Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1939

The 1939 Stephensophia is dedicated to “Suzie Stephens, You and Me” and has a beautiful scrapbook theme that includes several photos using spot color. A few favorites:

We’re told the archway in Hickman Hall is told to be the coolest place south of the Arctic. “But in spite of the ninety-mile wind it is still the central meeting place on campus. The most important notices and bulletins are posted in the archway. All voting for campus office takes place in the polls set up here. A wide flight of stairs leads up to the archway—the only campus entrance that is never locked.”

The staff of the Stephensophia reports that Dr. W.W. Charters—as a result of years of careful research—has made Stephens’ educational policy the practical, progressive and vital program that President Wood has desired for so long. It’s an education based on the idea of individual—that women should learn to do what they want to do and to weigh everything in regard to its later importance. Women learn not only facts, we’re told, but interpretation of facts, as well.

Miss Eleanor Pepper is on faculty this year. Pepper at this time was the first and only woman ever elected to the American Institute of Architects for her work on newsreel theatres in Paris and remodeled brownstones on Manhattan’s East Side. She went on to be chairwoman of Pratt Institute’s Department of Interior Design.

There’s a new Institute for Consumer Education at Stephens headed by John Cassels, a former assistant professor of economics at Harvard. The course helps students learn what goes on behind buying, how to choose products and budgeting.

Gail Potter is also on campus teaching fencing. We’re told he’s never taken fencing himself but played D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers and taught fencing to Cary Grant. Outside research shows it was the St. Louis Municipal Opera’s version of the classic and that’s where he met Archie Leach, who went on to be the popular Grant.

There’s a Foreign Relations Club this year organized for students to discuss current events and world affairs. The club hosts a series of lectures.

There’s also a new Briggadettes Dance Band conceived by Martha Briggs. It’s the most popular organization at Stephens, we’re told, and the group performs both on and off campus.

Paul Weaver is now over the Burrell Bible Class. There’s no mention of him—why would there be, he was just another student at the time—but the Columbia Daily Tribune in 2008 reported that Sam Walton was president of the university’s men’s Burrell Bible Class in the late 1930s. Walton, of Wal-Mart fame, of course, graduated from the University of Missouri in 1940 so we might safely assume he was attending the courses at Stephens this year.

The 1939 Stephensophia includes a poem to her Alma Mater.

To alma mater
To alma mater let us turn in reverence
A toast to Stephens hallowed memories
For though we wander far without her treasured walls,
Our thoughts return in homage to her name
We love her tower and ivy mantled walls;
We love her spirit ever lingering in our hearts;

And we will honor Stephens till the last day falls.

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