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Racial Integration at St. Mark’s: The Experience and Legacy of Ethan Anthony Loney

By Joey Lyons, VI Form


Racial Integration at St. Mark’s: The Experience and Legacy of Ethan Anthony Loney

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in public schools deprived minority children of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.[1] The Court’s decision in Brown repudiated the “separate but equal” principle, a principle that had prevailed in the United States since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). In his unanimous opinion, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”[2] After a second decision a year later, in Brown II, the Court demanded that public schools integrate “with all deliberate speed.”[3] However, the desegregation of public schools proceeded slowly, particularly in the South, which engaged in “massive resistance” and passed laws declaring the Brown decision invalid.[4] Unlike southern states, northern states did not reject the Court’s ruling outright. Instead, northern school boards drew school zones that reflected white and black neighborhoods, thus maintaining segregated school systems.[5] (more…)

The Architecture of New England’s Boarding Schools and Its Significance

By Claudia Chung, VI Form


The Architecture of New England Boarding Schools and Its Significance


Post Revolutionary War boarding schools focused on educating America’s elites. These schools were products of their time; their values reflect a set of specific principles that their founders deemed admirable. Although these values evolved over time, they often included concepts of leadership, service to the nation, and dedication to one’s family. Schools built in the mid- to late- eighteenth century, the “Academies”, seem to reflect vastly different values than those of their  “Episcopal” counterparts founded in the mid- to late- nineteenth century. Following the religious teachings of the Episcopalian tradition, episcopal schools boasted community and family based values; while the academies prided themselves on their focus on classical academics and service. The architecture of these schools closely follows architectural trends of their time and, at the same time, serves as powerful testament to the schools’ founding values. Despite each school founding with different affiliations, purposes, and people, the architectures of these schools deeply reflect the principles valued by the school —from its founding to present day.


The History of Coeducation in America and at St. Mark’s

By Sarah Robertson, VI Form

The History of Coeducation in America and at St. Mark’s

Gender inequality has been an enduring issue in America. In 1848, there was a call to end discrimination when women signed the Declaration of Sentiments at the the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.[1] But, it was not until 1920, seventy-two years later, voters ratified the 19th Amendment, the right for women to vote. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX, prohibiting discrimination, exclusion, and denial of benefits based on sex in all federally funded education programs.[2] It took until 1972 for coeducation, for the government to protect education of students of both sexes together. Though these strides were positive, they were certainly drawn out. The progression towards coeducation, both in the United States as a whole and at St. Mark’s School in particular, was similar: slow, always a step behind. However, both America and St. Mark’s ultimately have become strong, healthy, coeducational environments.


A War Hero Beyond the War

By Hans Zhou, VI Form

A War Hero Beyond the War

In the fall of 1931, a boy with dark hair from Manchester, Massachusetts, who was fairly short for his age, joined the St. Mark’s School Class of 1936 as a new second former.[1] His name was Henry Nichols Ervin, but many people used his nickname, Skip.[2] Born on October 21, 1918, in San Diego, California, Ervin and his family moved several times and attended schools in California, Nebraska, and Massachusetts prior to enrolling at St. Mark’s.[3] Ervin had a brother named Robert Gilpin Ervin, Jr., who was two years ahead of him at St. Mark’s, and a younger sister named Adele Ervin, who is still alive today.[4] Today’s St. Markers might know Henry Nichols Ervin as the abbreviated name “H. N. Ervin” on the board outside the dining hall marked with a star, indicating that he died in the war, among a long list of other people who also fought in this war. When waiting in line outside the servery, few people would look at the name on the wall and think of the life stories of these war heroes. However, Henry Nichols Ervin had a lasting impact on St. Mark’s School through his character. He was a student leader, he volunteered at Brantwood, and his family and friends funded various prizes to honor his character.


St. Mark’s Wartime Views

By Wendy Hirata, VI Form

St. Mark’s Wartime Views

With St. Mark’s School’s emphasis on service, the St. Mark’s student body shaped its wartime views based on the general atmosphere of World War I and the Vietnam War. Such student perspectives did not always agree with the general views of the public. Both St. Mark’s students and the American public showed less support for U.S. war effort from World War I to the Vietnam War. St. Markers shared the patriotic national preparedness and humanitarian mission with the general public during the World War I, but had more of an aloof, elitist attitude towards the Vietnam War and the anti-war movements of the time. (more…)

Unitarianism in New England

By Payton Nugent, VI Form

Unitarianism in New England

Rising liberal ideologies in the early nineteenth century caused a split of the more liberal beliefs of Unitarians from the conservative, orthodox beliefs of the Congregationalists. This separation occurred slowly, but gradually, throughout New England. When the majority of a church congregation preferred Unitarian beliefs to those of the Congregationalists, the parish converted to Unitarianism.[1] The most influential driving force of this split was William Ellery Channing’s book, Unitarian Christianity, which has become known as the “Unitarian Manifesto.”[2] Unitarian Christianity proclaimed many of the beliefs that caused the Unitarian sect to break from the Congregationalists. While the Congregationalists believed in the idea that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit were all the same entity, the Unitarians believed that Jesus was not God.[3] Unitarians also rejected predestination, which asserts that God determines a person’s salvation before birth.[4] His book was a result of many movements and rising liberal ideologies of the time such as the Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution, and Great Awakening. One church that this separation greatly influenced was the Pilgrim Church in Southborough, Massachusetts. (more…)

William Peck and Nativist Fears

By Jack Foley, VI Form

William Peck and Nativist Fears

From 1883 to 1894, William E. Peck was the first layman to be Head of St. Mark’s, a conservative, Episcopalian school. Many Trustees at the school believed that Peck was leading the school away from its religious roots. At the same time, in the late nineteenth century, Catholic immigrants came to the U.S. in huge numbers and threatened its Protestant elites. The changing nature of St. Mark’s and the U.S. threatened the Board of Trustees, which led to Peck’s dismissal. (more…)

George G. McMurtry and the Lost Battalion

By Jack Wood, VI Form

George G. McMurtry and the Lost Battalion

The Medal of Honor is an award issued by the President of the United States that is given to an individual for his or her bravery and selflessness of during war.[1] In World War I, arguably the most deadly and brutal of all wars, there were 122 Medal of Honor recipients in the U.S. Army.[2] According to the award criteria, each one of these men “distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.”[3] One of these recipients, George Gibson McMurtry Jr., was a student of the class of 1896 at St. Mark’s School.[4] His military service included acting as captain of Company E of the 308th Infantry of the 77th Division of the U.S. Army during World War I.[5] This infantry division is known as the famous Lost Battalion, a group of U.S. soldiers who were pinned down by German forces in the Argonne Forest in France in late 1918. George McMurtry’s steadfast leadership and courage helped the Lost Battalion survive five days of combat behind German lines. While over one hundred U.S. soldiers died in this engagement, many more would have lost their lives were it not for McMurtry’s ingenious thinking and optimism. (more…)