Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy 160!

Happy birthday to Shimer!  If you donate this month, your donation will be matched.

Sixteen full decades have now passed since Frances Wood and Cindarella Gregory greeted their first eleven pupils in the back room of the Presbyterian Church in Mount Carroll. The local papers tell us that northern Illinois was then in its third full week of heavy rains -- explaining the endless mud through which Wood and Gregory had traveled to reach the town.

"The morning was cold and dismal," according to one account written 30 years later, "and all day long the rain fell drearily on the roof, penetrating the weather beaten boards and leaving long lines of wet upon the floor." The school that was to become Shimer College was open for business, and no minor detail like the lack of an adequate building was going to hold it up.

 Miss Wood's account in her journal is fairly brief:

Very rainy, rather a bad commencement, we however had 11 young ladies; we all remain together for the present yet Mr. Gray offers his rooms for our own use. One of our young ladies, Miss Pierce, has been at Rockford Seminary one & half year, wishes to take Arithmetic, Algebra & Latin.

(Worth noting that the history of students transferring to Shimer goes back to the very beginning.)

You, too, can help keep Shimer warm and dry.  Where was that link again?  Ah, here it is.

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