Anniversary of the Monkey Hunt Day, 1954

Today, November 22, 2019, marks the 65th anniversary of a momentous occasion in Lehigh University history – the great Monkey Hunt day of 1954. The Monkey Hunt, described in detail by “Big Game Reporter” Dick Gaintner in the December 3, 1954 edition of the Brown and White below was occasioned when one of the rhesus monkeys kept in Professor Francis J. Trembley’s (the namesake of Trembley Park) lab in the rear of Williams Hall made its bid at freedom. The monkeys of Williams Hall were primarily kept for dissection and other biological studies, but were seemingly well known to the student body, as references to them appear in various editions of the Brown and White throughout the early twentieth century. On November 22, 1954, however, this rhesus monkey decided that dissection would not be its fate, and escaped from Williams Hall while being chased by Professor Trembley and some dogs. After being driven up a tree between Grace and Price Halls, the biology department decided to cut its losses and rid themselves of the liability of a wayward monkey. The military department was quickly summoned, and dispatched the monkey while taps was played.

J.P. Sell (left), Francis J. Trembley (right), monkey (center)
The Brown and White, December 3, 1954

Happy Halloween from the Hill!

fraternities-seal-skullHappy Halloween!

From the Epitome 1913, Fraternities greeting the readers with Lehigh Seal decorated with skulls, ghosts and tombstones!


A Lehigh Cyclist



Around 1890, this stylish Lehigh student was seen on his Velocipede riding around the Campus –Chemical Laboratory (now Chandler-Ullmann Hall) and (possibly) Hydraulics Lab (gone by the early 1900s) are on the background.

That is a bicycle, not a unicycle–look closely and you will see a small second wheel in the back. This type of bike is called a “high wheeler” for fairly obvious reasons. It came about around 1870 and bicycle makers just kept making the front wheels bigger and bigger as they realized that with a larger circumference, the wheel would travel farther with one pedal revolution.

The first American cycling company didn’t come about until 1878, with Columbia Bicycle. The company was based at a sewing machine factory, and each high-sheeled bike cost $125 while a sewing machine cost $13.

This man was likely the focus of much of his classmates’ jealousy with his expensive bicycle, though we’re not sure how he got around efficiently with all of the stairs. He must have broken a sweat riding up the hill, too, but Chandller-Ullman isn’t so high up.

With Lehigh’s Master Plan involving letting even less cars on campus, bicycles may soon be the only option left for students who are always rushing between the buildings. Who knows, though–with Lehigh’s “pedestrian campus,” they might not want cyclists, either.


A War Club for President Richards

At the twentieth reunion of the class of 1902, an unusual gift was given to Lehigh’s President Richards.


Before the reunion banquet, the class presented him with a large war club with a brass plate inscribed with who it was from and how to use it. The part on how to use it is missing from the artifact today.


It is thought that this artifact is a copy or mock of a ceremonial mace, which would be used in important ceremonies to represent a persons, particularly the president’s in this case, authority.

The class seemed to have an infamous reputation at Lehigh for stuff like this. In the alumni bulletins leading up to the presentation of this mace, there were many comments on the class. Class of 1902 member, “Bob” Bird said that the reunion would be a quiet one and, in response, the author of the Bulletin responded saying “If so, it will be the first time this class has ever been quiet. I think they are trying to spring a surprise on the other reunion classes.” The Reunion Committee was described as “live-wires” and the class itself was said to be “one of those dangerous small classes.”

The war club was brought to Special Collections after being discovered in Packard Laboratory storage. It is cataloged and shelved with the other curious and divergent items in the Lehigh Memorabilia Collection.

Here are the links to the Alumni Bulletin online articles about the Class of 1902:

On the South Mountain Halloween Meant House Party!

By Guest Author Arielle Willett, Class of 2015

This upcoming week begins final preparations not only for the next round of four o’clocks, but also for Halloween, one of Lehigh’s most deeply rooted traditions.

In the past, Halloween was one of the most celebrated holidays on Lehigh’s campus, second only to Le-Laff Weekend and House Party (or Houseparty). Fall House Party took place around Halloween, so that the Fraternity Houses were decorated accordingly*. Nowadays we celebrate around campus with decorations and pumpkins, but back in the day it was a full blown campus wide event- there were parades, dinners, and dances, and students went all out to win decorating competitions between residence halls: “The men of Taylor plan to transform the section E lounge into an orbiting space station, where they can spend the “Evening on the Moon”. The void of space will be filled with stellar sounds taped and recorded prior to blasting off.” -Brown and White, October 30th, 1959

Greek parties were brought down to campus as students dressed in masks and costumes flooded down from the hill spookily, in many cases even bringing the festivities to South Bethlehem residents. The administration was in on the festivities too, bringing in Halloween themed speakers and sponsoring Halloween performances in Packard. Halloween was the number one party theme for fraternities. Check the digital archives of the Brown and White for the historical coverage of these amusing events.

Halloween is still one of the most emphatically celebrated holidays on campus, and with a history like that it’s no wonder why.

*Brown and White Vol. 67 No. 11: HP (i.e. House Party) Goers Will Whirl In Hellish Atmosphere (1955-10-28)


Searching in the Stacks (for love)

Lehigh University was always different to me since Bethlehem was my hometown. The lifestyle here was always more peaceful and slower than the frenetic pace of comparable universities. The Linderman Library contributed to that uniqueness by making communal studying a joy rather than a burden, especially after the renovation as more technology and sleeker architecture blended with the old beautiful stacks and rotunda. Many of the memories as an alumnus were made in the stacks of the Linderman Library, where I courted my beautiful wife, Grace.

Both of us were history majors, more worried about our esoteric research interests and less about matters of love. We both grew up in the households of college professors so our temperaments were more suited to books. My fondest memories of Lehigh are of taking courses in history where I first met Grace. Of course we ended up doing a lot of homework together and Linderman had most of the books we needed.

Seven years later I realized that I had met someone with whom to share my life for eternity. I had just finished my Master of Arts in History and was working on my Master of Library and Information Science while working full-time at the Fairchild-Martindale Library. It is funny how both Lehigh and libraries keeps being an inescapable element of my life. Some people said the timing was wrong but I thought the timing could not have been more perfect.

On May 21, 2011 we found ourselves in front of the altar of Grace’s hometown church and joined in holy matrimony. Naturally we thought it appropriate to have our wedding photos taken at the same library where we did such things as eat takeout from Quiznos while reading about carrier warfare tactics. With the blessings of LTS we rushed over after the wedding and took a long series of photographs before hurrying off again to a traditional twelve course Chinese banquet.

Lehigh University will always be a part of me. Its exceptional libraries fulfilled both my desire for knowledge and my pursuit for that special someone. I did a lot of searching in those stacks, not just for books, but for someone that defies MARC cataloging standards. Somewhere in the 300 fields I could probably enter “Female, 5’0”, Italian, generally cantankerous.”