Ivy Procession, June 18, 1900

Ivy Procession, June 18, 1900

Most likely taken by a commercial photographer and contact printed from its original large-format negative, this panoramic photograph printed as a cyanotype shows the Ivy Day Procession at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts the day before Commencement. Graduating seniors, walking in pairs and wearing traditional long white dresses are flanked by junior students in foreground carrying the ivy chain, which is actually made of laurel leaves. Notice the two women at center in lower margin outside garland chain who aim their box cameras at the unfolding scene. From the college website: “Ivy Day has been a Smith tradition for more than a century. The class of 1884 was the first to plant ivy as part of the ceremonies leading to its graduation, thus providing the day with its name.”

In the background can be seen Seelye Hall, a rusticated Georgian Revival building on campus designed by the New York firm of York and Sawyer. Construction on this surviving academic building which first housed classrooms and a library began in 1898 and was completed in 1899. It takes its name from L. Clark Seelye, (1837-1924) the first president of Smith College who served from 1875-1910. Rockefeller Hall at Vassar, an 1897 commission by the same firm, was the model for Seelye.

print notes recto: Shown with corners removed from slots in album leaf; titled in black ink at lower margin:  Ivy Procession  June 18, 1900  
On the way around Seelye Hall to plant the Ivy.

provenance: acquired by this archive in 2017; from larger disassembled album with direct ties to Mary Ruth Perkins, 1878-1975; Smith College class of 1900 graduate and Chairman of the class yearbook committee that year.

– Smith College Libraries: cyanotype: title: Ivy Day procession, Smith College, 1905. (sic) Identifier: 5623
– The J. Paul Getty Museum: variant: 1900-01: cyanotype: title: [Ivy Day at Smith College]/[Smith College Graduation Ceremony] Object Number:84.XP.460.2

Exhibited: The Flower Show: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum Selected by Sam Wagstaff (April 13, 1985 to January 11, 1986)
    •    The Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit), April 13 to June 16, 1985
    •    The Parrish Art Museum (Southampton), November 17, 1985 to January 11, 1986

Ivy Procession, June 18, 1900

Image Dimensions10.1 x 24.5 cm

Support Dimensions18.2 x 27.5 cm thin, manilla album leaf page with two binding holes in left margin