The Haverford News was the College’s weekly student newspaper from 1914 to 1968. From the March 30, 1915 issue, we learn that the library has had a feline visitor.
LIBRARY BECOMES SARCOPHAGUS FOR UNFORTUNATE FELINE
Last week the library set aside traditions and became a “sarcophagus for cats,” besides being a “cemetery for books.” An unfortunate feline took up its residence in one of the walls and was forced to remain in spite of all efforts towards its dislodgement.
At twenty minutes past eight last Wednesday evening, the inmates of the library were awakened, some from thought, others from sleep, by a howl. A cessation, then two more howls, echoing and re-echoing through the lofty rafters. Another interval and then the storm broke, to vibrate unceasingly for an hour and a half in human ears, and dear knows how long in the ears of the wall through the long night. The whine was quickly located as coming from the topmost corner of the wall of the magazine section, and various sceptics hinted at its identity. Harding, looking round a book-case, said it was a rat, but this theory was dispelled when biologist Dunn declared it a kitten. It seemed as though all the horrors of Poe were to be staged in real life, but the source of the noise was far above investigation and it was with great regret that Dunn locked the creature in its grave at ten o’clock.
When Miss Sharpless and Miss Ingalls entered the library the next morning they were greeted with “a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, then quickly swelling into one, long, continuous, screaming, utterly inhuman howl.” Mr. Collins and his crew answered the calls for assistance and brought ladders which were placed on the outside of the building. Sharpless, star tumbler of the Gym team, offered his services and after ascending without tumbling reported the chimney bricked solid. Mr. Collins, on interview, said that “puss” had crawled up an old flue and did not possess “animal instinct” enough to crawl out again. Whereupon “puss” was left to his or her fate.
Friday: After a long search the noisy animal was located in a portion of the cellar between the old library and the new stock room, and thereupon released.
Cast of characters:
Harding: William Hover Harding (1892-1964), class of 1918, left in 1917. Went on to work for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway in Chicago, Illinois.
Dunn: Emmett Reid Dunn (1894-1956), class of 1915. Went on to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University and became Professor of Zoology at Smith College. Later joined the faculty of Haverford where he was Professor of Biology from 1929 to 1956.
Miss Sharpless: Miss Helen Sharpless (1878-1969), daughter of Haverford President Isaac Sharpless. An 1896 graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Helen received her library degree from Drexel College in 1901. She served as Assistant Librarian at Haverford College from 1896 to 1902 and Acting Librarian from 1914 to 1920.
Miss Ingalls: Florence L. Ingalls, a 1912 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and a 1914 graduate of New York State Library School. She served as Assistant Librarian from 1914 to 1917. She married Fred Vosburgh in 1917.
Mr. Collins: William Henry Collins (1859-1939), class of 1881. Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds from 1897 to 1920.
Sharpless: Francis Parvin Sharpless (b. 1894), class of 1916, captain of the Gymnasium team. Went on to serve in the Reconstruction Unit in France for 18 months, and became a salesman for Woodward & Company, Grain Brokers, and later Resident Manager of the Columbia Milling Company, in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
Puss: No one knows what became of Puss.