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Little Poems, Notes, and other Affections
Communicating with Friends

A complimentary note that Bertha Newcomb received in the beginning half of her college career. Page 1. Courtesy MHC Archives (18)
Page 2.Courtesy MHC Archives (19)

Today friends often communicate with each other by way of unsigned one line e-mails. A century ago girls were leaving each other poems (or grinds, as they liked to call them) on birthday invitations, at place settings, on Mountain Day, for holidays and just for fun!

Here are a few more poems that Bertha Newcomb (1909) received in her Sophomore Year (1906-07) :

I know a teacher named Mary Pearle
Who puts my roommate's head in a whirl.
If she wasn't so nice
I'd fear in a thrice
For My Bertha's a 'dear little girl' (31)

Bertha wrote next to the poem above "How about the Kentucky lady Sophie a dear?" I am not sure what she means by this. Perhaps Sophie is the girl who wrote the poem for Bertha.

I am glad my name is Bertha
I am glad that I am young
I know that you do tame
For me you would be hung
Although I am sick with the fever
I know you will study your 'lit'
as everything seems to tell me that
you are very " _____ ____" (32)

The above poem has "silly sophomore" written next to it. This poem is obviously an inside joke as Bertha is assumed to know the two last words of the last line. Reading the poem in the present day leaves us only to guess what was meant.


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This page was created by Chloe Martin '06 in History 283, Fall Semester 2003 -