Winter time at a New England educational institution can be bucolic, bustling, bristling, or simply plain brrrrr-y. Smith women take the winter in stride. Sometimes its worth reporting how. Cabin-fever must have gotten to the women in 1891. A famous ‘snowball fight’ took place at the end of January and was reported in the National Police Gazette as a battle between the “Sophies and the Freshies.”
Clara M. Greenough, a member of the Class of 1894 recalled the snowball fight where ready-made snowballs froze the night before and ‘…became cannon balls” and were used by the Sophomores ‘…to unpleasant effect…The air was filled with taunts and screams and squeals’ until the battlefield was surrounded not only by students, but by faculty and townspeople, curious about the ruckus. After the battle was over, the sophomores were victorious. When this woodcut was published, Grace Landen (Rickey), Class of 1893, noted that someone [President Seelye], put his foot down and “this was the end of snowball fights” at Smith.
Smith women take to winter in less competitive ways as well. This photograph is of the 1906 snowshoeing club, as they clomp around Paradise Pond. Remember, these are the days of cat-gut and wooden snow shoes. Some folks still use them!
Snowshoeing continues to be a popular winter sport here in New England. These young women were out in the skirts and shoes in 1895:
Skating on Paradise Pond is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Just the other week when frigid artic temperatures hit Northampton, a cleared space appeared on the Pond, and all would-be NHL All-Stars, Olympic figure skaters, and their families were out on the ice.
Smith women are creative in the ways they fight cabin fever. Not everyone embraces the outdoors, but they can find pleasure in creating snow sculpture, and snow angels; in drinking lots of hot tea and hot chocolate, as well as making plans to head to someplace warm for March break!
May you find the perfect way to relieve cabin fever this winter. Just remember Puxatawney Phil says there’s 6 more weeks of it to come!