Hobart Park 1980

"This site contains materials originally published in yearbooks, newspapers, and other Davidson College publications. You may encounter upsetting racist, oppressive, and outdated representations in these documents. They are included for historical accuracy and do not represent the views of the current Davidson College community, which honors the dignity of all persons and commits itself to a quest for truth and the building of a more just and humane future. The Archives, Special Collections, & Community staff acknowledges the need to provide additional context and continually strives in its work to use terms and representations that reflect the ways communities describe themselves today. " [1]

On May 12th, 1980, the fourth edition of Hobart Park (then called Hobart’s Park) was published at Davidson College. Authored by male and female upperclassmen authors across all disciplines, this issue features one work of fiction, one essay, twelve pieces of poetry, four photographs, and three works of art. Published less than 10 years after the college admitted women and less than 20 years since the school’s integration, the issue marks a crucial point in the process of fully diversifying the student body. The magazine highlights the values and interests prominent on campus in the 1980s through the artistic endeavors of students published in this issue. 

The theme of nature is dominant throughout the publication. A majority of the written and visual pieces incorporate some natural elements, such as the poem “nancy & momma” by Cathie Chester. The poem illustrates a warm summer memory of blackberry-picking and mother-daughter bonding. Most of the photographic elements also incorporate some natural elements, such as “Window No. 2,” where photographer John Highsmith shows the silhouettes of trees behind condensation. The natural world depicted in the content of the issue is reinforced with black and white illustrations added by the editors, which include decorations of flowers, animals, and insects. 

Interconnected with nature is the theme of aging, which perhaps reflects the attitudes of college students in this critical period of their lives. In the poem “United” by Constance McLean, the speaker relates the robbing of a garden with the passing of time. Nature is also used in comparison to religion in the collection titled “The Living Symphony” by Elizabeth Kiss. In the third poem, “Puritan Flower,” the poem explores the purity of nature in contrast to the “dark seed” (L1) of the human condition. The way that nature works in tandem with other prominent themes in the edition reinforces its importance to the student body.

The works featured in this edition of Hobart Park highlight an environmentally-focused facet of Davidson’s campus culture. Environmentalism in the nation at large would reach higher political awareness by the end of the decade. However, the ability of Davidson students to focus on this political topic reflects the privilege of a predominately white and male liberal arts college to ignore other pertinent issues, represented in the racially insensitive elements evident in the edition.

Despite the positive expressions of creativity and student artistic talent, the 1980 issue reveals much of the college’s problematic history. In 1980, the college sought to decrease “segregational tendencies'' amongst the student body and staff by establishing “The Committee on Minorities.” [2].  As evinced by the committee’s creation, the desegregation of the campus was a long-term process involving both institutional and social changes.

Even with the tendency towards problematic depictions of race in many of these works, the authors attempt to show some self awareness. “New Delhi,” for example, orientalizes the Davison Semester in India program through her references to the invasion of White bodies with Asian diseases and foods. However, the author, Carol Loptsom (‘81) discloses in an author’s note that she was aware of the problematic content of her work. 

While these themes are unfortunate, they do reflect real attitudes held by Davidson College circa 1980. For that reason, these creative works represent the ongoing and ever-present challenge of eliminating racial biases at the college. [3]


This poem was written by Sue Dehoney (‘80), who earned a B.A in Philosophy from Davidson College. The speaker is reflecting upon the physical aspects of the female body and how they are the parts of a woman that enter a space first and foremost. The reflecting is written into the poem literally as the speaker consistently mentions objects of reflection i.e. mirrors and windows. The poem takes place under the judgment of rainfall. Rainfall washes away everything, and we are left with what the world sees. 

We get this lens through what we can assume is a female speaker, so she is reflecting both the critical eye of society and the critical eye of women on other women. The women agree  that they will compare themselves to one another yet this comparison will happen under the omnipresent guide of the male gaze. [4]


This collection of poems titled “Six” written by Tim Bethea (‘81) are short, free-verse poems pertaining to nature. Bethea graduated from Davidson with a BA in English, after participating in theater and the ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program on campus. The poems are intimate and open-ended, leaving readers to arrive at their own conclusions about the significance following each poem. “The Gigolo” is a prime example of the open-ended style as the poem begins with fiery imagery and ends with a single line: “Each one of us is hungry.”

Bethea’s descriptive and precise diction illustrates natural beauty without overwhelming the reader. The use of pronouns in the poems is used to personify the world around the speaker, giving life to otherwise inanimate entities. Six offers perspective in unorthodox ways, such as the personification of toast in “The Toast” or the sun in “Ginger in the Sea.” The poems’ emphasis on nature–that aligns with the edition’s theme–suggests a widely held appreciation for the environmentalist movement. [5]


1. "Advisory Statement," Davidson College Archives, https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/archives/college.

2. "Historical Timeline: From the College's Inception to the Commission on Race and Slavery." Davidson Journal, 15 Jan. 2021, https://www.davidson.edu/news/2021/01/15/historical-timeline-of-davidson-college.

3. Doss, Aida F, editor. Hobart's Park, vol. 2, no. 2, Spring 1980, 12 May 1980. Print.

4. Dehoney, Sue. "Untitled." Hobart's Park, edited by Aida F Doss, Davidson College, 1980, vol. 2.

5. Bethea, Tim. "Six." Hobart's Park, edited by Aida F Doss, Davidson College, 1980, vol. 2.

Prev Next