Class Year




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Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2006


Every object has a story waiting to be told. There is one such artifact that hangs boldly on the mantle of the fireplace in Weidensall Hall its presence large and demanding. The plaque reads “‘The Vigil’ Presented in honor of Mrs. H.W.A. Hanson by the Altoona League.” The artist’s signature is absent from the painting. The painting acts as a window into the history of Gettysburg College. One cannot understand the history of “The Vigil” without knowing the story of the Woman’s League of Gettysburg College, or of Robert Weidensall and the Young Men’s Christian Association. “The Vigil” that hangs conspicuously in Weidensall lobby manages to be discreet in its presence. In other words, it is hidden in plain sight.1 Once researched however, this painting tells a colorful and intriguing story about the history of Gettysburg College. The painting “The Vigil” is symbolic of the College’s historical progression through the aid of religious and service organizations. [excerpt]

Course Information:

  • Course Title: HIST 300: Historical Method
  • Academic Term: Spring 2006
  • Course Instructor: Dr. Michael J. Birkner '72

Hidden in Plain Sight is a collection of student papers on objects that are "hidden in plain sight" around the Gettysburg College campus. Topics range from the Glatfelter Hall gargoyles to the statue of Eisenhower and from historical markers to athletic accomplishments. You can download the paper in pdf format and click "View Photo" to see the image in greater detail.


Gettysburg College, Hidden in Plain Sight, Weidensall Hall


American Art and Architecture | History | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Public History | United States History

Department 1


Campus Location

Weidensall Hall

Silent Doorway to the Past: “Vigil” Painting in Weidensall Hall