Charles Alling Diary

(excerpts, October - December 1883)

Charles Alling, Jr., entered Hanover College in 1879, when he was thirteen years old, as a student in the "preparatory department"; he graduated in 1885, when he was nineteen. During his junior and senior years, he kept a diary, recording his day-to-day experiences. He seems to be a fairly typical student of his time. He had an active social life, getting into mischief with his friends, escorting girls to dances, and participating in fraternity life as a member of Sigma Chi. He also had a serious side, reading poetry, discussing sermons with his friends, and worrying about how to find the right career after graduation.

After graduating from Hanover, he went on to practice law in Chicago and to serve as an Alderman there. He maintained interests that he had developed at Hanover --directing the First Presbyterian Church School in Chicago and becoming a national officer in Sigma Chi, for instance. He married in 1914 and had no children. -smv

Sources: Finding Aid to the Charles Alling Diary, Archives of Hanover College, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana); "Alumni File of Charles Alling, Class of 1885, "Archives of Hanover College, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana); Doug Denne, Archivist, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana), personal communication.

We will discuss the following entries on Oct. 1 -- to see all the entries transcribed so far, see the complete diary.

Wednesday, Sept 12th, '83

John Ferguson and Will Turner came up on the boat Monday night. I met them and took John up home with me. There were some of Kit's friends there that eve and as we went in the parlor, we did not get to bed till twelve o'clock. We went, yesterday morning, to Cohen and Kahns and purchased several pretty ornaments for our room. I also bought a large writing desk (second hand) for a dollar and a half. After dinner I worked hard fixing it up and packing my other things. We started from Madison about 4 o'clock, seated on trunks etc. which we had in a spring wagon. But we got here at last and slept once more on our old, hard bed. We went over to college this morning and found a flattering prospect for the new year. I have never seen so many students here on the first day. I varnished my desk as soon as I came home and afterwards help Fergie decorate. We have worked hard today but our reward is found when we look around our room and see how nicely it is fixed up. John brought a great many pretty, fancy cards, etc. which are very attractive decorations. This evening I commenced working for the fraternity by walking Reel over to Hanover and taking him to the college steps, where I talked the subject over with him.

It is a beautiful, cool, September night and the view looks beautiful in the moon light. There are a great many new students, and the "old dormitory" seems quite another place. Todd and a friend of Aunt Belle's came in to see me this afternoon. All the old boys are back early to work on the new men.

Thursday, Sep't 13th. '83.

We went over to college this morning to hear Prof. Baird's lecture which was a splendid one, on the "Advantages of a Liberal Education."   After it we all paid our term fees or made arrangements to pay them.  This promptness was due to the failure of many to pay last years term fee.  I tried to study all afternoon, though I found it a hard task.  McCaslin offered me $5.00 for my desk and I took him up and could have sold it if I had wished to.  $3.50 would have been quite a profit on it, if I could have got another one.  I purchased $8.25 worth of books today at Rankin's; they cost more as I advance.  I copied the rest of the minutes into the secretary's book and have quit claim to Frank Swope.

Friday, Sept. 14th.

We recited in chemistry the first hour. I got thro' all right and hope I may improve my record in botany.  We were excused from latin and mathematics.  We had quite a number of visitors in society this afternoon, and everything moved smoothly.  I was installed librarian, which office I am afraid will prove quite a burden.  Howard Fisher, Turner, Berwick and I went to the river after society and had a splendid swim.  It is very low, so we swam out to a little island about 1/3 of the way across.  I nearly gave out on the way back and it was fortunate I could "let down" when I tried, although Howard Fisher was near me.  Berwick seems to be a very nice little fellow (Jun. Prep.).   The question for debate tonight was, Resolved, "that the U.S. government should prohibit the running of Sunday trains."   I debated on the affirmative.  Ate watermelons with a crowd by the barn- Polie's treat.

Saturday, Sept. 15th. 1883

I borrowed a speech book of Frank Irwin this morning and at the end of two hours decided to select "Cicero's denunciation of Verres."  I then studied my political economy till dinner time.  In the afternoon I got Howard F's and my own latin lessons.  Tonight we went down to Fraternity and discussed new men.  Much was said, and we had quite an interesting meeting.  Watermelons were the order of the day after the regular meeting.  Howard F. and I walked home together, singing and otherwise acting the fool.  I started to study my chemistry at 11 o'clock, and though it was a struggle, I kept awake till I had read it all over (quarter to twelve).

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Saturday, Oct. 6.

I did not start to studying till eleven o'clock, but got latin before dinner.  After it, I played foot ball till four when Howard and I went out to Dunns in his buggy.  We got a jug of cider and some apple butter.  While I was passing Clemen's, .I got a telephone message telling me that Aunt Mary and Marie were coming [strikeout: th] tonight.  Howard came down for me and stayed to supper.  I did not do anything with my lessons and am glad we have experiments Monday.  Taggart, a new fellow from Louisville [strikeout: will be] knows Frank Cunningham and used to goto his school.  He is a very nice fellow, although he is rather a hard bat.  He is a splendid foot ball player and was one of the captains.  I put the ball through the goal twice this afternoon.  Heller is a good player, though he is but a little fellow.

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Wednesday, Oct 10.
The remainder of our class spoke in chapel this morning but did not do as well as usual. Prof. Morse came down on me today as he got me up to the board to do something I knew nothing about. Therefore I studied that lesson all afternoon. Finley and I walked downtown and went over to Melcher's room. I do not like his boarding place in its location or in the rooms and building themselves. Mr. Ramsey owns it now - - the old Arbuckle place. We went over to hear a small part of the band practice and then came on out. I wrote some little on an oration for society today. Don't know whether I will get it done in time. Somebody poured a pitcher of water in our bed last night. Mr. A did not wish to give us another room but Miss Jennie came up and gave us No. 15. It was about 11:30. Walter F. was up here tonight and gave me and John some friendly words of advice. He told John he squandered too much time in bothering with this and that, and he advised him to spend his time in a more substantial manner. I asked him what I would be fit for and he laughed and said he didn't know. John told him he came to college to have a good time. W. also said that we both ought to read more -- painfully true. But when we get our lessons there is not much time left for reading. However I am going to try henceforth to economize & use the golden moments as they rush pass by -- never to be recovered. Oh! it is sometimes like a thorn in my pleasure to think in the midst of this happiness that there are hard, rough odds to encounter when we leave our Alma Mater.

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Saturday, October 20th

We got up early had a good breakfast and got down to the boat in plenty of time. We danced a good deal going down but not at all coming back as it was so near Sunday. I had to call for none of the other boys would do it. There was a large crowd on board. The Philharmonics by whom it was given gave us some very fine music. We got to Louisville about 12 o'clock and I went immediately to the exposition. Ate a good dinner at a lunch stand for a quarter. The first thing which I noticed was machinery hall. There were all kinds of machinery  for making cloth, blankets, etc. The reapers and mowers made large displays. I was interested also in the display of carriages. The finest one were from a Newark manufactory. The life saving station also made a good display.The mantel,grate and furniture displays were elegant. One set of furniture costing $2,000 was already sold. The different displays of natural resources by the states (Southern) were very good. Trees, coal, grains, cotton-seed oil, fruits,etc comprised their exhibit. Coffee and tea were given away free in many places of advertisement. The new Arkansas diamonds were quite interesting being a perfect imitation. Plows were shown acting around a circle in miniature. I rode over to the art gallery on the electric railway. The collection of paintings was alone worth coming from Madison to see. Among some that I marked especially in my catalogue were: "Helping Hand", "Hagar in the desert," " In the cotton field," "A girl I know," "For Lack of Gold," and many others which I have forgotten. I was in there when the electric lights were started to burn. The effect upon the canvass " glowing with a thousand tints was grand. The room seemed to be a blaze of glory as it was beheld from a distance on entering. After coming from this place which I was slow to leave I saw the chicken incubator. It was arranged so that the whole process could be seen in its different stages of development. It was then about eight o’clock so I went over to hear the music which was splendid. I did not like this band (Gilmores) as well as the 22nd regiment which they had on the first day. I slept awhile on a table coming home and talked a good deal to the girls the rest of the night.

Sunday, Oct 21st 1883

We got to bed about six o'clock this morning. I was not waked up till ten, but it was too late to go to church, so I slept on till one, when I got up and ate my dinner. Kit came home from S.S. and told me that Mame B. wanted to see me. I went up to bid her good bye. She had John's hat band worked up in a table cover and said she would never give him another. Mr. Korbly and son came in to see us this afternoon. Papa was showing them around "the place." I went to church tonight and was surprised to see how much the repairs had improved it. The new red carpet is very pretty indeed. The pew doors have also been taken off. The painting is very tasteful and neatly done. Mrs. Will Snyder sang beautifully tonight. Some of the girls were there but I went home with Kit.

Monday, Oct 22nd

I came out in the buggy this morning by myself. Met Lattimore at Browns and brought him over with me. Linck drove home for me. I read part of my political economy and then went to sleep. The boys came in to have me read their Livy. After that I went out to play foot ball, so I did not accomplish much this afternoon. John and I went over to call on Mrs. Fisher last night. Miss Hunt and Nathan came over after we left. I have worked steadily for three hours tonight (from 8 till 11). Most of this time I spent on my latin Mr. Woolley was at John's house the other day and gave him a severe name for cutting up last year.

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Tuesday, Nov. 6.

John received a telephone from Charleston stating that his grandmother, Mrs. Henderson, was dead. He walked to Lexington this afternoon or rather yesterday. I have a scene in our drama to write. Our class intends to take the road during the holidays and make some money for the gymnasium fund. It is rather a hazerdous attempt, but success to it! Went to fraternity tonight and have studied till seven. I like rooming by myself.

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Friday, Nov 9th.

Tom Giboney told me yesterday that he expected me to take second place. I think some of the boys were much disappointed. Alas: man proposes but the faculty disposes. We had a good session of society this afternoon. Nathan declaimed, Irwin read on camp meetings, I read on the position of the classics. I wrote it last night and some this morning. I wrote out my own criticisms and Howard (3rd. consul) read them as his. The Y.M.C.A. will give an oyster supper here tonight, but as I have no money I will have to go home if I get a chance. We had a fight over the non-adjournment of society for tonight and carried it. We will try to amend our record of adjourning last Friday or whenever it was.
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Teusday, Nov. 13th.

I wrote my scene in our class drama last night. The boys were a little vexed because I did not do it sooner. But I do not take much interest in the scheme as I think it rather wild and venturesome. If we had a good play written by a standard author I would not care but I have not much confidence in any merit to be found in a play gotten up in this manner. It is just a conglomeration of a lot of nonsense, consisting of stale jokes, old puns, etc.

We had an exceptionally good frat meeting tonight. and came home before ten.

Miss Hennesey and I went over to the Lit. library to get a book this afternoon. I went up to see Howard after leaving her.

I get the Indianapolis news every day now and find it quite a good paper.

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Friday, Nov. 16th

I went to bed at ten last night and feel much better for it today. Read a chapter in the Bible also, which I have neglected when I stayed up so late. Covert, Montgomery and Marshall from the Phis and Nathan, Wiggam and I had a committee meeting this morning, relative to the oratorical election. – Results later. We had a poor session of society this afternoon as there was only one performance. I came home and read the papers till supper time. There were not many out to society this afternoon or tonight either. We did away with the debate and entered into spontaneous performances. The subjects were bad however and it was a grand farce. I made a new move, however, in treating my subject Daniel Webster in a more serious and earnest manner. We had a meeting concerning our class play tonight. I think this "drama" is a rather doubtful affair thus far.

Saturday, Nov 17.

I read on my essay all morning. John also worked on his. We were closed to all intruders and cleaned up the room ourselves. I went to sleep after dinner and did not get up until four o'clock, much against my intentions. Williamson and Dawson came in about ten o'clock and I proposed to get a matress and slide down the stairs. Coons helped us and we were having a jolly time when the old man came up. We all ran to our rooms. Dan and Allan had "gone to bed" with their clothes on and got up to let the old man in when he knocked. Of course this strategy let them out entirely. He came in and accused me and I did not say anything as I thought it would all pass over. But he found Coons closet locked and after no answer to his overtures of surrender he (Archer) prepared to stay in the room all night. But the boys began to gather and plot for his escape. They bored a hole through the plaster from Vons' closet and fixed a signal for his departure. A crowd then surrounded the old man, one fellow blew out the light, another knocked three times and out came Koons covered with a night shirt. He ran to our room and just shut the door in time to exclude the O.M. who was in hot pursuit. It reminded me of a scrub race when the motley gang rushed from Coon's room, he in the lead, his besieger following and then the crowd of boys who cheered lustily for his safe retreat. Alas! my essay. It is only completed about as to a third part, having been interrupted by the exciting episodes above narrated.

Sunday, Nov. 18.

"T'is always the unexpected which happens". In the midst of prosperity prepare for adversity. As I walked down to breakfast this morning, Mr. Archer met me and handed me my bill: he also prohibited me from going down to breakfast. Frank Swope took me down as his "company" but the old man braced himself against the door and said I was prohibited. Frank got mad and said he considered it a personal insult to him. It was all to no avail, so I went without my breakfast. The Swopes gave me some apples and dried cake. I could not go to S.S. for the boys came in to hold a consultation and farewell reception and kept me from dressing. I felt rather bad all morning and on Charlie Swope's advice went down into the parlor and talked with Mr. Archer and his two charming daughters as to the propriety of my hunting around Hanover on the Sabbath to find a boarding place. I "monkeyed" and pled considerably but all seemed dark as ever. Mrs. Archer came up soon after and told me that she had persuaded her husband to let me stay till tomorrow. All the boys asked me about it and condoled with me when I went to church this afternoon. Lace told me at supper that Mrs. A. wished to see me. She told me that they had decided to take my word for it and keep me. The boys were waiting to hear the verdict and carried me up on their shoulders. I felt like a free man & congratulations were in order. Koons was also acquitted before the "San-she-drim" as he called it. Hurrah! Home Again!

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Friday, Nov 23.

We laid aside regular business this afternoon on account of the open session of the Zetalatheans in the Philal. Hall. It was queer how each faction watched each movement of the other. Our boys are getting in better fighting trim now. The other side are trying hard to get Miss Gilchrist so Wiggam and I both took particular pains to congratulate her on her essay which was really very good. Miss Fitz made a fizzle of the "Last Hymn" and Miss Ryker a poor show in an essay on history. The Philal exhibition tonight was another large failure. Every one tonight execpt the essayists forgot, repeated and made what might be called a glorious flunk. I took Miss Mary Bain home and got Bob Taylor to take Lillie Jackson. Fergie took Miss Wiggam and just had to wade through the little branch near Gaylord’s.

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Friday, Dec. 7th.

Today was our regular election day in society.  The Phis and ourselves were in combination.  It resulted as follows; President Chas. Alling; Vice Pres. Douglass Marshall; [Censor?], C.A. Swope; Secretary, R.H. Olmstead; 1st Consul, Alex Dunn; 2nd Consul, F.D. Swope; 3rd Consul, Nathan Powell; librarian, J.W. La Grange; Corr. Sec. W.C. Voris; Finan. Scribe, W.W. Armor; Treasurer, Napoleon Turner.  Nathan was elected valedictorian, and Charlie Swope salutatorian on the spring exhibition.  Taylor was elected salutatorian on the 22nd Exhibition.  The phis were shut out completely in the philal hall on the exhibition elections. 
Todd came over after supper and invited us all (sigs) to come over to his room and help him out on his barrel of pecans, oranges, and nut candy.  We enjoy it hugely and came home too full for utterance.  Our committee had a dispute over which band to engage for the Jun. Exhibition.  I wanted the orchestra but we have engaged the P.V.C.B.  --  a band of country boys near here. 

Saturday Dec. 8th.

I have made a complete farce of my hard licks which I was supposed to put in today.  I did not study or write a line on my oration till three o’clock this afternoon.  Went down town with Howard to see about the cooking for our banquet this Friday.

I got down to it after supper and managed to write a good deal on my oration -- that is, have made the first draft of it.  Turner got a frock coat suit from Klien in the hack this afternoon.  I wish now that I had got my coat cut that way.  But I guess a sack coat will do for a man of my limited means.

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Thursday, Dec. 13th

IIII\ IIII\ IIII\ III. There it stands 18. Yes, today marks another anniversary of the birth of Charles Alling, Jr. One eventful year has passed since my last birthday. I can not say that I have changed much, nor grown as much as in the previous year. I am still wearing the coat I had on the last time my birthday came around; it is a little worse for the wear, but like the boy under it is still in fact the same. Did I say boy? pardon me, but I meant  "young man. Sad but true, is it that I am rapidly entering upon the serious question of my life's work and just as rapidly am I leaving the happy scenes of childhood or youth rather; which have already become dim by the space which has intervened.

Well, hard digging for myself will soon begin, so I presume it is most becoming a human being in this position to leave off this sentimental strain and look about for something more material to occupy my attention. I have kept the great secret of this important day to myself lest it it spread among the inhabitants of this benighted land and they rise up to toss me . . . a blanket. I am sorry my birthday comes so near Christmas for they all seem to think a Christmas gift is enough. Only eighteen -- yet it seems to me that I am at least twenty. Just think of graduating as a mere boy in a little sack coat - - no, I will add some dignity to the occasion by stealing or borrowing a a frock