Alumni Horae: Vol. 95, No. 1 Fall 2014 - page 8

A Letter Home
St. Paul’s School
April 5, 1884
Dear Nannie,
were received this
week from Sister
Mary, yourself and
Will. But although
I have had so much
news from these letters, I find a very small
stock of it to give in return.
It seems strange to think of yourself
as being anywhere except on Bolton St.
in the vicinity of Mt. Hope. I think I had
better stop and direct this at once for if I
don’t, I am afraid I will send it to 241 and
never notice the mistake. I expect to write
to Ed Seidewitz next week and I think I
will tell him to direct to the St. Paul St.
house after this as it will be some time
before any answer will come from him.
Thursday was the anniversary of the
founding of the school, and two of the
boys from our table went up to Dr. Coit
and got him to give us a better dinner
than usual, so at dinner a vote of thanks
was passed to the boys and the “ayes”
were so decided that Mr. Foster was on
the point of dismissing the whole table
for disorder.
This afternoon there were three races
in the gymnasium, a mile walk, a mile
run, and one-half mile run. As the track
is very narrow the contestants ran one at
a time and the race was given to the one
who made the best time. The best time in
the mile walk was made by Lord (7 min.
49 sec.), but Hart, who did it in (8 min. 34
sec.) was given a minute’s handicap and
so won. The mile run was won by Dana
in 5 min. 49
sec. The half-mile run by
Richardson in 2 min 39
sec. In marks
this week, I lost only three and I have
been assured that the world is rapidly
nearing its end because Mr. Valpey gave
me perfect in Greek. I believe it is the
first time (or nearly that) that he has
given that mark to any boy in our divi-
sion. I hope that before this term is over,
I will be able to get perfect throughout
for one week. I cannot hope for it for a
longer period.
The dancing lessons will be at an end
on Tuesday. I am sorry there are not a
few more of them as I have not entirely
mastered the waltz yet and I hate to leave
it in such an unfinished state.
I like the lessons in Sacred Studies for
this term better than those of last. There
are questions on the Bible instead of on
the Catechism. The paper for tomorrow
is very long but the answers are nearly
Over the summer, Sally Carroll Keating ’72, one of the first 19 girls to arrive
at St. Paul’s in the winter of 1971, was in New London, N.H., sorting through
boxes of old family papers.
Among her findings was a letter, penned by Keating’s great-great-uncle,
a then-16-year-old Waldo Newcomer of the Form of 1885. The letter, dated
April 5, 1884, was addressed to Mr. Newcomer’s sister (and Ms. Keating’s
great-grandmother), Nannie Newcomer, who lived in Baltimore, Maryland.
“The letter is perfectly penned and,” says Keating, “the large part of it de-
scribes life at St. Paul’s, including mention of the [28th] anniversary of the
founding of the School, a reference to dinner protocol, races in the gymnasium,
his ‘perfect grade’ in Greek, dancing lessons, Sacred Studies, his roommate,
[Aaron Vanderpoel of the Form of 1885], and a mention of ‘the war.’ It is a
fascinating historical reference to the day-to-day happenings at St. Paul’s
from a student’s perspective in 1884.”
In 1910, Waldo Newcomer established at SPS the Aaron Melgert Vander-
poel Prize in the sciences in honor of his old friend and roommate, who died
in May of 1894. The prize is still awarded today.
According to information from a family genealogy report provided by
Ms. Keating, Mr. Newcomer went on from St. Paul’s to study at Johns Hop-
kins University, where he founded the Faculty Club and later became a
trustee. “He was a leading financier of Baltimore and director of a number
of railroads” before his death in 1934, at the age of 66.
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