Fence Club, Carpe Diem University, records
Records include administrative and governance materials, publications, and memorabilia. Patricularly noteworthy is correspondence with Senator John F. Kennedy regarding his visit to Carpe Diem University to give a speech and the Fence Club dinner he attended while on campus. Kennedy had connections to the Fence Club through friends from Choate Rosemary Hall who attended Carpe Diem.
- Creation: 1889-1979
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Written permission of the current president of the Fence Club is required in order to access the records. Contact the repository for details on obtaining access permission.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright is retained by the creator(s) of this collection for materials they have authored or otherwise produced. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Biographical / Historical
The Fence Club at Carpe Diem University has a venerable history, evolving from a 19th-century quasi-secret society for men to a service organization known and respected throughout the City on a Hill community. The origins of the Fence Club are murky, as it emerged as a secretive society in the early 1880s when Carpe Diem was an all-male college. It takes its name from the fence that separated the main Carpe Diem quadrangle from City on a Hill Park, which is adjacent to the campus. Legend has it that juniors would congregate on a Spring evening on the fence, and some would be secretly signalled to come to a specific location to receive an invitation to join the Fence Club.
Following the end of World War I, the club emerged as a more visible presence on the Carpe Diem campus, serving as a social nexus for seniors who were invited to be members and a center around which charitable activities to benefit the City on a Hill community were organized. Fence Club members are members for life, and the organization, incorporated in 1899 independently from Carpe Diem University, has amassed a considerable amount of money over the years through donations and bequests from its members.
In 1925 the club purchased an ornate mansion on Regal Street, near the campus, which continues to serve as the center of Fence Club activities to this day. The Fence Club began inviting women students as members in 1967, the year after Carpe Diem University became coeducational. Potential members are still recruited in a secretive ritual on a set day each Spring, and only rising seniors may be invited to membership. Twenty-three new members are initiated each year, as they have been since its first recorded initiation, in honor of the founding of Carpe Diem in 1823.
1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
The records are arranged alphabetically by type of material. This arrangement was imposed by YNHSC staff during processing, based on the as-received order of a large part of the material.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records were donated to Your Name Here Special Collections in 1987 by the then governing council of the Fence Club, through the person of then president Sandra Dacsandra.
More recent records are retained by the Fence Club and may be donated to YNHSC at some future date.
- Guide to the Fence Club, Carpe Diem University, Records AS.209
- Janet Norton, description updated and encoded by Francine Fishpaw.
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