In Brief

Sugaring Time Again; Former President Writes Autobiography; Alum Signs with Baseball Team; News from the Nursing and Business Administration Departments and more.

Making Their Mark

Learn about how our community members engage in writing, presentations and exhibitions.

Past as Prologue

Explore Haystack, a portal to the history of Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby-Sawyer Courier

Keep up with campus news from students' perspectives through the Colby-Sawyer Courier.


This new literary magazine features creative writing in many genres by current students and alumni, faculty and staff, and a few friends and partners.


Find out what Colby-Sawyer alumni have been up to since graduation.

Currents: the past as prologue

Colby Hall and the Case of the Talking Hearse

The Old Campus

The "Old Campus" of Colby Academy, now the New London Town Common. Old Colby Hall is at the far right. The building was dismantled in 1934 and the timbers reused in the Colby Athletic Association Lodge on Little Lake Sunapee. In the late 1990s, the building returned to campus as Lethbridge Lodge.

Henry K. Rowe, A Centennial History, 1837-1937: Colby Academy, Colby Junior College, 1937

Now that the girls were provided for it was a problem to know what to do with the boys. Anthony Colby solved it by buying at auction the old meeting-house by the cemetery and appropriating it for the school under the name of Colby Hall. It was already an historic structure, delayed in its building but used for years for religious and civic purposes by the whole town… The old pews were appraised at thirty-four cents each, and the building was knocked down for Anthony Colby for $118.80. When it had been removed to a position between the Ladies' Boarding-house and the new town house and had been remodeled, it supplied twenty rooms for the boys and the men teachers, and on the first floor space enough remained to provide quarters for the Euphemian Association and the United Friends, the two literary societies of the men students… As among the girls study hours must be observed and other strict regulations must be respected, but Jack was not altogether a dull boy.

Effervescent Spirits

Colby Hall thus reconstructed was to be the home of hundreds of young men for the next seventy years. Here they found new associations and cemented ties of friendship that lasted for a lifetime. Here they learned habits of study that served them well when they went on to college and professional school or themselves became teachers in grade and district schools. Here their effervescent spirits found vent in pranks played upon one another, or in devising ways to get the better of the teachers. They learned how to outwit the lady principal and to communicate with the girls at the Ladies' Boarding-house by grapevine telegraph. They had their favorites among the teachers and they resorted sometimes to a specific method of showing their spite. On one occasion they constructed an effigy of an unpopular male teacher and strung it up on a tree on the front campus. But the eagle eye of Professor Knight, who lived opposite, fastened upon it, his decisive action brought it down, and the public exhibition was nipped in the bud.

A Difficult Knight

Professor Knight was a particularly difficult man to deal with. He had a way of leaving the students at the end of a limb from which they had to make an awkward descent. They expected to hear from their escapade of the effigy the next morning in chapel, but their instructor thought it better to keep it to himself. The students never knew when he might reveal it to their undoing.

Even worse than the effigy incident was the expedition of the town hearse. A number of the boys conspired to run the hearse down the hill on a certain evening and leave it for responsible parties to draw it up again… In due time the boys arrived and… gleefully hauled the austere conveyance down the hill. Just as they were about to abandon it the bearded face of the instructor in mathematics was projected from the door and in genial tones he said: “Well, boys, you've given me a fine ride down the hill, now suppose you pull me back to the top.” If they refused the consequences were unthinkable, if they consented the muscular effort was severe, but crestfallen they carried out the arduous labor and went home sadder but wiser young men. Professor Knight never referred to the matter again, but the story leaked out later on.