Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1914

The big news of 1914 was that the campus was quarantined for smallpox. The Stephensophia from that year tells us the quarantine began March 16. It doesn’t report many details, but the yearbook’s calendar suggests that on March 30 they were “free again.” And the Stephensophia is laced with all sorts of poems, jokes and comments about the event.

Apparently, the ladies were bored during this period of isolation. One section of the book titled “The Rise and Fall of Bangs” tells us that bangs were dubbed the “latest thing in Vogue” magazine. A couple of girls gave themselves bangs during a so-called “bang day,” but wiser women resisted and, unfortunately for the scissor happy students, bangs were quickly declared unfashionable.

Stephens College students also had a “fire department” on campus. The club held a firemen’s ball and apparently created an impressive mock fire scene, complete with the rescue of a damsel in distress.

The yearbook tells us that they sang songs about the quarantine, and the event was mentioned briefly in the University Missourian.

I’ve mentioned in previous installments of the “Look Back” series that home-ec was rising in popularity and each year, the Stephensophia staff feels the need to defend the subject. At one point, a student wrote that any more defense of the subject shouldn’t be necessary. But apparently, the 1914 staff also felt the need to defend educating homemakers, especially in light of “the high cost of living” that year. They write:

“Our people are beginning to realize that in order to have happy homes, we must teach our girls to be home makers. A literary and musical education are both very essential, but nothing is more important than the science of managing a home.”

The idea was to teach young women not only to cook and sew but “also the art and science of properly living.” Courses included cooking, dressmaking, domestic laundering, marketing and household chemistry.

Music also remains popular, with the majority of students taking a least one music course. Many students enrolled for special training in music alone, the yearbook says.

Also this year, the Expression (or drama) department added a new class this year called the “Evolution of Expression.” And these are the expressions the Expression classmates came up with for their group portrait:

The 1914 Stephensophia includes a section of letters from recent alumnae and, as in years prior, a Jokes section. My favorite:
“Miss Sampson: What kind of boys go to heaven? Bright Pupil: Dead ones, I suppose.”

Students in May celebrated May Day with a party on campus described as a court scene from a fairy book. Trees were strung with electric lights. A Miss Etta Kendrick was crowed Queen. Here’s the lovely Etta:

Also, Louise Dudley is on faculty at this point. Dudley would go on to shape humanities at Stephens. Dudley Hall is named after her.

No comments:

Post a Comment