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New acquisition of a Class of 1912 diary

The University at Albany Libraries’ M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives has acquired a unique diary written by a graduate of the New York State Normal College in Albany’s Class of 1912. Ethel Gail Everingham (pictured) wrote in the diary about about her time as a student at the New York State Normal College from 1910 until she graduated in 1912. The bulk of the volume, pp. 38-146, contains the diary entries, poetry and short stories. While attending the Normal College, Everingham boarded at 159 Clinton Avenue in Albany with her mother and she was a member of the Delta Omega Sorority, the school’s first sorority formed in 1890. Everingham Senior Book 1912 copy.jpg

The diary begins with a one act comedy, “The Hooligans,� that freshman Delta Omega pledges were require to perform. It contains literary pieces apparently written by Everingham, accounts of travels around Albany and the Capital District, descriptions of plays performed in the Albany and Schenectady area, a detailed account of a trip on the Hudson River Day Liner (the Hendrick Hudson to Hudson returning to Albany on the Robert Fulton), and the rooming house at 159 Fulton Avenue where she boarded. Of particular interest are her accounts of life at the State Normal College, including the second play produced at the college, Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer� performed in the college Auditorium Bldg., now Hawley Hall, on February 24, 1911, and Ibsen’s “A Dolls House,� performed on November 25, 1911.

Also of particular interest is Ethel’s recounting of the devastating New York State Library fire of March 29, 1911, View Diary that displaced the Normal College faculty from the first floor of the Administration Building, now Draper Hall. Also of interest is Everingham’s January 19, 1912 recounting of the President Milne’s reaction to a claim by Harley Cook, editor of The Echo, the student newspaper, that half the class of the Normal School cheated and that the administration tolerated the cheating. The claim was apparently seized on by Albany and New York City newspapers, much to the consternation of Milne. Cook was denounced by President Milne in the school assembly.

Everingham’s diary must have been second hand since it also includes the minutes of the Board of the American Automatic Machine Co., pages 2-27, April 12, 1892 – May 27, 1897 and on pages 28-37 are the accounts of a hair salon business run by Mrs. Pringle and Mrs. Miller in Schenectady, N.Y. Cook, after graduation, would serve many years a copy editor of the Saturday Evening Post. Also of interest are accounts of Normal College faculty including President Dr. Milne, Dr. Aspinwall, Dr. Wetmore’s death and funeral, Dr. Husted, Dr. Sayles, Mr. Kirtland, Miss Bishop, Miss Horne, Miss Pierce, Miss Perine, and Miss McCutcheon. Finally there are full descriptions of practice teaching, and Moving Up Day and graduation ceremonies. Immediately after graduation Everingham was hired as a teacher in Schroon Lake, NY. (The Echo, October 1912, p. 87).

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