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Crowning of the May King: Home

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The above photo is from the 1929 Scriptus, the yearbook at Schuylkill College, Reading, PA

The article below was first printed in the Reading Tribune, May 20, 1925, and was re-printed in The Schuylkill News, June 10, 1925

Alton Albright of Akron Crowned King of May at Midnight College Revel

Clandestine Coronation Accompanied by Thwacking of Stout Half-Inch Paddles--King Surveys Subjects From Lily Pond

COEDS, WIDE-EYED, WATCH FROM WINDOWS

With a blaze a medieval pageantry the May King of Schuylkill College was crowned last night at a clandestine midnight coronation supplementary to the official May Day exercises yesterday afternoon.

He was crowned with two half-inch paddles. They thwacked impressively at the moment of cornoation.

Alton Albright of Akron was the lucky king. After the ancient rites of the masque of coronation had been observed, and the king fittingly immersed in the waters of sanctity, Alton Albright of Akron, King of May, surveyed his hoarse-throated subjects from a throne in the middle of the lily pond.

All was quiet at Schuylkill at 11:30 o'clock last night. The festivities of the May Day festival were over; the Queen had been crowned; madrigals had been sung; and fond parents had departed hence.

Suddenly there was a wild jangling of bells.

Election Unanimous

Clamoring for a May Day festival of their own, males of the school, clad only in pajamas, rushed out of the dormitories and gathered on the campus. The election of king was brief and informal. Alton Albright of Akron was without protest.

The huge bell jangled incessantly. Torches were lit, loud cries were raised; the affairs of the May King had all the spontaneous enthusiasm of a coup d'etat. In the girls' dormitory bobbed haired creatures with wide eyes leaned out of windows.

Mounted Officer Rapp, alarmed at the pandemonium, hurried down from Hampden Boulevard.

"I've seen this before," he muttered, and discreetly withdrew.

Hearalds Lead Way

With regal pomp, the men in pajamas escorted Alton Albright of Akron to the lily pond. Two heralds, bearing flaming torches, advanced in water above their knees, to the fountain in the center of the pond, making way for the king. The the master of ceremonies, bearing the two paddles of his office in his hand, crossed the pond with stately tread and took his place beside the throne. In a loud voice he summoned the king.

Alton Albright of Akron, advanced. The water gurgled around his lightly-clad legs. Ripples blazed in the light of the torches.

" * * * And I hereby crown you King of the Hay."

The two-edged scepter descended with a loud crack.

"Long live the king!"

After immersion of his royal majesty, a chariot was improvised  out of an overturned scoop shovel, and with torches and blare of trumpets and trombones, the king and his train began a triumphal march.

"Noble" Is Drenched

The coronation was not without casualties. Eugene Heine, one of the nobles of the realm, slipped in the pond and wes drenched. George Zehner, sliding along the edge of the pond in the shovel, encountered an obstacle and took a perfect dive into the mere.

The coronation parade marched down Exeter Street to Eleventh, south on Eleventh to Union, and up Union to the college. By the time the King returned a bonfire was blazing on the campus and the chapel bell was tolling in a frenzy. The boys felt safe from discipline, they said, because theological students were in the mob.

Dozens of pajama trousers were ruined in a caterpillar walk before the admiring eyes of coeds. There were other boisterous sports, including leap-frog and a war dance.

This morning automobiles left near the school last night were found distributed about the campus. There was one at each entrance, and one leaving the main school building by the front steps.

Thus Alton Albright of Akron was crowned King of May.