Bertha Louise Soule

Colby 1885; A.M. 1888

Bertha Louise Soule was born on June 1, 1863, in Bath, Maine, the daughter of Elbridge and Louisa Hall Soule. She attended the old Bath High School and graduated in 1880. She founded and became the first president of the Bath High School Alumni Association, and founded the Fortnightly Club. Then she enrolled at Colby (University) and graduated in 1885. During this time she was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority, a class officer, she often played piano and sang, studied Latin and Greek, and played “lawn-tennis,” for which her classmates agreed she had an aptitude.

She also lead a long-lived teaching career. Following her graduation from Colby, Soule taught at schools in Bath from 1886 to 1887 and 1888 to 1900, Skowhegan from 1887 to 1888, and Bangor from 1900 to 1906. In 1906 she moved to New York and started teaching in the Manuel Training High School in Brooklyn, where she remained for 28 years before retiring. Largely between 1934 and 1943, Soule wrote several books and poems, including The Old Campus, The Campus Willows, Where No Fear Was, and several biographies, including Colby’s Roman. Much of her work involved her Alma Mater as subject material; for example, she wrote the poem Sam about Sam Osborne, the freed slave who worked as a janitor at Colby and had been her closest friend while she was there. She died on August 30, 1956, at 93 years of age, but her name is forever linked with prose poetry in the minds of those who are attending or have attended Colby.

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