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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.

 

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.”

                                                                                                      

News on the UCA Campus – May 1918

The big news on the Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas – UCA) campus during May 1918, centered around the Normal Farm, the Normal service flag in the great war (later known as World War I) and the Normal graduation exercises.

In the May 4, 1918 edition of The Log Cabin Democrat, there was a headline in large font about the Normal Farm acquiring three outstanding Jerseys, one bull and two heifers.  All three were from prime breeding stock, and the bull was Europa Fern’s Nobleman.  According to The Log Cabin Democrat, “Nobleman’s dam made a record of producing 11,136 pounds of milk and 652 pounds of butter in one year.”

The production of Nobleman’s dam in milk alone was slightly in excess of 30 pounds of milk per day.  The two heifers were La Gros Queen and Maidie’s Dame Fussy. Both heifers came from cows that were big milk producers.  The dam of La Gros Queen produced 400 pounds of butter in one year and the granddam of Maide’s Dame Fussy produced 19 pounds of butter in a seven-day period.

All three newly-acquired Jerseys were thought to have the potential to make the Normal Farm herd into one of the best milk producing herds in the State of Arkansas, according to Normal Professor of Agriculture, Keith Holloway.  The animals came from a breeder in Hannibal, Missouri.

The May 23rd edition of The Log Cabin Democrat published an article about the Normal’s service flag, in relation to Normal alumni serving in what later came to be known as World War I.  According to The Log Cabin Democrat, “Bearing 98 stars, the service flag of the Arkansas State Normal was unfurled at an interesting service conducted in the Normal auditorium yesterday by the Clary Literary Society, which presented the flag.”

The flag was made by the Normal Home Economics Department.  The 98 stars represented the number of known Normal alumni serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  It was noted that many stars would need to be added when more information could be obtained about all alumni who were serving in uniform.

In the same May 23rd edition, an article was published about the Arkansas State Normal School graduation ceremony.  The 1918 graduation festivities were somewhat more lengthy and included more events than the UCA graduation ceremony of 2018.  In the 1918 graduation ceremony there were several programs over a period of five-days that were observed prior to the commencement program.

The first was a baccalaureate ceremony that was held on a Sunday at the First Methodist Church.  The sermon was given by the Rev. Hubert S. Lyle, president of Cumberland College at Clarksville.

The program for the baccalaureate ceremony included an organ voluntary by Miss Myrtle Greeson, followed by the processional.  The soon to be graduates sang “America the Beautiful.”  After the sermon the entire congregation sang “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by the benediction which was given by Dr. J.H. Reynolds, president of Hendrix College.

The next day there were two pre-commencement events.  The senior class presented the annual senior play at the Grand Theatre in Conway.  The play was “Wobbles” which dealt with England during the war in which they were at that time fighting. The second event was an exhibit in the first building on campus of work that was done by the Home Economics, Manual Training and Art Departments of the school.

The next day there was a piano recital by students of Miss Dorothy Pyle.  On the following day there was a class day program given by Normal Students.  At this time the author does not know what activities took place during the class day program, but will look into the matter.

Immediately following the class day program was a literary society rally that was held by all literary societies in the Normal Auditorium.

The final event of the five-day period of festivities was the graduation ceremony, that was held on a Thursday morning at 10:30.  The former president of the Normal, J. J. Doyne, was the speaker, and the diplomas were presented by the chairman of the Board of Trustees and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, J.L. Bond.

The president of Central College, Dr. J.W. Conger, delivered the invocation.  Due to America’s involvement in the war the songs that were sung were patriotic. The Normal Chorus sang “Honor and Love for the Soldier”  and “Union and Liberty.” The congregation sang “The Star Spangled Banner” which was followed by the benediction.

Due to the great war in which many Normal alumni were fighting, only six of the 33 members of the 1918 graduating class were men.

 

The photograph of the livestock in front of Old Main is Courtesy of Dr. Linda Beene, circa 1925.

The other photographs of Arkansas State Normal School alumni in uniform are Courtesy of the 1918 Scroll.

  

Navy Pilots at UCA during World War II

During World War II, enrollment at Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas – UCA) plummeted from 764 students in the fall of 1941, to 289 students during the 1943-1944 academic year.  UCA President, Nolen Irby, had seen the steep decline in enrollment coming and had taken action to bring more people on campus.

President Irby and UCA Board of Trustees chairman, George Bachelor, asked the U.S. War Department to use UCA as a temporary military base.  Soon, UCA was home to temporary branches of the Women’s Army Corps, Army Air Corps Cadets, Navy Cadets, Marine Corps Reserve and Navy Reserve.  For a short time UCA was also the headquarters of the Arkansas National Guard.

Today we will focus on the Navy Cadets.  Two photographs are attached, and one of those photographs show the Navy pilots standing by their airplanes.  The Navy trainer was the N3N Yellow Peril. The other photograph is Third Platoon, a group of inexperienced Navy Cadets.

According to the CAA-WTS pamphlet that was sent to UCA by the Navy after the war ended, the following caption went with the photograph of the Navy Cadets standing at attention.  “Not many of us can fly, but we haven’t been here long enough to complete our eight hours dual instruction.  Sub-squad swimming for some of us, and a muscle-building obstacle course for all of us.  Ground school instructors patiently give the “gouge,” and Southern belles in the Little Store add to esprit de corps.  We know the landmarks – Shad, Terry’s, the ship, the commons, the post office, and on “liberty” night, the Conway Theatre. ‘Mayor Kane is the only businessman in the United States who operates a picture show as a front for a popcorn stand!’ remarked Cadet Slattery from Brooklyn.'”

Photo Courtesy of CAA-WTS Pamphlet (PAM 201 in UCA Archives)

In regard to the Navy trainer, the N3N Yellow Peril, the following information will help to explain the reason for the airplane’s name.

 

According to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum website, “The name “Yellow Peril” was not the official name of this aircraft but a generic name applied to several primary trainers including the Boeing/Stearman NS and N2S Kaydets.  The name originated from the fact that all naval trainers had been painted orange-yellow since 1917 as well as from its use in Naval Aviation Reserve bases where prospective Aviation Cadets received their first training.  In the event that a cadet failed to solo within a certain period of time, he was in “Peril” of not being appointed an Aviation Cadet.”

 

Photo Courtesy of CAA-WTS Pamphlet (PAM 201 in UCA Archives)

 

Navy Cadets at UCA took their classroom instruction from UCA professors.  The professors covered courses in navigation, engines, aerology, communications and civil air regulations and recognition.

According to records compiled by the federal government, UCA did a good job of training pilots.  Out of 85 colleges in the U.S. involved in military training, UCA ranked seventh overall. In aviation and ship recognition, UCA was first in the nation, and third in the nation in navigation.

Approximately 500 Navy pilots were trained at UCA during World War II.

First Airplane to land in Mountain Home, Arkansas

The attached photographs are early aviation photos from Mountain Home, Arkansas.

In the early days of aviation, pilots, also known as barnstormers, flew their airplanes to rural communities and took passengers up for a fee.  It was a way to promote aviation, and at the same time make a few dollars for the pilots.

Most of the barnstorming took place during the 1920s.  The airplanes were tail-wheel design, also known as tail-draggers.  That particular design was conducive for landing on unimproved airstrips.  Many pilots simply landed in a hay field, or any other clearing that was long enough to allow for take-offs.

The first pilot to land in Mountain Home, Arkansas was pilot B.M. Lexhorn of Kansas City, President of Lightning Aviation Co.  The date of his arrival in Mountain Home isn’t known, but in all probability was sometime during the early 1920s.

The airplane in the photo appears to this writer to be a Curtiss JN-4, also known as a Jenny.  According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website, “Large numbers of relatively inexpensive war surplus Jennys were available in the United States after 1918. Its affordability, ease of operation, and versatility made the Jenny the signature airplane of the barnstorming era.”

Another photograph shows Uncle Mart Holland, the first man in Mountain Home to take a ride on an airplane. Both photographs are circa 1922.  Note that the pilot and passenger sit in tandem.

Another piece of interesting Arkansas history.

Early Telephone Company in Arkansas

Telephones are big business in the U.S.  In a 2011 article, the Washington Post presented evidence to show that the number of cellphones in this country exceeded the nation’s population. Keep in mind that the Washington Post article did not include landlines.  As of 2017, a survey showed that 39% of U.S. households had cellphones and a landline.  So, the total number of telephones significantly exceeds the U.S. population.

There is no question that telephones are big business in the U.S. However, it hasn’t always been that way.  Some telephone companies started as small family owned companies.  Such is the case with the Mountain Home Telephone Company of Mountain Home, Arkansas.

One of the three photos below shows the owner of the company, Henry Turnbull Sr., standing on the ground, and his son, Henry Turnbull, Jr., on top of a telephone pole. Note the number of wires attached to the telephone pole.  In those days (1920) there were no wireless telephones, just landlines.

Included with the photograph described in the above paragraph, there are two photographs of Mrs. Henry Turnbull, wife of the owner, who was also the switchboard operator, and her dog, Central.  Central is wearing a headset in one photograph and Mrs. Turnbull is holding the receiver up to Central’s ear in another photograph. All photographs are circa 1920.

I thought everyone could use a little light-hearted Arkansas history today.

PHOTOGRAPHS Courtesy of the UCA Archives and Keller-Butcher Collection.

Night in Little Rock

Dear Friends,

Attached is a brochure titled “Night in Little Rock” created by the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. There are 13 images of Little Rock taken at night around 1915.  There is no specific date on the brochure, but the Arkansas State Capitol building was completed in 1915 and on the back page are some statistics that include gin receipts for cotton during the 1910-1911 season.  Additionally, the population shows to be 65,000.

It was the 1920 census that showed Little Rock to have slightly more than 65,000.  The population was only 45,941 in 1910.  So, I believe the brochure was made no sooner than 1915 because of the Capitol, and was probably made before 1920.  I gave it the circa date of 1915.

As you will note there is a mixture of horse and buggy, automobile and trolley car transportation.  There are more horse drawn carriages than there are automobiles. The horse drawn carriages also were illuminated. I thought some of you might enjoy seeing some of these century old photographs of Little Rock.

“Night in Little Rock” Brochure

Youthful Head Football Coaches at the University of Central Arkansas: Not an Anomaly

On December 9, 2017, Nathan Brown was announced at a basketball game as the 20th head coach of the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) football team.  A more formal announcement and press conference followed in Wingo Hall on Monday, December 11, when Coach Brown was introduced to the media and a room packed with about 120 supporters.  

Dr. Brad Teague, Director of Athletics at UCA, spoke about Coach Brown’s lengthy history at UCA, from the days when Brown was a student-athlete to his time as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for the Bears.  This author has attended several such events, and can state that the atmosphere in the room was extremely positive, and that the attendees were very supportive of Brown being selected as UCA’s new head football coach.

One thing that stands out about Coach Brown is his age, only 31.  Brown announced from the podium that he will be 32 years of age when he coaches his first football game as head coach.  Brown is the youngest head coach that has been hired at UCA since 1952, when Jim Blair Crafton was hired.  Coach Crafton was 27 years of age when he was hired and led the Bears from 1952 to 1954.  Crafton’s age was not considered unusual at that time because UCA had previously hired several coaches around the age of 30, and several who were under the age of 30.  

The youngest UCA head football coach in the history of the program was J.C. Cook, who was head coach in 1914.  Coach Cook was only 22 years old when he coached his first game.  Cook was from Texarkana and had received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas, and spent one year at the United States Naval Academy before coming to UCA. In 1914, UCA did not have a mascot and the team was referred to as the Tutors, Teachers, Normalites, Pea Pickers and Pedagogues.  It was 1920 before UCA sports teams were known as the Bears.

In recent years and decades, newly hired UCA head football coaches were primarily in their early 40s. The lone exception in modern times was Coach Clint Conque, who was 39 at his first game. The first UCA head football coach over the age of 40 was Frank Koon, who was named head coach in 1955.  Coach Koon was 46 years of age when he coached his first game for the Bears.  The oldest coach was Brown’s predecessor, Coach Steve Campbell.  Coach Campbell was 48 years of age when he coached his first game in 2014.  

The breakdown for head football coaches, in regard to their age when they coached their first game at UCA, is as follows.  Out of 20 head coaches, six were in their 20s; eight were in their 30s; six were in their 40s.  This means that 14 of the 20 head coaches, or 70%, were under the age of 40.  The average age for all 20 UCA football coaches when they coached their first game is 35.

For the record, Coach Nathan Brown is the 10th youngest UCA Bear head football coach.  The most successful young coach was Warren Woodson, who was also 32 years of age when he coached his first game for the Bears.  Woodson began his career at UCA in 1935 and was undefeated during the regular seasons in 1936 and 1937.  He compiled an excellent record at UCA and from 1935 to 1940 had a winning percentage of .817.  Woodson’s winning percentage was second only to Coach Harold Horton, whose winning percentage from 1982-1989 was .841.   

Sources for this article included: the UCAsports.com website maintained by Steve East, Ancestry.com, “A History of Arkansas State Teachers College” by Ted Worley, UCA Official Records Collection – M99-01, Arkansas State Normal School and Arkansas State Teachers College Bulletins, The Log Cabin Democrat, The Echo, and The Scroll.      

 

The following chart shows the ages of those coaches under 40 and their age at their first game.

NAME / AGE AT FIRST GAME COACHED / Date of First Game

J.C. Cook – 22 years, 11 months, 9 days – 2 Oct. 1914

Jerry Dalrymple – 27 years, 1 month, 24 days – 30 Sept. 1933

Guy Dan Estes – 27 years, 9 months, 2 days – 3 Oct. 1915

Jim Blair Crafton – 27 years, 11 months, 4 days – 27 Sept. 1952

*O.W. Stephenson – 29 years, 1 month, 29 days – 18 Oct. 1913

Charles Dub McGibbony – 29 years, 11 months, 18 days – 11 Oct. 1945

Robert Lee Nixon – 30 years, 11 months, 15 days – 17 Oct. 1911

William Oscar Wilson – 31 years, 4 months, 1 day – 16 Oct. 1909

Howard Montgomery – 31 years, 8 months, 21 days – 26 Sept. 1947

Nathan Brown – 32 years – 1 Sept. 2018

O.D. Longstreth – 32 years, 1 month, 6 days – 10 Oct. 1908

Warren Woodson – 32 years, 7 months, 10 days – 4 Oct. 1935

Loyd T. “Preacher” Roberts – 34 years, 8 months, 29 days – 3 Oct. 1941

Clint Conque – 39 years – 31 Aug. 2000

 

*Listed as W.O. Stephenson in Record Book

PHOTOGRAPH OF COACH J.C. COOK COURTESY OF THE SCROLL, 1915.

UCA’S YOUNGEST HEAD FOOTBALL COACH

22 YEARS, 11 MONTHS, AND 9 DAYS AT FIRST GAME HE COACHED

World War I and the Crestomath Society

As the vast majority of readers know, 1917 was the year that the United States formally entered the Great War, later known as World War I.  President Woodrow Wilson asked the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war against Germany on April 2, 1917, and Congress granted Wilson’s request on April 6, 1917.  

Things soon began to change at Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas).  The students were dedicated to the war effort, but also wanted to continue to observe the customary traditions of the Normal as much as possible.

The most obvious change was in the enrollment of male students.  In the spring of 1917, 200 men were enrolled in classes, but only 12 men were enrolled by the spring of 1918.  The men did not disappear from campus as quickly as that last sentence made it sound.  The county draft boards were drafting men into the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces each month.  Male students that were enrolled in classes in September of 1917 may have been drafted by October 1917, and so on.  As each month went by, more and more male students left the classrooms and were drafted, until only 12 remained by April of 1918.

The enrollment in the fall of 1916 was 441 students, according to enrollment statistics released by the Normal at that time.  By the fall of 1917, the enrollment was 328, a decline of 25.6%.  By the fall of 1918, the enrollment was 301, a decline of 31.7% from the fall of 1916.  After the war ended, enrollment shot up to 446 by the fall of 1919.

As the social scene changed somewhat, the women students made adjustments and did what they could to contribute to the war effort and to also observe the aforementioned annual traditions.   On December 14, 1917, the Crestomath Literary Society (a women’s literary society and a forerunner of today’s sororities) held their annual Christmas Bazaar in the first building on campus.  That building was known in 1917 as the State Normal Building, but later was given the name of E.E. Cordrey Science Building.  

The Crestomath members were intent on continuing the tradition, and also on raising money for the war effort.  Former Crestomath members extended their generosity to the Crestomaths of 1917, by donating items that could be sold to help raise needed funds.  The dedication of the members of the Crestomath Literary Society can be seen in a poem that was written in 1917 by their treasurer, Bess Warren.  Ms. Warren was president of the Crestomath Literary Society in 1918.

CONSERVATION

 

Just sacrifice and give a slice

Of bread or meat each day,

For one small bite may give the might

That will the Hun drive away.

 

This means you too, not just a few’

Our boys have gone for all,

Don’t fail to do, and then be true

To those who met the call.

 

For you can give, and surely live,

In far more ease than they.

The pledge then sign and get in line,

With patriots today.

 

You would feel bad, if some fair lad

Should brave his life for you;

If he return and then should learn,

You sought no help to do.

 

Then stop and think before the brink,

Whose others’ lives will fall;

Then save the cost, if only a drink,

To answer bugle call.

 

If clothes it be, or trips to see

Friends in another town,

Just sacrifice, let this suffice,

And fling the shackles down.

 

The Normal Echo, published an article about the Crestomath Bazaar in its December 20 issue.  According to The Normal Echo, “Weren’t the things pretty though?  Who would have thought that Etta and Pauline and Katie and all the others could sew so daintily?  But we would have been lacking in our usual amount if our old Crestomaths scattered over the state hadn’t sent us so many things.  Yes, they sang out, ‘Once a Cresto, always one, that’s our motto.’”  

After the Crestomath Bazaar had ended, the women were taking down the Christmas decorations and cleaning up after themselves.  One of the Crestoes was quoted by The Normal Echo as saying, ‘“Who said hard times?’ Asked a quiet girl who was taking down the festive decorations.  ‘We could have sold twice as many things as we did, if we had only had them.’”

The treasurer for the Crestomath Society tallied up the sales at the Christmas Bazaar’s end and had great news that she was very eager to report.  According to The Normal Echo, “About this time with face beaming, the treasurer of the society rushed into the room, ‘girls,’ she cried, ‘just think, we can finish paying for our Liberty Bond and our Students’ War Friendship Pledge, and have some to carry also.  Hurrah for the Crestoes!’”

The Students’ Friendship War Fund (actual name) was a project created by the Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.).  This particular fund drive was created to provide relief for Allied prisoners of war.  The goal was to raise one million dollars, and the fund drive was launched at Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania.

The Crestomaths had worked since April 1917 to support their fellow students who were in uniform, and the war effort in general.  After the Christmas Bazaar had ended, the women had time to reflect on the various things they had done in 1917 to earn money, and some of the money-raising projects included selling popcorn each week and picking cotton for area cotton farmers.  The first mechanical cotton pickers were not produced until 1949.

In regard to the Liberty Bond that the Crestoes had paid for, their sponsor asked what the Crestomath members were going to do with it.  According to The Normal Echo, “Every day we decide to spend it in some different way.  But if war demands call for it, we will turn it over to Uncle Sam; otherwise we want to buy something for our new Administration Building.”

The women had considered using the additional funds they had acquired through the Bazaar, and by the selling of popcorn and picking cotton, to use on themselves.  Then, after some additional thought, they decided that they would not be happy doing so with the war raging and people suffering.  

One Crestomath member made a great humanitarian suggestion, to adopt a French orphan.  According to The Normal Echo, ‘“Let’s adopt a French orphan for a year, for just three dollars a month we can keep one back in France warm and clothed and fed.’”  The Crestomath sponsor agreed and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

The members of the Crestomath Society had all agreed on the adoption of the French orphan and were more than satisfied with their decision.  They were convinced that they had done the right thing, and had upheld the traditional values of the Crestomath Society.

After the Crestomaths had agreed to the adoption, and had congratulated themselves on a productive but difficult year, they ended their celebration.  According to The Normal Echo, “Things were in order about this time, and with happiness in their hearts, the Crestoes started off merrily across the snow covered lawns to their home at Doyne Hall.”

For the sake of full disclosure, the author’s great aunt, Cora Bryant, was a member of the Crestomath Literary Society in the fall of 1917.

Photographs of the 1917 Crestomath Literary Society. Both of the following photos are courtesy of The Scroll, 1918.

UCA’s First Post-Season Football Game – 1937

Fans of UCA Bear football have seen many post season games, with the first playoff game occurring after the 1976 regular season under head coach Ken Stephens.  There were only four teams in the playoff picture for 1976.  Coach Stephens’ team went on to defeat Elon College in UCA’s first ever National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Playoff game, 10 – 7. The win over Elon put UCA in the finals game with Texas A&I.  The Bears lost to powerhouse Texas A & I (now Texas A&M-Kingsville) in the Champion Bowl in Kingsville, Texas by a score of 26-0.  Even though the Bears lost in the nationally televised title game, they proved that they belonged in the upper echelon of NAIA football schools.

The very first post-season football game that Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas – UCA) participated in was on Christmas Day in 1937.  The Bears were undefeated and untied during the 1936 and 1937 regular seasons, and had won 16 games in a row.  Due to their gridiron success, the Bears were considered a worthy opponent for the Fresno State College Bulldogs in the Charity Bowl played in Los Angeles, California.

Head coach, Warren Woodson, selected 27 players to make the trip, which also included his assistant coach, Herbert Ball, President and Mrs. Heber McAlister, and Mrs. Woodson.  Also making the trip were two newspaper reporters, one from the Arkansas Democrat – Allen Tilden, and one from the Arkansas Gazette – Ben Epstein.

A sizeable crowd of about 500 well-wishers, mostly students and members of the Bear Backers Club, were on hand to see the team off at the Missouri Pacific Station in Conway. Another sendoff took place later that evening when the train from Conway, with the Bear football team on board, rolled into the Missouri Pacific Station in Little Rock.  That sendoff event included several dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Bob Bailey, Attorney General Jack Holt, Secretary of State C.G. Hall, State Auditor J. Oscar Humphrey, Little Rock Mayor R.E. Overman, North Little Rock Mayor Ross Lawhon, D. Hodson Lewis, manager of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, D.L. Ford, member of the State Corporation Commission and W.E. Phipps, Commissioner of Education.

While headed to their destination in Los Angeles, the Missouri Pacific passenger train stopped in Fort Worth, Texas, so the Bears could practice at the stadium of Texas Christian University.  The Bears went through a morning practice and then boarded the train for their next stop in El Paso, Texas.

The Bears reached Los Angeles on December 23rd, and were the guests of well-known radio personality, Bob Burns.  According to the Log Cabin Democrat, “The Arkansas team was invited to a radio broadcast tonight, featuring Bob Burns, the former Van Buren, Ark., resident, and Crooner Bing Crosby.  Burns is a sponsor of the game, to be played for the benefit of a children’s milk fund.  Burns also has invited his fellow Arkansans to a big ‘shin-dig’ tonight’”

One of Hollywood’s screen stars was also in the studio with the Bear football team, Madge Evans.  Ms. Evans was also a guest on Burns’ show.

The Charity Bowl had two major sponsors, Bob Burns and Dorothy Lamour.  Burns was the host for the Bears and Lamour was the host for Fresno State College.

Bob Burns was born in Arkansas and spent most of his youth in Van Buren, Arkansas.  He was musically inclined and eventually became a famous radio personality.  He invented and played an instrument that he called the bazooka.  Burns’ instrument was so well known that during World War II the U.S. recoilless rocket anti-tank weapon was nicknamed, bazooka.

The game between Fresno State College and Arkansas State Teachers College was closely followed by Hollywood stars as well as elected officials.  On the night before the game, President McAlister received a Western Union telegram from his friend, U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway of Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the telegram read, “Best wishes for victory.  Tell boys to fight for Arkansas.”

After the Bears finished with their final workout, they engaged in some sight-seeing.  The group toured Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the Malibu Mountains.  They also visited Santa Monica for a view of the Pacific Ocean.

The game turned out to be one of the best ever played on the west coast, according to the sportswriters.  The headline in the Arkansas Gazette read, “TEACHERS LOSE IN HAIR-RAISER ON COAST, 27-26.”

Ben Epstein, the writer for the Arkansas Gazette, did a splendid job of describing the game, and his efforts are included here in quotes in the next two paragraphs; “Hollywood’s cinema executives finally learned the meaning of ‘terrific’ as the Fresno State College Bulldogs nosed out the heretofore unbeaten and untied Arkansas State Teachers College Bears of Conway, 27 to 26, in an intersectional jamboree that literally stupefied 5,000 spectators in Gilmore stadium here today.  It was eeny, meeny, miney, moe, and we don’t mean maybe as the mad struggle see-sawed in unbelievable fashion.

Sensational isn’t the word for it as the score oscillated like a crew of amateur divers on a springing board.  The veteran coach, Pop Warner, who sat on the Fresno bench, bobbed up and down like a scared freshman. Bob Burns lost the curl in his hair, George Raft, Bobby Breen and a gang of other movie moguls acted like a lot of lunatics as the Bears from Arkansas and the Bulldogs from upper California collided in an unexpected offensive maelstrom.”

The legendary football coach Pop Warner was not Fresno State’s head coach; the head coach for the Bulldogs was James Bradshaw.  Coach Warner was a friend of Bradshaw’s, who had adopted Warner’s coaching philosophy.  At the time, Pop Warner was the head coach of the Temple University Owls.

The game was tied on three different occasions, 7-7, 14-14, and 20-20.  The 20-20 score came in the fourth quarter when both teams scored touchdowns, but both failed to convert the extra points. The difference in the game came after Fresno State scored their second touchdown of the fourth quarter and made the extra point.  Fresno State’s touchdown was followed by a kickoff return by Bear halfback Howard Montgomery.  Fresno State kicked off and Montgomery picked up the ball at the Bear five-yard line and then ran 95 yards for a touchdown.  The Bears were unable to convert the extra point, leaving the score Fresno State 27 and Bears 26.

A disputed touchdown by the Bears could have given them the victory.  Bear end Billy Estes, son of legendary Bear coach Guy “Big Dan” Estes, was one of Woodson’s best players.  Estes appeared to have successfully caught a pass for the touchdown, but the referee called it incomplete.  President McAlister disagreed with the referee’s call.

Note: President McAlister was also head of the Arkansas National Guard, and held the rank of colonel, and was routinely called Colonel McAlister.

According to the Log Cabin Democrat, “Colonel McAlister, however, lamented the ruling of a pass from Burnett to Estes that would have resulted in a touchdown and a victory for the Bears had it been ruled completed.  Little Rock sport writers, who accompanied the Teachers to the coast, wrote that the pass looked like the real McCoy to them and Colonel McAlister said it looked ‘completed’ to him.’”

Additional information about the disputed call came from Bob Erbacher, a former resident of Conway.  According to the Log Cabin Democrat, “Colonel McAlister said Bob Erbacher, former Conway man, told him before the team’s departure for Arkansas last Sunday night that he had a talk with the referee and that the official confided to Erbacher the pass could have been ruled completed.”

The Bears returned to Conway in the early morning hours of December 29.  Their game with Fresno State College was such a roaring success that there was much talk about the Bears playing Fresno State College in 1938 and 1939, or possibly playing the University of New Mexico in 1938.

The Bears were treated kindly by their California hosts, According to the Log Cabin Democrat, “The Fresno Chamber of Commerce presented the visitors with a large box of their famous raisins while they were at Los Angeles.  Colonel McAlister said he denied, however, any implication of ‘sour grapes’ in the gift.’”

Interestingly, Fresno State University referred to the Charity Bowl as the Little All-American Bowl on their sports website.  Additionally, they also refereed referred to Arkansas State Teachers College as Arkansas State University (ASU).  This author will contact Fresno State University and provide them with the correct information.

Sources for this article included: The Encyclopedia of Arkansas, The Scroll, The Log Cabin Democrat, Arkansas Gazette, UCAsports.com Record Book compiled by Steve East, and Fresno State University sports website.

 

PHOTOGRAPH OF 1937 Bear Football Team. Courtesy of 1938 Scroll.

 

1937 Bear Football Team

 

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF 1938 SCROLL