Ivy Day 1968: Archive Footage of a Much Older Tradition

Check out this archive footage from Ivy Day, filmed on campus fifty years ago and shared by Bowdoin College Special Collections & Archives. The student planting the ivy is Robert Ives ’69, who recently retired as Bowdoin’s director of religious and spiritual Life.

On October 26, 1865, Bowdoin’s Class of 1866 inaugurated “Ivy Day” with a public address and poem in the College Chapel, planting an ivy and singing outside the Chapel, followed by an evening concert in downtown Brunswick. The tradition did not take root however, and it was another seven years before the custom was revived.

Ever since then, Bowdoin students have embraced this year-end celebration, now commonly called “Ivies,” as a rite of spring to bring release from the pressures of academia and the burdens of winter in Maine.

4 thoughts on “Ivy Day 1968: Archive Footage of a Much Older Tradition

  1. Doug Crabtree Bowdoin 1960

    Who was singing Mountain Greenery? Meddiebempsters? Names of singers at that time?

  2. Tom Porter Post author

    Hi Doug – It was indeed the Meddiebempsters but I’m afraid I don’t have the line up. I took it from a CD called ‘Bowdoin: Echoes from the Pines,” which is a compilation. I believe that recording of Mountain Greenery was originally on an album called “Prime Cuts.” Regards, Tom Porter

  3. Terry Stenberg '56

    I too linked on to this 1968 “Ivy Day” archive, mainly because my Bowdoin Class (1956) was honored to have The Reverend Robert Ives lead our 60th Reunion Memorial Service (June ’16). I happened to be the Meddiebempster who was the arranger of “Mountain Greenery.” I am aware of (at least) four Meddiebempsters albums from yesteryear that include “Mountain Greenery” selections: two 10″ LP”s–“The Meddies” (1955) and “La Mer” (1957); two 12″ LP’s–“The Meddies” (1960) and “Prime Cuts” (1977).

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