libraries have been working on digitizing their scrapbook collections. These scrapbooks are in very fragile states; their aging pages crumbling, disintegrating a little more every time we open each archival box. Preserving them for future generations is a worthy task.

The Process

Caitlin was very familiar with the Davidson scrapbook collection.   She herself had worked on a similar project when she was a graduate student at Simmons College so she understood with great clarity the details involved.  Of all the choices under consideration, we decided to digitize the scrapbook of Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr. It had lots of nice details, many different types of items and at 82 pages, it seemed the perfect length. The goal was to preserve the scrapbook in a way that makes you feel like you are turning the pages of the actual item – viewing the scrapbook as it was intended to be seen.

Page 25 of the Brown scrapbook, with photographs of many Davidson College campus buildings and hand-drawn pencil animals (including two wildcats).

Page 25 of the Brown scrapbook, with photographs of many Davidson College campus buildings and hand-drawn animals (including two wildcats).

First came scanning. Each page of the scrapbook (and each page of each pamphlet or brochure within each page) was scanned and saved as a TIFF file.  The pages had to placed carefully on the scanner in an effort to keep them as intact as possible.  Sometimes we found pages stuck together either due to the adhesive (mucilage) or a staple.  Caitlin, using a scalpel with surgeon-like precision, removed the staples so we could easily access the individual pages. Sometimes items fell off.  Often I had to lift one delicate yellowed newspaper clipping to access another one beneath it.  One time, a headline that had lain folded for umpteen years crumbled in my hand.  While I felt terrible, it also made me realize how important it is to scan these documents so they can be preserved before more disintegration takes place. It turns out this 82-page scrapbook was really 311 pages when all was said and done. Scanning took 24.75 hours.

TIFF files are wonderful at preserving details but are also very large. The Omeka site we were using to host this project has a limitation in file size, so I converted each TIFF to a JPEG.  This is a fairly easy process and took only 5.5 hours.

Next, using Dublin Core, I added metadata to each page so the information could be found.  Some pages were relatively easy since they contained only one or two items.  When questions arose, Sharon patiently looked over my shoulder and help guide me to the correct description. The pages that were most challenging were ones that held copies of plays and programs containing the names of the actors, dancers and musicians.  Since our goal was to make the items searchable, I had to add each name that I found on each page. Mr. Brown loved to attend plays.  On page 79 there are 5 different play programs.  Since I was working on this project only 5-6 hours per week, it would occasionally take me that amount of time to add the metadata for just one page. Total time for adding metadata:  32 hours.

Page 79 of the Brown scrapbook - five play programs and a whole lot more!

Page 79 of the Brown scrapbook – five play programs and a whole lot more!

Finally, as I was wrapping up my semester, the metadata was complete.  With Caitlin’s expertise and guidance, we turned the project live (8.25 hours) just days before my semester ended.  Total time to digitize the Aubrey Neblett Brown Jr. scrapbook: 70.5 hours.

What Did I Learn?

Academically, I learned about the digitization processes, about different hosting sites, about the ways different institutions use Dublin Core as a metadata scheme, all the variables involved and the decisions that need to be made when creating a digital library project.

I also learned about life in Davidson from 1924 – 1929.  I learned that Mr. Brown kept a tidy room – there’s a note from Mrs. Black the dormitory supervisor telling him so. (Personally, as the mother of a college-age son, I find this extremely hard to believe.)  Photos told me who Mr. Brown’s friends were and what they did for fun; from building a snowman to attending plays and debates as well as coming up with the attributes for the “ideal woman”. I learned that Efird’s Department Store in Charlotte sold almost everything and that even though the Ziegfeld Follies were famous, the creators of the brochures still spelled that eponymous name incorrectly (as “Ziegfield”).  Among the various letters and cards there was a note about Mr. Brown’s disappointment over the new college president, Dr. Walter Lee Lingle, my husband’s grandfather, and how he wished it could have been someone from outside and not a Davidson graduate who was taking on the position.  (No hard feelings – I promise.)

Page 27 from the Brown scrapbook

Page 27 from the Brown scrapbook, showing scenes around campus (including snowman-building and one of the live wildcat mascots).

Mr. Brown’s documentation of the road trip he took with friends back home to Mineral Wells, Texas was one of the highlights of the scrapbook.  There are photos of the car (which he later sold for $60.00), a map of their route, and postcards he acquired at places he stopped along the way.  It was amazing to me that these postcards, many in color, have retained their vibrancy even after all these years.

What I felt the most as I delved into this scrapbook was the sense of innocence, the love of family and friends, the love of sports, the overall “collegiate spirit” vibe that I felt during my own undergraduate days and see now with my son and his friends.  This “innocence of youth” of Mr. Brown and his friends is juxtaposed with an impeding sense of sadness since we know what is about to happen in the world later on in his 1929 graduation year.

A few weeks ago I ran into William Brown at the Davidson Public Library where I currently work. William is the son of our scrapbook creator and the Director of the Knobloch Campus Center and Student Activities at Davidson.  I told him about the project and thanked him for sharing such a wonderful resource with the college archives and now, thanks to digitization, with anyone who is interested.  He smiled and he talked about that road trip his father took to Mineral Wells.  It turns out that his father didn’t return home again for over 50 years.  When he did, things had changed so much that nothing seemed familiar. Having access to those photos and postcards now seems even more poignant.

Pages 53 and 55 of the scrapbook, detailing the road trip from Davidson to Mineral Wells

Pages 53 and 55 of the scrapbook, detailing the road trip from Davidson to Mineral Wells, TX and including a newspaper clip advertising Brown’s sale of the group’s 1922 Ford Model T.

The Future

Now with one scrapbook project under their belts, I hope that the Archives and Special Collections Department can continue this project with the help of students and volunteers.  Knowing the time and resources it takes to digitize one scrapbook; from computers and scanners to hosting space and librarian oversight, the archivists can better plan how this project fits in with their other projects and goals.

Many thanks to Jan, Sharon, and Caitlin for their guidance, support and allowing me to work with them on bringing this scrapbook to digital life.  You can access the digital version of the Aubrey Neblett Brown, Jr. scrapbook here.

“Declaration of Independency”

As we get ready to celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th, I wanted to see what books we had in the Rare Book Room relating to the American Revolution and printed during that era.  We have several including:

The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War.  By C. Stedman.  Dublin, 1794.

The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America.  By William Gordon.  New York, 1801.

 Both are histories of the war…but I found it interesting that although the titles of the two histories were similar, the British publication and the American one had distinctive differences in wording regarding the close of the war.

The close of the war.  And, as Gordon’s book title reads, the “establishment of the independence of the United States of America.”  With the approval of the Second Continental Congress at their meeting in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House on July 4, 1776, the colonies severed their ties to Great Britain, and declared themselves to be free and independent states.  In order to let the colonists know as quickly as possible about this momentous decision, Congress ordered that copies of the “Declaration of Independence” be printed that night, and about 200 copies were printed by John Dunlap at his small printing shop near the State House.  Known as the “Dunlap Broadside,” this was the first printing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  There remain only 25 known copies of this first U.S. printing, and, not surprisingly, Davidson does NOT own one!  But what about the first British printing?  When did Britain let its citizens know what the U.S. had done?

The Gentleman's Magazine 1776

The Gentleman’s Magazine 1776

The Gentleman's Magazine August 1776

The Gentleman’s Magazine August 1776

The August 1776 issue of the London publication, The Gentleman’s Magazine includes an early, very possibly the first, British printing of the “Declaration of American Independency” on pages 361-362.

Declaration of American Independency

Declaration of American Independency

Declaration of American Independency

Declaration of American Independency

The magazine was founded by Edward Cave in 1731, and was considered to be the most influential periodical of its time.  The August issue also includes additional coverage of the Revolution including Parliamentary debates regarding the colonies, some selected correspondence of George Washington, resolutions of the Continental Congress, and maps of areas of major colonial battles.

Map of Philadelphia

Map of Philadelphia

We are fortunate to have a collection of The Gentleman’s Magazine in the Rare Book Room, including the volume for 1776.

Happy Birthday, USA!

Potato Poories

For this installment of Recipes from the Archives, I went back to the Athenaeum Book Club’s 1965-66 “Culinary Customs Around the World” cookbook, and chose Ruby Alexander’s “Potato Poories.”

The Athenaeum Club is one of several Davidson women’s book discussion groups, and although its date of founding is unknown, the Davidson College Archives holds materials on the club dating from the early 1950s until 2013. According to the club’s 1952 Constitution and By-Laws, the purpose of the Athenaeum Club is “to promote fellowship and mutual improvement of the members through the study and sharing of ideas.” Members would routinely select two books to host discussions for each year, and for the 1965 – 1966 year, members selected a theme of Culinary Customs Around the World – when a member would host a book discussion, they would also make a few dishes from a country or region of their choosing.

Recipes compiled from Athenaeum Book Club members for the 1965-1966

Cookbook compiled from Athenaeum Book Club members’ recipes for the 1965 – 1966 year.

According to book club minutes, members chose to make dishes reminiscent of “China, Persia, Mexico, Holland, South Africa, India, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, France, Pakistan, Hawaii, and Lebanon.” Each member was also expected to bring a dish from the country or region to the club’s Christmas party. Minutes also show that each book club meeting usually included some sort of presentation on region chosen, either by the book club member hosting or by an invited guest. While I’m not an expert on cooking by any means, my impression of the cookbook was that the recipes were more “inspired by” than necessarily accurate to the regional cuisine chosen by each member – recipes may have been clipped or adapted from magazines or other cookbooks, which was common practice.


The cover of the notebook used for recording minutes for the 1965-66 year of meetings, and the book list showing each member’s selection for their first book.

Ruby Alexander was a member of the Athenaeum Book Club from 1965 until at least 2013. Information on Ruby is sparse – from book club programs I was able to gather that another member of the club was her mother-in-law, Mildred Cashion Alexander (1917 – 2012). Mildred was also a long-time member of the Athenaeum Club, beginning in the early 1950s and continuing to be active until her death in 2012. Mildred was married to James B. Alexander, Sr., who graduated from Davidson College in 1938 and started the Alexander Trucking Company in town.  Ruby married their son, James B. Alexander, Jr., although I couldn’t find anything more in our records on Ruby specifically. However, James B., Jr. and Ruby Alexander are still residents of Davidson.

Ruby chose Pakistan as her theme for the Athenaeum Book Club’s cookbook. I chose Ruby’s “Potato Poories” because I was intrigued by the recipe – in the cookbook, it includes the subtitle “Delicious deep-fat bread rounds, greasy fingers, but so good you’ll lick them.” That sounded pretty good to me, and as we have a new staff member starting today (Alison Bradley, our new Collection Development Librarian), I decided to make “potato poories” for her welcome party.

Ruby Alexander's "potato poories" recipe.

Ruby Alexander’s “potato poories” recipe.

Making the “potato poories” turned out to be more of a logistical challenge than many of the recipes I’ve made from our archival collections before. Because they’re fried, I couldn’t follow my usual routine of making the recipe at home and bringing the resulting treats into work the next day. My coworker Jan Blodgett suggested I fry the poories at work, using a fondue pot. I made the called-for two packages of instant mashed potatoes at home, combined with flour, prepared the dough patties and stored them in the fridge overnight. Then, this morning, I fried the patties in our staff break room in the fondue pot.

Left: fondue pot frying setup (thanks to Davidson College's Technical Director/Scenographer Neil Reda for letting us borrow one of his fondue pots!). Right: the finished product.

Left: fondue frying setup (thanks to Davidson College’s Technical Director/Scenographer Neil Reda for letting us borrow one of his fondue pots!). Right: the finished product.

I used canola oil instead of fat, so that the recipe would be vegetarian-friendly. My finished product turned out differently than I was expecting – I made more of an ersatz latke or rosti than a poori. I learned a few things during the cooking process:

  1. I have no idea what the consistency of yeast dough is. Ruby’s recipe did not specify an amount of flour; rather, flour is added to the mashed potatoes “until mixture is soft and elastic like yeast dough.” I’ve never made bread, so I basically added flour until the consistency seemed different than regular old mashed potatoes. Since my “potato poories” never floated on top of the oil – they were too dense – I think I needed to add much, much more flour to this mixture.
  2. If you’re going to prep patties of dough the night before, you should use bakery release or parchment paper to separate the patties. I used tinfoil because I didn’t have baking parchment at home, and removing the patties was a gigantic pain – many of my “poories” were oddly shaped because of this.
  3. An electric fondue pot is actually a really great option for stove top frying. Because the sides are high, I didn’t have any issues with oil spatter, and the pot may have been hotter than using a pan on top of a stove. I would definitely recommend a fondue pot for all of your home frying needs!

While my “potato poories” may have been different than both Ruby Alexander’s and a Pakistani puri, it was still very delicious! I would make these again, perhaps just as a potato pancake, and experiment with adding more ingredients.

June Literary Birthdays

I thought we’d pay tribute this month to some authors, born in June, and represented by works in the Rare Book Room. Can you match the author with the work?

1. Harriet Beecher Stowe                                                                 A. The Winding Stair
2. Salmon Rushdie                                                                           B. Jude the Obscure
3. William Butler Yeats                                                                    C. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
4. Thomas Hardy                                                                              D. Croppe of Kisses
5. Ben Jonson                                                                                   E. Midnight’s Children


Croppe of Kisses

Croppe of Kisses

Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Winding Stair

Winding Stair

Answers: 1-C; 2-E; 3-A; 4-B; 5-D.

Fresh Burgess Arrived at D. C.

“Fresh” Burgess is Alfred F. Burgess, class of 1928. He arrived at Davidson on September 8, 1924 having already begun writing in his college scrapbook. His scrapbook just came back to Davidson – a wonderful new addition to our collections. Burgess included fewer photographs than some of his classmates but kept his diary longer than most.

Senior entry in Quips and Cranks.

Senior entry in Quips and Cranks.

Alongside his senior photograph, the editors of the yearbook described him as “a brilliant student, a discriminate patron of the fine arts, a staunch friend, and above all, a typical Southern Gentleman.”  It went on to say:

If you want to get a unique conception of a subject, get Al into a conversation. He will intelligently discuss any phase of art with you. Ask him for his opinion of Maugham’s play ‘The Constant Wife;’ Jertiza’s voice; Poiret’s sketches; Menjou’s acting. He will give you an enlightening criticism, and he will make you think!  He is a friend of everyone–his, the most enviable of dispositions. Always, a cheery smile on his face, a cordial handclasp, a sincere pat on the back.

As a testament to his gift of friendship, within a few months he was collecting signatures and jokes.  The scrapbooks of the day came with pages ready for friends to provide names, birthdays, nicknames, ambitions, and happy thoughts.  The space provided for photos was very small — his friends substituted sketches that look not unlike the online avatars used by 21st century students.

One of the signature pages from the scrapbook.

One of the signature pages from the scrapbook.

The signatures are from classmates, girl friends and even the supervisor of dormitories (Mrs. N. T. Smith- 3rd row).  Ambitions included “not to become a preacher, to live and eat, to grow a mustache, to learn to dance, to teach Latin any d___ place, and  to be ‘Prince of Wails.”  Note: Arthur Dean Cromartie ’24 did teach high school from 1924 to 1931 earning his ambition, we don’t know if William Cox ’26 ever got his wailing crowned –or if Melba Johnston accomplished her desire “to come back to Davidson!!”

Half-time show?

Half-time show?

We also don’t know quite what is going on in this photo.  It appears alongside images of a football game and only has the word “Lenoir” written on the back.  The Lenoir High School Band did sometimes play at Davidson games but there are no instruments, just a line of men and boys marching.

A business card from classmate Alvin Sullivan ’36 adds to our documentation of student entrepreneurs. Sullivan used his dorm room (301 West Hall) to sell shoes for the Walk-Over Shoe Company.

Business advertisement for A.N. Sullivan

Business advertisement for A.N. Sullivan

Burgess’ diary runs from September 1924 to August 1925. The June 1925 entries start with a mention of receiving birthday candy from home and a trip into Charlotte for a baseball game  (with a final score of Charlotte 22, Columbia 0) and a Keith’s Vaudeville production.

June 1925 diary portion from scrapbook

June 1925 diary portion from scrapbook

Other entries include:

“Fire” in Hall – Ece and Smittie came up at 11 o’clock. Looked over Davidson. To Hickory this P.M. Date with “Sally Brice” slept in car. To Links for dinner. Date with “Lib” Williams. Dance at “Lib.”  Note: Fire = girls

Start home at midnight. Slept at Gaffney – Home once more tired and sleepy. Catch shut eye all afternoon.

To Greenville and got a suit. People took me up to Paris Mt. on house party. Met bunch of sweet ole girls. Late date with  M. Barr–All up in the air with “Spitfire” Miller.”

Along with meeting girls, Burgess spent June hiking, enjoying big bull sessions, telling jokes, working (he earned $2.25) one Saturday, playing tennis, attending church and Sunday School, going to movies, and playing golf.  The last entry in August has him building a stool for his dorm room at Davidson. Small events but what a wonderful look into the daily life of a young man in Greer, SC.

His alumni file shows that he did live up to his classmates’ high opinion and keeping up his interest in the arts.  He earned a law degree at the University of Virginia and began practicing in 1931. He served as a special Circuit Judge four times and was a Special Hearing Officer for the Department of Justice in 1956. He was active in his community serving on the boards of the Greenville Community Youth Commission, Greenville Children’s Center, Community Concert Association, St. Francis Community Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital, Community Relations Bi-Racial Commission, Little Theatre and the Metropolitan Arts Council among others.  Two of his grandchildren have attended Davidson and now he has added another legacy, sharing the small moments that make up a part of the Davidson experience.

Luscious Brownies

For this installment in the Recipes From the Archives blog series, I made Marjorie McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies,” featured in the Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook.

Marjorie Munn McCutchan (1903 – 1998) was born in Iowa, and received B.A./B. Music from Tarkio College in Missouri. After completing her studies, she taught at the American Mission School for Girls in Assiut, Egypt. While in Egypt, she met her husband, John Wilson McCutchan (Davidson College Class of 1931, faculty in the English department from 1951 to 1961), and they married in 1936. John Wilson McCutchan (1909 – 1966) taught at Assiut College in Egypt, Queens College (now Queens University of Charlotte), Davidson College, and University of Waterloo in Ontario. By 1961, the McCutchans had divorced and J.W. married again, to Betty Combs Ellington.

Marjorie, John Wilson, and their two daughters (Marjorie Ann McCutchan Clark and Mary Caroline McCutchan Henry) moved to Davidson in 1951. After her divorce, Marjorie spent the 1960s living in Philadelphia, where she attained a M.S. in library science from Drexel University and then worked as a librarian at the Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church. After moving back to Davidson in 1969, Marjorie served as the Acting Head of Reference and Personnel at the Davidson College Library from 1972 to 1974.

"Dr. Beaty, Ms. , and Dr. Park stand together in front of book Stacks in Grey Memorial Library." Circa 1972

Mary Beaty, Marjorie McCutchan, and Leland Park in front of stacks in the Grey Memorial Library, circa 1972.

In addition to her teaching and library work, McCutchan worked as a piano instructor and was very active in the local Presbyterian community, serving as the first woman elder at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC). She  was one of the first residents to move into The Pines, the local retirement community, in 1988, and also was a member of the Davidson Senior Center. When photographed by Frank Bliss for the Davidson Senior Center, she wrote on her portrait information sheet that she “Returned to America at time of 2nd World War on S.S. Aquitania via Australia then to California, so I’ve been around the world.”

She donated funds to the library in 1988, establishing the Marjorie McCutchan Fund, which has allowed to library to purchase 80 titles.

Senior Center portrait of McCutchan, by Frank Bliss, cicrca 1980.

Senior Center portrait of McCutchan, by Frank Bliss, circa 1980.

I chose to make McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies” for the retirement party of my library colleague, Jean Coates. I selected the recipe because it sounded delicious, and making one former Davidson librarian’s recipe to celebrate the retirement of another Davidson librarian seemed very apropos.

Marjorie McCutchan's "Luscious Brownies" recipe in the 1985

Marjorie McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies” recipe in the 1985 Davidson Cookbook.

I didn’t deviate from this recipe very much – I was even able to use Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk! I made two batches of these brownies, one with walnuts and one without. The texture of these brownies is different than what I’m used to – the condensed milk and crushed graham crackers made the batter very thick and much harder to pour than I was expecting. I also ended up using a muffin pan to make the batches of brownies, since I didn’t have a metal pan of an appropriate size on hand. The most onerous and time-consuming part of the process was crushing the graham crackers – I broke the crackers into smaller pieces and then smushed them with a meat tenderizer to end up with a finely crushed product. I would recommend melting the chocolate chips prior to mixing the ingredients, a step McCutchan didn’t mention.

The finished product, topped with powdered sugar.

The finished product, topped with powdered sugar.

The "Luscious Brownies," amongst other goodies made for the retirement party!

The “Luscious Brownies,” amongst other goodies made for the retirement party!

Overall, this recipe was a crowd-pleaser – I was even asked for the recipe by one faculty member who sampled them!


With the campus moving into summer mode, the idea –if not the reality–of leisure beckons.  The reality is that much of campus stays busy behind the scenes and that leisure has been an important topic for the archives all spring.

Once again, Professor Shireen Campbell found a creative way to introduce first-year writing students to the joys and perplexities of archival research.  Her WRI 101 class became contributors to the Davidson Encyclopedia through the topic of Leisure and Play. The class explored the theme in many ways looking at “who has been given or had the right to leisure and play as well as how these concepts are defined or constrained by age, class, race, and/or gender.” The course description continues:

Readings will range from Plato and Aristotle to Thorstein Veblen and scenes from Parks and Recreation.  Major projects will consider commercial representations of leisure, visions for and structures of local parks, analysis of student leisure at the college in the early 20th century, and non-profit attempts to “organize” leisure.

For the analysis of student leisure at Davidson, we picked a small range of topics and let the students delve into exploring and defining specific activities. They focused on the years between the 1860s and 1940s. Starting with sports, social events, religious life and clubs as the general topics, the final encyclopedia entries ended up being Arts and Communication Clubs, Dating at Davidson, Intramural Baseball, and the YMCA.

Within these entries, the class discovered the first student singers and the role that ROTC (decidedly not a leisure activity) played in developing more extracurricular activities such as concert and pep bands.

Early ROTC band - precursor to concert and football band

Early ROTC band – precursor to concert and football band

In an “only at Davidson” twist, one member of this group came across a continuous novel titled Caldwell Pharr Johnston, only then to discover that the title used the name of a real Davidson student, class of 1925 who was a grandfather of another member of the group.

Caldwell Pharr Johnston, class of 1925 and grandfather to a member of the class of 1919

Caldwell Pharr Johnston, class of 1925 and grandfather to a member of the class of 1919

The student working on early visual arts needed to get creative since artists were slow to organize -but quick to contribute sketches to yearbooks and newspapers. On the other hand, the religion group found so much material in the archives YMCA records that they focused on all the roles that group played on campus from orientation to scout troops to religious life and even finding ways to get young women on campus.

The Y's role on campus started with orientation and the first student handbooks.

The Y’s involvment with students started with orientation and the first student handbooks.

The sports group discovered that intramurals go way back– even before flickerball– and that they helped inspire a riot.  To find out more check out the latest entries and share in our thanks to a great professor and our newly minted researchers.