32 History of Wake Forest College
Dr. C. H. Toy. The annual address before the Literary Societies in
1868 was by L. P. Olds, on the subject, "Languages as the Voice of
Latitudes." His thesis was that languages are mellow or harsh
according to the distance of those who speak them from the equator,
and his speech still has a scientific interest. In 1869 Dr. J. C. Hiden
delivered the annual address on the subject, "Symmetrical Culture." In
1870 Hon. John Kerr spoke on the subject, "The Education of Youth
upon the Basis of Truth, as it is revealed in the Bible."
At the commencements of these years large crowds attended all the
exercises; in 1869 the chapel doors, windows, and pillars were
beautifully decorated with flowers, an innovation, it seems, for which
the editor of the Biblical Recorder gave the credit to Major
Englehardt, who was present. According to a custom which was
continued almost to the present day the commencements were closed
by receptions by the Literary Societies, which, though the older men
did not quite understand, were the chief attraction to the young men
and their young lady
In fact, the entire commencement
period was for the students, nearly every one of whom remained for
the exercises, a time of much social intercourse of the young men and
lady friends, who came on their invitation and whose entertainment
was provided by them. The young men also by careful
prearrangement saw to it that their fair guests had escorts to all the
14 "At eight o'clock the chapel and the Halls were thronged by old men with
glasses, by old women with caps, young men with canes, young women with curls
and a countless multitude of bells and beaux of the early York order." Biblical
Recorder, June 16, 1869. It may be added that some vendor of lemonade and other
ice-cold drinks, paying $25 for the exclusive privilege of selling them at
commencement, did a flourishing business. The few families of the village, most of
all the professors' families, were heavily taxed to find room and food for all the
great crowds of visitors.
15 It seems that the Wake Forest students enjoyed a freedom in this regard which
was unknown at the time at Davidson College. Of the strictness of discipline at the
Davidson Commencement of 1869, the editor of the North Carolina Presbyterian
bitterly complains: "A Presbyterian marshal would not let the boys (especially one
of the old boys) sit side by side with the girls, while they should be listening to
sermon or address or oration. But these children of discipline made up for their self-
denial as soon as they got free of Mr. McAlpine's dominion. He was a Presbyterian
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