It’s 1938 in our Look Back series and the Stephensophia wastes no time in welcoming the legendary actress to campus.
The yearbook is dedicated to her “because she is a great actress in her own name and beloved by millions of people for her splendid portrayal of ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Chantecler’ and because she so perfectly embodies Stephens’ Ten Ideals.”
For those who don’t know, Adams played the title role in the 1905 Broadway production of “Peter Pan” and starred in the 1911 Broadway debut of Chantecler in 1911.
She brought the latter production to Stephens with her this year when she became head of the theatre program. We’re told Chantecler, under Adams’ supervision, was the “biggest and most important production on campus.”
A lesser-known but equally important woman on campus this year is Mary Jean Abernethy who is an instructor in social studies. Abernethy wasn’t famous, but she was a trailblazer in her own right. We’re told she is also working on a doctorate at Missouri University, managing a house and raising a son. “She is extremely interested in new opportunities for women and hopes to prove that a woman can successfully combine home and outside activities.”
The yearbook staff this year is proud of the enrollment at Stephens, 1,175 “Susies”—the number is highlighted throughout the book.
The Burrall Class is also as large as ever with more than 1,500 college students from the three campuses in Columbia attending. The group includes several sections and offers a service component: At Christmas, we’re told 550 orphans received gifts from Stephens girls.
Clubs this year include the art club, which assists students in “problems of interior decorations” in addition to promoting art; Bizochem, which sponsors a popular science exhibit; a Botany Club that provides refuge for birds, fish and plants; a Book Club that gathers around the fireplace at Dr. Louise Dudley’s home to review books and read poetry; and a new German Club.
The Civic Association remains active and strives to “cultivate a worthy philosophy of living.” This year, they’ve established a Lela Raney Wood memorial fund in honor of President James Madison Wood’s wife, who passed away the previous year.
There’s no calendar of events in this year’s Stephensophia, but the yearbook does have more photos. Some favorites—but first this line from the senior letter to juniors: “In no other place will we ever find the traditions, the ideals and the opportunities for fine friendships that Stephens offers us.”