University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Meyer, Wallace (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume XIII, Number 5 (February 1916)

Stephens, S. D.
Wisconsin student life 1865-73,   pp. Twenty-seven-Thirty

Page Twenty-seven

                        By S. D. Stephens
          HE end of the Civil war,
          and the beginning of the
          new  era in student life
          which followed it, were fit-
          tingly celebrated by the
students. When on April 9th, 1865.
news came over the recentlv installed
news telegraph that peace had come,
the students built a bon-fire, serenaded
the professors and made "other demon-
strations" in honor of the event. On
the morning of the tenth they heard
patriotic addresses from the facu1lty
and were given a holiday. That night
buildings throughout the citv were
illuminated, with candles and kerosene
lamps, and fireworks were set off from
the dome of U niversity hall.
  Immediately after the Civil war
everythiing began to increase, attend-
ance, student activities, social life-
expenses. People began more and more
to turn their thoughts toward educa-
tion, and consequently those who were
able to do so came to the Universitv.
The increased attendance meant varied
interests and the establishminent of new
organizations of all sorts. The mem-
ory of the war caused added stress to
be laid on military drill, though the
department was not yet strong enough
to prevent the sophomore class, in 1870,
from holding a meeting of protest
when they were forced to buy uniforms.
(Imagine anyone, even a sophomore,
daring to protest publicly against an
action of the military department of
today!) The engineering college was
beaun, though not without the protest
of the hill students, who for some time
refused to associate with their "more
practical scientific brethren, fresh from
the fields." Probably all these factors
contributed to an increase in expenses
-at least expenses did increase, and
the average student had to pay about
$350 a year, though some estimated
their expenses as low as $150, some as
high as $600. These are not high as
compared with modern times, but they
were an increase over the earlier pe-
  With the increased interest in activi-
ties, social and otherwise, the interest.
in literary societies ceased to be uni-
versal and became limited not to a
smaller number but to a smaller per-
centage of the increasing student body.
Not long after came the fraternities
and sororities, and in their train a
large group of student activities, both
serious and frivolous. These presented
the greatest problems of student life,
one wh-lich, however, need not be con-
sidered until the following article,
which (eals with the period of their
  The most important activity began,
or rather revived after the war was
student journalism.  Wie say retired
because there was an attempt in the
years 1857-58 to publish a magazine,
called the $,Student Misecellany. The
project was begun by the Atlhenaen so-
cietv in January 1857, and after one
year Hesperia took half the control.
The magazine consisted of poetry and
articles on literary and philosophical
onestions, with an occasional story.
It reported a circulation of four hun-

Go up to Top of Page