The Word of Bird
Seven years into his presidency, Remsen Bird began keeping a journal detailing the activities and expectations of building a college. In this never-before-published account, he chronicles the 1928-29 academic year—and President Jonathan Veitch offers his own two cents on the ideas (and irritants) that bridge generations
Illustrations by Remsen Du Bois Bird | With Commentary by Jonathan Veitch
Remsen Bird is one of my favorite presidents. He took the reins at Oxy at the tender age of 33, and his devotion to the College is evident in the legacy he left behind. Prior to the onset of the 1928-29 academic year, Bird began writing a “Daily Record”—for himself and for posterity—to make sense of Occidental at a critical juncture in the College’s history. He maintained such a journal until 1944, when illness forced him to go on medical leave in his final year in office.
Bird and Occidental share a birthday, more or less. While much has been made of the College’s 125th-anniversary year since our public celebration began last April, Bird himself was born on Jan. 3, 1888—and thus would have been 125 this month. Serendipity? Destiny? That’s for you to decide.
These diary excerpts from 1928-29—copiously illustrated by Bird’s own hand from images housed in Occidental’s Special Collections—provide a candid, fascinating peek at how he helped to shape the reputation, financial stability, and gorgeous campus that Occidental enjoys today. (All the big names are here: Gamble, Bell, Hunt, Swan.) It is an inspiration to me.—Jonathan Veitch
June 7, 1928. We are starting today a plan for a general record of activities and accomplishments and general information. We want to place here a record of such activities and expectations that may bear upon the building up of a right stereotype of Occidental in the community. … We have a definite great objective, and that is to establish in the public mind a reputation that shall be a direct expression of the College as to its ideals and as to its being.
June 8. Last evening we were at dinner at the Vista del Arroyo, a birthday party given by Mrs. Thomas Collins, and met a number of people we should like to establish in the Occidental friendly group. … I played golf yesterday for the first time with Max Farrand of the Huntington Library and Everett Perry of the city library, and was very pleased with the remarks Dr. Farrand made concerning Occidental. The words “sympathy,” “sincerity,” “friendliness,” “the right attitudes,” “college on the right track,” were used and were pleasantly heard.
I am hoping very much that Mrs. Collins will become a generous supporter of the College.
Golf? Who has time for that? And even if I did, I’m not sure I would represent the College well on the links. Sympathy would be a word that would be often on the lips of my golfing partners.
June 13. Yesterday morning we were still in the stimulus of Commencement. In the afternoon I played golf with Dr. Cleland, Stuart French, and Mr. Thomas Collins at Bel Air, and we had a highly successful afternoon. I am hoping Mr. Collins will be interested. We were able to get over the idea of the College to him on the 10th hole. I suggested to him that if I drove to the green, over that terrible canyon, that he should give a building to Occidental, and I drove three balls into the bank, but he got the idea, I think.
Golf again. And betting, too. Maybe I will have to rethink that.
July 2. This morning Mrs. Johnson has paid one-half of her subscription to the Student Union. Work begins on the concrete.
Miss Hutchison reports that Janet Hoit, taking some mother with her daughter through Orr Hall, received this statement from the same mother: that the daughter was registering at Occidental because all the better colleges were full! In the words of Nehemiah, “Oh God, strengthen thou my arm.”
Thankfully we don’t hear that much anymore. Most of our students have Occidental as one of their top choices.
July 3. Had a long conversation with Mr. [Myron] Hunt concerning the planning of the music quadrangle and chapel [today’s Booth Hall]. I hope that this building will soon be in evidence. In the planning of it we hope to house the department of religion, the department of music, the chapel, and residence for one of the gardener staff, which will be incorporated in the gate at the Ridgeview entrance. Mr. Hunt is also approving of planting the hill in olive trees, which would be very beautiful. We plan to spend tomorrow with the Hunts all day, it being the 4th of July.
July 10. In the evening we went to the meeting of the Political Science Academy at the University Club as guests of Mr. Rafael Herman. The addresses were pretty much of a bore, only one ought never to be bored—that is a sign of your own limitation—with the exception of one, Dean James of Nebraska, who should be remembered.
Dr. [William Stewart] Young told me in the afternoon that there was agitation in the Presbyterian Synod to drop Occidental from the budget, the reasons being: 1. That the super-added Synodal objectives have so overburdened the budget that the Boards are not getting their share. This is probably true. 2. That Occidental has so increased its tuition that it is impossible for children of limited means to attend the institution. This certainly is a matter for concern. One would like to note the decreasing value of the dollar, the increasing average salary paid to ministers, the increasing cost of running Occidental and the relationship to these items of the tuitional change; also how many students of the manse, applying to Occidental, expressing financial need, have received aid.
The more things change, the more they stay the same: the cost of running a college, the financial need of incoming students. It was ever thus.
July 16. We spent the weekend with the Hunts at Surf and Turf Club and Palos Verdes, and had long conversations concerning many things. The Hunts, since we first came to California, have been very good friends, and we like them both.
Mr. Hunt, with no animus, discussed rather at length his experiences with [Oxy comptroller] Mr. [Fred] McLain, and when Mr. McLain comes back we must recall this conversation among others. I am afraid that in Mr. McLain’s zeal for the accomplishment of his task he has been a little faulty in technique here as in some other places. We must be sure in our economies that we do not take advantage of professional service, which should normally be compensated. Sometimes one may save the dollar and lose a friend.
July 18. Fire broke out in the canyon back of the Greek Theater and in the space of about three minutes burned up the entire hillside. If the wind had been stronger and if it had come from the other direction, we would have lost our theater and its planting.
This very thing happened again to our family in last year’s wind storm. The fire from a downed electrical wire on Fiji Hill came within 50 yards of the President’s House. We had to evacuate my family (we almost forgot the dog), not to mention several dorms. If it hadn’t rained a few days earlier, the impact would have been catastrophic.
July 20. Millard Mier [’16] is out for the Assembly in this district, which covers apparently as much territory as Rhode Island, and has asked me to be one of his sponsors, which I have agreed to do. It is a nice problem that faces one, who is an executive in an institution of this sort, to know just how far one may declare himself politically and take a part actively in political affairs. A college certainly should be scrupulous in keeping out of politics, but each one of us ought to have the privilege of making whatever contribution he may be able to make to the body politic. The more of our graduates, who are decent and law-abiding and intelligent, who enter into politics, the more we justify ourselves. I hope Millard is of this sort. He tells me that we should, to use his word, “cultivate”—I especially abominate this word “cultivate”—Judge Galbraith and Judge Craig.
I couldn’t agree more. Our goal is to educate thoughtful citizens and then let them make up their minds for themselves about their political beliefs. And for the record: I, too, abominate the word cultivate, but it goes with the territory. A rose by any other name …
September 10. Mr. Hunt has finished his sketches for the chapel, and we are now ready to talk things over with Mr. Bell. Let us hope before the year is over at least the music quadrangle, or a part of it, can be erected. We have a very serious problem here in connection with music education in that our music department head is an expert organist and students desire to work with him on the organ, and we have no organ.
September 13. Yesterday Dr. Cleland and Mr. Bell and myself wandered about the campus, talking of buildings and endowments, and with great hope in our hearts. Mr. Bell is very much interested in the chapel and music quadrangle and said that it was his desire to build this unit as soon as he was able. He wanted to build the whole of it in memory of his parents. If the oil comes in Santa Fe, we will have it before the year is over, I am confident. If it doesn’t, well, something else may turn up. I am very much impressed with the richness of his interest in the ideals of the College and his anticipation of many of its needs. He is an amazing friend!
I prefer betting on oil wells to my golf game. Then again, if you are dedicated to the task of cultivating your alumni and donors, you don’t need to rely on golf or oil.
September 14. Mrs. Swan is spending most of her time in Swan Hall, washing the windows and putting up the curtains and locating the pictures. She is becoming uncertain in her thinking processes, but she has been a good friend of Occidental and in these days when it is going to be difficult to deal with her, it is good to remember her interest and generosity in her days of mental strength.
September 18. The college year 1928-29 began yesterday with the coming of the freshmen. The class will be somewhat larger than the year before. I think it is a class with more background than usual. Certainly as they come marching down the line they appear to have more of the knowledge of the way to do than in other years. More students are coming to the College from preparatory schools, and I think it will be shown later that the number from beyond California is larger.
September 28. Last evening we had the Procession of Lanterns in the Orr Gardens, and it was a most beautiful spectacle. What a benediction it is for us at this institution to have a place that is beautiful for such affairs. We can look back over just a few years and remember that save for three first-class buildings we were from entrance to hilltop a devastated area.
We need more rituals like this. They went out with the institutional skepticism of the 1960s and have never really come back.
Our friend, Dr. Stelter, the good critic, condemns our Student Union because it has no private lavatory for the faculty.
A critical faculty member! It is comforting to know that like the fuss over tuition, this too has a longstanding pedigree.
September 29. Mr. McLain and I talked over in detail yesterday the budget, and we must now gird up our loins for the discovery of somewhere near $58,000 for current expenses beyond the normal sources of income—not made easier by a ruthless, sarcastic, extremely unfair article in The Atlantic under the title “Are Colleges Really Poor?”
Think about the recent spate of articles in the news over whether college is worth it. We bash our most cherished institutions on a regular basis—often with the same degree of misunderstanding. Occidental was poor then, and college is worth it now!
October 2. Reports have come in that Professor [Percy] Houston, our new member of the English department, has gone out of his way to shock some of our more conservative freshmen as to their interpretation of the Old Testament. … Dr. Houston may regard many of the stories in the Old Testament as myths. But there are young people who come from Christian homes where the interpretation of the Old Testament is the literal one—and any change in attitude should not come by ruthlessly tearing up their foundations.
A “radical” faculty member provokes his or her students on a highly charged issue: This, too, is a recurrent phenomenon that wasn’t invented in the 1990s or even the 1960s. It has been part of college life from the beginning.
October 3. I had a very satisfactory conversation with Professor Houston, who said that he had no desire to upset his students and that the reference he made to the chapters in Genesis was probably not a fortunate one though his intentions were not to disturb. I thought he understood very well.
October 15. Occidental student body journeyed to San Diego for the weekend via the Ruth Alexander, and it is a great relief to have them back home. Occidental won in the game with San Diego 20-7. I hear we got all the penalties. Our reputation is not particularly high as to clean playing—due, I think, to one or two coaches we have had in the past—but I know it is Mr. [Eddie] Kienholz’s ambition to build up a reputation for a fine sportsmanship.
October 16. Mr. Ruddock does not like the paint in the dining room of the new College Union, which is too bad.
A difficult donor—rarer in my experience than I would have expected.
November 8. Absence from home and two weeks playing with the influenza have robbed me of the privilege of keeping a record on myself, but the College has moved smoothly and all seems apparently peaceful on the hilltop. Last evening we had the first all-College dinner in the College Union, and many of the friends who have participated in the production of this building were present. We are unanimous in regarding it as our most charming building on the campus. Dr. and Mrs. Baer were with us, and it always is very pleasant to have them with us at times of rejoicing.
November 13. The Student Council met yesterday and decided to permit Mr. [Charles] Plummer, the editor of the Tawney Kat, to continue at the College. It is a curious thing how certain students feel the way they can reveal their independence is to show themselves hostile to the institution that is seeking to serve them, and this boy Plummer, through his anonymous articles and through the opportunities he has had as editor of the Tawney Kat, has exhibited Occidental to the outside world quite differently to what it is. There was a day when we had a decided saturation with this kind of student leader, but the number is extremely small now, for which there is much thanks. It is interesting to know how kind the student discipline committee is under such conditions. My disposition was to throw him out immediately, but those who deal more continuously with the students, I am afraid, have much more generosity of spirit and understanding than I have.
We have seen a difficult faculty member, a difficult donor, and now difficult students, who turn on their own institution …The picture is at last complete.
November 16. Yesterday we had a meeting of the Board of Athletic Control at the University Club to arrange the schedule for the coming year. There was considerable discussion as to the desirability of Occidental’s playing so formidable a team as USC. Such a game has in the past probably cost the College the conference championship, but the success of Occidental in standing up against the great team of USC this year certainly won the College much prestige. The final decision was that we would play them and probably the first game of the season. There was considerable discussion as to night football in the Rose Bowl, and that will probably be arranged. This will be a decided innovation in this part of the country.
Playing USC in the Rose Bowl. I know it’s not THE Rose Bowl, but, wow!
November 19. Myron Hunt is disturbing us a little with his statement that the preliminary sketches for the chapel and music building have cost $1,750. We asked Mr. Hunt sometime ago to join with us in a speculation, believing that if we could visualize this building we could discover a friend to bring to us a realization. I had no expectation that Mr. Hunt would run up for himself anything like such a cost. It is the custom in colleges of our sort to have such preliminary sketches made, and I am sorry for this complication for it may prove an embarrassment.
This morning we are awaiting the coming of Mr. Wylie with the hope that we may have a conversation that will be productive of much good to the institution. Mr. Bell’s first well in the Buckbee Zone has come in with a flush of 7,000 barrels, Five wells are in the process of drilling in the Buckbee Zone at Santa Fe Springs. I am planning to make a proposition to Mr. Bell and Mr. Wylie that each one of them, prior to the coming in of the well, shall designate a well that shall be given to Occidental with the understanding that one-half of the income from these wells shall go into current expenses and one-half into the endowment fund. It is a great idea.
November 20. Mr. Bell came out to luncheon with Mr. [Donald] Brookman of the Class of ’95, who is rector of an Episcopal church in Morristown, N.J., and who has not been on the campus for 20 years. One noticeable and desirable change during the last two or three years is the return of those old Boyle Heights students, which, I think, is due to Mr. Bell’s interest.
November 23. Yesterday was a continuous conference from 8 o’clock in the morning until 11 o’clock at night for all kinds of things. What are we going to do with Department of Zoology? How are we going to establish the six-day curriculum? Shall we close the College on account of the influenza, or shall we not? Is Dr. Adler the man, or isn’t he? What are we going to do with students who have developed abnormal tendencies and yet who are fundamentally all right? How shall we organize the Department of Economics in the absence of Dr. [John Parke] Young [’17], who apparently will be going to China in January with Dr. [Edwin] Kemmerer [of Princeton]?
I’ve had many days like that, which veer from fundraising, to questions of academic quality, to building projects, to student life. The versatility this requires is part of the challenge and fun of the job. The importance of working through those questions thoughtfully is also what makes being the president of Occidental such a privilege.
November 28. Yesterday morning began itself with a communication from Mrs. Gamble in which she said that she was surprised that we came to her again in connection with the Student Union. Sometime I am going to talk right out in meeting and tell these rich people who contribute to Occidental what a really small part of the making of a college is the sacrifice that they make for its growth and being. Their money helps tremendously and some of them like Mr. Bell and Mrs. Gamble herself and Mr. Wylie in the generosity of their personal service make special contributions, but if they only knew it, the College also is serving them in giving them the joy of cooperating with an idealistic institution.
When Mrs. Gamble gives us $60,000, we certainly are thankful to her, but we do not feel any inclination to tell her what a great sacrifice she has made for the College. She has had returned to her by virtue of this gift and association just as much as she has given. When a man like Dan Hammack [Class of 1905], out of his limited funds, gives a hundred dollars in order that a piece of beautification may be put through, that gets into my soul a great deal more. I can write this down in the presence of my friend, Miss Hutchison, but I shall wait a while before I yell it to the world. I am very grateful—and so is the College—for all that Mrs. Gamble is doing, but I do wish that she would lay hold of the College in a big way as she may be able.
I think President Bird can be forgiven this bit of pique. He is fundamentally right, but it is their money.
December 13. Mrs. F.L. Bird came in yesterday to talk over the influenza epidemic. She tells me that the girls do not consult the physician as quickly as they should; that there is a hesitancy on the part of the head residents as to their authority and their responsibilities in the matter. The instance, which was the occasion of Mrs. Bird’s visit, was the case of Catherine Liggett [’29], who has had pneumonia twice and who now has considerable congestion and who probably would not have had that congestion if she had consulted the doctor immediately when the fever came on her. We certainly need an infirmary very soon if we are to fulfill our residence responsibilities, and I wish very much that we could have at Occidental continuously a resident nurse.
Thank God for Emmons Health Center. It plays a crucial role in the physical and emotional health of our students.
December 27. Mrs. Gamble and her three sons, according to the Pasadena Star-News, have just given to the city of Cincinnati for its YMCA $400,000. Why? It is strange that Mrs. Gamble—may God bless her!—cannot see her way to give to us the $15,000 necessary to complete this College Union and leaves us thereby this blanket hanging upon us which if it were removed would certainly make it possible to accomplish many other things in the service of Occidental.
January 7, 1929. Saturday morning we received the very sad news that Mrs. D.B. Gamble had died the night before in Philadelphia of pneumonia. Mrs. Gamble was in excellent health and just about to leave for Cincinnati on her way to California and was taken ill in [son] Clarence’s home and died in the hospital in Philadelphia. Our loss at the College is very great. Mrs. Gamble’s interest in Occidental was very sincerely and decidedly on the increase. We had come to love her very much personally, and she shall be greatly missed.
January 9. Last evening we had the faculty dinner for Dr. and Mrs. Young, who leave presently for China. It was a very happy and very successful affair. I knocked over a vase and spilled water over the new rug, but there was some doubt in the minds of those present as to whether I did it or Mrs. Cleland, so our embarrassment was divided.
At the close of the dinner at least a very small portion of us went to the assembly hall for a very inane music program. An uninteresting, poorly presented address on the history of the harp was presented by Professor [Walter] Hartley, with introductory remarks that what we were about to enjoy was the best thing that the music department presented to the College. The response made was “If that is the best, what was the rest?” I think Professor Hartley must be a little more careful of he seeks to build up a clientele with reference to these programs.
January 10. Mr. Bell’s well No. 3 came in yesterday with a flow of over 5,000 barrels. This is the well that Mr. Wylie is playfully considering matching when his well comes in at Elwood with the understanding that the income from those two wells shall go to the College for current expenses.
January 11. We received word yesterday through the papers that Mrs. Gamble had remembered the College in her will, leaving a bequest of $50,000. The exact nature of this bequest is not yet known, but I would rather imagine it will be for general endowment and that it will be possible for us, if necessary, to set aside the income to carry the deficit on the College Union. Had Mrs. Gamble lived longer, I am sure that her generosity would have expressed itself in a much more significant bequest. We are nevertheless very appreciative, and $50,000 today will accomplish a great deal more than many times that amount at some later period.
January 24. I am told that in the examinations yesterday morning, given by Pardee Erdman, that there was the worst cheating that we have any record of in this institution, and that it was so bad that the Dean of the Faculty has ordered a re-examination. The honor system at Occidental College is a perfect farce, and I think the time has come when we should dispense with it and return to the old proctor system which prevailed for a thousand years.
This, too, is an old story at Oxy—with a different turn of the screw in this instance.
February 1. Yesterday morning I called on Mrs. Swan and found her well disposed but in a very scattered condition mentally and with all kinds of lapses. Through Jane’s suggestion she gave me a check for $1,200, paying the last installment on her pledge for the renovation of Swan Hall, and I agreed to see that the tablet on the front of the building was removed and the stonework pointed up as had been agreed with her earlier.
February 4. We are at the opening of the second semester and watching the registration, which is a matter of rather considerable importance these days. It is expected in certain circles that the development of the junior colleges and the increase in free education in the higher areas, as at UCLA, will militate against such institutions as Occidental. There was some slight tailing off at the fall registration, and we are wondering just what the effect is going to be on the registration for the second semester. I believe that if Occidental becomes thoroughly furnished and known throughout the country that the enrollment will more than keep up through the registration from a distance, which is much to be desired.
We get as many students from UCLA as we lose to them, despite the considerable difference in price.
February 7. The college work began yesterday morning. I think the registration is a little lower than it was last year. The question of student enrollment is one that is of most important significance right now, and I think the time has come when Occidental must begin to commend itself more definitely in that the competition of the junior college and the state universities, where education is free, is beginning to make itself felt. I do not think the effect will be very great, but in these days of deficits and where the faculty is sufficiently large to take care of from 50 to 100 students more, it does represent a problem.
Oxy’s rate of application today is the highest in its history. And it has never been more selective. We have come down from the large classes we admitted during the recent fiscal crisis.
February 13. Mr. Bell has the greatest well of all probably about due. If our friends, Alphonzo Bell and Herbert Wylie, with their sympathies and their interests, are led to do what they can do, it is within the realm of possibility that Occidental may become within a few years the best endowed and furnished college of its kind. That is the idea that keeps constantly booming in our own spirit.
I wish I had an oil well to bank on for Oxy. In the absence of that we will have to live on our wits.
February 23. Day before yesterday some unknown person came up to our campus and hanged himself on one of the pepper trees, a fearful thing. He has not yet been identified, but had a letter from Italy in his pocket. I think Tom, the gardener, is very wise in planning to cut down the tree that no traditions may collect about it.
March 5. Last night we had dinner with the Ruddocks and listened to a very interesting stereopticon address by Dr. Englebach, the leading gland specialist in the country, who happens to be here for a time in Hollywood. It seems after all that we are not made by our inferiority complexes or by our sex libido but by the excess of our endocrine glands. It’s good to have that settled.
Glands and Hollywood: There is a joke there somewhere that is better left untouched.
March 9. Mr. McLain tells me this morning that things are hot in Erdman and that I am probably to get a petition from the girls, saying that they will not return if Mrs. Darling is going to continue in Erdman. [Among the criticisms of her:] She talks entirely too much of the intimate affairs of the girls, broadcasting the same throughout the dormitory. Jewel Gaston [’29], for example, comes in late of an evening, and the fact of it is peddled to the other girls. … I don’t know how much there is in all of this, but there is much here to be run down.
Here is the old model of in loco parentis, which has been largely abandoned at colleges and universities around the country. I’m not sure how enforceable it ever was, but it is gone for good—with good results and bad.
March 19. One of the problems that is looming up in this institution as a new one is the question of women smoking, and it not a very easy one to establish a rule concerning.
April 6. Dr. [E.P] Clapp was in yesterday and is arranging for the endowment of the library. I have not discussed dollars with him, but I think it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 or $150,000.
We have our sights set on the library again—with the renewed interest of the Clapp family—as the centerpiece of our strategic plan.
April 9. This morning Lawrence Smith [’30], manager of the baseball team, came in seeking support for the special trip to Arizona. Five of the men apparently are below standard. Can’t we make an exception? I do not feel that an exception should be made. If it is possible for them to go, granting an academic minimum, very well. Mr. Smith tells me that USC, by lowering its standards and building a great academic reputation, has made itself known and has won to itself great financial support, and on the basis of that reputation so made, is becoming a great academic institution, and that after all the great colleges of this country have so established themselves. Why not Occidental? I say: Is this a good plan? Mr. Hoover desires to be president. The way to be president is to be all things to all men. Drink with this one and lower your standards with that one; then finally when you arrive at the White House, be a good boy. I say that if Occidental has to make itself by being consciously dishonest with reference to the best that it is able to conceive in education, it is not a place that interests me very much, and I do not think it is the way, after all, colleges are made. So insidious is the poison of our neighbors along the way!
Well said, sir. A firm moral compass is probably the most essential ingredient in a good college president.
April 30. The campus is all stirred up in a tumult over the invitation to Wilkie Clarke not to return [as baseball coach] next year. One man has said that he came to Occidental because he wanted to get into professional baseball and “Wilkie Clarke can get me in. If he is dropped by Occidental, I am though with Occidental.” Another bit of conversation which is worth recording: The day after Founders Day, Phil Ellsworth tells me several of the students were in his office discussing the recent gift made to the endowment fund. Says one: “If Occidental gets this money all the time, why the hell doesn’t something happen around this place?” All of which goes to keep one in the proper humble position.
I know the feeling.
May 20. Saturday morning we had a long discussion with Mr. Bell concerning the music building, and he has agreed to take the responsibility for not more than $1,500 in addition to the amount pledged, in order that we may, as we build the building of wood and stucco, put on the colonnade.
Mr. Hunt has prepared plans of a building to cost twice as much as we have money for in accordance with his usual custom, and it appears that we must build either of concrete or brick in that it is a classroom building. How we are going to get through this I do not know, but we simply cannot build in the concrete and we will not build in brick.
May 21. Yesterday Dr. Stormzand presented the report of the committee on the Honor Spirit. We shall continue the honor plan at Occidental and hope that thereby there may be an increase in the respect for honesty on this campus. Dr. Hinrichs told me last night that Alston Harrison’s observation on Caltech was correct; that the honor system works with almost 98 percent efficiency, and that they have no trouble with it whatsoever. This is very interesting for they draw pretty much from the same area. I wonder if the facts that Caltech is a men’s institution, that its students are highly selected, and that the direction is more definitely vocational are responsible.
May 25. We had the seniors over for breakfast, and I think it was the most successful of all our senior breakfasts. Helen Bird commented that she had never seen the men of Occidental look more impressive, upstanding, and attractive. Rather interesting because she has been severely critical and I think rightly so!
Coons tells me that he went to one of the D.O. Club, an inter-fraternity organization especially devoted to the good of the College, and asked him if the D.O. Club could be depended upon to take charge of the ushering for Commencement, and the response was, “That is menial service.”
May 27. Work on the music building is progressing very slowly. It looks sometimes as if we were never going to get under way.
I have heard from Sidney Gamble, and he has declared that it will not be possible for the family to do anything more on the College Union.
May 29. I have a letter this morning from Mrs. Peschke, criticizing very severely the actions of the Sigma fraternity—rudeness, noise, profanity, and general discourtesy—probably in all items somewhat exaggerated, but still considerably true. It is a great problem to have a house snug up against a fraternity.
June 5. I have been invited to marry this summer John Rigby [’23] and Louise Wimmer, and Helen Mae Farmer [’27] and some young naval officer. The first years I was at Occidental I had a College wedding or two every summer, but for the last three years I have had none. I think this is a barometer, showing my stock is going up.
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