Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1915

The 1915 Stephensophia yearbook is dedicated to this woman:

This is Lela Raney Wood, although she’s referred to in the book as Mrs. James Wood “who gives practical aid to our problems, sympathy in our difficulties, inspiration in our college life and ideals.”
In this installment of the “Look Back” series, we’re exploring Stephens as it was 98 years ago today. For those reading the series regularly, the book is organized similarly to previous issues, with poetry, songs and tales from campus that year.

In 1915, just about every Stephens student was interested in music. There’s even a page for musical “queries,” including one student who asks “Is it wrong to play ragtime in the Conservatory?” “No,” we’re told, “provided that you are not caught at it.”

The expression department was active this year, as well, with a production of Mice and Men and the Land of Fable, presented in conjunction with the German department. Here’s a neat photo from the latter:

China studies within the art department were also popular. We’re told graduates who could work in the china field were “desperately” needed because they wanted “tableware no longer painted with gaudy flowers.” The yearbook also points out that drawing is also important, with the comment: “Can a ‘Hershey’ sale really pay without a poster to advertise the wares? Certainly not.” (Advertising and graphic design, by the way, are popular majors today, too.)

Hershey must have been pretty popular at the time. In a section of definitions of terms of the day, we’re given the following definition for a “College crush.”
College crushes – A college crush is an unruly attachment of one girl to another, to the exclusion of all other persons, objects or things. It is a kind of obsession which leads the subject to spend all her time, affection, botany notes or Hersheys on one girl.

Stephens had plenty of active clubs on campus in1915, including the Student Government. It would be another two years before women were even allowed to vote in the U.S., so I love this drawing promoting women in politics:

We’re told that the growth of Student Government—the increased privileges and authority—“has been one of the leading factors in changing us from boarding-school girls to college women.”
And Stephens women were as much Tiger fans in 1915 as they are today. When Missouri beat Kansas that year, a parade was held that crossed through campus and Stephens students “lowered from the window a large tiger bearing a miniature football in its mouth.” I don’t know whether this was just a large drawing or a sculpture of some sort, but this drawing accompanied the yearbook blurb:

“Great was the excitement it produced,” the yearbook reads, “great was the struggle which ensued when each fellow tried to get part of the tiger for a souvenir.”
The Stephensophia yearbooks are online thanks to the Missouri Digital Heritage project. You can check them out for yourself here.

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