When Nellie Welch graduated from Gordon College in 1925, a Fenway apartment could be had at under $2 per week. Valentine Socials were held in Frost Hall. The Gordon Follies put on regular comedies and dramas including “The Gathering of the Nuts.” And courses included "History of Pageantry" and "'A study of the girl herself."
After graduating, Nellie Welch would marry fellow classmate Hilary McElroy and present him with a scrapbook of their time at the Gordon College of Theology and Missions. This scrapbook and over 100 accompanying photographs and postcards were donated to the Gordon College Archives in 1998, making this alumni collection one of the most personal and accessible in the Archives.
With gowns on and caps fitted, three graduates of the class of 1923 squeeze into a trash can for the camera.
From left to right: Clarence L. Chute, LeGrand Barnum Smith and William Bonney.
Students pose for a photo shoot in the chapel of the original Frost Hall in downtown Boston. Without title, date, names or details, the context of this strange photograph remains a mystery.
Like so many photographs in this collection, the identities and stories involved are still untold.
With the exception of the head cook, the Gordon kitchen was staffed entirely by students, together called the "Dining Club." Food was certainly the way to many students' hearts, and the kitchen volunteers were the heart (or stomach) of the school.
The Last Review Before "Exams" May 23, 1923
Papers strewn, trunks piled high, top hats on and smiles abounding. This was clearly a review in name only.
The image was probably taken in one of the school's neighboring apartment buildings at 64 and 66 Louis Prang Street.
(Click image to view entire image.)
It may have been an urban campus, but Gordon had its green areas, too. The Fenway campus, defined by Frost Hall, was sandwiched between the lush Back Bay Fens Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Simmons College and numerous other schools in an area that had recently become a neighborhood of higher education.
Scribbled on the back of this photograph is an old inked message: "Note the sameness of the shoes."
Pictured here in full Scottish military uniform is a student and decorated veteran who appears representing his Scots heritage in numerous photographs throughout the collection. It would be another three decades before the college adopted its present day Scottish theme.
For her scrapbook, Nellie asked over 100 of her classmates and teachers for their signature, ambition, photo and "happy thoughts". Friend Charlotte C. Nutting wrote, "When you are old and cannot see, put on your glasses and think of me."
Nellie also collected tickets, pamphlets and other ephemera celebrating her and Hilary's time at Gordon. The heart and name tags at the top left of this page document the two's date to the 1924 Valentine Social.
Among the more peculiar objects pasted into the scrapbook are these two paper cats, presumably decorations saved from a college event.