Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (40)

November 11th, 2011 by Jane Cairns

Abby’s entries for November 1867 continue

Tuesday 5:  Went to a sort of Society at the Old South and after up to Mrs. Eaton’s.  Mr. Johnson took care of me.  There was quite a little party.  Went up and had a nice time.

Wednesday November 6: Louise had a little company in the evening.  I had a splendid time.  Mr. Spaulding, Babbitt, Dennis, Frye and Means, Ella Fisher, Clara and Georgia Ray.  And in the afternoon up to the Public Speaking at Phillips.  Seth Williams spoke as finely as he usually does.  The last time I went up I heard Dennis and they are both the finest speakers I’ve heard in school.  Played [spills], euchre, piano.  Had ice cream and coffee.

Friday 7: Chose readers for the prize reading next term.  The results will be given to morrow.  Dr. Moore and Mr. Frye came up.  Mr. F. brought a pound of candy.

Saturday November 8:  Father went to Washington.  Next to Hattie Tufts in our division, I had the most votes.  4 are to read from one division.  Hattie Tufts, Emma Eastern, Nannie Dillingham and myself.

Sunday 10:  Rained nearly all the day.  Went down to Mrs. Raymonds’s to hear Mr. Haines sing and play.  Frank Safford (?) and Edith took tea with us.

Monday 11:  Mr. Frye and Mr. Spaulding spent the evening.  Played euchre.  Mr. S. brought two poiunds of candy.  We had five or seven pounds last week.

John Wesley Churchill (1839-1900) was the elocution teacher for all three schools on Andover Hill from 1866 to 1900.

Abbot Academy’s Draper Reading Prize was awarded in the spring term of 1868 with a thirty dollar donation to the school by Irene Rowley Draper, and Abbot alumna and the wife of Warren F. Draper, an important trustee and benefactor of the school who had already established a similar contest for the Phillips Academy boys.  Sixteen to twenty Abbot readers were elected by the students for the first round of the contest, after which ten were chosen for private instruction from elocution professor J. Wesley Churchill.  The school’s relationship with Churchill, who was employed for thirty-four years by all three schools on Andover Hill (and was incidentally the brother-in-law of Abby’s friends Willy and E.W. Donald) became a significant source of pride for the school.  Principal Philena McKeen wrote in her 1897 history of the school (published by Mr. Draper) that the opportunity for lessons with churchill gave the school “one advantage over every other school or college for young women in the land.”


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