OC86 Years Later
year was 1916. Oberlin President Henry Churchill King spoke sternly
to students about the Colleges controversial move to dismiss
several students for violating the institutions stance against
secret fraternities. The Allen Memorial Art building
was well under construction, and Muriel Marsh Lovett was wrapping
up her Oberlin education.
At age 105, the former Conservatory student could very well be the
oldest living alum for whom the College maintains records.
After the death of Lovetts mother in 1903, her father, a dye
salesman for the Boston-based based F. E. Atteaus Co., made arrangements
for his daughter to live with her grandparents. Muriel remembers
the wonderful person her grandmother was and the strong support
she provided for her early musical talents, says family friend
Mary Tucker. She was the one who selected Oberlin because
she felt it would give Muriel the wide range of experiences for
a future in the world of music.
After Oberlin, Lovett studied piano, composition, and conducting
with Nadia Boulanger at the American School of Music at the Palace
of Fontainebleau. A year later she began a five-year position as
music supervisor of Ware schools in Massachusetts.
For an Armistice Day celebration during World War I, Muriel
organized and was director of a men's choir. She put them through
vigorous training, and the program was very successful, Tucker
recalls. Later, Lovett served as organist at the Methodist Church
and music director of the East Congregational Church in Ware. As
a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, or P.E.O.
Sisterhood, she helped provide grants-in-aid for women abroad to
obtain graduate study in the United States and Canada.
A resident of Chestnut Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center
in East Longmeadow, Massachusettes, since 1998, Lovett frequently
shares fond memories of Oberlin with friends. She has some
physical disabilities but is mentally very alert and makes our visits
with her very entertaining, Tucker says.