Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1920

It’s 1920 and Louise Dudley is back.

Dudley, now the name of one of Stephens’ primary academic buildings, taught at Stephens in 1913-14 but had left after that year. Dudley is basically the mother of humanities, having co-authored “The Humanities” which is designed to develop literacy in the arts. I know there are some Dr. Dudley fans out there, so expect to hear more about her in future editions of this “Look Back” series. (In the meantime, her 1910 dissertation at Bryn Mawr College, “The Egyptian Elements in the Legend of the Body and Soul” is available for free through Google books.)

During the 1919-1920 school year, Stephens appears to be developing its education degree. The Stephensophia tells us girls were divided into groups that year, and each day, a group would go to Robert E. Lee Grade School—Lee Elementary today—to practice teaching for a half hour. Stephens women would supervise play, and the story telling hour in the primary and third grade was also “handed over to college girls.”

The Stephensophia reports: “This new subject in our curriculum is entirely a success.” How right they were! Spoiler: The Stephens College Children’s School would open five years later, and students today still reap the benefits of working directly with children in our education program.

A new violin club has been added to the activity roster, which still includes a duck club for swimmers, a fire department, an orchestra and four sororities. The Oklahoma Club is still around, and this year, Kansas students have their own club, as well. There are also new clubs for students coming from Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southwest and Southeast Missouri.

A popularity contest in 1920 crowned Miss Dorothy Means and twins Floy and Flora Rhoades among the most beloved students. Here's Means and a portrait of the twins.
Means was also Student Council president, and we find out later that the twins liked to attend class for one another.

Girls were also named for being most studious and most loyal and for being the “biggest man hater” and the “fattest.”

In a student Q&A section, Stephensophia asked women why they came to Stephens. 

“To get away from my suitors,” a Miss Alice Peck replied. 

“Ask Dad,” Ruth Ohmer quipped. 

And Marjorie Stewart joked: “Because the penitentiaries in Kansas were full.”

Asked what had been her most thrilling experience at Stephens, Marjorie Uhley replied: “The time I almost went to a frat house.”

The Stephensophia again includes a joke section. My favorite:

Lillian (studying the Constitution): “When a man marries, does he lose any of his rights under the Constitution?”

Vera; Yes, indeed, the pursuit of happiness.”

The yearbook this year includes an sketch of the Stephens College campus of the day. Let me know if you recognize any of the buildings.    

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