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(CONNECTICUT.) Class book for Yale University Class of 1859, inscribed by most of its members. 128 engravings, 2 lithographs, one photograph, and approximately 97 signed manuscript leaves, as follows: 3 engraved campus views (Yale College, Alumni Hall, and Library); 23 engravings of past and present presidents and faculty members, 5 with accompanying autograph leaves (President Theodore Woolsey and professors Chauncey Goodrich, William Larned, Noah Porter, and James Hadley); 100 engravings of Class of 1859 classmates (about 90 of them accompanied by autograph leaves) plus 3 autograph leaves for classmates without engravings; 2 engravings for Class of 1858 graduates; 3 engraved views of New Haven scenes; an albumen photograph of the Yale crew team; and two elaborate lithographs of Yale ceremonies. 4to, 11x 8 3/4 inches, original gilt pictorial morocco with portrait of Elihu Yale on front board and university seal on rear board, with spine title "Class Book, Yale, 1859", worn, front board detached; minor wear to contents; all edges gilt. New Haven, CT, 1859
This volume was the personal copy of class member Samuel Davis Page (1840-1921) of the Class of 1859, a Philadelphia native who later served as Assistant Treasurer of the United States. Many of the inscriptions are addressed to him, including his own satirical description, which he signs as "Your best friend or (it may be) your worst enemy." Page was captain of the crew team, which is discussed in many of the entries. Referring to this service, classmate Thomas Brainerd wrote "You have gained the foremost rank in the most distinguished navy in the world!" An original photograph of the six-man crew posed with their vessel appears near the end of the volume; it is attributed in one of the entries to well-known New Haven photographer Major Moulthrop.
Most members of the class, who were of prime fighting age for the Civil War, lived well-documented and eventful lives. A few examples who inscribed this book include the class valedictorian Lieutenant Edward Carrington Jr. (1838-1865), who survived many battles before dying on the battlefield in March 1865. Thomas C. Brainard ran a Union military hospital. Daniel Bowe and T. Edwin Ruggles both went to Port Royal, SC in 1862 to run cotton plantations under Union military rule. Hezekiah Watkins served under Sherman in the Atlanta campaign; his entry here waxes rhapsodically for four pages about the big victory over Harvard, and discusses the crew's group portrait featured at the end of the volume. Diodate Hannahs was killed with the 6th New York Cavalry at Williamsburg in 1862; his entry here quotes Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade." On the other side were Robert A. Stiles of Kentucky, whose memoir of life as a Confederate officer was titled "Four Years under Marse Robert"; and Peter Vivian Daniel, who gave his life at Chickamauga as captain of the 5th Kentucky Infantry regiment.
Closing out the volume are two lithographs: "Yale, the Burial of Euclid," and "Initiation Yale Freshmen, Secret Societies," depicting outrageously costumed students above a pile of skulls and bones.