Mystery Photo Solved: 1962 Outing Club Annual Spring Picnic

Two Jims helped HCM decipher the story behind the mystery photo in the Fall 2016 issue.

Both Jim Coleman ’62 and Jim Corbett ’63 were pleasantly surprised to spot their own faces looking back at them as they perused the pages of the Food Issue, and they called our office to help solve the mystery. They both recognized themselves behind the grill at the Outing Club’s annual spring picnic in 1962, and helped us identify the two others pictured.

From left to right, John McAdams ’63, treasurer of the Outing Club; Jim Coleman ’62; Jim Corbett ‘63, vice president; and Brian Boyle ’62.

Coleman remembers borrowing a refrigerated truck from a classmate whose father owned a rental car business, and loading it up with hot dogs, sausages and other barbeque supplies. “This was kind of a big affair,” he says. “I think we may have had three or four hundred people.”

The event was off-campus, either at a local park or golf club. And it took a team effort to host a gathering that large, according to Corbett. “It was a joint effort. We all had different things to do as trustees,” he says. “Everyone had a different part to play, and it worked out well.”

In the photo, McAdams sports his trustee armband. Corbett says that the trustees organized the events, led the club meetings and interviewed potential new members. Corbett–who still has a mug that says “Outing Club Trustee 1963”–enjoyed reminiscing about his days in the club: “The best part is, if you look at that grill, it was just cinderblocks.”

The spring picnic was one of two major annual events for the Outing Club. They also planned a dance that usually took place in October. The College was all-male at the time, so invitations to the dance went out to women at the surrounding local colleges. They also organized several smaller ski trips for the Holy Cross students.

In the 1963 Purple Patcher, the Outing Club boasted about their gatherings: “If ever the claws of collegiate boredom should descend upon Holy Cross, it would not be the fault of the Outing Club, a source of delightful distraction for bewildered freshmen and seniors alike. Boasting a membership of over 1,000, the Outing Club ambitiously proposes and plans what, for most, are pleasant pastimes.”  ■

—Maura Sullivan Hill and Meredith Fidrocki