Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1922

The 1921-22 school year brought about a new tradition that’s still recognized on campus today.

The Ten Ideals are born.

The 1922 Stephensophia tells us the Civic Association “decided that there were ten ideals which the all-around Stephens girl should possess.” The yearbook does not list them other than to say the senior class decided to stress “courtesy” as the main ideal that year, and seniors organized a campaign—posters, lectures and sketches—to emphasize the importance of that ideal.

The junior class also got in on the action that year, listing the promotion of the Stephens ideals as the chief aim of the class—in addition to helping establish a “bigger, better Stephens.”

We know from other sources that the original ideals also included: Forcefulness, health, self-discipline, reverence toward the spiritual, honesty, love of scholarship, service, cheerfulness and appreciation of the beautiful. Those ideal characteristics were updated in 1983 and now include: Respect, courage, independence, support, sensitivity, responsibility, belief, creativity, intelligence and leadership.

Lela Raney Wood & Jimmy Jr.
The ideals weren’t the only bundle of joy to arrive that school year. This year also marks the arrival of James Madison Wood Jr.—or as one page of photos lovingly describes him “Jimmie Junior.” This is indeed a happy event—the Woods had lost an infant child in 1919.

Jessie Burrall, who arrived the year prior, continues to promote religion…or perhaps that’s putting it mildly. The yearbook tells us the goal of the religious education department is to make religion a normal part of each girl’s life, “to make Christ so real to her that she will open her heart to Him and ask Him to be her friend, and her Lord and Master.”

Vespers is now held four nights a week and focuses on prayer and praise.

Burrall’s Sunday School program is attracting University of Missouri men and women, and we’re told attendance has grown into the thousands. A calendar/diary later in the book gives one student’s perspective: “I didn’t know I could enjoy a Sunday School class as much as I enjoyed the Burrall Class. Miss Burrall certainly is a live wire.” We’re told the campus hosted a Baptist convention this year, as well.

The Young Women’s Christian Association is also supporting this movement, organizing a “Big Sister” program to help “bring young women to Christ.” But not just any woman. YWCA girls, we’re told, are recognizable by following these standards:

They play fair with the rules of the school
They stand for clean speech and purification of campus speech
They have a high sense of honor
They stand for modest dress
They stand against familiarity in relations with boys. They put their relations on a basis of comradeship
They do not engage in questionable social conduct

Even the annual jokes section, this year called “Timely Tidbits,” seems to adhere to these rules—the language and jokes seem less edgy or cynical than they had in previous years.

Religion isn’t the only academic program growing. Science also expanded this year to include zoology. We’re told students this year are anticipating the opening of a new science hall the following year.

Theatre and music are also swelling with some 300 students taking private lessons in music, and the conservatory is now one of the largest departments. And art is also popular. Check out this great photo of a painting class:

The Pan Hellenic Council has been formed this year to oversee seven sororities, and athletics is also being promoted, not just through organized teams but also daily life.

Points are given to those who participate in athletics or do physical activities such as hiking. Students can also get points for keeping “health cards” (the 1923 Stephensophia explains what those health cards are – so we’ll get into that next week.) Any student who reaches 100 points gets an “S” sweater, and an “S” blanket is given to the best all-round girl athlete each year.

Roy T. Davis
A couple of other highlights from the year: We’re told students were invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stephens that fall to honor their golden anniversary. “All the girls who had not met Mr. and Mrs. Stephens before immediately fell in love with them,” the yearbook says. “Each girl carried away a piece of the wedding cake.”

The Oklahoma Club had a float in MU’s Homecoming Day Parade this year before the Tigers took on Oklahoma University.

We’re also told that Stephens students wrote a water play the week of commencement, which was performed by some of the school’s best swimmers.

This year’s Stephensophia was dedicated to Roy T. Davis, United States Minister to Costa Rica and formerly Secretary of Stephens College. We’re told he’s “a real friend whose big visions and small kindnesses have given him a place of high esteem and great respect in the heart of every Stephens Girl.”

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