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Cornell in the Twenties

In Their Own Voice... student thoughts from the era

Adelheid Zeller, Class of 1916

Adelheid and her twin sister Cornelia attended Cornell and roomed together from 1912 to 1916. Adelheid was active in sports and an excellent student — she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. The following are extracts from her diary. Adelheid went on to teach languages in several New Jersey High Schools. From First-Person Cornell, Carol Kammen, Cornell University Library, 2006.

Invited to Ladies Night at the Cosmopolitan [Club] tonight by Mr. C. H. Ballow. I certainly like him. The entertainment was fine too. Half the members are foreigners. Some read selections in their native tongues. Met as many fellows that I could began to remember names. We were shown throu’ the club house, it's a fine place to live in. [Adelheid Zeller, March 1, 1913, page 97.]

The afternoon was the Soph–Freshman rush on the Armory green. It was fine and exciting sport and we could see very well. Then they had a grotesque parade, which was a “terror” because the boys were all mud splashed, and painted, not to mention the costumes and standards. We took a long tramp all over the campus and the heights. Went through the powerhouse. We rode back from Renwick on the trolley. [Adelheid Zeller, March 29, 1913, page 98.]

This afternoon was the girls' athletic meet. The sophs won the event, but a freshman scored the greatest number of points. This evening I was at the Cosmopolitan club with Mr. Elting. The Argentine ambassador spoke, the whole program was fine and the evening the pleasantest I have yet spent there. The floral decorations were palms, ferns and tulips and in the dining room refreshments were served by a caterer in great style. [Adelheid Zeller, May 10, 1913, page 99.]

Here we are graduating in the rain, as we came to Cornell in it. The procession formed about Goldwin Smith, and we marched all around the quadrangle, forming a complete rectangle. It was very pretty & quite solemn. I was sorry the folks couldn’t see that part, but glad they were fortunate enough to get seats in Bailey. Many hundreds could not get in. Outside Bailey we formed two lines, and the faculty & trustees passed between. Andrew D. White wore his red Cambridge robe. There were many other beautiful ones. There are some good pictures of yesterday with us in it. It was very impressive. Lieutenant Thompson called out the candidates for degrees and we got our tassels safely over to the right side. Prexy’s address was on preparedness of course, in the commonwealth and in the individual. We all thought it was the best he’d ever given in our days, and it was a really fine one too. The afternoon we spent downtown and packing our belongings. A number of the girls left in evening trains. How strange it will seem never to see them all again. In Bailey it was congratulations and good-bye. One could hardly realize it. [Adelheid Zeller, June 21, 1916, page 106.]