Archives for January 2012

Whispering Pines: Transformations and Trajectories


In his latest column, on the cusp of Black History Month, John Cross ’76 reflects on two alumni from the 1920s who, “each in his own way, put a shoulder to the wheel to advance human dignity and ensure social justice.”

In looking through a bound copy of The Quill (Bowdoin’s literary magazine) for 1924 that had once belonged to President Kenneth C. M. Sills, Class of 1901, I came across a three-page essay on “Prejudices”  by future Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist W. Hodding Carter, Jr., of the Class of 1927. After declaring that his initial impulse was to write a defense of the Ku Klux Klan, Carter proceeded to vent his anger at French Canadians, “Sons of Erin,” African Americans, and New Englanders whose ancestors had profited from the slave trade. By any standard, it was strong stuff to read in a College publication, especially coming, as it did, from a seventeen-year-old from Louisiana. It was with deep regret and no small measure of shame that Carter would later recall that for his first year at Bowdoin he refused to talk to (or even remain in the same room with) the College’s only African-American student at that time, who lived in an adjacent room in Winthrop Hall.
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Bowdoin’s Longfellow-Dante Connection Lives On

Longfellow around 1850, daguerrotype, Southworth & Hawes, Boston


Nearly two centuries after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow introduced students to the “soaring” poetry of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, two recent Bowdoin grads have published new findings about the Longfellow-Dante connection in the prestigious journal Dante Studies.

Both alumnae worked with primary documents in Bowdoin’s Special Collections and Archives to aid in their research.

“I was looking at marginalia, Longfellow’s handwritten notes,” says Kelsey Abbruzzese ’07.

“It was so amazing to think that Longfellow held this, he wrote on it, and here it is at the College where I can hold it and incorporate it into my essay.”

Read the story.