New Hampton History: A Ladies’ Society

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Please enjoy the following article presented by Librarian and School Archivist Jerrica Blackey P’19. This article in her history series discusses the early days of social and fraternal societies at New Hampton School.

In 1853, The Germanae Delictae Scientiae began as a ladies’ literary society. It started one month after the Female Department at the New Hampton Literary and Biblical Institution opened. Societies were a popular way for like-minded students to have meetings, lectures, plays, and more. It was also significant for its library and reading room. Additionally, members exhibited their talents monthly at open public meetings. This helped establish them not only within the Female Department but also within the greater community.

Literary Society for women at New Hampton School

Although this literary society disappeared in the 1920s because the school became the New Hampton School for boys, our archives hold some detailed history of its members and notes on a variety of meetings. We were thrilled to find tucked away in the Gordon-Nash Library “fire vault,” a paper package wrapped in twine and stamped “Germanae Banner.” Upon its unveiling, we discovered some blank certificates (prepared with a name and given out to new members) and a beautiful gold banner with the literary society’s well-known insignia of the cross and anchor.

Germanae programme, February 1873

The library’s founder, Judge Stephen Gordon Nash, “was one of the most devoted members of the Social Fraternity.” Thanks to his forethought and consideration in setting aside space in the library for the use of his society, as well as extending this to the Literary Adelphi and the Germanae, the library still holds parts of each fraternity’s collections.

Clark, A. Chester. “The Social Fraternity: Its History and Influence.” The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine. February 1901, 68-69.

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