From the Archives

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!!


UCA Fall 1918

The fall of 1918 was much different than previous fall semesters at Arkansas State Normal School (now the University of Central Arkansas).  There were very few men on campus, and men’s sports were canceled for the fall.  The men were involved in the Great War, later known as World War I.  There were 200 men enrolled at the Normal in spring 1917, but only 12 men were enrolled in classes in the spring of 1918. During the fall of 1918, there were approximately 18 men enrolled.

The attached PDF is an advertisement for the Normal for the fall of 1918.  Notice that tuition is free.  From the 1914 Normal Bulletin through the 1917 Normal Bulletin, the term “tuition” is used only to say there was none.  According to the 1917 Arkansas State Normal School (ASNS) Bulletin, “No tuition fees are charged in the regular Normal course.  All students pay an incidental fee of $5.00 and a library fee of $3.00 when they enroll, and students in the science department will be required to pay for any breakage of apparatus for which they may be held responsible.  A deposit of $1.00 per term is required of science students and this, or any unused portion of it, will be refunded at the close of the term.  Students of piano pay a fee of $4.00 per month or when paid in advance $11.00 per term, two lessons per week.  A piano may be rented at 50 cents per month for one hour daily.”

The 1918 ASNS Bulletin reads a little differently, but there is still no charge for tuition, for  in state students.  Listed under the heading “Expenses” the library and incidental fees are $8.00, laboratory fee of $3.00, and text books were estimated to cost $8.00.  Room and board for women living in Doyne Hall was $15.00 per month, and room and board with most Conway residents ranged from $18.00 to $20.00 monthly.  Though tuition was not charged to Arkansas residents, it was charged to out of state students.  Out of state students were required to pay tuition at the rate of $3.00 per month.  The 1918 ASNS Bulletin made the first mention of out of state tuition.

Due to the Spanish influenza pandemic that swept the nation and state, ASNS students were given the option of leaving ASNS during the first week of December, and not returning until after the holidays.  Only about 40 students accepted this offer.  It should be noted that some state supported institutions of higher education either began the fall semester late, or closed early, or did not open at all for the fall semester due to the outbreak of Spanish influenza.

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