Hampton Academy and its Board of Trustees

Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972

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By Arthur J. Moody, Class of '53

The Alumni Association


This Post Card was mailed to Mr. Thomas L. Perkins,
Hampton, N.H. on May 15, 1907.
(Post Card courtesy Bob & JoAnn Daniels, Class of '49.)


The "Hampton Academy Alumni Association" was founded in 1907 by a small group of very interested graduates and teachers. Clarence L. Mitchell, Principal of Hampton Academy and High School between 1904 and 1907, suggested the formation of an Alumni Association and sought, through the press, the names and addresses of previous students. Many replies were received by Mr. Mitchell and Rev. John A. Ross, President of the Academy Board of Trustees. Mrs. Lucy (Godfrey) Marston, who had attended the Academy in the 1860s before it became a high school, was the Alumna-organizer of the Association and its first Secretary.{*}

{*Lucy Marston (Mrs. Otis H. Marston) was also the first woman to vote in Hampton after the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Her daughter, Addie (about 1912 at age 29 she began using "Adeline") Copeland Marston '02, was also Secretary of the Association for many years. According to news stories, Addie taught elementary school in Hampton for 47 years beginning in 1907, the year the Association was founded. Other events of 1907: organization of the Hampton Beach Fire District (now the H.B. Village District or Precinct) under Chapter 53 of the Public Statutes; the first around-the-world cruise of the U.S. Fleet: the "Great White Fleet" of 16 battleships and 12,000 men which were sent on the goodwill tour by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt; another local organization founded in 1907 and still flourishing is the Hampton Monday Club.}

In mid-May 1907, Mrs. Marston mailed postcards to former students of the Academy inviting them to a reunion in June. The card's message, beneath photos of the Academy interior, read: "For the purpose of renewing old friendships formed at Hampton Academy, a Hampton Academy Alumni Association was formed Apr. 20. Will you join? A reunion will be held at Hampton Academy, June 21. Membership fee, $1.00, which includes dinner. Please send at once to Mrs. Lucy A. Marston, Hampton, N.H."

After stopping off at the Academy for a visit in the forenoon, Alumni, their spouses and guests motored to the Hampton Beach Casino where all the activities took place. After the salmon, roast lamb and chicken dinner (provided by the Casino management for 75¢ per setting), the 117 present set about organizing the Association. A constitution and bylaws committee was named. Lewis Perkins, who had been a student in the mid-1860s (he was graduated from what is now U.N.H. in 1871, returning to Hampton to teach elementary school for a while), was chosen President, Mrs. Lucy Marston became Secretary, and Sarah (Hobbs) Lane '87, the first female to graduate from the Academy and High School, accepted the responsibilities of Treasurer. Ernest G. Cole '87, the Vice President, spoke at the meeting as did James S. DeLancey '90. Other postprandial speakers were: Sperry French, an Exonian who was one of the oldest Alumni; Rev. Hardy B. Weston of Georgetown, Mass., a former teacher; Rev. J.A. Ross, Trustee President; and Amos T. Leavitt '87, President of his Class - the first graduating class of the High School. (Note: The Exeter NEWS-LETTER account of this first meeting, written by correspondent Sarah Maria Lane '87, is reproduced elsewhere in this booklet. The story incorrectly reports the date of the meeting as June 22; the correct date was Friday, June 21.)

The success of the first venture assured high attendance at subsequent reunions. Since 1907, the Association has sponsored a meeting each year through 1971, when the 65th Annual Reunion Banquet was held. The camaraderie, the renewing of school-day friendships and the reliving of shared experiences at the Academy all helped to establish the Association as a continuing fraternal group in the early days. Later, the Association would also become an educational and philanthropic organization with its financial and scholarship award support of the High School and students. The Association's reunions in the early years all followed a similar format: dinner in the afternoon of a weekday at the Casino, business meeting and a principal speaker. Group singing took place between courses of the meal. An honorarium was given the speaker of the day and, on a few occasions, to the song leaders as well. The Nominating Committee brought in the names of the new officers. During the first several years, officers served for two or three years at a time. For continuity in administering the affairs of the Association, the previous Vice President nearly always succeeded to the presidency. Dues for members not attending the reunion were 50c per year. According to figures in the original "Treasurer's book, dues for members attending the dinner amounted to 25c which was the difference between the amount paid to the Association for the dinner and the amount the Association paid the caterer. Later -- and to this day through two subsequent Bylaws -- dues were pegged at 50c for all members (with the optional Life Membership al $10 added in 1959). Postcard announcements were sent in May or June to all members and to all who responded to the first call in 1907. (Picture postcard or postal card announcements were used until the 1960s when they were superseded by the more elaborate "Alumni Bulletin.") The scenes on the front of the early cards ranged from a hand-tinted photo of the Academy to a wide-angle view of the Casino. The cards were supplied by E.G. Cole '87, a Hampton merchant, and were printed by Charles F. Adams, Publisher of the fledgling Hampton Union.


For the second annual meeting (1908), 100 attended at the Casino (75¢: per dinner was paid Mr. Nason, the Manager).


A total of 78 was present at the same place for the dinner in 1909. That year, the Association sent out circulars to Alumni in order to solicit funds for repairs to the Academy; $40.50 was turned over to Trustee Treasurer C.G. Toppan.


For the Centennial of Hampton Academy in 1910, the Association, through Horace Hobbs, solicited subscriptions ("The Boulder Fund") for the erection of a suitable monument on Meeting House Green (or Academy Green) in Hampton, the site of the first Academy buildings. The dedicatory ceremonies were held in conjunction with the Fourth Annual Reunion on June 17. After meeting at the Town Hall, all adjourned to the Green to hear the speeches. The two "brass" tablets on the monument (a boulder) commemorated both the establishment of the Academy and also the first meeting house which, according to the speaker of the day, Rev. Mr. Vander Pyle, was made of logs with an encircling high fence for protection from Indians. Although the Association's solicitor raised the $106 cost of the monument, the Congregational Society may have donated part of the total for the meetinghouse tablet. The caterer for the day set 106 plates and the "Xonian" Orchestra played throughout the showery afternoon.

Heavy reliance for details of the Association's early years has been placed on The Exeter NEWS-LETTER accounts of the annual reunions. All the Treasurer's records from 1907 are in the possession of the Association but the more-revealing Secretary's minutes are not. The first Secretary's book covering the period through 1918 was apparently placed in the Hampton Historical Society's Tuck Museum by Addie C. Marston '02. Alumni Association Secretary, 1919-27 (and a past president of the Historical Society). Although that book was available as recently as August 1966, a search of the Museum could not locate it. The Secretary's records for 1919-30 are also missing. However, all records from June 1930 to the present are available for this short history of the Association. Where information is available, highlights of the annual reunions are listed below:


Casino; 1 P.M.; holiday in Mass., so many stayed overnight.


Casino; Monday, June 17; 64 Alumni and guests (75¢ each paid Graves & Ramsdell, the Casino food concessionaires); 25th Anniversary of first graduating class, the Class of 1887, which was in charge of the program; principal speaker: Dr. Lucius H. Thayer of Portsmouth.


Casino; Friday, June 20, 1 P.M.; 75 diners; speaker: Prof. James A Tufts, Sr., of P.E.A.


Casino; June 19; boiled lobster to 65 diners; speaker: Howard A. Bridgman, D.D., of Boston, Editor in Chief of "The Congregationalist"; remarks by Rev. Hardy B. Weston of Mass., former Academy teacher.


Casino; Thursday, June 17; 60 present; speaker: Mr. Pringle, Supt. of Schools, Portsmouth; a $50 gift from the Association was voted for the Academy to be used as the faculty decides.


Casino; rain; over 50 in attendance; speaker: Dr. Thomas Chalmers, candidate for Congress from this district; "very good affair."


Casino; Monday; catered by Mr. Nason; resolution: vote of thanks to School Supt.Albert T. Lane for his "very efficient assistance to the High School in the past year"; speaker: Prof. Richard Whorisky; the Alumni voted $50 toward the improvement of the "Hampton Academy Recreation Field" which adjoins the Academy; it was announced that Trustee President H. G. Lane '87 had received a $10,000 bequest from the will of John W. C. Hobbs of North Hampton, making $20,000 received by the school in the past year.


Casino; Monday; 60 present; speaker: Prof. W. C. O'Kane, member of the U.S. Food Commission, who addressed the assemblage on "the food situation in warring countries and its relation to winning the War."


Casino; Tues.; "threatening rain"; 45 dinners served; "very stirring address" by Rev. W.S. Schurman on "Americanism and Education."