One Hundred-Year-Old Time Capsule at the Oldest American Institution For Women's Higher Education to be Opened March 31 at 7:00 pm

For immediate release
March 1, 2000

Locked, Solid Wood Box with Brass Plaque Holds Messages to the Class of 2000 from the Graduates of 1900 at Mount Holyoke College

SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts--On the evening of March 31, Mount Holyoke College will crack open a small wooden box that has been stowed away for the last 100 years.

Made of a handsome dark wood and the size of a bread box, the time capsule was created in 1900 by the senior class of that year for the graduating class of 2000. The time capsule was featured in the commencement exercises that took place 100 years ago at the elite women's college in South Hadley, Mass. A letter in the box reveals the bonds between students then and now, as well as the ongoing hopes and fears of American women over the last century.

According to the president of Mount Holyoke's current senior class, Sara Hines, the time capsule opening is a "celebration of the gift of history. The class of 2000 at Mount Holyoke is really excited about playing a pivotal role in the opening's ceremony. That 100 years ago our foremothers were thinking about our class is truly amazing." Hines and other members of the class of 2000 have made all the event arrangements, including plans to exhibit the capsule's contents following its opening this month. Little is known about the contents of the box, but its travels over the last century have been documented through the College's archives.

In a letter written in 1950 from a member of the class of 1900, Bertha N. Meserve, to Jane Holland, one of three women from the class of 1950 who were named to be on hand for next month's opening, the contents of the box are described as "filled with various class records and souvenirs."

Links to the Class of 1900
Fifty years ago, three women from the then freshly graduated class of 1950 were selected as trustees of the time capsule. Although one has died, two of the women, Ruth Craig Morales of Northampton, Mass. and Cornelia Brown Pomeroy of Worcester, Mass., will be on hand. Pomeroy explains that she was picked as a time capsule trustee because she lived in the same area as the class of 1900's secretary. Morales says that she and Jane Holland were selected because they were high school English students of a member of the class of 1900 and were recommended because of that personal connection.

The Next 100 Years
The class of 2000, in turn, is planning to dedicate a time capsule, perhaps reusing the wooden box from 1900, to the class of 2100. The ceremony for this next piece of history will be held May 20 on campus during the College's festive commencement weekend. Seniors are currently being polled to find out what they think should be placed in the box. Hines expects that a class picture will be included.

In order to share the contents of the opened time capsule with the public and Mount Holyoke alumnae returning to campus, an exhibit will be put on display in the library. The display is scheduled to open before May, so that it is highlighted as part of the College's commencement activities.

Letter from the Class of 1900
The letter below originally appeared at

To the Class of Two Thousand

(As published in the June of 1900 The Mount Holyoke, a monthly student magazine. This letter resides within the 100 year old time capsule that Mount Holyoke College will open on March 31.)

We, the class of Nineteen Hundred at Mount Holyoke College, do hereby convey to our successors the class of Two Thousand, greeting.

Believing that you will be a notable class, worthy of the distinction given by your name, we feel a bond of sympathy between us. We, too, have considered ourselves a somewhat notable class, while quite able to imagine that every name on our roll may be unknown to fame in your time; unless, indeed, some of our number shall be the grandmothers of some of yours. Possibly it is because of doubt as to the lasting brilliancy of our fame that we leave you this bequest, though our words will have lost the force of freshness long before you can read them.

Much gayety, much contentment, much strenuous study, are indicated in these memorials of our college life; and if the gayety is withered and frail when you look for it we trust you will realize that college women now have natures very like your own, though the same characteristics show themselves in different forms. For your amusement we bequeath to you a picture of ourselves, begging you to believe that we are really much better looking that it will give you reason to suppose.

We feel that our great antiquity should enable us to offer you impressive advice. But our minds are burdened by the weight of a hundred mysterious years, and we are haunted by premonitions that you will have learned in the kindergarten as much as we achieve in college. We greatly respect our posterity, as is suitable for those to whom Darwin has taught evolution.

Of one thing we are sure, and it gives us reason for congratulating you on the advantages of your age. We believe that some of the many reforms seen by us only in the hazy future of the world, and longed for with the force of a somewhat impatient optimism, will be records of history to you. We believe that some of the scientific laws we are groping for with sadly baffled energy will in your time be matters of common knowledge. You will doubtless be working earnestly toward the solution of other problems, and groping mistily for the discovery of other laws; but you will be happy in looking backward to see the well-defined road between our day and yours, a road marked by the memorials of many labors and many successes. We believe, too, that we shall then be as far along as you, and perhaps not less awake to the glory of progress. Of that we can scarcely tell. But if your science shall have taught you what some believe will be one of the commonest elements of your knowledge — the power of communication with the unseen world from which we may possibly be overlooking your destiny — we beg you to reply to this message of ours.

Tell us that you love our college. This is the great bond between us; and the love and loyalty that we pledge as we leave our Alma Mater shall never fail to live in our hearts, while we are sure that your love and loyalty will be as strong, and nobler as you have greater opportunities.

--Margaret E. Ball, 1900.

Biographical Information on Margaret E. Ball, Class of 1900
The text below originally appeared at

Margaret Ball was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 9, 1878. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke in 1900, and went on to obtain a Master's Degree in English Literature and a Ph.D. in Education and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in 1903 and 1908 respectively.

She published her first work in 1907, entitled "Sir Walter Scott as a Critic of Literature." In 1910 she published "The Principals of Outlining," and in 1924 an introduction to Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre," Modern Reader Series. Additionally, Ball wrote numerous articles in many popular periodicals.

She taught as an assistant professor at Mount Holyoke College and Barnard College. She gained a full professorship in 1921 at Mount Holyoke College and there until 1943.

Margaret Ball died on January 3, 1952 in Lakeville, Connecticut.