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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn E. Cook

Saver’s Treasure Trove — Edwin’s College Days

Edwin was a singer and at Penn State, he was a member of the Glee Club most years, besides performing with a quartet. He was the second tenor, meaning he took the melody line, while the first tenor sang harmony above the line. The usual would have been to have a baritone and a bass, but in this quartet, the other two guys are both listed as bass. Maybe one would sometimes take on the baritone part. Who knows?

This is Edwin in his performance attire, taken in 1911 when he was age 23.

Several years ago, I discovered scans online of the Penn State La Vie yearbook and was thrilled to come across a photo of the Glee Club and including the Mandolin Club, with their instruments on the floor in front of them. What I wouldn’t give to put hands on those mandolins!

Edwin is fourth from the right, second row down from the top.

I don’t know the exact details of when Edwin and Elizabeth (Grandmother Stoddard) met, only a vague memory that she mentioned they sang in the same church choir. My guess is that this was perhaps in 1910 or 11. After their family moved from Philadelphia in 1908, Elizabeth and her sister Edith obtained clerical jobs at the college—a favorable place to meet eligible young men.

Grandmother’s next saved item is the newspaper article about the “announcement party” in 1912.

Word has been received in this city of the announcement of the engagement of Miss Elizabeth Summy of State College, Pa., to Edwin F. Stoddard, son of Mr. And Mrs. Herbert A. Stoddard of Maple Avenue, this city. [ Carbondale, PA] Mr. Stoddard, who is one of this city’s well known and popular young men, is a member of the 1912 class in agriculture at the State college. The announcement was made last Saturday evening at a small gathering at the Summy home in State College. The news will come as a pleasant surprise to the many friends of the groom-elect in this city.

I sure do like the multiple uses of the word “popular” in this piece. Do you get the idea that “popular” was a popular word back then?

Here is Elizabeth in her announcement party dress, very likely made by her mother, who had worked as a seamstress and reported that she “used to sew for the swells in Philadelphia.”

Here’s another item I found in the La Vie yearbook, written funny enough back then to still be funny today.

I assume by "grind" the writer meant Edwin studied too hard, therefore being zero fun, and apparently the other guys were happy he gave up the too-studious habit. As for Custard's, I should write to the historical society in State College and find out if they have any info about it. And what in the world was the Crab Apple Club?

Last, Grandmother had one photo of Edwin in his graduation cap and gown, in May or June, 1913. He was a member of the 1912 class, since he completed all course work by Christmas of '12. But the school held graduation ceremonies only once each year, so he had to wait until spring of 1913 to parade to Pomp and Circumstance and receive his valuable diploma. I'm certain it was a very proud day!

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