Changes on Campus During World War II Part III

Here is our final blog post! In this post, we will discuss the role of race during wartime Loomis, the  news of the war on campus, and we will even talk about air raid drills! We will also compare Loomis’ war experience to other area prep schools, including bond parades, athletics, and the students’ personal efforts to support the American troops.

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Above: 1942 yearbook dedicated to the men of Loomis serving their country
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Above: Article from Loomis Log 1944-1945


While researching, we stumbled upon an article titled “Chinese Refugees Come to Loomis Via Turkish and Chilean School”. The first sentence peaked our interest most. It read “One of the good results of World War II is the tendency toward mutual understanding among the races.” This directly answers the question we have been asking, what were some changes on campus during World War II? Because much of the war was based on racist views of Jews and others by the Nazi party we can assume Loomis wanted to become more diverse as to not exclude others like the Nazi party did. Loomis did not want to exclude other races and wanted to learn about these people and their cultures. Most students at Loomis at the time were white and Loomis wanted diversity. This article discusses how Loomis increased the number of foreign students they had. It also talks about the arrival of two Chinese refugees from Chile. The boys were asked about the Chinese view of America and therefore expanded their knowledge of another country and the people who live there.

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Above: Article from Loomis Log 1944-1945



We found another fascinating article about when the 1945 seniors heard a talk about radar and air-crews. One night in the Palmer common room  most of the senior boys met and listened to someone talk to them about these training programs. Learning about the war and different ways they could help became a regular thing for boys at this time. People even visited campus to inform students about what they could do or learn to help. Despite living fairly isolated on “The Island,” there was no escape from the knowledge of the war and recruitment of boys and men across the nation to help out.



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Above: Air Raid instructions from 1941-1942 Log issue


Air raid drills and instructions were introduced during World War II, and each student was expected to know exactly what to do and where to be when and if the time came. Practice drills were performed often and were taken very seriously. The Air Raid signals was a series of short blasts on fire horn and sirens. This was played so that it could be heard all over campus in case of a real situation in which they would need to prepare all students for. The all clear signal was simple and easy to remember; it was a long continuous blast or ring. This training drill prepared each student for not only an air raid but any situation.

Now, we will begin to talk about the war experiences of other schools during WWII. We reached out to the archivist at Chase Collegiate School, a private day school located in Waterbury Connecticut, and gained an new and fascinating perspective of the war. At the time of the war, Chase was an Episcopal girls’ boarding school called Saint Margaret’s School for Girls. The school was extremely supportive of the war effort, boaders dedicated weekends to attending first aid classes, creating boxes of fun games to keep soldiers busy, and knitting scarves, hats, mittens, and bottle covers to send to send to troops. Even the youngest elementary school students helped support the war effort. We were amazed to learn that the elementary students collected 67,423 lbs of scrap metal in just one drive! They also managed to collect 16 lbs of keys alone! The whole school frequently hosted war bond drives, stamp drives, and even skating parties to raise money for the Red Cross that were open to residents of Waterbury. In 1944, the girls sold more than $22,150.00 worth of bonds! One senior class even voted to make the war bond the school’s mascot! We learned that Saint Margaret’s School for Girls’ French Club raised money to buy an ambulance for Free France. The girls also had frequent round table meetings with boys’ schools to discuss the war.

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Above: Advertisement for war bonds from the 1944-1945 Saint Margaret’s yearbook.

In winter of 1943, fuel shortages caused Saint Margaret’s School to close for an entire month. The archivist noted that students wore their winter hats and coats to class when they returned to avoid freezing.

Even after the war, the girls’ fundraising didn’t stop. Saint Margaret’s School hosted a Victory Loan drive to raise money for hospital equipment and aid reconstruction efforts. The school sponsored two schools in Free France and even a Belgian war orphan. A junior class hosted a United Nations themed party.

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Above: Students at Saint Margaret’s from their 1944-1945 yearbook.

At Worcester Academy, another prep school, the track team was not able to participate in any track meets due to the school’s strict rationing of gas. Worcester’s soccer team was only able to play a few local games within walking distance. The school’s hockey team’s page in the yearbook described their year as “hampered by two major factors– inexperienced players and the lack of a coach,” proving that they also experienced a rough season due to the war. Worcester’s rifle club, however, had a more successful season. It boasted 37 members who, due to the school’s support of the sport due to its military affiliation, participated in far more matches than any of the other sports.

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Above: Yearbook pages of various Worcester Academy sports teams.

Link above: Loomis Chaffee Drill Team in Grubbs Quad, 1942



Changes on Campus During World War II Post II

Day 3:

During our third day of research, we finished editing our previous blog post and looked through our classmates’ posts. We believe the project and website are coming along great! Also on day three, we started receiving replies from other area prep school archivists about their school’s World War II experiences. These responses will be discussed in our final blog post.

Day 4:

We went to Loomis-Chaffee’s Archives and looked into the activities the boys took part in during World War II. We found a lot of information about their athletics and work programs.

The work-job program was one of our initial curiosities about wartime Loomis. How did Loomis students help out on campus and off? To answer these questions, we searched through various Log newspapers and found some interesting information in the 1942-1943 Log compilation. In an article titled, “State Calls Students to Aid Labor Shortage,” a writer describes how Loomis students helped local potato  farmers with farm work. Each class had one day each week devoted to working with a farmer and picking potatoes for the duration of the school day. The article states that the earnings from the harvest would be divided among multiple groups of people, such as the students, the school faculty, and the farmers. It also described that students ripped off their shirts and threw off their shoes as soon as they arrived on the farm due to excitement of helping out. The passage discusses that the harvesting system for students is not very efficient, so changes will have to be made so that more potatoes will be picked overall. The author hopes that more schools nationwide will adopt similar programs to support the food effort.

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Above: “State Calls Students to Aid Labor Shortage” article from the 1944 Log

Flipping forward a few Log issues, we found a humorous article in the “Student Voices” section of the newspaper– a place for students to share their opinions. In the story, one student desperately asks another student, “Say, what’s the story on the potato money? Does anybody know what we’re going to get?” The other student replies saying that he does not think they will be paid much because another student got hit in the head with a potato and the potato money was being used to pay for the student’s head injury operation. Funny! This comical article shows that although the students were willing to work to support the war effort, they hoped to get paid!

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Above: Humorous article from 1942-1943 Log issue.

We found that while drills were being performed on campus things changed there as well. In 1944 a lot of changes in administration occurred. New sergeants were employed and other administration was replaced. The end of the article we found however highlights the strides toward improvement the program has made.

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Above: Students pick potatoes and help out on a farm. Pictures found in Archives.

Looking through more articles in the Loomis Log (1941-1942), we found many acts of patriotism and students standing up for their own country. During this time the war had only been roughly six weeks old, but its effect touched everyone. While at dinner, students would recite the national anthem. One student happen to notice the majority of the boys either didn’t know it or knew only parts of it. This student felt so strongly about this incident they wrote their own article in the log. The student’s statement, “If these strefs were natives of Germany and did not partake in the singing of Deutschland, Uuber Alles, they would be promptly thrown in the klink, know known as a concentration camp.” (Loomis Log) says a lot about the way this particular student felt. Soon after, boys got together and made sure that each and every student knew the national anthem.

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Above: Article from 1942-1943

In another article, entitled “The Prelude,” talks about the war and how most Loomis students are coping with it. Many students are unaware of the conflict that is occurring but most are concerned and would like to know more. They talk about in this article that the atmosphere has really changed on campus. At this time one master has already left for the navy, while another is soon to be entering in. This article introduces the fact that life for a Loomis student does change drastically so they shouldn’t panic, but one should be ready for changes are about to occur. Announcements were made daily, wives were often seen knitting, and often reports of alumni who entered the war were received. They end with saying, “There is nothing worse than hysteria during war-time and there is nothing which helps the enemy more than to have the civilian populace in a panic.” (Loomis Log 1942)

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Above: “The Prelude” from 1942-1943 Log issue

Changes on Campus During World War II

Hello, and welcome to Changes on Campus During World War II! We are excited to begin our research on the many changes at Loomis during WWII. In this blog, we (Nancy, Austin, and Rachel) will explore and present our findings each day. Enjoy!

Day One: On day one of research, we started searching through Archives and were happy to find many interesting Log issues, yearbooks, and student handbooks from WWII. Before diving in too deep, we created a list of our interests and some questions to ask. Some of our questions included:

  • How did Loomis modify its Dining Hall menu to accommodate the war?
  • How were school uniforms and clothing affected by WWII?
  • Were any war-specific classes and activities added to the Loomis curriculum?
  • How did the female experience of WWII in the Chaffee school differ from the male experience in Loomis?
  • How did other area prep schools experience the war similarly or differently?

Also on our first day, we obtained a list of archivists from other area prep schools. We began contacting them in order to learn about how the lives of students during WWII were similar or different to the lives of Loomis students. We hope to blog about their responses in another post soon.

Day Two:

On day two of research, we studied items from Archives in depth and took many pictures and notes to include in our blog. In order to share our findings, we have each written blog entries for you to enjoy!

We started our research by reading The Loomis Log newspaper articles from 1942-1943. It was quite interesting to see how our school’s newspaper has changed! We came across many fascinating articles about wartime courses at Loomis. The first article located is called “Older Students Train Under State Guard Men.” It describes a new activity at Loomis to help students prepare for war. The course was extremely popular, but only a little over 90 students who would be draft age by June were admitted. Students did drills 4 times a week, some including running for over an hour through even the muddiest fields in the rain! The article mentioned that the course was designed by a teacher named Mr. Britton. By doing a little more searching through other Log articles, I found that Mr. Britton was a French and Biology teacher who also organized the Aerodynamic course. We wondered what other impacts Mr. Britton made on Loomis! To wrap up his article, the author eloquently states, “These boys are the future soldiers. In the hands of youths like them rests our country’s safety.”

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Above: Article from 1942-1943 Log issue.

We were interested in learning what other things may have changed at Loomis, due to the war. So, we pursued additional sources to find some answers. In several yearbooks that we located, dating from 1939-1940, we found some interesting material leading up to the height of the war. We discovered that the war had caused a shortage of faculty. Work that was previously done by faculty, was being done by students. Seniors were needed to proctor study halls and upperclassmen even started their own tutoring service to help fill the roles of the missing teachers. Loomis boys also helped out around school by cleaning dishes, shoveling snow, moving coal, and collecting scrap metal. “Senior boys have assumed supervision of all study periods, and some have served as tutors to younger boys to fill, in some degree, the places of teachers in service.” (Loomis catalog 1942-1943) When looking back at the responsibility and initiative that these boys took during this time, many must have felt inspired by them. Mr. B, who at this time was headmaster said, “We’re putting first things first.” In 1940, interscholastic sports were cut because of the shortage in faculty, as well as the rationing of resources like gasoline and tires. We truly can’t imagine the outrage and frustration that this change would cause today.

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 Above: James Peale Page who served in war in 1940-1943. Picture featured in 1939-1940 yearbook.

Flipping back through the pages of the Log issues from 1942-1943, we came across another interesting article entitled “Future Inductees Try Hard Commando Course.” This article discusses yet another course to prepare students for war. Although the details had not yet been finalized, all the Loomis boys were excited and eager to sign up– demonstrating students’ willingness and desire to join the war.  It also reflected the school’s commitment to supporting the students’ wishes and interests. According to Loomis Chaffee’s current archivist, the head of school during WWII insisted that teachers and faculty did not romanticize the war, but instead depict the hardships, struggle, and hardwork faced in battle. Loomis’ tough training courses carried out this mission perfectly. The article discusses a challenging obstacle course that had to be completed and timed by the “future inductees.” The course included running, doing the duck walk, climbing over a 7 foot wall, climbing a wide ladder, navigating a maze, and finally, a long crawl on the stomach. This exercise was intended to be similar to training conditions during the war.

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Above: Article from 1942-1943 Log issue.

Following up on our questions about the adjustments that The Loomis School made during this time, we found that many challenges were faced in athletics. In 1933 until 1940, the amount of athletic activities at Loomis were drastically reduced. Schedules were cut down and teams were eliminated. Transportation issues became a major cause as to why Loomis athletics had trouble maintaining teams. The rationing of gas made it difficult to travel in buses. Loomis, at the time, used regular school busses that often were not energy efficient. In one case, after a track meet, it was reported that students were forced to walk back the last three miles back to school because the bus ran out of gas. This was one of many incidents that impacted Loomis actives during war time.  

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Above: Drills that were performed 4 times a week