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Posts Tagged ‘textbook burnings’

1875 Jul

Many students have fantasized about burning their textbooks, maybe some have even done so, but few taken it to the level of the Amherst College students of the 1860s to 1880s. In Archives and Special Collections, we have programs, photographs, newspapers articles and other ephemera from 14 ceremonial textbook burnings during these decades. The general formula seems to involve the freshmen burning (what we presume to be single representative volumes of) their first year mathematics textbooks in a boisterous late night ceremony, often complete with band, bier, funerary oration and throngs of wailing mourners. Programs were created in secret and handed out surreptitiously. Often the sophomores attempted to disrupt the proceedings and the faculty took a very dim view of the affairs, particularly in the early years.

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