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Main Building on Austin College Campus in 1895Main Building 1895 The main building was a two-story brick structure measuring 42 feet by 74 feet. It housed administrative offices, classrooms and a library. Mrs. Jewel Link Luckett, wife of President Samuel Luckett, offered $2000 toward adding a wing to the original structure, provided the trustees pledged to finish it. In June 1891, the board of trustees appropriated $4000 for the purpose of completing a two-story wing on the west side. In 1894, F. M. Files donated a cotton compress to the school. It was sold and the proceeds used for the erection of an east wing. Trustee and east Texas lumber baron, J. M. Thompson, donated $500 worth of lumber to be used in the building.
Files HallFiles Hall The upper stories of these wings were furnished as meeting halls for the literary societies. Cadets petitioned tirelessly for a gymnasium. In fact, Old Main, eventually did house a fine gymnasium, but not until several years later.
Philennoian Medal Winners of declamatory and oratorical contests were awarded gold medals by the literary societies. Philennoian Medal pictured. Membership in one of the literary societies was mandatory. Cadets were not only required to join, they were required to attend the meetings. The purpose of the societies was to promote education in rhetoric. Those who could not bring themselves to associate with either the Athenaeum or Philennoian Society were forced to attend a class in rhetoric in addition to their regular studies.
Austin College ReveilleReveille Issue

The Reveille was the organ of the literary societies on campus. It began and flourished during the military era, but continued publication through 1907. It was a a monthly literary magazine which contained editorials, articles on literary, historical, and political subjects, "exchange" notes or excerpts from other institutions’ publications, campus news, and anecdotes. Very little concerning college life escaped mention, making The Reveille the most complete existing record of the military years at Austin College. The first issue appeared in March, 1891. The Reveille ceased to exist after 1907, supplanted by the annual Chromascope, but no student publication since has adequately taken its place.

Course of Study 1890Course of Study 1890 Cadets followed a classical liberal arts curriculum. The college catalog stressed that great care had been given to the arrangement of the required course of study "to select such subjects as are best suited to give the mind thorough and varied training, and, at the same time, to fill it with the largest store of valuable, practical truths." During the military decade, curriculum was revised to reflect a new modern era. In 1890-91, Bible Studies were added to every term of every year. Students could pursue one of two courses of study: classical or scientific. During the 1890s, a course in Old English was added and two years of modern languages (Spanish, French, German) could be substituted for part of the Greek and Latin requirement.
Austin College ExpensesExpenses Approximate cost for one year for a cadet who paid room and board was $240.50. This included two uniforms and laundry service. Students could rent a dormitory room for $1.00 per month, and purchase meals for $8.00 to $12.50 per month depending on whether they ate at a boarding house or the Student Mess Club. Dormitory students were expected to provide their own furnishings.
AC Library Reading RoomLibrary Reading Room On January 5, 1891, the following Library rules were adopted:
  • The Library will be open for an hour after drill on Wednesday; from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
  • Papers must not be removed from the room.
  • Any student wishing to take a book from the room must first give his name and the name of the book to the Librarian to be placed on the register.
  • No student shall be permitted to take more than two books from the Library at a time, and these must not be kept out more than two weeks.
  • Persons keeping books out over two weeks will be charged five cents per day for each day over time, to be paid to the Librarian, and any student refusing to pay shall be prohibited from using the Library.
  • Any student damaging or losing books must refund the amount of damage or loss.
  • No disorderly conduct in the room or disarranging of books will be allowed.

Library hours were soon expanded to one hour each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon as well as Saturday mornings. The Library fee was fifty-cents per semester.

W. H. Venable, Sr.Studying in his room. Some students "from a distance" boarded in homes near the campus like that of W. H. Venable, Sr., located across the road from the College. Study hall was mandatory, although requirements for it changed from time to time. Prior to the opening of the fall term in 1891, the faculty decreed that those whose monthly grades fell below 80 be required to attend. At other times all students were required to attend, at still others, seniors were excused. In 1890-91, Study Hall commenced at 7:15 p.m. and ended with tattoo at 10:00 p.m. This scheduling served the dual purpose of encouraging study and keeping cadets "on the hill" at night.

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