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Golden Days

Golden Days: Reminiscences of Alumnae, Mississippi State College for Women

Introduction by Bridget Smith Pieschel
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Golden Days
    Book Description:

    Golden Daysincludes twenty oral histories of women who graduated from Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women) at least fifty years ago. From Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope's (1926) description of a teaching career beginning just before the 1927 Delta flood to Juanita McCown Hight's (1934) account of campus conversations with violinist Jascha Heifetz and writer/adventurer Richard Halliburton, these stories illustrate the profound influence of the nation's first public college for women on the lives of the storytellers. Vivid reminiscences about life on campus recall a different world of blue uniforms, rigid rules, and demanding faculty.

    Even after many decades, these women still clearly remember particular teachers who inspired and pushed them to succeed, midnight dormitory pranks played on long-suffering "social advisers," and the spring Zouave marching drills directed by the indomitable Emma Ody Pohl. Whether they graduated in 1926 or 1956, there is a common thread running through these memories: an appreciation for academic life, strong leadership, cultural experiences that enriched lives, a recognition that the university gave self-confidence to pursue unusual or difficult careers, and a gratitude for remarkable friendships which have lasted a lifetime.

    The Southern Women's Institute of Mississippi University for Women provides a foundation for research and inclusive outreach through the study of women in both traditional and non-traditional roles. The Institute's research focuses on the history of MUW and the position women hold in the culture and foundation of the South both today and in the future.

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-382-0
    Subjects: History, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-1)
    Bridget Smith Pieschel

    When it opened its doors to about 350 students in 1885, the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College for White Girls (later Mississippi State College for Women and now Mississippi University for Women) was the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Those who find it difficult to believe that Mississippi would be the first in any type of educational achievement would also probably be surprised to learn that this public institution was the extension of a private college for women, the Columbus Female Institute, financially maintained continuously since 1847 by a group of stockholders who believed that Columbus...

  4. Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope, Class of 1926 OCTOBER 14, 2004
    (pp. 3-29)
    BARBARA WHITE, SUSAN PUCKETT and Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope

    Mary ellen weathersby was born to Ellen Harrell Weathersby and Robert Lodwic Weathersby on April 14, 1905, in Liberty, Mississippi. Raised in Magnolia, she attended MSCW from 1922 to 1926, when she received a bachelor’s of science degree in home economics. She had four sisters, all of whom earned degrees at MSCW—Nema Weathersby Colee, Class of 1915; Marguerite Weathersby Devall, Class of 1916; Robbie Weathersby Corder, Class of 1929; and Ann Weathersby Starnes, Class of 1931—as well as two brothers. During her time at the W, Mary Ellen Weathersby participated in the Home Economics Club and the Westminster...

  5. Elizabeth Spann Smith Gwin, Class of 1930 MARCH 18, 2006
    (pp. 31-47)
    SUSAN PUCKETT, BARBARA WHITE and Elizabeth Spann Smith Gwin

    Born in columbus on may 24, 1909, to Charles Harriett Smith and May Rush Smith, Elizabeth Smith was already familiar with the W when she became a student. As a student she was a member of the Town Girls Club, the Black Crows, the Bach Society, the Spanish Club, her class volleyball team, and the Junior-Freshman Wedding (a ceremony to unite the two classes) and Wedding Chorus. She also served as president of the campus chapter of the Mississippi Historical Society. She presented a senior recital as part of her piano diploma and earned a bachelor of arts degree in...

  6. Juanita McCown Hight, Class of 1934 APRIL 1, 2006
    (pp. 49-67)

    Juanita mccown was born in plattsburg, mississippi, on August 26, 1913, the daughter of James Monroe McCown, a school administrator, and Ada Green McCown. Juanita McCown graduated from the W in 1934 with a bachelor’s of science degree in home economics. She was involved in many groups on campus, including the Home Economics Club, the Chemistry Club, the Vesper Choir, the baseball team, the field hockey team, student government, and the President’s Council. She was also active in the Theatre Guild, serving as master workman, as stage manager, and, in her senior year, as president. In 1940, she married William...

  7. Hyacinth McCormick Hayman, Class of 1935 JUNE 21, 2006
    (pp. 69-79)
    AMBER KING and Hyacinth McCormick Hayman

    Hyacinth mccormick was born on june 7, 1913, in Gulfport, to George Francis McCormick and Hyacinth Yerger McCormick. While she was a child, her household included her maternal grandparents, Rucks and Hyacinth Yerger, and her great-grandmother, Hyacinth McGuire. At MSCW, she majored in English and Latin and participated in numerous events and organizations, including the Latin Club; the Archery Club; the Coast Club; the Theatre Guild; the Vesper Choir; the Tea Room Committee; the International Relations Club; and the Lantern, Torch, and Star and Sceptre honor societies. She also served as vice president of the freshman class, as a junior...

  8. Katherine Lipscomb Worrell, Class of 1936 JULY 19, 2006
    (pp. 81-93)
    AMBER KING and Katherine Lipscomb Worrell

    Katherine lipscomb, born july 17, 1913, in Mashulaville, Mississippi, was the fourth of eleven children born to Jasper Holmes Lipscomb and Mary Elizabeth Jernigan Lipscomb. Katherine Lipscomb came to MSCW from rural Noxubee County, Mississippi, in the fall of 1930, but family financial strain and a serious injury delayed her graduation until 1936. After graduation, she began teaching at Lynville High School in Preston, Mississippi, and a few years later she moved to Lebanon School in Hinds County as principal and teacher. In 1942, she married George Brooke Worrell (1909–84), a local farmer who left to serve in the...

  9. Carmen Pearson Ronken, Class of 1937 MARCH 8, 2005
    (pp. 95-109)
    SUSAN PUCKETT, BARBARA WHITE and Carmen pearson Ronken

    Carmen pearson was born on november 23, 1914, in Conehatta, Mississippi, one of seven children of Edward Pearson and Addie Wilkins Pearson. Carmen Pearson spent two years at Decatur Junior College (now East Central Community College) before transferring to MSCW, where she majored in home economics. She was active in the Home Economics Club, the Junior Forum, and the senior Y Group. According to the 1937 yearbook, theMeh Lady,“Mature thought comes from her rare silence and pensiveness.” After graduation, she spent several years working in Mississippi as home demonstration agent and for the State Board of Health and...

  10. Emily Eugenia Summer, Class of 1945 OCTOBER 15, 2004
    (pp. 111-137)
    SUSAN PUCKETT, BARBARA WHITE and Emily Eugenia Summer

    Emily eugenia summer was born on june 13, 1923, to Charles E. Summer and Emily O’Rorke Summer of Newton, Mississippi. Eugenia Summer came to MSCW from Yazoo City and served in numerous campus leadership roles, including holding the post of class treasurer during her freshman year and of president of the student body during her senior year. Also as a senior, she was elected Miss MSCW. After graduating with a major in history and a minor in art, she received a master’s degree from Columbia University with an emphasis in painting. She also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago,...

  11. Mary Glynn Williams Lancaster, Class of 1947 JULY 12, 2006
    (pp. 139-155)
    AMBER KING and Mary Glynn Williams Lancaster

    Mary glynn williams was born in bolton, mississippi, on July 1, 1925, to James Harold Williams and Mary Verdie Noel Williams. She spent a year at Hinds Junior College (now Hinds Community College) before coming to MSCW, where she was a member of the Bach Society, the Glee Club, Sigma Alpha Iota music honorary society, and the Wesley Foundation. She served as a librarian during her senior year. She received a bachelor of arts degree in piano and subsequently taught music in the public school system for thirty-five years. When she graduated in 1947, she was asked to direct the...

  12. Frances Mildred Bethea Dent, Class of 1950 JUNE 22, 2006
    (pp. 157-169)
    AMBER KING and Frances Mildred Bethea Dent

    Frances mildred bethea came to mscw from Indianola, Mississippi. She was born on August 8, 1927, in Starkville, Mississippi, to Carl B. Bethea and Julia May Bevill Bethea. A library science major, she sang in the Glee Club for four years. She was also a member of the Spanish Club, the Library Science Club, and the Wesley Foundation Smaller and Larger Councils. After graduation, she began work as a public librarian in Raymond, Mississippi, and she later worked for a five-county regional library. In 1951, she married Robert Miller Dent Jr., who became a brigadier general in the Mississippi Army...

  13. Joan Crawford Meadows McLemore, Class of 1951 DECEMBER 27, 2006
    (pp. 171-195)
    AMBER KING and Joan Crawford Meadows McLemore

    Joan crawford meadows, the middle child of James Leon Meadows and Dell Crawford Meadows, was born in Texas on August 24, 1929. The family subsequently moved to Oklahoma and then to Mississippi in 1939. After graduating from Natchez High School in June 1947, Meadows came to MSCW, where she studied for two years. During her freshman year, she was elected house chairman of Hastings and served in the Student Government Association. Also during her first year, she played the clarinet in the orchestra. As a sophomore, she wrote for MSCW’s student newspaper, theSpectator.She left MSCW after the spring...

  14. Lenore Loving Prather, Class of 1953 APRIL 3, 2006
    (pp. 197-217)
    SUSAN PUCKETT, BARBARA WHITE and Lenore Loving Prather

    Lenore loving, born in west point, mississippi, on September 17, 1931, is the daughter of attorney Byron Herold Loving, who served as a state representative and state senator from Clay County, and Hattie Morris Loving, who was educated at Draughn’s Business College in Jackson, Mississippi, and who served as deputy circuit clerk and as election commissioner for Clay County. A speech major at MSCW, Lenore Loving participated in the Theatre Guild, the Forensic Council, the Student Christian Association, College Oratory, the Debate Team, the President’s Council, and Tournament Plays. She earned a certificate in parliamentary procedure, directed the radio program,...

  15. Mary Elizabeth Bickerstaff Payne, Class of 1954 APRIL 3, 2006
    (pp. 219-249)
    SUSAN PUCKETT, BARBARA WHITE and Mary Elizabeth Bickerstaff Payne

    Mary elizabeth bickerstaff was born on march 27, 1931, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her mother was Emily Augusta Cook Bickerstaff; her father, Reece O. Bickerstaff, represented Harrison County in the Mississippi legislature from 1936 to 1955. Mary Libby Bickerstaff spent two years at the W, during which time she was active in a diverse group of organizations, including the Forensic Council and the Student Christian Association. She transferred to the University of Mississippi and graduated from the Ole Miss law school in 1955. She served as a professor of law and as founding dean of the Mississippi College School of Law...

  16. Sylvia Camille Duck Clark, Class of 1956 APRIL 28, 2006
    (pp. 251-271)
    RACHEL FORESTER and Sylvia Camille Duck Clark

    Sylvia camille duck was born in louisville, Mississippi, on July 24, 1934, to George M. Duck, a railroad manager, and Camille Langham Sullivan Duck, who owned and operated a women’s clothing store in downtown Louisville. At the W, she majored in elementary education. She was active in many organizations, including the Glee Club; the Silhouettes, a freshmansophomore social club; the Hottentots, an organization for campus leaders; the Jesters, a social club for juniors and seniors; the Baptist Student Union; the Religious Emphasis Week Committee of Fifty; and the College Singers. Her numerous campus leadership positions included junior usher, vice president...

  17. Barbara Ann Garrett, Class of 1956 APRIL 21, 2006
    (pp. 273-295)
    VALLERI TEMPLETON and Barbara Ann Garrett

    Barbara ann garrett was born in yazoo city on November 20, 1934, to Ezra W. Garrett and Mary Eleanor Bishop Garrett. While she was at the W, her numerous activities included the Student Christian Council; the Committee of Fifty; the Baptist Student Union; the Women’s Athletic Association; the Rogues, a freshman-sophomore club; the Jesters, a junior-senior club; the Hottentots, an organization for campus leaders; class volleyball and basketball teams; the Tournament Play cast; the Physical Education Club; and the Theatre Guild. She also served as class secretary and treasurer her sophomore and junior years. A member of the staff of...

  18. Mary Elizabeth Barrett Francis, Class of 1956 AUGUST 2, 2006
    (pp. 297-313)
    RACHEL FORESTER and Mary Elizabeth Barrett Francis

    Mary elizabeth barrett was born in new albany, Mississippi, on November 24, 1934. Her mother, Mary Rawls Barrett Martin, graduated from the W in 1931; her father, Raphoral Lee Barrett, attended Mississippi State and taught agriculture. While at the W, Mary Lib Barrett was a member of the Debate Team; the Blue Serenaders band; the Hottentots, an organization for campus leaders; the orchestra; the staff of theSpectator,MSCW’s student newspaper; the Mississippi Youth Congress; the Southern Intercollegiate Association of Student Government; the National Student Congress; Mortar Board, a national college honor society; the President’s Council; Lockhearts, a freshman-sophomore social...

  19. Janet Carol Davis Gray, Class of 1957 AUGUST 14, 2006
    (pp. 315-333)
    SARAH SHEFFIELD and Janet Carol Davis Gray

    Born in jackson, mississippi, on august 7, 1936, Janet Carol Davis was the daughter of Homer B. Davis and Velma Mary Hughes Davis. Janet Davis graduated from the W with a degree in English, speech, and journalism. She participated in the Palette and Brush Club; the Commerce Club; the Glee Club; the Wesley Foundation; the Future Teachers of America; the Theatre Guild; the President’s Council; Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society; the Hottentots, an organization for campus leaders; the Maskers, a junior-senior social club; and the staffs of the yearbook (theMeh Lady) and the student newspaper (theSpectator)....

  20. Beverly Stuart Koch Jones, Class of 1957 APRIL 22, 2007
    (pp. 335-349)
    JAYDE PETERSON and Beverly Stuart Koch Jones

    Beverly stuart koch, born on december 2O, 1935, in Picayune, Mississippi, was the daughter of Alberta Elizabeth Stuart Koch, a schoolteacher, and Stanley A. Koch, a lumber salesman. At the age of five, the family moved to Jackson, where Beverly Koch spent the remainder of her childhood. At the W, she majored in home economics education and was a dormitory sings director and a song leader for both the Wesley Foundation and the Student Christian Association. A member of the fresh-man-sophomore Silhouettes and junior-senior Jesters, she was elected a cheerleader and a Class Favorite in each of her four years...

  21. Donette Dunaway Lee, Class of 1957 APRIL 4, 2007
    (pp. 351-361)
    ELIZABETH SEGAL and Donette Dunaway Lee

    Donette dunaway, the daughter of w. a. dunaway, a farmer, and Deloris Pyron Dunaway, a homemaker, was born on July 24, 1935, in Swiftown, Mississippi. At MSCW, she majored in music with an emphasis in organ and earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred music. A member of the Torch, Lantern, and Mortar Board academic honoraries, she also was selected for membership in Sigma Alpha Iota, the honorary for music majors. She served as an officer in the Student Christian Association, as regent of the American Guild of Organists during her junior year, and as president of the Baptist Student Union...

  22. Nell Ann Pickett, Class of 1957 JUNE 15, 2006
    (pp. 363-377)
    AMBER KING and Nell Ann Pickett

    Born in utica, mississippi, on october 22, 1935, to Fred Newman Pickett and Eva Reed Pickett, Nell Ann Pickett transferred to the W from Hinds Junior College. She was a member of the staff of theSpectator,MSCW’s student newspaper; the Religious Emphasis Week Committee of Fifty; the Student Christian Association Council; Sigma Tau Delta English honorary; and the Wesley Foundation Larger and Smaller Councils, serving as financial secretary during her senior year. Also during her senior year, she was the president of the Future Teachers of America and of Pi Tau Chi, a national religion honorary society. She received...

  23. Barbara McMillin Webb, Class of 1957 APRIL 19, 2007
    (pp. 379-394)
    SARAH SHEFFIELD and Barbara McMillin Webb

    Barbara mcmillin was born on august 9, 1936, in Louisville, Mississippi, to Oliver Frank McMillin and Alice Irene Robison McMillin. At MSCW, she majored in library science and was active in numerous groups, including the 4-H Club, the Future Teachers of America, and the Alpha Psi Omega drama honorary society. She served as an officer in the Westminster Fellowship for Presbyterian students. A speech minor, she was also very active in the Theatre Guild, serving as the assistant director and director of Tournament Plays during her sophomore and junior years. She began her career as a librarian at Mississippi State...

  24. Index
    (pp. 395-411)