Today, with the vast number of students who graduate every year, it would be unthinkable for a class to gather in one publication the updates on lives and recollections from school days of its various members. But given the well-organized nature of the University’s librarian, it was almost pulled off for the Class of 1887’s 25th reunion.
In 1912, when the Class of 1887 was about to celebrate its 25th anniversary of graduation, Olive Branch Jones – by then the first full-time librarian for her alma mater, OSU – took on the task with a friend to publish a report on members of the class of 1887. It was actually that class’s treasurer, Joseph S. Myers, who had written to Jones telling her his plans of having a “history of ’87 prepared in this 25th Anniversary Year” and to have a sort of questionnaire sent out to all the 21 graduates. Myers and a fellow classmate, Joe Taylor, both agreed that they thought Jones, a fellow class member, could handle this job best.
For some reason, however, Jones was unable to pull it off. Maybe it was because it was the year before the then-main library was to open, and she was too busy as University Librarian preparing for that event.
But the questionnaire remains, and it is quite a relic of a bygone era. Respondents are asked what political party they belong to (Progressive or Reactionary), what church they belong to and whether they are a woman suffragist, among other things.
And Jones did receive some interesting letters from alumni, who were unable to attend the reunion but wanted to update their classmates on their current lives. One alumna, Daisy M. Scott, had for some time been a math teacher at North High School in Columbus, although there was one year when she was sent to Central and East high schools “to extricate some of their students from difficulties algebraic.” Joe Taylor marched down memory lane at first in his letter, then veered into waxing philosophic about the past: “…we don’t live there any more; we can’t stay in that familiar and peaceless place, the undergrad campus; a place so stripped of yesterdays … I am more able to say this because I have not achieved what we call great success; my own today is a very modest affair; yet so it seems, no doubt, to each of us.”
Heavy stuff. Luckily, for the class members who showed up at the actual reunion, the mood appeared to be much lighter. Along with discussions about a report, various letters were exchanged between Jones and Lucretia McPherson, wife of then-Graduate School Dean William McPherson, in which they decided also to hold a garden party in celebration. Roughly 50 people, including graduates’ family members and former faculty, apparently gathered on June 10, 1912, after which Lucretia McPherson wrote to Jones that it was “one of the most worthwhile parties, for the guests seemed to be so truly happy to see one another.”
– Filed by B.T.
Note: This information came from the Director of Libraries collection at the University Archives in a folder called “Class of 1887: 25th Anniversary: Correspondence for 1912 (Olive Jones)”