An interview with Marshall Carroll from the Class of 1952.
Interviewed by Kevin Kennedy, Teresa Storti, Rohan Agarwal and Kit Harrington
MC: So if you could start by saying your name and the year you graduated …
Marsh: My name is Marsh Carroll, and I was here for four years, but never graduated—I didn’t complete my thesis. But Dave Lovejoy gave me an extension, which I’m still on, so that’s the present status.
MC: Could you tell us about the process of how you found Marlboro?
Marsh: I found Marlboro through the Woodstock Country School. David Bailey was the principal, and he was a friend of somebody here at the school, and that’s how I heard about it. And that was the summer of, I think, ’46, and I just applied and was accepted, the first year.
MC: So you were there late ’40s and early ’50s, right? (Yes.) So could you possibly describe for us some of your experiences working on campus, building the campus …?
Marsh: Oh boy. That’s going back quite a few—quite a few parties, and I really don’t have too much recollection of exactly what went on. Just—my room was down at the end of the corridor, with John Henderson. And we were roommates pretty much for the four years—anything else specifically?
MC: Did you work with Luke Dalrymple at all, when he was building?
Marsh: Oh yes, yes. He was the manager.
MC: What kinds of projects? Do you remember any of the buildings that you worked on with him?
Marsh: The barn.
MC: Which would be the dining hall?
Marsh: Yes, yeah, right. But it was pretty much—you know, as each job came up we’d attack it, and everybody’d be assigned a position. Specifically … it was the—the dining hall, that’s where we had the classes for the first time. And then they graduated to the building up the hill. Which became classrooms. (It’s called Dalrymple Hall now.) Another question?
MC: Sure. Could you tell me a little bit about what ordinary life at Marlboro was like? How you mixed your social life with your academic work, and what your day looked like at Marlboro, essentially?
Marsh: Well, there wasn’t much social life, except, you know, from Brattleboro or Bennington College. And … occasionally we’d have dances. That was about it.
MC: I was just going to ask about classes—were the days pretty jam-packed with classes?
Marsh: Yeah. That would be in the dining hall. We had – one side of the dining hall was classes, and everybody was assigned, you know, whatever course they were taking.
MC: What classes did you take while you were here—some of the ones that have resonated with you?
Marsh: Well, the … Bob Corey taught economics, and then I’ve forgotten who my English teacher was. But I was mainly English, and History. But Bob Corey was already one to take a class with because his voice was so soft, he’d put you to sleep. And my roommate, Henderson, and I used to take turns taking his class because we couldn’t keep awake.
MC: Did you take classes with Walter Hendricks? He taught English here.
Marsh: No, I didn’t. That was mostly on the senior level. And, oh I just can’t remember. Next question.
MC: Can you describe any of your interactions with Walter Hendricks? What stands out …?
Marsh: Well, I had little to do with him. But I was amazed to read in the last Marlboro—Mailer—which Terri sent me, I think – that he was a flight instructor during World War II—which amazed me, because he was, I thought, an English professor …
MC: World War I he was a flight instructor. Right out of college. And then you’re right, by World War II he was an instructor.
Marsh: But wasn’t he at the University of Illinois, or Wisconsin?
MC: Yeah, Illinois …Technology Institute, yes.
Marsh: Okay. Well, but he and Flora lived in the summer house with their two sons, and I didn’t have any courses with him, directly. Next question?
MC: Could you talk about an experience with another faculty member? Like just describe what really made the classroom setting really appealing to you.
Marsh: Well – I’m trying to think of his name. Roland Boyden. I had several courses with him. He was very good. I can’t think of any other names, unfortunately. Next question.
MC: Can you think of any specific events at Marlboro that stick out in your memory?
Marsh: Well, the Town Hall meetings were pretty … pretty active. And could be—get pretty noisy at times …
MC: Do you recall some of the issues that were discussed or debated at town meetings?
Marsh: Oh gosh … could be almost anything. But …
MC: You guys were working with a blank slate? I mean, now we have an established constitution and bylaws, but those were created when you were here.
Marsh: Yeah, that’s right. I can’t think of any particular issue.
MC: The town meetings were well attended, though?
Marsh: Yes, very well attended. Because that’s where all the action was.
MC: Do you feel that because the students here tended to be older, that they took that kind of thing more seriously, the fact that they were really participating because …?
Marsh: Yeah, because we were all veterans. I mean, some more veterans than others, but … we took it pretty seriously.
MC: And the fact that you were all veterans, do you think that added to a sense of being in all this together, and a sense of camaraderie?
Marsh: Very much so. Yeah. And of course, it involved a lot of trips to Brattleboro, which were incredibly dangerous, driving that route, and especially getting back safely. Next question?
MC: Marsh, what would you say that all of you as vets really brought to your experience of being college students? How do you think that benefited you?
Marsh: I don’t think I understand the question.
MC: Your experience overseas as veterans, how that affected your college …
Marsh: I’m sure that affected it quite a bit. I was only in, I was in the navy, only in for one year, and we were discharged by mistake. We were sent out to Saipan, in the Pacific, to replace the veterans coming home from the Western Pacific. And I was in charge – a Seaman Second Class, and I was put in charge of a barracks full of First Class petty officers. And a lot of the time, the projects that I had to assign them to weren’t – they were pretty dangerous, cleaning up the battlefields on Saipan. And I wasn’t very popular. But we survived it, and we got back into San Francisco, and we met the group that we had processed before we shipped out, and they were furious that we were being sent home faster than they were. But it just so happened.
MC: And then you came directly to Marlboro, the next year?
Marsh: Pretty much. That was the summer of ’46, when I was discharged, and then, you know, started that fall at the College.
MC: Marsh, could you talk a little bit about life after Marlboro, how Marlboro affected your life experience, some friendships that have carried through your entire life, and just reflecting back on how your experiences …
Marsh: Yeah. Well, I’m still friends with most of the Pioneers, who were here yesterday. Of course, the list is getting shorter —and that’s something I wanted to go over with you, Terri, sometime. When I left Marlboro, in 1952, I went to work on a newspaper in Lebanon, New Hampshire, selling advertising. Being a space cadet. And from there, I went to Worcester, Mass., on the Telegram Gazette, and then the next year I came back as ad manager for the Claremont Eagle. And then I went back to Massachusetts and became the manufacturer’s rep for hardware, covering the six New England states for the next 30 years. And I was very fortunate, we had some good lines. And I kept in touch with most of my classmates, thanks to people like Terri, and … but I think all in all, it was a very constructive experience.
MC: You were reflecting back on Marlboro … I was wondering, could you tell us about the first women students coming on to campus?
Marsh: I—if my memory serves me, I think we only had two girls who joined us, I think it was the first year or second year, and they pretty much went through the four years. But there weren’t that many.
MC: So there wasn’t much of an opportunity to interact with them, then?
Marsh: No, no.
MC: Did they live on campus, or …?
Marsh: Yes. Right. Yup.
MC: Where did they live?
Marsh: Good question … I don’t remember. I know they had to be somewhere on campus …
MC: Later on I know they lived in Walter Hendricks’ house …
Marsh: Yeah, okay, could be. I just don’t remember. Unfortunately. Uh, next question?
MC: When you came to Marlboro, what were your hopes and aspirations?
Marsh: Well, everything was new. So we were just … forming it as time went on.
MC: Looking back on that … were you able to fulfill that while you were at Marlboro? The sort of things you were looking to achieve at Marlboro? Do you think …
Marsh: Well, we didn’t have that many expectations, because everything was so new. So, we just … attacked everything as it came along.
MC: What would you have to say to students who are at Marlboro right now? (Pardon?) What advice would you give to students at Marlboro now?
Marsh: Oh boy. Well, I think the students are probably much more serious, now, than we were. We tried to be responsible as much as possible, but sometimes it wasn’t easy. Next question?
MC: I’m thinking back—in terms of being serious, could you talk about that a little more? Because it wasn’t so new, you weren’t sure what was expected of you, is that what you mean?
Marsh: That’s right. Well, we just wanted to – we were all on the GI Bill, which was very important because without that we wouldn’t have made it. Luckily, Walter Hendricks saw to it that the GI Bill was accepted in all areas. Next question?
MC: After Marlboro, looking back, what sort of impact did it have on the rest of your life … or was it just …?
Marsh: Hoo boy. Well … it’s hard to describe. I really don’t know how to answer that.
MC: I suppose it’s something that you can’t really specifically say ‘on this day …’
MC: What are your fondest memories, Marsh?
Marsh: Oh, well, I think the experiences with my classmates. ‘Cause I had—John Henderson was my roommate, as well as Tony Chase, and Henderson was a professional ski instructor, so we spent a lot of time skiing …
MC: You mean cross-country skiing?
Marsh: No, this was downhill. And he had a Model T two-seater. With huge, with big wheels on it, which he was able to drive in the snow because it wouldn’t get stuck.
MC: And when did you go skiing?
Marsh: You know, whenever the time … the weekends— cause there were several ski areas right around here – Hogback, and another place over towards Wilmington. (Mt. Snow?) Yeah, that was another one. Next question?
MC: Looking back at Marlboro, over the years—how has your impression of it changed, and what’s your impression of it now?
Marsh: Oh boy. I think it’s much more serious now than it was then. Because it’s survived. We didn’t think it was going to last a year. But it did. You know I think it’s fantastic that it’s exactly as it is today.
MC: When you talk about—you all ‘didn’t feel that it would last a year’—how did you feel as a student, with that – did you feel that fate was hanging over your heads, that at any moment Walter Hendricks could announce that the school was closing down?
Marsh: Yeah, well, as Dave Hertzbrun said, “Situated on a bluff and running on the same principle.”
MC: Yeah, and as a student, did that bother you? I’m just wondering how it felt as a student to be at a school that—
Marsh: No, you know, we just stumbled along, week by week.
MC: Now I noticed that some of the people yesterday, at the group session, talked about—they were here for a couple years and then transferred—is that one of the reasons, you think, that people—that some people left? Was because they weren’t so sure …?
Marsh: Probably, yes. Because they didn’t think that their work here would be accepted. But it survived—it stayed on the—what’s that bureau named—(The Princeton Review, the US News and World Report, those things?) yeah, well, no, the acceptance (Accreditation?) your accreditation, yeah. But my gosh, here it is, you know, 2005, and started in ’47—I think it’s marvelous!
MC: So you certainly didn’t feel like—at the time, that you were making history?
Marsh: No! No way of knowing.
MC: Do you think Walter had that—had a sense that he was making history—do you think he had that vision?
Marsh: Well, he did it three times! Which is absolutely amazing! You’ve gotta hand it to him … I don’t know what some of the, what my other classmates said, but … (I didn’t ask that question, that was a good question to ask.) Yeah. Oh dear. Well, I’ve just—every time I drive down this road I’m amazed that it’s survived this long! And the fact that all these buildings—going up—and how they manage to heat them during the winter is just staggering to me!
MC: What buildings were here when you were a student?
Marsh: Well, really just the barn—(The dining hall?) Well, the dining room … and then, halfway up the hill, the (Dalrymple?) Yeah, Dalrymple was there. But boy, you’ve really added an awful lot of buildings. (And what do you think about that?) I think it’s amazing! Because it’s not easy living in this part of the world, especially in the wintertime, so you must have been doing something right. Anything else I can cast some light on?
MC: I was wondering, I mean, coming into Marlboro so early on, the sort of, the feel, the motivating force behind Marlboro that you got, what Marlboro was, I was wondering, with all these new buildings coming up, and so many more students, and the fact that—do you think it’s still true to that?
Marsh: Oh, I think so. I think you must be doing an awful lot of things right to have the, you know, the student body grow, and survive. And you’re attracting some pretty bright people, for instructors, and certainly for the president too. I’m just amazed when I heard her yesterday, that was very gratifying. So, I think you’ve got a bright future. Just hang in there.
MC: Do you have anything else, Kit?
MC: I don’t think so, unless—is there anything else that …
Marsh: Well, I can’t think of it now, but I’ll be thinking about it driving home. (That’s right, in 15 minutes or so.) And I’ll be in touch with Terri. (Yes.)
MC: Well, Marsh, thank you very much …