Skip to main content

Time Capsule Collection

 Collection
Identifier: yhm-arc-0000-178

Content Description

This collection is comprised of a number of time capsules: nine from the 19th century, buried by different graduating classes, and one from the 21st century, created at the College's bicentennial in 2012. In the late 19th century, it was customary for graduating classes at Hamilton College to plant a tree and commission a stone carved with the year of their graduation. After commencement, the students would bury a box beneath the stone containing newspapers, magazines, and other memorabilia from their class year. The class stones are still occasionally discovered, and after being carefully exhumed, are relocated to the College Cemetary. If a time capsule is found underneath, the box is taken to Special Collections in Burke Library, preserved, and added to the College Archives. Opened capsules in this collection include boxes from 1877 (completely destroyed), 1885 (newspapers, Hamilton College publications), 1865, and 1884 (Algebra book, metal coffin handles). Unopened capsules include boxes from 1873, 1878, 1879, 1886, 1887, and 2012, the latter of which is to be opened at the college's Tercentennial in 2112.

Dates

  • 1865-1890
  • 2012

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

In the late 19th century, it was customary for graduating classes at Hamilton College to plant a tree, and commission a stone carved with the year of their graduation. After commencement, the studnets would bury a box beneath the stone containing newspapers, magazines, and other memorabilia from their class year. The class stones are still occasionally discovered, and after being carefully exhumed, they are reolcated to the College Cemeter. If a time capsule is found underneath, the box is take to Special Collections in Burke LIbrary, preserved, and added to the College Archives.

Extent

9 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Custodial History

Several boxes were located and dug up around 1925. Elihu Root, class of 1864 and chairman of Buildings and Ground at the time, had many class stones relocated to the College Cemetery. These corresponding class time capsules have yet to be opened.

Class of 1884 time capsule: material removed from a copper box that was opened at the class' 50th reunion in June 1934. Transferred from original box to the Treasure Room in July 1970, and now resides in the College Archives. Contents include coffin handles, a metal rose and other hardware, and an algebra textbook that was ceremonially burned in a coffin by the class of 1885 but rescued by the class of 1884.

Class of 1887 time capsule: despite the best intentions, often time capsules don't withstand the tests of time due to poor construction, the elements, or accidental destruction. The contents of the box from the class of 1887, buried during class day exercises of that year, are completely unrecognizable, as they are corroded into a more-or-less solid block, from which bits of what seems to be metal flake off. This box was found during construction work on Campus Road in July 2018. A stone with 87 and a Greek slogan was discovered alongside this time capsule, and now resides near the cemetery path.

Class of 1890 time capsule: unearthed during the reconstruction of Campus Road in July 2018. Outer copper box and inner tin (?) box; the outer box had been compromised and was full of water but only little seeped into the inner box, as the contents were only damp. Contents include a Hamilton yearbook, a copy of May 1890's Hamilton Literary Monthly, a Catalogue for the 1889-1890 year, a menu for the class of 1890's banquet in 1887, Utica Morning Herald newspapers, a noisemaker in two pieces (mouthpiece with whistle and horn with inscription), a felt hat, a blob of solder, and many copies of advertisements (likely used as packing material).

Author
Carly Horton
Date
Dec. 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Hamilton College Archives Repository

Contact:
198 College Hill Road
Clinton NY United States