For over 100 years alumni and alumnae of the Institute have gathered at MIT to participate in end-of-school ceremonies and renew old acquaintances. Traditionally celebrated every five years, each class reunion includes a mix of serious events and social activities like Tech Night at the Pops, a concert often featuring an MIT musician, and the Reunion Row, a race in which alumni compete by reunion class to claim the Reunion Row Bowl. Outings away from the campus are usually included in the celebrations.
The organizers of the 25th reunion of the MIT Class of 1888 in 1913 drew up the plan of the four days of activities as if it were a course schedule, using pseudo-academic designations for events. The arrival of the alumni at Cotocheset House, a Cape Cod resort in Wianno, Massachusetts, is indicated as a course in "Highway Navigation." Lunch is listed as "Gastronomics." Golf, Tennis, Base Ball, and "Navigation and Seamanship" are offered in several time slots, with options of "scoring" and "umpiring" for the less agile participants. A course in "Practical Tire Replacement" is offered on the afternoon of departure. Car maintenance seems to have been a preoccupation of the attendees, perhaps because automobile travel was a relative novelty in 1913 and Cape roads were fairly primitive.
A memorable football victory ("88" beat the Dartmouth eleven by the convincing score of 24 to 15) appears to have loomed large in the collective consciousness of the class. The best-known and most successful members of the Class of 1888 may have been Edwin S. Webster and Charles A. Stone, who met at MIT's freshman registration in 1884 and became inseparable friends, alluding on occasion to their intention of starting "some sort of...electrical business." They were referred to even then as "Stone and Webster," and later founded the Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation, the company into whose hands the responsibility for the construction of the Cambridge campus was placed in 1913.
The images shown here are included in MIT Class Photograph Albums, 1870-1895 (AC 319), available for research in the Institute Archives and Special Collections, along with Technology Review (MIT's alumni magazine), Technique (MIT's yearbook), alumni/ae reunion reports, records of the MIT Alumni Association, and other historical materials relating to class reunions.
Object of the Month: June 2006
MIT Institute Archives