The Word from Wellesley, 1935

“Silver Bay on Lake George, the Mecca towards which daughters of Smith, Holyoke, Connecticut, Cornell, Vassar, Syracuse, Wheaton and many other Eastern colleges— not forgetting Wellesley — flock each June after commencement, is proving to be a greater rallying ground than ever this year. On the wooded shores of Lake George, from June 19-26, well-known leaders are going to conduct the wide awake discussions demanded by the theme: A Modern Christian Faces A Nationalistic World.

“It will be a familiar sight to see Dr. Gregory Vlastos from Canada munching a blade of grass while leaning against his favorite apple tree with an attentive group gathered in its shade.

“Dr. Ira Reid, the negro economist and political theorist, will return to his old haunt, the boat house, to hold forth on communism during the day and old Southern songs at night after the full moon rises.

“College girls proudly displaying college banners and identification tags will meet, mingle and rival each other in friendly competition. The Barnard-Cornell baseball game must take place to make the week a success. Smith will undoubtedly return in high hopes of capturing the swimming-meet title once more, but if Wellesley’s diving is as excellent as last year it should be close.

“The jolly ‘sings’ will undoubtedly be repeated. ‘Neath the Oaks, Problems and Prairie Flower were Wellesley’s contributions to one evening last year. The sunrise will again drag sleepy girls out of bed to scale a mountain, and those who get to the top may view the dawn. Candlelight vespers will undoubtedly be as beautiful as ever. The picture of hundreds of tiny lighted candles floating out over Lake George in paper boats is memorable according to students who have attended the conference in other years.”

— “College Girls Gather At Silver Bay In June ,” Wellesley News, May 1935

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Gregory Vlastos (1907–1991) was a scholar of philosophy, author of works on Plato and Socrates, and a Christian who wrote on Christian faith as well. Vlastos received a PhD from Harvard University in 1931. He taught at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; Cornell University; Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Robert Meister, a friend and former student, said, “He was the kind of professor who would explore your ideas more than you did yourself, write more on your paper than you did and show what you had said would really mean.” Although Vlastos is best known for his writing on Plato and Socrates, in the 1930s he was also writing Towards the Christian Revolution (1936) with R.B.Y. Scott, and Christian Faith and Democracy (1939).

Ira de Augustine Reid (1901-1968) was an African-American sociologist who did pioneering work with the New York Urban League and published landmark studies on African-American workers and families. Biographer Paul Jefferson noted, “Six feet four inches tall, confident, well dressed, and witty, Reid was an impressive figure. His biting intelligence was acknowledged—if not always appreciated—and his urbane manner made him an effective inter-racial diplomat in an era when black equality was an implausible hypothesis for most white Americans.”

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