HISTORY OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Village of Ilion
Herkimer County, NY
The following is taken from "Alumni IHS." The description on a cover page
reads,"This Alumni Book is published by the Senior Class of the Ilion High
School, with the endorsement of the Alumni Asociation, and under the direction of
the Superintendent of Schools. Ilion, N. Y., June 1, 1904"
HISTORY OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
On June 20, 1882, a meeting of the graduates of the academic department of the
Ilion schools was called by Professor A. B. Poland for the purpose of organizing
an alumni association. Up to this time there were sixty-six graduates, and over
forty responded to the call. After some discussion it was decided to form such
an association, and Mr. Herbert B. Johnson, class of '78, was chosen as the first
president. From each class was elected a member to act as a vice-president. Mr.
I. Clark Seamans was made secretary.
At this first meeting a committee was appointed to draft a constitution, the
preamble of which reads as follows:
"As it is advisable to strengthen and perpetuate the ties that bind us to our
alma mater and to each other, and as this is best accomplished by organized
effort, we adopt this constitution for the Alumni Association of the Ilion
The constitution was adopted at a special meeting held December 28, 1882, and,
with slight amendments made in 1890, is in use at the present time.
The first regular meeting was held on June 29, 1883. A literary and musical
program was given, after which a banquet was enjoyed in the A. O. U. W. hall.
The room was decorated with the alumni colors, old gold and cardinal. The school
motto, Onward and Upward, was worked in butter cups and red geraniums. Mr.
Seward Hakes was toast master. The meeting was much enjoyed, and was the
fore-runner of many others, each equally successful as the first. All the annual
meetings were held in June until 1901, when a motion was carried to meet in
December instead. This plan not proving as satisfactory as expected, a special
meeting, held in December, 1903, voted to return to the original time. A winter
reception was held, however, soon after this, and proved a very enjoyable affair.
MOVEMENT FOR PUBLIC LIBRARY:
At the annual meeting held in 1891 the first steps were taken toward the
establishment of a public library. The need of such an institution was set forth
in a paper read by Miss Harriett Russell. The initial steps for a library for
public use had already been taken in 1884, when the school library was opened to
the public. At this time Miss Fannie Avery, who has so long been an efficient
teacher in the school, acted as librarian. About four thousand books were placed
in the library at this time and many more later. The library occupied rented
rooms in the Grimes & Pelton block. Soon after the alumni meeting above referred
to was held, the building containing this school library was burned, and nearly
all the books lost. The necessity of a public library and a separate building
was now more fully appreciated than ever before. The library committee,
consisting of Miss Carrie Richardson, Miss Harriett Russell, Mrs. S. G. Heacock,
Mrs. E. G. Kern, Miss Cornelia Seamans and Messrs. A. D. Richardson, Gilbert
Pelton, J. H. Rudd, Seward Hakes and Harry G. Folts, which was appointed in 1891,
worked faithfully for a year, and was then reappointed to go on with the
undertaking. The project seemed a very great one for so small an association, but
the people of the community responded freely, and at an opportune time bounteous
support came from an unexpected source.
The association has a committee on school visitation, and also one on the public
library. The question of incorporation has been considered, but tthe necessary
legal steps have never been taken. In 1901 Mr. E. A. Powers, who has been in
charge of the school buildings almost from the time the first class graduated,
was made an honorary member of the association. The organization may fairly be
said to have accomplished even more than its founders hoped. It has bound the
graduates to each other and to the school, and has made the body an effective
educational force in the community.