Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1925

If we can say anything about Stephens College circa 1925 it’s that it was the year of the bob.

Yes, the bob as in the hairstyle. Not since the early 1900s when every student pulled masses of hair into giant buns have we seen so many similar hairstyles. 

Some are wavy, others pin straight, but every student this year is sporting some version of this:

Although there’s no section dedicated to academics in the 1924-25 Stephensophia, we are told that the first instruction of horseback riding was given this year with a few horses available on campus. Next year, we’re told, Miss Wilma Haynes, a physical education instructor, plans to make horseback riding a regular part of the P.E. curricula.

Here’s the Horseback Riders’ Club

Athletics is as important as ever, and we’re told the concept has evolved over the years. “A few years after the Civil War, conditions were much worse, and girls instead of playing tennis, hiking and living in the out-of-doors as much as possible as they do now, sat in the parlors with a milder equivalent of 'flaming youth' and ate chocolates,” the Stephensophia reports.

The Athletic Association continues to promote physical activity by offering “S” sweaters to girls who complete a certain number of activities and keep track of their diet, only this year they must rack up 150 points instead of last year’s 100.

Speaking of diet and exercise, the Home Economics Club this year sponsored a “scientific eating competition” to “regulate the eating habits of the girls and to show them how they can increase or decrease their weight.” Until said girls reach their supposed ideal weights, the club also hosts a style show, “an attempt to aid the girls in their selection of clothing which would be becoming to their type.”

Governance remains important with the Civic Association serving as a “government in miniature” on campus. A Legislature exists under the umbrella of the association to make sure every girl has a representative, and a student government division doubles as a court system and a training school for citizenship so students know what’s expected of them, reducing the need for penalties.

Here is Laura Barrett, president of the Civic Association:

The Burrall Bible Class is still going strong but the emphasis on turning everyone into a proper Christian seems to have dwindled some from the past few years. Students—at least Stephensophia staff members—seem to have some of their humor back (for a few years the book seemed more on the serious side).

This year’s Stephensophia includes a fake advice column, “Dear Patience Wornout.”

In one letter, a student complains to Patience that Ted has asked her to marry him for the 40th time but she really loves Bill—but he wears suspenders to Vespers and “of course, no girl can endure a suspendered husband.” Patience advises her to “leap before you look or you’ll never leap.”

In another, a letter writer is concerned that Junior hasn’t called since a date last weekend. Patience replies: “There is only one thing to do. Call Junior and ask him if he is going to call.”

The diary of a typical Stephens girl—the annual calendar showing what happened on campus during the school year—provides glimpses into the mundane and the historic. On Oct. 11, our typical Stephens girl “saw a grand picture show.” On March 4, 1925, she “missed dinner to hear the inauguration speech of President Coolidge over the radio.”

While many things have changed at Stephens since 1925, the foreward could easily apply today. It says: “For we realize that the years just passed are the happiest we have ever experienced and, with the exception of a few, they are the happiest we shall ever spend.”

For the first year since 1909, the Stephensophia includes no indication that the state clubs still exist. The Oklahoma Club was the only state to consistently have a club until now. We won't see mention of the Oklahoma Club again until 1951 when a handful of students list it in their yearbook photo bios. 

But sororities remain popular in 1925, hence this lovely photo:

No comments:

Post a Comment