On Display: Shared History

Time Capsule

“Vive la M.H.C.,” reads a toast by Nan Evans, class of 1900. Inscribed on a small, handwritten class banquet menu dated March 19, 1898, this historical treasure is one of a number of artifacts included in a time capsule passed from the class of 1900 to the class of 2000 and recently acquired—not for the first time—by the College’s Archives.

The simple oak box preserving this century-old sister culture had been bolted shut and adorned with a plaque describing its contents as “a legacy from the Class of 1900.” As the class of 2000 approached graduation, hundreds of students, alumnae, parents, and faculty stood by during a ceremony at Gettell Amphitheater, where they awaited the unveiling.

Among the contents of the capsule were a small collection of letters, handcrafted dinner menus, playbills, and other preserved artifacts that told the story of what held importance to a previous generation of students. Participants took note of details like hard wax seals and frayed decorative ribbons fringing many of the box’s contents. A blue book used for “examinatories” was unveiled, accompanied by groans from current students.

In the one hundred years before its reveal, not only did the time capsule travel through time, it also went on a literal journey. First housed on a shelf in the library, it was lost for a time and then, in the 1980s, found and assigned to a table in the College Archives. Somehow it eventually ended up on the dormitory floor of Sara Hines, president of the class of 2000. Fifteen years after the second ceremony, the box and its contents are safely stored in the Archives.

In a note included within the time capsule, Margaret E. Ball, class of 1900, wrote, “If your science shall have taught you what some believe will be one of the commonest elements of your knowledge—the power of communication with the unseen world from which we may possibly be overlooking your destiny—we beg you to reply to this message of ours.”

This reply is now in the hands of some future class.

—By Rachel Aylward


This article appeared in the summer 2015 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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