Wednesday, December 4, 2019

What Else Can You Find in Yearbooks: Grandfather at Northwestern

After reading about Leighton Mount, a college freshman who disappeared during a hazing incident in September 1921 at Under Every Tombstone (see Part 1: The Strange Disappearance of a Northwestern University Freshman - Leighton Mount and Part 2: The Shocking Conclusion), I remembered that my grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland, graduated from Northwestern University. He was known as Townsend, and later Toby, to distinguish him from his father, Lowell Copeland.

The family story from my mother is that her father attended Harvard University for one year, where his uncle Charles Copeland was a well-known English professor (see Copey of Harvard). Uncle Charles had Townsend take two English classes, which apparently was more than he could handle, and he flunked out.

He returned home to Winnetka, Illinois, and enrolled in Northwestern University, in neighboring Evanston, and based on the student lists and yearbooks that I found online, he was there in the fall of 1921 when the story of Leighton Mount was all over the news.

From Google Books
Google Books has a few years of the Northwestern University Bulletin / Annual Catalog, which provides lists of enrolled students and I found Lowell Townsend Copeland, of Winnetka, Illinois, enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts for the 1919-1920 school year and for the 1922-1923 school year. I wonder if he didn't take a full course load for a few years, because he was enrolled in 1919-1920 and ended up as a member of the class of 1925.

School yearbooks tell me a little bit about grandfather's experience at Northwestern. Unfortunately, they often didn't provide information for freshmen unless they were class officers (and Ancestry doesn't happen to have the 1923 copy at its U.S., School Yearbooks collection).

The following images are from the 1924 Northeastern University Yearbook (the Syllabus), which covered events and activities for the 1922-1923 school year, when the class of 1924 were juniors (and the class of 1925 were sophomores).

Grandfather was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and he was listed as Townsend Copeland, a sophomore.

He is in the back row of the fraternity photograph:

He also served as one of the members of the 1922 Homecoming Committee.

The following images are from the 1925 Yearbook (the Syllabus), which covered events and activities for the 1923-1924 school year, when the class of 1925 were juniors.

Grandfather's "senior" picture is on page 52, bottom row, second from left:

Seventh entry on the page reads:
L. Townsend Copeland, [Beta Theta Pi]                                             Winnetka, Illinois
  Track (1); Homecoming Parade Manager (2); Dad's Day (3); Junior Prom Committee;
  Harvard University.

And again, he is listed as a member of Beta Theta Pi in the junior class.

And in the photograph, he is in the middle of the back row. (He was a tall man, over six feet, so probably always was in the back row.)

Unfortunately, Ancestry doesn't have the 1926 issue of the Northwestern University Syllabus for me to see him listed as a senior in his fraternity.

As an aside, the Northwestern chapter of Beta Theta Pi was reported to have disbanded just this year. (See the Wikipedia page for Beta Theta Pi.)

Check out my grandmother's high school yearbook page at Ogontz School Yearbook 1926.

Have you done more than just look at your family member's class photo in a school yearbook? See what else you can find out about him or her.

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