Upon opening this thick, blue book with the words, “Phillips Scrap Book” inscribed on the cover, you will become engrossed in page after page of Binnian’s artistic and historical portrayal of high school in the early twentieth century. Walter Babcock Binnian, from Peoria, Illinois, was born on October 28, 1884. He enrolled at Phillips Academy Andover in the fall of 1901 and pasted material in his scrapbook from 1902 until his graduation in 1904. Binnian participated in several clubs and organizations during the course of his high school career including Banjo Club, Guitar Club, Mandolin Club, Pot-Pourri and a secret society. His active social life on campus is documented in the programs from musical performances, invitations from girls to formal dances, wedding invitations, and menus from various dinners. He was a loyal sports fan, and, although he was not a straight-A student as shown through his transcripts, the inclusion of his math test in which he scored a 100% suggests that he was a accomplished scholar as well.
Binnian’s scrapbook is very fragile; many pages are loose or torn, the internal binding is falling apart, and the spine is missing. The book’s delicate condition, however, does not detract from its contents. Scattered throughout the book are playbills, invitations, copies of Andover’s school newspaper (the Philippian), telegraphs, letters, and excuse slips. Binnian included transcripts of two speeches given by socialists and several sports-related items such as scorecards, tickets, souvenirs, lineups, team photographs, and schedules. In these schedules, baseball, track, and football teams faced prep school rivals such as Exeter, St. Paul’s, Cushing Academy, Browne and Nichols (known as BB&N today), and played colleges including Tufts, Yale, Harvard, Williams, and Dartmouth. References to Abbot Academy also appear in the invitations to Abbot events. In its entirety, Walter Binnian’s scrapbook depicts the various components of life at Phillips Academy at the beginning of the twentieth century. His collection represents the excitement and anticipation for events such as Senior Promenade, Senior/Alumni Dinner, and the Andover/Exeter rivalry, demonstrating that one hundred years has scarcely altered our valued Andover traditions.
Scrapbook Box 58
By Susie Pratt, class of 2016