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News on the Campus – June 1918

The news on campus in June 1918 primarily centered around the Normal summer school enrollment, the Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute that was held at the Normal, and a solar eclipse viewing that was held on the Normal campus.

Summer School Enrollment:  The enrollment for summer school students was a record for Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas – UCA) in 1918.  More than 200 students were enrolled.

The enrollment would have been much larger had it not been for the war (later known as World War I) where most of the Normal male students were serving in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.  The 1918 spring enrollment for men had suffered significantly.  In the spring of 1917, there were 200 men enrolled, but by the spring of 1918, only 12 men were enrolled in classes. But nonetheless, the 1918 summer school enrollment was still the largest up to that time.

Activities were scheduled on campus throughout the summer.  According to the June 5, 1918 issue of The Log Cabin Democrat, “Two evenings each week games will be played on the campus and much interest is expected to be shown in these activities.  This afternoon at 7:30 on the campus, President B.W. Torreyson will deliver an address of welcome to the summer students.  The public is invited to attend this address.  Friday evening, between 8:00 and 10:00 o’clock, the faculty of the Normal will give a reception in honor of the students.  The citizens of Conway are also invited to attend this reception and get acquainted with the new students who will make their homes in this city for the next two months.”

The reception that was given by the faculty for the incoming students was a tradition during those early days.  The reception was held in the parlors of Doyne Hall, the dormitory for women, and the only dormitory on campus in 1918.

 

Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute:  During the summer of 1918, the Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute was held on the Normal campus.  County teachers’ institutes were popular during that time period and were conducted to improve upon the relatively poor teaching credentials held by most Arkansas teachers.  County teachers’ institutes were held in each county of the state and were attended for the most part by people actively engaged in the teaching profession.

As most of you know, there were very few public school teachers who held the Licentiate of Instruction and an even smaller percentage who held Bachelors degrees during that time period. There were five levels of licenses that a teacher could hold in 1918.  From the highest to the lowest, the licenses were:  State; Professional; First Grade; Second Grade, Third Grade.

This meant that the most qualified teachers, and possibly those who might hold a degree, held a State License or a Professional License.  In Faulkner County, during the 1918-1919 academic year, there were 8 teachers who held a State License; 17 teachers held a Professional License; 118 teachers held a First Grade License; 89 teachers held a Second Grade License; 4 teachers held a Third Grade License.

The statistics for teachers and the licenses they held, during the 1918-1919 academic year for the entire State of Arkansas were as follows: 300 teachers held a State License; 434 teachers held a Professional License; 5,750 teachers held a First Grade License; 3,521 teachers held a Second Grade License; 792 teachers held a Third Grade License.

The Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute, was under the direction of O.L. Dunaway, a Conway native, who at that time was the superintendent of the Hot Springs public schools. The Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute was one week in length, and Arkansas State Normal School professors taught classes in the Institute.

According to The Log Cabin Democrat, there was an interesting feature of the 1918 Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute; one of the lecturers was a Jewish Rabbi, Louis Witt of Little Rock.  Rabbi Witt was considered a scholar of the Hebrew religion and a gifted orator.  According to The Log Cabin Democrat, “Rabbi Witt will lecture each night during the institute.  His subject for next Monday night will be ‘The Origin and Purpose of the Synagogue.'”

Apparently, the evening lectures of Rabbi Witt were quite popular and drew large crowds from among Conway residents.  Rabbi Witt’s second evening lecture was “The Symbols of the Synagogue.”

The facilities for the Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute consisted of a large tent.  According to The Log Cabin Democrat, “For the convenience of the teachers a large tent has been secured and will be erected on the Normal campus and under this the daily work will be conducted.” The tent was made necessary due to the large summer enrollment of Normal School students.  More than 80 Faulkner County teachers attended the 1918 Faulkner County Teachers’ Institute.

 

Solar Eclipse: Another interesting event that took place on the Normal campus was the viewing of a solar eclipse.  The solar eclipse was on Saturday, June 8, 1918, and the Arkansas State Normal School Science Department helped visitors view the solar eclipse in a safe manner.  Pieces of smoked glass were distributed to all those who wanted to view the eclipse, which began at 5:30 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m. had reached its maximum, which was 90 percent coverage. Longtime professor of science, E.E. Cordrey, was on hand to discuss the nature of eclipses.

 

Attached are two photographs from 1918.  The woman standing outside Doyne Hall, was Normal School student Mamie Munger.  She was later known as Mrs. Tom Herrod. Her type of attire was typical for that time period.

The other photograph shows some Normal School women with U.S. Army Soldiers.  Both photographs were donated by the same person, also a student at the time, and the caption she wrote is, “This group of girls, against the rule of the college, slipped off and met soldiers in 1918.”