The Dickinsonian - December 3, 1993
Mystery behind the CROC committee revealed
What is the subject of the largest CROC on campus? It's 7.5 ft. long, 4.5 ft. high, 1.5 ft. thick, may weigh as much as 3.5 tons and is between Adams and Witwer. This piece of college lore is the old Bosler library cartouche.
The cartouche is a large stone carving that used to adorn the entrance to Bosler from 1885 to 1941. CROC (the Committee to Restore Our Cartouche) itself is the mysterious ad-hoc committee formed to try to return the cartouche to its appropriate spot in front of Bosler.
The cartouche was carved in 1885 and marked the entrance to Bosler until 1941. The carving depicts two naked putti on either side of a scroll on which the name of the library is carved. It was the correctness of the anatomy of the putti that caused several problems and its removal.
At several times people considered the putti too graphic. At one of these occasions members of the student body, under the cover of night, applied plaster of paris diapers to the putti. The diapers, noticed by some but not all, were removed the next day.
However, in order to remove the diapers it was necessary to use an acid that left the offending areas several shades lighter than the rest of the putti for several years. Once removed the putti were still not safe. Anyone (who) ventures out to the cartouche would find that to this day the toenails, eyes and genitalia of the putti are painted red.
This nudity did eventually result in the removal of the cartouche in 1941. At that point if was stored in a barn until the barn was torn down.
The cartouche was then rescued by the class of 1913 who were about to celebrate their 55th year reunion. They rescued the cartouche and put it in its present resting place-between Adams and Witwer. Since this relocation several attempts have been made to restore the cartouche to a more appropriate place near Bosler Hall. CROC was established as near as can be determined sometime about 1975. An official and recorded meeting was held on the 15th of September, 1983.
However enough had been made of the idea previous to warrant a write up in The Dickinson College Alumnus, the alumni magazine, in 1977.
In the Weathervane column it was concluded that "it is doubtful that the cartouche will be removed from its home under the back campus trees and probably the original instigator really wants things left as they are." Despite this ominous conclusion an earnest but more than slightly tongue in cheek effort was made to restore the cartouche.
Often a topic of discussion between faculty and knowledgeable others CROC began to take form. Although admittedly a no budget organization letters were written to the treasurer and new locations for the cartouche were discussed.
Prof. Noel Potter took a leading role at this point and besides holding the official meeting began presenting options for the new location for the cartouche. Both indoor and outdoor sites were considered but unfortunately nothing came of those plans.
Presently, as it has been periodically in the past, CROC is defunct. A small folder in the college archives and Prof. Potter's personal collection of documents are all that exists of CROC today. It has fallen in and out of the public eye in the past but is prone to catch someone's attention every couple of years.
Office of College Relations
January 20, 2000