Robert Adams Dennison, also known as Bob or Denny by his friends, was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, on December 18, 1896. Dennison left home in Reading to attend Phillips Academy at the age of fifteen, in 1912. During his four years at the school, he kept a scrapbook to collect diverse pieces of his Andover career.
The scrapbook is Andover blue, with a white ‘A’ centered on the cover. The book itself was printed with several of the first pages specifically for athletic teams and a comment section for friends. Robert filled out minimal parts of the athletic pages, but the section on his friends offers an insight into who his friends were and the many inside jokes they had with him. Robert used the rest of the scrapbook to store athletic newspaper articles of the sports teams he followed, term reports, and other memorabilia from his experiences.
The two types of information he enjoyed collecting were those of athletics and his academics. Though there is no proof of his participation on sports teams, he collected scores and articles related to Phillips Academy football, hockey, and track and field including the games they played against Yale, MIT, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cushing Academy, and Exeter. On the other hand, he also retained his grades, Harvard examinations, and disciplinary material. According to his grades, he showed exemplary effort in Mathematics but performed less well in the languages he took. There were three reports from Harvard that he kept. Because the Harvard items date from the time when he was attending Phillips Academy, it is likely that they are his applications to Harvard, which is the college he later on went to attend. He kept two indefinite restriction slips as well as two personal notes, one from the registrar Cecil Bancroft, and the other from the Principal Al Stearns which were sent to Dennison’s parents addressing his poor grades and restriction.
Dennison kept other miscellaneous artifacts and articles pertaining to different events he attended and was interested in. For instance, he kept a General Joffre pro patria medal and a cigarette wrapping paper glued onto the pages of his scrapbook. Dennison did not include much information about his social life, interests, and accomplishments. I assume that when creating his scrapbook during his preparatory school years, it was not to necessarily tell others what his time at Andover was like, but instead to be able to allow him to recall the positive and negative aspects of his experiences at Phillips Academy.
by Daniel Pye, class of 2018
Scrapbook Box 73