Charles Brooks’ 1910 Scrapbook

Here are some memories from the scrapbook of Charles R. Brooks, 1910. It was passed on to Clovis Butterworth in the 1950s by his great aunt and her sister. The great aunt was Brooks’ mother. Mr. Butterworth is a retired librarian who recognized the historical value of the book. The book is very fragile and many photos are either unidentified or identified with nicknames only. Much of the book covers Brooks’ fraternity life at the University of Virginia. He is listed in the 1915 Directory as living in Tampa, Florida.

This is his calling card from Howe.

Here is his formal invitation to dinner with the Rector in the Rectory:

It wasn’t all formality at Dear Old Howe in 1910. Automobiles had arrived and students (Upper School in civvies 1907-1917) hung out of the windows to catch a glimpse of the vehicle and catch a breeze.

The Kendallvile Steam Laundry, later the Kendallville Laundry and Dry Cleaning Co., did cadet laundry and dry cleaning for many decades, suffering through generations of cadet “humor”. While my brother Charles ’55 was on a Lower School tour of the laundry, he asked them where was the machine that rips the buttons off your shirts and shoots them through your socks?.

Cadets at Howe usually remember St. James Chapel with reverence. Usually. Dr. John Heyward McKenzie was Rector (CEO) of Howe from 1895 until his death in 1920.

Although his fundraising built many of the original Campus buildings, his crown jewel was certainly the beautiful St. James Chapel, a monument to his anglo-catholic devotion. Here is a portrait of Dr. McKenzie in 1910 as preserved in Brooks’ scrapbook:

Here is a very rare picture of St. James Chapel AFTER the sanctuary was extended to its final eastward position, but BEFORE the triptych and wood paneling were installed.

Note the rood beam is still in place and the Mothers’ Chapel is not yet built nor are the big wrought light fixtures hanging from the hammerbeams. The baptismal font is in front of the Rector’s stall; it was later in the Narthex which as the usual location in Episcopal churches. The construction of the first part of the crypt (under the sanctuary) was funded in Mrs.Howe’s will, but she made it clear that the above-ground construction was to be funded by Dr. McKenzie (the School).

We are indebted to Charles R. Brooks 1910 for preserving this history. He also preserved more than he realized. On the back of his clipping of a School newspaper article about a dance is the following information about what appears to be the wood structure of the triptych:

This rare view of the Howe Military School campus in 1910 shows (l-r) Upper School, first McKenzie Hall dining hall, cloister to St. James Chapel connected to the newly-extended north transept of St. James.

This is your invitation to the 1910 Commencement.

Sixth Form (Senior) Dinner invitations looked like this in 1910.

The gentlemen in the Form all exchanged their cards.

The last pages in Brooks’ wonderful scrapbook are filled with the signatures of people he would always remember. Dr. McKenzie’s and Grover Good’s are easy to spot.