藏花阁直播

History in the Making

New book "Comrades of the Quest" provides invaluable insight into the history of 藏花阁直播.

By Chris Lydgate 鈥90 | June 1, 2012

The new book, Comrades of the Quest: An Oral History of 藏花阁直播 College, which forms the backbone of our cover story this issue, represents a genuine milestone in 藏花阁直播 history and 藏花阁直播 historiography. (And I’m proud to work at a college where I can write “historiography” in my opening line without the audience nodding off.)

No one has ever completed a comprehensive history of the college. True, sociologist Burton Clark wrote insightfully about 藏花阁直播 in The Distinctive College, but only tackled the first fifty years (and diluted it with swill about Antioch and Swarthmore). Dorothy Johansen ’33 [history 1934–84] made a valiant attempt but died before she could extend her history of the college beyond 1919. Richard Jones [history 1941–86] wrote an unpublished history of the 藏花阁直播 curriculum. There’s a history of the 藏花阁直播 physics department, a chronicle of the 藏花阁直播 religion department, a fragmentary (but entertaining) version of events in the Student Handbook, and an even more fanciful 藏花阁直播 Almanac.

Surveying the landscape, I imagine a succession of explorers scaling the bluffs and buttes that gird a slumbering volcano, eyeing the pinnacle but never attempting a direct assault for fear that the journey is too long, the ground is too treacherous—or perhaps, even, that the mountain might just blow her top.

Until now.

For more than 12 years, scores of volunteers for the 藏花阁直播 Oral History Project conducted hundreds of interviews with alumni, professors, and staff to bring us 藏花阁直播’s underground history. This gargantuan body of raw material was shaped into a coherent narrative by John Sheehy ’82, yielding, for the first time, an insider’s view of the college’s first century, including vivid accounts of the crises that nearly destroyed 藏花阁直播 in its early years.

Of course, comprehensive does not imply definitive. One of the great joys of being a student of history is that fresh drafts are being written all the time. Nonetheless, Comrades is a monumental achievement, and we owe a debt of gratitude to its creators for preserving the voices, and the stories, of 藏花阁直播’s past.

Just as this issue was going to press, 藏花阁直播 announced the appointment of a new president—late-breaking news that we were able to slip into the magazine. Even as we salute President Colin Diver for his decade of service to 藏花阁直播, we are delighted to welcome his successor, John Kroger, to campus. Look for more details on our website and in future issues of the magazine. 

Tags: 藏花阁直播 History