Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stephens: A Look Back - 1929

Before we move on to the 1929 Stephensophia, a pause to send a very belated congratulations to the 1928 Stephensophia staff. We learn this week that last year’s yearbook (featured on this blog last week) won first place in a national contest and was awarded the place of “Pacemaker.”

On to 1929. This year, the women of Stephens College dedicated their yearbook not to an influential administrator or peer, but rather to the concept of femininity.

It reads: “To that touch of something soft and sheer that makes a girl a girl; to that love of something dainty, sweet alluring that lies deep within her heart; to that grace and ease, and charm; to that strange, elusive thing we cannot touch—but feel and wonder at and prize—to femininity we dedicate this book.”

And the drawings that grace the first few pages of the 1929 Stephensophia portray just that.

Louise Drake
But don’t let the daintiness fool you, these ladies were serious about education and politics and democracy, too. In fact, this year, with the junior class leading the way, Stephens Life was born. Students, “feeling the need for a school newspaper,” worked with faculty the year prior and launched the publication this year. The purpose? To “help in all campus problems and projects,” and to promote active interest in government and a democratic spirit, and to uphold the Ten Ideals.

Louise Drake is credited in the book for founding Stephens Life.

This is the first year since she arrived that Jessie Burrall is no longer on faculty. Her popular Bible Classes—which will go on for many more years—still bear her name but have been taken over by a Marion Applegate, a student, whom were told is doing a fine job. Burrall does come back for a visit in November, though.

Marion Applegate
According to a calendar of events, the campus in November also hosted another popular visitor. Tom Skeyhill lectured on campus, the Stephensophia says. Skeyhill was a World War I veteran who had been blinded by an exploding Turkish shell yet became a published poet and a speaking sensation. On Veteran’s Day of 1928, he lectured to a “worshipful audience” at Stephens. Skeyhill would be killed in an airplane crash three years later.

There’s also a vague mention of Richard Halliburton—the famed traveler of the day—on Feb. 22, but it’s unclear whether he was on campus or was spotted in a newsreel or throughout another media. The campus calendar tells us only that he “talks to those who have money.”

Although we know the Prince of Wales Club was chartered in 1926 and a student last year was the first to list it on her bio, this is the first year it’s acknowledged as a club in the official club section of the yearbook. It’s described as “one of the most unique organizations on campus,” as only those who have fallen from a horse are eligible for membership. You’ll recall, the club came about after a student fell off her horse and administrators teased her that she pulled a Prince of Wales move. (The poor prince was well known for taking a tumble.)

The Book Club, formed a few years ago, is also growing and the club’s library this year is deemed one of the most popular institutions on campus.

Although a much older club, Curtain Raisers is still going strong, teaching girls not only acting but also costume design, lighting effects, make-up and the collection of “props.” Of course, today, Stephens is known for its theatre, theatre tech and costume design programs.

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