Masks are required as the campus is at red status.

Summer School at Arkansas State Normal School – 1918

When looking back at a time 100 years ago, the things that tend to jump out at us are the differences between now and then.  One of the most noticeable differences was in regard to the cost of attending college.

It is somewhat of a shock to know that the tuition for the 1918 summer school was only $10.00 (ten dollars). Textbooks were estimated to cost $4.00, a laboratory fee of $1.00, board in Doyne Hall was $30.00 for eight weeks.

However, one must consider the cumulative inflation that has taken place from 1918 to 2018.  According to three different websites that show the impact of inflation on currencies, ten U.S. dollars in 1918 is equivalent to a low of $165 to a high of $179 in 2018.  That puts the cost into perspective, yet it is still lower than what the same courses cost in 2018.

The summer session was eight weeks in length and began on June 3rd and closed on July 26.

The 1918 Arkansas State Normal School (ASNS) Summer  Bulletin discussed educational conditions that had impacted the need for teachers.  According to the 1918 ASNS Summer Bulletin, “War conditions have made heavy inroads into the teaching profession of the state.  Practically all unmarried male teachers have been called to the army.  This has had two important results; (a) an unprecedented demand for trained teachers which the Normal School and colleges have been unable to supply, and (b) a decided increase in the salaries of teachers who have made contracts since the schools opened in the fall.  The State Normal School has had an average of one call a day for teachers since September at constantly increasing salaries.  The demand will increase and salaries will go higher.”

The impact of the war was noted in several areas in regard to its impact on education and on society in general.  According to the 1918 ASNS Summer Bulletin, “The great war has made plain at least one thing – that our whole economic system must be revolutionized and reorganized on the basis of efficiency.  It has already begun as to the production and conservation of food and fuel and the operation of railroads and mines.  It will include the schools before it is completed.”

Community singing was something that occurred with regularity during the war.  Patriotic songs were sung at churches, and at other types of events.  The 1918 ASNS Summer Bulletin stressed the importance of community singing, “In the schools and churches we are striving in every way to keep in touch with our men who have gone into the service and it is a source of pleasure to them to know that tho they are far away, we at home are singing the same songs.  Let us create and foster patriotism by the singing of our war songs this summer.”

As those of you who read the article about the 1918 Arkansas State Normal School graduation will recall, the songs that were sung at graduation that year were all patriotic songs.

To be admitted for the 1918 Summer Session a student had to be at least 16 years of age; must present a certificate of vaccination; must present evidence that the common school course has been completed; must bring a high school transcript in order to receive credit done in high school.

After the summer session closed, students could take one of the various examinations for the license they chose to take.  The five licenses from the highest to the lowest were as follows: State; Professional; First Grade; Second Grade; Third Grade.  ASNS officials had made arrangements with the State Department of Education and the county examiners, to have examinations at the end of the summer session.  There was no cost to the student for the examination.

Much of the course work that was offered during the summer was the same as we might expect today.  History, English, education, mathematics, reading, science, home economics, and music were offered.

Courses from the Department of Agriculture, a department that no longer exists, were; Agriculture 2S – Rural Economics and Social Life; Agriculture 3S – Vegetable Gardening and Horticulture; Agriculture 10 – Agronomy.


Keith Holloway, Agriculture Professor                                              Students studying a horse in Agriculture class


The Department of Home Economics (now the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences) taught three courses, two of which are no longer offered. The two that are no longer taught are: Home Economics 7S – Food Conservation and Preservation; Home Economics 13S – Home Nursing, Including Red Cross and First Aid Work.

The female students of ASNS were very active in making and packing bandages for the Red Cross.  When the war began for the United States, the female students organized themselves into a Red Cross unit and utilized the sewing machines that were located in the first building on campus that was later known as the E.E. Cordrey Science Building.  The women sewed comfort clothing for those men who had been injured in battle.  According to sources, the women were very dedicated to this work and continued in this activity until the war ended.


Red Cross Day


On the back of the 1918 ASNS Summer Bulletin was a list of special features that were offered.  Some of the special features were as follows:

  1. The Manual Training Department will offer courses to meet the needs of all grade and rural teachers.
  2. Two teachers will devote their entire time to Home Economics. Canning Club and demonstration work will be emphasized.
  3. Courses in drawing and music for supervisors and grade teachers will be stressed.
  4. The Model School with two trained supervisors will be in operation the entire term.
  5. A model rural school will be in operation near the campus.
  6. The Education Department will give courses showing the use of the various Standard Tests such as the Courtis Tests in Arithmetic, Kansas Silent Reading Scale, etc.
  7. Lectures and entertainment will be given every afternoon and evening.  We are sparing no efforts to secure the best talent for these occasions.


The 1918 ASNS Summer Session was the largest summer enrollment up to that time, with over 200 students enrolled in classes.