Commencement 1918


Rensselaer’s ninety-fourth commencement exercises were held on Wednesday May 1, 1918 in the ’87 Gymnasium. Bachelor degrees awarded included 30 in Civil Engineering, 22 in Electrical Engineering, 11 in Mechanical Engineering, and 8 in Chemical Engineering. One Master of Science in Chemistry was awarded. The commencement address was delivered by Edwin Wilbur Rice, Jr., President of the General Electric Company.


Due to the United States involvement in World War I, many members of the class left for military service either prior to graduation or immediately afterward.  For more information, check out our previous post on Rensselaer’s involvement in the war effort.


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Continuing Up the Hill: Campus Dormitory and the Rensselaer Student’s Association Clubhouse

Campus Dormitory: The Warren House, acquired with the 1905 purchase of the Warren estate property, was converted into a student dormitory in 1907 and remained the only campus housing until 1916. The house was officially named the Campus Dormitory by a resolution of the Board of Trustees in 1916. The Institute rented rooms to about thirty students. A caterer supplied meals and was paid directly by the students. The house was located in front of the present site of Lally Hall.

In 1935, after the construction of two new dormitories, the Board of Trustees decided to dismantle and remove the old Warren House. The only thing remaining of the building is the Continue reading

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Lacrosse Redux

With the 2018 Winter Olympic Games underway, this is a good time to highlight a recent acquisition in the Institute Archives and Special Collections: a lacrosse uniform worn in the XIV Olympiad in the summer of 1948!

A few months ago the son of an RPI lacrosse player donated his dad’s uniform consisting of a pair of shorts, a jersey (#23), and sweatpants.  These items were worn by Robert J. Webb, a midfielder on the team that competed in a demonstration game against English all-stars in the London Olympics.  (For information on that event check out our April 2008 and July 2012 posts.)

The jersey is particularly cool – instead of the usual “RPI” or “R” on the front, this one has “USA” emblazoned below the school letters.  All that was needed to convert the school colors to those of the nation were the addition of a blue neckband and blue stripes on the sleeves.  Voila – suddenly RPI represented the entire country!

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Van Rensselaer Family Bread and Butter Pudding

Every season prior to the break we publish a blog post to send you all off with some Rensselaer holiday history cheer. This year, we’ve honed in on the Van Rensselaer family recipe booklet published by Historic Cherry Hill, entitled Selected Receipts [Recipes] of a Van Rensselaer Family 1785-1835. One recipe that really spoke to me was Bread and Butter Pudding!

This is one of my favorite desserts, but I never really knew that much about it’s history aside from being notoriously known as a British poor man’s dessert. Seeing the recipe in this Dutch family’s history prompted me to do a little research and try my hand at baking Elizabeth Van Rensselaer’s (1799-1835) version.

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Homage to AmytheArchivist, a.k.a. Mystery Images #37 & #38

An astute subscriber to RPI History Revealed recently pointed out that the Archives blog has been going strong for ten years!  In honor of the blog’s creator, Amy Rupert (a.k.a. AmytheArchivist), I think it’s time to harken back to one of her signature series – mystery images!

Amy’s very first post was titled “Mystery Image #1” indicating her intention to post unidentified images on a regular basis.  And so she did.  Our readership has been an excellent resource in identifying the people and events depicted in these mysterious photos.  However, this time around I’m turning the tables a bit.

Instead of sharing an image about which we know little or nothing, I’m asking our readers what you know about a couple of photos that are well identified.  They come from our collection of Louis B. Puffer photograph albums, which I described in my previous post.  So please, have at it, and tell us if you think you know what either of these pictures represents!

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