Danner Lee Mahood Letter 1917

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From: DC0172s, Mahood, Danner Lee, 1901-1981 (1922) Letter, 1917 Finding Aid

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Davidson. N.C.

My dear Mother:-

Well this starts my first college year at Davidson and I shouldn’t wonder if it wasn’t my last one. This is the first day of college and still no letter from you. Have you forgotten me or don’t you care to write. I am getting used to Davidson and yet I could leave it without tears and never long to come back. It seems

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that it is just one expense after another. [1] They are going to have uniforms and they will cost about $15. [2] I had to pay 35 cents for a tooth brush in this little dump. My roommate came last night. He is from Dublin, Georgia. He is pretty tall and has very sharp features. I hope he will be a pleasant roommate. You want to know something about Davidson (the town). [3] There is not a pretty dwelling place in it and I have heard it said that there wasn’t a

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pretty place between Charlotte and Statesville. I could very well believe it as I haven’t seen one yet. My room looks very bare and is very cold.[4] There are no conveniences  and I am as dirty as a hog, I mean, there is no hot water, no heat (as of yet) and only a shower, two wash stands and Miss Kamode on my floor. I shall have to get many necessary things. I should like to have some pennants to cover up the back of plaster and

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bare photos on my wall. I w[ill] need curtains and several rag rugs. The campus, as I said before, is beautiful the buildings are old, worn out, miss used, and ugly. [5] I shall be kept busy every minute according to my present programme. I take Bible, Mathematics, French, Physics, English, and History. I have one period Monday, three Tuesday, five Wednesday, three Thursday, four Friday, and two Saturday. [6] I am not so enraptured over the boys here and they

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seem to lack the benefits of that Christian influence which you spoke about. Speaking of me getting acquainted with my boarding house keeper, one never sees her and I am to pay $16 to one of the boys who is manager of her house. This lady never has butter for dinner, but one gets plenty of grits and they are very substantial. If you were to ask me whether I was homesick I should say no, but I really realize how much

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better home is than a place like this. I found my room in a condition such as Rose Babcock’s room is generally in. Here we get up at seven, go to chapel at half past, and then go to breakfast, Dinner is at one thirty and school is out at four thirty.  I expect to be beaten tonight and I’m not looking forward to it with the greatest of pleasures. I will write to you whenever I can and you

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please write me as I am not the happiest of mortals. Give my love to all of the family and tell Uncle Will what I said about the uniforms. Love and kisses,


Danner [7]

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[1] The major expenses at Davidson were split between living fees and college fees. The average total tuition and housing for a freshman was about $75. Additional expenses included laboratory fees, textbooks, laundry, dining hall fees, and college society fees such as fraternity membership. In order to graduate, students had to pay a final $5 diploma fee (Davidson College Catalog, 101).

[2] The $15 fee Mahood talks about here is actually the fee for his military uniform. Every student at Davidson was required to participate in Military Drill and Study of Tactics their freshmen and sophomore years (Davidson College Catalog, 61).

[3] Davidson College is located in Mecklenburg County midway between the larger cities of Statesville and Charlotte. In Mahood’s time, the town surrounding the college had approximately 1,000 residents.  Being remote from larger urban centers,  the college was known for its ability to be “so free from temptations of vice and extravagance” (Davidson College Catalog, 119).

[4] There were three main dormitories that freshmen students could live in: Rumple, Watts, and Georgia. Both Watts and Georgia buildings had lavatories with running water in every room and were heated by steam heat. Students could also live in the Chambers Building. In 1917 there were 120 students living in Chambers, mostly upperclassman. The rooms were heated with open grate fires, had large windows for ventilation and were virtually sound proof.  (Davidson College Catalogue, 88-89).

Image 1: Photograph of Davidson Dorm Room, 1921. Photograph Collection , number 93156. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.
Image 1: Photograph of Davidson Dorm Room, 1921. Photograph 9-3156. Courtesy of Davidson College Archives

[5] In 1917 the campus was set on about 25 acres of land, dominated by a large front lawn and walkways. There were about 14 buildings on campus. Some notable buildings on campus were the Chambers Building, the Carnegie Library, the Philanthropic and Eumenean Literary Society Halls, and Alumni Gymnasium.  The Carnegie Library was constructed,in 1910, after a donation by Mr. Andrew Carnegie and contained 25,202 books. $250,000 was used to improve the water, heating, sewage, and lighting systems on campus which now supported almost 500 students (Davidson College Catalog, 82).

[6] Several different classes were offered at Davidson College in 1917. Courses such as Astronomy, Biblical Instruction, Biology, Chemistry, English, Geology, Psychology, Spanish, Philosophy, Public Speaking, German, French, Greek, and Latin were all available for students to take. Students could attain either a Bachelor of Arts Degree or a Bachelor of Science Degree from Davidson in 1917. There was also a graduate level Masters Program (Davidson College Catalog, 33-70).

[7] Danner Lee Mahood wrote this letter to his mother during the first semester of  his Freshman year in 1917. At Davidson Mahood was part of many organizations on campus including the Eumenean Society, the school magazine, and Delta Phi Kappa as well as Sigma Epsilon. After graduating from Davidson in 1922, Mahood spent 39 years working as an English professor at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Denison University later established two awards for excellence in memory of Dr. Mahood. He passed away on December 12, 1981 (Quips and Cranks 1922 and Danner Mahood Alumni File).

Image 2: Yearbook Page of Dannner Lee Mahood, Class of 1922. Quips and Cranks 1992 p.41, Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.
Image 2: Yearbook Page of Dannner Lee Mahood, Class of 1922. Photograph p.41. Courtesy of Davidson College Archives.


Danner Mahood Alumni File. RG 5/8.1 Alumni Relations. Davidson College Archives. Davidson, N C.

Davidson College Catalog, 1917-1918. Davidson College Office of Communications

Photograph 9-3156. Davidson College Photograph Collection. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Photograph P.41. Quips and Cranks 1922. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC.

Transcription and annotation author: Patrick Devlin

Date: March 2013

From: DC0172s (Finding Aid)

Cite as: Devlin, Patrick, annotator. 1917 Daniel Mahood Letter. DC0172s. <https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/digital-collections/danner-lee-mahood-letter-1917>. ‎

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