Nov 4, 2018

Pranks-giving, in Review

From ping-pong balls to bubble machines, pranks have long been a part of University of Rochester student life. Read more about them (but don't try any, please)...

In the Fall 2018 issue of the Rochester Review, the 50th anniversary of a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert at the Eastman Theatre was the subject of the "Ask the Archivist" column. The program was memorable for its music--Haydn's Symphony no. 90, Debussy’s “Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune” and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”--and the unintended intermission, when a rain of ping-pong balls brought the concert to a temporary halt.

The event was reviewed by Larry Fine '74 in the October 16, 1969 issue of the Campus-Times, which can be read in its entirety here

Students pranking other students was a common occurrence. The Freshmen and Sophomore Classes maintained a century-long annual rivalry which included Flag Rush, Proc Night, disrupting each other's annual dinners, and even field trip pranking when the Men's Glee Club travelled on a concert tour to Chicago with students of the Eastman School of Music. 

In 1890 Interpres yearbook featured a short play script of a Halloween night's revelry. The "cast" is listed as including future pastor James Gosnell (UR 1890), educator Clark Willard Shay (UR 1890), Thomas Dearlove Holmes, Albert James Justice, and John Leffingwell Hatch.

And for as long as there have been pranks, there have been editorial fingers wagged in disapproval: mentioned in the Review is the scathing column entitled "Why?" in the women's newspaper, the Tower Times, after a disruption of a play. 


Post from Melissa Mead John M. and Barbara Keil University Archivist and Rochester Collections Librarian

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