Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dr. Dickie’s Rules for a Successful College Career

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

This month’s blog article was written by Chelsea Denault, ’12.  She is a History major and works in the archives.

When I went away to Albion three years ago, it seemed that everyone wanted to give me advice. Grandma reminded me to take extra-long sheets. Uncle Ron warned me not to light candles in my dorm room and forget about them. My mother reminded me to eat, even if the food was…sketchy. And there was the “final talk” with dad: I know you’re responsible and smart, but don’t do anything to mess it all up. Even professors and staff were handing out advice five minutes after I arrived. Yet this passing down of sage advice from seasoned elders for new Albion students is nothing unusual. In the first issues of the 1912 and 1914 Pleiad, Albion College President Samuel Dickie offered his advice to incoming freshman. Before we begin exploring Dr. Dickie’s recommendations, however, we must understand who the man giving this advice was.

Portrait of Samuel Dickie, n.d.

Samuel Dickie was born in Ontario to a relatively poor family. Though his family struggled with money, he had an enormous appetite for learning and attended Albion College on a scholarship. After graduating, Dickie was invited to join the college faculty as a professor of mathematics and astronomy and he was instrumental in building the Observatory on the Quad. He even served as the mayor of Albion.  He also was a prominent speaker on Prohibition and actually was nominated to run as a Presidential candidate by that party (however, being from Canada, he was unable to do so). Essentially, Dickie can be considered Albion’s Golden Boy of the time. The man could do no wrong apparently. Therefore, when Samuel Dickie gave you advice, as a disoriented freshman at Albion College, you felt compelled to listen.

Dickie began his advice by emphasizing that the first “business of the student is to study.” “A College,” Dickie wrote, “is an institution for the development and stimulus of intellectual life. It seeks to give information, develop latent powers, to furnish culture, to broaden one’s outlook and to increase one’s sympathy in behalf of all that is true and just.” Dickie’s great faith in higher education as a refining and liberating opportunity – the benefits of which he personally experienced as a young man – are certainly evident here. He was especially emphatic about developing sound and regular patterns of study: “If you fail at this point your failure is complete, dismal, humiliating and wicked…[a] student who does not study is foredoomed to be a failure, likely to be a fraud and certain to be a miserable creature.”

In addition to regular study habits, Dickie also encouraged students to get a full night of rest: “No student will do good work on less than eight hours of sound sleep in a well-ventilated room.” He also warned students to watch out for their health, stating, “Impaired digestion will ruin your piety and your scholarship.” This advice is certainly a far cry from the actual habits of today’s Albion students who don’t go to bed until 3am for their 8am class and engorge themselves on Hungry Howie’s and Eat Shop Chicken Cesar Wraps at all hours of the day (or night, let’s be serious). Dr. Dickie would certainly have been horrified.

After attending to their studies and health, Dickie advised students to “get into the general activities of the student body.” He then lists many of the same organizations that we would see at Briton Bash today: Christian associations, athletic life, the Pleiad, and “societies that may furnish an opportunity for self-improvement.” These “societies” refer to the burgeoning Greek system that was beginning to exert real influence on campus during his presidency. While he was initially suspicious and uncomfortable with Greek life because of its tendency to detract time from studies (as it often does now), Dickie quickly realized that these societies also provided an opportunity for personal growth beyond what the college and its existing organizations could.

Samuel Dickie, n.d.

Interestingly, Dickie also addressed the apparently real student fear of becoming a “book worm.” Writing that he had known “some thousands of students…for the last forty years,” Dickie reassured his readers that he had known only “half a dozen to whom could properly be applied the opprobrious term.” This fear among students of being seen as too bookish during their college days apparently led them to believe that star students were not generally successful after graduating. Dickie addressed this “popular delusion” and argued that it is “rare and exceptional” that “dullards in the class room are quite to shine in later years,” citing a recent Boston Herald study on the idea. While I’m sure the fear of being too absorbed in one’s studies is still pretty prevalent on campus, I think our generation of students realizes that the only way to guarantee success after graduation is hard work. We’ve read enough articles and watched enough news programs about the rough state of the job market to understand that life and success are not come by easily. Still, in many instances we could all bear Samuel Dickie’s advice in mind as this school year begins. Some of it at least – I know I’ll still be going to sleep at 1am this year.

Read the two articles here:

Dickie, Samuel. “A World of Greeting.” The Pleiad 4 Oct 1912: 1. Print

Dickie, Dr. Samuel. “An Exhortation.” The Pleiad 25 Sept 1914: 1. Print

Emma Bancroft Yinger, “Mother of Michigan”

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Emma Bancroft Yinger, 1947

Emma Bancroft Yinger, 1947

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are spotlighting Emma Bancroft Yinger, an Albion College alum and well known Methodist Minister.

Emma Bancroft Yinger was born May 9, 1875, in Lenawee County, Michigan. From an early age, Emma knew she wanted to enter the ministry.  However, she was raised Presbyterian and at that time, the denomination forbid women to preach.  She decided to leave her Presbyterian roots and began her religious education first with the Quakers at the Raisin Valley Seminary and then with the Church of Christ at Defiance College.

While at Defiance, she met George Yinger, a visiting Albion College student.  After a year of working together, they married and transferred to Albion College to complete their education.  George graduated in 1903 and his wife followed a year later.  While serving their first congregation in Concord, Michigan, Emma gave birth to her first son, Clement Yinger.  Seven more children followed: Dempster, Eleanor, Homer, Paul, Floyd, J. Milton and Marian Yinger.

George Yinger established singing schools at every church they served, and as his children grew older, decided to create a quartet with his four eldest children.  “The Yinger Singers” was born.  When the older ones got too busy with college and marriage, the younger ones took over.  There were several transformations of “The Yinger Singers”, but all included Emma Yinger’s children.  The group became quite popular across the Midwest through the teens and twenties.

Although she had been ordained in the Church of Christ in 1903, it wasn’t until 1924 that Emma Yinger was officially ordained as a Methodist minister. (Since the founding of the Methodist Church, women were ordained alongside men, but in 1880s, the Methodist Episcopal Church took away ordination rights from women.  This decision wasn’t reversed until 1924).  Her first church was in Greenville, Michigan, and was followed by Grand Rapids, South Haven, and Three Rivers.  After the death of her husband in 1934, Emma relocated the family to Indiana, but moved back to Michigan when her youngest daughter was accepted to Albion College.  She preached in Hanover and Horton throughout that time.

In 1938, Emma Yinger joined the staff of the Michigan School for the Blind, where she taught for 3 years.  Her plans to retire were thwarted due to a teacher shortage in WWII; Houston, Michigan asked her to teach and she accepted.  Hence, she returned to Southwest Michigan and continued to preach in Marshall.

In 1947, the Golden Rule Foundation named Emma Bancroft Yinger the Michigan Mother of the Year.  The ceremony took place at the First Methodist Church in Albion and was presided over by her son, G. Dempster Yinger, Pastor of the parish.  The Yinger Quartet was resurrected for the occasion.

She was named in the first edition of  “Who’s Who of American Women” in 1960 as a Minister and poet.  She passed away November 9, 1960. In 1994, her children, Marian Yinger Coppenhaver and J. Milton Yinger, donated her family’s papers to the Albion College Archives.

Her legacy lives on through the annual Yinger Family Lecture held at Albion College.  This year’s lecture will feature Ann Pancake and is scheduled for Thursday, March 17th at 7:00 PM.  For more details, click here.

Gallery of Yinger Photos:

New Year, New Faces

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Hi everyone!  I’m Nicole Garrett and I am the new College Archivist for Albion College.  I started in April and have taken this time to acclimate myself with the college collections.  One of my main priorities is web outreach, so be prepared to see the blog resurrected and new activity with Flickr and Facebook.

I’m planning on using the blog to highlight new collections and interesting memorabilia and memories I stumble across.  With 175 years of history, there are innumerable stories waiting to be uncovered!

In otherNicole Garrett, College Archivist news….

The archives’ own Chelsea Denault ’12 spent last semester studying at the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL.  She was featured in an article on the college website and I am excited to welcome her back to the archives this semester!

New Collections

ARC-0102 Morley Fraser Film Collection
Liz Fraser, widow of Morley Fraser, recently donated her husband’s collection of football game films from the late 1950s and early 1960s.  One my priorities this year is to find the funds to get these digitized and online.

MSS-0047 Jim and Tammy Royle Collection
Last spring, Jim’63 and Tammy Royle ’63 donated a digital recording of the 1963 Albion Production of “The Marriage of Figaro” along with a few photographs of students and David Strickler from the 1960s.

Change of the Guard

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

As of July 1, 2009, Jennie Thomas will no longer be the Marilyn Crandell Schleg Archivist and Special Collections Librarian. She is moving on to the position of Archivist for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s new Library and Archives.

For future reference requests, retrieval needs, etc. for Special Collections, here are your new contacts:

College Archives – Mary Houghton, Archives Coordinator
Methodist Archives – Stephanie Frederick, Archives Assistant
Rare Books & Manuscripts – John Kondelik, Director of Libraries

Now more than ever, it is necessary to provide Special Collections with at least 48-hours notice, whether for retrieval purposes or scheduling reference appointments.

You can contact Mary, Steph, and John at:

Phone: 517.629.0487
Fax: 517.629.0504
Mail: Stockwell-Mudd Libraries, Albion College, 611 E. Porter St., Albion, MI 49224

Thank you for 9 great years at Albion College, and good luck to Mary, Steph, and John!

Photo of the Month: Commencements of Years Past

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2009! Farewell to former Special Collections’ students Hannah Schiewe, Erin Powell, Dorela Shuboni, and Sarah Julian!

Let us know if you can name any of the unidentified individuals above!