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UNL, 1912 Yearbook

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   THE fall of 1908 came much as any other fall, with one exception; the leaves which fell were sear and brown, but those individuals who swooped down on the University of Nebraska were decidedly green. In this respect they were not different from other Freshman classes, but the magnitude of their operations and the size of their number immediately marked them as a body to be heard from. In fact, they were heard by the depth of their grumblings during registration week, when they were forced to stand in line from early morn until the sun sank behind the Library. During this excruciating period many of the fainthearted wrote piteous letters home, but it remains to the credit of the class that few, if any, bought tickets for that destination -- at least not until they had made the acquaintance of Mr. Engberg.
   Such patriarchs as Stocker and Yale Holland viewed the intrusion with lowering glances, but dared cast no reflections for fear that they themselves would soon be identified with that very class. Registrar Harrison declared that he had never received, as fees, fewer worthless checks, Mr. Engberg has never before or since had as little to do with a Freshman class, and even the boarding house proprietors are still fondly reminding each other of the good old days when the class of 1912 came as Freshmen, and had not yet learned the gentle art of "bill dodging."

   Under such propitious circumstances the body began its struggle, firm in good resolutions and large in numbers. They unified their ranks by electing a president, W. N. Gerspacher, who sad to relate was a "popular idle" of the day, not a student. Be that as it may, however, he conducted the affairs of the class, which in the Freshman year are ever so numerous, with a strong hand, and it was no fault of his that the Olympics were conceded to the Sophomores. It is asserted on good authority that the chief reason for the defeat of 1912 was the lack of warm clothing, which should have protected the shivering warriors on that frigid day. One Sophomore was mean enough to remark that he thought the shivering was largely due to fright, or else the scathing remarks of Doctor Condra -- but of course he was hooted into silence.
   Undaunted by this trifle, the class returned to its political duties and unanimously elected Rowland Thomas, of Omaha, as its second semester president. As a further evidence of its prowess, the class put forth a relay team which won the interclass race, a track squad which scampered away with the Ivy Day trophy, and three debaters who won the interclass debate without half trying. The Freshman Hop was a social success, and not merely a financial one.


   Having attained that position of self-importance which comes with the distinction of being a Sophomore, we returned full of enthusiasm and confidence. The strength of numbers, though still apparent, was now eclipsed by the class below, at least so we thought until the Sophomore election took place. At this gathering, at which three candidates appeared in the field the attendance numbered something over two hundred and fifty, but strange to relate the vote cast totaled between four and five hundredthat alone is an accomplishment of which no other class can boast. Such exuberance of spirits was, however, not conducive to a representative election, so a special one was held, at which Walter Power, of Ponca, was elected.
   Having regained the even tenor of our every-day existence, we devoted our time to school work, and by the time the second semester had made its advent we were sober and -- honest. Under the new régime Bob Hawley. of Nebraska City, was elected president; and immediately preparations were begun for the postponed Olympics. A premature engagement in the shape of a cowbell struggle gave evidence of the strength of our forces, for we emerged with the coveted trophy, and under the leadership of gentle Gus Lofgren, captured and imprisoned the Freshman leaders. The following Saturday witnessed a repetition of the earlier struggle, with the Sophomores victorious, and the proud possessors of several cowbells, which they forthwith carried about the downtown streets, much to the chagrin of the hosts of Freshmen who plodded along in the rear.


   Mindful of this enviable record, and strengthened by the feeling of greater mutual interest which comes with the junior year, we returned to look with fatherly interest upon the struggling petty concerns of class underclassmen. We had risen above the fights, class caps, and even informal dances. Thereupon we made plans to "put on" a formal party. Having chosen as leader W. L. Bates, we left the matter of appointments in his hands, and turned to wider interests. "Bill" did his work -- we did ours. Those who had received the "plums" made haste to fulfil their duties and were in the midst of the process when the second semester came upon us. This time the honor fell upon "Henery" Pearse, of Genoa (not Italy), who executed his meager duties with clocklike precision, as a president should.
   At this point in our career we distinguished ourselves

by instituting a brand new idea, at least for Nebraska -- that of a junior Week. This week (in reality only three days) to consist of Junior convocation, Junior Prom, and Junior Play. In addition to this, the entire junior class wore gold and black ribbons during the week (week here signifies seven days), a custom which has never been adhered to, before or since. Everybody took part in the Convocation. "Doc" Owens and "Pink" Holmes ran the Prom, and "Bill" Bate, and Hazel Johnson starred in the play, which had the mysterious title, "A Message from Mars." Rumor has it that several of the more tender-hearted parents who attended the performance wept at the sight of their children's faces covered with paint.


   Thus we had established a record which had to be lived up to. In this, our last year, what could be done to bring our career to a climax? Our ranks were as thin as those of the G. A. R., our hearts, however, were, and are, as loyal. Searching the forest for presidential honors we hit upon "Dick" Guthrie, who carried the election with gusto, and as usual, appointed his committees. Inasmuch as the class had long ago lost its constitution, "Dick" was somewhat handicapped in the matter of appointments, but managed to confer them as satisfactorily as we could desire. "Henery" Pearse and "Bill" Bates managed the Prom, and to the great edification of all reported a substantial profit, another deed of which the class can be justly proud -- not the making of the profit, but the reporting of the same. The Senior Masquerade was no less successful, and, owing to the apish capers of "Rex Davies, was the "scream" of the social calendar.
   Gus Lofgren, the hero of the cowbell fight, to say nothing of the football field, was rewarded for his faithful service by the last presidency which this class will ever confer. Needless to say, Gus "has delivered the goods," and the memory of our last president will remain with us for some time.
   And now, at this point of our career, we have before us Senior Sneak Day, the Senior Breakfast, the Senior Play, and, last but not least, the privilege of wearing a cap and gown, and receiving a sheepskin. From hence the light becomes dim, and we must satisfy ourselves with the pleasant memories which the events of our class can supply.
   Let the record of the class of 1912 be even brighter in the greater world than it has been in the University of Nebraska.

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