AudioHarry Smallfield interview
John C. Palmer (00:02):
This is an interview with Professor Harry Smallfield, conducted by J.C. Palmer for the University of Guelph Alumni Association Alumni In Action group. Would you tell us a little about where you were born and what your father did for a living? And did you have and brothers and sisters?
Harry Smallfield (00:23):
Well, I was born in the town of Renfrew in Eastern Ontario and my father was publisher and editor of the Renfrew Mercury for many years. And I had one brother and no sisters.
John C. Palmer (00:42):
Did you attend high school in, uh, Renfrew?
Harry Smallfield (00:46):
Yes. I attended the high school there for three years.
John C. Palmer (00:52):
And would that complete your high school education?
Harry Smallfield (00:55):
Uh, yes. That's as far as I went in high school.
John C. Palmer (00:59):
And, uh... the, uh, what influenced you to attend, uh, college at Guelph?
Harry Smallfield (01:06):
Well, my chum at high school had, uh... made up his mind to come to Guelph and he talked to me about it quite a little bit. And, uh, I wasn't particular interested in the, uh, newspaper business, although I had been brought up in it. So I, uh, borrowed a college calendar from our district representative who had his office in Renfrew. And after reading it over I... liked the s- sound of the courses and decided that, uh, I would apply to Guelph for... entrance.
John C. Palmer (01:50):
I forgot, Harry, to ask you how far you had to go to high school.
Harry Smallfield (01:55):
Oh, well. I guess I had a walk of about a mile and a half or maybe a little longer. Eh... in the, uh, summertime, I often used to walk down the, uh, Grand Trunk Railway tracks. It ran pretty close to the, uh, collegiate. And, uh, in the winter, of course, I... sometimes went down the track, but most often went down through the town.
John C. Palmer (02:26):
Did, uh... you have bicycles in those days?
Harry Smallfield (02:29):
Oh, yes. We all had our bicycles and, uh... but I don't recall riding them to, uh, school particularly...
John C. Palmer (02:41):
Were there other young people attending college from, uh... the community of Renfrew?
Harry Smallfield (02:48):
No. Only, uh, my chum that I mentioned earlier. He was the only one, uh... There were some from Ottawa. But, uh, not from, uh, Renfrew. There was just the two of us.
John C. Palmer (03:03):
How did you first travel to college? At Guelph?
Harry Smallfield (03:08):
Well... everybody in those days came by train, unless they lived very close to Guelph, I suppose. And, uh, I remember I had to, uh, change at Charbot Lake for the, uh... train coming from Ottawa to Toronto. And then I changed at Toronto again for the, uh, Guelph train.
John C. Palmer (03:32):
Did you live in residence?
Harry Smallfield (03:33):
John C. Palmer (03:33):
When you got there? Can you describe how you... what you did when you first arrived at the college?
Harry Smallfield (03:42):
Yes. Eh... first second when we got off the train, we handed our, uh, baggage checks. Everybody brought trunks in those days. Eh... handed our baggage checks to Jack Philpot, who ran an express service, and he brought the up to the college. And on arrival at the college, we, uh... went into the secretary's office. In those days, uh, the registrar was called the secretary and Cap Gandier was secretary at that time. And, uh, after registering and paying our fee and being, uh, given our room number, why... we went into the president's office for a short interview with the president.
Harry Smallfield (04:31):
He, uh... It was his practice to interview every freshman for 5 or 10 minutes. Find out where they came from, what they were interested, and wishing them well in their college career.
John C. Palmer (04:45):
Who was the president at that time?
Harry Smallfield (04:47):
Oh, Dr. G. C. Creelman was president when I came in 1916.
John C. Palmer (04:53):
Uh... what did, uh... What was campus life like while you were a student?
Harry Smallfield (05:02):
Well, it's very different to what it is today, you can well imagine. At that time, all of the students, all years, lived in the residence. With the exception of perhaps two or three, uh, Guelph students who had their home in Guelph and a few who preferred to live off campus in homes adjacent to the campus. They, uh... Old Johnson Hall... not only was a resident, but it was also the administration building, the post office, and the president's residence.
John C. Palmer (05:44):
You mentioned, uh, something about a meeting room, uh-
Harry Smallfield (05:47):
Yes. Uh, there was a common room at one end of the, uh, Mills hall, and that was the Chemistry building in those days. And, uh, that was where, uh, the year- different years had their year meetings and, uh, YMCA had their meetings, and, uh, certain, uh, college clubs held their meetings there as well.
John C. Palmer (06:18):
Were there hops or dances, uh... regularly? Or...
Harry Smallfield (06:23):
In my first year, I think there were only two dances. The Halloween dance and the athletic dance in the winter term. The Halloween dance, of course, in the fall. But there were regular, uh, dances as came a few years later.
John C. Palmer (06:42):
Uh... what sports, uh... were played at that time?
Harry Smallfield (06:48):
Well, there was a full program of sports. There, of course, the, uh, field day in the fall. The track and field meet. And there was the, uh, football. Interyear football and interfaculty football. There was, uh...
John C. Palmer (07:08):
You didn't play football between you and the w- other universities or other...
Harry Smallfield (07:14):
No, not- not-
John C. Palmer (07:14):
Harry Smallfield (07:14):
... that time. No, not, uh... in my time during the war. That came after the war. But we did play some interfaculty matches with the, uh, Tor- Toronto faculties. The, uh... Then there was hockey, of course, in the winter. Indoor baseball, which is no longer played. We had a indoor track/field meet in the winter term. There was basketball. I think that pretty well-
John C. Palmer (07:47):
What sports did you take part in?
Harry Smallfield (07:49):
Well, I played hockey and basketball and, uh... also track and field.
John C. Palmer (07:55):
Harry Smallfield (07:56):
I, uh... In those days, uh, the letter O was awarded to, uh, members of the college first teams and I was fortunate to win three Os.
John C. Palmer (08:09):
Well! Um... was there an- an initiation when you arrived?
Harry Smallfield (08:17):
Oh, yes. Indeed there was. Uh... about a week after we arrived, an afternoon was set aside for the initiation. And we were put through various stunts, some of them not very dignified. Uh, I remember one of them was to, uh, pull us down a slide into a mud bath. Uh... and- but the final event of the day was the flag fight. And a pole about 15 feet high was sunk in the, uh, campus and a flag tacked to the top of that pole, and the pole was well greased. And the, uh, sophomore defended the flag and it was the, uh...
John C. Palmer (09:11):
Harry Smallfield (09:12):
... uh, fresh- freshmen's, uh, purpose to try and, uh, get to the flag and tear it down. I remember that, uh, we didn't manage it. We, uh... we couldn't, uh, get through the sophomore line and up the pole and get the flag down.
John C. Palmer (09:29):
Uh... did you live in residence?
Harry Smallfield (09:34):
Uh, yes I did, for, uh... for three months. I'd gone till Christmas. Uh, I altogether- altogether enjoy it. It was, uh... hard to get much work done at nigh because there was a lot of visiting back and forth. Uh, study hour was supposed to be from 8:00 to 10:00, but it wasn't very, uh, regularly observed. And, uh, lights went out at 10 o' clock and, uh, you couldn't study very well after that unless you had a lamp, which most of us did, of course. So after Christmas, I moved over to the Cosmopolitan Club.
John C. Palmer (10:15):
Harry Smallfield (10:18):
I might have mentioned in connection with the initiation that one of the, uh, rules we had to abide by was that we couldn't speak, uh to any of the Mac girls or go over to Mac Hall. But there was one exception to this. The college put on a- a- an evening entertainment for the freshmen at Mac Hall, it was called a promenade. And we had programs to fill out. There was no formal introductions, I presume. Although I don't remember exactly, but I guess we all had our names pinned on us somewhere. And, uh, we simply went up to a girl that we thought we liked the look of and asked her if we could have a promenade with her and put it on our program. And, uh... the, uh, bell in Mac Hall would ring and we'd pick out our partner we had for that promenade, walk up and down the hall for perhaps 10 minutes, try and make conversation. And then the bell would ring again and we'd exchange partners. And about 10 o' clock, light refreshments were served and by 11 o' clock, it was all over and we were, uh, back home, back to our residence again. Lights were left on that night until midnight.
John C. Palmer (11:45):
Your wife, Helen, was a graduate of Mac. Is that where you met her?
Harry Smallfield (11:51):
Well, I didn't actually meet her at Mac. I met her at a party downtown. Uh, she had been farmeretting at, uh... uh, Jordan Harbor for a couple of summers before she came to the college. And one of the chaperones at the farmerette camp was a Guelph woman. And, uh... she had a party and she invited Helen and, uh, some of the boys from the college. And that's where I met, uh, Helen first.
John C. Palmer (12:28):
How was the, uh, food at, uh, the college while you were there?
Harry Smallfield (12:33):
Well, I suppose... like all students, we grumbled about it. Uh... it was plentiful, there was plenty of it. Uh, lots of bread and butter. It was plain cooking. The... one thing we, uh, we did rather object to was that, uh, although there was a pitcher of milk on the table every meal, it was, uh, skim milk powder, uh, reconstituted with water. And we couldn't understand that when there was a good dairy herd across the campus, but we never saw any of that fresh milk. But the meals were... had much of a muchness. That is once we'd been through a week's menu, we knew pretty well what we were going to get every week. Except on special occasions such as Thanksgiving, there'd be, uh, something special. Or other special occasions through the year, there would be, uh, some effort made to give us a... a better meal. But, uh, I can't blame the dietician too much. Considering the amount of money she had to work with, I guess she was doing the best she could.
John C. Palmer (13:49):
Uh, who was the dietician at that time?
Harry Smallfield (13:51):
Uh... a Miss Mary Montgomery was dietician for... a few years after I came to the college. But she later married Steve Springer, who was the bursar. He was a widower, she was his second wife. And she was followed by Greta McKeil, who had been her assistant. And then Greta McKeil married Eddie Moore, who was a student at the college, and they moved to Michigan. And Kay Beck succeeded Greta McKeil. Kay Beck was there, I think, for 36 years before she retired.
John C. Palmer (14:34):
What were your expenses for a year of, uh... that is-
Harry Smallfield (14:40):
John C. Palmer (14:41):
... tuition and so on?
Harry Smallfield (14:44):
It doesn't amount to that much, really. Our board and room, uh, was $3.50/week. Our washing, the linen, bed linen, that was done free. Our, uh... tuition fee was $10/term, so that would be $20 for the year. And we had a $5, I think it was $5, contingency fee if we paid, uh, spring and, uh... at least fall and spring terms. And that was refunded to us if we didn't have any breakages in the laboratories.
John C. Palmer (15:27):
What did you do about your own laundry?
Harry Smallfield (15:30):
Well, a Chinese laundryman came up to the college and I used to pity him because he had a pretty rough ride most of the time. Uh... but he came up once a week and, uh, picked up our laundry and brought it back the, uh, following week.
John C. Palmer (15:49):
What was, uh... Did you have any, uh, student labor, uh... opportunities at that time?
Harry Smallfield (15:57):
It wasn't an opportunity, it was an obligation. Uh... we had to, uh, put in student labor, uh, two afternoons/week, fall and winter. And that consisted of, uh, we went down to the animal husbandry building and the farm manager allotted us to various departments for the afternoon. We might be out in the field, or in the field husband department picking over seed grain, or various jobs. I was fairly fortunate to... before Christmas, I happened to be sent to the physics department and there, I was turned over to, uh, Fred Ferguson, who was in charge of the, uh, field drainage work for the province. And, uh, he put me at, uh, drafting field drainage plans. I happened to have some aptitude for that kind of work and I got a permanent job with the... Fred for the rest of my student labor days. The-
John C. Palmer (17:07):
Harry Smallfield (17:08):
... pay for that work was $0.09/hour, but the ordinary student labor was $0.05/hour.
John C. Palmer (17:19):
What did you do in the summertime?
Harry Smallfield (17:21):
Well, I went back on the farm. I, uh, I met, uh... a chap by the name of Herb Graham who came from Britannia Bay and he and his brother had a 300 acre farm there. And, uh... I met him at the Cosmopolitan Club and they were looking for, uh, summer help. So, uh, he asked me to come down and see the farm and meet the family. And I did and they hired me for the summer of 1917. And I went back there again in the summer of 1918.
John C. Palmer (18:04):
Can you tell us a little bit about the... your professors at the uni... at the college?
Harry Smallfield (18:11):
Yes. In those days, uh, Prof Dean was head of the dairy department, of course, and his slogan was that prosperity follows the dairy cow. Eh... the other departments, uh... Prof Graham was head of the, uh, poetry department. Uh... Dr. Zavitz, head of the field husbandry. Dr. Stevenson, who came as a freshman, actually, the same year we did, in 1916. Uh, taking Dr. Reynold's place, who had moved to, uh, Manitoba. Uh, Dr. Stevens was head of the English department. Uh, Dr... or at least Professor Howitt was head of the, uh, botany department. And, uh, Dr. Batheum was head of the etymology. Dr. Batheum was getting pretty well up in years and, uh, didn't see too well and the students, uh, used to put it over him, uh, a good deal. He'd... take the roll call and, uh... people weren't always there. Somebody'd answer for somebody else and after he got started his lecture, they'd sneak out and he wouldn't see them going. But, uh, finally, he got onto that and had one of the, uh... lecturers come in and take the roll and stay in the class so that the, uh, students had to... stay right through the class.
John C. Palmer (19:52):
You mentioned something about, uh, uh... Dr. Stevenson and his...
Harry Smallfield (19:59):
John C. Palmer (20:00):
Harry Smallfield (20:01):
Yes. Uh, Dr. Stevenson, I guess, thought perhaps we needed, uh... uh, a little cultural, uh... buildup because, uh, right after he, uh, came, he bought a- a gramophone. And, uh, once a week, uh, he would, uh, play us a classical record before he started his English lecture. This went over well with the class of course and, uh... sometimes we were able to get the whole class taken up with music by clapping and calling for more and more. And he'd finally give in, put on another record, and we'd manage to put in the whole lecture period with music.
John C. Palmer (20:48):
Harry Smallfield (20:49):
And he was also instrumental in, uh... starting the... At least I think he was, in starting the art collection at the college. It was, uh... his idea to buy Tom Thompson's picture, The Log Jam. And, uh, that was purchased through, uh, contributions from the students and faculty and, uh, perhaps some of the citizens of Guelph. The price, as I remember it, was $250. Now, of course, it's worth thousands.
John C. Palmer (21:23):
Mmm. Who were the other members of the English department?
Harry Smallfield (21:28):
Uh, well, there was Professor Renolier. And, uh, a little later on, uh... uh, Er- Ernie McClade came on. There were only the two as I remember, when, uh...well no there was a student, uh... a student member, too, who gave some lectures to the freshman class.
John C. Palmer (21:52):
Uh... when I started in the dairy department, why, Bella Miller was there. Was she there-
Harry Smallfield (22:02):
John C. Palmer (22:02):
... when you were...
Harry Smallfield (22:02):
She was, uh... She wasn't there when I first came as a freshman, but she was shortly after.
John C. Palmer (22:10):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Uh... I suppose there were a lot of rules at the college, uh, uh... that, uh, you had to abide by.
Harry Smallfield (22:23):
John C. Palmer (22:24):
Can you tell us anything about that?
Harry Smallfield (22:28):
Eh... I don't recall so very many rules. We were supposed to attend, uh, chapel, which was held in Massey Hall on Sunday afternoon. It was a good meeting place for the, uh... boy and the girls from Mac Hall. They'd usually, uh, pair up there or afterwards and go for a walk. Eh...
John C. Palmer (22:52):
Harry Smallfield (22:53):
But I don't remember-
John C. Palmer (22:54):
Lights out were...
Harry Smallfield (22:55):
Pardon? Well, there was lights out at 10 o' clock, of course. But that, uh... that ended, uh, before, uh, too long. I don't remember. Of course, I had moved out at Christmas time, uh, my first year. And, uh, and I don't recall exactly when that, uh, lights out at 10 o' clock was discontinued.
John C. Palmer (23:20):
Uh... do you rem- member any of your... classmates particularly?
Harry Smallfield (23:30):
Yes. I remember some of them. D. C. MacArthur, uh... son of Peter MacArthur, the author. Uh, there was another thing that Dr. Stevenson started. He, uh, brought, uh, well known authors to the college for a series of lectures. And Peter MacArthur was one and Charles G. D. Roberts was another, I remember. And, uh, various well known Canadian writers were brought for an evening lecture. Eh... Howard Truman, uh, who went to Ottawa... That's another classmate that I remember. Uh... I remember Milton, of course, our secretary of the year and corresponded with them, uh, off and on through the years after graduation. And, uh... but, uh... it would take too long-
John C. Palmer (24:35):
Harry Smallfield (24:35):
... to recall all of them.
John C. Palmer (24:38):
Uh, what were some of the student pranks that, uh...
Harry Smallfield (24:43):
Well, one of the most popular ones was raiding the college, or at least the dining hall, locker rooms and storage rooms. Get extra food for midnight feeds. And, uh... the dairy department cheese, uh, storage was also raided on occasion. And the, uh, apiculture, uh, honey storage room. These, uh, supplies were stored under loose floorboards in the residence and, uh, after a raid, there'd be a search of the room, but I don't think anything was ever found.
John C. Palmer (25:22):
(Laughs). Tell us a bit about the time you- you were raiding the, uh... Mrs. Grueman's.
Harry Smallfield (25:32):
Oh, well. I wasn't on any of those raids, but, uh, the, uh, the Grueman residence was in one end of Johnson Hall, the old Johnson Hall. And, uh, there was a door from the... Grueman basement to the basement of the... uh... the residence. And some of the students, uh, managed to, uh, get through that door with a key or somehow, I don't know how they did it. But they, uh, managed to, uh, get in there and, uh, purloin some of Mrs. Grueman's jams and jellies that she put up.
John C. Palmer (26:13):
Harry Smallfield (26:17):
Oh, oh, you were asking about student pranks. I- I remember that, uh, I guess it perhap- it was after the war. Eh... possibly, I don't know if it was our third or fourth year. But anyway, the city of Guelph was given a- a German cannon and it sat down in front of the city hall. And one night, our year decided that that wasn't the place for it, that it should be out on the campus. So they went down and attached ropes to it and dragged it up the hill, and, uh, mounted it on the, uh, campus in front of the old cannon that sat there. It stayed there for four or five days and then, uh, it was ordered to- to be taken back, so they, uh, the college, the students made a parade of it. And all the years joined in and dragged the cannon back down to the, uh, city hall.
John C. Palmer (27:15):
Uh, what were some of your Halloween pranks?
Harry Smallfield (27:18):
Oh, well... Halloween, uh... one of the favorite ones, uh, was to, uh... take the skeleton of a horse that Dr. Reed, who taught the veterinary classes, had, uh, get it out of the room he kept it in, and take it over and put it on the steps of, uh, Mac Hall. Or if it wasn't there, it was hitched up to the cannon on the, uh, campus. Another, uh, prank they used to play was to grease the, uh... radials of the- or the rails of the, uh, street railway coming up to the, uh, college, so all that the, uh, streetcars couldn't get up. So they had... They couldn't get up the hill.
John C. Palmer (28:05):
(Laughs). Yeah. I remember that was trick-
Speaker 3 (28:08):
John C. Palmer (28:08):
... that we- we played-
Speaker 3 (28:09):
John C. Palmer (28:09):
... when we first came, too.
Speaker 3 (28:11):
John C. Palmer (28:13):
Yeah. Do you r- remember anything about your graduation? In particular.
Harry Smallfield (28:19):
Well, no because, uh... in those days, the graduation for the agricultural students was held at, uh, the University of Toronto. And it was very rarely that any of the OAC students attended their graduation. I know I didn't, I don't know that, uh... very many, if any of my year did. We, uh... Our results of our exam, final exams were mailed to us in due course and we'd finally, some months later, get our, uh, certificate of graduation. But, uh, no, there were no, uh, graduation in those days such as there is today.
John C. Palmer (29:06):
Harry Smallfield (29:07):
Well, no ceremonies.
John C. Palmer (29:08):
Yes. Uh, what did you do following graduation?
Harry Smallfield (29:13):
Well, I went on the dairy department directly. Uh... before I graduation, Professor Dean had called me in. The new dairy building was under construction and there was to be, uh... a condensed and powdered milk laboratory and an ice cream laboratory in it. And, uh, he asked me if I would take over... uh, those departments. If I came on the staff and I said that I would, so... I started in the, uh, dairy department in, uh, first of July, I guess. Maybe it was the first of June. The, uh... In 1922. And as... worked there through the summer and taught classes in the fall, but left at Christmas because I thought I- I- I should prepare myself for the new duties in the new building and decide to take graduate work at Iowa State College. And, uh, I went to Iowa State in March of 1922 and returned at the end of December 1922.
John C. Palmer (30:29):
How long did you stay at the, uh... dairy department?
Harry Smallfield (30:34):
Well, I was a permanent employee for 20 years. In 1942, I... they realized an ambition I had had for a good amount of years and that was to own a farm. I loved the work on the farm. And, uh... so I- I looked around and I found a farm close to Guelph that I liked. Decided to buy it. And, uh, told Professor Sprole what was in my mind and he said, "Well..." It was all right with him, but perhaps I should see the, uh, president- (silence)
Harry Smallfield (31:13):
... the, uh, central policy of the department of agriculture that a staff member couldn't, uh, own and live on a farm and be a permanent employee of the college. Although at that time, there were at least three members of the staff who were... own- who did own and live on their farms. I decided that, uh, I'd send in my resignation, which I did. And I bought the farm and then immediately after, I was asked to come back and, uh, teach for the academic year. That suited me all right. I had the summers on the farm and the winters at the, uh, college. I did that for 12 years. So that altogether, I spent 32 years at the, uh, department.
John C. Palmer (32:09):
Who were the other members of the, uh, dairy department while you were there?
Harry Smallfield (32:15):
Oh, at that time? Well, there was Professor Sprole... and, uh, Professor Hamilton came on in 1924. And there was T. J. McKinney, who was the cheese instructor. And, uh... myself. And I guess, uh... that was the, uh...
John C. Palmer (32:41):
Harry Smallfield (32:43):
... the permanent staff at- at that, uh, time. In, uh, 1924, 25. Later, uh, Olan Ervine, uh, came on as cheese instructor. And, uh... Oh, I guess this was quite a bit later. Uh, Sandy Pearson came on the staff. A- and, uh... I left, finally, in 1954.
John C. Palmer (33:15):
There were some, uh, uh... short courses-
Harry Smallfield (33:20):
John C. Palmer (33:21):
... of people that have taught there, too.
Harry Smallfield (33:23):
Yeah. There were a three month dairy short course and, uh... extra instructors were brought in for that. Uh... Dan McMillan, in the early years, taught butter and Clarence Lackner came in to teach the, uh... uh, separator work and mark and milk work. And, uh... and later, J. C. Palmer came in to teach the butter work.
John C. Palmer (33:51):
Harry Smallfield (33:51):
For some years.
John C. Palmer (33:55):
Harry Smallfield (33:56):
I don't know whether I mentioned Miss Miller on the, uh... the staff and, uh...
John C. Palmer (34:01):
No. No, you didn't.
Harry Smallfield (34:02):
... in those early years. Well, she- she was. When I came on the staff, she was on the staff then.
John C. Palmer (34:07):
And what did she teach?
Harry Smallfield (34:08):
She taught soft cheese making and farm butter making.
John C. Palmer (34:13):
There- there was a woman by the name of Rose, uh...
Harry Smallfield (34:16):
Well, she was be- before Miss Miller.
John C. Palmer (34:19):
Harry Smallfield (34:20):
John C. Palmer (34:20):
Was she there when you were there?
Harry Smallfield (34:22):
No. She wasn't there when I was there. I- I never knew her.
John C. Palmer (34:26):
Can you tell us anything about the old... where the old dairy department was? And, uh...
Harry Smallfield (34:30):
Well, yes. The, uh... The original creamery and dairy was the white brick building, which later became the, uh... meat lab and, uh, judging pavilion for the animal husbandry department. That is the oldest building on the campus. The two story red brick building, dairy building, was built in 1893. And, uh, that served along with the, uh, white brick building until 1922, when the, uh, new dairy building was opened.
John C. Palmer (35:13):
Well, where was this red brick building that you talk about?
Harry Smallfield (35:16):
John C. Palmer (35:17):
Was it torn down?
Harry Smallfield (35:19):
No, no. It's still on the campus. And as far as I know, the white brick building is, too. I don't know, uh, what use they're put to right now. The, uh... After the dairy left the, uh, the red brick building, the, uh... farm economics took it over. And the animal husbandry took over the, uh, the old creamery and cheese factory and, uh, turned it into a judging pavilion and meat lab.
John C. Palmer (35:50):
It seems to me, Harry, that, uh, I... We call hearing that the old sheep barn was the oldest building on the campus.
Harry Smallfield (35:59):
Well... I- I believe that the... creamery and cheese factory antedated the sheep barn. The sheep barn was originally, uh, the carriage house for the president. And it, uh... used to sit near the, uh, old residence, the Johnson- the original Johnson Hall. And it was moved to its present location, uh, when the, uh, chemistry building was built. But, uh... uh, Dr. Stevenson, uh, wrote, uh, a brief history of the, uh, college a good many years ago. And in that account, he stated that the, uh, uh... uh, white brick building, the creamery and cheese factory, was the oldest building on the campus.
John C. Palmer (36:53):
Yeah. You mentioned about the, uh... uh, the use that the old carriage building was put to and, uh-
Harry Smallfield (37:02):
John C. Palmer (37:03):
... uh, can you tell us about the...
Harry Smallfield (37:05):
Well, uh... Dr. Creelman, uh, had his carriage, uh, kept there and a team of horses. And every Sunday, if the weather was fine, Dr. Creelman and his, uh, family would be driven down to church by a coachman. During the week, the coachman served as the mailman. Went down and picked up the mail in a horse and buggy. But on, uh, Sundays, he was the coachman for Dr. Creelman and drive him down to church. Uh, later, he had a MacLaughlin Buick, uh, automobile and in bad weather, why, they used that. But if the weather was fine, he liked to take the carriage down.
John C. Palmer (37:51):
Did he still have the coachman drive him down? Or did...
Harry Smallfield (37:55):
Oh, yes. The coachman drove them down to, uh, church on Sundays.
John C. Palmer (38:00):
Uh, you mentioned that, uh, your wife Helen... started the cafeteria.
Harry Smallfield (38:06):
John C. Palmer (38:07):
The old cafeteria.
Harry Smallfield (38:08):
Yes, the original cafeteria was the brainchild of Dr. Reynolds, really. And, uh, in 19... He thought that there should be some place for the students to get a snack and, uh... meet together if they wanted to. And he conceived the idea of a cafeteria. And, uh... he engaged, uh, Helen Gaiman, who later became my wife when she graduated in 1922, to manage the, uh, cafeteria in the basement of the dining hall. And, uh... it was to be open for meals, three meals a day, from 8:00 in the morning till 10:00 at night. Which meant that, uh, Helen had to be there by 7:00 in the morning to get things ready for breakfast and it was usually midnight before she got away at night. Because, uh, about a quarter to 10:00, the students would drift in for tea and toast or coffee and toast and a... chin wag. And, uh, although it was supposed to close at 10:00, it rarely did. And even if it di- did, uh, close at 10:00, they'd stay on talking and having more tea and toast.
John C. Palmer (39:34):
Harry Smallfield (39:34):
Until by the time everything was cleaned up for the night, it was often midnight... most often midnight before she got away. And she kept that up for three months or at least until Christmas time. And she, uh... convinced a cousin of hers to come and assist her after Christmas, which, uh, made it a little easier. They were able to take off and have the afternoons off and get a little rest. But it, uh... it nearly broke her health.
John C. Palmer (40:09):
How long did she stay on with that, uh...
Harry Smallfield (40:11):
Oh, on- only on until we were married. The end of October, 1923.
John C. Palmer (40:19):
I see. Harry, we didn't mention anything about Conversat. Uh, can you tell us something about the Conversat with your...
Harry Smallfield (40:26):
Yes. Uh... during the war years, of course, it was discontinued. But the- the first Conversat was held in 1904, I believe, in the old biology building. But the following year with the, uh, completion of Mac Hall, it was moved over to Mac Hall. Now it wasn't a dance in those days, it was strictly a promenade with, uh... instrumental and vocal selections, uh, interspersing the promenade. And, uh, it wasn't only for the college students and the faculty. Uh... downtown people were invited to it. And, uh, friends of the college, uh, government officials and so on were invited to the Conversat in those years. And, uh, it continued-
John C. Palmer (41:23):
Was it noted as the Conversat? Or are you saying-
Harry Smallfield (41:27):
No. It was the Conversat [inaudible] it was called in those years. It wasn't until a good many years later, I guess in our- my time that it became the Conversat. But, uh... uh, during the war years, it was dropped. But in our, uh... my third year, which was, uh, 19... uh, 20. In the fall of '20, the faculty decided that the, uh, Conversat, as we called it, should be, uh, started again. And it was given to the... It was always the third years' responsibility to put on the Conversat. Had been right from the, uh, start.
Harry Smallfield (42:11):
But, uh, we had nothing to go on, we had no minutes of, uh... meetings of previous Conversat committees, so, uh, we formed our committees and, uh... the Conversat was held in February. And, uh, not in Mac Hall. We, uh, managed to get authority to have it in the, uh, dining hall. And it made a beautiful building, of course, for the dance. And we hired a well known orchestra from Toronto. I forget who it was now. One of the popular orchestras of the day. And, uh... the reception started at 9 o' clock and, uh, the president and the Minister of Agriculture received the, uh, guests. And, uh, then dancing was started and continued on until 2 o' clock in the morning. And, uh, we had to have everything, uh, cleaned up and the tables back in place for breakfast for the following morning, for the Saturday morning. It was held on a Friday night.
Harry Smallfield (43:29):
Uh, in those days, of course, the- the dining hall, everybody sat at tables. We had linen tablecloths and serviettes and, uh, waitresses to wait on a table. Very different from, uh, today, although I believe that they're going back to that now.
John C. Palmer (43:49):
You mentioned that, uh, your wife, Helen, catered for the...
Harry Smallfield (43:53):
John C. Palmer (43:54):
Harry Smallfield (43:55):
For the 1923 Conversat. Uh, she was given the job. Uh, the cafeteria was in operation then and, uh, the cafeteria, uh, catered for the Conversat. There were three or four dinner dances and, uh, the, uh, tables had to be set up and cleared off in between each one down in the cafeteria. It was quite an undertaking. Of course, she had extra help for that.
John C. Palmer (44:30):
Uh, you mentioned, Harry, that the president's house has... has not always been the president's house.
Harry Smallfield (44:37):
Well, n- n- not what is known as the president's house now. When I came as a student, the president lived in the end- one end of the, uh, old Johnson Hall. And, uh... the- what is now referred to as the president's house was the, uh... uh, house for the head of the animal husbandry department. When I came, George Day and Mrs. Day lived there. And then when he, uh, retired or left the college, uh, Professor Wade Tool and Mrs. Tool moved in there. And, uh, it wasn't until after, uh, Wade Tool's death that the, uh... what is now the president's house became known as- as the president's house. And, uh, Dr. Christie, uh, moved in there.
John C. Palmer (45:34):
Was Dr. Christie the first president that lived in the-
Harry Smallfield (45:37):
As far- as far as I remember, yes, he was the first president to, uh, to live there.
John C. Palmer (45:42):
Um, can you tell us a little bit a... I remember you hearing one time about the snowball caper in the...
Harry Smallfield (45:53):
John C. Palmer (45:54):
... Johnson Hall.
Harry Smallfield (45:55):
Well... uh... Dr. Creelman and Mrs. Creelman were very hospitable and after chapel on Sundays, they held open house for students and faculty, anybody. There were no invitations, uh, issued. You could just drop in, have a cup of tea and a chat. And, uh, on this one occasion, uh... one of the students got up on the roof of Mac- of, uh, Johnson Hall in the winter time after snowfall. And it was quite easy to get out on the roof of Johnson Hall. And, uh, he rolled up a snowball, dropped it down the chimney of Dr. Creelman's residence into the fireplace, and they always had a fire going. And that created quite a consternation because it, uh, threw the, uh... fire apart, blew it apart and out onto the floor. And this chap then got down off the roof, and down through the building, and knocked on the Creelman's door, and went in, and helped to clean up the, uh, mess. That, uh... that's the snowball incident I think you're referring to.
John C. Palmer (47:19):
You know the fellow that-
Harry Smallfield (47:20):
Well, I know him, but I'm not gonna mention any names.
John C. Palmer (47:23):
Harry Smallfield (47:23):
John C. Palmer (47:25):
You made some reference, Harry, to the, uh... when you moved over to the Cosmopolitan Club. Would you go on and tell us a little bit more about that?
Harry Smallfield (47:35):
Well, it... Yes. The, uh... The Cosmopolitan Club was... I- It wasn't a fraternity, it was a... a meeting place, really, for... uh, students from, uh, foreign countries. There were Englishmen and, uh, Americans. There was one South African. And, uh, Canadian students, of course, too. And, uh, now this Cosmopolitan Club was in... a house opposite the consolidated school. And when the, uh, club disbanded some years later, Professor A. W. Baker bought it for his own home. The, uh... the club had seven bedrooms and these were rented out to students. And as well as that, it had a- a... pool table in one room and a big double living room where, uh... members could, uh, play cards or any other, uh, games. Checkers or anything like that.
Harry Smallfield (48:47):
And, uh, Mr. and Mrs. James Slinger and their daughter had an apartment in the basement of the, uh, club. And they, uh, acted as caretakers. And Mrs. Slinger, who was an excellent cook, would also make up, uh... light lunches for anybody who wanted them. And tea and toast in the evening was, uh... very popular and we kept her busy through the evening. And oth- other members could drop in and have, uh, light refreshments, too. Uh, now Mr. and Mrs. Slinger were the father and mother of Jack Slinger, who, uh, for many years was the, uh... uh... swine herd, or managed the swine herd at the, uh, college. And was the great... or the grandfather of, uh, Dr. Stein Slinger, who was on the staff for many years.
Harry Smallfield (49:54):
Uh... we, uh... We also used to have Mrs. Slinger make up sandwiches and we'd take them up to the Mac girls. And they'd let a basket down from their rooms and we'd put the sandwiches in the baskets. And they'd haul them up and then we'd skedaddle before anybody saw us. Uh, the club had, uh... good many financial difficulties as times were stringent. The, uh... We only rented the building, we didn't own it. And, uh... at that time during the war, coal was very difficult to get. We could only buy 500 pounds of coal at a time and it was pretty poor quality, a lot of slate in it. And some months, uh, we had trouble, uh, finding the money to, uh, pay for it. And the, uh, the club finally, I think, uh... disbanded, uh, because there was a lack of interest in it and, uh, it had to be wound up. And, uh... that was the end of the Cosmopolitan Club. It served its purpose over the years, but it finally petered out-