Throwback Thursday: The First Rollins Reunion

A feature in the 1929 Alumni Record recounts the first Rollins reunion, held in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair.

Alumni Reunion, 1928. (Courtesy of Rollins Archives & Special Collections) Alumni Reunion, 1928. (Courtesy of Rollins Archives & Special Collections)

What is believed to have been the first of a long succession of reunions of Rollins students, at a point other than Winter Park, was held on the Fourth of July, 1893, on the grounds of the Columbian Exposition, more generally known as the Chicago World’s Fair.

The center of the group, which assembled in Chicago on this occasion, was one of the beloved teachers of those early days at Rollins College, Miss Eva J. Root. Her home was in Hinsdale, Michigan, and as soon as she announced the date when she expected to visit the World’s Fair, letters were sent to her friends and former pupils suggesting that all who were coming to the “big show” arrange, if possible, to register in the Michigan building during the week beginning July 1, 1893. The principal Rollins exhibit was shown in the booth devoted to the educational work undertaken by the Congregational Church, but as this place was not as convenient nor as sociable as the parlors provided in the state buildings, the Michigan Building was named as the rallying point. Three were already in town when the writer of this “Review” arrived in Chicago from the east: Arch Shaw, whose home was there; Adolph Hempel, who had a job in the car barns of the Intramural Railroad that conveyed visitors all around the fair grounds; and Emma Mahoney, met in the corridors of Hotel Endeavor in the lake shore at Windsor Park, on June 25th.

By the Fourth of July the following came to the rendezvous to meet Miss Root: Stuart Crawford, Emma and Walter Mahoney, Ida Missildine, Albert Barrows, Arch Shaw, Adolph Hempel, Fred Lewton, and William Ingraham, the latter superintendent of the buildings and grounds at Rollins and known to few by his first name. Other and more largely attended reunions in later years have been much enjoyed, but none left such lasting impressions as the First Rollins Reunion.

Editorial for Alumni Record, 1929