Whispering Pines: An Unsparing Pen

Whispering Pines

When the Women’s Alliance of First Parish Church invited Bowdoin Professor of History Edward Kirkland to talk about “Brunswick’s Golden Age” at their 1940 Institute, they probably got a bit more than they had bargained for. “Kirk” had a reputation as an internationally-known economic historian and a scholar with a keen appreciation of irony. He undertook his assignment with a commitment to historical evidence, wherever that might lead him—and it led him into some decidedly “un-gilded” corners of the town’s past.

[Read more…]

Whispering Pines: Living under the Radar and Reading between the Lines

Whispering Pines

The College’s obituary for Christy Constantine Moustakis ’33 was as notable for what it didn’t include as for what it revealed about his life. Moustakis died on October 20, 1989, in Willseyville, New York, about twelve miles south-southeast of Ithaca. We know from his alumni file that he was born on February 11, 1911, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Constantine and Gertrude Moustakis, and attended Staunton Military Academy in Virginia and Salem High School before matriculating at Bowdoin in late September of 1929, a month before the stock market crashed.

[Read more…]

Whispering Pines: Football and the Old State Series

Whispering Pines

The first intercollegiate football game between teams from Maine pitted Bowdoin against Bates on November 9, 1889, on the Delta, a triangular piece of land on the northeast corner of the campus, in the area where Cleaveland Hall, Druckenmiller Hall, Sills Hall/Smith Auditorium, Kanbar Hall, and the Hatch Science Library now stand. In front of an estimated 300 spectators, each of whom had paid an admission fee, Bowdoin won by a score of 62-0, in a game that more closely resembled an under-regulated and violent form of rugby than football as we now know it.

[Read more…]

Whispering Pines: Bright Ideas

Whispering Pines

When Joshua Chamberlain of the Class of 1852 delivered his inaugural address as Bowdoin’s sixth president in 1871 he called for changes to “Old Bowdoin,” pointing out that “…its grand old legends lived as the voices of heralds, sounding the claims of a proud ancestry rather than the ringing watchwords of an onward cause.” From Chamberlain’s perspective, the College was at a crossroads. It was faced with dwindling financial resources and questions about the value of a classical curriculum that had changed little in more than a half century. It could continue to do what it had always done well – even though it was out of step with a rapidly-changing world – until the money ran out, or it could expend those resources in re-shaping a Bowdoin education. For a colonel who had stood on a rock-strewn hill at Gettysburg eight years earlier and had weighed his options as ammunition ran low, the decision was an easy one – “Bayonets!”

[Read more…]