Professor George Hazen French (1841-1935) taught the natural sciences at Southern Illinois Normal University from 1877 until he retired in 1917. Professor French also curated the university museum. For decades he kept a journal of weather observations and brief notes on the day’s activities. Professor French recorded the weather in a kind of shorthand code typical of government weather bureaus of the late nineteenth century. Each set of numbers begins with the low and high temperature, followed by a cloudiness index number ranging from 0 to 10, then a measure of rain or snowfall, and finally two barometric pressure readings.
From his journal entry of June 4, 1913, we learn that on Commencement Day, S.I.N.U. elected Henry W. Shryock to succeed Daniel B. Parkinson as president. Shryock joined the faculty in 1894 as English professor and rose to vice president and registrar. Installed in October 1913, he served as president until his death in 1935, nearly equaling Delyte W. Morris as the school’s longest serving leader.