From the Archives

UCA Women’s History: Constance Mitchell & Dr. Ada Jane Harvey – “Constant Companions” Part II

“Any college undoubtedly has pioneers worthy of respect by students and faculty, but certainly, Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Harvey were two faculty members who helped to lay a solid foundation of scholarship for State Teachers College…” –LaNell Compton, former student.

 

This edition of From the Archives highlights two important women within the UCA community.  When the University of Central Arkansas was the Arkansas State Normal School (ASNS), Dr. Ada Jane Harvey headed the Foreign Languages department, and Constance Mitchell taught English courses.  This week concludes the series with Dr. Ada Jane Harvey.

Dr. Ada Jane Harvey, born in 1890, earned her bachelor’s degree from Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA).  She earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), and her doctorate from New York University (New York, NY), additionally she attended the University of Paris (Paris, France), the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM), and the University of San Marcus (Lima, Peru). 

Dr. Ada Jane Harvey.

Dr. Ada Jane Harvey.

Dr. Harvey taught French and Spanish with the Little Rock School District, specifically Little Rock High School, where she met fellow teacher, Constance Mitchell in 1918.  Approximately two years after Dr. B.W. Torreyson offered Constance a position with the ASNS, Dr. Harvey accepted a post within the foreign languages department.  Mitchell and Harvey shared an apartment before purchasing a house together, located at 703 Donaghey Avenue, for approximately $3000.00.

Dr. Harvey taught French and Spanish courses and served as sponsor for both the French and Spanish clubs on campus.   

A unique example of Harvey’s dedication to teaching through immersive experiences was her 1935 creation of an immersive summer camp, Le Camp Français, at the newly completed Petit Jean State Park.  According to former student and camp attendee, Anna Loe Russell, credit for courses at Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC, formerly Arkansas State Normal School) was given upon completion of Le Camp Français.  Dr. Harvey taught classes in the living room of her cabin, students spoke French at all times–in class, on walks, while swimming, and during meals.  In addition to Le Camp Français, Harvey volunteered to chaperone an annual trip to New Orleans

Anna Loe Russell's, Le Camp Français scrapbook.

Anna Loe Russell’s, Le Camp Français scrapbook.

Le Camp Français at Petit Jean State Park.

Le Camp Français at Petit Jean State Park.

Former student Flora Martin Walher Cox recalled that Dr. Harvey’s immersive pursuits extended to the Spanish Club; Dr. Harvey would plan a biennial reenactment of the Running of the Bulls on campus as part of a more immersive experience while learning a foreign language.  The event included authentic costumes and performances of traditional songs.  Flora stated that the vigorous learning experiences provided practical use on her farm, where she “was able to communicate with 30 men during the cotton picking and chopping seasons who had come from Mexico…”

Grace Vineyard recalled two summers spent in Mexico with Dr. Harvey and other students, “Ada Jane MADE everyone go places and learn to speak Spanish.”  While attending courses at the University in Mexico City, one specifically took Dr. Harvey and the students on trips to “hospitals, poverty areas…” in order to truly experience the city as a local instead of as a tourist. 

Beyond her contributions to the foreign languages department, Dr. Harvey actively participated in the Conway chapter of the American Association of University Women.  The purpose of AAUW was to provide opportunities for the advancement of academic pursuits for women. Harvey served as president in 1946, shortly before ASTC alumnae became eligible for membership in 1951, according to Hanna Eloise Rhode.   Constance and Ada were honored for their contributions to the Conway branch with a “Fellowship named in their honor, which meant that Conway Branch AAUW contributed money to the Fellowship Fund.”  

From the Log Cabin Democrat, Monday, April 10, 1972.

From the Log Cabin Democrat, Monday, April 10, 1972.

Considering Ada and Constance frequently provided room and partial board to female students attending what would become the University of Central Arkansas, participation in this organization aligned with their personal philosophy which manifested in their frequent acts of kindness and generosity.  

Former student Ruby Coxsey Huie recalled that not only did Dr. Harvey display incredible patience towards her in the classroom, Harvey also offered her room and partial board during a financially difficult time during the 1936-1938 school years.  “In May Dr. Harvey asked if I planned to go to summer school.  Before I could tell her that I could not afford it, she said: “Ruby, Dr. Mitchell will be away this summer, and I plan to keep three college girls.  Why don’t you stay with me…If you can buy your lunch and pay your college expenses, we’ll manage.”  Ruby’s parents covered her expenses, and with Dr. Harvey’s offer of room and partial board, she earned six more hours of French courses.  When faced additional struggles to obtain her degree, Ruby recollected that Dr. Harvey “arranged for me to get credit for a tutorial in French novels.  We met weekly and I made reports and took tests as in a regular class.”

Dr. Harvey’s legacy extended beyond the foreign languages department on campus; found within a collection of anonymous remembrances of Ada and Constance, one entry stated that:

 

Ada Jane founded the Faculty wives club…they would buy books for their library, the club women would read them first, then they were placed in the UCA library.  This was the first fiction in the library…because the school budget didn’t include fiction.  They built a remarkable collection.  

 

Ada & Constance's car, dubbed "Nicolette."

Ada & Constance’s car, dubbed “Nicolette.”

Though Dr. Ada Jane Harvey retired in 1955, she and Constance continued to travel to Constance’s family cabin, abroad to London and Paris.  According to Constance she and Ada would travel “as long as the money holds out.”  Ada and Constance also hosted the Bridge World Olympics, during which Ada won a prize.  The duo also attended races at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, traveling in the automobile they co-owned, dubbed “Nicolette.” 

When the pair stayed in, they hosted lunches and dinners, some of which had themes coordinating with the type of cuisine served.  “If it was a French menu, they put out French dolls from Paris” as table decoration.

Le Camp Français at Petit Jean State Park.

Le Camp Français at Petit Jean State Park.

LaNell Compton recollected seeing Dr. Harvey at Contance’s funeral, “ I noticed her sitting there, but they didn’t want anyone to try to speak to her at the funeral for fear that she would get confused again and go through a lot of distraction and pain, etc.”  Ada seemed to suffer from dementia and had “reached the point that she could hardly remember anything.”  Constance bequeathed to Ada a trust for the maintenance of her dear friend during her lifetime.  

Approximately four years after Constance’s passing, Dr. Ada Jane Harvey died March 13, 1980.  Ada willed the money she received upon Constance’s death to Constance’s estate to be “divided among her legatees.”  An excerpt from her funeral meditation describes the special bond the two shared and their legacy left in those they helped:

 

Ada has gone to join with Constance in the Church Triumphant…we gather to thank God for the life of Ada, as we did for Constance…a life that was full of joy, of sparkle, of exuberance, a life that was optimistic, that looked for the best.

 

Burial plot of Dr. Ada Jane Harvey, Constance Mitchell, and Constance Mitchell's parents at The Historic Oak Grove Cemetery.

Burial plot of Dr. Ada Jane Harvey, Constance Mitchell, and Constance Mitchell’s parents at The Historic Oak Grove Cemetery.

The “constant companions” were inseparable while living, as well as in death.  The two women share a family plot, where one will find Dr. Harvey, Constance Mitchell’s parents, and Constance Mitchell at The Historic Oak Grove Cemetery located on Bruce Street, Conway, Arkansas.

 

For more information about Dr. Ada Jane Harvey or Constance Mitchell, see:  M89-28, M89-29, SMC 148, and SMC 1647. 

Author:  Shelbea Gentry

Contributor:  Danielle Kraus (research)

Editor:  Daniel Klotz

UCA Women’s History: Constance Mitchell & Dr. Ada Jane Harvey –”Constant Companions” Part I

Part I of this edition of From the Archives highlights the first of two important women within the UCA community.  When the University of Central Arkansas was the Arkansas State Normal School, Constance Mitchell taught English courses, and Dr. Ada Jane Harvey headed the Foreign Languages department.   This week we focus on Constance Mitchell.

Constance Mitchell, born in 1888, earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL).  She earned her master’s degree in English from George Peabody College (Nashville, TN) and a library science degree from the University of Illinois.  Constance Mitchell taught English at Little Rock High School where she met French teacher, Ada Jane Harvey.  Approximately the same time Constance Mitchell met Ada Harvey, Constance met Dr. B.W. Torreyson, who “almost immediately” offered her a job at ASNS in 1919.  According to Mitchell, she “debated a long time” before accepting Torreyson’s offer.  Upon Constance’s acceptance of a position within the English department, Torreyson soon added French to the curriculum and asked Mitchell for recommendations for a qualified instructor.  Recently conferred a Ph.D, Dr. Ada Jane Harvey was offered the position.  The pair shared an apartment as roommates before purchasing a house together at 703 Donaghey Avenue.  

Mitchell taught English and Library Science courses.  Constance Mitchell, described as an optimist and enthusiastic teacher by many former students, was voted as most popular teacher in 1921, only two years after accepting a position with the English department. 

Constance Mitchell, 1923-1924 ASTC Hiking Club.

Constance Mitchell, 1923-1924 ASTC Hiking Club.

 

Seemingly every semester Harvey and Mitchell offered room and partial board to female students under financial constraints, as well as offering assistance to male students.  During a meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in 1986, a former student recalled, “Students lived with them–and they seemed to spoil each one of them.  Once a student had associated with them, the student was assured a college degree–if they worked hard–for they helped many financially…but seldom talked about it.”  

Flora Martin Walher Cox, a former student from 1926, noted that “Mitchell made the characters and situation come so alive for us that…I felt well prepared to start my 16 years of teaching English literature.”  Walher Cox continued, “Dr. Harvey and Miss Mitchell were both deeply respected and loved by students, teachers and residents all over the state of Arkansas and also other states.”

Constance Mitchell also coached women’s basketball on campus.  In 2008, The Centennial History of the University of Central Arkansas, noted that Mitchell held the third highest percentage of wins in UCA Women’s Basketball history, during the 1920-1931 seasons.  Ten years after her time as coach, Mitchell served as head librarian from 1941 until her retirement in 1954.  

Constance Mitchell, back row center. ASTC State Champions, 1929.

Constance Mitchell, back row center. ASTC State Champions, 1929.

Mitchell quickly established herself as an invaluable part of Torreyson Library.  Dr. Nolen Irby, Arkansas State Teachers College (formerly ASNS) President, was quoted as saying, “She’ll get down there at Little Rock and they’ll like her so well they’ll try to make an offer she can’t turn down and we’ll be looking for a librarian,” when faced with temporarily loaning Constance’s expertise as librarian to the Arkansas State Library Commission.  

Fortunately for Dr. Irby, and ASTC, Mitchell returned after her few months serving as a graduate librarian.  One of Mitchell’s proudest accomplishments on campus was the creation of The Arkansas Room (forerunner of the UCA Archives and Special Collections) within the library.  The Arkansas Room opened in the summer of 1950, based on the donation of books and papers by Joe Frauenthal, a trustee on the College Board.  The Frauenthal donation resided in a “small, locked display cabinet.”  A second donation of Arkansas material from Judge J.S. Utley’s estate necessitated both collections be properly catalogued for a special section within the library.  At the time the ASTC Arkansas Room was considered one of the three best semi-public collections of Arkansas material within the state, with the key distinction of being the most accessible of all.

Before and after her retirement from ASTC, Constance travelled to her family cabin in Virginia, as well as abroad to London and Paris, with Ada.  The pair also played in bridge tournaments all over the country, including hosting one in Conway.  The duo went to Oaklawn races in Hot Springs in the automobile they co-owned, a 1939 Chevy.  Constance loved the vehicle so much she wrote an ode entitled, “The Song of Old Faithful.”  When the pair stayed in, they hosted lunches and dinners often with themes following the type of cuisine served.  “If it was a French menu, they put out French dolls from Paris” on the table as decoration.

From The Log Cabin Democrat, Monday, April 10, 1972.

From The Log Cabin Democrat, Monday, April 10, 1972.

Before her death, Constance Mitchell bequeathed all of “my tangible personal property including furnishing and furniture in our home for her use and benefit” as well as established a trust for the maintenance and support of her “beloved friend,” Ada Jane Harvey.  Constance Mitchell is buried at The Historic Oak Grove Cemetery on Bruce Street in Conway, Arkansas.

 

For more information about Constance Mitchell or Ada Jane Harvey, see: M89-28, M89-29, SMC 148, and SMC 1647. 

Author:  Shelbea Gentry

Contributor:  Danielle Kraus (research)

Editor:  Daniel Klotz

Black History Month: Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union

“May America never forget that as long as festers of substandard working conditions, extreme poverty, helpless insecurity and racial discrimination exist within our borders, our beloved land fails of its great promise.” –Paul H. Douglas, U.S. Senator, Illinois; Foreword, Workers in Our Fields: The Story of a Union That Would Not Die, PAM 3566, UCA Archives.  

 

Every February the celebration of Black History Month commences; however, the contributions of black Americans should be celebrated regardless of the month.  

This From the Archives segment highlights the contributions of black Arkansans to the fight for fair working conditions within the agricultural sector, manifested in the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union–STFU. 

 

 

The organization began south of Tyronza, Arkansas in July of 1934.  Eighteen white and black men met in Sunnyside schoolhouse to discuss the unionization of agricultural workers.  New Deal financial aid failed to reach many tenant farmers, also known as sharecroppers, due to landlords retaining the bulk of the benefits.  The financial assistance was distributed with the intention that landlords would retain the same number of tenant farmers despite land reduction, and land removed from production was to be redistributed to tenants for personal food production.  Despite the hopes of the New Deal assistance, many landowners withheld aid and instead attempted to drive tenants from the land.

Fairview Plantation’s owner, Hiram Norcross ignored the protections the New Deal program afforded tenant farmers, and he evicted them from the land, ending the leases.  As a result local tenant farmers organized with the intent of forming a union.

The men discussed options for the structure of the organization, adopting the suggestion that the union be made a legal organization and operations fully transparent.  The farmers also discussed whether there should be one organization or two separate organizations on the basis of race. 

 

“…An old man with cotton-white hair overhanging an ebony face, rose to his feet…He had been a member of a black man’s union in Elaine, Arkansas.  He had seen the union with its membership wiped out in the bloody Elaine Massacre of 1919.  “We colored people can’t organize without you…and you white folks can’t organize without us.”

 

 

On July 26, 1934, the farmers received a certificate of incorporation from White County for the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union.  One integrated union, and a tenuous allyship.

 

Second from Left: E.B. McKinney, first Vice President, STFU (1934-1938)

 

The STFU held meetings in local churches, schoolhouses, and private homes.  A key characteristic of the STFU meetings were the cultural contributions of the black members in attendance.  Each meeting opened with prayer and singing from spirituals.  Religious fervor, Biblical quotes, and Populist movement sayings were all used in STFU slogans printed on banners, pamphlets, and signs and adopted as part of the Union’s mission statement.

 

“Many of them are songs of protest which grew out of conditions existing before slavery was abolished.”   

 

The official Union song, “We Shall Not Be Moved” received a minor editorial with the inclusion of the words, “Just like a tree planted by the water, we shall not be moved.  The Union is a’marching, we shall not be moved.”   

 

Despite the peaceful nature of the STFU meetings, members often faced difficulty in holding them for extended amounts of time without interference from local plantation owners, and in some instances local law enforcement.  Churches where the meetings took place were padlocked and boarded up, and the school houses were filled with hay preventing future meetings.  When the destruction of locales failed to deter the Union, vigilante violence occurred culminating in March, 1935–a reign of terror.

The “reign of terror” attempted to permanently end the Union by a variety of means including:  banning meetings; falsely accusing, arresting, and jailing members; convicting members on trumped up charges; withholding relief benefits; evicting tenant farmers from the land; burning churches; machine gunning houses; stuffing school houses with hay; mob violence resulting in murder.


Though their lives were threatened, the STFU members continued with meetings and organized a cotton strike to raise wages from sixty-five cents per one hundred pounds to one dollar per one hundred pounds.  A State Department labor official reported that within the delta region, he saw only two workers picking cotton during the height and success of the strike. 

 

All research and images come from:  Workers in Our Fields: The Story of a Union That Would Not Die, PAM-3566, University of Central Arkansas Archives, Conway, Arkansas, USA. 

Author: Shelbea Gentry

Editor:  Daniel Klotz

Torreyson Library’s Archives and Special Collections Invites UCA and the Community to “Write it Down”

Following the processes of Professor Herbert “Tico” Braun at the UVA College of Arts & Sciences, Torreyson Library’s Archives and Special Collections would like to invite UCA faculty, staff, and students to participate in an archival project to “Write It Down.” (https://news.virginia.edu/content/write-it-down-historian-suggests-keeping-record-life-during-pandemic)

During these trying and stressful times, it can be helpful to write down and record what’s happening, not only for the sake of history, but also to help yourself. As Professor Braun mentions in the article above, “There is much that all of us and each of us have already experienced in the past few weeks that is shocking, unexpected, unpredictable, unknowable, new; much that we have not felt before or seen.” 

Think about yourself, your emotions, concerns, your experiences with how the world is changing and your reactions to these changes. Think about your friends and family and your relationships with others and how these are changing now that we must perform social distancing and self quarantines. Think about society and institutions and about the different aspects of these times: the virus itself, the stock market, hoarding, public events, hospitals, universities, work, media, etc. 

And “Write It Down.” 

Even if it’s a few words here and there a day, a journal, a blog, a vlog, photos, poems, lyrics, songs, jot them down and then come back and make full and complete sentences. As Professor Braun says, “Each individual perspective is valuable, and adds to the whole.” And years later, when this is long over, and your children or grandchildren ask about what it was like during the pandemic, we will have this record to show them.

We would like for you to participate in this project by recording your thoughts in any of the ways mentioned above and emailing them to archives@uca.edu. You may submit these either as an MS Word document or as a PDF file. Audio recordings, photos, and videos are also welcome. We will include them all in a new collection preserving UCA’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thank you.

Old-Age Rivalry

University of Central Arkansas Student Government Association vs University of Arkansas, Fayetteville’s Associated Student Government

While doing research with the University of Central Arkansas Student Government Association (SGA) it has come to my attention that there has been a little rivalry between our Student Government and the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Associated Student Government (ASG) over who’s organization was created first.

Up until recently, U of A, Fayetteville prided themselves on being the oldest student government organization, between themselves and UCA, with the ASG created in 1921. This past summer, 2019, the UCA SGA found that there were students associated with a student government board in the 1920 scroll. This made UCA’s student organization older than Fayetteville’s.

Yet, UCA’s Student Government Association is even older than originally thought. Indeed, the June 1910 edition of The Normal Echo has an article on Student Self-Government. Half a year later, the December 1910 edition printed this editorial:

“A new era has been reached in the history of the Arkansas State Normal. A system of self-government has been adopted and installed by the student body. The executive function is vested in a committee composed of the presidents of the various organizations of the institution. At present, their jurisdiction extends over the library alone, the only room in the building for which the faculty has ever been compelled to make rules.”

However, in the Official Records of the University of Central Arkansas Collection (M99-01), located in the Archives, there is a file labeled the 1912-1913 Students’ Association Book. The Students’ Association was the first name of the student government organization and this book states that,

“The organization of the Students’ Association began November 20, 1911. The purpose of this association is to promote all desirable student activities and to encourage a real live school spirit.”

In all accounts, this means that the University of Central Arkansas’ Student Government Association, created in 1911, is ten years older than the University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s Associated Student Government.

Though only a couple of editions of The Normal Echo mention the Students’ Association, the 1912 Commencement and Summer edition of the Echo includes a three-page spread on the organization, the members, and the first years policies and events.

Attached you will find a copy of both the June 1910 Self-Government article and the 1912 Commencement and Summer article on the Students’ Association.

 

Sources: 1920 Scroll, The Normal Echo June 1910, The Normal Echo December 1910, The Normal Echo Commencement and Summer 1912, Official Records of UCA Collection (M99-01) Series I, Box 2, File 1.

 

“The Bear Flew Over the Ocean”

Jimmy Driftwood was born James C. Morris on June 20, 1907 in a log cabin in Richwood, Arkansas.  He attended Mountain View High School and taught first through eighth grades before receiving his college diploma.

In 1933 Jimmy (he also spelled his name Jimmie on occasion) attended John Brown College for one year, but later received his teaching degree from Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas) in Conway.  After receiving his degree in 1949 he accepted a job with a company that specialized in teaching students how to read.  He soon relocated to Louisiana.

Prior to moving to Louisiana he had written a song about the Battle of New Orleans.  This song was written to help his sixth grade students remember the facts of the battle.  Jimmy simply put the facts of the conflict into a poem and his students memorized the song and could then recall the facts of the battle.  The song was soon picked up by Johnny Horton who turned it into a gold record.  Jimmy won a Grammy award for “Battle of New Orleans,” “Tennessee Stud,” “Wilderness Road,” “Songs of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb.”

During the summer of 1959, Jimmy heard that Russia’s General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, was going to visit the United States in September of 1959. Jimmy, being a prolific song-writer, quickly wrote a song for the occasion.  At the time he was contracted to RCA Victor Records, and they pressed 100,000 copies of “The Bear Flew Over The Ocean.”

Jimmy Driftwood, an alumnus of UCA, donated his papers and farm to the University of Central Arkansas.  His collection is held by the UCA Archives.

Included with this email is Jimmy’s song, “The Bear Flew Over The Ocean,”  along with a photograph of Jimmy playing before Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas, and Governor John Connally of Texas, circa 1968.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGyrRAqB5PM

Jimmy is playing his homemade guitar.

50th Anniversary of UCA & Academic College System

This year, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) being structured along academic college lines. In 1969, the move was made to reorganize the twenty-one academic departments into four academic colleges, with an effective date of July 1, 1969.

Dr. Orville Rook became dean of the College of Science and Humanities; Dr. Conrad Carroll, dean of the College of Business; Dr. Jefferson Farris, Jr., dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Robert Morrow, dean of the College of Education. Dr. H. B. Hardy, Jr. became dean of undergraduate studies. The position of dean of the college was renamed vice president for academic and instructional affairs and dean of the faculty.

Before UCA had academic colleges, there was only one dean. The first person to have the title of dean was Andrew Jackson (A. J.) Meadors. Dean Meadors was born in Kentucky in 1868, and after receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1900 he came to Arkansas to teach for John James (J. J.) Doyne, (UCA’s first president) when Doyne was the head of the Lonoke, Arkansas School District.

In 1909, Meadors followed Doyne to Conway and was hired by the Arkansas State Normal School (first name of the University of Central Arkansas) and worked here until he died in 1942. Meadors Hall, which houses the Department of Military Science, was named in his honor. Dean Meadors was replaced by his son-in-law, Dr. W. C. Ferguson.

Dean Ferguson was married to Olive Meadors, the daughter of Dean A. J. Meadors, in 1931. Ferguson became a full time member of the faculty in 1939 and taught physical science. He became dean of men in 1940 and when his father-in-law died in 1942, he was made dean of the college.

Dean Ferguson passed away in 1954 after suffering several months with an illness that proved fatal. Ferguson Chapel was named in memory of Dean Ferguson.

Dean Ferguson was replaced by Dr. Alger E. Burdick, the namesake of the Burdick building on campus that formerly housed the College of Business. After UCA was structured along university lines in 1969, Burdick was made vice president for academic and instructional affairs and dean of the faculty.

The first four college academic deans are shown in the attached photograph. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE SCROLL.

UCA News for Spring 1969

The news for the 1969 spring semester at State College of Arkansas (now the University of Central Arkansas) was that Peter Jennings spoke in Ida Waldran Auditorium.  Jennings, an ABC news commentator, described himself as a “foaming at the mouth liberal” when he addressed about 500 UCA students on February 5, 1969.  Jennings visit was courtesy of the UCA Student Senate, and was part of Jennings’ broader visit through several other states.

Jennings, a Canadian citizen, discussed the 1968 presidential election, and thought he would have voted for Hubert Humphrey, but liked George Wallace of Alabama.  According to The Echo, “He further explained that Wallace was the only candidate to tell it like it was.  His first speech of the campaign was the same as his last.”

Jennings said that Nixon needed to be given an opportunity to get his programs working before anyone passed judgement on his presidency. Jennings was not impressed with President Nixon’s choice of Spiro T. Agnew as his vice president.  According to The Echo, “Jennings wryly suggested that Spiro Agnew can and will grow into the job of vice president – in 15 or 16 years.”

Before he finished, Jennings made a comment about UCA’s president, Silas Snow.  Snow had given Jennings a tour of the campus.  According to The Echo, “He also remarked that Dr. Snow had left him with the impression that student-administration relations were just peachy keen at this friendliest place in Arkansas…that’s what it said on the place card.”  For years, UCA’s slogan was “The Friendliest College in Arkansas.”

Governor Winthrop Rockefeller asked nearly $7.1 million for UCA operations during the 1969 legislative session.  President Silas Snow was quoted by The Echo as saying, “The recommendation for SCA was the minimum amount that the commission judged was required to carry on the college’s programs and gear them to an anticipated increase in enrollment.”

In the spring of 1969, the new cafeteria named for dietitian Elizabeth L. Christian, began operation.  Students from Conway Hall, Hughes Hall and State Hall used the cafeteria.  The other cafeteria on campus was Commons Cafeteria, which fed students from the other residence halls. The building that once housed Commons Cafeteria is now known as McCastlain Hall.

Another well-known speaker to visit the UCA campus was Ralph Nader, an auto safety critic.  Nader was the author of a best-selling book, “Unsafe at Any Speed.” Nader, a lawyer, received his B.A. from Princeton in 1955, and an LLB from Harvard Law School in 1958. Nader spoke to a small crowd of about 200 people in Ida Waldran Auditorium on March 31, 1969.  The crowd had expected Nader to slam the automobile industry.  Instead, he attacked nuclear power plants.  At the time of his speech, Arkansas Power & Light (now known as Entergy Arkansas) was building a nuclear power plant near Russellville.

A new academic plan was available to any junior or senior in good standing.  The plan allowed a student to take a course under a credit, no-credit rule.  A grade of “D” was required to pass, but if the student made a “D” or above, the student was given credit for the course.  The actual grade made by the student was not figured into the student’s overall grade point average.

A bill to give State College of Arkansas (SCA) university status was defeated in the Arkansas House of Representatives.  Representative Charles Stewart of Fayetteville led the opposition.  Stewart complained that if SCA had received university status it would cause confusion due to the existence of the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University and State University of Arkansas (the proposed name at the time for what was later UCA).

However, Representative Stewart did offer an amendment to change SCA’s name to Central State University.  The president of SCA, Silas Snow, did not want the name “central” used in the name.  Snow stated, “Our name did not just happen by chance.  It was carefully chosen with the aid of a study committee. SCA serves all of Arkansas.  We don’t want a name that connotes just Central Arkansas.”  Apparently, Snow changed his mind along the way.  State College of Arkansas became the University of Central Arkansas while Snow was still president on January 21, 1975.

The Board of Trustees approved the new health and physical education building.  According to The Echo, “The building is expected to cost $2,100,000.  It will have seating accommodations for 6,000 and its site will be on Bruce Street, west of the Science Building.”  That building is known today as the Jefferson D. Farris Center. Jefferson Farris Sr. was the head of the Department of Health and Physical Education from 1943 until his death in February 1961.  His son, Dr. Jefferson Farris Jr., succeeded him.

Spring 1969 seemed to be the time for well-known speakers and writers to visit UCA.  The author of the national best-seller, “True Grit” was here in March 1969.  Writer Charles Portis was quoted as saying, “Reviews haven’t changed him.  Having a lot of money has.”  Charles Portis, had a brother that attended UCA at the time and was a pre-med student, his name was Richard Portis. Charles Portis spoke to a small group at UCA and later autographed books for about 175 people in the Browsing Room of Torreyson Library.

 

***Image Courtesy of the 1969 Scroll – Governor Winthrop Rockefeller***

1918 UCA Statistics

As we embark on a new academic year, we sometimes forget the humble beginnings of this great university.  Dr. George Thompson, a friend of mine and professor emeritus of history at Hendrix College, often said to me that we have to overcome something called “present mindedness.”  That is the idea that the past is like the present.  We often forget that as time goes by technology changes, values change, educational methods change, and so forth.  I thought these statistics from 1918 might open our eyes to those who were attending, and were employed by Arkansas State Normal School during the 1918-1919 academic year.

In 1918, most of our male students were serving in the U.S. military due to the Great War (later known as World War I) and only about 18 men were on campus in the fall of 1918.  Also, the Spanish Influenza pandemic was impacting Arkansas, but for some reason there were no known cases on the UCA campus.  Hendrix College had the opposite experience and they suffered greatly, two of their students died from Spanish Influenza.  The leading medical officer of Arkansas, Dr. C.W. Garrison, issued a quarantine order for all state schools in October 1918 that was not lifted until November.  During the quarantine order there were still students on the UCA campus, but it has not been determined if they were attending regular scheduled classes.  We do know that Doyne Hall, the residence hall for women, was occupied and operating as normal.  Possibly more research will determine what was going on during the quarantine period. 


Below are some numbers regarding the operation of Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas) when it was just beginning its 11th academic year. 
Number of Faculty:  19
Number of Staff:        6
Total Employees:     25

Total Salaries of all Employees:  $2,885.06  for September 1918

President Torreyson’s Salary:     $250.00 monthly
Highest Paid Faculty Member:    $165.00 monthly

Enrollment Fall 1918:  301
 

Postage for Month of September:  $13.00

Telephone and Telegraph Costs:    $27.97

Furniture to Equip newly built Old Main $455.44

Fire and Tornado Insurance on Old Main $152.00
 

Reimburse Registrar for two trips to Little Rock:  $4.00

Coal for Steam Plant:   $398.86

Bears as UCA Mascot!

The black bear that recently visited a residence near campus reminded me how fortunate we are that the black bear is UCA’s mascot.  As many of you know, UCA did not have a mascot until 1920.  Before then, sports writers referred to our athletic teams as, Tutors, Teachers, Normalites, The Normal Eleven, Pea Pickers and Pedagogues.

Below you will find an article that was written when sports writers called us The Pedagogues.

GO BEARS, sounds much more appropriate than GO PEDAGOGUES!!