Posted by: campkehonka | November 30, 2009

Vintage Kehonka “Goose Quills” Gems

Years ago, Althea Ballentine gave me copies of “Goose Quills” from the very early days of Camp Kehonka (circa 1911-16).

In 1911, they were published as a weekly in-camp newsletter in which campers and staff rotated as editorial staff  and contributors under the moniker “Paper Committee.”

Most editions include details about every day camp life, camp trips, camp animals and so forth. There are usually some gems, such as lyrics to songs they wrote or references to inside jokes.

Here are a couple snippets from the July 25, 1911 edition, of which Clara B. Lilley, Eleanor Dougherty and John Moore comprised the “Paper Committee.”


  Camp Kehonka returned to civilization this afternoon, or rather civilization returned to Camp Kehonka in the form of neat – Oh,very neat – tents and dresses. The occasion for this unusual spurt was the advent of the Rev. Mr. Dorman, a friend of Mr. Pierson, who conducted a service for us in the pine grove.
  The boys of Camp Winnipesaukee also favored us with their presence, and it was quite a gathering that had the opportunity of enjoying the short service and excellent sermon delivered by the Rev. Mr. Dorman.
  Apart from a few such trivial incidents as a bench loaded with boys turning over backward, and the dogs manifesting an unruly desire to join in the hymns, the afternoon was passed very peacefully.            M.B.G.


  We wonder if the taste of our hardened pitcher is elevated by wearing her “astral color” in her hosiery.

 There are many attractions at Wolfeboro, especially Tobey’s. Some people go there two much.

  Hark, hark! The rising bell doth ring.
    And Phyllis ‘gins arise,
  Her teeth to polish with the thing
    On rocky shore that lies;
  The wondrous task her toilette is
    Dooms her for late – arise!

We learn from a prominent authority that Wellesley encourages an abnormal conscience. M. C. hasn’t been there yet.

 N. B. Personals obtained only through psychic medium or Oiuja Board.


  Oh, we’re the girls that have the fun –
    We’re always up to something;
  We run around with jumpers on.
    We do just what we like;
  We don’t care what the public says –
    We know that we’re all right.
  And every day in the morning,
    We breathe with all our might:
  Hm, hm (Breathe) Yes! Free!
    We’re happy as can be:
   And if you want to be happy, too,
    Just come along with me.


  If the boats have leaked,
  If the dogs have fought,
  If the campers look peaked,
  If the ale’s not bought –
      Blame the Entertainment Committee!

A stitch in time saves nine.

Cure for homesickness: stay home.

Talk about sitting on a tack. Avoid our new piano stool.

Cast down your eyes as the buns sail past, if you would get in with the “heads.”

If thirds are not allowed, take another second.

Never acknowledge you are wrong about anything. It’s beastly bad form.



  1. A year or more ago I contacted a person who, I believe, was doing the Camp Kehonka website, asking about the early newsletters. She found and sent me four of them, and the first, 1911, had my mother’s name, Ilse Knauth, and my father’s, Henry Dunbar, and later mentions Ruth Dunbar and Tolman, a fencing and dueling master and diver. Ruth Dunbar was assisting Laura Mattoon in running the camp. I recently found in an album my father kept a picture of “the heads”, which is clearly Ruth and Laura. I would be happy to email the picture if it would be good for the Kehonka archives. I’m regretful I do not have the name or email of the kind person who responded.

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