More from the 25th anniverary report.
Sad people sounded then much as they sound now. Howard Frank Shurtleff:
“As I try to put down something vivid and revealing about my last twenty-five years, the conviction grows that the promise I gave at graduation has not been realized. Five years of teaching in Wisconsin and Connecticut ended with my return to the locality where I was born, chiefly because it was necessary for me to be in the open, and my taking up the work of tobacco growing. The thing has not prospered, seems destined in fact not to prosper, as we produce mostly binders for cigars, and cigarettes are now rapidly replacing cigars. I have been writing all these years, but I have printed but little. My friends ask me what I am waiting for. I don’t know. I suppose I must remain to the end a puzzle to myself and to my friends, and consider myself lucky if there are any who really wish to call themselves my friends.”
Theron Finlay Pierce died in 1930, just before the book was compiled. The editors wrote:
“Business was a secondary consideration in his life. His nature was affectionate and whimsical, and his real interests social and intellectual. He was particularly fond of travel. After leaving college he went around the world with his brother and classmate, Roy, and later made frequent trips abroad. During the last six or seven years of his life he became deeply absorbed in psychic research. In 1927 he retired from active business for the purpose of devoting his entire time to this subject.
From 1927 to 1929 he lived at Prides Crossing, Mass., and there entertained many of the leaders in the psychic field. He became greatly interested in the phenomenon of the Margery mediumship. In 1929 he visited England and succeeded in arranging the test sittings for this medium which took place that fall under the observation of the British Society for Psychical Research. During his trip he had the pleasure of being entertained by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other distinguished members of the London Society.”
Pierce had the opportunity to retire from active business because his father was the oil baron Henry Clay Pierce, who famously battled antitrust laws as a member of the Standard Oil cartel. As for Mina Crandon, the Margery medium, she was a sensation so widely believed in that Houdini himself made it a special mission to debunk her psychic claims. Houdini went so far as to accuse Crandon’s husband, a surgeon, of altering Crandon’s body to afford her hiding places on her person for the “ectoplasm” she produced in her seances.
Once again, I find myself wondering — where’s the historical costume drama about this story? Dissipated oil heir, controversial psychic (who often worked nude), Arthur Conan Doyle, Houdini…
Anyway, here’s Otto Henry Seiffert:
“Cooking is also my accomplishment. I have never issued any publications but if I do, it will be a cook book, which I confidently expect will be translated into all the foreign languages, including Hindustani. I have laid down the violin forever in favor of the saucepan, which I find in my own particular circle of low-brow acquaintances is much the more popular instrument. I never lack for an audience and am generous about encores. I can build up an architectural sauce that makes flounder or whitefish better than the choicest sole a chef ever dreamed of. They say my Princeton orange cake is a song without words, and my scallops smothered in spaghetti an impromptu that should bring me a niche three feet wide in the Hall of Fame.
I can also mix a cocktail.”
Who knew Smoove B was alive in 1931?