Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1928

There are a couple of notable students in the 1927-28 Stephensophia. 

Among the students embodying the Ten Ideals  this year is Jasamyn Sanders, who would go on to become Jasamyn Garrett, author of Bountiful Bootheel Borning,” a 1961 book telling in narrative verse the history of the Missouri Bootheel.
Another Stephens student of interest is Marion Grey Franklin, editor of this year’s Stephensophia. She would go on to the MU School of Journalism and marry Alvin Scott McCoy, who ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage that led to the resignation of a Republican National Committee chairman.

Although it’s still not listed in the official club pages, Dorothy Graves, a junior, is the first to ever list on the bio next to her photo that she’s in the “Prince of Wales Club.”

 There are two new clubs on campus in 1928, the Stephensophia tells us. Bizochem is organized to “further the interest of science on campus.” There’s also a new secretarial club for those interested in secretarial work.
Archery is the newest sport on campus and is quickly becoming a favorite. The Stephensophia staff predicts that it will someday be as popular as baseball and basketball. 

The senior class this year apparently made a trip east, visiting  the then relatively new Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington and staying at the Penn Hotel in New York. 

Around this time of the year some 86 years ago, Stephens students offered up a human Christmas tree.

And in February, a fashion show is held again. We're not sure what types of designs were included, but we do know fur was popular this year.

There’s a class prophesy set in the living room of President James Madison Wood in 1940, more than a decade from now. The Stephensophia staff predicts Mrs. Wood will read an announcement in the Columbia Missourian, prompting Mr. Wood to turn on the radio, which is broadcasting the first convention of the founders of the American School of Wisdom. Who’s behind this school? The Stephens College Class of 1928 graduates, of course.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Wood would not live to see 1940.

But Wood would, indeed, still be president that year. And he used the 1928 Stephensophia to outline his vision for Stephens College—a vision that would be realized during his lengthy career at the college.

He wanted enrollment to grow, he wanted students to ultimately earn bachelor’s degrees and he wanted courses to meet the physical, intellectual, practical and spiritual needs of women.

“In other words, it should be a College for Women.”

Wood, as usual, was ahead of his time, although he probably didn’t imagine that some 30 women’s colleges would go co-ed between the late 1960s and today.

He wrote that graduates should possess the broad cultural background needed in rearing children and directing the home. But, he said, they should also have the training needed for the successful pursuit of work and for some “specific form of economic production.”

Wood envisioned a little theatre for dramatic arts, a chapel and ample provision for art and exhibits. (Check. Check. Check.)

His vision for the future is at the beginning of the 1928 Stephensophia and is followed by several pages of letters from university administrators around the country praising junior colleges and Stephens specifically. There are letters from the presidents of the University of Akron and the University of Minnesota, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Northwestern University and the then-president of the University of Missouri. MU President Stratton Brooks wrote: “I feel confident that Stephens College, during the next five years will be able to contribute much of value to educational progress.”

He also talked about the strength of the curricula, which can be credited in large part to Werrett Wallace Charters, whom Wood hired in 1920 to be director of research. Charters was charged with building “the strongest curriculum found in any women’s college in the world.” Charters’ findings resulted in the development of study in social problems, philosophy of living, communications, physical health, mental health and humanities.

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