(The following three paragraphs are quoted from the Introduction to the first edition).
"In reviewing the history of classmates and college acquaintances, the thoughtful reader will probably meet with three kinds of surprises. He will be agreeably surprised, that some from whom he expected little, have done so much and done it so well. He will be sadly disappointed, that some who promised so much in College have accomplished so little after graduation, and some, alas! who did pretty well in College have made an utter shipwreck in the voyage of life. But most frequently of all he will be surprised to see that the great majority have been in after life so nearly and essentially what they were in College; though after all this is only the old law that the boy is father to the man, and whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
"On the whole we shall doubtless feel that we have no occasion to be ashamed of our mother or her sons; on the contrary, the more we know of her and of them, the more we shall love and honor both. If they are her jewels, she is their pearl. The brotherhood of our College answers somewhat to the description which the Apostle Paul has given of the church in Corinth: Not many mighty, not many noble, not very many who sit in the high places of political power and preferment; but a great number of those whom God has called to run in his service, and to do the hard work that needs to be done in the church and the world. We have our leaders in every sphere of public life, of whom we are justly proud. But the rank and file of our sacramental host, the fighting and the working men who are serving their country and mankind in the toil and battle of life, in business and the professions, in the pulpit and the press, in literature and science and education and religion---these are the strength and the glory of Amherst.
"The Alumni cannot but be grateful to the authors for a book which, besides being so instructive and so convenient for reference, will serve to brighten the chain of those college friendships which are among the most sacred that bind together human hearts, and which only grow more hallowed with the flight of years. We older graduates especially must feel drawn closer to each other and our younger brothers as we read these records of the living and the dead, and we may well seize the occasion to greet Alma Mater and all her children in the words of Longfellow: Morituri Salutamus."
Amherst College, May 10, 1883.
* * * * *
* The Editors have honored me with the perilous privilege of adding a line to my father's introduction to the first edition of the Biographical Record prepared by Professor Montague almost fifty years ago. My father was graduated in 1830, and knew personally almost every man referred to in the Record.
I can imagine him swelling with joy and pride as he read the names of "the fighting and working men serving their country and mankind in the toil and battle of life---the strength and the glory of Amherst College." He would still be saddened by "some, alas! who did pretty well in college and made an utter shipwreck of the voyage of life." I believe he might possibly add a kindly, humorous word of tolerance of those who never studied Greek and seemed to be doing nothing in College, and have since done more than "pretty well."
He would be even more emphatic in his sympathy with the editors and their helpers who labored and sweat blood to extract information from the heedless and careless souls of young and old alumni. Were he talking to us he would doubtless quote, as he was always doing: "Be men, dear friends; keep up a stout heart and trust one another up and down your firm ranks," and would probably add: "We are here to beat the record" --- "In fertile Phthia, mother of heroes."
God bless Amherst College and all her children.
Gratefully and cordially,
Amherst, May 10, 1927.
* [That Professor John M. Tyler was willing to write this preface for us, following the example of his illustrious father, who wrote the introduction to the first edition in 1883, is a source of great satisfaction. The two Tylers, known affectionately to all generations of Amherst men as "Old Ty" and "Tip," had the opportunity of being personally acquainted with every student at the College during the whole century of its existence. It is in such traditions as this that Amherst College has always been peculiarly rich.---THE EDITORS.]
Page last updated: 14 August 2002
©1998-2002, Richard J. Yanco