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RUSSELL SAGE COLLEGE SCRAPBOOK, 1923 - 1927. Compiled by a Student
[Troy, NY], 1927. Green cloth album bound with a leather cord, with emblem of the college and Ms. Gilchrest's name stamped in gilt to the front board. Mostly tan or light grey wove paper leaves, with a center section of sturdier grey paper leaves for photographs. Moderate wear to extremeties, damp-spots to front board near joint; few leaves chipped to edges; some biopredation to bottom edge of last section of leaves, not affecting the archived material; few items loose or apparently detached and missing. Some heavier/bulkier items (i.e., a lollipop, several candles, a Chesterfield cigarette, etc.) show evidence of wear from pressure and movement. Material and notations generally clean, well-preserved and legible, albeit with fold-lines or other signs of use. Gd+ condition, overall.. Printed title leaf plus 35 scrapbook leaves (10 unused). B/w photographs ranging in size from ~2-1/2" x 1" cut-out photos of particular individuals to ~4-1/2" x 2-3/4", with the majority averaging ~3-1/2" x 2-1/2". Additional b/w class photo, 7-7/8" x 9-1/2", laid in at the rear in glassine envelope. 11-3/4" x 16-1/2" Founded in 1916 by suffragist Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, with the assistance of Eliza Kellas, Russell Sage College was created with the intention to provide an education in the "practical arts," and as such was "one of the very first institutions to offer women the means of economic and social independence through preparation for professional careers" ( This scrapbook documents the experience of Florence Elinor Gilchrest, a member of the class of 1927 who majored in French and English and, if various notes and comments in the scrapbook are any indication, became a teacher after graduation. The scrapbook, presumably purchased from the college for the purpose of a student recording her time there, is divided up into four major sections: 7 leaves printed with columns for the name, address, date and comments of various friends and fellow students on each page (3 leaves unused); 8 leaves for theater events, 3 pages of which are printed with columns for the name, location, comments, etc. of each performance and filled out by hand by Ms. Gilchrest, with the rest containing affixed programs for some 45+ performances; 8 sturdier leaves for photos containing 48 b/w photos and 3 b/w photo reproductions of the school grounds on 4 leaves (4 leaves left blank); and 11 leaves documenting the assortment of other activities, accomplishments, etc., of Ms. Gilchrest's student career (3 leaves blank). Florence Elinor Gilchrest, who went by her middle name, Elinor, appears to have been well-liked, socially active in a variety of school and local events, and a good student, serving as an English tutor in her senior year. 67 classmates wrote notes to her in the beginning "friends and comments" section, the theater section is filled to bursting, and the miscellany at the end traces her first initiation dinner (a letter for which strictly instructs her to wear a midi and dark skirt and say nothing whatsoever at the meal, and below which she has written, "And I didn't even laugh!") through to her graduation, ending on a postscript of news articles about Sage Hall burning in 1928, after she had left. Although many of the photos are uncaptioned or are captioned only minimally (i.e., "My friends"), they depict Elinor and her friends on the school grounds, outside various buildings, on outings in the woods and, in one photo simply captioned "Shame!", skinny dipping in a creek. Of particular note is an original photograph of Robert Frost from his 1925 visit to the college, presumed to have been purchased as a souvenir rather than taken by Elinor herself, and below which she has written "Celebrities"; two other photographs included in this caption depict unidentified groups of women. A class photo, presumably Ms. Gilchrest's, is laid in. Among the items included in the scrapbook are: a silver plastic spoon, a lollipop, several candles, a whole Chesterfield cigarette, a birthday telegram, a copy of the Russell Sage Student Handbook ("The Freshman Bible!"), various invitations on napkins or in their original envelopes, newspaper clippings, student publications including "The Quill," a large button, a bottle cap, candy wrappers, a ribbon and dried orchid, a Pullman ticket, various other travel and theatre tickets, and more. All in all, a comprehensive and unique record of one woman's experience at a college founded to prepare women for the workforce.
      [Bookseller: Tavistock Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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