Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1961

It’s 1961 in our Look Back series, and Stephens women are abuzz over presidential candidate John F. Kennedy.

This is the first year Stephens had Young Democrats and Young Republicans chapters—and judging by the club photos, the Young Democrats group has three times as many members. One student, Fran Farr, even had a chance to meet Kennedy. Spoiler: She ended up marrying Prescott Bush III, a nephew of George H.W. Bush. Pictured with Richard Nixon is Judy Wangelin -- you can read more about her below.

This year’s Stephensophia yearbook is full of great photos, such as these. We’re told bicycles are the “latest fad.”

There’s not much text describing academic programs this year, other than science—which is appropriate because science remains popular at Stephens. This description is not unlike science here today;
 Individual experiments bring a clearer understanding of the problems in science ... The science program at Stephens is structured to accommodate the students wishing to specialize, as well as those desiring a scientific acquaintance with the world in which they live. In the physical and biological sciences offered here, laboratory work is and always has been an integral part of the educational method. All of the fields which comprise our science department provide the student with the opportunity of studying the subject first-hand. A well stocked laboratory is available for every student of science at Stephens.

Performing arts is and was also strong. A couple of great images, including one showing the transformation of a character:

This year, Hal Holbrook—just 34 at this time—brought his “Mark Twain Tonight” production to Stephens.

Stephens also hosted Canadian ballerina Melissa Hayden.

Among notable Stephens Women this year is Barbara Willis, who is deemed “Best-Dressed Stephens Girl.” Today, she’s Barbara Hearst (yes, “that” Hearst, as one online bio describes her) and is a well-known artist and philanthropist. She is founder and president of B. Hearst Designs a “for-benefit company” that supports women’s causes. A former media consultant, she’s also served on a number of boards and organizations.

Shannon Illges represents the Ideal of Courage. Today, Shannon Candler is also an artist who has had exhibits in galleries around the country.

And Judith Wangelin, editor of this year’s Stephensophia, would go on to serve as a teacher and administrator at Three Rivers Community College.

And Linda Kessel is a champion tennis player at Stephens. She went on to be Linda Koenig, a tour manager and guide in St. Louis and a former teacher appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the special assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. 

Here are some more great images from the 1961 Stephensophia:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1960

The Stephens of 1960 looks a lot like the Stephens of today.

The programs that have given the College national prominence are thriving this year, according to the 1960 Stephensophia, as they are today.

There’s fashion

Education, complete with an on-campus children’s school

Equestrian studies

Film—in 1960, television was the rage; today’s it’s filmmaking

And, of course, performing arts

Speaking of the latter, there’s another important tie between past and present. In 1960, creative writing instructor and an Avery Hopkwood Fiction Award winner Jack LaZebnik debuted his original production “John Brown” at the Playhouse Theatre. You might know that Jack’s son, Ken LaZebnik later served as our dean of Performing Arts and today is helping the College develop new programming around filmmaking.

This year’s Stephensophia yearbook contains a lot of photographs but few words. There’s a section devoted to new students and orientation—processes much like our 250 new freshmen are going through this week. 

And there are several photos of dances and formals held on campus.

One notable difference between the Stephens then and Stephens now are the admissions counselors. In 1960, we’re told: “Your grades? Your dates? Your suggestions of prospective students? All of these are questions from the daddys of the campus, who first introduce each student officially to Stephens, who bring news from the hometown just visited and who give encouragement to ‘his girls.’”

While our admissions counselors today certainly encourage young women, they’re mostly female (and are more friend than mother figure!).

The Foreign Relations Club this year hosted campus guests including Clement Atlee, prime minister of Great Britain; Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, an Indian diplomat; John Scott, an editor at Time magazine; and William Worthy, one of few American journalists to enter Red China at the time.

A couple of noteworthy Stephens Women include Civic Association President Karen Vandersloot, who went on to be Dr. Karen Vandersloot Richards, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut. 

And Donna Peltz is president of the campus Standards Council this year, a group dedicated to making sure students adhere to rules. It’s a fitting position—Donna went on to be Donna Young. Her first job was a s the child protection officer for Norfolk, Va., and was the driving force behind the enactment of Virginia’s child abuse law. She later moved to New York where she worked at the Institute for International Education, administering the Fulbright scholarship for Near and Middle East students.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1959

It’s  1959 in our Look Back series, and it’s the beginning of another era for the College.

It’s Seymour Smith’s first year as president. He comes to the College from Yale, where he taught after studying divinity. Spoiler: He will go on to serve nearly 20 years, will transform Stephens into a four-year college and will later write “The Education of Fifty Thousand Women: A Reflection of Stephens College, 1958-1974.”

And even though he’s new this year, he already has a following. The Stephensophia yearbook staff writes:

We're with Smith The biggest smile in Missouri ... the man who is impressed by and works for change ... the down-to-earth president who is never too busy to help his Susies further their personal education ... the Eloise man ... the leader who is cheerful, witty, full of modern ideas ... the prexy who dreams of a school whose purpose is not to teach, but to learn . . . the chief who studies his school . .. a man who goes for the unusual, yet holds to the basic traditions ... the man who, with emphatic hand motions, affirms his belief that Stephen's education should be dedicated to the growth of a woman... WE'RE WITH SMITH
The yearbook this year is all about change. It’s full of photos with little text, and what copy there is is dedicated to reflection and memories (rather than information about programs and people). There are quotes such as “Times change and we change with them” throughout the book, almost as if this last class of the 1950s knew the 60s were going to change everything.

In fact, we’re told the “Greatest Tradition of Stephens is Change.” The staff writes:
There is only one girl on campus and her name is Susie. She had many good times and you were with her. You shared her laughter and her tears. You went everywhere with her. She worked and played and dreamed with you. You crammed for mid-terms and finals with her. She double-dated with you in the Grill. You tiptoed down the aisle with her at Vespers. You studied in the library with her. You whispered confidences to her late at night. You got her mail for her and she got yours for you. She praised your achievements and sympathized with your failures. She sang, "Way Down in Missouri" with you. She got cookies from home and you ate half. She went on a diet and you counted calories too. Together you went to the plays, the operas and the lectures. She watched the regulations change and you did too. Together you pictured the Stephens of 1999 as the new dorms arose. She sobbed at the last convo and you promised never to forget. She listened for the Bell and you listened too. Together you walked past the chapel on your way to graduation. You study this, your picture book of Stephens and remember all the traditions of which you were a part. While recalling all the changes that took place. You concentrate and reminisce, for You are Susie.

And this is a great description of life on campus (with apparently a lot of gawking Tigers):

SCENES AT THE TRAINS . . . President and Mrs. Smith surveying the arrivals . . . landing of the new recruits ... Seniors hunting Juniors . . . mass invasion of exhausted, wrinkled Susies-to-be . . . mad shuffle of luggage . .. beanies . . . stuffed animals . . riot of color ... air electric with tension ... SOUNDS AT THE TRAIN... "Look at all the silly hats!" .. . "Where's Stephens?" ... "I wanna go home!" . . . "Gads, how many juniors are there?" . .. "I thought you dressed like a lady here." . . . "Hey, that's just three of my suitcases, where's the other four?" ... SCENES ON THE CAMPUS ... Senior Pals waiting, shifting feet . . . M.U. men looking, looking, looking . . . empty rooms and over- flowing trunks ... everyone standing patiently, patiently ... SOUNDS ON THE CAMPUS . . . "Where are the darn buses?". "Hold it men, here they come ... mmmm-m-m-m" . . . "You mean you all came in one taxi?"... "And this is your home away from home." . . . "Meet your senior sister." . . . "What did you say your name was?" ...

And, finally, this gives us a glimpse into the world circa 1959:

Changing Scenes. WORLD: The Berlin Crisis and the controversial American occupation make Willy Brandt, Berlin's young mayor, an international figurehead . . . Castro and Batista arouse political emotions of the young and the old ... The restless force of negro nationalism sweeps through Africa and breaks out in riots, reprisals, and bloodshed in Nayasaland. U.S.A.: Senatorial Committees investigate crimes - reveal coast-to-coast syndicates, implicate McCullen . . .Cancer, the dreaded enemy, temporarily halts the career of distinguished John Foster Dulles . . . Ike signs a senate bill and adds two stars, Alaska and Hawaii, to the flag... The Little Rock integration squabble calls out the National Guard and brings criticism to Governor Fabus. SCIENCE: The world watches the international race for supremacy in the commercial jet airline transportation . . . Excelerated missle [sic] program-Thor, Vanguard, and Regulus zoom through outer space . . . The nuclear submarine, Nautilus, makes headlines as it skims the ocean floor beneath the North Pole . .. The latest American satellite relays vital statistics from its orbit around the sun to the earth. SPORTS: World Pole Vault record crumbles as Don Bragg uses his powerful arms to lift himself over a 15 feet 9 1/2 inch bar ... Silver Spoon wins Santa Anita Derby and is favored for the Kentucky classic . . . John Thomas, Boston University freshman, shatters high jump record, new mark, 7 feet 11/4 inches ... Roy Campanello, famed Dodger catcher, injured in an automobile accident, struggles to regain the use of his paralyzed arms.

ENTERTAINMENT: Susies rave about Jack Parr's subtle sense of humor... the first lady of the jazz world, the fabulous Ella Fitzgerald . .. Pat Boone, the boy you wish lived next door . . . sexy sensation, Paul Newman .. .the favorite collegiate crooners, Kingston Trio.... fascinating Auntie Mame and her "top drawer girl." FASHION: High fashion reflection of the twenties, the chemise boufante, empire, skirts and matching hairdos . . .hound's tooth checks and ever popular shirtwaists . . . shocking floral prints and pointed-toe T-straps with pencil thin heels . . short, short skirts... raccoon coats ... versatile Mu Mu. INFLUENCES: Sounds of North Beach and Frisco . . .poetry and jazz infect the nation . . . Bruebeck falls from King to lowly noble . . . Picasso's abstract murals and Joan Miro's new titles cause a revolution in the art world ... Dylan Thomas's influence spreads... Carl Sandburg creates a new Chicago. STEPHENS: Later hours on weekends, but no late dates . . .The greatest addition in two centuries, President Smith . . .Re- form movement brings relaxed jurisdiction . . . The self study emphasizes Stephen's improvement . . .Siesta three day a week . . . Dreams of the future begin with the 40 year plan.

The “King and I” production, hosted by Burrall Symphony Orchestra, was a big deal on campus this year. It starred Annamary Dickey, the theatre star who played in the original Broadway production.

The Aviation Club reached a milestone this year, becoming a chapter of the national honorary aviation fraternity, Alpha Eta Rho.

Among the notable ’59 seniors is Constance Mertz, who this year is the Ideal of Self Discipline. She would go on to be Constance Freeman and raised and showed quarter horses.

“Claude” Sutherland, president of the Civic Association, is Claudette Sutherland, who went on to Yale and enjoyed a theatrical and television career. She now teaches creative writing.

Some more photos from this very photo-heavy issue of the Stephensophia:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1958

On the shelves in the Office of Advancement, the 1958 Stephensophia sticks out. It’s oddly shaped—longer than the other volumes and doesn’t quite fit on the shelf just right.

Now we know why.

This is a very unusual edition of the Stephensophia. It’s a gorgeous volume full of interesting (and sometimes risqué) photos and images of extremely interesting Stephens Women. The book’s theme is “The Woman” and throughout the pages are images of important artwork depicting all sorts of female figures, as well as female drawings. 

The Stephensophia staff explains its reasoning:

When we held our first and only formal staff meeting last spring, we decided that our book would not follow the pattern of yearbooks in the past. Rather than a repetitious record, ours would be a portrait of the Stephens College, and, in her profile, a picture of Woman. We use the subdivision pages to present her physical beauty. ….The shape of the book has been changed to fit in with the trend in our society to lengthen and streamline its products. We have enjoyed creating the Sophie. Through the months, we have worked to produce more than good journalism. We have worked to produce a book of the years, an aesthetic and memorable portrayal of you, the Woman.
Later, we learn more about yearbook editor Jan Rivard “whose spirit inspired a yearbook.” We learn she is a model who would rather buy a book on painting than a pair of shoes (and then only desert boots will do), that she’s part French, part camera tripod and that she’s an artist who “paints her own life in splashes of vivid coral.” 

We were delighted to discover that Jan, now Jan Attridge, hasn’t changed much. Today, she’s a figurative painter, graphic designer, astrologer and teacher--and you can view her website here

You might recall, the chapel opened last year, more than a decade after Stephens students began raising money for it. Times have changed. Women are starting to question the College’s requirement that all students attend services. In fact, we’re told, it’s the “issue of the year,” followed by a lengthy point-counterpoint. One student argues that freedom of religion is one of the basic principals of democracy and that requiring religious attendance violates that right. She argues that college women are adults and should form their own ideas. “Yet where religion is concerned we are denied the choice of decision. This required religious attendance is not only undemocratic, it is also an insult to the students, a threat to the growth of personal beliefs, a prompter of dishonesty and a policy which is conducive to hypocrisy.” She then challenges administrators to bring it to a student vote.

Yet another student argues that the College makes clear the requirement to attend non-denominational Burrall classes and that students cannot honestly say they were unaware of that stipulation. As adult women, students should realize that they would be expected to follow the laws of a community, the counter-point argues. She then challenges that making it a choice opens up the chance that a student could later argue she doesn’t want to learn English and shouldn’t have to take English classes.

Regardless, Burral Classes are as popular as ever, and religion this year remains a vital part of the Stephens experience.

We first met Donna Ensign in 1957. This year, she is Civic Association President who also represents the Ideal of Forcefulness. 

As we told you last week, Donna Ensign Marshall has served Stephens generously over the years as a trustee, donor and friend. So her letter to the student body really foretells her future dedication to the College:

You are a Stephens woman and always will be. People see and admire it in both your speech and actions and you can be proud that you are the possessor of such a distinction. This is a characteristic in your make-up that no one can take from you; the combination of knowledge, sound philosophy of life, strong religious convictions, the quest to be thought of as different! After all, aren't we all secretly glad that, to coin a phrase, "You can tell a Stephens girl anywhere"? You are not a member of an ordinary College Student Body. You are a member of the Stephens College Civic Association. In this capacity you are not a follower, but a leader in your own right…Whichever is your pathway to follow, you will have the memories of the "togetherness" we enjoyed here and the wonderful, enduring Spirit of Stephens College. You have made this spirit endure.

The 1958 yearbook also includes more photos of Columbia and MU than in the past, including this interesting drawing of Stephens Women superimposed over a photo of an MU football game. 

To Stephens Women, football games were not a time for T-shirts and tailgating. Here’s how the yearbook staff describes football season:

You cheer for the Tigers in spicy shades of autumn wool, worn with the casual smartness which typifies that Stephens style. After the game, you slip into a sheath of sophistication, the basic black. A touch of pearls, crisp white gloves, and you’re a fashionplate for fun—be it frat house or nightclub. Your date is waiting…

And about coming to Stephens for the first time:

You sit by a window, watching the miles dissolve into the past…your thoughts racing with the wheels that rumble beneath you…thoughts of home and the boy friend who kissed you goodbye…of the girl beside you who looks like a fashion magazine ad…and of the future…Stephens waits.

This is also the first year Stephens Women have designated a “Susie Sweetheart.” This year, John Mitchell, midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy earns the “petticoat world approval in the King of Hearts Contest.”

The yearbook starts out describing some of the more popular creative majors at Stephens and profiles a student in the program. In music, we’re told Lynn Blair “laughingly tried out for a part in a high school operetta and to her surprise was cast in the lead role.” She continued her studies at Stephens and became Lynn Blair Cohen, an opera singer.

There’s also a poetic account of Sonja Ulsaker’s life in Japan included in the Stephensophia. 

“Through Rice Paper Panels” stems from the three years she lived there while her father was stationed in the Army. It’s set during WWII and describes a Japanese soldier returning to see his family before going back into combat…and with a chilling end.

He ran into the temple grounds. Beads of sweat ran down his face. His uniform smelled of grease, work. He rushed up the stairs of the shrine and halted. He stood reverently before Buddha. "Hear me, Oh Buddha. I came before you to pray for my life. I know now what I must ask. I shall die, willingly. It is my duty, my privilege. But my plea, Oh Buddha, is that you will protect my wife and child. Although I shall never see them again in this life, I will be assured of their safety in your care. Buddha, if you will . . . keep them safe . . . safe, here in Hiroshima.

Sonja went on to be Sonja Ulsaker Peterson, an author and poet.

A few more examples of the notable women of 1958:

Anna Sitton, who this year is Appreciation of the Beautiful, became Anna Hays, first managing editor of Sesame Street Magazine and later developed original Sesame Street books. You can read more about her here.

Vivian Eynatten, who is Cheerfulness, is Vivian Benedict, Leadership Academy Coordinator for the MO Association of REALTORS.

And Peachy Fort, senior class president, is now Peachy Horne, also a REALTOR in the Greater Atlanta Area.

Some other interesting photos from 1958: