Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1933

It’s 1933—the 100th anniversary of Stephens College—and the Stephensophia is dedicated to “the girls who have passed through the lantern hung gates of Stephens giving their best to its one hundred years of development and leaving a priceless heritage for those who will build during a second century.”

The 100th year theme is found throughout the book with interesting images of Stephens women “then and now.” The images are made to look as though previous Stephens women are watching over the current students. (And they did it without Photoshop!)

President James Madison Wood, in his yearbook address, acknowledges the milestone by recalling the “little band of pioneers from Virginia and Kentucky” who unanimously adopted the resolution founding the Columbia Female Academy under the direction of Miss Lucy Wales. 

Things have changed in 100 years, the Stephensophia points out, requiring a different sort of educational need in 1933. The first women of Stephens were from a time where food, clothes and luxuries were produced at home; not so with the modern women of 1933. And a century ago, the yearbook staff tells, the “genteel female” frowned upon reading novels. Reading was confined to texts, classics and religious books. In 1933, we’re told, Stephens College recognizes the reading habit as “one of the most desirable outcomes of a college education.”

This is Kay Goodfellow. She earned the title of Blanket Girl this year by accumulating the most points for athletic activities. Kay was a member of the tumbling team and her impersonation of Groucho Marx at the A.A. Circus and Masked Ball “will not be soon forgotten.”

The Stephensophia goes into detail once again about the various academic subjects of the day. In science, we’re told Dr. Minnie May Johnson, an instructor of botany, takes students on field trips to the Ozarks. Just a note, biology students enjoy a scientific trip to the Ozarks today, as well.

Dr. Louise Dudley now heads the Division of Humanities which comprises of art, literature, drama, music and religion. The primary purpose of teaching in the division is to give the student “opportunity for that self-realization that comes from active participation in any of the fine arts.” The second aim is “the creation of a tolerant attitude toward all forms of art and religions, an open-mindness that defers judgment until after it has been weighed and considered.”

In music, we’re told Basil Deane Gauntlett, director of the conservatory, gave a concert this year in New York. And Nellie Lee Holt, professor of religious education, spent three years as a professional lecturer for Famous Speakers of New York.

The Division of Social Studies seeks to aid the student in understanding the problems arising from the human necessity to live in groups, to analyze and evaluate in light of man’s past experience, the Stephensophia says. Faculty include Major Rolf Raynor whose “excellence in his instruction in riding is evidenced by the fine showing that Stephens makes in the horse show held at Missouri University each year.”

In the Division of Skills and Techniques, which houses languages and education, the Carmencita Spanish Club hosts speakers, dances and music this year to celebrate the culture. The children’s school—a preschool and kindergarten at this time—was housed in Wood Hall.

Stephens also has a Campus Service Board that partly assists with retention. The group provides a tea room, which we’re told is one of the most popular places on campus and nets a large profit. The money is used to “help some girl who would have discontinued her work at Stephens without its aid.”

In honor of the 100th anniversary, graduating seniors dressed in 1833 attire. This intricate drawing separates the main yearbook from a special prose section at the end about what life must have been like at the Columbia Female Academy centuries before. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1932

The 1932 Stephensophia has an Alice in Wonderland theme that’s carried out throughout the yearbook’s text and images. Apparently, at first nod students weren’t all that thrilled with the idea. We’re told that after the theme was announced, you could hear students grumbling “That’s a childish idea” or “Good-night, I read that book when I was about four years old.” But yearbook staff members tell us they read it again and “decided it was clever enough for any person to read and enjoy.” The sketches throughout the book show various versions of Alice and in some cases, including the picture above, show familiar Stephens and Columbia landmark silhouettes behind her.

The book is dedicated to “you” because “we are cognizant of your power.”

Edwin Stephens

A couple of high-profile people have passed away this school year and are noted in the Stephensophia. They include Edwin Stephens, board member and son of James Stephens, our namesake; and Grace Pemberton, who had worked at Stephens since 1918 at one point serving as dean of women.
This is President James Madison Wood’s 20th year at Stephens, although not as much as made of it in this year’s Stephensophia then when he hit his 10-year mark.

Henry Bowman has joined the Stephens faculty this year and is teaching citizenship and sociology. We’ll probably be reading more about him—Dr. Bowman was the mastermind behind the “Marriage for Moderns” courses and videos in the 1950s.

The 1932 Stephensophia again gives us more insight into coursework and instruction than in earlier editions of the yearbook. If you’re new to the Look Back series, we saw a lot of sections dedicated to student poetry and prose in the Stephensophias of the early 1900s.  But that was before the college had the Standard, a literary journal that in 1932 placed 1st in the Missouri Interscholastic Press contest, and other clubs for writers, including Chi Delta Phi. Now affiliated with the national organization, the Stephens chapter of Chi Delta Phi this year is compiling a book of poetry, The Lantern, which would go on to be published the following summer. We’re told the club holds luncheon meetings at Givan’s, a place “popular for its journalistic atmosphere.”

Over in the Psychology department, we’re told Dr. Rexroad teaches his pupils that they have long had illusions. The yearbook reads: “We do not have a mind! Our reactions were just like yours probably are, but nonetheless just listen to Dr. Rexroad three hours a week and then try to convince yourself that you have a mind.”

In Natural Sciences, each room has an exhibit, including a cage of white rats.
Students in art courses designed Christmas cards (a familiar project for some of our Graphic Design students today).

Just as they do today, education students get the opportunity to work in an on-campus lab school, which at this time was a kindergarten and nursery where college students could observe “physical, mental, moral and social development of children from three to six.”

We’re told the Glee Club this year has more than 100 members who performed in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Glee Club
Equestrian students are busy, too, showing “fine horses and accomplished riders” at the annual Columbia Commencement Horse Show, the Farmer’s Fair and the Beta Sigma Beta horse show.

Over in the secretarial studies courses, students are taught to value accuracy more than speed when it comes to shorthand and typing. Students also learn stenograph and we’re told “Probably as the girls sit in their classes they have visions of future years when they shall be sitting at the president’s desk writing his personal letters for him.”

The Drama department this year put on four productions, including “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which remains a popular production today, and “Faust,” the first Stephens production to use a revolving stage.

Archery is still popular and apparently other colleges are starting to implement it, even though Stephens has had it for years. Tennis is also popular “to the modern Susie,” we’re told.

The Athletic Association, in its 15th year now, brought notable dancer Elna Mygdal to campus. She is a “unique interpreter of dance” and thoroughly delighted her audience.

Clubs are doing interesting things again this year, including the Home Economics Club, which conducts an annual “scientific eating campaign” to regulate and monitor students’ caloric intake. The Bizoochem club for science students this year is studying cosmetics, learning about the structure of skin and various products.

And Stephens Life has added a couple of new features, including a column written by anonymous students about “things that aren’t supposed to be known.” (I’m personally tempted to go to the archives and dig out the 1932 Stephens Life issues to see what they’re talking about.)

Just an interesting note since we mentioned it last week—in 1931, the freshmen and sophomore classes were organized into one unit. That apparently didn’t work out because this year, both classes grew significantly and had to be separated again.

In February, we’re told about 80 students visited the East Coast, including New York.

And a couple of interesting tidbits from the advertising section: Boone County Trust Company advertises having a “women’s department conducted by college women who know your needs and problems,” and the Tiger Hotel, which is still open today after significant renovations, in 1932 is “new and fireproof.” 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1931

The 1931 Stephensophia goes into academic programs more so than yearbooks from the past several years, giving us more insight into education at Stephens than, say, social trends of the day as in previous years.

The yearbook staff this year has divided academics into five areas, and the book goes into detail about coursework, majors and extracurricular activities within each area.

Humanities includes arts, with lessons on soap sculpturing, lettering and color theory; clothing design; music and drama. Basil Deane Gauntlette, a graduate of the Conservatorie Nationale in Paris, heads the conservatory and is a piano professor. There’s also a new Music Week this year to let students who are involved in the violin quartette, string quartette, cello quartette, orchestra training class or vocal quartette show off their talents. A Sunrise Choir also performs each Sunday morning on KFRU (which celebrated its 89th birthday yesterday, just FYI).

Vocations include secretarial studies--think typing, shorthand and dictation, as well as the education program, which since 1925 has had a lab school on campus.
Tool Subjects is used to describe home ec and languages and encompasses the campus publications, including the Standard literary journal, Stephens Life and the Stephensophia.

The Natural Sciences section includes chemistry, botany zoology and physiology.

The area of Social Sciences encompasses history and psychology.

The curriculum as a whole is designed to meet the actual needs of women living in the 20th Century, we’re told, and each course is designed to be functional and show the importance of the subject in life outside of the classroom. This “real-world” teaching model is still used today but, of course, has “kept up” with needs of women as they’ve evolved.

Louise Dudley
Louise Dudley is now dean of faculty. We’re given a little background on her, including the fact that she was a social worker in the French Munition camps under the direction of the Young Women’s Christian Association and that last year, she sojourned to the Junior College at Long Beach, Calif., as an exchange professor of English.

Here’s what the Stephensophia staff also says about Dr. Dudley:

“Dr. Dudley once let slip the remark that she rather liked to be ‘hard boiled,’ but the twinkle in her eyes and the slight suggestion of a smile served as conclusive evidence that her ‘bite is not as bad as her bark.’ As a hobby, Dr. Dudley finds teaching Humanities most enjoyable or, when classes are not in session, the rather unique task of drawing house plans interests her.”

Also on faculty is Dr. Frank Nifong—as in Nifong Blvd. in Columbia. He’s director of health and physical education.

Lewine Hoefer is now dean of permissions and chairman of the board of deans, as well as an assistant in social sciences. You might recall, we met Ms. Hoefer in 1926 when she was a student and president of the Civic Association.

 This year marks the 10th anniversary of Burrall Bible Classes and Ms. Jessie Burrall, who has been gone a couple of years now, visits campus to help celebrate. We’re told Vespers is now twice a week, and there’s also a new discussion group, “We Moderns,” held weekly to discuss various problems of leadership and religion.

The senior class is the first to be “brave enough” to host two formal dances, one without men and another to let students show of their “beaux” from back home.

Also this year, the freshman and sophomore classes—high school-aged women at this time—have been combined into a single unit, and students are known as “organization students.”

Again this year, the Stephensophia dedicates full-page photos to the Four-Fold Girl, Best Private Citizen and each woman who represents one of the Ten Ideals. This year, it appears they all posed at similar times in some of their best dresses. A few favorites: 

 And finally, couldn't resist sharing this timely winter scene with an elaborate snow person.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1930

After a two-week holiday break, our Look Back series continues with the 1929-30 school year.

The Stephensophia this year doubles as an almanac of famous women with drawings of not only historical figures but also popular women of the day.

In addition to Cleopatra and Joan of Arc, or rather Jeanne D’Arc, the yearbook honors Judge Florence E. Allen, who at this time was in her second term on the Ohio Supreme Court (she’d go on to be one of the first female federal judges), American author Willa Cather and Helen Wills Moody, a popular tennis player of the day described as one of the first American women to achieve international celebrity as an athlete.

Frances Rummell
But there’s another historical female of note hidden in the pages of the 1930 Stephensophia; a Frances Rummell, who at this time was a French instructor. In 2010, Rummell was identified as the author of “Diana: A Strange Autobiography” published in 1939 under the pseudonym of Diana Fredericks. An Oregon Public Broadcasting “history detectives” series discovered Rummell’s true identity, confirming it with a niece. The book is considered the first lesbian autobiography in which two women end up happy (apparently there are others with not-so-happy endings).

This is the first year Stephens has adopted a student handbook. Then known as the “Blue Book,” this organized list of rules and regulations is compiled and published by the Student Government Division so each student knows what is expected of her.

The Student Government Division this year also sponsored a concert in order to start a fund to buy radios for each dormitory. The idea is to furnish the parlors of each hall with a radio to make them more “homelike.” Remember, this was the Golden Age of Radio when stations aired not only news and music but also mysteries and dramas and early soap operas.

There’s also a new Big Sister Movement on campus under the Campus Service Division of the governing association. The idea is to pair new students with older students so they can adjust more easily to campus life.

This is the second year coordinated efforts are being made to unify the residential halls, and a new Hall Presidents Committee is formed. The committee is charged with identifying and resolving any issues that crop up in the residential halls.

There’s a section under “Features” that includes a series of letters from a “princess” student to “royal father” about life not necessarily at Stephens but in America. The section begins with an intro, “Ye Princesse Writeth” explaining that the letters are from “the humble Suzarina” documenting her experiences in the west. This is the accompanying photo—although there’s no caption, the assumption is that the “princess” is observing her more modern peers. The princess goes on to describe New York, the bold attire of college women and one letter asking for money, supposedly mimicking her classmates’ letters to parents.

Speaking of creative writing, The Stephens Standard is enjoying great success. The literary journey repeatedly wins first in the Missouri Interscholastic Association contest, we’re told, and past contributors have gone on to sell poetry and stories to the Christian Herald and a publication called the Manuscript and to win awards form the University of Missouri and Atlantic Monthly.

Stephens Life is in its second year and this year has opened its pages to a Letters to the Editor section.

Performance of Hedda Gabler
The drama program is growing at Stephens this year. Of course, the Curtain Raisers is one of the oldest clubs on campus and continues to perform – this year even presenting the controversial Hedda Gabler, which were told was presented in a “modernistic, impressionistic manner.” This year, the college has added a debate club and is hosting speech conferences, allowing each girl to speak over an “Ediphone,” or dictation machine. The idea? “By hearing her own voice reproduced each girl was able to see clearly for herself some of her careless speech habits.”

Music continues to be popular at Stephens, took with a new Stephens College Octette performing for the College’s radio station.

In what’s become an annual feature of the Stephensophia, “Susie’s Diary about the school year, we’re told that Phi Theta Kappa “wizards of Missouri” flocked to Stephens in November to “exchange views on Einstein’s theories (this was 15 years after he finished his general theory of relativity).

On Feb. 1, we’re told Susie journeyed to St. Louis to see actress Ethel Barrymore.

There are actually a couple of other incidents that happened in the 1929-30 school year not logged on the pages of the yearbook but that are confirmed in newspaper archives online. That Christmas, 63 Stephens students became ill while traveling from Stephens on the train for Christmas break. According to the Jefferson City Post, they apparently had boxed lunches from campus but administrators denied that the illness stemmed from the college’s food. Also that year, several students suffered sprains and cuts after a bleacher collapsed on campus.

The Stephensophia this year includes its usual advertising section but this year, the ladies have extended their reach. This advertisement is for a hotel in Washington, D.C.