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This Week in Carleton History: November 6-13

In November 1905, workers graded the site of a new skating rink where James Hall now stands. The old rink had been on the site of Laird Science Hall, which was under construction in the fall of 1905. Prior to that rink, students had skated on the Cannon River and on a rink in front of the former Gridley Hall.

November 11, 1924, was “without doubt the outstanding forensic event of the year.” Carleton hosted a debate team from Oxford University. Carls Clarence Decker, Robert Putsch, and John Nason (later a College President) took on three British boys, one of whom was the son of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. According to the 1925 Algol, 2000 people filled Skinner Memorial Chapel to watch the debate. The topic was “Resolved, That in a democracy ministers should be directly responsible to a popularly elected assembly.” Oxford took the affirmative position; Carleton, the negative. The Carleton team won, naturally.

Professor Laurence M. Gould addressed students and faculty on November 11, 1940, regarding the war in Europe. Gould favored direct American involvement in the fight against Hitler, which was reportedly a noted change from his previous views. That week’s Carletonian published several editorials on the subject, one of which was titled “Antarmistice Talk” and made numerous witty references to penguins, icebergs, and “antarctocratic principles.” The article was a reference to Professor Gould’s Antarctic expeditions and to the infamous Armistice Day Blizzard that had ravaged the Upper Midwest the day of Gould’s speech.

Superstition evaded Barbara Crawford on Friday, November 13, 1942, when she wrote in the Carletonian of her fearlessness. “There is nothing left to happen to me,” she said. “I have (a) lost my ration card (b) got no mail for four and one-half days (c) caught a cold (d) had midsemesters [exams]. Come, black cats; come, ladders!” Surely the added stress of Screw date would have been unbearable for Miss Crawford.

On a personal note, I have loved writing this column this term, and I hope you have enjoyed reading it—I at least know my mother has. I was glad to receive kind e-mails from Mark A. Greene, the former Carleton Archivist who started “Raiders of the Lost Archives,” and from a 1986 Carleton alumna who attended Marion L. Burton Elementary School in Michigan and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota’s Burton Hall. If you have suggestions for future “Raiders” topics, I would love to hear them! (E-mail nelsont2.) More importantly, I encourage you to visit the Archives on 1st Libe and see firsthand how Carleton has grown and evolved over nearly 150 years. Have a great break!

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