90 years ago today, The Diamondback reported on the New Mercer Literary Society’s second meeting of the term. Like many college literary societies during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the New Mercer enjoyed a friendly rivalry with a second literary society on campus, in this case the Poe Literary Society. The Diamondback reported on both groups’ meetings each week.
In this issue, the paper reported that at the previous Wednesday evening’s meeting included humorous readings by Miss Ernest and Mr. Juska, a presentation on the philosophy of Omar Khayyam by Mr. Schott, and a talk by Mr. Gifford on “A Defense of Idealism.” Arguing for the crucial role of dreams and “idealistic fancies” behind all great enterprises and ideas, Mr. Gifford “further pointed out, that idealism, or figuratively speaking, hitching your wagon to a star, is not the only essential, but this must be backed by a real, well directed, conscientious effort.” Big dreams and hard work: sounds like a strong recipe for success now as much as then!
Meeting minutes and publications (1892-1900) from earlier in the New Mercer Literary Society’s history, as well as meeting minutes (1864-1888) from an earlier incarnation, the Mercer Literary Society, can be found in the University Archives. Learn more here.
(Additional information in this post from the Wikipedia article on College Literary Societies)