Family donates historic Elon College ring and photo to the university
Descendants of Everett Doggett Summers, a member of the Elon College Class of 1899, visited campus on Friday to donate two artifacts to the university's special collections.
As a child, Anna Lois Bulla loved to wear her Uncle Everett’s college ring to school. The small gold pinky ring, inscribed with “99” on the outside and her uncle’s initials on the inside, was a big hit with her classmates.
“I liked to wear it to school because I didn’t have any rings, and the other kids thought it was special,” says Bulla, 90, of Concord, N.C.
The ring belonged to Summers, one of the 12 members of the Elon College Class of 1899. Bulla donated the ring and a photo of the class to Elon when she visited campus Oct. 30 with family members to make the delivery to Katie Nash, Elon’s archivist and special collections librarian.
Bulla says she kept the photo and ring in safekeeping for 80 years.
“It really is a miracle that the ring survived,” she says. “I just wanted to give the photo and the ring to someone who would cherish them. It’s exciting and it gives you a feeling of pride because when you look around and see what has happened at Elon in 110 years, it’s amazing. I am impressed with all these buildings!”
The photo shows Summers and his 11 classmates sitting on the steps of Old Main (Administration) Building, which burned in 1923. He is in the back row displaying his ring.
Nash says the ring and photo are important additions to Elon’s special collections.
“This ring represents a part of Elon’s history that was lost in the fire of 1923,” she says. “This ring is truly a treasure, and we are honored to preserve both the ring and photo in the archives and special collections. We are grateful that Anna Lois preserved the ring for so many years and decided to donate it to us. Hopefully these gifts will spark interest in that part of Elon’s history.”
George Troxler, professor emeritus of history, agrees. “We have very few Elon artifacts from the 19th century,” he says. “The class ring is a prized display.”