Odds and quads

These items form part of remarkable treasure trove found in the brickwork of an old fireplace last month when two maintenance workers were repairing the Brigham Hall dormitory at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

The collection, now in the college archives, consists of two calling cards; a postcard from Mount Lowe in California; a note from a student replying to an invitation to a faculty dinner party; a page from a 1913 calendar; and a letter inside an envelope postmarked Crete, April 1912.

The last of these, which has turned up almost exactly 100 years after it was sent, is addressed to Miss Amy Hewes. It is signed "Eleanor" and describes an archaeological dig where she was delighted to see "graceful little pots" and "a tiny alabaster pig come out of their retiring place after 4,000 years in hiding".

After consulting the course catalogues for the period, Leslie Fields, head of archives and special collections at Mount Holyoke, was able to determine that Amy Hewes was a professor of economics and sociology, while the 22-year-old Eleanor Rowland was associate professor of philosophy and psychology.

It remains unclear how the documents ended up behind a fireplace.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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