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.
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.
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).
. . .
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.
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.
. . .
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.
. . .
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 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.
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.
. . .
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.