What follows is a "class history"--the history of the class of 1894, written by a student, the class "Historian," for the 1895 yearbook. For a half-century, every class at Cal would write its own such history for the annual yearbooks.
The History of Ninety-FourINASMUCH as the Class of Ninety-Four possesses all of the essential characteristics of a great nation, its Historian is under imperative obligation, not only to search faithfully in every direction for unimpeachable data and evidence, but also to endeavor to apply to the study of the varied phenomena manifested in its expeistence--the methods of philosophy and science.
So great is the magnitude of the task, when the achievements of so remarkable a Class are to be adequately recorded, that no one can hope to succeed without first finding some guiding principle, some true and tried modus operandi, to determine the most profitable line of research.
Mere evidence of the existence and warlike deeds of Ninety-Four can be obatined almost without effort. The lists in the Recorder's office of famous cinches, the furrows of care on our faculty's brow, inscriptions of varying import on relic in the class rooms, and the deeper imprint on the side of Old Mountain, leave no grounds on which a Whately may question its existence. He may prove that Napoleon was but a mythical hero, that the Military Department never controlled the State University, but as long as the sense and reason of man are capable of perception and deduction, no logician will ever be able to say: "Behold the power of my logic; I have proven Ninety-Four never dominated the college world."
The records of contemporaneous history, legend and well-authenticated tales from the domains of politics, literature, pranks, and Heagertydom show conclusively that a great Class once dwelt, now astonishg the aborginees with deeds of valor and feats of strategy, now pursuing diligently the acts of peace, 'neath the shadow of Grizzly.
But when the history is to be written, when the meaning back of these events is to be read, then the Historian prays for suggestions--humbly implores the aid of the Sovereign of Thought.
"Who prayeth well shall never be denied," sang the great poet. The gentle heaven-lit face of our patron saint appears and Professor Joe says, "Evolution"!
Evolution! Magic spells that opens the gate which bars the single path to all solutions. Philosopher's stone of thought, thou transmutest all base conceptions to the pure gold of Truth!
The clouds break and are swept by the gentle zephyrs of Hope and Inspiration to the edge of the horizon. The warm, rich sunlight lies across the open way. He hears the exalted poet of football sing sweetly, while the sun pauses once again to list to the music of his words.
"So! The wedge is broken. Now we've got 'em, sure."
"Pile in on them, fellows. We're the toughest; we'll endure."
The history of the Class of Ninety-Four must begin at the beginning.
More than a thousand days ago there could be found on the campus bleak, in the corridors of old North Hall, in the Recorder's office, everywhere, probably, where extends the classic shades, a great shapeless mass of undifferentiated youth--characterless, motiveless, lacking self-consciousness, but animated by a resident force of infinte potentialy, this Freshman Class began the struggle for existence in a territory where supremacy was fiercely contested by the older strangely evolved species. The new aspirant for the right to live and be happy was at once attacked on every side. The sophomore tribe and the Senior tribe saw in it a dangerous rival. The jolly Junior people gave it but a half-hearted welcome as an ally.
In all men, there is a certain dim vision of the future. Ninety-Two foresaw that the new ally would some day wrest the laurel from its own ambitious brow.
To Ninety-Three the fearful college world gave the command to crush the new competitor. Joyfully the proud Class accepted the mission.
Why rehearse the accounts of the long and sanguinary warfare. Enough to know the great forces that clashed. It was the meeting of science and number; it was blind force against self-directed activity. Titans strove, and pigmies ceased mining into the mountain of drudgery and advised the combattants. Finally--
"The cries were all muffled, the Sophies were still,But the new Class had, after all, merely obtained a foothold. The pressure of circumstances now became more severe. The most terrible epidemics, the dread examination, attacked those all unprepared for resistance. Again the weaker fell, but the fittest survived.
As the shapeless mass became gradually organized, centres of energy began to be self-locative, and the great force of political influence made itself for a time the dominatn center of intelligence over an organism fast becoming more and more highly evolved.
Exultant in its primal vitality and capable now of conscious volition, the Class of Ninety-Four entered upon its proud course of social success, and in its "Glees" gave intimation of the variety of its natural endowments.
Full of potentiality of success, it made preparations for the grandest Bourdon, the most solemn and impressive ceremony that ever mankind had witnessed since the fall of Adam.
This was a signal of strife to commence again. All the forces of man and nature conspired to crush the last comer. But the spirit that animated the Class of Ninety-Four was of Divine Essence and could not die. Despite the perils of Sophomore guile, despite superior strength and position, with added glory instead of diminished sploendor, the Class of Ninety-Four burned its coffin as ne'er was coffin burned before. The flame from teh sacrifice rose to the Heavens, and the eyes of Venus and Mars flashed back inspiring light.
Proud in its strong manhood and fair womanhood, Ninety-Four strove and conquered all obstacles that lay in the various paths to fame. Efficient officers gave character to the Sophomore year, and once persecuted Freshmen, now aggressive Sophomores, turned upon a new class that had appeared, and showed that their experience had borne noble fruit.
The class that once struggled for existence now dominated the college world. 'Twas Ninety-Four that put the cart upon the gymnasium, the white elephant upon the campus, fifty tied Freshmen near the back-stop, the Faculty in woe and tribulation. 'Twas Ninety-Four that gave the hop of all hops.
But as Spirit came into existence and rose superior to matter, the magnificent energy of Ninety-Four turned toward new directions. The sovereign body unconsciously deleted its powers. All governmental functions were assumed by a coterie of talented statesmen, the products of whose activities will always serve as a model to admiring man. Literary duties became esoteric. Digging became the privilege and the occupation of the selected. The great Class of Ninety-Four, thrived by warfare, "exams." and society, but ever triumphantly exultant, reposed gracefully upon its laurels.
The period of individualism had arrived. Men strove for their own honor and glory of the Class. The fame of Ninety-Four was spread through the land.
Football engaged the energy of some of her noblest sons, and with her ultimate disappearance from among rations, passed away many secrets of the great science, as well as its most famous heroes.
Nor were the gentler arts neglected. The stage, great refining influence of civilization, called for volunteers, and among those who hastened to respond, appeared one whose contributions was of such worth that, presented in the name of Ninety-Four, it serves, had the Class never another record to show, as a surety that Ninety-Four is a Class destined to immortal fame.
But the Historian must pause, for his admiration aroused by a mere rehearsal of the annals of that great Class it has been his pride and pleasure to trace through the ages, is itself evolving into an enthusiasm, which, however merited, is not proper to the grave student of history.
Nevertheless, because it is impossible to study the part without becoming filled with impressions of the necessary sequence of future events, he ventures to accept and endorse the account of the bard who, prophet and seer, with mind intent on things of Heaven, saw--
"A spirit rising up to Heaven's gate,