Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stephens: A Look Back - 1940

It’s 1940 in our Look Back series, and the Stephensophia this year celebrates Missouri’s vibrant seasons: Fall, with the leaves turning wonderful colors; Winter, with its Christmas vacation; and Spring, which brings outdoor sports back again. Photos from each season are highlighted throughout the book:

The yearbook this year has “made pencil-chewing addicts of the junior staff, ink-smudged worriers of the senior staff, and gray-haired men of the sponsors.” Why? Because nothing, we’re told, could be quite so perplexing to put into words the spirit of anything, let alone the spirit of Stephens.

“How can we explain to you why the Ten Ideals stand for all this is fine and clean and admirable?” the staff asks.

And we love this warning, of sorts, in the book’s introduction:

“You needn’t hunt for a football section, nor one on Beauty Queens. Nor will you be able to find Grandpa’s picture, Susie, when you are a decrepit but well-groomed Grandmother. We hope, however, that our concern over the angle of every picture and the length of every line of copy in this ‘Sophie has produced for you a poignant memory book which will be the next best thing to reliving two happy invaluable years.”

In his annual yearbook address, President James Madison Wood writes that educating women must rest upon much more fundamental elements in her nature—the emotions of sympathy and service. “The new prominence of women in social, political, economic and religious affairs is the most important fact that confronts the world today,” he wrote, perhaps 70 years ahead of his time. Fast-forward to today and Stephens President Dianne Lynch is among a group of leaders discussing women in service and leadership as part of the international Women in Public Service Project.

The Stephensophia staff praises the faculty this year, which include Dr. Merle Prunty, director of personnel and head of the Extra Curricular Division, Dr. Paul Paustain, who taught for five years in India, and Dr. Roy Ivan Johnson, director of the Division of Skills and Techniques and author of best-selling textbooks on English composition.

“We are proud of their accomplishments,” the yearbook staff writes, “of the explorers, chess players, popular textbook writers, critics, musicians, dramatists and scholars in their midst.”

The Civic Association President this year is Jean Arthur, whom we’re told is “friendly and poised.” Arthur, along with her husband, Jay Hoel, and two friends, started the Park Forest Conservatory in Park Forest, Ill., which at one point had more than 600 music students.
Jean Arthur

The yearbook gives us a peek inside the dorms, including Lela Raney Wood, which now contains the “beautiful new ballroom.” We’re told “life is made soft for the girls by ice-water fountains, candy kitchenettes, coke machines, telephones and elevators.”

The handbook this year is now titled “Within the Ivy,” the name still used today, and acquaints the students with campus life.

The Foreign Relations Club is especially important this year. “Like everyone else interested in international events, Stephens girls have a hard time making head or tail out of the chaos. Foreign Relations Club sponsors eminent speakers who throw a great deal of bright light on the tangled situation.” Guests this year include S. Wilhelm Sollman, who shared his insights on Hitler.

Foreign Relations Club

There’s a great message found in The College Store’s ad written by Juanita Sapp. The ad reads:
What are little girls made of!
Well, we should know! For years we have seen them come and go. Thousands of them—short, lean, fat and tall.
But size and shape have nothing to do with what a girl is made of. What, then! Smiles and kind words, willingness to help others, politeness and love—that’s what little girls are made of. But time will not stand still. Little girls grow into fine ladies and must go upon their separate courses.

We know what YOU are made of—go now into the world and prove that we are right.

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