Blast from the Past—May 4, 2021 Edition

By Shannon Zeltmann, Staff Writer

This week is a bit different from most. I have been writing the Blast from the Past articles for the past four years, and this will be my final one before graduating. So, here are some of my favorite articles I have found these past few years.


In October 1942, a second year of a new wartime tradition is discussed in the Gettysburgian. The “Keep ‘Em Smiling” program was created to send letters to Gettysburg students and alumni who were off fighting in the WWI. Students in fraternities sent letter to those who were part of their fraternities, while other students wrote to the ones who were not part of them. They hoped to send two letters per week to the Gettysburgian service men. These were also mailed free, thanks to the efforts of the program, as to not to deter students from writing letters. This program made a sincere effort to keep their fellow alumni smiling, even in the hardest of conditions.

In March 1954, a popularity pole was taken by students and one person came on top—the postman! Mr. Deitch was the “most sought after, fought after man on campus.” The Gettysburgian interviewed him, to see what the daily life of a mailman was. He stated he enjoys delivering check and love letters, because they are always alike, “except for the signatures” and “the most interesting ones are sealed.” Deitch stated that there were about 2000 mail pieces for the area, with the college having the most main. He said he was also a battlefield guide. Hopefully, everyone gets a letter every once in a blue moon to their Gettysburg Address!

In February 1995, the first ever Snowball took place. Everyone’s favorite social dance at Gettysburg began with many of the same traditions that take place today. The Buzz Jones Big Band played first for a few hours with a DJ playing afterwards until 2 am. The first one did not have clubs making lanterns for the night—that came a few years later. Over 800 people went to Snowball that year, which the planning committee did not expect. They anticipated 300-500 people, but they were happy to see so many people go. Already they had plans to have it again the next year, and now Snowball has been a tradition for over twenty-five years.

In November 2007, Dennis Mickley describes what it is like to work on Glatfelter bell. Mickley tells the Gettysburgian how he has been working on the bell of the past 24 years, which has always run on the modern electric mechanism when he has worked on it, instead of the weight and pulley system. The Glatfelter bell is rung manually for important ceremonies and at all other times is rung by the mechanism. Jokingly, Mickley said that he never saw the Glatfelter ghost in the tower, and he has only had to ring the bell with a hammer once when he did not know how to work the bell when he first began. However, all students were thankful again to hear the 125-year-old bell ring an hour later than normal on Sunday.


These articles and more from the Gettysburgian (1897-2010 issues) can be found on the Gettysburgian digital archives, provided by the Special Collections & College Archives:

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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