Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1916

The women of Stephens College circa 1916 had their own Duck Dynasty going on.

That’s when the Duck Club was founded. (The pool, or natatorium, opened the previous year.)

The 1916 Stephensophia describes the club for us from the point of view of those who aren’t members. It was really easy to qualify, we’re told. “Most anybody can win a duck without much work. All she has to do is learn to dive from the flagpole, to swim 713 times around the pool in 13 seconds, to play a game of tiddle-de-winks on the bottom of the pool, to stand on her head on the springboard and bounce off, to swim upside down …” and a bunch of other complicated tasks. “And, oh yes, you are supposed o balance a Japanese parasol on your forehead while floating, and juggle six hand-painted china plates.”

I take it induction wasn’t really that easy. Here are the talented girls who made the Duck Club:

In this installment of Stephens: A Look Back, we also meet a “Typical Stephens Girl.” Here she is:

In the midst of all our fun,
In the lead where work is done,
In each girl’s heart a place she’s won,
This typical S.C. Girl—Lelia, our yellow chrysanthemum

This year’s events calendar is a look back at the school year from one student’s perspective.
We’re told on September 18—exactly 97 years ago today—the “old girls give new girls a party. Old girls dressed as boys, new girls as girls. That crowd would make a circus look like a Quaker meeting in comparison.”

The Stephens basketball team played MU Feb. 2, losing 19 to 11 but apparently not as badly as expected. “We didn’t quite serve as mops for the M.U. girls. We even cleaned up a little score for ourselves.” Here’s an accompanying sketch:

Stephens did beat Columbia High School, though, the week prior. The high school had a “dandy team” but of course couldn’t compete against their college rivals.

The young women of Stephens in 1916 apparently loved hash. The yearbook outlines their favorites, saying they are fond of beans, enjoy potatoes but ADORE hash.

The 1916 Stephensophia also includes an “evolution” of a Stephens woman in three chapters. We see her transition from a girl fresh off the farm to a woman through her letters home. The first is a letter to “Maw and Paw” from “Milly” about “kampus” amazing that she could get a “vanilla sody” for a dime.

In her second letter home, she’s formal—a little too formal, addressing her parents as “Mater et Pater” and praising them for being “too angelic to send me all of those blank bank checks. I’ve only had to write out 10 of them; so you see my course in economics has done oodles of good.” She goes on to explain that she simply had to have a new suit and some evening gowns. The letter is signed Millicent Dayse Joanes.

By her final letter, she’s toned it down a little, telling Mother and Father that she has applied for two jobs and should she get one “I’ll demand the vote as an independent woman.” She would gain that right the following  year.

No comments:

Post a Comment