Casements, a literary magazine which first appeared in January 1923, was, as its foreword announced, born of “the conviction that undergraduates have things to say,” and carried the motto, “To Youth’s glimpses – the time of the most vivid feeling of Truth and Beauty.” The magazine, however, did not depend on the literary output of undergraduates. Included in its pages were original pieces by established writers, among them Katherine Lee Bates, Padraic Colum, Joseph Auslander, and Robert Hillyer. Isabel Fiske Conant’s poem contributed to the first number contains a line which may have influenced the choice of the title of the magazine:
“Oh, my wall to eastward
Since I knew you,
A wide crystal casement
Swings to the Blue.”
The student editors were Hobert D. Haskins ’24, Gordon Chalmers ’24, and George Cassidy ’26. The poetry editor was Leighton Rollins, a student at Harvard. The editors were elated by the sale of all the copies of the first issue in one day, less happy at the mixed reception of later numbers. The January 1924 issue was highly publicized when newspapers carried a story that the sale of the magazine had been stopped by the city soliciter of Providence, after it was pronounced “obscene and unfit for public reading.” The article in question was a parody of D. H. Lawrence written by Fredson T. Bowers ’25, which began “He looked at her sensually. She looked at him sensually. ...” and ended in less than a page with “He looked at his watch and swore softly to himself. There were yet three hours more of daylight.” The intervening lines, if reproduced here, would not raise the eyebrows of present-day authorities. The January 1925 issue proclaimed that “Casements does not apologize for being late ... somewhat less richly clad, but triumphant over divers (sic) vicissitudes.” The triumph was short-lived, as this was the last number published.