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Meredith College 
Raleigh, NC 27607-5298 

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in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 











Copyright 1972 
Meredith CoUege, Raleigh, N. C. 

Library of Congress Catalog No. 72-77390 

First Edition, 1956 
Second Edition, 1972 



President Campbell in 1948 with the authorization of the 
Board of Trustees requested me to write the history of 
Meredith. That book, finished in 1955, ends with the 1953-54 
session of the College. A few months after President Heil- 
man came to Meredith, he asked me to revise the book when 
I retired, bringing it up to date. 

The revision involved only slight changes in the chapters 
which cover the history through President Brewer's ad- 
ministration and in the appendix, a brief biographical 
sketch of Thomas Meredith. A new appendix gives the 
names of trustees from 1889 to 1971 and faculty and staff 
from 1899 to 1970-71. The account of Dr. Campbell's presi- 
dency and that of alumnae affairs necessitated extensive 
revision to bring them up to date. The swiftly moving, sig- 
nificant events of President Heilman's administration re- 
quired a long and important new chapter. As this section 
was virtually completed before he accepted the presidency 
of the University of Richmond in March, 1971, no mention 
is made of that great loss to Meredith.^ 

John Edgar Weems, vice-president for finance and ad- 
ministration at Middle Tennessee University, was elected 
President of Meredith College on October 14, 1971. When he 
assumes office on January 1, 1972, a new chapter will begin 
in "the ever unfolding text" of Meredith's history. 

Much of the information for both editions was found in 
the records and publications of the College: the minutes 
of the Board of Trustees and of its executive committee; 
the reports to the Board of the president, the dean, and the 
bursar; the College catalogue and other issues of the 
Meredith College Quarterly Bulletin; the student publi- 
cations — the Student Handbook, the Oak Leaves, the Acorn, 
the Twig; and the Alumnae Magazine. 

In addition to these sources, I have used the minutes of 
the North Carolina Baptist State Convention and of various 

iQn September 24, 1971, one of the two new dormitories was named the 
E. Bruce Heilman Residence Hall, in grateful recognition of President Heil- 
man's service to Meredith. 

vi Foreword 

associations; Baptist periodicals — the Baptist Interpreter, 
the Biblical Recorder (which was of immeasurable value), 
Charity and Children, and the North Carolina Baptist; and 
daily and weekly newspapers, among them the State 
Chronicle/ the News and Observer, the Raleigh Times, and 
the Greensboro Daily News. I also found of value the 
Baptist Historical Papers, issued from October 1896, to 
January, 1900, by the North Carolina Baptist Historical 
Society. To these and to other scattered sources I have made 
reference in the text without the use of formal footnotes. 

With the exception of the familiar words from the "Alma 
Mater," the title of each chapter comes from some report, 
letter, or speech quoted in the chapter. 

The gathering of this material from records and publi- 
cations would have been impossible without the cheerful 
and generous aid of the staffs of the Meredith and Wake 
Forest libraries and the library of the State of North 
Carolina. To Miss Hazel Baity, Miss Jane Greene, and Mrs. 
Dorothy McCombs I turned most often for help. I am in- 
debted to other Meredith officials for information of various 
kinds. My especial gratitude is due to President Campbell 
and President Heilman for the opportunity of writing and 
revising the history and for help and encouragement in the 

Mrs. J. C. Blasingame, Mrs. Paul Brantley, Miss Annie 
Jones, Colonel J. Y. Joyner, and the North Carolina State 
Library kindly lent pictures for the book. The alumnae 
offices of the University of Pennsylvania, of Dartmouth 
College, and of the University of Georgia supplied informa- 
tion about Thomas Meredith, Daniel Ford Richardson, and 
James C. Blasingame, respectively. 

In conversations and letters I learned much from in- 
dividuals, among them Mrs. Charles Beddingfield, Mrs. J. C. 
Blasingame, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Boomhour, Mrs. Charles E. 
Brewer and the Misses Brewer, Miss Beulah Bowden, Dr. 
W. R. Cullom, Miss Leonita Denmark, Mrs. Foy Johnson 
Farmer, Miss Margaret Forgeus, Miss Mae Grimmer, Miss 
Gertrude Gunter, Mrs. Elbert N. Johnson, Mrs. R. C. 
Josey, Sr., Dr. J. Y. Joyner, Dr. J. L. Kesler, Mrs. M. L. 

2 A weekly newspaper which Josephus Daniels edited from 1895 to 1904. 

Foreword vii 

Kesler, Mrs. C. F. Lambeth, Mr. J. A. McLeod, Miss Rosa 
Paschal, Mrs. Kemp Smith, Miss Mary Shannon Smith, Mrs. 
Robert Sorrell, Mr. Francis Speight, Mrs. O. L. Stringfield, 
Mrs. Julia Brewer Thomasson, Mrs. J. C. Thomson, Miss 
Dorothy Vann, Dr. Elizabeth Vann, Mr. William Harvey 
Vann, and Mr. L. D. Watson. Of especial value were the 
many conversations I had with Miss Ida Poteat and with 
Dr. R. T. Vann after his retirement, conversations which 
would have been even more valuable had I dreamed that I 
should ever write the history of the College. I have obtained 
bits of information from other sources too numerous to 
mention; and to these, as well as to any whom I may have 
inadvertently omitted, I am grateful. 

In addition to a critical reading of portions of one or both 
manuscripts by persons familiar with the material involved, 
the first was read in its entirety by President Campbell and 
Mrs. Foy J. Farmer. President Heilman read most of this 
second edition and gave helpful suggestions. Dr. Norma 
Rose and Dr. lone Knight read both manuscripts with the 
same careful, candid, yet sympathetic attention which they 
give to freshman themes. The latter with almost incredible 
skill in deciphering my cacography made both typed copies 
from the handwritten ones. To these two and to Mrs. 
Farmer, as well as to Mrs. Memory F. Mitchell for sug- 
gestions as to procedure, goes a large part of the credit for 
the index. 

Without all these kind folk, I could not have done the 
work. They furnished much of the information; for the 
misinformation, the omissions, and the errors in judgment 
in both editions, I alone am responsible. The work has been 
to me, in the words of Oliver Larkin Stringfield concerning 
his work for the Baptist Female University, "a dear de- 
light." A visiting lecturer at the faculty workshop in 1967 
said that "colleges and universities have suffered from, un- 
loving critics and uncritical lovers." The reader will please 
forgive me if I have been an uncritical lover. 



Foreword v 

I. "An Object Much to Be Desired" 1 

II. "By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 22 

III. "Full Grown in a Single Day" 57 

IV. "Upheld by the Affections of a Great People".... 90 

V. "An Institution That Has Passed the 

Experimental Stage" 144 

VI. "Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home".... 172 

VII. "Substantial Achievement and Significant 

Promise" 209 

VIII. "The Doors Are Open Wider" 293 

IX. "An Association of Devoted Daughters" 372 

X. "Under the Good Hand of God" 424 

Appendix A: Thomas Meredith 429 

Appendix B: Trustees 1889-1971; Faculty 

1899-1971 449 

Index 473 


The Baptist Female University Inside Front Cover 




Thomas Meredith 4 

"Alma Mater" 5 

First Faculty 1899-1900 68 

First Graduating Class 1902 69 

Presidents of Meredith College 132 

Presidents of Meredith College; Livingston Johnson 

Administration Building 133 

Faculty of 1924 164 

Art Studio 1899-1925; Biology Laboratory 1959- 165 

The Hut; Mae Grimmer House 196 

Eventful Days on the Campus Between 196 and 197 

Faces Familiar on the Campus for Many 

Years 197 

Founders' Day; Picnic at the Lake 228 

Auditorium 1926-1949; Jones Hall 1949- 229 

Friends of Meredith for Whom Buildings Are 

Named 388 

Friends of Meredith for Whom Buildings Are 

Named 389 

Old Faircloth Hall 1904-1925; New Faircloth 

Hall 1926- 420 

Gymnasium 1926-1970; Weatherspoon Building 1971-.. 421 

Meredith College Today Inside Back Cover 


"If you ask about the beginning of Meredith," Richard 
Tilman Vann once said, "no one can answer you. It is the 
incarnation of an idea. Events may be dated and chronicled, 
but who can trace the genesis of an idea?" Four events are 
dated on the cornerstone of the Livingston Johnson Admin- 
istration Building: "Projected 1889, Chartered 1891, 
Opened 1899, Relocated 1924." More than fifty years before 
the earliest of these dates the idea which had to wait so 
long for its incarnation was already in existence. 

At the 1835 session of the North Carolina Baptist State 
Convention, held at Union Camp Ground in Rowan County, 
some far-seeing person whose name is not recorded moved 
the appointment of a committee "to consider the establish- 
ment of a female seminary of high order." The motion came 
only five years after the organization of the Convention and 
only a year after Wake Forest Institute opened its doors. 
The committee appointed by General Alfred Dockery, presi- 
dent of the Convention from 1834 to 1841, was composed 
of Elders John Armstrong, Thomas Meredith, and W. H. 
Merritt. Armstrong was a Pennsylvanian as was Meredith, 
educated at Columbian College, now George Washington 
University; Meredith was a graduate of the University of 
Pennsylvania. Armstrong was the professor of ancient 
languages and the financial agent of the newly established 
Wake Forest Institute; Meredith was the founder and editor 
of the newly established Biblical Recorder. Both were 
among the fourteen founders of the Baptist State Con- 
vention and were staunch supporters of its work. William 
Henry Merritt, a North Carolinian, was older than the other 
two and not so well educated as they. Ordained at the age of 
forty-eight, he did useful work as pastor of various country 
churches; as a prosperous farmer and businessman he gave 
generously to the building of several Baptist churches. 

2 History of Meredith College 

notably the one at Chapel Hill. In his will he left $2,000 to 
Wake Forest to be used for the education of young 

The committee in 1835 made their report the day after 
they were appointed; the only comment in the minutes of 
the Convention is that it was received and ordered to be 
"appended to the minutes." It does not appear there, nor 
was it among the reports from several committees which 
were published in the account of the Convention given in 
the Biblical Recorder. 

Their report was probably unfavorable; for the motion 
was renewed at the 1836 session of the Convention at 
Brown's Meeting House in Sampson County; and again a 
committee was appointed, with William Hooper replacing 
Armstrong as chairman. A grandson of a signer of the 
Declaration of Independence, a graduate of the University 
of North Carolina and an instructor in Latin and Greek at 
that institution, a minister converted from the Episcopal to 
the Baptist faith, Hooper was just beginning the long and 
distinguished career which he devoted to various aspects of 
education in the Baptist denomination in North Carolina. 
John W. Moore in The History of North Carolina charac- 
terized him as "profound scholar, eloquent orator, and 
powerful preacher." It was he who four years earlier had 
presented to the Convention the recommendation which led 
to the establishment of Wake Forest. His report in 1836 to 
the Convention concerning a female seminary follows : 

The committee to whom was referred the subject of a Female 
Seminary beg leave to report: 

That they have had the matter under consideration, and have 
come to the conclusion that it is not expedient at present to estab- 
lish such a seminary — such are the claims and wants of the Insti- 
tute now under the care of the Convention that it appears to your 
committee it would too much divide the attention and resources of 
our friends and patrons to create a new Institution at this time. 
Unless such an Institution were to be aided by our funds, it could 
not be of such merits as to offer advantages much beyond those 
already in existence, and those funds, at present, are demanded by 
the existing wants and obligations of the Convention. 

At the same time your committee deem it proper and seasonable 
to express their views of the great importance of Female Educa- 
tion, as well on account of the direct improvement of one-half of 
our species as on account of the indirect influence which well- 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 3 

educated women exert on the welfare of the whole community. 
They, therefore, would urge upon the Baptist public generally to 
avail themselves, as far as their circumstances will allow, of the 
facilities now in existence for cultivating the minds of their daugh- 
ters in order to raise up a generation of women who shall employ 
all that influence and control which are conceded to them in every 
civilized and Christian country, on the side of liberal sentiment 
and to sway the minds of men in behalf of virtue and religion. 

There was no mention of a female seminary at the 1837 
Convention, but the idea persisted; and on June 29, 1838, 
at a meeting of the Board of Managers — the forerunner of 
the General Board — Thomas Meredith, J. B. Outlaw, and 
D. F. Richardson were appointed a committee to report to 
the next session of the Convention "on the expediency etc. 
of establishing a Female Seminary under the auspices of 
the Baptist denomination in this state." 

Joseph B. Outlaw was a physician then practicing in 
Raleigh, where he had moved from Rolesville. He was the 
first chairman of the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest 
Institute, and was one of the five members of the building 
committee of the Institute who in 1833 pledged their per- 
sonal property to that cause. His affection for North 
Carolina Baptists is evidenced in a letter to the Recorder in 
1839 from La Grange, Tennessee, where he had just moved 
— a letter in which he declared that though mountains might 
separate him from his brethren, he would "never, no never, 
till life's last throb" cease to pray God's blessings on them. 
He soon returned from Tennessee and spent the rest of his 
days in Nash County, where he died shortly before the Civil 

The third member, Daniel Ford Richardson, a graduate 
of Dartmouth and of Andover Theological Seminary, had 
come from New Hampshire to Wake Forest as professor of 
Greek and Latin in 1837 when Armstrong was given leave 
of absence for two years' travel and study in Europe. 
Richardson also served a brief time as professor of Hebrew 
and rhetoric before he returned some time after 1840 to his 
native state, where he took an active part in state politics. 
Like Outlaw, he remembered his North Carolina brethren 
with occasional affectionate letters in the Recorder; in the 
last one, which appeared in 1872, ten years before his death, 

4 History of Meredith College 

he recalled his ordination in the Wake Forest Chapel nearly 
thirty-five years earlier. 

It is significant that only Thomas Meredith was appointed 
to the three successive committees; evidently he was 
resolutely determined in the face of all obstacles that the 
denomination should offer to young women a real edu- 
cation. He was not content to eulogize the influence of 
woman and assert in empty phrases the importance of 
"Female Education"; for the resolution which he offered to 
the Convention November 6, 1838, was vigorous and defi- 

The cormnittee appointed at the last meeting of the Board, for 
the purpose of reporting on the expediency of establishing a female 
seminary, of a high order, in a central part of the state, would 
respectfully submit the following statements : 

They are convinced that an institution such as proposed is 
greatly needed. The facts — that there are but few female schools of 
much standing in our state — that these are not generally adapted 
to the views and wishes of our brethren — and that our people are 
therefore compelled either to keep their daughters at home unedu- 
cated, or to send them to other states, at an enormous expense and 
much inconvenience — constitute, in the view of your committee, 
sufficient evidence that a seminary adapted to the wants of our 
people, and located in a central part of the state, is an object much 
to be desired. 

Nor do your committee entertain a doubt, that a seminary 
properly constituted, and situated in a healthful and eligible part 
of the state would receive ample support. To say nothing of those 
portions of the community, having no concern for Baptist enter- 
prise, which would find it to their interest to patronise such a 
school, there are surely Baptists enough, who would eagerly em- 
brace the opportunities afforded by such an institution, to provide 
it with an ample and permanent patronage. 

It is the opinion of your committee, that the seminary shoiild 
be located in Raleigh or in the vicinity of that city : that it should 
be properly and primarily a boarding school: that it should be 
furnished with buildings and all needful accommodations, for 
thirty pupils at the outset : that the instructors should be persons 
of high standing in their professions and fiilly adequate as to num- 
ber: that the branches taught should be such as to constitute a 
plain and substantial, but at the same time, a first rate course of 
female education : that the whole establishment should be modeled 
and conducted on strictly religious principles : and that the school 
should be subject to the superintendence of one man, who, to- 
gether with his lady, should constitute a sort of temporary paren- 
tage, with whom the pupils should live, to whom their morals and 
behaviour, as well as their scholarship, should be entrusted, and 
who should be held responsible for their safety and improvement, 
so long as they continue in the school. If located in town, a lot 

sy i?*?' 

Thomas Meredith 

A.twntB IMLater 

R. T. Vann 





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"An Object Much to Be Desired" 5 

should be procured and suitable buildings and fixtures provided. 
If in the country, a small farm, affording a healthy and command- 
ing situation, should be purchased and all necessary local arrange- 
ments made. And all this should be done before the school should 
be allowed to go into operation. 

As the pecuniary responsibilities involved in such an undertak- 
ing would probably be greater than any one person would wish 
to assume, your committee suggest the expediency of forming a 
small company or corporation, who should divide the stock and 
the proceeds among themselves; and who should employ teachers, 
make regulations, control the financial concerns, and do all other 
things appertaining to the absolute proprietorship of the estab- 
lishment. In that case, the wisdom of a number would be concen- 
trated — interest in behalf of the school would be more generally 
diffused — arrangements requiring an outlay of funds might be 
made with efficiency and despatch — if any loss should be sus- 
tained, it would be divided among several, and would probably 
fall on such as would be able to bear it — and should any thing be 
gained by the enterprise, it would go to those properly entitled to 
it, and would be a gratifying compensation, for expenses incurred 
and responsibilities assumed. 

Your committee are aware that neither the Board, nor the Con- 
vention has any constitutional power to act in this business. They 
have power, however, to give advice, and to recommend measures, 
and this we trust will be done on the present occasion. Your com- 
mittee would therefore recommend the adoption of the following 
resolutions : 

1. Resolved, that in the estimation of this convention, it is ex- 
pedient to institute a FEMALE SEMINARY, adapted to the exist- 
ing wants of the denomination, and to be located in the city of 
Raleigh, or at some eligible point in the adjoining country. 

2. Resolved, that immediate and effective measures be recom- 
mended for carrying into effect the aforesaid undertaking — and 
that the school be had in readiness for operation in one, or at most, 
in two years from the present date. 

3. Resolved, that the aforesaid school be modeled and conducted 
on strictly religious principles; but that it should be, as far as 
possible, free from sectarian influence. 

4. Resolved, that a committee of five be appointed for the pur- 
pose of carrying into effect the foregoing resolutions, and that 
they conform as far as practicable, to the principles of the fore- 
going report. 

The report was adopted by the Convention, and a com- 
mittee consisting of Thomas Meredith, William H. Jordan, 
Samuel Wait, A. J. Battle, and J, B. Outlaw was ap- 
pointed "on further movements in relation to the female 

The three members who had not served on the committee 
appointed by the Board of Managers in June were great 
denominational leaders of that day. William Hill Jordan 


6 History of Meredith College 

was said to be one of the most eloquent and zealous Baptist 
preachers of the South. He was president of the Board of 
Trustees of Wake Forest for several years and was highly- 
successful as an agent of that college at two different times 
when it was in dire financial straits. He was from 1837 to 
1843 secretary of the Baptist State Convention. Samuel 
Wait, a native of New York, had come to North Carolina in 
1826 as a representative of Columbian College and remained 
as pastor of the New Bern Church, to which pastorate he 
had been recommended by Thomas Meredith, who had once 
been pastor in New Bern. He was one of the most influential 
of the fourteen founders of the Baptist State Convention 
and was the first president of Wake Forest, serving from 
1834 to 1845. He was the grandfather of two brothers who 
were to become college presidents, John B. Brewer of 
Chowan and Charles E. Brewer of Meredith. Amos Johnston 
Battle of Edgecombe County, a member of the first Board of 
Trustees of Wake Forest, gave liberally to the college, as 
well as leading others to give. He was pastor of churches in 
various towns of the state, among them Nashville, Raleigh, 
and Wilmington. He was one of the two representatives 
from North Carolina to the meeting at which the Southern 
Baptist Convention was organized in 1845. 

The new project, even with the approval of the Conven- 
tion and with so able a committee in charge, apparently met 
with no success. A study of the minutes of the Baptist State 
Convention during those years shows a lag in interest in the 
activities of the denomination in general — due perhaps 
partly to the panic which prevailed in the country in 1837, 
partly to a natural reaction from the first fervor of en- 
thusiasm with which the Convention was organized. Francis 
Hawley, one of the agents of the Convention, wrote in his 
1836 report: 

It is a painful fact that almost general apathy prevails among 
the churches where I have traveled relative to the interests of the 
Redeemer's Kingdom. The church has evidently drunk deep into 
a worldly spirit; and many who, a few years ago, seemed to run 
well, now seem to be bending all their weight to amass a fortune. 
It is evident that Christians do not realize their obligation; hence 
there is but little spontaneous action. . . . Many who once put their 
hands to the plow have turned back. 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 7 

The treasurer's report for 1837 shows the contributions to 
be a third less than those of the preceding year. The 
brethren were "affectionately requested to make efforts for 
the increase of the funds of the Convention generally, but 
especially Home [i.e. State] Missions and Education." 

In 1838 and 1839 there was a quickening of interest with 
an advance in the work, but the enthusiasm was short- 
lived; for the 1840 minutes again show a marked decline in 
contributions to all the objects of the Convention. In 1842 
Thomas Meredith was forced for financial reasons to 
suspend for more than a year the publication of the Biblical 
Recorder. In the enthusiasm of the 1839 Convention the 
appointment of ten State missionaries had been authorized; 
by 1842 the State Mission Board was in debt and only three 
missionaries to serve four months each were appointed — the 
equivalent of only one full-time missionary. In 1843 N. A. 
Purefoy, the general agent of the Board characterized the 
situation in a terse sentence: "There appears to be but little 
opposition to the objects of the Convention, and but little in 
favor of them." 

In addition to the general apathy of the Convention, there 
was another difficulty in the way of the proposed school. 
"The claims and wants of the Institute . . . under the care of 
the Convention" which had led the 1836 committee to de- 
cide against establishing a school for women were in 1838 
more rather than less urgent than they had been two years 
earlier. The roseate belief expressed in Hooper's report in 
1832 that a literary institute on the manual labor plan 
"would probably from the beginning support itself without 
any expense to the Convention" had swiftly faded. When in 
1838 Wake Forest Institute became Wake Forest College, it 
was, according to George W. Paschal's History of Wake 
Forest College, burdened with a debt of not less than 
$20,000. By 1857 the debt was paid, and an endowment fund 
of $100,000 was completed. 

Concerning the North Carolina Baptists' delay of sixty 
years in making adequate provision for the education of 
women, R. T. Vann wrote: "The reason assigned was pover- 
ty, but Wake Forest grew and accumulated $100,000 in 
endowment before the Civil War. I fear, therefore, we must 

8 History of Meredith College 

admit that the longstanding assumption of superiority by 
men over women was responsible in part for this neglect." 

This "assumption of superiority" was chivalrously sugar- 
coated, especially in the South, by the idea that woman was 
too delicate a creature to undergo the rigor of a real educa- 
tion; hence the cultivation of "the polite arts," the pursuit 
of "the ornamental branches of education." There was also 
a widespread fear that any training which went beyond 
these limits might unfit Woman for her Place in the Home, 
Archibald McDowell, twice president of Chowan, expressed 
a prevalent ideal of womanhood when he wrote: "Man is 
characterized by strength, courage, independence, and self- 
reliance, woman by vivacity, delicacy, sensibility, and a 
confiding sense of dependence." 

Hence female education was in those days distinctively 
female. Even in the few well-established academies for 
girls — schools with better equipment and teachers than the 
average, with more emphasis on the fundamental studies — 
the curriculum of the female academy was considerably 
modified from that of the school for boys. French was 
usually substituted for the ancient languages, and "polite 
literature" for mathematics. Music, drawing, and needle 
work were added. 

But these better schools were exceptional; in general the 
girls who were fortunate enough to be educated at all were 
trained with a heavy emphasis on the ornamental branches 
in schools that had come into existence like mushrooms, in 
cramped quarters, with little or no equipment, in control of 
teachers inadequately educated and often inexperienced. 
An advertisement in the Raleigh Register for June 23, 1815, 
explained that "Mrs. Mumford's recluse, and, at times, 
lonely situation" had led her husband to suggest that she 
open a school. In the issue for June 7, 1831, of the same 
paper Mrs. Bowen informed the public that as her house and 
furniture had been lost by fire in Fayetteville, she had 
decided to open a school for females in Raleigh. Charles 
Coon's North Carolina Schools and Academies, 1790-1840 
records the advertisements and notices of numerous such 
enterprises, most of them pathetically short-lived. 

In addition to this general attitude toward a woman's 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 9 

mind and its training, there was a further reason why- 
North Carolina Baptists should have had little enthusiasm 
for the higher education of women. Wake Forest, like 
virtually all other denominational schools of long standing, 
was established primarily to train ministers. The purpose 
of the Convention as stated in its constitution couples with 
the missionary efforts "the education of young men called 
of God and of their respective churches to the ministry." 
Hooper's report in 1832 had recommended the establish- 
ment of a school "to afford our young ministers facilities for 
obtaining such an education as will qualify them to be able 
ministers of the New Testament." By no stretch of imagi- 
nation could anyone then foresee the possibility or de- 
sirability of educating young women as able ministers of 
the New Testament.^ So subordinate was their place in 
church affairs that a subscriber to the Recorder asked 
in September, 1841, "Shall female members have a voice in 
electing a pastor?" Thomas Meredith answered the query 
in the affirmative, "since they help support him and are 
dependent on his ministry for spiritual comfort and edifi- 
cation." Another subscriber signing himself "Carolina Bap- 
tist" defended the right of females to take communion. 

In 1838, aside from the work of some Sunday schools in 
teaching children to read and write, little had been done 
by any denomination for the education of girls. The Mo- 
ravians were pioneers in this work in North Carolina, 
having established Salem Female Academy in 1772. The 
Methodists obtained a charter for Greensboro Female Col- 
lege in 1838, and opened it in 1846. New Garden Boarding 
School, founded in 1837, the forerunner of Guilford Col- 
lege, was coeducational from its beginning. Apparently 
there were at that date no other denominational schools in 
the state open to women; for Franklin Academy, the Fe- 
male Department of which in 1857 became Louisburg Col- 
lege, was not in 1838 owned by the Methodists. 

It is, therefore, no cause for wonder that the Baptists of 
North Carolina, did not then follow the lead of Thomas 
Meredith, that their educational efforts should have been 
exclusively in behalf of young men. 

1 Six Meredith alumnae are now (1971) ordained ministers. 

10 History of Meredith College 

The first girls' school under Baptist control in the State, 
Milton Female Academy, was established in 1844, not by 
the Convention but by four associations — the Dan River, 
the Flat River, the Roanoke, and the Beulah. Nathaniel J. 
Palmer, a layman and a leading citizen of Milton, was 
evidently the moving spirit in its founding. First mentioned 
in the minutes of the Convention in 1838, he was until his 
death in 1854 actively interested in every phase of the work 
of the Convention, but especially in education. The Con- 
vention in 1844 adopted a resolution which he introduced, 
recommending the newly established academy. A prelimi- 
nary advertisement in the Recorder of August 26, 1844, ex- 
presses the hope that "parents will avail themselves of the 
advantages which it will afford to confer upon their daugh- 
ters a thorough and accomplished education." 

The school which has the longest history of any of the 
Baptist schools for women in the State was opened at 
Murfreesboro by the Chowan Association^ on October 11, 
1848, as Chowan Female Institute; a little later Collegiate 
was added to the name; still later it was renamed Chowan 
College. Its founders intended it, as Archibald McDowell, its 
first president, explained later, "to supply a manifest, a 
felt want of their own locality," though it soon attracted 
students from all parts of this state as well as from other 
states, and for more than half a century was of great 
influence as a school for women only. It became a coedu- 
cational institution in 1931, and a junior college in 1937. 

But the hope of a high-grade school for women which 
should be state-wide in its appeal still lived. In the Recorder 
of September 15, 1849, "A Baptist" wrote: 

Among the subjects that will probably be considered by the 
Convention at its session in Oxford is the establishment of a Fe- 
male Institute, similar to the one established by our Methodist 
brethren at Greensboro. Such an institution is imperiously de- 
manded by the wants of our denomination, and I trust our people 
have the disposition as I know they have the ability, to establish 
and sustain one of elevated character. 

Oxford was proposed as a site, "one of the most delightful, 
neat, and pleasant villages in the State, admired by all who 

2 Now divided into the Chowan and West Chowan. 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 11 

see it for its beautiful residences, broad streets, and shaded 
lawns. It also has a high character for health and the 
intelligence of its citizens." 

The author of the letter was probably the aforementioned 
N. J. Palmer, who, as secretary of the Board of Managers 
presented the Board's report to the 1849 Convention at Ox- 
ford. The last paragraph of that report, dealing with female 
education, brought the first recorded division of opinion in 
the Convention : 

Female seminaries of high character have been established and 
are now in successful operation in Murfreesborough, Raleigh, 
Rockford,^ and other places. The necessity of establishing a female 
college for the State, of an elevated character, in which suitable 
testimonials of a high grade of scholarship will be awarded is 
seriously entertained by many of our brethren, and is an object 
worthy of their united and zealous efforts for its accomplishment. 

J. B. White, president of Wake Forest, it is recorded in the 
minutes of the Convention, "moved to strike out that 
portion of the same which related to the establishment of a 
Female College, which motion provoked some discussion." 
White's motion was lost, and the report was adopted. 

In the first issue of the Recorder after the 1849 Con- 
vention, Meredith gave a dispassionate summary of the 
argument on each side : 

It was contended on the one hand that the object contemplated 
did not come fairly within the constitution; that it implied a re- 
flection on the schools already in operation; and that it was inex- 
pedient for the Convention to recommend a new enterprise under 
the existing circumstances of the denomination. It was maintained, 
on the other hand, that the report was an executive dociiment and 
that the Convention had no right to mutilate it by striking out any 
of its recommendations, that a Female College was as legitimate an 
object of consideration as Wake Forest College and that it could 
not reflect on any schools already in existence, as none of them 
claimed to be an institution of the kind recommended. 

Defending the report as it stood were N, J. Palmer, J. J. 
James, Archibald McDowell, and J. S. Purefoy; standing 
with President White in his opposition were J. J. Finch, 
Quinton Trotman, and — Thomas Meredith! 

On the surface it seems a case of the lost leader, a reversal 

^ Rockford Male and Female Academy had been established a few months 
earlier, largely through the efforts of Palmer. 

12 History of Meredith College 

of opinion which implies either a loss of interest or a dim- 
ming of his former courageous faith. Yet there was a sound 
basis for Meredith's position "under the existing circum- 
stances of the denomination," and subsequent events 
justified him. He had doubtless learned from the fate of his 
1838 recommendation, which had won the approval of the 
Convention, that adopting resolutions is easier than estab- 
lishing schools. Though the female seminaries at Milton, 
Murfreesboro, and Rockford looked to the associations 
rather than to the Convention for support, yet the as- 
sociational leaders were the men upon whom the Con- 
vention had to depend for the carrying on of its enterprises. 
Thus the multiplication of schools locally would inevitably 
make the support of a female college for the whole state the 
more difficult. 

The male academies being established over the state 
were also multiplying. In the years from 1845 to 1855 the 
establishment of associational schools preparatory to Wake 
Forest was repeatedly urged. Elias Dodson wrote in the 
Biblical Recorder of July 19, 1845: "To nourish Wake For- 
est College there should be three or four academies in 
different parts of the State." That same year the inde- 
fatigable Palmer introduced in the Convention a resolution 
to the same effect. By 1849 the resolution called for schools 
preparatory to Wake Forest in every part of the state; in 
1852 and 1854 resolutions were adopted wherein each 
association was requested to establish these "nurseries of 
the College." 

In addition to the female schools belonging to the as- 
sociations, there were some schools for girls established and 
operated by individuals who were Baptist leaders which 
would share in the patronage of the denomination. Thomas 
Meredith himself had sought to establish such a school. On 
October 28, 1843, he announced in the Recorder his in- 
tention to open Warwick Female Institute "at his home on 
the great Western Thoroughfare, five miles from Raleigh." 
There were to be at first ten or twelve young ladies; the 
building, surrounded by ample grounds, was to be "new and 
commodious," and to be enlarged as the number of stu- 
dents grew. The prices were to be adequate to maintain a 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 13 

school of good quality, yet adapted to the stringency of the 
times. The plan did not materialize then; but two years 
later, when the need of educating his own daughters was 
urgent, he renewed the proposal. From the explanation in 
the Recorder of his plan for Warwick, it is evident that, 
since it seemed impossible to organize a stock company for 
the operation of a school for the Baptist females of the state, 
he himself had decided to attempt the establishment of just 
such a school as the 1838 resolution had recommended. The 
first paragraph which follows is from his Recorder editorial 
of October 28, 1843; the second from the advertisement in 
the same issue and from one appearing August 23, 1845. 

We contemplate an institution in every respect adequate to the 
wants of the denomination in the State. Everything, it is well 
known, cannot be done in a day; circumstances admonish us that 
we must proceed with caution. We shall stop short, however, of no 
efforts nor expense that our patronage shall justify to carry into 
effect our ultimate plan, and if the friends of Female Education so 
will it, they have now an opportunity for assisting to raise up an 
institution such [as] has been long desired, without the incon- 
venience of any draft on their benevolence or of any call for their 
responsibility. All that is asked or wanted is a prompt and liberal 

The pupils will reside in the family of the proprietor, and will 
be under the immediate care and control of a competent governess. 
The exercises of the school will be conducted in part by instructors 
engaged for the purpose, in part by the proprietor himself, the 
whole being under the general and constant supervision of the 
latter. . . . The school is designed to be conducted on a liberal and 
elevated scale. . . . All the branches of an approved Female Edu- 
cation will be taught, including the Ancient Languages, French, 
and music if required. 

The opening of the school was delayed because of dif- 
ficulty in obtaining a well-qualified teacher and because of 
freezing weather which stopped the work on the building. 
However, in the jRecordcr of June 27,1846, an editorial note 
announced: "The school is now in operation, and no pains 
will be spared to make it all that it has promised to be." 
The last advertisement appeared November 7 of the same 
year, and there is no further editorial mention of Warwick 
Female Institute. It was to have had two sessions a year, 
each five months in length; it probably closed at the end of 
the first five months. 

14 History of Meredith College 

The difficulty in financing single-handed such an under- 
taking could easily account for the short life of so laudable 
an enterprise. Perhaps too, the young ladies were disin- 
clined to study the ancient languages rather than the 
courses so popular in female seminaries — ^wax work, lace 
making, or theorem painting on paper or velvet. 

A school similar in type to Warwick but much more 
successful had opened on Fayetteville Street^ in Raleigh 
a year earlier. Sedgwick Female Seminary was conducted 
by the Reverend John Finch, pastor of the Baptist Church, 
and his wife. From the beginning it was more largely her 
enterprise; and after his death in 1850, she remained in 
charge. Finch took an important part in Convention affairs; 
Livingston Johnson in The History of the Baptist State 
Convention termed him "one of the giants of those early 
days." He was a grandfather of Hubert Royster, a leading 
surgeon of Raleigh, and of James Finch Royster, a professor 
in the University of North Carolina. In 1847 the Convention 
passed a resolution commending Sedgwick to the patronage 
of the Baptist people generally as a school "much needed in 
this state and entirely consistent with the cause of truth and 
the best interests of the rising generation." A similar 
resolution was passed in 1851. It was on numerous occasions 
listed with Chowan and later with Oxford as a Baptist 
school. It was in all probability the school referred to in the 
report of the Board of Managers in 1849 as the seminary in 
successful operation in Raleigh. Meredith was generous in 
his editorial commendation of the school which succeeded 
where his had failed. His name was given in the early 
advertisements as a reference, and he evidently knew the 
school well. W. A. Graham wrote in the Recorder of July 6, 

As a scholar in Mrs. Finch's school for girls,^ I made Mr. Mere- 
dith's acquaintance. I think he lectured to the highest classes, but 
may be mistaken. He visited the school occasionally. I had 
not then reached baker and did not come under his instruction. 

* As Raleigh was first planned. New Bern Avenue was the business street, 
and Fayetteville was the residential street, with the capitol at one end and 
the governor's palace at the other. ,, ^...^ . ^ 

6 Such schools often took boys m the lower classes, as Meredith Academy 
was later to do. 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 15 

With the number of schools for which the denomination 
was already responsible, with the prospect of a rapid growth 
in this number, and with his own disillusioning experience 
with Warwick, it is not surprising that Meredith doubted 
the wisdom of an attempt to establish at that time a female 
college. He doubtless agreed with "A True Baptist," who, 
writing to the Recorder shortly after the Convention, de- 
clared the need of the denomination to be not more schools 
but proper appreciation and support of those already 
existing, Sedgwick and Chowan. Such a view had in it more 
of practical common sense than of reactionary caution. 

After the 1849 Convention approved "a female college for 
the state of elevated character," the promoters of the new 
project let no grass grow under their feet. "A Baptist" again 
wrote an enthusiastic letter to the Recorder reporting a 
public meeting which they held immediately after the 
Convention. The meeting was addressed by N. J. Palmer, 
J. J. James, and J. M. C. Breaker of New Bern. A board of 
trustees was chosen, and plans were made for obtaining a 
charter. The citizens of Oxford without regard to denomi- 
nation agreed to contribute liberally. The institution was to 
be under the special patronage and control of the Baptist 
denomination, but there was to be nothing sectarian in its 
teaching. "A beautiful, commodious, elegant residence" was 
offered at a greatly reduced price for this "great and good 
enterprise, identified with the best interests of female 
education in North Carolina." Later letters tell that the 
matter was presented to several associations by Palmer, 
Wait, James, and others. 

At its next session, 1850, held in Louisburg, the Con- 
vention on Saturday morning, October 19, recessed for 
about two hours in order to give place to a meeting of the 
friends of the proposed college. The Board of Managers at 
the same session reported the progress of the plan. 

While the education of young men is thus attracting the atten- 
tion of the wise and good, the improvement of the minds of young 
ladies is gaining the aid and zealous efforts of those truly great 
who have a proper regard for the advancement of our race in 
virtue and true wisdom. . . . The Board are grateful to be able to 
state that measures promising a successful issue have been taken 
by the friends of such an institution to establish a Female College 

16 History of Meredith College 

under the control of the Baptist denomination in the town of 
Oxford in this State. 

The college opened the next summer on July 21, 1851, 
with Samuel Wait, who had been the first president of 
Wake Forest, as president. He could not be at the Con- 
vention that year, but wrote a long letter to the brethren, 
reporting the success of the efforts "to rear up a Female 
College," and of the plans for expansion and building. 

That same year the report of the Board of Managers with 
Archibald McDowell as president was enthusiastic about the 
flourishing condition of all the female colleges — Chowan, 
Sedgwick, Rockford, and others, especially the newly es- 
tablished Oxford College, which was giving "the strongest 
assurance of complete success." The report urged the im- 
portance of educating daughters as well as sons, since "their 
influence on the rising generation will be potent for good or 
evil," and continued with an eloquent appeal for liberal gifts 
to all the schools. "The Baptists of North Carolina have it in 
their power to sustain all these our schools now in existence, 
and as many more." 

In 1852 the Board of Managers were equally pleased with 
the progress of "Female Education." 

Our two female colleges, Chowan and Oxford, as well as the 
five or six other schools, are full of pupils and are acquiring a high 
degree of confidence, not only with the denomination, but with 
the public generally. . . . None of the Southern States, if indeed, 
any State in the Union, is now ahead of North Carolina in Female 
Education. All of our educational institutions should be properly 
endowed and established on a permanent basis. 

In 1854 the Board made a glowing and detailed report to 
the Convention. 

In regard to the Female schools and colleges, the board would 
remark that the Chowan Female Collegiate Institute and the Ox- 
ford Female College are both in a flourishing condition. The 
former has a large and able corps of professors and is extensively 
patronized, both in this State and Virginia. Under the administra- 
tion of its present distinguished president, the Rev. Dr. Hooper, 
and with the facilities there afforded in their extensive philo- 
sophical and chemical apparatus, it now ranks inferior to no in- 
stitution in the Southern country. 

Oxford Female College is yet in its infancy, but is gradually 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 17 

growing in the public esteem and confidence. Its location is in 
every way desirable, and with its able and efficient instructors, 
and its increasing patronage it will ere long rank among the best 
institutions of the land, and become the rallying point of the Bap- 
tists in the upper region of the State for the education of their 
daughters. It needs an efficient agent to collect funds to enlarge 
its buildings and supply it with additional apparatus and a library. 

The Metropolitan Female Seminary [formerly Sedgwick] at 
Raleigh under the direction of the Rev. A. McDowell, A.M., has 
a large number of pupils, and is destined to become, under his 
able management, an important school. Located at the seat of 
government, it will exercise an important influence in this State. 

There are other Female Schools under the patronage of Baptists 
now in successful operation in different parts of the State. All are 
being well sustained, and the Board are gratified to state that our 
brethren, hitherto in the background in the way of Female Edu- 
cation, are now about taking the lead in promotion of this noble 
cause, destined to exert an influence in behalf of our denomination 
salutary and lasting in its effect. 

Events thus far would seem to prove that Meredith had 
been wrong in 1849 in thinking it unwise for North Carolina 
Baptists to establish another school for women. But events 
soon turned. In 1855 the board dismissed female education 
with a sentence: "For the education of our daughters 
there is the college at Oxford, the Collegiate Institute at 
Murfreesborough and others of inferior, but respectable 
grades." In 1856 there is not even that mere glance at 
schools for women; the campaign to bring the endowment 
of Wake Forest up to $100,000 was the chief topic of 
interest, an effort completed in 1857 — and in 1857, six years 
after it opened, Oxford College was sold for debt. It was 
bought by John Haymes Mills, later the founder of the 
Baptist Orphanage in this state, who for two years had 
assisted Samuel Wait in the administration of the school. 
Mills explained that debts had piled up "because Oxford 
expected the denomination to pay, and the denomination 
expected Oxford to pay." The trustees, relying on both, 
were continually incurring new debts taking "fair promises 
for good deeds." Mills was the sole owner of the school; and 
feeling that it had been "mismanaged by a multitude of 
counselors," he ran it single-handed, without a board of 
trustees. "Forty men in forty vocations," he wrote, "cannot 
know how to run a school." 

18 History of Meredith College 

As a private school it was a financial success and won 
approval among its patrons. James McDaniel wrote to the 
Recorder of July 12, 1860 : 

Brother Mills educates young ladies to make Wives when they 
marry. Too many young ladies who graduate and marry do not 
make wives, but are only broken ribs to those with whom they 
become associated. The Scripture tells us that "Whoso findeth a 
wife, findeth a good thing." Dare I ventirre the assertion that a 
graduated, snuff-eating, novel-reading, money-spending, gossipy 
lady was never found to be a very "good thing." 

After Mills gave up the school in 1867 it was for a 
troublous interval under various managements until 1880, 
when it was taken over by F. P. Hobgood, who was its owner 
and president till his death in 1923. The college closed in the 
early thirties. Thus the school which the denomination had 
founded but had not supported, and which in six years was 
sold for debt, had a long and useful life under private con- 
trol, keeping the good will of the denomination, with which 
its ties were always close. 

The lugubrious list of schools burdened with debt cited in 
a letter "Timothy" wrote to the Biblical Recorder March 17, 
1859, gives additional proof of Thomas Meredith's wisdom 
in 1849. 

Where shall I begin? Well, there is Oxford Female College; 
after struggling for years under debt it was sold for several thou- 
sand dollars less than the debt remaining on it. . . . Chowan Fe- 
male College has been for years in debt. Will Baptists get it out of 
debt, or must it be sold? Look at Chesapeake Female College up 
for a debt of forty thousand! Will Baptists build such an establish- 
ment for other denominations? I see that Warsaw High School is in 
debt. Will the Baptists in Sampson and adjoining counties let it be 
sold? Are the schools at Mount Vernon out of debt? The United 
Baptist Institute, at Taylorsville, is in debt! 

Yet "the truly great," with "a proper regard for the 
advancement of our race in virtue and true wisdom" con- 
tinued their "zealous efforts." Warned by the mistake made 
by the promoters of Oxford ten years before of taking "fair 
promises for good deeds," and establishing a school too 
hastily without financial security, a little group in 1859 set 
out to raise sufficient funds for a Baptist Female Seminary 
in Raleigh. The movement was significantly linked with the 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 19 

past in that they followed the plan Thomas Meredith sug- 
gested in 1838 of organizing a joint stock company. It was 
also linked with the future in that the leader in the enter- 
prise was Thomas E. Skinner, the young pastor of the Bap- 
tist Church of Raleigh, who thirty- two years later when 
pastor emeritus of that same church undertook to raise 
funds in Raleigh for the Baptist Female University. 

The Recorder of July 1859 announced the purchase of 
property for the school — Guion's Eagle Hotel. W. N. Jones 
in a talk at Meredith College on Founders' Day, 1923, said 
that in looking up the deed in the courthouse he found that 
Skinner and his associates — W. W. Vass, T. H. Briggs, Sr., 
Mayor D. A. Lewis, R. M. Jones, and others — gave their 
personal notes for the greater part of the purchase money. 
The building was large enough to accommodate comfortably 
150 students, on a site of two acres lying between Edenton, 
Salisbury, Jones and Halifax streets — exactly two squares 
west of the site chosen thirty-one years later for the Baptist 
Female University. 

Through letters and editorials in the Recorder one can 
trace the progress of the movement. G. M. L. Finch, who 
was appointed to collect money for the stock, was greatly 
encouraged by the interest and liberality of the people. By 
March 1860 half the $25,000 stock had been sold; when the 
other half was sold, building was to be begun. Evidently 
the hotel itself proved not to be "eminently suited to the 
purpose of a school," as its purchasers had believed it to be. 
Later, three-fourths of the amount was reported subscribed. 
"A Friend to Female Education" wrote to the Recorder 
exuberantly, if a trifle smugly. 

Is there a single heart in the great Baptist household that will 
not rejoice to witness such consummation? . . . Let us thank our 
Great Master that we are becoming more liberal, less selfish, and, 
of course, more pious. . . . The ladies generally and the sisters uni- 
versally are enthusiastic in the good cause. This is hopeful. The 
sisters on the side of a good cause is half the battle. 

On January 16, 1861, the stockholders met, formed a board 
of directors, and adopted a constitution. The Civil War put 
an end to these high hopes; then with the economic chaos of 
Reconstruction the energies of the Convention had to go in 

20 History of Meredith College 

the re-establishment of disrupted work rather than the 
establishment of new enterprises. 

In April, 1899, in the fourth of a second series of articles, 
"The Baptists in North Carolina" in the North Carolina 
Baptist Historical Papers, J. D. Hufham wrote of this 
attempt : 

He [Skinner] was carrying forward with characteristic energy 
and liberality an enterprise which was merely an anticipation of 
the Baptist Female University of the present day. The conception 
was splendid; worthy of the man and of the denomination; pity, 
we say, as we think of it, that the plan could not be realized.^ 

The Raleigh Female Seminary, opened in 1870 two 
squares north of the future site of the Baptist Female Uni- 
versity, was not connected with this earlier effort. Dr. 
William Royall, earlier and later a professor in Wake Forest 
College, was for one year president; then his son-in-law, 
F. P. Hobgood, carried on the school for nine years, after 
which time he closed it to take charge of Oxford College. 
Though the Raleigh seminary was under private control, it 
had the benevolent patronage of the denomination. 

T. H. Pritchard, then pastor of the First Baptist Church 
in Raleigh and afterwards president of Wake Forest, wrote 
in the Recorder of the Raleigh school two years after it 
opened. "A school of this kind will bless not only present, 
but future generations. I hope it will be a source of light and 
knowledge so long as the State of North Carolina and the 
City of Raleigh exist." Its ten years of existence gave no 
time for the fulfillment of his hope; but the school evidently 
deserved W. N. Jones' tribute, "It served well our denomi- 
nation, our city, and our state." 

Though the 1838 resolution was not carried out, though 
the 1849 resolution brought into existence an institution 
which the denomination was not ready to support, North 
Carolina Baptists' sense of responsibility for the education 
of their daughters as well as their sons continued to live. It 
was evident in the patronage of private schools conducted 
by Baptist educators who had the confidence and respect 
of their brethren and in the establishing of associational 

« Hufham, who was ordained in 1855, lived to see Meredith College reach 
its twenty-first birthday. 

"An Object Much to Be Desired" 21 

academies and institutes. In 1882 a resolution presented by 
W. A. Nelson of Shelby was adopted, urging the importance 
of female education, and asking God's blessing on the female 
colleges "in their respective spheres of usefulness." It is 
significant as the first resolution concerning female edu- 
cation in the minutes of the Convention since 1855, but it 
called for no decisive action. Such a call came six years 
later, when in 1888, exactly fifty years after Thomas 
Meredith's resolution was adopted by the Convention, 
Leonidas Lafayette Polk introduced to that body the motion 
which led to the fulfillment of Thomas Meredith's dream. 



Leonidas Lafayette Polk's interest centered in the wel- 
fare of the farmer as wholeheartedly as had Thomas Mere- 
dith's in the Baptist denomination. Born to Andrew and 
Serena Autrey Polk on April 24, 1837, on a farm in Anson 
County, the boy was left an orphan at fifteen, the inheritor 
of a large plantation. When he returned to his devastated 
state after service in the Confederate army, he realized that 
the placidly pleasant life of the gentleman farmer was a 
thing of the past. He knew that the future of the farmer 
everywhere was as never before to be vitally affected by 
economic and political conditions, and that the farmer must 
help shape these conditions, rather than being the victim of 
them; therefore he was firmly convinced that the farmers 
must be organized and educated. 

With this conviction he was largely responsible for the 
establishment of the North Carolina Department of Agri- 
culture and was in 1877 appointed the first Commissioner 
of Agriculture in the State, In 1886 he began the publication 
of the Progressive Farmer, which soon went from State- 
wide to South-wide influence. He was the chief founder of 
the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Me- 
chanics, (now North Carolina State University) the corner- 
stone of which was laid in August, 1888. With his election in 
1889 to the presidency of the National Farmer's Alliance 
and Industrial Union, he became a person of national im- 
portance. Before his death on June 11, 1892, he had been 
slated for nomination by the People's Party as their candi- 
date for the presidency of the United States. 

His "vigorous and far-reaching influence," to use Dr. 
Vann's phrase, was due in part to a gift for oratory which 
amounted almost to genius. Through an address of more 
than two hours his hearers would sit "as if enchanted," and 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 23 

often, as more than one reporter noted, many of his audi- 
ence of sturdy farmers were moved to tears. 

Polk was an active and conscientious member of his local 
church; and, though he was too absorbed in his chief in- 
terest — the welfare of the farmer — to be one of those most 
intimately concerned with denominational policies and 
problems in the state, he was at home in a religious, as well 
as in a political gathering. He was several times a delegate 
to the Baptist State Convention, and was in 1885 a vice- 
president of that body. He had the confidence and respect of 
the denominational leaders and was a powerful influence 
among the hosts of Baptists living in rural areas. As a 
trustee of Wake Forest for ten years, he was concerned with 
denominational education; and as the father of six daugh- 
ters, he knew the problems of female education. His 
daughters attended the Raleigh Female Seminary, and more 
than once his editorial comments in the Ansonian showed 
his strong interest in the education of women. 

Hence when the denomination, like the rest of the state, 
was recovering from the discouraged torpor of the Recon- 
struction and was increasingly concerned with the need of 
a college for women, Colonel Polk was the man who could 
most effectively present the matter to the Convention. He 
did so on Saturday, November 16, 1888, at its meeting in 
Greensboro in the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That a committee of nine, to wit: W. R. Gwaltney, 
R. R. Overby, T. H. Pritchard, J. D. Hiifham, R. T. Vann, N. B. 
Broughton, R. H. Marsh, A. G. McManaway, H. W. Battle, be and 
is hereby appointed to consider the expediency and feasilDility of 
establishing a Baptist Female University in this State. 

Resolved, That said Committee be, and it is hereby authorized 
and empowered to ascertain the best available locality and to 
make estimates as to the approximate cost of inaugurating such in- 
stitution, and report the same to the next annual session of this 

The resolutions were adopted without discussion, with 
Polk's name added as chairman of the committee. 

The Convention of 1889 met in Henderson. As Polk the 
year before had been elected president of the Convention, 
another member of the committee, H. W. Battle, on Novem- 

24 History of Meredith College 

ber 14, 1889, made to the Convention in session at Hender- 
son the following report signed by the committee of ten : 

Your committee "appointed to consider the expediency and 
feasibility of establishing a Baptist Female College of high grade," 
under the auspices of this convention, are convinced that the great 
need for such an institution renders the enterprise expedient, and 
most encouraging assurances of moral and financial support con- 
vince us that it is now feasible. We, therefore, earnestly recom- 
mend that this convention resolutely and joyfully assume the duty, 
which, we believe, the desires of the people and the demands of 
the times have laid upon us. 

Your committee must further report that, from the nature of 
the case, they have been unable to ascertain the best available 
locality, or make estimates as to the cost of inaugurating such an 
institution; and that they may be enabled to carry out these re- 
quirements of the original resolution, respectfully ask for further 
time, and full authority to act in the premises. 

The discussion, a chorus of approval w^ith not a speaker 
opposed to the plan, was reported in full in the Recorder of 
November 20. Polk spoke first, threatening that, if immedi- 
ate steps were not taken to help the girls, he would "appeal 
to the power behind all our homes"; N. B. Broughton de- 
plored the fact that a girl with a college diploma was four 
years behind a boy with his diploma from Wake Forest. 
J. S. Dill of Goldsboro reported that Alabama had just 
voted $10,000 for the same cause. But Charles E. Taylor 
wisely recognized that $50,000 was essential for a be- 
ginning — $100,000 would be better. Thomas Hume, profes- 
sor of English at the University of North Carolina, and 
H. W. Battle, of New Bern, stressed the injustice done to the 
home and to society, as well as to the woman herself in 
the failure to educate her properly, thus limiting her "to 
the mere sphere of matrimony." J. D. Hufham reminded the 
Convention that "nearly sixty years ago our fathers 
dreamed of a college for boys, and now their dream for girls 
comes up for us to solve this year." T. H. Pritchard pointed 
out that other denominations were assuming the responsi- 
bility Baptists were shirking and were educating Baptist 
girls in their schools. Baylus Cade thought that after 6,000 
years of the woman question the time had come for men to 
enable woman "to paddle her own canoe." 

After the enthusiastic discussion, the Convention unan- 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 25 

imously adopted the report of the committee. At the sug- 
gestion of Columbus Durham the committee of ten was 
enlarged to twenty-five, who were to constitute the Board 
of Trustees of the new institution. He, with W. A. Pool and 
R. R. Overby, was appointed to nominate the additional 

Columbus Durham, corresponding secretary of the Con- 
vention from 1888 till his death in 1895, was from the 
beginning a warm friend of the new enterprise. He must 
have been an inheritor of Thomas Meredith's spirit, for 
Livingston Johnson wrote of him: "He believed in God and 
in his brethren. He was stimulated, rather than discouraged, 
by difficulties; and he had the power to inspire others by his 
spirit of confidence." In the year of Thomas Meredith's 
proposal, 1838, William Hill Jordan wrote in his report as 
secretary of the Convention, "Brethren, what we do must 
be done quickly. Death will soon come and put an end to 
all our schemes." It must have been when this 1889 Con- 
vention took the first step toward making Thomas Mere- 
dith's dream a reality that Columbus Durham wrote on the 
margin of that page in his copy of the 1838 minutes, "It did 
not end the schemes of these fathers." 

The fifteen names to be added to the original committee 
of ten were presented by W. A. Pool on Saturday, Novem- 
ber 16, and were accepted by the Convention. The twenty- 
five men thus chosen to constitute the first Board of I 5/ 
Trustees were as follows : ' 

L. L. Polk A. G. McManaway E. K. Proctor, Jr. 

W. R. Gwaltney H. W. Battle J. M. Currin 

R. R. Overby C. Durham J. H. Lassiter 

T. H. Pritchard B. Cade W. G. Upchurch 

J. D. Hufham C. A. Rominger W. T. Faircloth 

R. T. Vanni J. W. Carter^ R. P. Thomas 

N. B. Broughtoni G. W. Greene D. F. King 

R. H. Marsh W. C. Petty^ C. E. Taylor 

J. L. White 
Of the twenty-five, fifteen were ministers. Columbus 
Durham before he became secretary of the Convention had 

1 These four were still members of the Board when the school opened in 

26 History of Meredith College 

been pastor in Goldsboro and Durham. John L. White was 
then pastor in Durham, and was that year one of the vice- 
presidents of the Foreign Mission Board. A. G. McMana- 
way was pastor in Charlotte; J. W. Carter in Raleigh (First 
Baptist ) , and James H. Lassiter in Henderson. Baylus Cade, 
noted in the Convention for his wit, was pastor in Louis- 
burg; he was to be the successor of Polk as editor of the 
Progressive Farmer. W. R. Gwaltney, who had been a 
chaplain in the army of the Confederacy, was at Greens- 
boro; in his long ministry he served churches also at 
Hillsboro, Mocksville, Winston-Salem, Raleigh (Taber- 
nacle), and Hickory. R. R. Overby, of Belcross, spent 
virtually all his long, useful ministry in the Chowan As- 
sociation. In the eastern part of the State also were Henry 
W, Battle, of New Bern; and Richard Tilman Vann, of 
Edenton, a man destined to play a great part in the history 
of the College. R. H. Marsh, of Oxford, was president of the 
Baptist State Convention from 1891 to 1904, a term of 
service second only to the eighteen years of James McDan- 
iel, one of the founders of the Convention. George W. 
Greene was a teacher, principal of the Moravian Falls 
Academy from 1877 to 1891, then for one year professor of 
Latin at Wake Forest before he went to China as a mis- 
sionary. James Dunn Hufham, in addition to his pastoral 
work in various churches, had edited the Biblical Recorder 
for ten years in the difficult period which included the 
Civil War; later he had been corresponding secretary of the 
Convention. Thomas Henderson Pritchard, another minister 
whose long service lay in varied fields, was in 1889 pastor 
in Wilmington. Other pastorates he held were in Hertford; 
Fredericksburg, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and Ra- 
leigh. He had once been an associate editor of the Biblical 
Recorder, and from 1879-1882 he was president of Wake 

Charles E. Taylor, Pritchard's successor as president of 
that institution, was, except for Greene, the only educator 
on the newly elected board. He, too, was a minister of the 
gospel. A native of Virginia educated at the university of 
that state, he came to Wake Forest as professor of Latin 
and in 1882 became president. There were two lawyers — 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 27 

William T. Faircloth, of Goldsboro, whose memory is per- 
petuated at Meredith in the name of the dormitory which 
his generosity made possible, and Edwin K. Proctor, of 
Lumberton. C. A. Rominger, of Reidsville, who had taught 
for five years before he became a dentist, was active in the 
affairs of the denomination, as was Roscius Pope Thomas, a 
physician of Cofield, in Hertford County. Thomas was for 
fourteen years moderator of the Chowan Association. 

On the committee were five businessmen, each successful 
in his field. James Madison Currin, of Oxford, associated 
with the American Tobacco Company, was a liberal con- 
tributor to denominational causes. Doctor Franklin King of 
Leaksville, so named because his parents expected their 
seventh son to be a physician, became a bank president 
instead. One of the leading businessmen in his section of the 
state, he was a tower of strength in his church and as- 
sociation. Major William C. Petty, of Manly and Carthage, 
who remained on the Board till his death in 1906, had 
several business interests; he was president of a lumber 
company, a bank, and a railroad on which no trains ran on 
Sunday unless it were a matter of life and death, in which 
case he would accept no remuneration. 

W. G. Upchurch and Needham B. Broughton were both 
pillars in their churches, the First Baptist and the Taber- 
nacle, in Raleigh. Upchurch was a promoter of Caraleigh 
Cotton Mills and owner of a live stock farm near the city. 
Broughton, an apprenticed printer before he was thirteen, 
was only twenty-three when in 1871 he with C. B. Edwards 
founded the firm of Edwards and Broughton. His leadership 
in establishing the public schools of Raleigh is recognized 
in the name of Needham Broughton High School. He was 
interested in all the activities of the denomination, but 
Sunday school work was especially dear to his heart. For 
years he was one of the vice-presidents of the Sunday 
School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and also a 
member of the executive committee of the International 
Sunday School Association. He was one of the most valuable 
of the trustees of the College, devoted to its interests till his 
death in 1914. 

These, with the energetic Polk as president, constituted 

28 History of Meredith College 

the Board of Trustees, which met in Henderson immediately 
after they were elected. Rominger was made secretary, and 
four committees were appointed — a committee on location, 
on charter, on constitution and by-laws, and on course of 

The committee on location, consisting of Polk, Rominger, 
Taylor, White, and Gwaltney, was, of course, the first to 
function. It was appointed, according to the first minutes of 
the Board of Trustees, "to advertise our purpose to build a 
Female College of high grade, and to receive bids from any 
town in the state, to visit such localities as may desire to 
have it located in their midst, and report to the Board of 
Trustees at a called meeting to be held on Tuesday after 
the second Sunday in February, 1890." In the eight weeks 
between the Convention and the called meeting of the 
Board, the committee interviewed various people. Polk 
wrote that New Bern, Goldsboro, Durham, Oxford, Hen- 
derson, Greensboro, Winston, and Charlotte all wanted the 
new school. The committee decided on eight acres as a 
minimum for the site. They visited Oxford, Durham, and 
Greensboro, and were "hospitably and royally received." 

At the meeting of the Board on February 11, 1890, in the 
infant classroom of the First Baptist Church of Raleigh, 
with eighteen members present, six offers were considered. 
Oxford offered eight to ten acres with a sealed bid of 
$30,000; Durham ten or more acres with $50,000; Greens- 
boro ten acres with $10,000; Raleigh eight to ten acres with 
$25,000. In all cases payments were to be made within three 
years from date. Chowan College and High Point College 
each offered its buildings and grounds, as did Clarement 
College in Hickory at a later date. The representatives of 
each place spoke; then all retired before the discussion and 
vote of the trustees. Polk wrote in the Progressive Farmer: 

The claims of the respective localities were presented by their 
representatives ably, zealously, and eloquently. A strong rivalry, 
but a most commendable spirit of fairness characterized the bear- 
ing of the contestants. 

Next day, February 12, the vote was taken, "after careful 
and prayerful deliberation," and Raleigh was chosen as 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 29 

"the location best for the growth and development" of the 
school. Polk's editorial ended thus : 

Let the Baptists of Raleigh and of the whole state rally to the 
college so greatly needed. . . . Baptists have done nobly by Baptist 
boys of the state; now it [the Convention] will turn its attention to 
the equally important work which is, if possible, more urgent and 
obligatory, of educating the Baptist girls of the state. That it 
should have been so long neglected is a reproach which can only 
be obliterated by giving them now an institution which shall be 
equal in all respects to the very best and most advanced in all the 

As soon as the decision was announced, the city of Dur- 
ham vigorously protested. A mass meeting of citizens sent a 
protest to each member of the Board, requesting that body 
to reconsider its decision which had caused in Durham 
"great surprise and dissatisfaction." The members of the 
committee on location who visited that city had been 
pleased with three of the six sites shown them; Durham's 
offer of $50,000 doubled Raleigh's $25,000. Moreover, the 
protest asserted, only Durham had given the assurance of 
moral and financial support which had been mentioned in 
Polk's resolution. 

The protest, according to the trustees' minutes, created 
"some disturbance and doubt of many of the Board of 
Trustees, . . . and hindered the progress of the move in 
Raleigh." In compliance with the request to reconsider, the 
trustees met in Wake Forest on March 20. Again there was 
earnest discussion and long, prayerful consideration, which 
evidently removed "the disturbance and doubt" of many 
trustees, for the vote to uphold the original decision to lo- 
cate the institution in Raleigh was unanimous. One of the 
fifteen members present was J. L. White, who with Julian 
S. Carr had presented Durham's offer at the February meet- 
ing. The trustees went ahead united in their efforts, and the 
Recorder stood staunchly back of the trustees. 

At the February meeting, in addition to voting on the 
location, the trustees made a happy choice of a financial 
agent in Thomas E. Skinner. By background and nature he 
was well fitted for the position. His father, Charles W. 
Skinner, a wealthy layman of Edenton, had been one of the 
fourteen founders of the Baptist State Convention and was 

30 History of Meredith College 

from the beginning a staunch and generous friend to Wake 
Forest, his gifts ranging from a bell in 1834 to $5,000 in 
1856. The son held pastorates in Virginia and Tennessee, as 
well as in North Carolina. The greater part of his work, 
however, was done in Raleigh, where he was pastor of the 
First Baptist Church from 1856 to 1869 and again from 1879 
to 1886. The generosity characteristic of the father was also 
characteristic of the son. To the present church house, built 
in 1858-1859 under his guidance, he contributed largely. At 
that time he was raising funds for the ill-fated Baptist Fe- 
male Seminary. In 1863 he made a trip to England, and 
bought at his own expense stereotype plates of the New 
Testament for the Board of Missions to use especially for the 
soldiers. After his retirement he taught theology in Shaw 
University for a time and continued to live in Raleigh until 
his death in 1905. 

The irrepressible sense of humor which had made him a 
prankster in his college days lived on in the merry twinkle 
of his eye, the lively wit of his tongue. More than once a 
tense situation in the Convention was eased by an apt re- 
mark from Dr. Skinner. "A streak of sunshine," "vigorous of 
mind and mellow of heart," "a perfect illustration of the 
beauty of old age" — so he was characterized by various 
brethren. J. W. Bailey editor of the Biblical Recorder, wrote 
of him, "The halest, the heartiest, the most kindly and 
lovable old man in the world is Dr. Thomas E. Skinner of 
Raleigh. . . . Since his retirement his presence has been an 
unfailing benediction to the Mission Rooms, the Recorder 
office, and the entire city." When the beloved old man died 
in 1905 Bailey wrote, "He has demonstrated how devoted, 
how full of grace, helpfulness and sunshine, how firm in 
faith and how full of fellowship with a new generation an 
old man may be." 

Skinner wanted to give his services, as he had done in 
collecting funds for the proposed Baptist Female Seminary 
in his prosperous days before the Civil War. The trustees, 
however, confident of the early success of the new enter- 
prise, set his annual salary at $1,500, his duties being "to 
solicit and collect funds for building, endowment and other 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 31 

Meanwhile a committee was considering the possible sites 
which Raleigh offered, and on April 22, 1890, made its re- 
port to the trustees. One site which had been proposed was, 
according to Dr. Vann's statement, the grounds on which 
the Methodist Orphanage is now located. Another, W. N. 
Jones wrote, was a tract of land east of the city limits, be- 
tween New Bern Avenue and Oakwood Avenue, consisting 
of about forty acres. The trustees, who had insisted that the 
new school be in Raleigh because they wished the students 
to have all the advantages offered by the capital city, 
realized that most of these advantages would be lost to a 
school located so far from town as were both of these sites 
in 1890. Hence they chose a much smaller lot, described in 
the trustees' report as "fronting on Edenton Street from 
Blount to Person Street, and extending about 380 feet in 
depth on these last mentioned streets, the citizens of Raleigh 
agreeing to furnish this lot with the Adams brick building 
and the Pullen building remaining on it." The site was on 
the square next to the Governor's Mansion and only a block 
from the State Capitol. The Adams building was the twenty- 
six room house of L. H. Adams; the Pullen property was 
owned by an uncle of John T. Pullen, Stanhope Pullen, who 
gave the land for Pullen Park. 

Skinner began immediately his work of obtaining pledges 
in Raleigh, because it had been decided that Raleigh should 
do its share before the rest of the state was canvassed. He 
made a good start, but the work, more strenuous than he 
had anticipated, overtaxed his strength; and in November 
after his election in February he resigned. The salary paid 
him was considerably less than his gift of $1,000 to the 

Hoping that "the exercises of the University" might be 
opened in the fall, the trustees on February 27, 1891 ob- 
tained from the legislature a charter for the Baptist Female 
University. At the meeting on March 6 when the charter 
was read, the finance committee was authorized to "in- 
vestigate the practicability of securing money for building 
purposes by mortgage of property or issuance of bonds." 

At the next meeting, April 14, the committee on course of 
study, consisting of Greene, Marsh, Cade, and Hufham, made 

32 History of Meredith College 

a report, the preamble of which makes quite clear their 
ideal for the school. 

If we are to establish a college to be simply a rival of the insti- 
tutions already in existence, we see no sufficient reasons for this 
movement, and we might better leave the work in the hands of 
those now doing it so well. . . . But by almost unanimous consent, 
we need and desire an institution whose coiirse of study shall be 
more extensive than that of any school in the South. ... It has 
been urged that there is little material for such a course of study, 
but, as often happens in other directions, the supply will help to 
create the demand. There may not be at first a large number of 
students ready to take a course as advanced, but this number will 
steadily increase, not only from the girls of North Carolina, but 
also from those of other states. Local patronage may, for a while, 
demand an Academic department, but we deem it of the utmost 
importance that it be evident from the beginning that such depart- 
ment is the Annex and only tem.porary, while the advanced course 
is the special work for which the College is to be established. 

Adequate preparation for such a course would be re- 
quired for admission. The course of study was to be in three 
departments — "Literature and Science, Fine Arts, and 
Technical Training." The third department was defended 
thus : 

Too long our girls have been educated with little reference to 
enabling them to gain a living independent of fathers, brothers, or 
husbands. Common sense unites with Christian civilization in de- 
manding that they have the opportunity of acquiring such techni- 
cal and industrial training as shall give them independence and 
enable them to enter such spheres of activity as their sex fits them 
for and the Scriptures approve. 

The A.B. and A.M. degrees were to be offered. 

After Skinner resigned, Columbus Durham was elected 
financial secretary; evidently the work was to be a side 
issue to his duties as secretary to the Convention. Upon his 
refusal, J. B. Boone was elected to the position on April 15, 
1891. A minister who was keenly interested in education, he 
came to the new school from a pastorate in Moberly, 
Missouri; before that time he had been president of Judson 
College in Hendersonville, North Carolina; and still earlier, 
in 1873, when he was pastor in Charlotte, he had organized 
in that city one of the first graded schools in the State. 

The new financial agent was directed by the trustees as 
his first duty "to secure in Raleigh all that had been 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 33 

pledged, and to increase the amount of contributions if 
possible." The work was from the beginning an uphill task. 
Raleigh's offer of $25,000 and a site had evidently resolved 
itself into permission to collect from the citizens of Raleigh 
the necessary amount. Boone took over the books in June, 
1891, with $141.85 in cash, and $22,407 in subscriptions. 
When he made his first report on October 6, he had collected 
several thousand and had added $6,012 to the subscriptions, 
but had found $6,000 of the amount already on the books 
worthless; thus $12.00 was the rather discouraging net gain 
in subscriptions. This total amount was more than $7,000 
short of the sum necessary to pay for the proposed site, 
consisting of the Adams and the Pullen lots with their 

He met two great difficulties in his work — objections to 
the location on account of insufficient space and objections 
to the high price of the Adams property, the house and 
grounds on the corner of Edenton and Person streets. 

The harassed trustees, trying faithfully to meet both ob- 
jections, directed the executive committee to give up the 
original site and if possible to buy for $20,000 the property 
of Colonel S. A. Ashe, a house with grounds of five acres 
on Hillsboro Street at Boylan Avenue.- When they could not 
buy the Ashe place for less than $25,000, the trustees de- 
cided to enlarge the original site by buying a small ad- 
ditional lot (the Grissom lot) adjoining their property. It 
was too sanguine a decision, for the total subscriptions and 
cash in the spring of 1892 still fell far short of the amount 
necessary to obtain even the original small site. Hence the 
trustees had to let the Adams house and all but a narrow 
strip of the Adams land go. Thus the site on which they 
planned to build the Baptist Female University was not 
quite two acres in all. It cost $14,000, of which amount they 
had $9,639.33 in cash; in addition they had $10,648.85 in 
"subscriptions considered good." 

Boone's second report, which contains these figures, was 
made in April, 1892. With it he handed in his resignation. 
Though his work before he came to Raleigh and his subse- 

2 There is a historical marker on Hillsboro Street indicating the site of the 
house, Elmwood. 

34 History of Meredith College 

quent ten years of constructive administration as general 
manager of the Baptist Orphanage at Thomasville proved 
the truth of John A. Oates's characterization of him as "a 
man of indomitable pluck and energy," though he worked, 
Vann said, "with his accustomed skill and vigor," he con- 
sidered the undertaking doomed to failure. He had done all 
that seemed possible in Raleigh; then he had made two trips 
in different sections of the state. "We found many expres- 
sions of favor and promises to give," he wrote in his report, 
"but very few persons who were willing to make actual 
subscriptions." Everywhere he met "some opposition and 
tremendous lethargy." The report ends thus: 

By reason of the disturbed financial conditions of the country, 
your secretary has nothing to suggest. The situation is indeed 
embarrassing. It is somewhat similar to that of the leprous men at 
the gate of the city in a time of siege. "They said one to another, 
If we say we will enter the city, there is famine in the city, and we 
shall die there; and if we sit still here we shall die also. Let us fall 
into the host of the Syrians, if they save us alive, we shall live; and 
if they kill us, we shall but die." 

If we remain inactive, we shall die, and if we go into the field 
to collect, the famine is there, but where shall we find the camp of 
the Syrians? That is the question. 

In this unsettled state of affairs, your Financial Secretary asks 
to be relieved from any further connection with the work, and he 
hopes you may find some magnetic man who can infuse new life 
into the enterprise. 

The words were not the discouraged wail of a tired man. 
The sentiment prevailed throughout the state. The Female 
University, which had been launched "resolutely and joy- 
fully" with the confident expectation of its opening at the 
latest in the fall of 1891, with an endowment of at least 
$50,000, had in two years barely managed to obtain less than 
two acres of land. Columbus Durham had written in the 
Recorder the week after Polk's resolution had passed: 

It is not usual for the Convention to enter upon new work, 
especially such as involves heavy expenses, without some consider- 
able divergence of opinion, but in this proposal to establish a 
school there was a unanimity and enthusiasm rarely, if ever, 
equaled in the Convention. 

Yet two years later on November 11, 1891, after the grant- 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 35 

ing of the charter of the school in February, John A. Oates 
wrote in an editorial in the North Carolina Baptist. ^ 

And what is to be done with the defunct Female University? It 
was a healthy infant, giving promise of beautiful young woman- 
hood, and we fondly dreamed of the coming years when its daugh- 
ters should be found all through our Southland, testifying to the 
wisdom and glory of this endeavour of our people. Alas! the infant 
has pined away in the cold care of its unfaithful nurse, and soon 
it will be a stench in our nostrils. Shall we try to resuscitate it? 
Shall we give it up, then formally bury it and let it be forgotten as 
one of our follies? 

The report of the trustees to the 1890 Convention had been, 
in Dr. Vann's words, "radiant with hope and rhetoric," In 
1891 there was no report from the trustees, and not a word 
about the Baptist Female University appears in the minutes 
of the entire session. 

Tv/o reasons for the loss of enthusiasm were pointed out 
in Boone's report — the dissatisfaction over the location and 
the disturbed financial conditions. In addition, the new 
enterprise met an unexpected difficulty in an opportunity 
which came to Wake Forest College, an opportunity which 
urgently called for extra financial aid from the denomi- 
nation. Wake Forest had from the beginning shown in the 
female university a generously sympathetic interest, evi- 
denced in President Taylor's strong speech of approval at 
the Convention in Henderson and in his letter to the 
Recorder a week later, urging the necessity of high stan- 
dards and an adequate endowment for such a school as the 
Convention desired. Student opinion was equally sympa- 
thetic. The editor of the Wake Forest Student applauded the 
Convention for taking this "all important step" in creating 
an institution which would meet a long-felt need; he 
cordially welcomed the "promised sister" and earnestly 
hoped that she would soon be a "healthy and growing sis- 
ter" and that she would not be "seriously handicapped by 
the bickering" over the location of her home. Of the twenty- 
five trustees of the university-to-be, in addition to Taylor 
and Greene of the Wake Forest faculty, nine were at the 
time trustees of Wake Forest; and throughout its early years 

3The North Carolina Baptist, established in 1891, was in 1908 consolidated 
with the Biblical Recorder. 

36 History of Meredith College 

the most valued trustees of the new school were usually 
also trustees of the older college. 

The trustees of Wake Forest concurred in the decision of 
President Taylor that Wake Forest should not push a cam- 
paign for funds "until the female college shall have had 
ample opportunity to raise endowment and equipment." 
That decision, announced at commencement in 1890, was 
soon changed. George W. Paschal in his History of Wake 
Forest College explained the situation: 

During the following summer the design of leaving the field free 
for the "female college" was disrupted by a proposition of Mr. 
J. A. Bostwick which President Taylor presented to the Board at a 
meeting in Raleigh on July 31, 1890. 

Jabez A. Bostwick, who had given $50,000 outright to 
the men's college, now offered to add to the endowment one 
dollar up to $50,000 for every two the College raised from 
other sources. Paschal wrote concerning the offer. 

The trustees were not able to resist the temptation of this offer 
and asked President Taylor to take the field and raise all possible. 
This he did, beginning his work with the people of Wake Forest 
on September 7, 1890, and continued it, not stopping "for ill health 
or bad weather." He saw individuals, visited churches and as- 
sociations and the Baptist State Convention, and had the co- 
operation of Professor Carlyle and other members of the faculty 
and of many pastors of the State and of the Biblical Recorder. 

About $25,000 was raised thus. Bostwick offered in June, 
1891, to extend the time limit to July 1, 1892; but. Paschal 
continued, "the claims of the promoters of the Female Uni- 
versity to the field caused even President Taylor to doubt 
the expediency and propriety of making a further canvass." 
Some of the difficulty was due to the attitude R. T. 
Vann considered partly responsible for the failure of Thom- 
as Meredith's appeal, "the long standing assumption of su- 
periority by men over women." J. W. Bailey gave the 
same explanation of the situation in the nineties : 

A young woman must pay twice as much to get an education 
half as thorough and comprehensive, and if she travel a thousand 
miles, she finds all the advantages in her brother's favor . . . States 
and churches have from time immemorial proceeded upon the idea 
that men are worth educating, and that women are not. 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 37 

Such conditions underlay the despair of Boone's words, 
"If we remain inactive, we shall die; and if we go into the 
field, the famine is there." 

Years later President Vann in looking back summarized 
the situation thus : 

Perhaps no other enterprise was ever inaugurated by North 
Carolina Baptists with greater imanimity or warmer enthusiasm. 
And yet, within a year, the flame began to flicker; within two 
years it was burning low; within three it became invisible; and in 
four the ashes were cold. 

Yet the flame never became quite invisible for the cou- 
rageous trustees, who steadfastly refused to acknowledge 
defeat even when it seemed inevitable. In December, 1892, 
they reported to the Convention the purchase of land for 
the Baptist Female University and their unanimous de- 
cision "that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trus- 
tees press the work for the establishment of the University 
with unremitting diligence." 

As some of the original twenty-five moved away, and 
some few grew discouraged and resigned, others were 
elected to fill the vacancies. Two who came to the Board 
in 1891 and two in 1892 were of immeasurable value to 
the College. Chosen as trustee in 1891, William Louis Po- 
teat, then professor of biology in Wake Forest College and 
later its president, did more than any other one person in 
putting the curriculum of the Baptist Female University 
on a sound basis. Also elected in 1891 Wesley Norwood 
Jones, like N. B. Broughton, was in his youth a printer; 
later he studied law at Wake Forest and rose to a high 
place in his profession. His staunch integrity was paral- 
leled by his soundness of judgment. It is said that he 
would never take a case unless he thought his client 
was in the right and that he settled more cases out of 
court than any other lawyer in the state. As president of 
the Board from 1899 till his death in 1930, as a member 
of the executive committee and the finance committee 
for more than thirty-five years, and as College attorney 
for nearly as long a period, he never counted the cost in 
effort or time in the service of the College. Carey J. Hunter, 
elected in April, 1892, worked closely with him on the ex- 


38 History of Meredith College 

ecutive and the finance committees. Generally acknowl- 
edged one of the most successful businessmen in Raleigh, 
Hunter devoted that business acumen to the affairs of the 
College as wholeheartedly as to his own. More than once 
when the school, in desperate financial straits, had to bor- 
row, Hunter or Jones personally guaranteed the repay- 
ment of the loan. 

Another trustee elected in April, 1892, was Oliver 
Larkin Stringfield, the man destined to bring to success 
the new venture in education when, in his own words, 
"FAILURE was written in large letters in the minds of 
everyone." He was the realization of the forlorn hope 
expressed in Boone's report, that the trustees might find 
"some magnetic man, who can inspire new life into the 
enterprise." He was engaged by the executive committee 
for part-time work beginning in May, 1893, at a salary for 
May and June of $25.00 a month, then of $40.00. In Decem- 
ber the Board of Trustees confirmed the action of the 
executive committee, and soon afterwards he began full-time 
work at an annual salary of $900 and traveling expenses. 

It was W. N. Jones, Stringfield wrote in his unpublished 
memoirs, who asked him to accept the position which had 
been vacant for a year. 

I assured him that I was not the man to undertake the work. He 
asked me if I would pray over it, and I could not refuse to promise 
him to do that. I knew that was the way to go about any depart- 
ment of the Lord's work. ... I kept my promise to Brother Jones. 
The more I prayed, the greater my anxiety became that we offer 
our girls the same advantages we were glad to give our boys at 
Wake Forest. 

The fervent prayers of Stringfield and the committee 
went on for days, then came the decision: 

The Spirit made it very clear to me by a powerful compulsion, 
about which God's children know, that He would have me under- 
take the work. . . . With a few men and women to cheer my heart 
with their prayers, I did venture my all to live or die for the es- 

In all his efforts he and the trustees sought earnestly 
the guidance of God. He wrote in his memoirs : 

What prayermeetings we had in the Mission Rooms! C. Durham, 
N. B. Broughton, Dr. J. W. Carter, A. M. Simms, W. N. Jones, all 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 39 

pleading with God to manage for us. To my dying day I will recall 
the touch of their hands on my shoulder as we would leave the 
room, and they would say, "Go ahead, do your best, and God 
bless you." 

The difficulties did not dismay Stringfield; he was ac- 
customed to them. Born near Wilmington May 9, 1851, 
in a well-to-do family of slaveowners, he could not say, as 
did Andrew Carnegie, "I was born to the blessed heritage 
of poverty"; but he entered into it early. His father died 
during the Civil War while five sons were in the army, 
and eleven-year-old Larkin with a child's strength felt a 
man's responsibility for his mother and two sisters. This 
experience, followed by the grim days of Reconstruction, 
developed in him an extraordinary sturdiness of character 
without which he could never have accomplished what he 
did for the Baptist Female University. 

He so readily accepted the will of God in this matter, 
once that will was clear to him, because at one time in 
his life he had struggled desperately against it, and lost. 
He wrote an account of this experience in his memoirs. 
His conversion had taken place simply and naturally. With 
the constant example and daily Bible teaching of his godly 
mother, the boy had been ready to respond when his Sun- 
day school teacher said to him, "Larkin, Jesus loves you 
and wants to make a man out of you." He had walked 
sixteen miles to be baptized into the membership of Shiloh 
Baptist Church. But soon after his mother's death in 1873 
there came a strong conviction that he should preach the 
gospel. Unwilling and doubtful of his ability, he prom- 
ised the LfOrd that instead of being a preacher he would 
give Him one-third of his income the rest of his life. But 
the conviction would not let him go, and he surrendered to 
the call. "If God writes on your heart to do anything," he 
said years later, "you best do it." 

The decision to preach was especially hard, because he 
was twenty-three, with only the most elementary educa- 
tion — reading, writing, arithmetic, and a little grammar. 
As his only living brothers were married and away from 
home, he would have to leave at home two sisters, one a 
widow, "with very little to eat or wear." 

40 History of Meredith College 

He told his sisters of the call and of his decision to go to 
Wake Forest College. They bravely assented, and the 
younger one, weeping, threw her arms about his neck and 
exclaimed, "I'd give anything if I only had a chance to 
be educated!" Those words must have often echoed in 
his heart in the years of his struggle to give other girls 
the chance his sisters never had. 

A few months later, early in January, 1874, the sisters 
packed his clothes in a neat bundle — a very small bundle 
sufficed — and watched him out of sight as he began his 
eighty-mile walk to Wake Forest, with only two dollars in 
the pocket of his faded blue broadcloth coat. 

The difficulties he encountered — the preparatory work 
which had to be mastered before he could begin college, 
the loss of $285 earned during two years out of college and 
entrusted to a false friend, the consciousness that his sis- 
ters were also having to struggle to make ends meet — all 
these went into the making of his heroic character. By 
June, 1882, when he was thirty-one, he had a college di- 
ploma, four country churches, a debt of $540, and a pro- 
spective bride. The $540 debt would have been smaller 
had he not with characteristic independence refused the 
aid which the Board of Education of the Baptist State Con- 
vention offered him as a ministerial student. Ellie 
Beckwith became his wife on September 5, 1882, just be- 
fore he went to be principal of a new school at Wakefield, 
near Wendell. Of this school and of South Fork Institute, to 
which they went many years later, he said, "My name 
was on the circular as principal, but Mrs. Stringfield was 
the real principal. She always kept matters going straight 
on the inside." She was unusually well educated for a 
woman of her generation and was experienced in school 
work, having taught mathematics in Thomasville Female 

In the eleven years they were at Wakefield the school 
grew from a two-room affair to a large boarding school, 
with an ever-increasing reputation. It was a venture of 
faith — the first of a long series which made up his long, 
active life — a venture of faith which would have been im- 
possible had not his wife been as extraordinary a person 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 41 

as he. They were both quixotically generous. No student 
who wanted an education was ever turned away from 
their school for lack of money. "Many times," he wrote in 
his memoirs, "wife and I signed a mortgage on our prop- 
erty to get money to pay for food for poor boys and girls 
who could not attend any other school." Sometimes the 
students had to be clothed as well as fed. His daughter 
Miriam recalled his often repeated advice to her: "When 
things get hard, just pray a little more, and He will carry 
you through." 

Though he was at various times pastor of several 
churches in the state and as such was greatly loved, 
throughout most of his life he was the champion of forlorn 
causes. Some few of them were lost in spite of his efforts 
at raising money for them; most of them have become so 
successful that today it is startling to think they were 
ever forlorn causes. The Baptist Female University was 
the first of these; then Greenville Female College in South 
Carolina, now a part of Furman University; a proposed 
industrial school near Lancaster, South Carolina; Lexing- 
ton College in Missouri; the North Carolina Anti-Saloon 
League; Ridgecrest; Edisto Academy in South Carolina; 
Boiling Springs Academy ( now Gardner-Webb College ) ; 
and a home for motherless children at King's Creek, South 
Carolina. Such work necessitated constant traveling, usu- 
ally with an inadequate salary. Sometimes, as in the case 
of the proposed industrial school and of Lexington College, 
he suffered personal financial losses. How their seven chil- 
dren were fed, clothed, and educated is a miracle of God's 
mercy and of Mrs. Stringfield's unceasing industry in sup- 
plementing their income and her genius in managing it. 
She must have stretched pennies to do the work of dollars. 
It was characteristic of both Mr. and Mrs. Stringfield that 
from the school which owed its existence so largely to his 
efforts they refused any financial concessions for their 
three daughters, one of whom, Mozelle, entered the first 
year the school opened. 

Stringfield retired from strenuous work in 1924 when 
he was seventy-three, a retirement which gave him op- 
portunities for intensive Bible study and for the evan- 

42 History of Meredith College 

gelistic work which was always close to his heart. A book 
in which he wrote several of his sermons has, significantly, 
the first sermon on "Faith," and the last on "Seeing the 
Invisible." Of the last, only three sentences were written, 
but his life finished it gloriously. 

Until his death February 1, 1930, he and Mrs. Stringfield 
lived with their daughter Miriam, Mrs. Paul Brantley, ex- 
'03, and her husband near Wendell, not far from the site 
of the old Wakefield Academy, now marked by a memorial 
recently erected by some of his old students, in whose lives 
his influence constitutes a greater memorial. Mrs. String- 
field, who lived to be ninety-four, was to the last physically 
and mentally alert. Her vivid recollections of the past in 
no way lessened her keen interest in the present. 

"My first work," Stringfield wrote, "was to ask the Bap- 
tists of the State if they really wanted the Baptist Female 
University." So for about a year, he did not press the 
matter of money; his chief effort was to revive interest in 
the school and make for it a place in the heart of the 
denomination. In raising the money which paid for the 
site. Skinner and Boone had worked largely in Raleigh and 
had obtained gifts mostly from people already interested. 
Stringfield had to create an interest which would lead to 

With the effort to procure money for the building and 
endowment, difficulties arose on every hand. The dis- 
satisfaction with the location, so formidable an obstacle 
to Boone's efforts, had not yet died out. The friends of 
Chowan and Oxford were uneasy about the effect on these 
schools of this new claimant to denominational support. 
This fear is evident not only in several letters to the 
papers from friends and officials of these schools, but even 
more so in the earnest reassurance from the supporters of 
the proposed University. 

In 1889, when the resolution was passed at Henderson, 
although Charles Duncan Mclver was already working for 
the establishment of the State Normal and Industrial 
College (now the University of North Carolina at Greens- 
boro) no action of any sort had been taken. That institution 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 43 

was granted a charter by the 1891 legislature, as was the 
Baptist Female University. With the state taxes to sup- 
port it, the State Normal and Industrial College was ready 
to begin work in October, 1892. Different as the two 
schools were, there were some Baptists who felt that the 
opening of the state institution would make it inadvisable 
for Baptists to go on with their plan. 

This doubt was the greater because "the disturbed finan- 
cial condition" of which Boone had written had darkened 
into a panic. With cotton selling at four or five cents a 
pound, some who had been enthusiastic about the proposed 
university could not pay what they had promised; others 
would not because they had lost hope that the school could 
ever be opened. 

This despair was partly responsible for the sentiment 
that developed in favor of making Wake Forest coeduca- 
tional. T. H. Pritchard, one of the twenty-five original 
trustees, who at the Convention in Henderson and in letters 
to the Recorder and Charity and Children had warmly ad- 
vocated the establishment of the Baptist Female Univer- 
sity, who even at the Convention in 1893 had strongly 
urged that the school be opened as soon as possible, just 
as strongly urged in April, 1894, that the Convention, 
instead of continuing the effort to begin the new school, 
should open Wake Forest to women. Among others, G. W. 
Paschal, of the Wake Forest faculty, Baylus Cade, and F. P. 
Hobgood supported his position. However, as President 
Taylor and the Wake Forest trustees did not encourage the 
idea and as Columbus Durham and C. T. Bailey, editor of 
the Biblical Recorder, vigorously opposed it, the move- 
ment did not go far. But the discussion heightened the 
uncertainty of the future of the woman's school and was 
discouraging to Stringfield's efforts. 

Years afterwards when the College was well established, 
Stringfield characterized the whole situation thus: 

Everything seemed to be the matter. It was a clear case of the 
blind man on the train with a yelling baby on his arm, the other 
hand scratching about on the car floor. When the conductor asked 
him what was the matter, the man replied, "Sir, my wife got off 

44 History of Meredith College 

at the wrong station, my baby has the colic, and I have lost my 

In the Recorder of May 2, 1894, in an article entitled 
"Cold Water on the Baptist Female University," he re- 
counted less facetiously the various objections raised and 
the difficulties they were causing. Nevertheless, in the 
work which he later called "a dear joy to me," what im- 
pressed him most were not the difficulties but "the Lord's 
blessings which were with me during the whole time I 
was concerned with the blessed work." The article in 
1894 ends with two sentences which are the keynote of 
everything he did: 

If this work be of God, it will succeed. We verily believe that 
God has men with enough money to erect suitable buildings and 
endow the school so that we can, under God, do a work for the 
Baptist girls of the State that will live forever. 

With this conviction, he went up and down the state 
from the mountains to the sea, speaking wherever he could 
get a hearing — at the Convention and at associations, in 
city and country churches, in schoolhouses and under brush 
arbors. Tall and awkwardly lanky, dark as an Indian, he 
caught the attention of his audience as soon as he rose 
to speak. Pleased with the informality of his manner and 
with his keen sense of humor, his listeners were soon ab- 
sorbed in the theme that absorbed him — the glorious des- 
tiny of the Baptist Female University. 

Wherever he went to speak, he always visited in homes 
in the community, often taking dinner with one family, 
supper with another, and spending the night with a third. 
In his memoirs he wrote of such experiences, of sitting 
"around the fire, the little girl holding my left hand and 
the little boy my right as I was trying to persuade the 
father and mother to educate their children for God." With 
a story for the children, a jest for the grown boy and 
girl, a survey of the cotton and the pigs with the father, 
and a talk about her children and about his with the 
mother, he soon won his way into the hearts of every 
family. Old and young were ready to be convinced by his 
arguments and to be kindled with his flaming enthusiasm. 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 45 

When he was praised for an especially effective speech, 
he answered characteristically, "I say, I will always say the 
Lord did it in His own blessed way, using my poor 

Margaret Shields Everett, of the first graduating class, 
gave an account of a visit which was typical of hundreds 
of such visits in North Carolina homes. 

It was on a July afternoon in 1895 I first saw Mr. Stringfield. In 
company with Mr. Vann, our pastor, he called at our home in 
Scotland Neck. My mother, as was her custom with a visiting 
preacher, invited him to be our guest while in the community. A 
timid child, I recall how I shrank from meeting the tall, angular, 
swarthy guest. As I crept out on the porch, he sat alone, lost in 
thought, gazing into a far corner of the yard where stood a large 
willow tree. On my approach he turned with that alert movement, 
so characteristic of him. With beaming face and eyes all aglow, 
with an irresistible smile, extending his hand, he said, "Howdy, 
child, howdy, and what is your name?" There sprang up at once a 
friendship between us. . . . 

His visit to our home was a memorable one. His conversation 
was flavored with delightful humor, so integral a part of his na- 
ture. He talked unceasingly of that college which he was working 
to build. In his enthusiasm he almost convinced my sisters that the 
new college was more of a reality than their Alma Mater. He 
preached in the village church on the Sabbath. After a stirring 
sermon. ... he gave an invitation something like this: "I want 
every girl who wants to make the most of herself and train her 
life for usefulness, who wants to come to our College when it is 
built, to come forward and give me her hand." Then, while we 
stood about him, he gave another invitation. "I want every father 
and mother who will dedicate themselves to God to give these 
girls a chance and will work and pray and sacrifice to help build 
this College for them, to come forward." What a scene that was! It 
was duplicated all over North Carolina. 

His account book shows that most of the gifts were 
small — twenty-five, ten, five dollars, and hosts of one- 
dollar gifts. There were also gifts of fifty, twenty-five, 
ten, and even one of five cents, each carefully entered in 
the book with the name of the giver, the address, and the 
date. It is said that he was once given two cents, and the 
tale is credible; for in April, 1897, he worked a week in 
one mountain county and was given in cash and subscrip- 
tions $1.67. Yet his patience, his courage, and his good 
humor never failed. He richly deserved the dedication of 
the 1906 Oak Leaves, the College annual : 

46 History of Meredith College 

Dedicated to Oliver Larkin Stringfield, who through his great 
faith and untiring zeal did most when the way was darkest toward 
establishing this institution. 

He could never have collected enough to begin the build- 
ing had he not done at the same time a far greater 
work — aroused in the churches and communities a con- 
sciousness of the importance of woman's education. 
Though the types of institution for which they toiled 
were quite different, he was at one with Charles Duncan 
Mclver in spreading the creed, "Educate a man, and you 
educate an individual; educate a woman, and you educate 
a family." Such a creed was strange and unwelcome in 
many quarters. Mclver in an article in the Biblical Re- 
corder of June 24, 1896, a special educational issue, cited 
verbatim the argument he had heard from a young man 
with a license to teach : 

What is the use of educatin' a woman anyhow? If she was edu- 
cated, she couldn't be a sheriff, nor a register of deeds, nor a clerk 
of the court, nor go to the legislature, so what is the use in edu- 
catin' her? The fact is. Mister Chairman, it hain't her hemisphere 
to be educated anyhow, it is us men's hemisphere. 

In the light of this comment it is not strange that String- 
field sometimes was turned away from the door as soon 
as his mission was made known. 

As Stringfield worked over the state, the trustees were 
going ahead with plans for the school. In December, 
1893, when Stringfield had been doing part-time work for 
eight months, there is recorded in the minutes of the 
trustees "the sense of the Board that the University should 
open in the fall." At the same meeting a committee con- 
sisting of Poteat, Durham, and Stringfield was appointed 
to nominate a president. They acted promptly and on 
January 17 presented to the executive committee the name 
of John B. Brewer, at that time president of Chowan. 
The grandson of Samuel Wait, the nominee was the oldest 
of ten children of John Brewer, the youngest of whom 
was Charles E. Brewer, the third president of Meredith. 

The Chowan president at first accepted the position and 
came to Raleigh to confer with the local trustees about the 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 47 

opening of the school. The Recorder in an enthusiastic edi- 
torial on the Baptist Female University congratulated the 
institution on its president, who had "along with broad 
culture a business tact and executive ability that is char- 
acteristic of few men"; in him the school had a president 
who was "all that could be desired." 

Before his acceptance could be received by the Board at 
its April meeting, it was withdrawn. The mere fact that 
he declined is recorded in the minutes, and there is no 
comment in the Recorder. Since the movement to make 
Wake Forest coeducational reached its height shortly af- 
ter he was elected, he probably shared the widespread 
doubt as to the success of the proposed school. 

This discouragement strengthened the trustees' resolve 
that definite steps must be taken toward establishing the 
university. Through a special committee they issued a state- 
ment of the aims and purposes of the school — a pronounce- 
ment which is similar to the report of the committee on 
course of study in 1891, a recapitulation of the steps 
already taken, and an explanation of what remained to be 
done. Columbus Durham wrote in the Recorder a statement 
that was clear and vigorous enough to convince the doubt- 
ful and arouse the indifferent. 

There has been no time in twenty years when such a school 
could have been established with conditions more favorable, . . . 
with prospects of so little friction with our other Baptist female 
schools, and with more unanimity of opinion in the necessity and 
wisdom of the enterprise. The three years' delay now seems provi- 
dential. After our disappointment has come God's appointment. 
Every step has been authorized by the Convention, and every step 
by the Convention and the trustees has been a step forward. This 
is a great work, and it will take time to do all that is needed and 
contemplated. But the school must be opened and time for growth 
given. The trustees are united, their plans are practical, their work 
is steady and their faith in the establishment of the school is un- 

Determined to open the school as soon as possible, the 
trustees tried first to rent the Adams house and afterwards 
to buy it, but the price of $11,000 was too high for them. 
Then, though they had very little money in hand — most of 
which had been obtained from the sale of a small part of 
the property, the Grissom lot — they instructed the fi- 

48 History of Meredith College 

nance committee and the executive committee to "con- 
sider and adopt a plan for the erection of a suitable build- 
/ ^$ ing, and this shall include the duty of making a provision 

for raising necessary funds. They shall prosecute the work 
L/(/^ as rapidly as possible." The committees chose and the 

-^ Board approved the plans of A. G. Bauer, a young architect 

of established reputation, who had designed the gover- 
nor's mansion. The architect's drawing, given to Meredith 
by Foy Johnson Farmer, '07, and now placed in the social 
room of the first floor of Vann Hall, shows the familiar 
turrets and towers of the old Main Building. Parts of the 
^ building shown in the drawing were never erected. 

^"^ f^'/r^ ^^ April 9, 1895, the contract was let to the North Caro- 
'^'"^ lina Car Company, which had agreed to put up the building 

^o"^ at a cost of $37,700, the work to begin without delay. The 

, , house and outhouses on the property were sold for a few 
7 ^ hundred dollars, and the laying of the foundation was 

'^ /xos'^J- begun. Trustees who did not live in Raleigh found that 
'Sniit o-f^^ business brought them to the city more frequently than 
usual, and the local members almost wore out the sidewalk 
around the corner of the square on which the building 
was beginning to take shape. 

When the contract was let, the trustees had instructed 
the executive committee not to incur a debt of more than 
$2,000. It was necessary to borrow $2,000 of the $6,000 
for the outside work of the first story; and then the work 
had to stop until a plea to the 1895 Convention brought 
enough for them to proceed with the second story, which 
cost $5,000. In his report to the trustees on April 11, 1896, 
A. M. Simms, chairman of the executive committee, wrote: 

Soon after your meeting, work was begun upon the building. 
The same is now ready for the brick work of the third story. It was 
very trying to us to see the pretty fall days passing by while our 
walls stood day by day without rising higher, but we were forced 
to wait until money came in before going further. 

Albert Meredith Simms, a native of Virginia, the father 
of Robert N. Simms, Sr., had been elected a trustee in 1893, 
soon after he came to Raleigh as pastor of the Tabernacle 
Baptist Church. Till he moved away in December, 1900, he 
was one of the most enthusiastic and tireless members of 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 49 

the board. It is said that when the school was being built, 
he was on the job every morning before the workmen and 
watched the laying of almost every brick. 

The building went on with so many delays because of 
lack of funds that the half-built walls were by some mock- 
ingly dubbed "Stringfield's Folly." Archibald Johnson told 
of hearing Mclver plead before the Legislative educational 
committee in 1896 for adequate appropriation for the State 
Normal and Industrial College : 

Pointing toward the walls of the Baptist Female University, 
which were standing exposed to the weather, without a workman 
in sight, he said, "Look there, gentlemen, and see for yourselves 
the folly of the voluntary principle in education." 

And Stringfield in his memoirs commented, "The Legis- 
lature made haste to appropriate money for the Normal 
School at Greensboro. We did this much good by going at 
a snail's pace." 

But the earnest folk working for the school by day and 
dreaming of it by night did not share Mclver's view. There 
is something both heroic and ludicrous in an editorial in 
the North Carolina Baptist on January 7, 1897 which an- 
nounced the stopping of the work for lack of funds, and 
then added: "$100,000 is wanted from North Carolinians 
to get the school in good running order, and then it is 
hoped to add a substantial endowment by the aid of 
funds outside the State." 

With these high hopes for the future the trustees 
none the less faced realistically the strain of the immedi- 
ate emergency. There were many earnest pleas to the Bap- 
tists of the state for aid, as J. W. Carter wrote, "to this 
struggling child who so much needs and so richly deserves 
it." A. M. Simms wrote to the Recorder: 

A sacrifice you may have to make, but please be encouraged by 
the fact that no work is sweet to us until we have made sacrifices 
for it, and also by the fact that God's work is built upon sacrifices. 
Some of us feel that we can never have rest of mind until the insti- 
tution is open for our girls. 

The Recorder editor wrote in the same spirit : 

Educational institutions are not made of bricks and mortar and 
money. They are never great until sanctified with sacrifice. . . . 

50 History of Meredith College 

Into yonder institution we must poiir rich heart's blood, lives must 
be lived for it, sacrifices must be offered for its sake, and the best 
of some of us must be devoted to it. 

And again he wrote : 

The slow pace of progress in the completion of the institution 
should draw our hearts closer to it. Already the sacrifices of many 
have been made for it. Greater sacrifices must needs still be made. 
It requires more than a day or a year to do a great work; it is un- 
wise to meastire by time that which shall do work through all 
eternity. If it required a centiury to complete the Baptist Female 
University, it would be worthy of our labors and prayers every 
moment of the time. Let us not bother our minds about time : God 
rules, and we have but to do our duty, and look to Him. No one 
need fear that what he shall do for this institution will be lost. It 
will last as long as the world shall last. 

There were generous responses to these pleas — some who 
had given before gave again and again; others gave for the 
first time. Some gave dollars who could ill afford dimes; 
others gave hundreds who could ill afford tens. Women 
knitted socks and sold eggs at ten cents a dozen to make 
money for the University. They took to heart Stringfield's 
plea, "Let us ask God for grace to do what we can." 

A spinster school teacher "doing a great work on little 
pay," Stringfield said, with her gift of ten dollars wrote: 

I can do without the clothes I meant to buy with this, but we 
cannot do without the school. 

A country preacher barely able to make ends meet wrote: 

I can't pray if I turn my back on a work like this. If we succeed, 
we'll bless His name for it; if we fail, we'll meet Him with the con- 
sciousness of having done what we could. 

A drayman pledged twenty dollars to be paid in hauling. 
A childless widow gave her husband's watch. 

At the Convention of 1897 A. M. Simms gave the report 
for the trustees. The roof was on the building, the scaf- 
folding was being torn down, and the windows were 
boarded up for the winter. Yet the stopping of the work 
brought no note of discouragement into the report; instead 
there is renewed determination. 

A female university is a necessity to our work and the heart of 
our people has laid hold of it and has said, "by the grace of God, 
it shall be." 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 51 

In 1896 the trustees had been forced to remove their debt 
limit of $2,000 and authorize the borrowing of an additional 
$3,000. In 1897 they had to borrow $10,000; and again in 
1898, before they had repaid the other loans, they borrowed 
$20,000. Yet $7,000 more was needed to complete the build- 
ing. Again there is no note of discouragement in their report 
to the Convention, which met that year in Greenville. With 
the building nearing completion, and with the prospect of 
the opening of the school before another session of the 
Convention, a wave of enthusiasm swept the meeting; and a 
collection of $4,714.00 was taken, a sum incomparably 
larger then than it would be now. In memory of their 
mothers, for love of their wives and daughters, they 
pledged. When a lull in the pledging came, Dr. Vann once 
said, an anaemic young preacher exclaimed, "I want to 
give ten dollars for the girl who wouldn't have me!"* An- 
other unmarried preacher gave his first wedding fee, in 
hopes that he might find his future wife at the University. 

This 1898 Convention marked the beginning of an or- 
ganized effort among women in behalf of the school. Fannie 
E. S. Heck, president of the North Carolina Woman's Mis- 
sionary Union from its beginning in 1886, was largely re- 
sponsible for this step. In an account of the inception of the 
movement which she wrote for the Recorder, she told of the 
pledge a few women had made to one another when String- 
field began his work, to pray for him and for the work three 
times a day, a pledge which most of them had kept through 
the years. In 1896 Women Builders' Certificates were pre- 
pared, "handsome and suitable for framing," each one 
signed by the president, the secretary, and the financial 
agent of the Board of Trustees. A certificate was given to 
each woman contributing ten dollars or more to the building 
fund, and her name was enrolled in a book to be kept 
permanently in the library, the Record of Women Builders. 

This movement originated with the trustees, not with the 
women themselves. Individual women had given, of course; 
but no organization of women for the purpose had been ef- 
fected, even though the school was to be built for women. 

* It is gratifying that the next year the young preacher found a girl who 
would have him; the Recorder carried a notice of his marriage. 

52 History of Meredith College 

In Greenville in 1898 Miss Heck called for a meeting Sun- 
day afternoon of the women attending the Convention. 

It was a quiet, solemn gathering of perhaps fifty women. Behind 
us seemed to stand our sisters, waiting to see what we would do; to 
hear our voice if we call them to the work we had taken on our 
hearts; to sit still as lookers if we did nothing. But we could only 
speak for ourselves. Sixteen of that little company, naming cer- 
tain sums to be raised by each during 1899, pledged themselves, 
"Solemnly, in the presence of God, and in reliance on His strength, 
to spare neither prayer, time, thought, pride, nor purse in securing 
among the Baptist women and friends of education in North Caro- 
lina" $1,000. Each was ready to take this work back to the home 
church and count no effort dear in interesting her sisters as she 
was interested. 

This meeting led to the formation of the Woman's Execu- 
tive Committee of the Baptist Female University, the aim of 
which was to raise $5,000 during 1899. To reach this aim the 
ten members of the committee, with Miss Heck as chairman, 
were to try "to come in touch with every Baptist woman 
in the State in order to secure a large or small contribution 
from each." The name of each person contributing was to 
be kept among the permanent records of the University. 
Women Builders' Certificates were to be given as before. In 
addition, when the gift amounted to twenty-five dollars or 
more, the name of the contributor or any other person she 
chose to honor was to be placed with others on a marble 
tablet to be placed in the chapel.^ 

The work which the plan involved was stupendous, but 
it was carried out well. Though the amount given through 
the treasurer of the organization. Miss Susan Clark, fell 
short of the $5,000 goal by $2,130.30, Stringfield said more 
than that amount was paid to him as the direct result of the 
women's work. After 1899 the organization continued to 
work until December, 1900, as the Woman's Educational 
Union, still under the guidance of Miss Heck, who was tire- 
less in the work. Her example reinforced her precept, "Give 
first yourself until sacrifice brings joy, and then you will be 
ready to influence others to give." 

s It is to be regretted that neither the book with the names of contributors 
nor marble tablets are to be found. These names, however, are written in the 
book Cowper described in his "Sonnet to Mrs. Unwin," 

By seraph writ with beams of heavenly light. 

In which the eyes of God not rarely look; 

A chronicle of actions just and bright. 

''By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 53 

With the often deferred opening of the school set defi- 
nitely for the fall, 1899 was a busy year for the trustees. 
They were faced with the important and difficult task of 
selecting a president and a faculty. Though at various times 
the matter had been discussed, no attempt had been made to 
find a president since John B. Brewer's refusal until a 
nominating committee consisting of W. L. Poteat, C. J. 
Hunter, A. M. Simms, John E. Ray, and R. T. Vann was 
appointed at the meeting of the Board in December, 1898. 
From many names suggested and several considered, the 
choice was narrowed to two men. One was Alexis A. Mar- 
shall, of Atlanta, formerly a president of Monroe College 
(now Bessie Tift), who in 1900 was to come to Raleigh as 
pastor of the First Baptist Church. The other, James Carter 
Blasingame, a native of Georgia, was on April 21, 1899, 
elected president. After graduating in 1892 with honors 
from the University of Georgia, he had gone directly to be in 
charge of Jackson Institute in Georgia, where he stayed five 
years. He came to the Baptist Female University after two 
years at Holbrook Normal College, in Fountain City, Ten- 
nessee (near Knoxville). Five teachers were elected with 
the president; the others were chosen later with his co- 

The First Annual Announcement of the Baptist Female 
University, which appeared in July 1899, listed the faculty 
in order of election thus : 

Jas. C. Blasingame, M.A., Ped.D., President 

Psychology and Pedagogy. 

J. L. Kesler, M.A., 

Natural Science. 

Mrs. Kate Hayes Kesler, M.A., 

History and Economics. 

Miss Delia Dixon, M.D., 

Physiology and Resident Physician. 

Miss Sadie T. Perry, 


Miss Ida Poteat, 

Art Department. 

L. D. Watson, A.B., 

Mathematics and Bursar, 

Mrs. H. E. Stone, 

English and Literature. 

Miss Evalina K. Patten, M.A., 

Greek and Ethics. 

54 History of Meredith College 

Miss S. E. Young, 

Modern Languages. 

Henri Appy, Director of Music, 

Piano, Violin, Theory. 

Mrs. Henri Appy, 

Voice-Culture and Sight-Singing. 

Miss Julia Brewer, 

Miss Lovie Lee Jones, 

Assistants in Music. 

Miss Sophie Reynolds, M.L., 

Elocution and Expression. 

Miss Hattie Farrior, 

Stenography , Typewriting, and Bookkeeping. 

Mrs. Laura B. Watson, 



University Academy. 

Miss Lillian A. Eckloff , M.A., 


The salaries ranged from $200 with board and room (esti- 
mated at $108) to $1,000. The president's salary was $1,800 
with living for him, his wife, and his child. In general, the 
men's salaries were — according to the accepted custom — 
two or three times larger than the women's. 

Blasingame came to the new work on July 1, and scarcely 
had the warm welcome accorded him been uttered when 
he was off for a three weeks' tour of northern colleges. The 
trustees, not used to such rapidity of movement, especially 
in matters which involved expense, were divided between 
consternation and pride. That trip completed and the First 
Annual Announcement of the Baptist Female University 
prepared and sent to press, the new president began a cir- 
cuit of the state, visiting as many of the churches as he could 
by the end of August. His glowing speeches went even 
further than Stringfield's in leading his listeners to believe, 
as W. R. CuUom said years later, "that the university in 
question would soon surpass Princeton, Yale, Harvard, or 
even one of the great English universities." 

With so full a schedule for the newly elected president, 
preparations for the opening of the University on Septem- 
ber 27 were still the responsibility of the trustees, especially 
of the executive committee. The building, not yet finished 

"By the Grace of God It Shall Be" 55 

or paid for, had to be furnished and equipped. The commit- 
tee met three times in two days to consider the purchase of 
fourteen upright pianos and one grand piano. The kitchen 
range, the dining room furniture, and the five microscopes 
were bought at one meeting. Portable tablet armchairs for 
the classrooms were ninety-five cents each; desks for the 
elementary department came higher, $1.65 each. 

Through the Recorder and the North Carolina Baptist 
appeals were presented to churches, Sunday schools, mis- 
sionary and aid societies, and individuals to furnish the 
bedrooms; the cost of the rooms for two, for three, and for 
four girls was thirty, fifty-two, and sixty dollars. Bed 
covering would be a welcome gift, as would pillows — even 
feather beds of which pillows could be made if the feathers 
were "nice and clean." 

On May 3 "Brother Bailey was appointed a committee of 
one to raise a library." "Brother Bailey" was William Josiah 
Bailey, a trustee of the school and editor of the Biblical 
Recorder. He had in 1896 succeeded his father in both 
capacities. He solicited contributions "in cash or in kind"; 
with $150.00, he wrote, he could get two hundred books. 
The Recorder noted the first two gifts. The first was a 
leather-bound Encyclopedia Britannica from C. B. Justice, 
pastor of the Baptist church at Rutherfordton, who had been 
a trustee less than a month. The second donor, Miss Mary 
Harp,^ of Raleigh, brought "two excellent books." Her mid- 
dle name should have been Martha, for later she gave sev- 
eral pillows. 

Long before 1899, the trustees had given up hope of be- 
ginning the school with an endowment; gradually even the 
most optimistic gave up the hope of beginning without debt. 
Even with the pledges at Greenville — some of which, like 
pledges made before and since in the sweeping excitement 
of the moment, were never paid — even with the money 
raised by the Woman's Executive Committee and with gen- 
erous gifts from individuals, the University still owed 
$15,000 when on August 22, less than five weeks before the 
date of opening, the trustees authorized the borrowing of 

« Willis Briggs, lifelong resident of Raleigh and an authority on its history, 
said that Harp street was named for her father. 

56 History of Meredith College 

$5,000 more, without which the work on the building could 
not be finished. How desperate the need was may be seen in 
the fervent gratitude of the following paragraph, written 
September 13 by one of the trustees : 

A friend sent $1,000 last week for our Baptist Female Univer- 
sity. It came within a few hours after the Executive Committee 
had met to devise ways and means for accomplishing a great deal 
of work for which no money was in sight; and the ways and means 
were hard to devise. This gift is a gift in the hour of great need. It 
means more now than it could ever have meant before. We would 
give the name of the donor, in order that all our people might 
speak their gratitude to him, but he made a special request that 
it be withheld. God be praised for such a man, who is able to make 
large gifts and willing as he is able. Some day, when heads now 
young shall be white with the snows of many winters, some one 
will grow reminiscent upon seeing the great Baptist Female Uni- 
versity, and record the trials and discouragements and the glories 
of its building. That will be an eloquent chapter in Baptist his- 
tory, and this gift coming in the very hour of need, and the story 
of the giver, will crown the chapter. 

As the day approached when the University, so long a 
dream and a desire, was to become a reality, the trials and 
discouragements were completely lost in the glories. 

An editorial "At Last" in the Biblical Recorder of Sep- 
tember 27, the day the school opened, expressed the feeling 
of grateful hearts all over the state: 

After ten years of promise and five years of building, the 
prayers and sacrifices and faith of our people come to fruition this 
week in the opening of our Baptist Female University. 

It is a great day for 100 girls or more. 

It is a great day for many a home and many a heart. 

It is a great day for North Carolina. 

It is a great day for our denomination. 

It is a great day for the Kingdom of God on earth. 

Let us praise God for this wonderful hour. May He take the 
work of His people, may He guide it in all things now and 



The next week the Recorder editorial was headed "Praise 
God," for September 27 was indeed a great day. The debt 
still rested heavily on the unfinished building; part of the 
equipment and furnishings had yet to be provided; some of 
the faculty were late in arriving — two of them had to be 
lent money for train fare. But the girls were there! 

Though hopes had been high for a large student body, 
there had been an undercurrent of anxiety. True, O. L. 
Stringfield had in 1898 confidently asserted that three 
hundred girls were waiting to come to the Female Universi- 
ty, but his unfailing optimism had been equally confident 
of opening the school with $100,000 in building and equip- 
ment and another $100,000 in endowment. As the bricks 
of the one building were being laid, the president of a col- 
lege in Raleigh had warned a loyal supporter of the new 
enterprise: "If you ever get the building completed, it will 
be ten years before you enroll fifty students." 

The week before the opening, President Blasingame, 
judging by the number who had sent five dollars for a room 
reservation, had hoped for 125. As the one building had 
been planned for a hundred girls, several days before the 
opening the trustees, urged by the president, had bought 
for $10,500 the Adams house — later called East Building, 
the twenty-six room dwelling which had been part of the 
property the trustees had proposed to purchase in 1890. It 
was a wise decision; for 180 students registered the first 
day, a number which before the end of the year had in- 
creased to 220, sixty-seven of whom were residents of Ra- 
leigh, The amount borrowed for this building and its 
furnishings had brought the total debt to $35,000. 

By nightfall of the first day plans were under way for 
finishing the entire fourth floor of the Central Building — 
bedrooms, art studio, and infirmary, all of which had been 

58 History of Meredith College 

left unfinished. Until these bedrooms could be made ready 
and the Adams house repaired and equipped, the Central 
Building — later called Main Building — was chaotically 
crowded. The students of 1899-1900 have vivid memories of 
those first few days. In 1911, when she held the awesome 
office of lady principal at Meredith, Rosa Catherine Paschal, 
'02, wrote in the alumnae department of the Acorn: 

Don't you girls remember how you had to walk around piles of 
lumber and stumble over adzes, saws, and hammers, as you passed 
through the halls that first opening in 1899? We had expected all 
things to be in readiness for us, but we found no bedsteads in our 
rooms and no shades to our windows. We couldn't go into the hall 
to dress, for there were the carpenters, the electricians, the jani- 
tors, the visitors, and the faculty passing back and forth. After a 
few days Mrs. Kesler and Dr. Dixon, perhaps impelled by views 
from the street, got wrapping paper and pasted it over our 

Speaking of no bedsteads, I wonder if it was any of you who 
went to sleep one night in a room with two mattresses on the floor 
and woke up the next morning to find that three other mattresses 
and six other girls had been put in during the night. 

Another student was even less fortunate, sharing a room 
for several nights with nine other occupants. 

Yet the confusion that existed did not reign, even those 
first few days. The first student to register, Gertrude 
Gunter — then of Wake County, later of Charlotte — wrote 
years afterwards: 

A shy, timid covmtry girl, I felt still smaller as I viewed the 
building that looked so massive and elegant. Notwithstanding my 
timidity, I was thrilled in the realization that my dream had come 
to pass. A new college, a new building, a sea of new faces! Stepping 
from my former environment into such a high and dignified alti- 
tude made a new world for me. 

And Margaret Ferguson Sackett, '04, wrote to the Twig in 

I shall never forget my impression of the intricacies of Old 
Main's architecture, with its many turrets and gables, nor that of 
East Building, with its walnut woodwork, spacious halls, high 
ceilings. Not one feature of its grandeur escaped my admiring 
gaze, and to this day I measure my standards of a handsome resi- 
dence by comparison with the East Building. 

The enthusiastic account which the News and Observer 
on September 28 gave of the opening had as a headline, 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 59 

"From the Hearts of Its People 
It Sprang Full Grown in a Single Day." 
The enrollment was "better than its most sanguine friends 
had expected," breaking all records for the opening of a 
denominational college in the South for men or women. At 
ten o'clock, students, faculty, trustees, and townspeople 
gathered in chapel for the occasion. Most of the dignitaries 
of the town were present. With no formal program planned, 
there were for an hour and a half, the reporter wrote, 
"brief, bright, impromptu talks." It was fitting that the first 
words spoken to the first assembly of the new college were 
from the Scriptures, and that they were followed by prayer. 
Following this reading by A. M. Simms and prayer by J. W. 
Carter, pastor of the First Baptist Church, President Blasin- 
game, introduced by John E. White, secretary of the Con- 
vention, spoke for the faculty concerning the place of the 
new institution. He said that the school had already proved 
a blessing to the state in the stimulation of activity in other 
schools.^ Its distinctive field of work would make of it a 
friend rather than a rival to any other school. Thomas E. 
Skinner gave a sketch of the history of the Baptist Female 
University and told of the unanimous election of its presi- 
dent. Others followed — C. H. Mebane, superintendent of 
public instruction, who made a plea for teachers for "the 
thousands of boys and girls who will never know what it is 
to enter such an institution"; Charles F. Meserve, president 
of Shaw University; Joseph E. Brown, president of the 
Citizens' National Bank, who spoke for the denominations 
other than Baptist in Raleigh; E. P. Moses, superintendent 
of the public schools of Raleigh; Henry C. Dockery of 
Rockingham, a leader in the Convention; and Joseph D. 
Boushall and N. B. Broughton, both trustees, who repre- 
sented the Baptist churches of Raleigh. 

The assembly closed with the singing of "Praise God 
from Whom All Blessings Flow." One of the students told of 
seeing tears of joy on the faces of men and women in the 
chapel who had toiled to make possible this great day. 

With the tears of joy were mingled tears of sorrow, be- 

1 Oxford and Chowan had each reported to the Recorder a record-breaking 
number of students that fall. 

60 History of Meredith College 

cause the man who should have been the heart and center 
of it all, who had done most for the school in its darkest 
days, could not share in this day of triumph. Too ill to 
travel, Oliver Larkin Stringfield had tried to come from 
Charlotte for the opening and had collapsed in the Raleigh 
station. In the one small room used temporarily for an 
infirmary Dr. Dixon had pronounced his illness typhoid 
fever, and the next morning — the day before the opening — 
he had been taken to Rex Hospital, where he was for weeks 
on the edge of death. The fervent prayers offered in chapel 
were multiplied all over the state. When there seemed 
virtually no hope for recovery, J. D. Hufham wrote to Mrs. 
Stringfield: "String won't die. He never does anything like 
anybody else would do." For more than thirty years 
"String" lived to prove the truth of the prophecy. 

After the assembly, the visitors were shown over the 
Central Building, on the first floor of which were adminis- 
trative offices, living quarters for the president and his 
family, dining room and kitchen, laboratories and class- 
rooms; on the second floor more classrooms (for elementary 
grades, preparatory, college, and graduate work), the 
chapel, and the parlors, with two or three cubby-hole bed- 
rooms for teachers; on the third and the fourth floor, bed- 
rooms. The infirmary and the art studio, neither of which 
was then finished, were also to be on the fourth floor. Later 
generations dubbed the building "a Gothic monstrosity," 
but the News and Observer voiced the popular opinion in 
calling it "a delight to the eye, being the most handsome 
school building in the South." A few years later, when the 
Presbyterians were planning for a college in Charlotte, the 
editor of Charity and Children wrote: "We would advise 
the brethren to copy the beautiful building in Raleigh as 
closely as possible, for it is well-nigh perfect." 

The enthusiasm for the University building is under- 
standable when one considers that colleges for women were 
not infrequently housed in made-over residences and oc- 
casionally in old church buildings donated for the purpose. 
In a southern state the capital of which had been moved to 
another city, the abandoned capitol was in 1900 converted 
into a woman's college. 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 61 

While the visitors exclaimed in admiration and the trust- 
ees guiding them beamed with joy, the faculty turned again 
after the assembly to the task which they had begun the 
evening before and which continued for several days — 
classifying the students. It was a difficult task, for there 
were no entrance certificates and virtually no high school 
records to be consulted. A large number of students were 
not fully prepared for the regular college course and had to 
take part or all of their work in preparatory courses. For 
instance, there were thirty-seven students in two classes of 
preparatory rhetoric as compared with forty-four in the two 
sections of first-year college English. Thirty-nine were in 
preparatory classes in Latin as compared with fifteen in 
first-year college Latin. Such a proportion was the rule 
rather than the exception in most North Carolina colleges 
then, because the only public high schools were locally 
supported; in 1900 there were only thirty of these in the 
state. Raleigh, for instance, did not have a public high school 
until 1904. Hence, in addition to private and denominational 
academies, most colleges had preparatory departments with 
more students, in many cases, than were enrolled in the 
regular college classes.^ 

There were other difficulties in classification. Of those 
who were ready for the college course, some were dismayed 
by the entrance examinations required in English, Latin, 
mathematics, and history, and by the requirement of these 
subjects for a degree. Moreover, some of the young ladies 
wanted to take all the extras — as music, art, and elocution 
were called — and nothing else. Some wanted typing and 
shorthand without the arithmetic and English required in 
the one-year business course. 

In one way or another all the wrinkles were straightened 
out, so that President Blasingame could write to the Re- 
corder on October 23, less than a month after school 
opened: "In spite of the confusion necessary to the begin- 
ning of a large institution, the college work has been or- 
ganized and is going on as smoothly as if years of experience 
were behind us." 

" There are a few alumni of the school, for boys were admitted through 
the seventh grade. 

62 History of Meredith College 

In the First Annual Announcement had appeared the 
following explanation of the listing of courses offered : 

It will be observed that no limit as to time has been placed upon 
the subjects studied. This is purposely planned from long experi- 
ence. Some students can do more work in a given time than others; 
and should therefore have the opportunity. Students will take up 
the subjects consecutively as indicated. Fifteen hours per w^eek 
will be required of all from time of entrance till graduation. All 
subjects marked "required" must be pursued, others are elective. 
From this it will be seen that what is planned as a four years' 
course for the average student may be done in a shorter or longer 
time, owing to the aptness and application of the individual 

Though the listing of courses in the Announcement is not 
quite clear and consistent, from that list, from President 
Blasingame's report, and from statements of teachers and 
students of that first year, it is evident that Latin, English, 
mathematics, history, psychology and physiology were to be 
required for a degree; and that the other courses offered — 
Greek, French, German, Spanish, biology, chemistry, geolo- 
gy, physics, pedagogy, logic, and ethics — were elective. The 
courses in business, art, music, and elocution — the last three 
being called schools — were described in detail, but not until 
the announcement for 1900-1901 was mention made of 
certificates and diplomas for these courses. 

Most of the classes met five times a week that first year; 
chemistry met three times; biology and physiology twice. 

For a new school with a debt and no endowment, the 
faculty was, in the main, remarkably good. The Keslers — 
he in science, she in history — made such a deep impression 
on the institution that it is hard to realize that they stayed 
only three years. His enthusiasm and scholarliness more 
than compensated for the deplorable lack of scientific equip- 
ment that first year. A large part of the summer of 1900 he 
spent gathering specimens of fungi, his especial interest, 
Mrs. Kesler, although handicapped by a library virtually 
non-existent, made of history a vital subject. Both Mr. and 
Mrs. Kesler had taught in Baptist schools in the South. She 
was from Missouri; he was a native North Carolinian, the 
brother of M. L. Kesler, who was a trustee of the school 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 63 

from 1896 to 1927 and for many years general manager of 
the Baptist orphanage in Thomasville. 

The school had several links with the other Baptist 
schools in the state. From Oxford College came Ida Poteat, 
who was for forty years Meredith's great treasure. She was 
a sister of William Louis Poteat, so long associated with 
Wake Forest College. She had been graduated from the 
Raleigh Female Seminary before studying art at the Chase 
School in New York. Closely associated with Miss Poteat 
was Sadie Perry who had studied and later taught at 
Chowan. Before coming to the new school, she had studied 
Latin at Radcliffe; and while teaching she was granted a 
leave of absence to do further study at the same institution. 
Miss Poteat and Miss Perry evidently did much to help the 
girls feel at home in their new surroundings. Gertrude 
Gunter was not the only one who remembered with grati- 
tude the brightness of Miss Perry's smile and Miss Poteat's 
"beauty and sweetness of character, like a madonna." From 
Chowan also there came a member of the music faculty, 
Julia Brewer, a graduate of the New England Conservatory 
of Music. She was a daughter of John B. Brewer, the man 
chosen in 1893 as president of the Baptist Female Uni- 
versity, who had been from 1891 to 1897 president of 
Chowan College. Lovie Lee Jones, also a teacher of piano, 
and Hattie Farrior, teacher of the courses in business, were 
the youngest of the faculty, and were new to college teach- 

At the end of the year Miss Farrior left to marry Dr. 
Charles G. Crider of Goldsboro. Miss Jones went to Peace 
College, where for more than fifty years she was valued as 
was Miss Poteat at Meredith. Miss Perry in 1904 married 
R. C. Josey of Scotland Neck and made her home in that 
town till her death in 1963. Miss Brewer also married in 
1904. She spent her last years in Rockingham with her 
daughter, Betty Thomasson London, '39. 

These North Carolinians had followed the conventional 
Victorian pattern for women. Music, art, languages, stenog- 
raphy — these were accepted fields into which a woman who 
left the safe shelter of home could venture. But Elizabeth 

64 History of Meredith College 

Delia Dixon in becoming a physician in the nineties went 
into a field which made of a woman an object of curiosity, 
if not of suspicion. The trustees were pleased with her 
brilliant record at the Woman's Medical College in Phila- 
delphia, with her first place in the North Carolina State 
Board examination, and with her travels in Europe and 
the Orient. They were doubtless more pleased with her 
reassuring background as the daughter of a well-known 
Baptist preacher, Thomas Dixon, of Shelby, who during his 
ministry of seventy years baptized more than five thousand 
converts. The trustees needed this reassurance when the 
"female lady doctress," as she was sometimes called, proved 
a vigorous advocate of woman suffrage. 

Radiant vigor marked everything Dr. Dixon did and was 
during her thirty-four years at the College. Her course in 
physiology and her famous hygiene lectures were begun 
that first year. Her own magnificent physique was a power- 
ful aid in carrying out her often expressed determination 
to "take the halo from around a pill," a determination 
which helped to create the wholesome attitude toward 
health which has always marked the college. 

With her conservative background and her liberal 
breadth of interests. Dr. Dixon was a link between the 
stabilizing influence of those brought up in the traditions of 
North Carolina Baptists, those who, in Julia Brewer Thom- 
asson's words, had "a common heritage"; and those who 
"were assembled from the four corners of the globe," whose 
differences in background and experience kept the new 
school from being provincial and ingrowing. 

Older than most of the faculty, with a quiet poise which 
came from experience in several other colleges and from 
two years' study in Germany, Susan Elizabeth Young, of 
Tennessee, teacher of modern languages, kept clear of any 
faculty conflicts and furnished a steadiness which the new 
college needed. With a bearing and personality to command 
respect, she was a natural choice as dean when that office 
was created the second year of the school. The older alum- 
nae link her with Miss Ida and Dr. Dixon, and her death in 
1928, eleven years after she left Meredith, was to them a 
personal sorrow. 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 65 

Sophie Reynolds, a native of New York State, who mar- 
ried after one year on the faculty, had a variety of diplomas 
and degrees which sound strange to twentieth-century 
ears — Bachelor of Literature from Alfred University, Mas- 
ter of Literature from Bryn Mawr, "a diploma for general 
culture" and a teacher's diploma from the Curry School of 
Expression. She, too, had traveled in Europe. She almost 
equaled Dr. Dixon in her untiring vigor. She had eleven 
students in elocution and a physical education class com- 
posed of all the students in the University, which met twice 
a week for an hour's drill. When she had charge of the 
daily walk required of the entire student body, it is said that 
fat girls and lazy girls despaired of keeping up with her 
nimble feet. 

Evalina K. Patten, of Nova Scotia, trained in Acadia 
University and in Harvard, supplemented her teaching of 
two students in Greek with one class in grammar and two 
classes in arithmetic. Perhaps the variety of work dis- 
couraged a long stay at the school; perhaps the unusual 
beauty and charm which several students recall led her 
elsewhere; for after two years at the Female University she 
married a professor in the University of Chicago. 

Miss Patten's two classes in arithmetic must have fur- 
nished a welcome relief to Larkin Douglas Watson, who, 
in addition to five hours a day of teaching mathematics, 
did the bursar's work, aided only by a student assistant. A 
graduate of the University of Georgia, he had gone as an 
instructor to Holbrook Normal College with Dr. Blasingame 
and thence to the new school. With leave of absence for 
graduate work at Harvard he stayed until 1912, serving as 
dean from 1904. He wrote in 1950 that as director of the 
junior college faculty of Riverside Military Institute in 
Gainesville, Georgia, he had welcomed the sons of several 
Meredith alumnae. 

English also had need of Miss Patten's help, for Mrs. 
H, E. Stone taught four hours of college English a day and 
two forty-minute periods of preparatory work, with 103 
students. A native of Kentucky with an M.A. from Connecti- 
cut Literary Institute, she was an experienced teacher when 
she came to the University from Chillicothe, Ohio. Madame 

66 History of Meredith College 

Stone, as she liked to be called, evidently did not concern 
herself greatly with the drudgery of teaching students to 
write correctly; but she had a dramatic gift which made 
literature live for her students. Though one student wrote 
that she was "the essence of correctness in everything as 
well as in English," another remembers vividly the spit 
curls which she industriously made or refurbished as the 
class proceeded. 

Henri Appy, a Hollander, was head of the school of music 
and taught piano, violin, and theory; his wife, an American, 
taught voice. Among other dazzling accomplishments, he 
had been for six years conductor of the Amsterdam Acade- 
my of Music. Coming with recommendations superlative 
almost beyond belief, he lived up to all that had been said of 
his musical ability; he and his wife were good teachers and 
extraordinarily good performers. Evidently, however, his 
background did not fit him for teaching in a small, conserva- 
tive college. 

Soon after the beginning of the session, because of the 
large number of music students, Henry Gruhler, a German 
from Philadelphia, was engaged to teach piano; in January 
his wife was also added to the music faculty as a teacher of 
voice. Like the Appys, the Gruhlers were excellent mu- 
sicians; but from the first there was jealousy and ill feeling 
between the two men, ill feeling which a few weeks before 
commencement culminated in an actual fight in the hall of 
Main Building. The Gruhlers left immediately; the Appys at 
the end of the year, though after her husband's death a few 
years later, Mrs. Appy returned to the faculty for a short 

A Virginian, with normal school training and with ex- 
perience as teacher and principal, Lillian Eckloff was 
principal of the University Academy, which that year con- 
sisted of seventeen boys and girls above the third grade. 

Mrs. Mary Seay, a first cousin to Annie Armstrong, for 
whom the Home Mission offering of the Woman's Mission- 
ary Union was named, was housekeeper in the new institu- 
tion; and Mrs. Laura B. Watson — like Mrs. Seay, a widow — 
was matron. Marjorie Kesler Thomson, '02, aptly charac- 
terized them as "fine women of the homespun variety, 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 67 

which, in my opinion, is the best yet." The work of both 
matron and housekeeper was the harder because of inade- 
quate equipment. There were too few dishes, too few cook- 
ing utensils, too little shelf and table space in the kitchen 
for what they did have. 

In her reminiscences Gertrude Gunter gave a student's 
impression of her teachers that first year. 

When I think of the faculty, I see the faces of Dr. Blasingame, 
Mr. Watson, Mr. and Mrs. Kesler, Miss Young, Miss Perry, Dr. 
Dixon, Miss Ida Poteat and Mrs. Stone. I know the sound of their 
voices as well as if I should hear them reproduced on a record. I 
entertained a reverent respect for all of them. I admired them for 
their learning and their patience. I'm grateful that they did not let 
me get by with lessons iinleamed. This was ironclad. However, no 
ill feelings were engendered. Firmness linked with kindness was 
their attitude with reference to our work and conduct. 

Students and faculty felt the enthusiasm of pioneers who 
had the honor and responsibility of shaping the pattern of 
life in a new institution with what Dr. Kesler fifty years 
later called "a freedom from tradition that was glorious." 
There was, of course, some friction, and mistakes were 
inevitable; but, in the main, students and faculty worked 
well and lived happily together. Mrs. R. C. Josey, Sr. ( Sadie 
Perry) wrote half a century later: "I loved every member 
of that first faculty. We seemed like a happy family." Evi- 
dently the statement in the First Annual Announcement, 
that college life was ''expected to be essentially a home 
life," was no mere flourish of rhetoric. Gertrude Gunter 
wrote of the student body: 

There were not so many that any were strangers, but enough not 
to become monotonous. Some were financially handicapped; others 
had too much money to do their best work. A few were brilliant, 
some mediocre; some studious, others not so studious. A few were 
very dignified, others jolly and cheerful. Lessons studied in little 
groups to more quickly solve the more knotty problems, laughter 
and fun when tasks were done, day by day — these oiled our mental 
machinery and our tired bodies as well. 

On the whole, there was a vein of seriousness, a feeling that the 
most should be made of our time and advantages in preparation 
for the real responsibility awaiting us when college was over. 

In "Long, Long Ago" in the Alumnae Magazine of July, 
1949, Margaret Shields Everett gave vivid glimpses of col- 

68 History of Meredith College 

lege life that first year. Her all-day train trip from Scotland 
Neck to Raleigh was enlivened by a number of Wake Forest 
boys and by her first taste of "a new beverage, coca-cola." 
She and her six or eight companions were taken from the 
railway station to the school in hacks — the forerunners of 
taxis. Her account continued: 

Rooms were furnished in "golden oak" — dresser, student's table, 
chairs, a washstand on which were a large bowl and pitcher, soap 
dish, small pitcher for drinking water, and a drinking cup. 

The day began with an early breakfast, and a good one. Mrs. 
Seay was an excellent dietitian, although I doubt if ever she used 
the word. We came down to breakfast in our "tea jackets," dainty 
little lace-trimmed garments resembling the present-day bed 
jacket. Otherwise we were perfectly groomed, hair arranged in 
the style of the day — pompadour, rats, and all. We sat in com- 
panies of sixteen at each table, with two faculty members who su- 
pervised our deportment. 

Each day . . . we gathered in chapel for devotional exercises. 
Mrs. Appy directed the singing; the choir was composed of her 
"sight singing group." What an inspiration she was! It was in these 
chapel periods that we learned the value of turning aside from the 
rush of college life to gain the much needed spiritual uplift. At 
these chapel periods we heard talks by distinguished citizens and 
prominent laymen — Governor Aycock, Mr. John T. Pullen, Mr. 
John E, Ray, Mr. Livingston Johnson, Miss Fannie E. S. Heck, and 

Each afternoon from five to six o'clock the entire student body 
was required to walk, accompanied by a teacher. We shopped on 
Monday mornings in groups of ten or twelve, accompanied by a 
teacher. We rarely missed a chance to go shopping, as this was our 
one opportunity to see the "styles of the day" — the only time we 
were allowed to go on Fayetteville Street. And yet we thought 
nothing of student privileges or regulations. We were required to 
wear the standard college cap, the mortar-board, that first year. 
This was a pet plan of Dr. Blasingame. We did rebel at this require- 
ment, since it was wholly out of keeping with our Victorian 
dresses. The regulation was abolished after the first year. 

Most of the early alumnae agree with Mrs. Everett that they 
were not irked by the regulations. "In that nun-like exis- 
tence," one wrote, "I was happy as a bird." 

When they went shopping, there was plenty of time for 
seeing "the styles of the day," since, as Rosa Paschal said, 
"the girl who wanted a paper of pins had to stay as long as 
the girl who bought two hats, a coat suit, and a pair of 
shoes." She remembered going to town to match a spool of 

First Faculty of the Baptist Female University 

J. C. Blasingame, M.A., Ped.D., President 

I. Miss Ida Poteat, Art Department; 2. Miss Sadie T. Perry, 
Latin; 3. Miss Lillian A. Eckloff, Principal University Academy; 
4. Henri Appy, Piano, Violin, Theory; 5. Mrs. Henri Appy, Voice 
Culture; 6. J. L. Kesler, M.A., Natural Science; 7. Mrs. Kate 
Hays Kesler, M.A., History and Economics; 8. Miss Hattie Far- 
rior, Stenography and Typewriting; 9. Miss Evalina K. Patten, 
M.A., Greek and Ethics; 10. Mrs. Laura B. Watson, Matron; 

II. Miss Delia Dixon, M.D., Physiology and Resident Physician; 
12. L. D. Watson, A.B., Mathematics and Bursar; 13. Mrs. H. E. 
Stone, English and Literature; 14. Henry Gruhler, Piano; 15. 
Mrs. Henry Gruhler, Voice Culture; 16. Miss Lovie Lee Jones, 
Assistant in Music; 17. Miss S. E. Young, Modern Languages; 
18. Miss Julia Brewer, Assistant in Music; 19. Miss Sophie 
Reynolds, M.L., Elocution and Expression. 





































































3 ^' 





, (U 











"Full Grown in a Single Day" 69 

thread and staying five hours because she couldn't come 
home till the chaperon came, even though the University 
was only one block northeast from the capitol square, with 
Fayetteville Street beginning on the south side of the 

Permissions for shopping and visiting were obtained 
from the matron. Permissions to go out of town had to be 
given by the president, and he or some other male member 
of the faculty went with the student to the train and met 
her on her return. One father wrote of his daughter: "I do 
not want her to go anywhere or see anybody except in the 
presence of the faculty." To the president's care most of the 
students were entrusted personally; and he had endless 
correspondence with parents about them, with letters rang- 
ing from the dismay of a father whose daughter eloped from 
a picnic which the First Baptist Sunday School held on 
General Carr's farm to a request that the president go to the 
depot and arrange for Mary to be refunded the difference 
between two single tickets and a round-trip rate. One 
wonders when he found time to teach Uncle Fabius how to 
manage the furnace or deal with Delaney Dunn, whose 
cooking was excellent but whose high temper frequently 

The school lived up to Mr. Stringfield's determination 
that it should provide the best at the lowest possible cost; 
for tuition was only $52.50, and room, board, laundry, and 
medical fee were $113.00 — making a total of only $165.50. 
However, even this was beyond the reach of many; to 
President Blasingame had come numberless pathetic ap- 
peals, sometimes illiterately written in pencil on ruled tab- 
let paper. The two which follow are typical of such appeals : 

The figures were so far ahead of what I expected them to be 
until I am almost discouraged, and do not see any way for me to 
attend your school. Papa could not give me over 25 dollars. ... If 
you wish to know whether I am nice and reliable or not, you can 
write our minister. 

I am a poor Baptist preacher with six children, five of them 
girls, and a salary not much more than it would cost to send one 
of them to your school for a year. 

70 History of Meredith College 

Two sisters wrote : 

We understand that poor girls not able to educate themselves 
are allowed to enter that school. . . . We heard Rev. O. L. String- 
field lecture here once, and in his lecture he said, "If you have 
the money, all right; if you haven't got the money, all right"; and 
we have studied over that lecture a great deal and thought 
probably he meant that if girls were too poor to pay their way, 
there would be arrangements made for them to go anyway. 

Some were more demanding than appealing. 

I don't feel I am able to pay this much, and also I can get my 
daughter in and get all you offer for V2 the amount at other 

Another ran: 

She is at now, she went on a guarntee that if she was 

not satisfied she could come home free of coUedge Exspences and 
her R.R. fare. 

Among offers to do various kinds of work were these two : 

Are you willing to take two girls in school and let them continue 
until they graduate — then work and pay back to the college what 
they spend? They would be willing to stay right on in the college 
and teach. 

I am willing to do most anything in order to go to school. I will 
teach or do any easy work there I can to pay you for all my 

To needy students, aid was given in different ways. A 
loan fund of a few hundred dollars was soon exhausted. The 
trustees allowed notes for tuition to be given by twenty 
girls; and twelve waited on the tables, thus reducing their 
board by eight dollars a month. 

More far-reaching in its value was the plan whereby girls 
unable to meet the full expenses could prepare and serve 
their own meals. Forty-two girls that first year roomed in 
the Adams house — later called East Building — paying only 
ten dollars room rent for the year and dividing each month 
among themselves the actual cost of meals. This varied from 
month to month; it averaged the first year $3.51, and the 
second year continued to be less than four dollars. Such a 
small amount was the more remarkable since a student tak- 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 71 

ing the preparatory work, Margaret Ferguson,^ bought 
the provisions and planned and supervised the work of the 
kitchen and dining room. Miss Eckloff had charge of the 
girls in the building. 

Thus came into existence the Club,^ which in the thirty- 
two years of its existence was to make a contribution to the 
life of the College significant beyond its financial aspect, 
important as that was. 

It was fitting that in an institution which, in the words of 
Miss Heck, "had been planned, prayed, sacrificed into exis- 
tence" — the bricks of which were "cemented with tears, the 
roof upheld by prayers" — the first extracurricular gather- 
ing of the students should be a prayer meeting. It must have 
been begun the week after school opened, for President 
Blasingame in a letter written to the Recorder on October 
23 said it was organized "a few Sundays since" with the 
aid and encouragement of one of the teachers. "The zeal and 
enthusiasm with which the young ladies entered into the 
work," he wrote, "has been evidenced by the interested 
faces upturned to Miss Fannie Heck on yesterday when she 
gave them a beautiful talk on Christian Living, and the 
ready responses which dozens gave to the call for testi- 

Shortly afterwards a missionary society was organized, 
with Margaret Shields as president and Ethel Barnes as 
secretary. In December Miss Heck read to the annual state 
meeting of the Woman's Missionary Union held in Asheville 
a message from this newest society, asking the interest and 
prayers of that body and pledging "our earnest zeal in the 
field of missions and our faithful efforts to manifest in our 
work the Spirit of Him Who is our Master." The Meredith 
Y.W.A. could trace its ancestry to this B.F.U. grandmother. 

Miss Heck, whose work in the founding of the school had 
been of inestimable value, was a vital influence in its life. 
The trustees had been eager that she should accept the 

2 In 1963 her husband, Walter G. Sackett, who had taught science at the 
Baptist Female University when she was a student, gave $1,000 to a scholar- 
ship fund in memory of his wife. 

* No other connotation of the word troubled the authorities or the students, 
but an irate parent wrote, "I seriously object to club rooms, particularly for 
her age, for she is simply a child in years. I cannot allow her to go in a club 
room so young." 

72 History of Meredith College 

position of lady principal; and when, after serious con- 
sideration, she decided that she must continue to devote 
herself to the cause of missions, they still hoped that "she 
would have close relations with the college in the capacity 
of the missionary work of the Institution and perhaps in 
conducting the Bible class." 

Of the relationship Foy Johnson Farmer wrote : 

We alumnae of early days can testify that Miss Heck did have 
close relations with the college, though never in an official ca- 
pacity. Many an inspiring talk she made at chapel or Y.W.C.A. 
meetings; she started us out in voluntary Bible classes and mission 
study classes; her lovely hospitable home was always open to the 
students; once she was a guest of the college for two weeks, and 
the time was spent in personal contacts with the students. 

Her interest in the activities of the school was not limited 
to the religious aspect, for from 1904 till her death in 1915 
she offered each year a gold medal in the department of art. 

In his letter of October 23 President Blasingame also 
reported the organization of "two Literary Clubs under the 
guidance of Mrs. H. E. Stone, our gifted and versatile 
teacher of English." The students were divided alphabeti- 
cally; half the girls whose names began with A were in one 
society, half in the other, and so on through the alphabet. 
The colorless designations of "Club A" and "Club B" soon 
gave way to Astrotekton and Philaretian Literary Society. 
The Astrotektons chose from Young's Night Thoughts a 
motto appropriate to their name, "Too low they build who 
build beneath the stars"; the lovers of learning took as their 
motto Wordsworth's phrase, "Plain living and high think- 
ing." The flowers were the narcissus and the violet; the 
colors gold and white, and violet and white. ^ The colors 
were chosen because the College colors were violet and gold 
until 1904 when, at the suggestion of Jessie Louise Jones 
and W. G. Sackett, maroon and white were adopted as being 
more dignified. The College flower was then, as now, the 
iris. The original society songs, written to the music of the 
Watch on the Rhine and the Marseillaise were used until 

With no knowledge of parliamentary procedure, with no 

s In 1965 the Philaretian colors were changed to blue and white. 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 73 

money in the treasury, with only a classroom as a meeting 
place, each society nevertheless went to work with en- 
thusiasm, eager to carry out the purpose the Astrotektons 
stated in the first issue of the Oak Leaves in 1904 — "the 
purpose of inspiring each other with a love for literature 
and with a desire to promote the higher principles of self 
government and self control." Until 1920 the societies met 
every Saturday night at 7:00 — a time incredible to the 
present day generation for anything in college to meet. But 
there were no automobiles, no buses, and only a few trains; 
so a college had not then become what has been called "a 
springboard for week ends." With Monday holiday as the 
only time when the students either went to town or re- 
ceived callers, with Tuesday's lessons still a comfortable 
distance away on Saturday night, attendance at society 
meetings was no problem. 

The activities of the new school were well under way 
before Mr. Stringfield was released from the hospital where 
he had been ill with typhoid since the day before the open- 
ing. He wrote to the Recorder an account of that first visit. 

On the 30th of November, 1899, a day I'll never forget, I ate 
dinner in the Central Building and supper in the University Club 
Building. It was no longer a dream, for with my own eyes I looked 
into the faces of the young women w^ho gathered here from one 
side of our State to the other, and among them a number who 
could never have entertained a hope of being educated but for the 
opening of the school. My gratitude was supreme. 

Students, faculty, and trustees gathered in chapel to do him 
honor. "When Mr. Stringfield's time came to speak," Mrs. 
Everett wrote concerning the day, "with a long sweep of 
his arm he came forward. 'I am the happiest man in North 
Carolina to-day,' he said, amid tears of joy, and 'Girls, girls, 
you are the most beautiful girls in all the world'." "And," 
she added, "we believed him!" 

As its founders had hoped, the institution became a part 
of the life of Raleigh, and school and city were fortunate in 
the relationship. The churches were cordial in their wel- 
come. On October 4 the Baptist churches gave a reception at 
the University in honor of the faculty, to which the faculties 
of the other schools and the pastors of the other churches 

74 History of Meredith College 

were invited. The News and Observer gave a long account of 
the occasion. 

People prominent in the social, religious, and business life of the 
city were present to meet and -welcome the newcomers to the city, 
and a steady tide of visitors moved through the brilliantly lighted 
halls and reception rooms of the university buildings during the 
hours that the festivities lasted. ... It was a source of regret to all 
that the young ladies of the school were not permitted to be pres- 
ent at the reception, except in the dining room, where refresh- 
ments were served to the guests. 

The young ladies must have been much better pleased 
when the Tabernacle Church, as part of the celebration of 
its twenty-fifth anniversary on November 22, served "lunch 
free of charge" to its members and friends from twelve to 
three o'clock, and to the faculty and young ladies of the 
Female University at five o'clock. 

The churches of Raleigh offered unusual opportunities 
to the students, a large number of whom had come from 
country churches with preaching once or twice a month. 
John E. Ray, superintendent of the State School for the 
Blind, taught the Corner Class, organized especially for the 
University students at the First Baptist, from its beginning 
till his death in 1918. Maude Reid, who was beginning what 
proved to be a long term of service with the Tabernacle 
Baptist Church, taught a class made up of College girls and 
town girls for the first year or two; after she gave up the 
class, A. H. Mooneyham was for many years teacher of the 
class for College girls only. Eventually the large classes at 
the Tabernacle and the First Church were divided into 
smaller ones. The annual outings of the two classes were 
happy events which became well established in the ac- 
tivities of the school. That first year the pastors of both 
churches were trustees of the school, and they and their 
congregations made real church homes for the students. In 
spite of the rigid school regulations, personal contacts were 
in some ways easier then than they are now, when the 
College and the churches are larger with the activities of 
both multiplied. 

That the influence of the churches was a vital one can be 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 75 

seen in a comment such as Margaret Ferguson Sackett made 
years later : 

Though I was a Methodist, I always enjoyed going to the Taber- 
nacle Church, where I gained more inspiration and more old- 
fashioned religion than at any other church it has been my privi- 
lege to attend. I should willingly have walked miles to hear Miss 
Rosa Broughton and her father sing "Dreams of Galilee." 

Most of the girls of other denominations attended their 
own churches; and as Methodists in the school have always 
ranked numerically next to Baptists, Edenton Street Metho- 
dist Church was always next to the First Baptist and the 
Tabernacle in the number of students attending. 

Only an occasional student with a real missionary spirit 
attended the third Baptist church in Raleigh, for its location 
on the corner of Fayetteville Street and South Street was 
off the beaten path for the Baptist University students, who 
walked to church. That church had, nevertheless, the 
strongest tie possible with the school; for it was John T. 
Pullen's church. Its official name was the Fayetteville 
Street Baptist Church;*^ its pastors came and went; but it was 
always known as "John Pullen's church," a church which 
Editor Bailey characterized as "the happiest in Raleigh." 
"He was the heart of it," the editorial in the Recorder 
continued, "and all the poor felt at home there in a degree 
that they could not feel in any other. . . . They could be 
neither pitied nor patronized there." No man in Raleigh 
ever more faithfully and joyfully ministered to the sick, 
the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked and the pris- 
oners than he, or was more concerned that the poor should 
have the gospel preached to them. He distributed hundreds 
of thousands of tracts and small copies of the gospels. He 
was a trustee of the College from 1901 till his death in 1913, 
but his special interest in the B.F.U. students began before 
the school opened. That interest originated, no doubt, in his 
affection for Mr. Stringfield, who at the time he became 
financial agent of the school was pastor of John Pullen's 

« It is now the Calvary Baptist Church and has been relocated far out on 
New Bern Avenue. The building on Fayetteville street is now used by the 
Raleigh Redevelopment Commission. 

76 History of Meredith College 

church. When Mr. Stringfield was carried to the hospital 
the day before school opened, his last sight, he wrote in his 
memoirs, was of "those helpless girls, standing in the win- 
dows, crying as if their hearts would break." They were 
girls whom he had urged to come even though they had no 
money, planning in some way to provide for them when 
they came. It was John T. Pullen who, learning of their 
dilemma, enabled "those helpless girls" to stay; and through 
the years many another girl owed her opportunity for an 
education to him. 

An early alumna, Mary Johnson Lambeth, '06, spoke for 
generations of students when she wrote: "In writing your 
history, be sure to mention kind Mr. Pullen and his gen- 
erosity to the girls. He visited us regularly, bringing candy 
and fruit." For years fruit and ice cream were served on the 
campus Monday afternoon of commencement to everyone 
who came — with no questions asked even of neighborhood 
children as to who they were or how many saucers they had 
had, and with no reference to "kind Mr. Pullen" who pro- 
vided the treat. 

To the Club girls especially he was a year-around Santa 
Claus, coming frequently to dinner or supper with them, 
and providing a treat of shad, steak, oysters, or chicken, 
with ice cream for dessert. John A. Gates, writing in the 
North Carolina Baptist of a visit to the school, where he 
found the students "such a beautiful collection of misses," 
was especially interested in the Club. 

Last month the girls paid less than $4.00 for board. You ask 
how this was. Well, economy and John T. Pullen are responsible 
for most of it. Brother Pullen is so modest. He just does these 
great things because he loves his Lord. 

The second year the president of the University wrote : 

Brother John T. Pullen, true to his reputation, is delighting 
himself with kindness and benefactions to our club girls. He has 
recently ordered gas for their parlor and carpeted their hall and 
main stairway. 

It was not only in Raleigh that the new school found a 
warm welcome. The relations between the two Baptist 
schools just seventeen miles apart were cordial. The Oc- 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 77 

tober Wake Forest Student reported a concert which "the 
ladies of the Hill" gave for the benefit of the new school. 
The Student listed the representatives of Wake Forest at the 
Raleigh school — Miss Julia Brewer of the music faculty; 
Jessie Brewer, Isabelle Gulley, and Joy Parker as regular 
students; and Ruth Wingate as a post-graduate student. The 
list could have included Hubert Poteat, then a short- 
trousered boy; for he, like several boys and men in Raleigh, 
including Dr. Hubert Royster, studied music at the Female 

It was Ruth Wingate (Mrs. E. W. Sikes), daughter of the 
president of Wake Forest preceding Dr. Taylor, who per- 
suaded the University faculty to give the students a holiday 
that first year to celebrate Wake Forest's victory over Trini- 
ty in a debate. 

In a letter to the Recorder giving Wake Forest news, 
President Taylor told of the reception which the woman's 
college gave Thanksgiving afternoon for its brother college. 
"The relations between our college for women and our col- 
lege for men will naturally become more intimate," he 
wrote. "May the Thanksgiving reception prove a happy 
omen for the future and a forerunner of many others." The 
editor of the Student wrote that at the reception "the tender 
buds of North Carolina womanhood appeared in all their 
radiance and beauty." 

Dr. W. R. Cullom, the first professor of Bible in Wake 
Forest, in a letter to the Recorder wrote of the relationship 
between the two colleges. The evening before the literary 
societies of Wake Forest celebrated their anniversary in 
February, the Appys, the Gruhlers, and Miss Reynolds gave 
a recital in the brother college. On the anniversary night, 
Dr. Cullom wrote, Dr. Blasingame presented "a most beauti- 
ful bouquet to the speakers from the girls in the woman's 
college with their 'sisterly affection'." The flowers bore 
ribbons representing the colors of both schools. "We are 
coming to feel," Dr. Cullom wrote, "that it is the most 
natural thing in the world to have our young and vigorous 
sister so near us, and the surprise is that she has not been 
there for many years already." It was not until the third 
year that the young ladies themselves were allowed to 

78 History of Meredith College 

come, so that the Student editor could write, "There is a 
J^; ladder extending from the Baptist school in Raleigh to 

/ Wake Forest, and angels come and go." 

Each of the Wake Forest societies had already shown 
brotherly affection by a gift of fifty dollars to the "young 
and vigorous sister." Their action doubtless inspired the gift 
of fifty dollars which came a few months later from the 
Dialectic Society of the University of North Carolina. 

From time to time there were lectures open to the public; 
Professor Kesler of the faculty. President Taylor from 
Wake Forest, Bernard W. Spilman of the Sunday School 
Board, and Thomas Hume from the University of North 
Carolina were among the speakers. The Recorder com- 
mented that Hume's lecture on Shakespeare, "brilliant, in- 
structive, and eloquent, charmed not only the entire school 
but a host of Raleigh people also." The lecturer, for a brief 
while a trustee of the Baptist University, wrote of his visit: 

I was impressed by the noble and beautiful building, by the 140 
boarding students, so earnest and studious, and by the fine teach- 
ers, three of whom I heard in the classroom in admirably con- 
ducted instructions. 

Though the lectures were well received, the entertain- 
ments of the departments of music and elocution drew to the 
school much larger audiences from Raleigh, and evidently 
pleased those audiences even more. Less than three weeks 
after school began, Mr. and Mrs. Appy and Miss Reynolds 
gave a recital that charmed an audience of seven hundred in 
the college chapel, which then seated only four hundred. 
"Somebody could always think up a recital for the music 
faculty to give," Julia Brewer Thomasson wrote long after- 
wards. In addition to her own solo work at these recitals, 
she was accompanist for Mr. and Mrs. Appy; hence the 
hours of practice were so long that "teaching almost became 
a side issue." In the spring students began to take part in 
recitals and concerts; a sacred concert by elocution and 
voice students especially pleased the audience. 

The climax of the year's work in these departments was 
reached in A Midsummer Night's Dream, given on April 23, 
Shakespeare's birthday, at the Raleigh Academy of Music. 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 79 

It was under the direction of Miss Reynolds, but the whole 
school joined efforts in producing it. The art department 
made the posters and helped with the pretty, carefully pre- 
pared programs bound in violet covers stamped with gold 
lettering and tied with tiny tinsel thread. A sketch of 
Shakespeare was on the first page inside, and each section 
had an appropriate quotation from the play. The English 
and music teachers helped train the characters, and Pro- 
fessor Gruhler played the complete score of Mendelssohn's 
incidental music. The costumes for the principal characters 
were ordered from New York; but making the costumes for 
the rest of the seventy-five characters was a prodigious 
task. A few days before the play, when the costumes and 
staging were far from completion, the whole school took two 
days' recess and worked frantically to finish them. 

The News and Observer, which praised unreservedly the 
whole performance, picked out for special commendation 
three characters — 'Tuck, a perfect conception of Miss Eloise 
Elizabeth McMinn; Bottom the Weaver, a superb imper- 
sonation rendered by Miss Jane Lewis Moore; and Oberon, 
King of the Fairies, a clever piece of dramatic work by a 
talented young Raleigh girl, Miss Claire Stainback." Two 
faculty members were among the actors — statuesque Dr. 
Dixon as Theseus and Mrs. Gruhler, a graceful, tiny blonde, 
as Titania. 

The trustees in their annual meeting in April, besides 
considering the ever-pressing burden of debt, were faced 
with a grave problem — the selection of a new president. Dr. 
Blasingame with his first annual report offered his resigna- 
tion, which the trustees accepted. Although in neither the 
trustees' minutes nor the Baptist papers is there any ex- 
planation or reason for his resignation, his presidency seems 
to have been a case of the square peg and the round hole. He 
was undoubtedly an able man. His five years at Jackson 
Institute in Georgia had brought that school from the verge 
of failure to a sound financial basis, increasing the student 
body from one hundred to three hundred. His stay at Hol- 
brook, though shorter, seems to have been successful. After 
his election to the Raleigh school, letters of congratulation 
to the Female University and to the Baptists of the State 

80 History of Meredith College 

had come from various sources. A part of one from his pas- 
tor in Jackson, G. W. Gardner, is indicative of the nature of 
these letters : 

Professor Blasingame is, to begin with, every inch a gentleman. 
He is as clear and as open and as courteous as one could be, and 
the beauty of it all is enhanced by the fact that his every action is 
marked by sincerity. . . . Professor Blasingame is one of the most 
energetic men I have ever known. He seems never to grow weary 
of hard work, and his enthusiasm knows no bounds. He loves his 
profession devotedly. . . . 

I was his pastor for several years and I never had a better mem- 
ber. He was teacher of the choir and superintendent of the Sun- 
day School, a true, tried and valuable friend to his pastor. He 
stood up like a man for the right, when had he been a time server, 
he would have yielded to other influences. . . . 

With his love for young people, devotion to his profession, his 
high sense of honour, and above all, his love for his Saviour, he 
will make even the lukewarm enthusiastic. 

Moreover, his brief administration of the Baptist Uni- 
versity proved his ability. That the school, with no endow- 
ment and with such small charges, met expenses that first 
year was not only "a miracle of faith," as the Recorder 
called it — it was a miracle of good management on the part 
of the administration. The records of those first years show 
that apparently the bursar, Mr. Watson, all of whose teach- 
ing and administrative experience had been under Dr. 
Blasingame, kept every check stub, every receipt, and 
copies of every letter concerning the simplest business 
transaction. There are no carbon copies of the first presi- 
dent's letters; but those which he received were filed, and 
each is marked with the date answered, usually a day after 
its arrival, rarely more than two or three days later. 

He had been well received when he came to North Caro- 
lina. The account in the minutes of the first meeting with 
the trustees after his arrival concluded, "The Board was 
very much impressed with the intelligence, energy, and 
spirit with which he took hold of the work." O. L. String- 
field had written in the Recorder of July 26 that he re- 
garded the newly elected president as "a scholarly Christian 
gentleman; a first-class business manager"; a man able to 
hold the attention of any audience, with "that tact the Lord 
gives to few men, to feel comfortable in the palace of a king 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 81 

or to make those feel comfortable who live in remote, rural 
districts"; a man trusting implicitly in the guidance of the 
Lord. The Recorder editor had welcomed him cordially. He 
was popular among the students; and his wife, a person of 
quiet charm, was also well liked. In a reminiscent letter to 
the Alumnae Magazine of June, 1968, Mary Perry Bedding- 
field, a member of the first graduating class, referred to 
"Dr. Blasingame, whom we all loved and admired." 

The beginning of any school presents difficulties even to 
the most seasoned educator; and Dr. Blasingame was young 
— only thirty-two — in spite of the long beard he wore then, 
which made him appear so venerable. Moreover, he ac- 
quired a reputation which did not endear him to the good, 
homespun element so important among North Carolina 
Baptists — the reputation of being a dude. The white kid 
gloves he wore to the Convention were remembered after 
his effective speech was forgotten. In a sketch of her hus- 
band written in 1949, Mrs. Blasingame told a delightful 
anecdote that showed this same criticism and the spirited 
humor with which he met it. Because his hair was thinning 
on top, he parted it in the middle. 

But on hearing that some of his out-city patrons had 
spoken disparagingly of having an intellectual dude that 
parted his hair in the middle as president of their new 
college, he promptly announced in chapel, 

If parting my hair in the middle makes my brother to offend, 
I will part no hair while the w^orld stands. 

His youth and boundless energy, with no precedents 
established in the school to guide him, doubtless led him 
into rash decisions and hasty actions. Moreover, his youth 
and self-confidence aroused antagonism in some of the more 
settled members of the faculty, especially Professor Kesler, 
whose age, ability, and experience seemed to some to fit 
him for the presidency. Mrs. Thomasson wrote that the 
weekly faculty meetings were invariably marked by heated 
arguments between the two. 

These conflicts in custom and opinion could, no doubt, 
have been worked out; there was, however, a difference 
between President Blasingame and the trustees too deep- 

82 History of Meredith College 

rooted to be adjusted — a fundamental difference in their 
ideas of the kind of school the Baptist Female University 
was to be. Though he had been president of the Y.M.C.A. 
in the University of Georgia and had been active in church 
work wherever he went, nothing in his education or teach- 
ing had given him any experience in a denominational 
school. In his report to the trustees he wrote: 

We do not compel the young ladies to go to church or Sunday 
School, yet all go very regularly. When we see one remiss we talk 
kindly with her and urge her to go — if she is a Christian, for 
Christ's sake, if she is not a Christian that she might come to be. 
In all these matters we act upon the theory that the religion of 
Christ is a religion of love and not of force and compulsion. I 
might say here that our discipline is founded upon the same idea. 
You may force young women when under your eyes to a certain 
course of action, but if their spirits are curbed by superior force of 
w^ill simply, as soon as they escape personal supervision, reaction 
sets in and you have a dangerous pupil to deal with. On the other 
hand, if love and reason can succeed in stirring up the best im- 
pulses of the heart, a power is developing stronger than any other 
force that can possibly be brought to bear from the outside, and 
you have pupils in ^vhom you may safely trust. 

Those who founded and supported the Baptist University 
believed that in a school made possible, in Dr. Hufham's 
words, "through faith in Him from whom it came, for whom 
it lives, and by whom it is guided and governed," a school 
"founded in faith and hallowed in prayer," religious ser- 
vices were equal in importance with classes; and that 
there was equal or greater reason for requiring students to 
attend them. 

With the underlying principle of discipline stated in the 
report, no right-thinking person would disagree. Charles E. 
Brewer once said that the ideal school would have only one 
regulation — the Golden Rule, as would the ideal nation, 
or any ideal group. But among the University girls there 
were, as was to be expected, some too immature or too inex- 
perienced, and a few too frivolous to be ideal students. 
The maturer, more serious students were troubled by the 
noisy behavior and unruliness of the "play set," which, un- 
checked and apparently unnoticed by the President, began 
to spread. Beulah Bowden, *02, wrote that a little group of 
these more serious girls more than once gathered to con- 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 83 

sider the situation. They were disappointed in "not having 
some standard of behavior that would be worthy of a 
Baptist Female University," and they desired that "the con- 
duct of Christian girls should be in keeping with the ex- 
pectations of the Baptist constituency who had made such 
sacrificial gifts to the institution." The same feeling pre- 
vailed among the more conservative members of the fac- 
ulty and in the Board of Trustees, and inevitably there 
came to be criticism of the school and its president among 

Consistent with his conception of discipline were his 
academic ideas, and these were even more at variance with 
the ideals of the founders. The first advertisement of the 
school in the News and Observer, in addition to an an- 
nouncement of the new and elegant building and the finest 
advantages in music and elocution, announced also "elective 
courses leading to the A.B. and A.M. degrees." In the letter 
already mentioned, Mrs. Blasingame wrote of her husband 
as an educator, "His main interest was in the elective sys- 
tem of courses of study." In the First Annual Announce- 
ment, which he prepared, only English composition and 
literature, psychology, and physiology and hygiene are 
listed as required for graduation; whereas from the reports 
of faculty and students and from his annual report to the 
trustees it is clear that to those requirements there were 
added, as has already been noted. Latin, mathematics, and 
history. Evidently even before the institution opened there 
had been a compromise between the president and the 

Apparently the compromise satisfied neither. On October 
13, less than three weeks after the beginning of the session, 
President Blasingame called a meeting of the executive 
committee of the trustees "to consider the matter of the cur- 
riculum of the university." The minutes of the committee 
contain the following account of the meeting : 

President Blasingame submitted the curriculum as proposed by 
himself prepared under the idea of the executive committee as he 
understood them. He did the same, and it was considered. 
The following resolutions of Brother Bailey were adopted: 
Resolved: That the requirements for the B.A. degree as stated 

84 History of Meredith College 

in the Wake Forest College catalogue for 1898-1899 be adopted as 
requirements for the B.A. degree in the Baptist Female Univer- 
sity, and that these requirements be posted in the university. 

That Professor Poteat be instructed to interview the members 
of the faculty, to visit the institution, and report to the executive 

That President Blasingame and Professor Poteat be appointed 
to arrange the system and details involved in pursuing these re- 
quirements toward this degree. 

However, in the minutes the second resolution was 
scratched out. 

With their irreconcilable views, the young president of 
the University and the young professor from Wake Forest 
must have had a good many stormy sessions, for there ap- 
pears in the minutes of the executive committee for March 
22, 1900, the following: 

Ordered that Professor Poteat be not excused from the com- 
mittee on curriculum and that Brethren Bailey, Ray, and Boushall 
be added thereto. 

Dr. Blasingame's letter of resignation, submitted to the 
trustees April 10, has both dignity and spirit. 

Under the guidance of God, as I believe, I came to you nearly 
one year ago to take up what I considered to be a high and holy 
mission. I came feeling that my education, study, preparation, and 
experience fitted me in some degree for the arduous labors in- 
volved. I made great personal sacrifice to take up a work that 
would put me in closer touch with my denomination, and which 
if it did not bring to me greater financial gain would put me in 
position to do a more acceptable work for the Master. I came and 
threw all my heart and soul into the work. Everywhere I went the 
hearty hand shake, the beaming eye told me of the place already 
made for me in the hearts of the people. 

Encouraged and inspired by these experiences I dedicated anew 
all my powers to God and the University. 

In reviewing the brief period of time I can see some mistakes — 
such, however, as wise men would profit by. 

I have heard criticism, but not such as would intimidate brave 
men. I have endeavored to carry out instructions received from 
the board, and in this discharge of duty have met with, in some 
instances, opposition. But when any member of this board, or any 
mortal man rises to that high plane of glorification and deification 
that he is not criticised and fotmd fault with, then may other 
mortals hope to escape it. 

Confronted with the fact that there has been criticism I calmly 
and deliberately leave it to this honorable body to decide whether 
they have made a mistake in their selection of a president and 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 85 

whether he will hinder or help the Lord's work by continuing to 
hold the place he now occupies. "All for the glory of God" is my 
motto in life. Supported by the Board of Trustees I stand ready to 
make as valiant fight as God will give me grace to make for the 
success of the Institution to the service of which I had consecrated 
my all. To fight ignorance and error is glorious; to fight for place 
or preferment in the noble work in which I am engaged is ignoble, 
is dishonorable and beneath any christian man. 

I, therefore, respectfully offer my resignation as President of 
the Baptist Female University to take effect on the seventh day of 
June 1900, or as soon thereafter as you may desire, if in your 
opinion the interests of the University demand it. 

The trustees, after considering the resignation for two 
hours in the evening, accepted it at their session the next 
morning, April 11. They unanimously adopted a resolution 
expressing regret for "the circumstances which prompted 
Professor Blasingame's resignation" and expressing their 
"cordial appreciation of the spirit which he manifested in 
his letter of resignation and of his devotion to the interests 
of the institution." Throughout the remainder of the session 
his attitude toward the school and his duties in it was ad- 
mirable. At commencement he thanked those who had 
supported him during the year, and expressed his belief in 
the hopeful future of the school. 

The brief comment in the News and Observer on his leav- 
ing shows discernment both as to the man and the situation : 

Dr. Blasingame, the retiring president, has shown himself to be 
one of the foremost educators of the State. He is up-to-date and 
progressive in his ideas, and his methods smell of steam and elec- 
tricity. He is energetic to the last degree, and his retirement from 
the profession is a distinct loss to the educational work of the 

On leaving the Baptist University Dr. Blasingame left 
educational work altogether, and immediately accepted a 
position with the Mutual Life Insurance Company as super- 
intendent of agents in North Carolina. When a brief time 
afterwards he left to be the Virginia manager of the New 
York Life Insurance Company, the Recorder commented: 

This comes of his successful work for the Mutual Life in North 
Carolina. He is a loyal Baptist, and some Richmond church will 
be the stronger for his removal from North Carolina. We take 
pleasure in Mr. Blasingame's success. 

86 History of Meredith College 

The regrettable misfit and the unfavorable criticism to 
which it led did not shake the loyalty of the supporters of 
the Baptist University; nor did it cause any fears for the 
future of the denomination's youngest child. Mr. String- 
field's comment on the situation was characteristically 

Indeed, one of the most hopeful things that I can see about this 
school is that it is in so many people's mouths. If the trustees or 
the faculty or the students do the least thing out of the way, every- 
body knows about it. . . . There is one thing that does me a great 
deal of good to say with reference to what may happen here. If 
the things that are done here are not entirely pleasing to the Bap- 
tist people of North Carolina, they have but to say so. Those prin- 
ciples that are held near and dear in the 1600 Baptist churches in 
North Carolina will always be respected here, but if they should 
not be, then our people have only to remind us of what they ex- 
pect of us, and it shall be done. 

J. W. Bailey's editorial at the end of the year acknowledged 
all the difficulties of the year, and yet was a paean of 

We have come through the first year with great success. The 
greater trials are behind us. Supreme tests have been withstood. 
We know^ now that our institution was destined to succeed. We 
know now that people love it. Troubles we have had, but they 
have been turned to blessing, and no man with the love of God or 
the spirit of man in his heart will use those trials passed to injure 
the institution. Condemnation, quick and inexpressible, ought to 
be visited upon anyone who lifts a hand or breathes a breath 
against this institution planted in prayer and built in the faith and 
love of a poor but strong people. 

The crowds which came to commencement from all over 
the state, as well as from Raleigh, were evidence that the 
new school had lost none of its friends during the year and 
had gained many new ones. Archibald Johnson, always one 
of the most loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the school, 
whose four daughters were later graduated from it, wrote 
on May 17 in Charity and Children: 

The Baptist Female University is beyond question the most 
popular college in North Carolina. It sprang at one bound beyond 
its sisters, both of the male and female persuasion, and stands 
there today, queen of the realmi. Presidents of other colleges laugh 
and look wise when this assertion is made, but they know as well 

"Full Grown in a Single Day" 87 

as everybody else that this youngest child of the family is the very 
prettiest, plumpest, winsomest of them all. The commencement 
occurs early in June. Of course you will go. We are not exactly 
sure of the dates. They didn't send us an invitation, but we do not 
care a rap about that, we are going, ... It will not be hard to fill 
the biggest hall in Raleigh with friends of this dearly beloved in- 
stitution. The occasion is going to be one of great rejoicing. 

Commencement was indeed "an occasion of great re- 
joicing," the importance of which was not at all lessened by 
the lack of a graduating class. It lasted four days, beginning 
Sunday, June 3, with a missionary sermon by Dr. R, J. 
Willingham, secretary of the Foreign Mission Board, and 
continuing with a recital of the elocution class on Monday 
night, the literary address on Tuesday morning by Dr. 
Edwin McNeill Poteat, of Philadelphia, brother of William 
Louis Poteat, the art reception in the afternoon, and the 
entertainment and reception of the literary societies that 
evening. Wednesday was the grand climax, with the com- 
mencement sermon in the morning by Dr. F. C. McConnell, 
of Lynchburg, and in the evening the annual concert of the 
department of music. 

"The high order of excellence" of all the events was 
praised in various papers. The addresses were "scholarly 
and eloquent, admirably fitted to the occasion" (each 
speaker took some aspect of Womanhood as his theme). It 
was the general opinion among the visitors that no college 
in the state could surpass the Baptist University in the 
quality of work exhibited by the art department in water 
colors, oils, pastels, crayon, china, pen-and-ink sketches, and 
tapestry. To the program of the elocution class, taken 
largely from Shakespeare, an audience which crowded the 
chapel listened in such silence that "any time during the 
exercises the dropping of a pin could have been distinctly 
heard." The program of the two literary societies was 
devoted entirely to Tennyson and Browning; "the perfect 
quiet of an audience that overflowed the auditorium into 
the halls attested to their appreciation of what is usually a 
tax on a mixed audience — a literary evening." The annual 
concert, which lasted "far into the night" was heard by an 
audience equally large and equally pleased. 

Archibald Johnson had as good a time as he had antici- 

88 History of Meredith College 

pated, and his enthusiastic comment spoke for hundreds of 
Baptists with less facile pens. 

The girls are bright and happy as they can be. They are very 
pretty, too, though it would never do to tell them so. Everything 
was gracefully and handsomely done, and the hearts of all the 
people beat high with joy. In fact, we never saw so many happy 
people together in one place. It was the daybreak of a new era for 
our people. Long and hard and bitter as the struggle has been, it 
was not worthy to be compared to this high note of triiunph. 

Brother Stringfield was all smiles. He said nothing; he only 
laughed and urged all his friends to have a good time trusting 
God! The trustees were as happy as schoolboys on their way to the 
creek; and the people were just as happy as the rest. Some were 
there who have waited and prayed and suffered and sacrificed for 
the glory of this great occasion, and many were not there who 
have likewise, on bended knee, begged the Lord to lead the work 
along, and they too, are rejoicing that deliverance has come. . . . 

We thought we knew Raleigh before, but we did not. We have 
always thought highly of the people, but now we love them. How 
kindly and gently they treated the strangers within their gates! 
Every hoiir we spent among them last week was filled with de- 

The last evening of commencement was of especial im- 
portance. Between Dr. Blasingame's resignation on April 11 
and commencement, the trustees had worked earnestly to 
find a president for the University. They had unanimously 
elected John E. White, corresponding secretary of the Con- 
vention, who, like his predecessor, Columbus Durham, was 
deeply interested in the Baptist University. Mr. White had 
declined, giving as his reasons that "he feared he would not 
have the undivided support of the Board," and that he felt 
a definite call to the mission work, which he was afraid 
would suffer if he gave up the secretaryship at that time. He 
had evidently given the matter serious consideration, for he 
had asked "thirty-three of the most prominent brethren" 
for their candid judgment; and their replies together with a 
number of unsolicited letters had confirmed his opinion that 
it would be unwise to give up the secretaryship. A few 
months later he did give it up, however, to go to the Second 
Baptist Church of Atlanta; so he had probably considered 
the presidency of the University a dubious undertaking. 
W. C. Tyree, then pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dur- 

''Full Grown in a Single Day" 89 

ham, later of the First Baptist in Raleigh, had likewise de- 

The election of these two had been immediately and 
triumphantly announced in the papers; thereafter the trust- 
ees, perhaps grown less sanguine and more wise, had not 
made public the names of the others who were considered. 

Thus commencement found the school still without a 
president — ^but did not leave it so. Wednesday evening at 
six o'clock in a called meeting, the trustees pleaded with one 
of their own number, one who had been the first to be 
considered, but who, feeling as did Moses his own inability, 
had begged his brethren not to elect him. When, in spite of 
his protests, they did so Wednesday evening, he accepted, 
saying "When our cause calls any man, I do not see how he 
can withhold even his life." 

After the concert W. N. Jones, the president of the Board 
of Trustees, introduced to the audience the new president of 
the Baptist Female University — Richard Tilman Vann. 




Richard Tilman Vann, whom various leaders of the de- 
nomination called "the most remarkable man in North 
Carolina," "the Spurgeon of the State," "the poet of the 
Convention," "brilliant, scholarly, devout Dr. Vann," spoke 
of himself as "a man of little strength, small wisdom, and no 
experience." Where others praised his "valuable and self- 
sacrificing services," "his wise, aggressive, and constructive 
management of the school," he himself wrote near the end 
of his second year, "We have no doubt made a good many 
mistakes, as we shall again in all probability, and I must ask 
our good friends to be as patient with us as they can." 

The Recorder editor saw in him the ideal president : 

Brilliant of mind, positive in thought and expression, in deep 
and perfect sympathy with the failings and the ideals of North 
Carolina Baptists, — above all a man of God rarely well versed in 
the Bible — a humble follower of Christ — ^what more could we ask 
than that such a man shall determine the ideals of the school for 
our young women? 

The man who was for fifteen years to determine the 
ideals of the school was born to Albert and Harriet Gatling 
Vann in Hertford County on November 24, 1851 — the year 
of O. L. Stringfield's birth, the year after Thomas Mere- 
dith's death. When not quite twelve years old the boy lost 
both arms in a cane mill — the right just below the shoulder, 
the left just below the elbow. With several of his friends he 
had been converted in a revival meeting; and at the time he 
with his young companions was to have been baptized, 
his mangled arms were being amputated. His mother had 
died when he was five; his father soon after the son's 

In 1863, the year of the accident, the life of a boy whole 
of body was at best difficult, and his future uncertain. Had 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 91 

not this boy had in him the making of "the most remarkable 
man in North Carolina," had not in his behalf human kindli- 
ness been directed of God, life could have been only a 
burden for Richard Vann. 

Of his own difficulties he rarely spoke; of the aid given 
him by others he has told, especially that of his cousin, Mrs. 
Rowena Vann Savage : 

When I was a youth of sixteen, without hope of a future, she 
took me into their home free of charge that I might attend Buck- 
hom Academy, then in charge of Captain J. H. Picot, through 
whose generous kindness I was prepared for college. During those 
years I could not discern any difference in the treatment she gave 
me and that accorded to her own children. As I was leaving for 
college I learned that, quietly and informally, she and her hus- 
band had adopted me as their son. It was mainly through their 
efforts that I was enabled to take a course in college, and in all 
the years since, she has been my mother, hardly less real to me 
than my natural mother, who had gone to heaven in my childhood. 

He used well the advantages afforded him, graduating 
from Wake Forest in 1873 at the head of his class. A report 
in the Recorder of the "Senior Speaking" in December, 
1872 praised the oration of Mr. R. T. Vann, "The Proper 
Study of Mankind Is Man." 

It is a very sober, sensible production. The style is excellent, 
abounding in beautiful imagery, yet chaste. . . . The Lord intends 
this young man for some good work. 

In the accomplishing of that good work a superficial 
judgment would pronounce a loss such as his a misfortune, 
an affliction. But these words could never apply to Richard 
Tilman Vann. His son wrote of him: "The loss of his arms 
was both a challenge to his ingenuity and the sure founda- 
tion of his faith." So great was his ingenuity that grown 
people seeing him for the first time stared like children as, 
with only the aid of a leather strap around his left arm, he 
opened the pulpit Bible to the right chapter and verse; 
wrote, sealed, and stamped a letter; stirred his coffee, 
opened a door, or sent a croquet ball through a difficult 
wicket. A hostess held her breath as he brought a lighted 
lamp down the steps, but those who knew him thought little 
of his skill. They judged him by the same standards they 

92 History of Meredith College 

judged those whole of body. They never thought, "How 
wonderful that he can do this or that!" They took it for 
granted that he could — a truer tribute than admiration. 

"For whatever he lost with those hands," his son wrote, 
"there was abundant compensation in the realm of the 
spirit; a divinely ordered answer, he felt, to his mother's 
suggestion to her boy of four that he might be 'her 
preacher'." Her wish reached its fulfillment in his ordina- 
tion as a minister in 1874, between his two years in the 
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which was then 
located in Greenville, South Carolina. Before coming to the 
Baptist University he had served as pastor in Murfreesboro, 
Wake Forest, Edenton, and twice in Scotland Neck. He had 
experience in teaching, for while pastor in Edenton he had 
taught in an academy for girls, and while in Murfreesboro 
at the Chowan Female Institute. 

In Wake Forest, he was married to Ella Rogers McVeigh, 
whom he had met when the young graduate of Hollins 
College came to teach in Chowan Institute. Though always 
frail in health, Mrs. Vann shared her husband's keen in- 
terest in the faculty and students of the school, and her 
charm and graciousness added much to the life of the 
College during his administration. 

The new president was immediately beset with the prob- 
lems inevitable in any year-old college with a change of 
administration, problems which were intensified by the 
pressure of debt, though strenuous efforts had been made 
that first year to pay off the debt. With all these efforts, 
however, the contributions had barely kept the interest 
paid. Moreover, during the summer applications came in 
such numbers, especially from girls who wished to board in 
the Club, that two houses on the square, later called North 
and South Cottages, had to be bought and furnished to sup- 
plement the rooms in East Building. Thus by the beginning 
of school in September, 1900, the debt was increased from 
$35,000 to $43,000. 

Everyone recognized that before the institution could be 
adequately equipped, endowed, and enlarged, the debt must 
be paid. Filled with enthusiasm over the success of the first 
year, its friends were sanguine concerning the task. F. C. 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 93 

McConnell wrote to the Recorder, "Dr. Vann holds the 
hearts of North Carolina. . . . He could easily pay off the 
debt, but I hope he will not have to give any valuable time 
to that small matter." John A. Gates wrote: 

Let every Baptist, every lover of his race, everyone who be- 
lieves in the education of women, put his hand in his pocket and 
help cancel the debt, which, if not speedily canceled, will hinder 
our greatest usefulness. 

J. W. Bailey was confident of the outcome. 

"We shall stand by him; no burden shall crush him, no obstacle 
deter him. The debt shall be paid, new buildings reared, an en- 
dowment raised." 

And yet, in spite of all that the faithful could do, the 
burden was almost crushing. That first fall Dr. Vann wrote 
to a friend : 

If I had known how severe and varied are the trials in this 
work, I should hardly have had grace enough to come; but, then, 
that would have been cowardly, because somebody had to go 
through with it. 

Some resented what they regarded as an encroachment 
on the other interests of the Convention; some with good 
feeling toward the school had the attitude of one pastor 
whose congregation was building a church. 

We shall be glad to have him visit us for our girls and our 
hearts; the money of our people is not available just now. 

All summer even though imperatively needed at the 
school, he visited as many churches and associations as pos- 
sible, "speaking under brush arbors and in city pulpits," 
Livingston Johnson wrote, "equally at home in either." 
Even after school began, when, in his own words, "the 
machinery was still squeaking," he had to be "on the wing 
most of the time." 

Early in the fall he worked out a plan for paying the 
debt which he explained in letters to various churches and 
individuals. A portion of his letter of October 9, 1900, to 
the church in Charlotte will serve to make the plan clear: 

My judgment is clear that this perilous situation ought to be 
relieved within a year. A sudden financial crisis, or an epidemic 
in the school, would threaten, if it did not actually entail ruin to 

94 History of Meredith College 

us. Nor can we do our work well with this dreadful incubus upon 
us. I am aware that so large an amount is not going to toe raised by 
chiu:ch collections. I hope Brother Stringfield will keep these up 
for the sake of the amounts that may be thus raised and in order 
to keep the churches in touch with the school. But the bulk of the 
debt is to come from comparatively few churches and individuals, 
and this part of the work I am taking on myself. My plan is to ask 
some twenty churches and individuals to give $1,000.00 each 
within the next Conventional year; some thirty others to give 
$500.00 each, still others to give $250.00 each, etc. These gifts are 
to be made with a view to raising the entire amount, or the donors 
can have their money back if they like. 

I write to ask if you will allow me to come to Charlotte, at a time 
to be fixed by you, with a view to trying to raise a thousand 
dollars from your church. This, of course, means no pledge, but 
only your official endorsement and co-operation in the effort, 
should I come. 

The cordial responses to these letters encouraged Dr. 
Vann to go ahead with his plans, but the meeting of the 
Baptist State Convention in December abruptly changed 
them. The Convention voted to mark the beginning of the 
new century by an effort to raise during 1901 a Century 
Fund of $100,000 for educational purposes. Of the amount 
raised, half was to go to the Baptist Female University, 
three-tenths to Wake Forest College, one-tenth to Chowan 
Female Institute, with the remaining one-tenth to be di- 
vided among the academies. Unless otherwise stipulated by 
the donors, the first $25,000 was to be given to the Baptist 
University. A central committee of five — two members 
from Wake Forest, two from the Baptist Female University, 
and one from Chowan — with a cooperating committee made 
up of one representative from each association was ap- 
pointed "to devise ways and means for securing the co- 
operation of every church, of every association in North 
Carolina in this great undertaking." C. E. Taylor, President 
of Wake Forest, was the chairman of the whole committee. 

Though the plan for the Century Movement was carefully 
worked out, contributions to the fund were discouragingly 
slow. A letter to Dr. Vann from J. D. Hufham assigned the 
same reason that several others suggested : 

If we had been left free, we could have raised a hundred thou- 
sand dollars for the University this year. We'd have done it with 
a whoop. But it kills enthusiasm and hope to try to raise a fund to 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 95 

be distributed among a dozen different institutions. The sum is 
insignificant for such a purpose; for the University alone it would 
have been inspiring. To the most of our people there is nothing in 
the new century; we coidd have done better in an effort to raise 
a Christmas gift. 

Instead of a hundred thousand, the committee reported 
at the Convention in 1901 six thousand in cash and "an 
indefinite number of subscriptions." The committee recom- 
mended that the Century Movement be extended one year, 
with the goal reduced to $50,000, of which the University 
was to have $42,000. Following the adoption of the motion, 
subscriptions were taken amounting to $12,800. 

The next day was a momentous one for the Female Uni- 
versity. President Vann's report brought to the Convention 
forcefully the peril in which the new school stood. 

A debt of $43,000 on a property worth $100,000 with no endow- 
ment is a load which no enterprise can carry. The income from 
students has been large beyond all expectations, and yet because 
of this debt, with its annual interest of $2,500, we have been com- 
pelled to overdraw our bank account and depend on outside col- 
lections from our brethren to meet the deficiency. This course, if 
pursued, can have but one result, and that will be swift and fatal. 

After Dr. Vann's report and that of the trustees, Charles 
Brantley Aycock, who had been a trustee of the Baptist 
University, with fervor and clear logic made an appeal for 
the school; and a collection was taken unprecedented in 
Convention history. With the $12,800 of the night before, 
the amazing total of $42,647 was announced, reason enough 
for the singing of "Praise God from Whom All Blessings 

The collection which the governor's address inspired, al- 
though a welcome relief to the University, proved to be 
less than had been thought. A sober second count the next 
day showed the amount in cash and pledges to be $39,599 
instead of $42,647. Of the pledges, $15,065 remained unpaid 
at the Convention in Durham the next year, 1902. When 
the expenses involved in the Century Movement had been 
deducted, and more than $3,000 had been allotted to the 
academies, the debt of the University was reduced from 
$43,000 to $21,000. 

96 History of Meredith College 

The school was without a financial agent, for after work- 
ing a year in a highly organized campaign to raise in a short 
time a great deal of money for various schools, Stringfield 
resigned after the 1901 Convention. He felt that his special 
God-given work, the building of the Baptist Female Univer- 
sity, was done — a feeling as clear and definite as had been 
his call to the school. In a letter to the Recorder at the 
time he wrote, "What God wants me to do is all dark to me, 
but it is clear to Him"; in his memoirs he said, "I did so 
love the way the Lord put me in the work and took me 
out." In the emergency, W. N. Jones as chairman of the 
central committee of the Century Fund for 1903 undertook 
almost single-handed, without a penny of profit to himself, 
the collection of the unpaid pledges, spending, Dr. Vann 
said, more time during 1903 in that work than he did in 
his own profession. 

In April, 1903, when largely through Mr. Jones's efforts 
the debt was reduced to $17,000, Dr. Vann proposed that 
if the churches would raise $7,000, he himself would at- 
tempt to obtain from individuals $10,000. In a letter to the 
Recorder proposing the plan, he explained the situation^ 
frankly : 

This appeal is not to those who have not given before, but to 
those who have given, and given often. Those who have not given 
will not give now. If we are to come out at all, the old reliables 
who have borne the biirden so long must make a final rally. 

One of the old reliables was C. B. Justice, who had made 
the first gift to the library of the school, whom the Recorder 
called "one of the most liberal and beloved men in North 
Carolina, whose sacrifices for the college were sublime." 
Mr. Justice wrote to the Recorder: 

I feel as if many of us could afford to do as the early Christians 
— sell our possessions and pay the debt that the institution might 
be raised to that high place of usefulness to which the Lord has 
called it. 

There was staunch support from the Recorder editor. 

We have built this institution to last as long as Baptists have 
anything to do with education. We began it with the intention of 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 97 

giving to it forever — of never ceasing to give to it. It is nothing 
that many of us have been called on before. We can never be done 
with giving to a really great cause. 

Gifts, large or small, made in such a spirit gave the school 
the support which M. L. Kesler had desired for it when he 
wrote : 

A great college needs money, it must have money; but to 
achieve great things it must have a great constituency of great and 
loving hearts. . . . This institution must be stayed and upheld by 
the affections of a great people. 

With the contributions came to Dr. Vann letters that must 
have warmed his heart. With a second check for $100, this 
one unsolicited, the sender wrote, "Your burden is greater 
than ours, no matter how liberal we are." Some who were 
not trained in school had educated hearts. 

As per your applan in the B. Recorder, I will Joine the lis of 
500 to send you $1.00 for the B.F.U. hope you will meet with 

Enclosed herewith find check for $100.00 for you to use for the 
benefit the Femail University. Ought of sent it sooner, But the 
condition my family is such that keeps me short with my work 
May the Lord bless you with your work. 

Of course there were refusals and at least one contribu- 
tion which must have been more discouraging than a 

I do not know that you are persecuting, but you are certainly 
prosecuting with a good deal of vigor. I hand you herewith a New 
York check for $100.00 with the distinct understanding that you 
are not to bother me with this matter any more. I love you, and 
want you to succeed, and want you to come to see me whenever 

you are in , but now please do not bother me with 

this matter any further. 

By the 1903 Convention the amount for which the 
churches had been responsible had been raised; by the end 
of January, 1904, the success of Dr. Vann's efforts was as- 
sured. On February 10 at a joyous celebration the canceled 
mortgage on the property was burned. 

Before the debt had been paid, the school had received 
three bequests, all to be used for purposes more constructive 
than debt-paying. In December, 1900, W. T. Faircloth set 

98 History of Meredith College 

aside in his will real estate to the value of about $20,000 to 
be given to the College on the death of his wife. In May, 
1901, the school received $25,000 by the will of Mrs. 
George W. Swepson, and a year later $20,000 from Dennis 

William Turner Faircloth of Goldsboro, one of the origi- 
nal twenty-five trustees, was also a trustee of Wake Forest 
and of the Baptist Orphanage. As the culmination of a dis- 
tinguished legal career he was in 1895 elected Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He owed part of 
his keen interest in the Baptist Female University to String- 
field's plea for the poor girl; for he himself had been gradu- 
ated from Wake Forest in 1854 at the age of twenty-five 
with a debt which it took eight years to pay. Another tie 
with the school was his connection with one of its early 
trustees, J. Y. Joyner, whose aunt Faircloth had married. 
Stringfield said that the younger man "greatly encouraged 
his uncle in this work for Meredith." 

It was natural that the next person to make a large gift, 
Virginia Bartlett Yancey Swepson, would be interested in 
education. Her father, Bartlett Yancey, whose name is as- 
sociated with many constructive measures in North Caro- 
lina government, is probably best kown for his prepara- 
tion of the first report in 1827 of the "Literary Board," 
organized in 1825 to administer the "Literary Fund," the 
first step in the creation of a public school system. The 
report was more than a clear financial statement with 
practical suggestions for enlarging the fund; it was a vigor- 
ous declaration of the duty of the state to educate its chil- 
dren. Calvin Wiley in his second annual report as superin- 
tendent of public instruction called Bartlett Yancey "the 
immediate father of the common schools." 

Thomas E. Skinner, Mrs. Swepson's pastor for years, said 
that the daughter "inherited the forceful character of her 
distinguished father, and had the business gifts of a mascu- 
line mind united to the womanly traits of a well-disciplined 
intellect." Her beautiful home in Raleigh,^ her time, and 

1 The house on the comer of Hillsboro and Salisbury streets, the grounds of 
which adjoin the grounds of the First Baptist Church, was later bought by 
R. B. Raney, the donor of the city library. The house was torn down in 
August, 1958, and the space is now used for a state parking lot. 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 99 

her wealth were devoted to Christian service in the First 
Baptist Church. She was a member of the first central com- 
mittee of the Woman's Missionary Union in North Caro- 
lina, created in 1886; and doubtless her association with 
Miss Heck and with Dr. Skinner deepened her interest in 
the new university. Other bequests were $18,000 to Wake 
Forest College, $2,000 to the Baptist Church at Swepson- 
ville (named for her husband), and $1,000 each to the 
Baptist Orphanage and to the Woman's Missionary Society 
of the First Baptist Church of Raleigh. 

The third donor, Dennis Simmons, a businessman of Wil- 
liamston, like the other two, was interested in the Orphan- 
age and in the Female University, and to the Thomasville 
institution left $100,000 in his will. He had grown up in 
poverty, with few advantages of education. His unusual 
success in business under such circumstances attested to his 
unusual ability; his interest in education to his breadth of 

All of the three had been liberal contributors to the Bap- 
tist University while they lived, especially Mrs. Swepson, 
who. Dr. Vann said, to the building of the institution had 
given more than any other one person. 

Judge Faircloth's bequest was used for an urgently 
needed building. The cornerstone was laid on May 17, 
1904,^ and Faircloth Hall was ready for occupancy in the 
fall. Each year students had been refused admission because 
of lack of space; in 1904-05, the year Faircloth Hall opened, 
the enrollment jumped from 279 of the year before to 354. 
Built at a cost of $23,000, not counting the furnishings, 
Faircloth Hall had classrooms, practice rooms, bedrooms for 
ninety-six girls, and on the fourth floor two society halls. 
Each bedroom had "two iron beds, space for two trunks, a 
dresser built in the wall, three chairs, a table, a wash stand, 
and a chamber set," — the whole costing $37.50 a room. 

2 The cornerstone contained a Bible, several early catalogues, a biograph- 
ical sketch of Judge Faircloth, the canceled note for the last payment on the 
debt, an invitation from Dr. Vann to the Baptist pastors of the state to the 
laying of the stone, and three 1904 Indian head pennies. When the building 
was demolished in the summer of 1960, the cornerstone was given to Mere- 
dith. Among those w^ho gathered for the simple ceremony at which it was 
opened were two who had been at the laying of the stone. Robert Simms 
was a trustee in 1904 and in 1960; Foy Johnson Farmer was a freshman in 
1904 and a trustee in 1960. When the cornerstone of Johnson Hall was laid 
in 1925, Mr. Simms made the address, and Mrs. Farmer was present. 

100 History of Meredith College 

The next gift comparable to these three was from a 
woman who had never seen Meredith College, never been 
in North Carolina — Mrs. Ella Ford Hartshorn of Boston, 
by whose will the College in 1913 received $25,000. She was 
the daughter of Daniel Sharpe Ford, well known as the 
publisher of the Youth's Companion, a zealous Christian 
who devoted much of his time and large fortune to philan- 
thropic and missionary work. Her husband, W. N. Hart- 
shorn, also a publisher, was not so famous as her father, but 
was equally devout. Mr. and Mrs. Hartshorn were both 
keenly interested in Sunday school work; until she became 
an invalid about 1900 they attended together the meetings 
of the International Sunday School Convention. It was at 
these meetings that they knew N. B. Broughton, at whose 
invitation in 1908 Mr, Hartshorn came to Raleigh. On that 
occasion President and Mrs. Vann gave a dinner for him, 
with the mayor, the governor, the executive committee of 
the school, and all the Sunday school superintendents in the 
city as guests. Mr. Hartshorn was delighted with the institu- 
tion; and on his return told his wife that if she wished to 
help the cause of education, she could not do better than to 
make a gift to the Raleigh school. The Acorn for October, 
1913, had an editorial about the gift and the giver. Her ill 
health did not affect her "delightfully cheerful disposition" 
or her hospitable nature; her home was seldom without 
guests. "She was a sort of John Pullen character," the edi- 
tor concluded; "she spent lavishly her time, her thought, 
her money, and her entire self for the uplift of humanity." 

The Swepson and Simmons bequests were used for the 
endowment of the College, which in 1908 was only $50,000. 
Moreover, the College had again incurred a debt, which by 
1908 amounted to $28,000. The debt was due to the $3,000 
by which the cost of Faircloth Hall exceeded the bequest, 
to the furnishing of that building, to enlarging the chapel 
and the dining room and kitchen, and to the installation of 
one central heating plant for the three brick buildings ( the 
cottages were heated by stoves). Most of this expenditure 
was necessary because of the increased number of students 
— "a debt forced on us by our prosperity," Dr. Vann said. 

In some years current expenses could not be met; in 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 101 

others the margin was too narrow to count. In 1902 Dr. 
Vann wrote in his report to the trustees : 

Groceries this year have risen from 12%%, as in case of flour ,3 
to 20 and 25% in case of vegetables and canned goods; and from 
30 to 35% in case of meat, lard, and meal. Perhaps it would be 
safe to say that groceries have cost us an average of 15% higher 
than last session. 

The reluctant, minute increases in the charges bear evi- 
dence of the attempts to provide "the best possible educa- 
tion at the least possible cost." Through 1904-05 the total 
cost of board, room ("including lights, fuel, and bath"), 
tuition, medical fee, and library fee continued to be $167.50, 
the Club girls paying $50.00 to $60.00 less. This amount was 
increased for 1905-06 to $193.50, less "about $54.50 for the 
Club"; then for 1907-08 to $194.00, less $55.00 for the Club; 
for 1908-09 to $196.50, less $45.00 for the Club; for 1909-10 
to $205.50, less $40.00 for the Club. Yet there were protests 
in letters to the president and to the Recorder, charging the 
University with becoming a school for rich girls, not for 
the rank and file of Baptists. A Recorder editorial defending 
the College against this charge was reprinted as a pamphlet 
in 1909. 

No general appeal to the denomination for financial aid 
had been made since the Convention of 1903. In its report 
to the 1908 Convention, meeting in Wilson, the College 
asked permission to start a campaign to raise an endowment 
fund of $100,000. The report ended thus: 

Experience has taught us that it is impossible to furnish the 
accommodations, equipment, and grade of teaching that were con- 
templated by the founders of the University . . . unless we raise 
our fees beyond the reach of the mass of our people, and thus 
defeat the object for which the school was established. It has also 
taught us that seeking to run at cost, and therefore being unable 
to accumulate a fund from the fees of the School, we are not only 
subject to temporary embarrassment from fluctuations in the 
market and in patronage; but we are in danger of serious calamity 
should an epidemic empty our rooms and close our doors. 

The Convention authorized the beginning of the cam- 

^ The cost of flour made especially unfortunate the twenty barrels taken in 
payment of one girl's account which, Dr. Vann wrote the father, would not 
rise, no matter what recipe the housekeeper used in making it into bread. 


102 History of Meredith College 

paign by its next session in 1909; but the College decided to 
wait till the meeting of the Convention in 1910, when Dr. 
Vann presented the offer of the General Education Board in 
New York to give, up to $50,000, one dollar for every two 
the College raised after the payment of all indebtedness. 
The General Education Board had been created in 1902 "for 
the purpose of promoting education in the United States 
without distinction of race, sex, or creed"; for this purpose 
it had the Rockefeller fund of thirty million to distribute. 
Two-thirds of the $150,000 thus to be raised for the College 
was to be for endowment; one third for permanent im- 

Following Dr. Vann's presentation of the plan, J. W. 
Bailey, a trustee of the College from 1896 to 1911, 
addressed the Convention in behalf of the school. No more 
fitting person could have spoken than Mr. Bailey, later 
Senator Bailey; for no college struggling into existence or 
struggling for existence ever had more valiant support from 
its denominational paper than the Baptist University had 
from the Biblical Recorder with J. W. Bailey as editor. 

During the twelve years of his editorship (1895-1907), he 
mightily reinforced the efforts of Aycock, Joyner, and other 
educators in their championship of the public schools. In 
the paper and in addresses all over the state he fought for 
prohibition, and he used his brilliant pen in effective sup- 
port of all the objects of the Convention. But there seemed 
to be an especially fervent note in his writings about 
"this youngest child of the Convention, taking her first 
perilous step." He had been one of a committee to prepare 
the report of the University for the 1899 Convention and 
"to see that a great amount of cash be raised." In the 
spring of 1900 he and John E. White, at the behest of the 
Convention, had visited the churches in behalf of the Uni- 
versity, "traveling together," Charity and Children said, 
"like a couple of Mormon elders." He was a frequent visitor 
to the College and a frequent speaker for various occasions 
— chapel. Founders' Day, Society Night, North Carolina 
Day, and Christmas vespers. In 1908 on an hour's notice he 
substituted as commencement speaker for Aycock, who had 
been suddenly taken ill. 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 103 

The effects of his writings and of the generous space he 
gave in the Recorder to what others wrote of the school is 
shown in a note which Dr. Vann received in December, 
1903, from a contributor in Grape Vine, North Carolina: 

Enclosed is another check for $5.00 to help pay the debt on the 
Baptist Female University. I never attended any of our conven- 
tions or heard any speaker on the University. I take the Recorder, 

After Mr. Bailey's speech to the Convention, a start was 
made toward raising the $100,000 by a collection amounting 
to $26,566 in cash and pledges. G. E. Lineberry, then edu- 
cational secretary of the Baptist Secondary School Board, 
was appointed as an agent to aid the College in obtaining 
pledges and to have charge of collecting them; and he 
worked, Dr. Vann said, "with commendable energy, pru- 
dence, and patience." The General Education Board 
granted several extensions of time, and ultimately the full 
amount was raised. 

The grant of the General Education Board was made to 
Meredith College, rather than to the Baptist University for 
Women. There had always been dissatisfaction with what 
Archibald Johnson once called an "Atlantic ocean of a 
name." As early as 1894 the trustees, on motion of Colum- 
bus Durham, appointed a committee to petition the legisla- 
ture to change the name of the proposed institution from 
the Baptist Female University to some more suitable name; 
Durham proposed Yates College, in honor of Matthew T. 
Yates, distinguished missionary to China, who was a native 
of Wake County and a graduate of Wake Forest. The com- 
mittee reported at the next meeting of the board, however, 
that they deemed a change of name unwise. Twice in 1900 
and again in 1902 the name was discussed, but no action was 
taken. In addition to Yates College other possible names 
were suggested — ^Eliza Yates, Faircloth, Swepson, and 
Stringfield College. W. L. Poteat favored Woman's College 
as "safe, dignified, and descriptive," adding, "We cannot 
make a bigger blunder than we now blazon on our fore- 

However, the change was not easily made. There was no 

104 History of Meredith College 

objection to dropping female, but there was vigorous pro- 
test against the change of university to college. On April 12, 
1904, the change of name was the chief topic for discussion 
in a meeting of the trustees which began at 7:30 p.m., and 
at 1 : 25 a.m. the discussion was still raging, Livingston John- 
son made the suggestion which brought the meeting to a 
close, "that the matter of changing the name be deferred 
until the May meeting, at which time without discussion 
every member of the board is requested to express by vote 
or letter his choice." On May 16, when the vote was taken, 
the Baptist Female University became the Baptist Univer- 
sity for Women. 

The stubborn refusal for twenty years to give up the mis- 
nomer university, chosen in 1889, absurd as it seems now, 
reflects the high ideal cherished for the school and the sad 
misuse of the word college, especially as applied to schools 
for women. In 1893 C. T. Bailey, then editor of the Recorder, 
wrote : 

Our state and the South is today afflicted with a great number 
of institutions which their superintendents choose to call colleges 
that are hardly worthy the name of academies. . . . They are not 
the result of brains, experience, or higher education motives, but 
are usually second-class academies that have changed their names 
to attract students. . . . What we need is more academies and fewer 
mushroom colleges. 

In 1888, the year Col. Polk moved the appointment of a 
committee to consider the feasibility of establishing a Bap- 
tist Female University, one of the better female colleges of 
the state, then in its thirty-fifth year, began its advertise- 
ment in the Bihlical Recorder of June 13 thus : 

Unexcelled in Advantages! Unequalled in Cleanness! 

A Primary Department! A Preparatory Department! 

A Business Department! A Normal Department! 

A College Department! A Department of Music and 

Fine Arts! 
Six Separate Schools of English! Four Foreign Languages! 
An Extensive Curriculum! Nine Members of the Faculty! 

Post Graduate Courses! Medal for Excellence in any 

Unsurpassed for Healthfulness! Beautiful for Situation! 

Physician's Services Free! No Charge for Incidentals! 

Nearly in the Centre of the State! Nearly 1000 feet above Sea 


"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 105 

The nine members of the faculty consisted of the president, 
his wife, his four daughters, and three additional teachers. 
A student could enter at any time and pay from the day of 
entrance only. In the middle of a term this entire college 
was moved from one town to another without the loss of a 
single day of class work. 

In 1889 the account in the Recorder of the commence- 
ment of another female college began: "It was graduating 
day for three young hearts who had never graduated be- 

With such schools representing the best in female colleges 
in the state, it is not surprising that the founders and early 
supporters of the new institution were determined that 
their school should be sharply distinguished in every pos- 
sible way from such colleges. An editorial of J. W. Bailey 
in the Recorder of April 19, 1899, expressed the prevailing 
opinion : 

Our Baptist Female University is intended to be no ordinary 
institution. Its founders have conceived for it an ideal, a scope, a 
mission that makes it unique. . . . Some have said that the name is 
high sounding. But those who named it did not fall below their 
ideal or our duty. Today is the day of small things not to be de- 
spised. Tomorrow and tomorrow, who will dare say what they 
shall bring forth, and who shall strive for less than the highest? 

Happily, by 1909 the majority of the trustees had come to 
realize that a university is not necessarily the top peak in 
academic accomplishment; that a true college has a func- 
tion as distinct and honorable and a standard quite as high 
as that of a university; and that, as the petition which the 
faculty presented to the trustees pointed out in the reasons 
for the change, the name was regarded among educated 
people as "a mark of ignorance," giving no indication of the 
high grade of work which the College did. J. W. Bailey, 
who in 1899 had defended the name, in 1909 pointed out 
that the term university made of the school an object of 
ridicule : 

With culture goes modesty. . . . Let President Vann attend an 
educational conference. They enroll members. One says, "I am 
from Smith College," another, "I am from Vassar," another from 
Bryn Mawr, Wellesley, Radcliffe; but President Vann arises and 

106 History of Meredith College 

declares with becoming pride, "I am from the Baptist Female 
University" — to which, he would suggest, the presidents of 
these institutions should send their graduates for true university 

At a meeting of the trustees on May 24, 1909, by a vote of 
ten to three the Baptist University for Women became 
Meredith College. The diplomas that year bore both seals; 
in 1910 the legislature changed the name in the charter. In 
the beautiful spirit characteristic of him, W. N. Jones, who 
had led the opposition, moved to make the vote unanimous. 
His "Hail to Meredith College" was echoed over the State, 
for the name met with universal approval. Its lack of pre- 
tentiousness, its brevity, and its beauty of sound were wel- 
come to the friends of a school which had been "groaning 
under too much name." Most of all, the denomination was 
pleased with the tribute to a man who, as Josephus Daniels 
said on Founders' Day, 1910, "gave to his conmionwealth 
the most priceless gift that any man can bestow, the gift 
of himself." For the 1910 Oak Leaves, dedicated to the 
memory of Thomas Meredith^ Dr. Vann wrote: 

While others slept he climbed the height. 
He stood alone, with vision strained afar. 
And, peering long into the lingering night. 
He saw the morning star. 

The curriculum of the College more than kept pace with 
its growth in numbers and in financial stability. A few 
weeks after Dr. Vann's election he appointed W. L. Poteat 
and A. A. Marshall from the trustees and J. L. Kesler from 
the faculty as a committee to prepare the catalogue — an 
assignment which involved the reshaping of the curriculum. 
This reshaping was done with the intent of making "the 
courses, the quality of work, and the degrees. ... in all 
essential respects equivalent in cultural value to those given 
at Wake Forest." 

The entrance requirements were not greatly changed 
from those in the First Annual Announcement, but were 
more definitely stated. In Latin, two years were required, 
the work to include four books of Caesar; in English, gram- 

* A brief account of Thomas Meredith will be found in Appendix A. 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 107 

mar and rhetoric and paragraphing, with the reading of 
certain classics; in mathematics, arithmetic and algebra 
through quadratic equations, or to quadratics with two 
books of plane geometry; in history, "a good general knowl- 
edge" of American history, general history, and geography, 
Greek was a possible alternative to Latin; an elementary 
knowledge of botany, physical geography, physiology, zoo- 
logy and physics was listed as "desirable." 

The entrance examinations were given the first day of 
the session; the 1902-03 catalogue gives the schedule of 
examinations with an hour allowed for each subject. 

The courses followed the Wake Forest catalogue closely, 
as did the entrance requirements. There were twelve 
schools — Latin, Greek, English, Modern Languages (French, 
German, and Spanish), Mathematics, Natural Science, 
Moral Philosophy, History and Political Science, Art, Mu- 
sic, Expression, and Business. The courses were listed in 
1900 as junior, intermediate, and senior, with a fourth — 
called the seminary course — in Latin, Greek, and English. 
The now familiar division into freshman, sophomore, junior, 
and senior classes first appeared in the catalogue in 1903. 
The session was divided that year into two terms instead 
of three; but as every course ran straight through the year, 
credits were reckoned by years rather than by semesters. 

Sixty-one year-hours (122 semester hours) were re- 
quired for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, distributed thus: 
Latin or Greek, eight hours; mathematics, nine; English, 
six; modern languages, five; and history, moral philoso- 
phy, biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology, three 
each; elective, fifteen — to be chosen from other courses in 
the required subjects or from art, music, or expression. If 
chosen from the last three schools, the 1901-02 catalogue 
indicates, electives were restricted to history of art, har- 
mony and history of music, and Shakespeare. 

Of each candidate for a B.A., two theses were required, 
one in the junior and one in the senior year. The titles of the 
theses of the first graduating class, 1902, were printed on 
the program. Two of them were read, Eliza Rebecca 
Wooten's "The Jew, a Literary Study," and Margaret W. 
Shields's "Two Exponents of Saxon and Teutonic Races." 

108 History of Meredith College 

In the light of present-day term papers, the edge is taken 
off the formidable term thesis by the length prescribed — 
a thousand words for the junior and two thousand for the 
senior thesis. To be granted an M.A., the student must 
have had fifteen hours of work beyond the B.A., and a 
thesis of 2,500 words. 

A diploma of graduation was granted to a student who 
had completed the work in music, elocution, or art, to- 
gether with thirty-one hours, prescribed or elective, of work 
leading to the B.A. degree. A certificate of proficiency was 
given to one who had finished the work in those schools 
without the literary hours necessary for a diploma. The 
certificate given for the one-year business course was not 
presented at commencement. 

At the first commencement in 1902, Margery Kesler re- 
ceived the M.A. degree {summa cum laude). The following 
received the B.A. : Mary Estelle Johnson, Elizabeth Parker, 
Rosa Catherine Paschal (cum laude), Mary Perry,^ Mar- 
garet Whitmore Shields (cum laude), Minnie Willis Sutton, 
Elizabeth Gladys Tull, Eliza Rebecca Wooten, Sophie Stev- 
ens Lanneau ( summa cum laude ) . As he handed these their 
diplomas. Dr. Skinner used the now familiar phrase, "the 
immortal ten." 

In addition to the degrees conferred, diplomas and cer- 
tificates were awarded to the following: Virginia Grayson, 
diploma in music; Beulah Beatrice Bowden, Elizabeth 
Parker, diplomas in art; Jessie Thomas Brewer, certificate 
in music; Minnie Daniel, Nell Gray Ezzell, certificates in 

Of these students who were graduated in three years 
instead of four, the majority had come from other institu- 
tions; a few had been privately taught. For instance, Sophie 
Lanneau had come from Franklin Seminary; Mary Perry 
from Oxford College. Rosa Paschal had been taught by her 
uncle, George W. Paschal. 

Both the requirements for entrance and requirements for 
graduation were gradually increased. Elizabeth Avery Col- 

5 Four of Mary Perry Beddingfield's daughters are Meredith alumnae. 
« Emmie Rogers, who gave a graduating recital and received a certificate in 
1901, affiliates vi^ith the class of 1902. 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 109 

ton in the Meredith Quarterly Bulletin for January, 1911, 
estimated that the school had required for entrance the 
equivalent of 3.5 units in 1899, and the equivalent of five 
and a half in 1900. In 1909, the first year the College reck- 
oned admission requirements in units, it required eleven 
and a half; and in 1911, fourteen units. Thus 1915, the last 
class to be graduated in Dr. Vann's administration, was the 
first to meet the entrance requirements prescribed by 
the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the 
Southern States. It was also the largest class^ to enter up 
to that time, having seventy-five members entering as 
freshmen. The largest entering class of any previous session 
had been thirty-one. As the state system of high schools 
was extended and improved and as records from high 
schools and academies became adequate, admission by cer- 
tificate from approved high schools supplemented and then 
virtually replaced entrance examinations. 

The consistent enforcement of entrance requirements 
placed in the preparatory department for all or a part of 
their work a large number of students who had expected to 
enter as full freshmen. The historian of the class of 1910 
wrote in the Oak Leaves of their classification in 1906: 

Here we were . . . not quite so cheerful as when we landed the 
day before. It seemed as if every member of the faculty had con- 
spired to classify us as Preps. Seven of us managed to gain their 
good favor. 

Homesick wails went home to parents and teachers; bewil- 
dered and indignant protests came back from parents and 
teachers. Doubtless the cumulative effect of these letters led 
to the following statement in the 1912 report which Presi- 
dent Vann made to the Convention : 

And the Convention should understand that, whether rightly or 
not, we adhere rigidly to our published requirements in admitting 
students to our Freshman class; that is, they are not permitted to 
skip and leave luifinished the work of lower classes in order to 
hasten their graduation or for any other reason. 

■f The unusual size of the class was due in large part to the effect, just be- 
ginning to be felt in the colleges, of the High School Act passed by the Gen- 
eral Assembly of 1907, whereby $45,000 was appropriated for the establish- 
ment of 156 public high schools in North Carolina. 

110 History of Meredith College 

This firmness made possible another statement in the same 

You will be grateful to know . . . that the personnel of the stu- 
dent body shows improvement, particularly in respect to general 
intelligence and academic grading. 

During Dr. Vann's administration there were no decided 
changes in the requirements for the A.B, By 1912 the re- 
quirement of physics had been dropped; the five-hour 
course in mathematics and languages had been reduced to 
three; the requirement of one year of modem language had 
been raised to two, thus giving modern language the same 
place in the prescribed courses that mathematics and Latin 
had. One hour of English composition in the junior year 
had been added, and moral philosophy had become psy- 
chology and ethics. The change in mathematics and lan- 
guages made possible twenty hours of elective work rather 
than fifteen. Spanish and Greek, for which there had been 
virtually no demand, had been dropped from the curricu- 
lum. Much of what had been done in college courses in 
1900 was now being done in high school, so that the college 
work was more advanced and could be of a better quality. 
Elizabeth Avery Colton, head of the English department 
and an authority on college standards, estimated that from 
1904 to 1915, the work of college grade in the institution 
measured by the standards of the Southern Association of 
Colleges rose from 1.7 years to 4 years. In most departments 
more advanced classes were added to the offerings. Also, 
Bible was first given in 1902-03, the single three-hour 
course taught by the professor of Greek and philosophy 
being called the "School of Bible." 

In 1903 an innovation as unpopular as it was beneficial 
was introduced, an examination at the beginning of the 
junior year on the common school subjects — grammar, 
arithmetic, geography, and history. It was a test, Dr. Vann 
explained, to show whether any student was "flagrantly 
and shamefully ignorant on these common subjects," given 
to safeguard the reputation of the school and of the student. 
The historian of the class of 1906 wrote in the Oak Leaves 
of these examinations : 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 111 

To the amazement of the faculty and the delight of the ten, all 
of us passed the examinations. That was a horrid time, though, 
when we had the small facts of geography, history, grammar, and 
arithmetic in a bewildering confusion. Some of us are even yet 
doubtful whether the Amazon River is in Egypt or Italy, or 
whether the French and Indian War occvirred in France or India. 

This class had the unique distinction of being the only class 
in which every member passed. These elementary exami- 
nations, which were in 1907 transferred to the freshman 
year, were in 1909 discontinued. 

An essential part of the growth of the College was the 
pruning which the curriculum underwent. The one-year 
business course leading to a certificate was abolished in 
1909. With admission requirements limited to "a satisfac- 
tory knowledge of granmiar, penmanship, the spelling and 
meaning of words, and arithmetic as far as percentages," 
the business course had been a sad misfit in a college trying 
to be standard. By 1911 the granting of all certificates 
had ceased. 

From 1906 to 1909 a new degree appeared — and disap- 
peared. The first teacher of elocution, Miss Reynolds, had 
been followed for one year by Eleanor B. Watkins, then by 
Jennie W. Bowman. In 1905 Caroline Berry Phelps came 
from Adrian College, Michigan, as professor of elocution 
and director of physical education. A woman of great initia- 
tive and corresponding ability, she determined that the 
course in elocution should lead to the degree of Bachelor 
of Oratory. A year later, with a greatly improved four- 
year course, the degree appeared in the catalogue for the 
ensuing year, 1907-08. In 1909 it was removed. Even Miss 
Phelps's determination could not keep in the curriculum a 
separate degree so out of keeping with the academic ideals 
for which the College was striving, one so intimately 
connected with the theatre, of which a large number of 
Baptists were still distrustful. In 1912-13, the whole depart- 
ment was discontinued. 

In the spring of 1911 the College ceased to offer an M.A. 
Only three students had received it — Margery Kesler in 
1902, Virginia Egerton in 1905, and Annie Lee Stewart in 

To discontinue the Academy was a longer and more diffi- 

112 History of Meredith College 

cult process. The 1900 catalogue shows that five years of 
preparatory work were given, beginning with the fourth 
grade. As the standard of the work done in the University 
was raised, these five years were gradually lengthened to 
eight. Also, the first three grades had been added, so that 
by 1906 the preparatory department was complete from the 
first grade to college.^ The addition was made partly be- 
cause of local demand and partly with the expectation that 
the lower grades would be used as a practice school for the 
University classes in pedagogy. The parents, however, ob- 
jected vigorously to having their children, for whom they 
paid tuition, thus taught. In 1909, the first year that the 
students were classified in the catalogue rather than being 
in one alphabetical list, there were 117 regular college stu- 
dents and 167 special and preparatory students, in addition 
to the seventy-nine taking music only and five taking art 

However, the preparatory department had never been 
planned as a permanent part of the institution. Most col- 
leges in the South then had preparatory departments which 
had filled a real need as had the separate denominational 
and private academies before there was a well-established 
system of public high schools. With that need rapidly lessen- 
ing, it seemed no longer wise to struggle with the academic 
and social difficulties which the mixture of mature and im- 
mature students offered. The Southern Association of Col- 
leges,^ toward which the College was looking longingly, 
strongly discouraged the continuation of preparatory de- 
partments and laid down rigid rules for their absolute 
separation in colleges belonging to the Association, a separa- 
tion to be observed in dormitories and table seating, as 
well as in classes and faculty. 

The elementary school, which had been moved to a cot- 
tage half a block away from the College, was dropped in 
1912, leaving four years of high school work taught partly 
by separate teachers and partly by the College faculty. 

8 Dorothy Vann, '16, and Elizabeth Vann, '17, went from the first grade 
through College in the institution. 

9 The Southern Association of Colleges or, where the context makes it clear, 
the Southern Association is the term used throughout this book for the 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The name was originally the 
Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Southern States. 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 113 

Lucy B. Dickinson was principal of the Academy and 
teacher of English. One year at a time these four years 
were dropped, the last in 1917, after Dr. Brewer had be- 
come president. There were still many academic conditions 
among entering freshmen, but these were removed by 
private tutoring. 

To abolish departments which were profitable and popu- 
lar took considerable courage on the part of a college 
which was always, in Dr. Vann's words, "under severe and 
constant financial pressure." There were grave doubts 
among some of the staunchest friends of the College as to 
the wisdom of such a course. But the doubts were soon 
dispelled, for virtually every year there were applicants be- 
yond the capacity of the dormitories. 

The last year of Dr. Vann's administration brought three 
innovations to the curriculum. The 1914 catalogue an- 
nounced that the College would give a junior college 
diploma for two years of work, differing from the first 
two years required for the A.B. only in the possible sub- 
stitution of a three-hour course in Bible for any one of 
the second-year courses. Only a few such diplomas were 
granted, and the practice was discontinued after four years. 

Of much more importance was the introduction of two 
new four-year courses, one in home economics leading to a 
B.S. degree, the other leading to a diploma in public school 
music. For the B.S., according to the announcement in the 
May, 1914, Quarterly Bulletin, the student was required to 
take "fourteen hours in home economics and thirty-five 
hours of prescribed work in the regular college literary 
course, and to elect eleven hours in the literary, art, or 
music courses." Katherine Parker, '10, was the first head of 
the department, returning to the College after training in 
Sinmions College and a year's teaching in the University of 
Puerto Rico. The next year Laura Bailey was added as in- 
structor, and four hours of textiles replaced four elective 
hours for students in home economics. 

The course in public school music, intended primarily to 
prepare supervisors of music in city schools, required two 
years of piano and two of voice instead of four of either; 
and for some of the advanced theoretical work, courses in 

114 History of Meredith College 

psychology and education were substituted. Two courses in 
methods were required, in addition to the music pedagogy 
required of all music majors. 

In all these matters, the procedures of the better type of 
women's colleges were carefully studied; and whether initi- 
ated by president, faculty, or trustees, the changes were 
worked out with the benefit of their combined wisdom and 

"I knew very very little about running a college," Dr. 
Vann said several times when talking of his work at Mere- 
dith, "but I had sense enough to let those who did know 
run it." In this understatement of his own share of the 
work lay the secret of much of his success as an administra- 
tor. In his reports to the Convention and in letters to the 
papers he always acknowledged Divine Favor, recognizing 
that the College was "under the good hand of God."^° He 
took frequent counsel of the trustees, expressing gratitude 
often for their "wisdom, self sacrificing service, and loyal 

It was, of course, with the faculty that he worked most 
closely. To them he wrote at the end of his administration: 

Our relations have been those of co-laborers and comrades. In 
the struggles and trials through which we have passed together, 
I have always leaned on you, and I want to say to you, as I have 
before said repeatedly and publicly, that whatever of progress our 
beloved institution has made under my administration was and is 
due for the most part to your faithfulness and efficiency. 

The small faculty then had a family-like intimacy which 
a large group inevitably loses. In the first year of Dr. 
Vann's presidency they met once a week for the whole eve- 
ning and discussed academic, disciplinary, and health prob- 
lems in minute detail. Later, with less need of extended 
discussion, the meetings were reduced to once a month. The 
student regulations, which had had to be established, then 
modified, became for the most part a matter of routine. 
Eunice McDowell, daughter of a former president of Cho- 
wan, who had herself been president of Franklin Female 
Seminary, came in 1901 as lady principal, remaining at the 

1" The phrase "the good hand of his God upon him" occurs in Ezra 7 :8; "by 
the good hand of our God upon us" in Ezra 8:18. 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 115 

school two years. Many small matters of discipline were 
referred to her and to her successors; changes in courses 
were referred to the departments involved. The faculty 
voted that "all cases of weak eyes, poor health, etc. be re- 
ferred to Dr. Vann." In 1907, when assistants had been 
added in some departments — Latin, French, English, and 
art — ^largely to help with the preparatory work, the heads 
of departments were formed into a senate, also meeting 
once a month, which became in most matters the legislative 
body of the faculty, as is its successor, the Academic Coun- 

Another once-a-month occasion quite different in nature 
was a faculty at-home, held in the College parlors. The 
refreshments. Miss Ida once said, were always "very simple, 
but elegant." Before the month was over, some ladies in 
the faculty group were expected to return the calls of all 
those who had not previously received that courtesy. 

Most of the faculty of the first year, 1899-1900, continued 
under the new administration. All of the "literary faculty" 
returned, as did Miss Poteat, Miss Brewer, and Mrs. Seay. 
Miss Eckloff returned, but left in the middle of the year; 
and Mrs. Jessie Earnshaw for the rest of the year took 
charge of the lower grades in addition to her work as ma- 
tron. Later she took charge of both dining rooms; when 
they became too much for one person, she chose to work 
with the Club. 

After Miss Patten left in 1901, the department of moral 
philosophy and Greek, to which Bible was added in 1902, 
had as its head in rather rapid succession Grace Lord, Eliza- 
beth Quarles, T. Neil Johnson, J. Henry Highsmith, and 
E. Freeman Thompson. With a degree from the University 
of Chicago, Dr. Thompson, at the University from 1907 to 
1910, was the first Ph.D. on the faculty; and for several 
years the school shied away from women with Ph.D.'s, at- 
tributing the peculiarities of this first one to her learning 
rather than to her temperament. 

The Keslers left in 1902, doubtless influenced by the at- 
titude of some of the more conservative element in the de- 
nomination. Dr. Vann wrote in reply to a pastor who had 
questioned the scientist's doctrinal views : 

116 History of Meredith College 

Yes, Kesler and his wife have left us, and a severe loss they 
have given us. For when all is said, Kesler is one of the most 
devout, spiritual men I know. Both he and Poteat hold some views 
that you and I do not. . . . They see and state things differently 
from most people, and their opinions are not commonly under- 
stood toy those who hear them. ... As long as our brethren cling 
so reverently to Jesus Christ as I think these men do, I am per- 
sonally willing for them to differ with me in some ways and still 
claim them as brethren. 

Eventually Mr. Kesler's chief interest turned from science 
to religion, for after teaching science in Georgetown Col- 
lege and in Baylor University he went in 1919 to Vanderbilt 
as professor of religious education. After his retirement in 
1936 he and Mrs. Kesler went to live with their daughter, 
a doctor, in Uplands, Tennessee. Mr. Kesler's place in the 
Baptist University was filled jDy Walter G. Sackett; Mrs. 
Kesler was succeeded by Grace Ruth Gibbs, who was, in 
turn, followed by Caroline Blair. 

For a brief time after the departure in 1903 of energetic 
Mrs. Stone, English was divided into two schools, with 
Isabel Harris as professor of English language and Jessie 
liouise Jones as professor of English literature. The brief 
experiment was unsuccessful, and two years later the two 
were reunited under Miss Jones; she was replaced the next 
year by Agnes Powell. An alumna recalled with rueful 
humor her dismay when, having as a freshman written 
themes on such subjects as "The Development of the 
Arthurian Legend" for Miss Jones, she descended as a 
sophomore to describing a little girl's first taste of ice 

In 1904 Katherine Ford, '09,^^ who after her work with 
Miss Poteat had studied in New York, came to teach china 
painting and applied design. After that concession to Vic- 
torian accomplishments ceased to be offered, she remained 
in the art department, teaching painting and the course in 
art history until her marriage in 1911 to Herbert Peele, of 
Elizabeth City. 

William Jasper Ferrell, who was bursar from 1906 until 
his death in 1929, had come as assistant principal to the 
Wakefield Classical and Mathematical School soon after 

^ She completed the work for her diploma in art while she was teaching. 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 117 

Oliver Larkin Stringfield had established it. Mr. Ferrell did 
much to set the standards of the work for which that school 
was famous. "There was one goal," Dr. W. C. Horton, who 
had been a student of the school, wrote, "and that was to 
qualify according to Professor Ferrell's standards. Those 
standards were high, and when he told you that you were 
ready to go to college, you could rest assured you could 
enter college." Mr. Ferrell gave to Meredith the same 
wholehearted devotion and to his work the same con- 
scientious and scrupulous attention. 

The first three years of its existence the school of music 
had three heads, Carl Hoffman succeeding Mr. Appy and 
being succeeded in turn by Clarence de Vaux-Royer. The 
school was fortunate in its next director. Wade R. Brown, 
who came in 1902. Trained in the New England Conserva- 
tory, with two years' study in Germany and several years' 
experience in teaching, he was a real artist and an excel- 
lent teacher and organizer. 

He brought to the department, in the main, well-trained 
teachers of ability who shared his high ideals of teaching. 
Some stayed only long enough to be known to a few stu- 
dents; others are remembered by generations of students as 
contributing to the life of the College. Gustav Hagedorn 
was elected in 1906 as teacher of violin and theory, and 
remained until 1914. For the first two years he was jointly 
employed by the Baptist University, A. and M. College, 
and the Third Regiment Band. In 1907 Helen and Harriet 
Day came as professor and assistant in voice.^^ Grace Louise 
Cronkhite, Gertrude Sousley, Elizabeth D. Burtt (Mrs. 
Gustav Hagedorn), Mary Elizabeth Futrell, and Bessie 
Sams came as teachers of piano, the last named two being 
Baptist University graduates who had had further training. 
Mr. Brown himself usually taught the seniors and some of 
the more gifted juniors in piano and organ, so that most of 
these majors were graduated with the coveted distinction, 
"Pupil of Wade R. Brown." Each year several came back 
for further work with him. 

Mrs. Irene Cartwright Ferrell, wife of W. J. Ferrell, came 

^ Their mother lived with them, and the girls nicknamed the three Today, 
Yesterday, and Last Week. Bessie E. Knapp, who came a few years later as 
a third teacher of voice, was called Twilight. 

118 History of Meredith College 

with her husband in 1906 as teacher of kindergarten and 
primary piano, later adding to her work the teaching of 
music pedagogy. In addition to the individual lessons, she 
taught the children in classes simple principles of harmony 
and theory twice a week. Her success as a teacher was 
evident in the children's recitals, the audiences of which 
were not limited to the proud parents of the little per- 
formers. She was assisted by various teachers, among whom 
Mabel Augusta Bost stayed longest. Another had a name 
which delighted the children — Florence Jelly. 

When Meredith moved in January, 1926, Mrs. Ferrell 
continued to teach the children in town, the department 
being transferred to her as an independent music school. 
A year and a half later because of its success and growth 
she gave up her work in music pedagogy at Meredith to 
devote her whole time to her school. 

The music faculty gave frequent recitals and concerts. 
To the commencement concert, which overtaxed the ca- 
pacity of the auditorium each year, the Christmas music 
the Sunday before the holidays was soon added as an 
annual event. The beautifully trained voices of the Misses 
Day, of which "glorious" was used more often than any 
other adjective, were never lovelier than when the sisters 
sang together Luther's "Cradle Hymn." The long line of 
white-clad girls, each carrying a lighted candle, singing 
"Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful!" as they entered, was the per- 
fect beginning of the twilight service, though some staunch 
Baptists objected to what they considered a step toward 
Episcopalian ritual. 

At various times there were special musical events — 
celebrations of anniversaries of musicians and concerts 
given for the meetings of various conventions and associa- 

In 1906 Mr. Brown organized the Raleigh Choral Society, 
which he directed so long as he was in Raleigh. A number 
of the 150 members of the society were music students in 
the College. Each year in May the Choral Society held a 
music festival which usually lasted three days, for which 
an orchestra and soloists of nation-wide reputation were 
engaged. The New York Symphony Orchestra under the 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 119 

direction of Walter Damrosch came twice, as did the Pitts- 
burgh Festival Orchestra. The performance of the Messiah 
given at the festival in 1908 was, according to the account 
in the News and Observer, the first to be given in North 

Mr. Hagedorn organized and directed a University Or- 
chestra, most of whom played in the Raleigh Orchestra 
which he had also organized. When Mr. Brown in 1912 went 
to the State Normal and Industrial College in Greensboro, 
Mr. Hagedorn was a capable successor as director of the 
Meredith School of Music. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Brown's going was a loss to Meredith 
and to Raleigh. Since 1902 he had worked steadily toward 
the fulfillment of a promise made to Dr. Vann in his letter 
of acceptance : 

I want to assure you now of my most loyal and earnest support 
in working for the welfare of the University, and that whatever 
ability I may possess shall be given unreservedly to building up a 
splendid school of music second to none in the South. 

From 1902 to 1912 the number of music students and 
faculty increased decidedly out of proportion to the in- 
crease in the "literary" students and faculty. Though the 
College was in debt, the need of musical equipment had 
been generously met. Thirty-one new Stieff pianos were 
bought in 1906; and the same year a pipe organ, said to be 
the largest in North Carolina at that time, was installed. 
Counting the installation the organ, bought from a Presby- 
terian church in Buffalo, cost $4,700. Much needed as Fair- 
cloth Hall was, there was strong sentiment for building in 
its stead a music hall, with an auditorium seating 2,500; 
and early in 1904 preliminary plans for such a building 
were drawn up — a "temple of music" one enthusiast called 
it. For several years the catalogue carried this statement: 
"The courses of study are planned after the best schools of 
music in this country and in Europe." The intensive train- 
ing necessary to produce the degree of skill in his students 
for which Mr. Brown strove left little time or interest for 
anything outside the music itself. Though the art depart- 
ment still kept the requirement, the thirty-one year-hours 

120 History of Meredith College 

of literary work required for a diploma in music when Mr. 
Brown came was soon reduced to twelve — two years of 
English and two years of a modern language. All the rest of 
the work of the four years was theoretical and practical 
music. When the College required of its A.B. students four- 
teen units for entrance, the music department required ten. 
The tendency in all this was obvious; there was grave 
danger that the school of music would have a college de- 
partment, instead of the College a school of music. Dr. 
Vann in his report to the trustees in 1908 pointed out the 

Your excellent school of music has become so noted and so 
popular that fears have been entertained by some friends of the 
Institution lest the work done in arts and sciences shall be over- 
shadowed, and false impressions made concerning our ideals and 
policy. . . . While we believe as good work is being done in other 
classes as in music, in the nature of the case, none of these schools, 
with the possible exception of Elocution, can ever make such a 
popular and sensational showing as Music. It seems important, 
therefore, that something be done with the view of magnifying 
the Literary Department in the eyes of the public, and putting it 
on more equal footing generally with the school of music. 

He made three suggestions to remedy the situation: a fee 
for a series of lectures and recitals open to the public; an 
effort to make, "as rapidly as possible, the salaries in the 
literary department more nearly equal to those in the music 
department"; and an effort to make the equipment of the 
two in more even proportion. 

Though neither salaries nor equipment could be immedi- 
ately and markedly improved, the "literary department" 
gradually ceased to be a Cinderella and began to make a 
name for itself. Miss Young in modern languages, Mr. Wat- 
son in mathematics, and Dr. Carroll in physiology carried 
on their unbroken tradition of sound work. In 1904 Mr. 
Sackett had been succeeded by J. Gregory Boomhour, a 
native of New York with degrees from Colgate University 
and from the University of Chicago. Mr. Boomhour re- 
mained at the College except for an absence of two years, 
1916-18, until his retirement in 1941. So gentle and unas- 
suming he was that it took time for him to be recognized 
as one of Meredith's truly great people. While the contro- 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 121 

versy over evolution was raging in North Carolina, Mr, 
Boomhour's course in geology presented the theory of evo- 
lution so distinctly, yet so unobtrusively, that his students 
took it as a matter of course. He became dean in 1912, 
gradually giving up all his work in science except physics. 
As teacher and as dean he is remembered for his fairness 
and his firmness. President Brewer characterized him as 
"a master of details, a sympathetic adviser, an inspiring 
teacher, an active Christian." 

With this solid foundation on which to build, there came 
to the College in 1908 two women who in quite different 
ways devoted themselves wholeheartedly to improving the 
standards of the College. Elizabeth Avery Colton, professor 
of English, and Mary Shannon Smith, professor of history, 
were in complete sympathy with the aim Dr. Vann ex- 
pressed for Meredith when he said: "It has set itself to 
discover and attain to the best ideals of Southern colleges 
for women." 

Miss Colton, the daughter of missionary parents in the 
Indian Territory, had lived from early childhood in North 
Carolina, her mother's native state. She knew from ex- 
perience the best and the worst of colleges for women; for 
when she had gone to Mt. Holyoke with an A.B. from a 
"female college" in Statesville, she had had to spend a year 
in preparation before she could enter the freshman class. 
Six years of teaching at Queen's College in Charlotte had 
preceded her graduate degree at Columbia, and three at 
Wellesley had followed it. 

In her own teaching her aim was that every student 
should be able to write reasonably clear and correct En- 
glish and to read with a certain degree of understanding 
and appreciation. To the lazy or superficial student she was 
merciless, and her sarcasm was to be feared; to the student 
who honestly worked she offered abundant help and en- 
couragement. Her concern for the College as a whole was 
as keen as for her own department. The year after she came 
she introduced the reckoning of entrance requirements in 
units and was to a large degree responsible for the increase 
of the number of units required for entrance from 11.5 to 14 
within four years. 

122 History of Meredith College 

In a few years she was recognized as the foremost au- 
thority in the nation on the standards of women's colleges 
in the South. During the years she was at Meredith she 
made a thorough investigation of these colleges — a task that 
took patience and courage — and published the findings in 
a series of candid pamphlets, the best kown of which are 
Standards of Southern Colleges (1913) and The Various 
Types of Southern Colleges for Women (1916). Most of her 
writings were published by the College as issues of the 
Quarterly Bulletin. Presidents of schools classified as 
"nominal and imitation colleges" were outraged and more 
that once threatened lawsuits, but none ever materialized, 
for Elizabeth Avery Colton could prove every word of the 
writings which Chancellor Kirkland of Vanderbilt called 
"high explosive pamphlets." Ill health forced her to give up 
her work in 1920, though at the insistence of the president 
and trustees she remained on leave of absence until 1923, a 
year before her death. 

Mary Shannon Smith's work during the ten years she was 
at Meredith lay more largely within the College itself. A 
native of Massachusetts, educated at Radcliffe, Leland 
Stanford, and Columbia, she had never been South before 
she came to Raleigh; but she adapted herself well to the life 
of the school, finding no fault with inadequacies or discom- 
forts. "If a cracked cup made more impression on a teacher 
than the richness of the spiritual atmosphere of Meredith," 
she once said, "that teacher did not belong at Meredith." 
That she was put on a state committee to locate and mark 
historic sites in North Carolina was a tribute to a New 
Englander who had been in the state only a year and a half. 

In the life of the students she probably had a more far- 
reaching influence than did Miss Colton, partly because 
much of Miss Colton's attention went to her Southwide 
work, partly because the students found in Miss Smith a 
warm, friendly interest which they did not find — or did not 
recognize — in the more reserved teacher of English. Miss 
Smith's courses in history and economics, to which for a few 
years education was added, were unusually stimulating. In 
written work her standards of thoroughness in investigation 
and accuracy in recording were so high that students from 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 123 

other departments preparing theses in graduate school re- 
membered with gratitude her sophomore history. And no 
student of hers will ever forget the importance of getting 
"the maximum of result with the minimum of effort." The 
College catalogue was her special responsibility, and its 
decided gain in clarity and consistency in those years was 
due largely to her work. After leaving Meredith Miss Smith 
taught for several years in Greenville Woman's College 
(now a part of Furman). Then she devoted her time to 
historical research in Raleigh until her retirement to her 
birthplace, Lee, Massachusetts. Well over eighty when she 
died in 1955, she never lost her intense joy in living. 

Working closely with the two and no less interested in 
the standards of the College was Rosa Catherine Paschal, 
niece of George W. Paschal, professor of Greek in Wake 
Forest College. One of the "immortal ten," she returned 
two years after graduation as assistant in mathematics; 
in 1907 she became lady principal, adding to that office the 
duties of the academic dean while Mr. Boomhour was away 
from the College for two years and for a year after his 
return. She was not daunted by those duties; for, as she 
once said, "the lady principal did everything from the 
maid's work to the president's work." When she resigned 
in 1919 to go to Anderson College as academic dean, she 
was recognized as one of the constructive influences in the 
growth of the school from a high school named a university 
to a real college. 

Since her retirement from Anderson College in 1953 Miss 
Paschal has lived in Raleigh, and her old girls are frequent 
visitors to her home. A student interviewer for the Twig 
in 1966, sixty-four years after her graduation, character- 
ized her as "pleasant, attractive, and quick." 

Lemuel Elmer MacMillan Freeman, A.B., A.M., B.D., 
Th.D. (how the early students enjoyed those sonorous 
syllables! ) , was from 1910 to 1949 professor of Bible, teach- 
ing also for a few years each philosophy, sociology, ethics, 
and education. Up to that time, only Miss Poteat's service 
was longer than his.^^ With undergraduate work at Furman, 

13 Professors Canaday, Brewer, and Johnson were members of the faculty 
forty-five, forty-seven, and fifty-one years respectively. 

124 History of Meredith College 

theology at Newton Seminary and at Harvard, and New 
Testament Greek and Bible at Chicago, he was as teacher of 
Bible a liberal conservative, keeping his students abreast of 
the best in Biblical criticism without shaking their faith in 
the authenticity of the Book. By precept and practice he and 
Mrs. Freeman have always been leaders in interracial 
equality and understanding long before the need of these 
was recognized. For several years after his retirement he 
was a part-time professor in the department of religion at 

Alice Whittier Meserve in 1907 succeeded Helen Louise 
Bishop as professor of Latin. She, like Miss Paschal, was 
an effective ally to Miss Colton in her work; and the or- 
ganization of the Raleigh chapter of the Southern Associa- 
tion of College Women was due largely to her influence. 
She was in 1912 succeeded by Bertha L, Loomis. In 1914, 
Helen Hull Law came as head of the department of Latin, 
which in 1916 became again the department of Latin and 
Greek as it had been till 1909. Her depth and breadth of 
scholarship would have frightened the freshmen had not 
her charming shyness made them feel that they must put 
her at ease. In 1927 she went to Wellesley, where she taught 
Greek until her retirement in 1955, eleven years before 
her death in Winter Park, Florida. 

Mary Hasseltine Vann was professor of mathematics from 
1912 to 1917; then she was granted a fellowship at Radcliffe. 
After this graduate study she went to the public schools of 
New York, from which position she retired to her home in 
Aulander in 1954. Strikingly tall and red-haired, she was a 
contrast in appearance and personality to Miss Law with 
her slender stateliness and classic profile, a contrast the 
more marked because the two were often together. The 
informality of Miss Vann's classes was a pleasant shock to 
her students, who admired her incredible skill in throwing 
chalk almost as much as they did her brilliance in mathe- 

Vital to every course in college is the library. President 
Blasingame in surveying the needs of the University the 
first year had made an especial plea for books, saying there 
was "no library to speak of." In the Recorder Mrs. Kesler 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 125 

had begged for books for the history department, giving a 
list of those especially needed. She, like the other teachers, 
eked out the scanty supply with her own books. 

In 1900 there was a library of 650 volumes, kept in a 
classroom on the second floor of Main Building, one of the 
total number of fourteen classrooms. The 1902 catalogue 
refers to the General Library; in 1904 that one small room 
was entitled General Library and Reading Room. Two stu- 
dents kept the library open about nine hours a day. Now 
and then a trustworthy girl would sit at the desk to keep 
order when both student librarians had classes. 

For the ordering of books and the general oversight of 
the library there was a curator, an office which until the 
coming of a full-time librarian was held by the professor of 
natural science — first Mr. Kesler, then Mr. Sackett, then 
Mr. Boomhour. This curator was requested by the trustees 
in 1902 to act with two of the trustees as a committee on the 
library, "to seek in all legitimate ways to increase the use- 
fulness of the library." For two years books and magazines 
taken out were entered, in the order of their withdrawal in 
a big account book formally inscribed Baptist Female Uni- 
versity, Library Record. That two-year record kept in the 
book shows, in addition to the books evidently used in class 
work, certain books to have been general favorites. Under 
Gold Skies, Best Things from Best Authors, Woman's Mis- 
sion and Influence, Give Me Thine Heart, Phoebe Skiddy's 
Theology — these were chosen again and again from the 
very small number available. 

More magazines than books were taken out. Even current 
issues were kept out from one to four days. Some of the 
titles are familiar to present-day readers — Atlantic 
Monthly, Etude, Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies' Home 
Journal. Others had titles now forgotten — Everybody's, 
McClure's, Lippincott's, Munsey's, Century, Success, and 
the widely circulated Youth's Companion. There were 
forty-three newspapers and only twenty-seven magazines, 
each girl having been asked to give the name of her home 
town or county newspaper to the president of the Univer- 
sity, who requested each editor to send a complimentary 
subscription to the library. 

126 History of Meredith College 

In 1902 Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Johnson of Wake Forest 
bequeathed their library to the Baptist University. Later 
donations — various books and gifts in money from individ- 
uals, $300 from the student body in 1911, gifts from the 
societies and classes, contributions from some of the depart- 
ments — all have been welcome, but none of them could 
mean quite so much as did this collection of books when 
the library was so new and small. 

The State Library and the Olivia Raney Library, always 
useful to the College, were invaluable supplements to the 
slender supply of books in those meager years. 

In 1910 the library, which had grown to 2,500 volumes, 
was moved down the hall to two classrooms with an arch- 
way between them. The books were at that time reclassi- 
fied according to the Dewey Decimal System, the work 
being done under the direction of the secretary of the State 
Library Commission. The next year the first full-time li- 
brarian was employed, Miss Emma Moore Jones, who was 
succeeded in 1913 by Miss Eva Malone. 

Margaret Forgeus was the next librarian. Except for two 
absences because of illness in her family she was at Mere- 
dith from 1914 to 1954. Since both times she resigned rather 
than taking a leave of absence, she has the unique distinc- 
tion of having been elected to her position three separate 
times. Marguerite Higgs '15, was her successor in the first 
interval, Gladys Leonard '25, in the second. 

In 1914 a third room, one directly across the hall, was 
put into use for the library. In it the books reserved for the 
upper classes were kept; and the juniors and seniors cher- 
ished, though they sometimes abused, the freedom from the 
immediate supervision of the libraraian, mild as her dis- 
cipline was. 

The health record of the College has always been good. 
For the first two years, ordinary illnesses were cared for in 
the infirmary by the patients' roommates and by the ma- 
tron, under Dr. Dixon's supervision. But the physician's 
marriage to Dr. Norwood Carroll in September, 1900, took 
her from her combined bedroom-livingroom-office to a 
home off the campus and made inevitable the employment 
of a full-time nurse. A trained nurse who came in 1901 was 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 127 

unsatisfactory and stayed only a few months. In January, 
1902, Octavia Norwood came. "She has not been trained in 
schools," Dr. Vann told the trustees, "but is a woman of 
experience, energy, good judgment, and fine spirit. She was 
employed at $15.00 a month for the spring term as an ex- 
periment." The experiment lasted thirty years. That it was 
highly satisfactory on both sides was evidenced by two inci- 
dents. Once when she asked for a raise in her microscopic 
salary, she explained that if she did not get it she would 
stay on anyway. (She received the raise.) And in 1913 the 
senior class petitioned the faculty to give Mrs. Norwood, 
who could do little more than write her name, a place in 
the academic procession Sunday morning and evening of 

To everyone she was "Son," because that was her epithet 
for anybody she addressed, from the smallest freshman to 
a dignified visiting doctor. Often from the fourth floor 
window would come her ringing command, "The dog's toe, 
son, get off that wet grass or you'll catch your death of 
cold!" If the culprit did catch cold, there waited for her the 
inevitable "castor oil cocktail" — and care as tender and 
loving as ever a mother gave her child. 

A mild case of smallpox early in 1901 quarantined the 
school for six weeks, with East Building, where the case 
occurred, isolated from the rest of the College. That the 
dread scourge did not spread convinced most parents of the 
value of what had been called "Dr. Dixon's fad of vaccina- 
tion." Elizabeth Chears Parks, '03, wrote to the Twig of 
February 12, 1926, her memories of the quarantine. The 
fifty cents she threw out the window to a passing lady with 
a request for shirtwaist material brought her enough for 
two waists, which she made with her fingers. For exercise 
the prisoners took turns rolling Dr. Vann's baby daughter, 
Elizabeth, around the building in a wheelbarrow. One 
morning Governor Aycock played snowball with them. The 
one really solemn time of the day was when Mrs. Earnshaw 
gathered them in the living room after supper and read to 
them the Book of Job. "Somehow as poetical as the book is 

" Soon after the College moved to its present site. Miss Ida planted a 
deodora cedar on the east side of Faircloth Hall, on the fourth floor of which 
the infirmary was then located, and called it the Octavia Tree. 

128 History of Meredith College 

said to be," Mrs. Parks wrote, I have never read it since. . . . 
For six long weeks the quarantine lasted. Then ablution in 
bichloride and freedom. Do you remember the freezing day 
we were tossed out of the building, our long hair a mass of 
frozen sleet?" 

Dr. Carroll's unusual medical skill was at the service of 
girls who were ill; her sound common sense was at the ser- 
vice of every student. The enchantment of her smile, her 
breathtakingly dramatic presentation of the simplest prin- 
ciples of health and hygiene, the audacious degree of her 
exaggeration which an occasional twinkle in her eyes ac- 
knowledged — all these made her weekly hygiene lectures 
and her senior class in physiology never-to-be-forgotten ex- 
periences. The health record of the College attests to the 
soundness of the regulations which she enunciated so em- 
phatically and which Miss Paschal with quiet firmness en- 

Generations of college students will never forget Dr. Car- 
roll's annual declaration concerning long-sleeved under- 
shirts and high shoes from November 1 to April 1 : "Every 
young lady in this institution is expected to wear a sleeve, 
and not a lace curtain; and if I find on the first day of 
November one single girl in low shoes, nothing under high 
heaven shall prevent her being sent home immediately." It 
must have been high heaven which warded off pneumonia 
when before a student function in chapel, especially if it 
was to be followed by a reception, Miss Paschal occasionally 
posted the welcome notice, "Students may remove their 
shirts and high shoes and sit with their friends." 

Dr. Carroll always gave generous credit for the good 
health of the College to the regular exercise which the 
physical education department required in its classes and 
encouraged in its games. Department is an anachronism 
here, for not until 1930 was it so recognized; before that 
year a brief description of its work appeared in the general 
information in the front of the catalogue, between "Gov- 
ernment" and "Hygiene and Care of the Sick." In 1910, 
however, it ceased to be an appendage to the work of the 
teacher of elocution, and rose to the dignity of a director of 
its own. Gertrude Royster had begun in 1905 as an associate 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 129 

of Miss Phelps the valued service to the College which 
lasted thirty-six years. In his report to the trustees in 
1906, Dr. Vann wrote of her: 

"Miss Royster at once won the hearts of the girls by her tact 
and sympathy, giving inspiration and her most loyal support to 
every detail of the work." 

Handicapped by limited equipment and limited space, by 
work required but giving no college credit, she nevertheless 
laid the foundation for an excellent department. Classes had 
to come in the late afternoons or evenings because the 
indoor work was done in three Faircloth rooms thrown to- 
gether — her office and two rooms regularly used for classes. 
In these two classrooms the chairs had to be stacked each 
time and put back in order when her work was over. Field 
Day, the forerunner of May Day, gave the public an idea of 
the training the girls received. It was a lively affair; several 
activities going on at once in the small court on the teeter 
ladders, climbing ropes, flying rings, and giant strides made 
of it almost a three-ring circus. There were gay folk dances; 
intricate drills with wands, dumbbells, and Indian clubs; 
and contests in low jumps, high jumps, and chinning the 
bar. For these classes and for their sports the girls wore 
blouses and modestly voluminous bloomers. 

The lecture series begun in 1909 added interest and 
variety to each year's activities. The small lecture fee from 
the students was supplemented by tickets sold to the gen- 
eral public, and the two hundred or more townspeople 
added to the student body so filled the auditorium that the 
speakers had the experience which John Kendrick Bangs on 
his second visit described as "talking to a size 42 audience in 
a perfect 36 hall." Most of the lectures were in series of 
three — two evenings and an extended chapel talk. The girls 
were charmed with the British accents and the Oxford and 
Cambridge gowns of Louis Wilkinson and John Cowper 
Powys. Though Dr. Wilkinson's address, "Browning, the 
Philosopher and Dramatist," lasted for an hour and a half, 
the Quarterly Bulletin reported that "he held his audience 
in charmed attention." On each of his two visits Hamlin 
Garland spoke informally to Miss Colton's class in advanced 

130 History of Meredith College 

composition. (The impressive term Creative Writing was a 
thing of the future.) Alfred Noyes's reading of "The High- 
wayman" and "The Barrel Organ" still echoes in his 
hearers' memories. Dr. Vann was dismayed when Scottish 
Hugh Black insisted on walking the seven blocks from the 
station, carrying his own bag. 

Founders' Day, first observed in 1909, brought speakers 
who were North Carolinians or who were associated with 
the state intimately enough to know the background of the 
College. Henry Louis Smith, a native North Carolinian, 
who was at that time president of the University of Vir- 
ginia, was the speaker on this first Founders' Day. He chose 
as his subject "Higher Education as a Field for Christian 
Philanthropy." The next year, 1910, when the change of 
name to Meredith College was ratified by the legislature, 
John E. White spoke on Thomas Meredith. Students, facul- 
ty, trustees and guests went in a body at the conclusion of 
the program to the City cemetery, where after a brief ser- 
vice a wreath was laid on Thomas Meredith's grave. On 
Founders' Day in 1966, which marked the seventy-fifth an- 
niversary of the granting of the charter to the Baptist 
Female University, a similar service took place. 

At other times during the year there were talks by men 
and women who were leaders in denominational work. Miss 
Heck in 1903 gave a series of talks. The Missionary Century. 
Secretaries of the various boards, state and southern; for- 
eign missionaries, some of them Meredith graduates; 
W.M.U. workers — all came to the College from time to 
time. In 1913-14 there was a series of monthly talks on 
various aspects of denominational life, each talk by a dif- 
ferent speaker. Pastors of churches over the state have 
always been especially welcome chapel speakers. 

Though there were fewer of them, student activities 
played a larger part in college life then than now because 
the students' interests were to a far greater extent centered 
on the campus. After its organization in 1903, the Athletic 
Association sponsored sports. Mr. Sackett, after being him- 
self instructed by the director of athletics at A. and M., 
coached the girls in basketball and tennis. The basketball 
court and the one tennis court were on the northeast side of 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 131 

Main Building, almost on the street. A high board fence was 
erected according to the trustees' directions "to protect the 
young ladies from the gaze of passers-by." There were two 
basketball teams, the Reds and the Blues. The account in the 
1904 Oak Leaves of a game played Thanksgiving afternoon 
ended thus : 

Miss Allen, to the dismay of the Reds, secures the ball, making 
a quick pass to Miss Markham, who scores the third goal for the 
Blues. The game closes with a score of 6-2 in favor of the Blues. 
The great Thanksgiving game is over. 

That same year the college team played two games with 
St. Mary's, the result of which Mary Johnson Lambeth, '06, 
a member of the team, described in a letter written many 
years later. 

The first game was a tie on our own grounds, and the second 
was a bad defeat for St. Mary's. The idea was abandoned because 
feeling ran too high. Unladylike language was used on both sides. 
St. Mary's intimated that we were of bourgeois extraction, while 
our fans sneered at their educational limitations. 

On March 6, 1915, the Athletic Association, of which a 
junior. Alberta Brown, was president, sponsored the first 
Stunt Night — establishing a still unbroken tradition. A de- 
scription of the four stunts was in next day's News and 

The Freshmen led off with a "glee club," composed of tin cans, 
combs, -and various other instruments of torture. The several 
young things were dressed in the styles of the "good old days," 
and brought forth a sigh of "never more" from the stricken youths 
out in front. The Sophomore class came backward, dressed back- 
ward, and "turned the world upside down." The Juniors appeared 
in the role of legislators. . . . The bill for consideration was "man 
suffrage." Each member explained his vote in convincing reasons. 
. . . They feared "politics would corrupt him," or "would alienate 
his love of home and family"; hence he was disallowed by a ma- 
jority of eight. The Seniors concluded with "The Lamentable 
Tragedy of Julius Caesar." . . . The battle of platter and spoon fur- 
nished an uproarious climax and finale. After that, candy and 
sweetened conversation were served as "delicious refreshments." 

Christmas caroling, now sponsored by the Meredith Rec- 
reation Association, has also continued as an unbroken 
tradition. "A joyous prelude to the holidays," the 1960 Oak 

132 History of Meredith College 

Leaves called it. In the early days rather than going in the 
late evening as they do now the carolers went out very 
early in the morning, singing on the campus, at the homes 
of faculty members, at hospitals, at the state prison, and at 
the governor's mansion. A critically ill patient at Rex hos- 
pital, wakened at dawn by the singing, thought that he had 
died and was hearing the angels singing. Later he said, "It 
was beautiful enough to be the angels' song." 

Growing out of the Sunday evening prayer meeting and 
the missionary society of the first year was the Y.W.C.A., 
organized in 1901 with the encouragement of Miss Heck and 
Miss McDowell. Morning watch, vespers, voluntary Bible 
and mission study classes, and the student volunteer group 
were all under its guidance. It supplemented and lent 
variety to the religious services at which attendance was 
required — daily chapel, Sunday school, and church. The 
Y.W.C.A. was helpful in preparation for the series of re- 
vival services held each year. Within the College and with- 
out there was commendation of the growth in Christian 
spirit, the influence and effectiveness of the Christian or- 
ganizations. "With no trace of cant or suppression of the 
natural, bright joy of youth," Dr. Vann wrote in a report to 
the Convention, "there is evident among our young women 
a healthy, vigorous religious life." 

The Y.W.C.A. was of value also in furnishing a link — ^un- 
til the organization of student government the only link — 
with colleges of different types in different parts of the 

The literary societies continued to be an important part 
of student life. Through the programs of both the Philare- 
tians and Astrotektons usually ran a thread of unity; classic 
myths, Italian art, German opera, American drama, Euro- 
pean cities, famous women were some of the subjects used 
for a half-year or a year. Programs on a play soon to be 
given by the Dramatic Club were customary in both socie- 
ties. For a year or two each society had one program every 
month on literature, on art, on music, and on current af- 
fairs. Before the election in 1912 Taft, Roosevelt, and Wil- 
son, each convincing in appearance and mannerisms, made 
fiery campaign speeches to a joint meeting of the two so- 

Presidents of Meredith College 

James Carter Blasingame 


Charles Edward Brewer 


Richard Tilman Vann 


Carlyle Campbell 


(Continued on next page) 

E. Bruce Heilman 
President 1966-1971 

John E. Weems 
President 1972- 

Livingston Johnson Administration Building 

"Upheld by the Affections of a Great People" 133 

cieties. In "My Favorite Book — and Why," a Philaretian 
program, the choice varied from Paradise Lost to Peck's 
Bad Boy. There were debates within each society and be- 
tween the two; among the subjects which furnished ma- 
terial for debates were the Russo-Japanese War, compulsory 
education, child labor, coeducation, and the ever recurrent 
question of woman's suffrage. Impromptu debates were a 
favorite diversion, quite helpful if the program prepared 
failed to materialize. "Is the work of students or teachers 
harder?" "Is Wake Forest Anniversary or Valentine's day 
a greater aid to Cupid?" There were other diverting pro- 
grams to vary the more serious ones. "A Ballad in Black'^ 
was the story of Cinderella in silhouette. When attending 
the moving pictures once a month was still a recent privi- 
lege, the Astrotektons pictured the advertisements cus- 
tomarily shown on the screen, among them the Gold Dust 
Twins, Fairy Soap, Baker's Chocolate, and His Master's 

For both the Y.W.C.A. and the literary societies there 
were occasional speakers from the city and talks by mem- 
bers of the faculty, whose experiences had been richer and 
more varied than one might expect in a comparatively new 
college which could pay only small salaries. Travel talks 
were especially popular; teachers who had taken summer 
trips abroad or who had been, in the words of the trustees' 
minutes, "excused for a year's study" in this country or 
abroad opened magic casements for the students, most of 
whom had never been outside the state. 

The first two issues of Oak Leaves, the College annual, 
were produced in 1904 and 1905 by the senior classes. In 
1906 the literary societies assumed this responsibility. The 
societies also produced the monthly magazine, the Acorn, 
the first issue of which appeared in February, 1907. The 
names were a tribute to Raleigh, for which "City of Oaks" 
was a well-known epithet; and the first annual was dedi- 
cated to the citizens of Raleigh. 

Sorosis, a name adopted the country over for the organi- 
zations which developed into woman's clubs, was an off- 
spring of the societies, begun in 1905 with Miss Phelps's 
guidance. It continued — though with the interest consid- 

134 History of Meredith College 

erably diminished in its later years — till 1916. With a mem- 
bership limited to thirty girls who were regular college stu- 
dents, the group strove to raise the standard of work done in 
both societies. In addition to their study of parliamentary 
procedure and the duties of officers and committees, they 
had decidedly practical programs, such as the one which 
took up the finer points of sewing, with a talk by Bessie 
Lane, '11, (a Latin major before she was an M.D.) on col- 
lars, yokes, ornaments, color, pressing, cleaning, and re- 
pairing. The Christmas program of the societies and the 
Y.W.C.A. might glitter with holly berries and star dust, 
but Sorosis could not be deflected from its set course. In 
1913 the members studied The Economics of the Home, and 
on December 14, the Acorn reported, they discussed light- 
ing, water supply, hygiene and sanitation, and plumbing. 

The class organizations were not, in the earliest years of 
the school, of so much interest or importance as they are 
now, partly because the majority of students were prepara- 
tory or special students and thus would not be included in 
the four college classes, partly because the sharp line be- 
tween A.B. students and diploma students tended to divide 
each class. The first class organization was that of the 
seniors in the fall of 1901, with Minnie Sutton as president. 
They held their meetings, as did senior classes for years 
thereafter, in the physics laboratory classroom on the first 
floor of Main Building. After successfully petitioning for 
several privileges, such as walking in groups of two without 
a chaperon, their main business was the planning of class 
day, which that year came several weeks before com- 
mencement and for which the whole school had a holiday. 
The class song, the prophecy, the will, the presentation to 
each member of comically appropriate mementoes, the 
planting of the ivy, the burning of the most detested book — 
these were climaxed by the presentation of the class gift. In 
a specially prepared hardwood box with B.F.U. carved on it, 
each girl in turn placed her contribution. And thus the 
endowment fund was begun with $19.75 from the first 
graduating class. 

The class of 1906 as sophomores made the first ivy chain. 
"It couldn't have been called a thing of beauty," one mem- 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 135 

ber wrote the next year, "but we, poor things, did our best — 
ivy was scarce!" They perhaps were not so venturesome as 
later classes and did not in the darkness of early morning 
gather frantic handfuls of the ivy which grew so abundantly 
in Oakwood cemetery; nor did they yet have Mr. Boom- 
hour's aid, always so welcome to the makers of the daisy 
chain. The sprig of ivy planted each year sometimes lived, 
notwithstanding the cynical comment in the report of the 
1907 commencement in the Quarterly Bulletin: 

The class followed the custom of planting a sprig of ivy in a 
dust bed at the side of Faircloth Hall, without adding a drop of 
water, and the ivy followed custom in dying promptly. 

Some of the classes followed 1902 in making gifts to the 
endowment fund. When 1911 presented its gift of $680, a 
young man rose from the audience and presented $615 from 
the Wake Forest seniors. The class of 1907 delighted its 
faculty member, Dr. Dixon Carroll, by giving a skeleton, 
"Brother Bones" — a gift which considerably aided the work 
of succeeding physiology classes. The classes of 1909 and 
1912 gave portraits of Dr. Vann and of Mr. Stringfield; 
1915 made its gift to Belgian relief. 

It was partly to encourage class spirit and partly to solve 
the problem of the class of 1906, which had nine members 
and eight parts in class day, that the crook was introduced 
at the suggestion of Miss Phelps, who had come to Meredith 
from Adrian College in Michigan, where a crook was thus 
used. The ninth member presented to the incoming senior 
class a shepherd's crook, full sized, decked with the colors 
of 1906, with the solemn injunction that it be hidden from 
the next junior class. The next year to the colors of 1906 was 
added a huge black bow because of the mistaken confidence 
1907 placed in the skill of the Wake Forest youth who 
volunteered to hide the crook. As the years went on the 
hiding places became more difficult — one year it was sewed 
up in the mattress of Mrs. Applewhite, the mother of a 
teacher. By 1913 enthusiasm had too often given way to ill 
will; the risk to life and limb in swinging from a fourth to a 
third floor window was too great — and the crook was sum- 
marily abolished, not to be reinstated till 1929. It was 

136 History of Meredith College 

abandoned again in 1948 because of lack of interest. The 
custom has several times been revived for a short period of 
time, the latest being in 1969. It was produced on awards 
day, a few weeks before commencement, rather than on 
class day. 

The Dramatic Club was organized in 1903 and throve 
during Miss Phelps's stay. She did not try anything so 
spectacular as a performance at the Academy of Music, for 
the much applauded Midsummer Night's Dream had 
brought the school such severe censure that for several 
years no plays were given, and only on extraordinary oc- 
casions were girls allowed to attend the theatre. But the 
indignation had died down when Miss Phelps began in 1906 
a series of Shakespearean plays. As You Like It, Twelfth 
Night, Winter's Tale, Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet, 
which were so well performed that they would have even 
pleased audiences more critical than playlovers in a town to 
which few professional productions came. Two of Brown- 
ing's plays were given — A Blot in the Scutcheon in 1909; 
and in May, 1912, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of 
Browning's birth, Colomhe's Birthday. 

These plays, like Sheridan's and Goldsmith's, which were 
also produced, presented fewer difficulties in staging than 
did modern dramas because cloaks and capes looked con- 
siderably better than the skirts — later mitigated to full 
black bloomers — which the authorities decreed instead of 
trousers. For plays in modern dress, the men if possible 
were on the stage when the curtains parted, and moved only 
when absolutely necessary, standing behind tables or chairs 
or sofas or leaning over fences wherever such protection 
could be provided. 

In 1905 the school took an important step forward when 
it introduced student government, apparently the first col- 
lege in the state to do so, and one of the first in the South. 
It was no sudden venture; as early as the second year the 
faculty minutes show that capable girls were being given 
responsibility, for "nine trustworthy girls" were named to 
assist the teachers by taking charge of sections of girls in 
their daily walk. In October, 1900, the faculty decided that 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 137 

certain girls should be allowed to visit and walk without a 
chaperon "at the appointed times and within fixed limita- 
tions." Such girls must have always been "irreproachable" 
in conduct and must have made A on at least half their 
work with no grades lower than B. In 1903 what had two 
years earlier been a senior privilege was extended to all 
students — that they might walk and go to Sunday school 
and church in groups with a student rather than a teacher as 

Disciplinary measures had almost from the beginning 
been in part a responsibility of the students themselves. In 
October, 1900, the Club girls asked the faculty to send away 
from the school one of their own number who had been 
guilty of indiscreet behavior. Their decision was upheld; but 
with the consent of the Club girls, given because her apolo- 
gy showed her repentance, she was allowed on probation to 
continue in school as a Main Building student. 

Four years later the trustees reported thus to the Con- 
vention : 

The management has inaugurated a modified form of self gov- 
ernment by the student body, and with gratifying results. When 
the one case calling for disciplinary measures occurred this ses- 
sion, the students themselves took the initiative and the faculty 
sanctioned their action. It is the purpose of the Faculty to ap- 
proach as nearly as possible the ideal of a well ordered home 

The next year, after a careful study had been made of good 
colleges north and south which already had student govern- 
ment, the final step was easily taken. The faculty minutes 
show that^ary S. Abbott, who had that fall succeeded Mrs. 
Laura Anderson as lady principal, submitted on October 3, 
1905, a plan for student self-government. After a joint com- 
mittee of students and faculty had worked together over the 
plan, it was on November 2 adopted without delay. Thus 
the Student Association of the Baptist University for 
Women was formed, and officers elected. 

Victoria Pickler was president; Margaret Bright, vice- 
president, and Addie Smith, secretary, with Bessie Williams 
and Ethel Carroll completing the executive committee. The 

138 History of Meredith College 

president and vice-president were seniors; the other three, 
juniors. The 1906 Oak Leaves gave a clear account of the 
organization and its working : 

The government is almost entirely in the hands of the students 
themselves, under a set of regulations submitted by the Faculty 
and adopted by the student body. They have their own Executive 
Committee, which has the general oversight of the order and de- 
portment of students, and which reports delinquencies to the self- 
governed body. Only incorrigible cases are turned over to the 
Faculty. Students whose deportment is meritorious and whose 
grades are passing are eligible to membership on the Honor Roll, 
after a month's probation; and if at the end of another month 
they prove worthy those who have reached the age of seventeen 
are promoted to the self-governed body where they remain xintil 
they disqualify themselves by bad conduct or by a poor grade of 
work. This system tends to promote honor, self-reliance, self- 
restraint, personal responsibility, and reciprocal helpfulness. It 
promises the best solution of the problem of discipline that has yet 
been devised. 

Grateful recognition of Miss Abbott's part in the new ven- 
ture was expressed in the Student Handbook for 1907-08: 

The Association stands as a monument to Miss Abbott's earnest 
efforts to realize in our college the highest ideal of womanhood, 
which her own life in its purity and beauty has exemplified. 

As was to be expected, the new system was not estab- 
lished v/ithout difficulties. Miss Paschal, who became lady 
principal in 1907 on Miss Abbott's resignation because of 
ill health, pointed out that many of the girls, accustomed to 
the faculty as the disciplinary force, did not accept readily 
responsibility for one another's conduct, refusing the first 
year to be proctors. As late as January, 1908, a committee 
of the faculty was appointed "to investigate and make some 
provision for girls objecting to joining the honor roll sys- 
tem." Among the preparatory students and in some cases 
amiong the college students there were childish attitudes 
which had to be overcome, some of them boarding-school 
ideas. Midnight feasts, salt in all the sugar bowls, trunks 
piled in front of faculty members' doors, flypaper on the 
footstool of a diminutive teacher, hiding the hat of a faculty 
member's caller — all these childish pranks seem incom- 
patible with the sweeping skirts, high pompadours and 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 139 

grave expressions of the young ladies pictured in the Oak 
Leaves. It would be difficult to believe that the line of 
demure, white-clad girls who always marched down to lec- 
tures and concerts in chapel from the third floor, half 
coming down the staircase to the right, half to the left, 
would run away and stay all day on April Fool's Day, or 
another year on the same day keep absolute silence when 
the first chapel hymn was announced. 

Little by little, the girls began to respond well to their 
new responsibilities, and learned in large measure to put 
away childish things and to turn their exuberant energy 
in more constructive channels. As they became more cap- 
able and more mature in their points of view, they took 
more authority in their own hands. In March, 1913, Miss 
Paschal wrote in the alumnae department of the Acorn: 

The president of the student government association is more of 
an authority on equity and law than is any teacher in the in- 
stitution, and it is into her ears that a transgressor pours out her 

Less than ten years after the establishment of student 
government, the students insisted, sometimes to a degree 
disconcerting to the faculty, upon the authority belonging 
to the Association. In 1913, its president, Harriet Herring, 
presented the request of the organization, that "the Student 
Government Association be a body of equal power with the 
senate in the matter of government, actions of the one to 
go into effect only with the approval of the other." The 
faculty senate did not think it wise to grant the request, 
considering the age of the students and the procedure of the 
best colleges of Meredith's type. 

Much credit is due to Miss Paschal and to the Student 
Government presidents and committees with whom she 
worked through the difficult, formative years of the As- 
sociation, when the untried way had to be felt out, inch by 

Student Government, Y.W.C.A., the literary societies, 
and the classes all contributed to the social life, providing 
entertainment enough to keep Jill from being a dull girl. 
Gala occasions, small and large, were scattered throughout 

140 History of Meredith College 

the year. There were, of course, informal affairs — ^parties 
for the new girls, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas 
parties, at which the refreshments varied from scuppemong 
grapes or candy or peanuts to the more elegant hot choco- 
late with wafers or ice cream. The junior-senior had not 
settled into the invariable pattern of a banquet; it might be 
a porch-party, a picnic, a hayride, or breakfast at the Yar- 
borough — the hotel of Raleigh. ( The more plebian Giersch's 
was the restaurant usually patronized when one merely 
"ate down town.") 

As was the case in most women's colleges in the South, 
the regulations did not encourage the informal, individual 
contacts which play so large a part in the social life of 
college students now. The restrictions affecting the associa- 
tion of the students with men, though in keeping with those 
of other institutions, now seem absurdly rigid. Rosa Cath- 
erine Paschal in 1950 wrote : 

In these latter years I have pondered as to why college officials 
should ever have been so reserved [mild word] about arranging 
for boy to see girl. Why didn't we realize that we were going 
against nature? 

For years callers were received only on Monday afternoons; 
and as that was, except for seniors, the only afternoon for 
going downtown, one chose each week between shopping 
and dating. Using the telephone was until 1919, according 
to the Handbook, a senior privilege. Students could not sit 
with young men in chapel "at any function under the 
auspices of the college," but could do so at any affair under 
the auspices of a student organization. 

Hence the church picnics and parties and the social af- 
fairs at the College to which men were invited were the 
more important. For such occasions there were then, as 
now, guests in abundance from several nearby colleges. 
That Wake Forest and A. and M. were the favorite sources 
of supply is evident from the Acorn account of the 1914 
Founders' Day reception : 

Four classrooms were gay with decorations. The effect of the 
Valentine room, with its festoons of red hearts, was unusually 
pretty. Besides the Wake Forest and A. and M. rooms, which are 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 141 

always with us on such occasions, there was a George "Washington 
room, which was quite patriotic with its flags and hatchets. 

There were return courtesies; society anniversary and the 
Baraca banquet at Wake Forest were important dates on the 
calendar of the sister college, and invitations from A. and 
M. were not infrequent. 

The climax in formal entertainment was the banquet 
given each year by the trustees and faculty in honor of the 
seniors, to which juniors were also invited. It was held the 
evening of graduation day in the college dining room from 
six to nine. Ethel Carroll Squires, '07, who as student and 
teacher knew the early college well, wrote of the occasion : 

The tables were arranged in an inverted U. Dr. Delia Dixon 
Carroll or some other majestic and fluent dignitary acted as 
master of ceremonies. Proud moment that — when the president of 
the senior class, after descending from the parlors on the arm of 
the president of the Board of Trustees, arose in response to the 
toast to her classmates. One naive junior refused to touch her cup 
because, as she confessed years later, she thought all punch was 
wicked, even Baptist College punch. Simple food, rich thought, 
good conversation, happy fellowship. 

Replacing the banquet, a reception with the entire student 
body as guests was continued till 1919. 

Of those commencements from 1900 to 1915 there are 
many treasured memories. Society Night began the finals, 
with excitement over which of the long line of white-clad 
girls, the Astrotektons on the right, the Philaretians on the 
left of the chapel, would be longer; and who would win the 
essay medals — the only awards presented on Society Night, 
The audience, a more intimate one than for the other oc- 
casions of commencement, made up mostly of students and 
their friends and alumnae, enjoyed the music and the ad- 
dress; and with the prospect of the coming reception 
listened with patient courtesy to the reading of the prize- 
winning essays. The baccalaureate sermon Sunday morning 
and the missionary sermon in the evening alternated be- 
tween the First Baptist and the Tabernacle Church, the 
entire student body, faculty, and trustees marching from 
the College to the church. The stately dignity of the first 
senior class was not assumed for the occasion, for the stu- 

142 History of Meredith College 

dents looked upon the seniors with awe and always called 
them "Miss." With their high collars, wasp waists, and 
sweeping skirts they led the academic line quite as impres- 
sively as do their black-gowned successors. 

After the first year or two when it was held earlier in the 
month, class day took place Monday morning in the audi- 
torium. It followed each year the pattern grown all too fa- 
miliar to the casual spectator, but always charmingly new 
to the graduates and their friends. 

It was a tribute to Miss Poteat and Miss Ford that an ap- 
preciative throng panted up the three flights of steps to 
the art exhibit in the studio. Monday evening came the 
annual concert, with Mr. Brown beaming at audience and 
performers and with Donis, his ebony face accentuated by 
gleaming shirt and cuffs, magnificently raising and lower- 
ing the lid of the grand piano. 

Tuesday was the important day when the baccalaureate 
address was climaxed by the awarding of degrees and di- 
plomas, with a Bible for each graduate. The earlier classes 
remember the armfuls of roses brought to the stage for the 
more popular seniors, a practice that was wisely abolished 
after a few years. Then, before the seniors marched out, 
each one half-smiles because the coveted diploma was hers, 
half-tears because the school was suddenly dearer than she 
had ever dreamed it could be, before each graduate was 
taken to the maternal bosom while the adoring father 
awaited his turn. Dr. Vann made his talk to the graduates. 
The baccalaureate addresses were usually of high quality; 
Charles Edward Jefferson, William Lyon Phelps, Leslie 
Shaw, Robert Stuart MacArthur, and Newell Dwight Hillis 
were among the speakers. But whether these addresses 
were ponderously learned or gracefully literary, it was Dr. 
Vann's few sentences which the graduates remembered 
longest, talks which, in Ethel Carroll Squires' words, "filled 
our hearts with nuggets of wisdom and brimmed our eyes 
with tears." 

In 1915 the students listened with especially tender grav- 
ity to his talk, his last words as president of the College. 
Just as fifteen years earlier he had been called to head a 
new enterprise, so now the denomination called him to a 

"Upheld hy the Affections of a Great People" 143 

new work, the executive secretaryship of the recently es- 
tablished Educational Board of the Convention. Of the de- 
cision Livingston Johnson wrote: 

He felt and pleaded his unfitness, but the members of the 
board now, like the trustees of Meredith fifteen years ago, be- 
lieved that he was the best man among us for this new and very- 
important work. Again he yielded to the conviction of his 
brethren, and accepted the heavy responsibilities which the posi- 
tion imposes. 

The College made much progress in the fifteen years of 
his presidency. The property increased in value from $75,- 
000 to $289,050; the $43,000 debt was wiped out and an 
endowment of $127,000 accumulated; the enrollment went 
from 220 to 383 in spite of the discontinuance of the de- 
partments of business and of elocution and the first nine 
years of the preparatory department. From a female uni- 
versity with rather vague requirements for entrance and 
graduation, it became a college which commanded respect 
in academic circles. The intangible values are beyond esti- 

Richard Tilman Vann died on July 25, 1941. To the 
many who knew him, his memory is cherished; to those who 
did not, the beauty of the words and music of the "Alma 
Mater" links his name with the college to which his in- 
fluence has been and will ever be a blessing. 



On February 3, 1916, Charles Edward Brewer, who since 
the preceding June had held the office, was inaugurated 
president of Meredith College. In presenting him on that 
occasion Dr. Vann spoke of the "commanding unanimity" 
with which the vast Baptist host has chosen the new pres- 
ident. The phrase was justified; for no other name was con- 
sidered by the trustees, and there was not one dissenting 

The academic world was no untried venture to the new 
president. Born in 1866 at Wake Forest to John Marchant 
Brewer and Ann Eliza Wait Brewer, the boy had been 
brought up in the shadow of the college of which his grand- 
father, Samuel Wait, had been the first president. With an 
A.B. and an A.M. from Wake Forest and with two years of 
graduate study in chemistry at Johns Hopkins, the young 
man had returned to Wake Forest as professor of chemistry 
in 1889, the year the Convention voted to establish the Bap- 
tist Female University. During a year's leave of absence 
he had finished his graduate work at Cornell, receiving the 
Ph.D. degree in 1900; he had been made dean of Wake 
Forest when that office was created in 1912. Hence William 
Louis Poteat, then president of Wake Forest, had oppor- 
tunity to know well the man to whom in inaugural greet- 
ings he attributed "firmness and geniality, a microscopic 
care and a cosmic vision, fidelity and initiative, specialism 
and culture, humility of spirit and a victorious faith." 

The vast Baptist host of North Carolina chose the new 
president of Meredith not only for his academic attain- 
ments, but for his devout Christianity. A deacon in the 
Wake Forest Baptist Church, he had organized the Glen 
Royall Sunday school in the mill section of Wake Forest 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 145 

and was its superintendent until he left Wake Forest. Men 
and women now growing old still remember the long walks 
he took with them as children each Sunday afternoon. For 
more than twenty years he taught the men's Bible class in 
the First Baptist Church in Raleigh, a class now named the 
Jones-Brewer Berean Class; thus his name is united with 
that of the teacher of the class who preceded him, Wesley 
Norwood Jones. He had been recording secretary of the 
Baptist State Convention from 1908 to 1915, when he be- 
came chairman of the Layman's Missionary Movement in 
North Carolina. He also served on many important com- 
mittees of the Convention. 

Thus there was no jolt of adjustment when President 
Brewer took up his new duties. He was well-fitted for the 
position by his academic and religious background and his 
experience in a college which had in many ways served as 
a model for its sister institution. He had wholehearted ap- 
preciation of what had been accomplished in the institution 
to which he came, an appreciation which in no way blinded 
him to its defects and its needs. Throughout the years he 
gave to Meredith wise guidance, staunch support, and un- 
stinted love. He remembered the College generously in his 

Perhaps the most significant aspect of President Brewer's 
great contribution to the life of Meredith was his keen, in- 
dividual interest in every person in the school. On the day 
the College opened in the fall of 1915 he knew the name of 
each of the 403 students and the town or community from 
which each came. Within three weeks he recognized the 
face which went with each name. His unusual ability in 
winning the confidence of students and faculty was evident 
from the beginning. His discernment, his patience, his good 
humor, his sympathy were invaluable to a homesick fresh- 
man, to a teacher perplexed with new responsibilities or 
wearied with old ones. 

The editor of the Acorn wrote of him in the spring of 
1916, his first year : 

If there are any difficulties, he helps us to meet and solve them; 
if there are successes, his commendation helps us to achieve 

146 History of Meredith College 

greater things. Truly we have a friend in our president, for he is 
ever willing to give us the benefit of his wisdom, his sympathy, 
and his broader experience. 

The same editorial expressed gratitude for Mrs. Brewer's 
help and advice, her cheering visits to the infirmary, all 
evidences of "her beautiful Christian character, a constant 
reminder of what we would like to be," The influence of 
her quiet, gentle beauty of character and personality con- 
tinued and deepened throughout Dr. Brewer's presidency. 
Her home with her daughters at 126 Groveland Avenue 
was frequently visited by alumnae, and her presence at 
any Meredith gathering was a benediction. Mrs. Brewer 
died in 1963; she, too, remembered the College in her will. 

The inauguration was a red-letter day for Meredith, with 
the host of friends which it brought to the campus. William 
Alexander Webb, president of Randolph-Macon Woman's 
College, gave the first address, "The Place of the Human- 
ities in a College of Liberal Arts." Dr. Vann introduced the 
new president, whose inaugural address was, "The Rela- 
tions and Obligations of the Christian College." With no 
overlapping, the two addresses had striking unity in the 
ideals they set forth. 

An anthem by the Meredith choir and the Wake Forest 
glee club was followed by a series of greetings. William 
Louis Poteat represented the Southern denominational 
schools and colleges; May Lansfield Keller, dean of West- 
hampton College, the Southern standard colleges for wom- 
en; Bertha May Boody, dean of Radcliffe, the Northern 
standard colleges for women. The state schools were repre- 
sented by Edward Kidder Graham, president of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina, and James Yadkin Joyner, state 
superintendent of public instruction. John Alexander Gates, 
president of the Baptist State Convention, prefaced his 
greeting from the 268,000 Baptists in North Carolina by an 

They would have all liked to be here, but they just couldn't 
come. Why, it would take more than fifty miles of passenger trains 
to bring them here, and forty acres of land to give them good 
standing room. . . . But if they were all together, and should at one 
time express their great delight at the inauguration of Dr. Brewer, 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 147 

they might get into the toils of the law for having an unlawful 

Edith Taylor Earnshaw, '05, spoke for the alumnae, Mary 
Olivia Pruette for the student body, and Dr. Freeman for 
the faculty. 

The singing of the Alma Mater brought to a fitting close 
Meredith's first inauguration, an event which Tom Bost, 
of the Greensboro Daily News, characterized as "a simple 
ceremony that had little of the ceremonial." He continued, 
"It was all so delightfully modest and characteristic of a col- 
lege that is yet so young and deferential when it might be 
forgivably effervescent, not to say chesty and bumptious." 

In his inaugural address, "The Relations and Obligations 
of the Christian College," President Brewer said that he 
was coming to "an institution that has passed the experi- 
mental stage, and has demonstrated not only its right, but 
its duty to live." Thus it was natural that for the next ten 
years, the progress of the College should be in paths already 
marked out — a progress no less significant because it was 
steady rather than spectacular. 

The new president gave as an essential characteristic of 
the Christian college "a worthy record of giving excellent 
training." This worthy record, already established, was 
strengthened and given wider recognition by the admission 
of the College to membership in the Association of Southern 
Colleges and Secondary Schools in December, 1921. A long, 
toilsome effort had preceded that recognition. As early as 
January 2, 1905, the following resolution had been re- 
corded in the faculty minutes : 

That the faculty recommend to the Board of Trustees the adop- 
tion of the College entrance requirements of the Southern Asso- 
ciation of Colleges. 

The coming of Miss Colton in 1908 and the nation-wide 
reputation she was gaining as an authority on the 
standards of Southern colleges had given impetus to the 
efforts to gain recognition of Meredith as a standard college. 
By 1911 the College had met the entrance and curricular 
requirement of the Southern Association. The trustees were 
pleased with the prospect of an authoritative recognition 

148 History of Meredith College 

of the work of the College; but some of them were dubious 
about the other requirements of the Association — those con- 
cerning endowment, the training and salaries of teachers, 
the maximum number of hours for each teacher, the maxi- 
mum size of classes, the number of volumes in the library, 
the complete separation or discontinuance of the prepara- 
tory department. Gradually the doubters were won over or 
outvoted; and each year as plans were made for the im- 
mediate and more distant future of the College, these needs 
were kept in the forefront, and efforts were made to stretch 
the slender budget to bring the College a little nearer to the 
coveted goal of membership in the Southern Association. 

"The Southern Association" had become a byword in the 
College. The 1911 Oak Leaves gave a jesting account of a 
faculty meeting held in a classroom while the students 
waited at the door. 

It is moved and carried that Miss Colton shall go in behalf of 
Meredith to impress upon all educational institutions that we 
exist, and by dint of much gnashing of teeth and hard work shall 
attain to their heights ere long. 

Each assuming that inimitable, awe-inspiring, classroom air 
they file out, and we file in, sorely alive to the fact that we are in 
the clutches of those whose decrees are the unchanging result of 
the workings of great minds, yet half -joyful that we are dragged 
by main strength and awkwardness, whether we will or not, into 
the everlasting glory of standard colleges. 

When on December 21, 1921, Dr. Brewer wired that the 
College was admitted to full membership in the Southern 
Association, in half an hour every person on the campus had 
heard the glad news. One freshman wrote her mother a 
special delivery letter to tell her that Meredith had at last 
been taken into the Southern Baptist Convention! 

Recognition came from other sources. In 1924 the A.B. 
graduates were admitted to membership in the American 
Association of University Women. That the quality of work 
done at the College was good from the beginning was evi- 
denced by the fact that membership in that Association was 
open to A.B. graduates beginning with the first class, 1902, 
rather than with 1915, the first class to offer the fourteen 
entrance units which the Association then required. Sev- 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 149 

eral years before the recognition of the College by any ac- 
crediting agency, students from Meredith had been admitted 
to full graduate standing at such universities as Columbia 
and Cornell, and had been granted the M.A. at the end of 
nine months' work. In 1928 the Association of American 
Universities placed Meredith on its list of approved colleges, 
a distinction which had at that time been accorded to only 
three other institutions in North Carolina, none of them 
colleges for women. 

There were for the first ten years of President Brewer's 
administration few changes in the curriculum. With the dis- 
continuance of the preparatory department completed by 
1917 and with the number of special students greatly de- 
creased, there were more regular college students, even 
though lack of space prevented any increase in the total 
enrollment. With a large and better trained faculty, addi- 
tional elective courses were given in most departments. 
Students in art, music, and home economics had so much 
of their work required in their own respective fields that 
they could take but few electives. There was, however, 
need for more guidance of students working for the A.B. 
degree. To help them to unify their work and avoid smat- 
tering, a system was introduced in 1915 which amounted to 
a major and a related field, though these terms were not 
used. After meeting the basic requirement of thirty-one 
year-hours in English, ancient and modern languages, 
mathematics, biology, chemistry, history, and psychology 
followed by ethics or sociology, the student chose six year- 
hours from one of seven subjects — English, French, Ger- 
man, Latin, history, mathematics, and science, with nine 
year-hours from four or five subjects related to it. For in- 
stance, with English one chose nine hours from Latin, 
French, German, and history; with science one chose from 
French, German, mathematics, and English. The rest of the 
work necessary to complete sixty hours could be chosen 
from the seven subjects listed above or from Bible, educa- 
tion, geology, home economics, and theoretical courses in 
art and music. 

The catalogue in March, 1921, divided the work above 

150 History of Meredith College 

the basic requirements into a major of not less than nine 
year-hours, a minor of not less than six, with free electives 
to make up the sixty hours necessary for graduation with 
an A.B. Physical education was required without credit. 
Bible and education increased to nine the number of sub- 
jects from which majors could be chosen; minors were to 
come from these, with the addition of Greek and Spanish, 
which had been restored to the curriculum in 1916 and 1920 
respectively. In 1925 for the first time a course in Bible was 
required of every student for graduation. 

In the five years from 1917 to 1922, Miss Poteat in art, 
Dr. Freeman in Bible, and Dr. Law in Latin were the only 
heads of departments unchanged. Miss Royster was in her 
second decade, but physical education was not at that time 
counted a department. Some departments had two or three 
successive heads in as many years. Some of the changes 
were due to retirement or illness; a few to misfits; and a 
few to post-war restlessness and the much higher salaries 
which industry and business offered. 

In 1916 Donna Marie Thornton relieved Miss Young of 
the teaching of French; the next year Miss Young retired. 
She was succeeded as professor of German by Ida Catherine 
Allen, of Elyria, Ohio. Two years later the two languages 
were brought into one department — modern languages, 
with Miss Allen as head, a position which she held until her 
retirement in 1940. With an M.A. from the University of 
Chicago, with several years of study and many summers of 
travel in France and Germany, she was well-fitted for the 
position. She was a delegate to several of the meetings of 
the International Federation of University Women; thus 
she had friends among scholarly women of other nation- 
alities, some of whom visited her. Such contacts had an 
invigorating effect on the College and helped to broaden its 
horizons. Miss Allen was always ready for new ventures, 
from taking charge of a country school at fifteen to hanging 
by her heels to kiss the Blarney Stone on her seventy-fifth 
birthday. She died in Asheville on April 7, 1953. 

Mary Louise Porter, Ph.D., Cornell, was in the depart- 
ment almost as long as Miss Allen, from 1922 till her re- 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Eoqperimental Stage" 151 

tirement in 1941. She is remembered for her deep interest 
in the spiritual welfare of her students as well as in their 
academic progress. 

Dr. Porter had studied in Europe, as had several others 
who were in the department for short periods of time — 
Helen Epler, Laura Jennie Beach, Hortense Badger and 
Lois Johnson, '15. The Misses Stueven were the first who 
taught in their native tongue, German. Elisabeth Stueven 
died in February after her arrival at Meredith in Septem- 
ber, 1924; Hermine Stueven, the sister who came in her 
place, remained five years. 

In Mr. Boomhour's absence from 1916 to 1918, John 
Henry Williams was professor of science; and Dr. Brewer 
added to his presidential duties the teaching of chemistry, 
with the aid of Louise Lanneau, '08, who since 1913 had 
taught science in Meredith Academy. In 1920 Lula Gaines 
Winston, then teaching in Farmville State Teachers College, 
was elected head of the department of chemistry, a place 
which she filled till her retirement in 1938. With a Ph.D. 
from Johns Hopkins and with membership in a string of 
learned societies, she was a sound scientist and a clear 
teacher. It was a delightful surprise to her students and 
associates to find that with her staid dignity and prim mid- 
Victorian look she had a colorful personality and a keen 
sense of humor. Her interests ranged from the writing of 
sonnets and the reading of the gospel of John in Greek to 
entering innumerable contests, in which, she admitted, 
through all the years her sole prize was a cigarette lighter. 

Associated with Dr. Winston were Lucretia D. Baker 
from 1920 to 1923 and Mary Martin Johnson, '21, from 1923 
to 1928. 

The year 1920 brought to Meredith three people whose 
terms of service are to be reckoned in decades rather than 
years — Ernest F. Canaday, Samuel Gayle Riley, and Lattie 
Rhodes. Dr. Canaday succeeded in mathematics Ida Barney, 
successor to Marian Stark, who in 1917 had followed Mary 
Hasseltine Vann. His forty-five years in the position gave 
the department a stability which could not be attained with 
frequent changes. He was one of the teachers who were 

152 History of Meredith College 

especially generous with their time in aiding students, and 
was often to be found by eight o'clock in the morning giving 
extra help to little groups of those students for whom 
mathematics was a sad mystery. Dr. Canaday's retirement 
in 1965 merely turned a leaf in his academic life, because for 
four years he was head of the department of mathematics at 
Campbell College. The first year he was at Campbell the 
mathematics club went from Meredith to Buies Creek to 
give him a surprise birthday party. "He has," one of his 
majors wrote, "a permanent position in the hearts of thou- 
sands of Meredith students." 

Mr. Riley, who came as the head of the department of 
history and government, had been an undergraduate and 
graduate student at Princeton, where he studied political 
science with Woodrow Wilson. Two teachers had come be- 
tween Mary Shannon Smith and Mr. Riley; each had held 
the position only one year — Robert R. Hollingsworth in 
1918-1919 and Sarah Rice Bradford, daughter of Gamaliel 
Bradford the historian, in 1919-1920,^ Mr. Riley was a valued 
member of the faculty from 1920 to 1947; in addition to his 
work in the department he served on various committees 
and was for more than twenty years faculty adviser to the 
Twig. At the special request of the administration he re- 
mained the last year when he was beyond the age of retire- 
ment. He continued his active retirement for three years as 
head of the department of history in Brenau College in 
Georgia, where he formerly had the same position — a posi- 
tion which had also been held by his father. Mrs. Lillian 
Parker Wallace, who succeeded him as head of the depart- 
ment, came as instructor in history and education in 1921. 

"Secretary to the President," Miss Rhodes's official title, 
gives too faint an idea of her place in Meredith life. "Ask 
Miss Rhodes" came to be a stock phrase on the campus. And 
Miss Rhodes for thirty years with cheerful, quiet efficiency 
met small and large needs of innumerable people. After her 
retirement in 1951 because of illness she lived with her sis- 
ter in Scotland County until her death in 1956. 

1 Gertrude Richards' name appeared in the catalogue issued in March, 1919; 
when she resigned before the session of 1919-20 began, Miss Bradford was 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 153 

In 1919 education, which had been taught by Miss Smith 
and then Mr. Hollingsworth in addition to history and 
economics, was combined with psychology, which had been 
taught by Dr. Freeman, into a separate department in 
charge of Edwin McKoy Highsmith. Five years later H. 
Judson Perry took Mr. Highsmith's place. 

The year 1922 brought to the College three teachers who 
influenced generations of Meredith students — Lena Amelia 
Barber, Ellen Dozier Brewer, '18, and Julia Hamlet Harris. 

When Julia Moeser Haber, who in 1920 had relieved Dean 
Boomhour of the teaching of biology, gave up her work in 
1922, Miss Barber took her place, remaining until her retire- 
ment in 1940. Her teaching of science reinforced by her 
"cheerful godliness" tended to strengthen rather than 
weaken the faith of her students. Miss Barber died at her 
home near the campus in 1948. 

Since Katherine Parker organized the department of 
home economics in 1914, the position as head had been held 
successively by Marie White, Elsie Allen,^ Lydia M. Boswell, 
Josephine Schiffer, Anne Leaming Booker, and Olive Norm- 
ington. A warm welcome awaited Ellen Dozier Brewer, 
'18, who came in 1922 after completing two years of 
graduate work at Columbia. One of the trustees presented 
her name, and the board unanimously overruled President 
Brewer's emphatic protest against the election of his daugh- 
ter to such a position on the faculty. She had in an emergen- 
cy served one year as instructor in the department of 
English. Miss Brewer's firm foundation in the humanities, 
which came with her undergraduate major in Latin and 
Greek, gave her students a breadth of view not narrowed 
to their specialty; her knowledge and skill in her chosen 
field assured their professional training; and her rare quali- 
ties of character and personality kept before them a pattern 
of gracious living. 

Julia Hamlet Harris was coming home when she returned 
from Yale to Raleigh to succeed Mary Susan Steele, '13, who 
had for two years, 1920-1922, been acting head of the de- 
partment of English. Dr. Harris, a native of Raleigh and 

' Miss Allen of Manchester, Massachusetts, died suddenly after one month 
at Meredith. Years later her parents sent a hundred dollars to the expansion 
campaign of the College, a reference to which they had seen by chance. 

154 History of Meredith College 

a graduate of St. Mary's and of the University of North 
Carolina, had taught in colleges in Georgia, Alabama, and 
Ohio before finishing her graduate work at Yale. Her in- 
sistence on the fundamentals in composition and literature 
was in keeping with her recognition of the value of the 
classics in the college curriculum. Her "Lit. Crit." became a 
tradition at Meredith; and when she retired in 1952 to live 
in Chapel Hill, the senior majors of the next year were in- 
consolable at missing the course. Underlying the warm 
friendliness and the infectious joy in even the smallest 
aspects of living which drew the students to her was a 
depth of spirit which kept them as her friends. 

In the department, Dr. Harris inherited Mary Lynch 
Johnson, '17,^ Carmen Lou Rogers, '18, and Mary Jane 
Carroll, '20; Mary Loomis Smith came also in 1922 and 
remained until 1930. 

After Mr. Hagedorn's resignation in 1915, the school of 
music — the formidable term continued till 1930 — had as 
director Albert Mildenberg, who had been for one year pro- 
fessor of organ. He was known as a composer as well as a 
teacher when he came to Meredith in 1914; two of his 
cantatas had been presented by New York choral societies. 
Each year at Meredith he gave a recital of his own com- 
positions. Under his direction the Astrotektons presented 
two operettas, the words and music of which he composed — 
Love's Locksmith in 1915 and The Woodwitch in 1916. Each 
performance crowded the College auditorium and received 
enthusiastic comments from Raleigh critics. 

When in 1917 after three years at Meredith Mr. Milden- 
berg resigned because of ill health, Charlotte Ruegger, 
who had come two years before as professor of violin, 
succeeded him as director of the school of music. A woman 
of vivid personality, an artist of extraordinary ability, she 
was in demand for recitals and concerts all over the state. 
Both she and Mr. Mildenberg were soloists with the Russian 
Symphony Orchestra, which Meredith brought to Raleigh 
in 1916. Her excellent English vocabulary, which owed 

3 Several of their former students have insisted that the standing argument 
between the two involved and among their students should be recorded, the 
argument as to whether Miss Harris or Miss Johnson wrote the worse hand. 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 155 

much to the study of Shakespeare, was ludicrously tinged 
by the slang which American friends had taught her with- 
out telling her it was slang. One faculty meeting was en- 
livened by her calm suggestion to an excited colleague 
becoming red-faced in an argument, "Keep thy shirt on!" 
After four years at Meredith she opened a private school in 

Her successor, Dingley Brown, an Englishman with a 
Mus.D. from the London College of Music, had an unusually 
clear understanding of a liberal arts college and hence an 
unusually intelligent interest in the institution as a whole. 
After nine years at Meredith he went to Lenoir Rhyne 

The calm poise of his associate, May Crawford, was a 
soothing contrast to the restless energy of Dr. Brown. 
Coming in 1922, she was for twenty years professor of piano. 
She usually taught the seniors in piano their last year, 
preparing them for their recital. Her ability in music was 
matched by endless patience, a combination which made her 
an unsurpassed teacher. After her death in 1944 one of her 
students wrote of her: "She was a teacher in the real sense 
of the word, an inspiration, a guide, and a very dear friend." 

Two fellow countrymen of Dr. Brown were in his depart- 
ment, Mary McGill, instructor in voice in 1918-19, whose 
delightful accent marked her as Scottish, and Hope N. 
Portrey, teacher of violin the next two years. Miss Portrey's 
account of the Epiphany service at St. Augustine's, the 
Episcopal college for Negroes in Raleigh, was published in 
the London Times. Mary Louise Lenander, who taught voice 
in 1925-6, was from Denmark; when she once referred to 
a trustee as a "trusty," Miss Hermine Stueven offered to 
help her with the intric'acies of the English language. 

There were in all departments many instructors and 
some assistant or associate professors who stayed from one 
to three years. Their brief stay is no indication of the quali- 
ty of their work or of the contributions they made to 
Meredith. With a severely limited income the College us- 
ually obtained instructors who were young and sometimes 
inexperienced, with no training beyond college. Hence 

156 History of Meredith College 

other positions, graduate study, and — most of all — marriage 
took many of them away from Meredith. 

The position of dean of women — never an easy position 
in any college at any time — was in the last few years on the 
old campus a particularly difficult one. Miss Paschal, who 
had been appointed in 1907 as lady principal, had kept her 
relationship with the students in harmony with the chang- 
ing attitudes implied in the change of title. Nevertheless 
she must sometimes have felt that she "held a fretful realm 
in awe." After her resignation in 1919, there was a period 
of uncertainty and unrest, increased by the general unrest 
following the war. Miss Catherine Allen was appointed to 
succeed Miss Paschal for a year. An older woman, she took 
the new duties in addition to her teaching only from a 
strong sense of duty and gave them up with relief. 

The next year, 1920, Evelyn M. Campbell came as dean of 
women from a similar place in Baylor University; earlier 
she had been executive secretary of the Woman's Mission- 
ary Union of Georgia. Though she died on December 23, 
1921, in her brief stay she was of great influence in the 
school, especially in its religious life. Miss Royster con- 
sented to take the position for the second semester, keeping 
at the same time her work in physical education. 

For the next two years, 1922-1924, Alice Zabriskie, who 
came from Northfield, Massachusetts, was dean of women. 
It was to her and to Mary Frances Welch, who came in 1918 
as dietitian, that Meredith owed the happy custom, con- 
tinued by the B.S.U., of a special birthday dinner each 

Evabelle Simmons Covington became dean of women in 
1924, was granted a leave of absence in 1925-26, and at her 
doctor's insistence resigned the position in January, 1927. 
Short as was her stay, she accomplished a great deal. With 
firmness of purpose that did not waver, with deep, kindly 
concern for individuals and organizations, she put on a 
sound basis the relationship between student government 
and the administration. Later her strong interest in teach- 
ing led her to accept full-time work in economics at Salem 
College, a position from which she recently retired. 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 157 

One of her assistants, Katherine Elizabeth Carroll, '22, 
had a successful year as acting dean of women in 1925-26, 
despite the fact that she had been graduated only three 
years before. Her experience as Student Government presi- 
dent the year of Miss Campbell's illness and death had al- 
ready proved her ability. Two of the young dean's sisters 
had taught at Meredith, Ethel Carroll, '07, in Meredith 
Academy, and Mary Jane Carroll, '20, in the department of 
English. Still another sister, Bertha Carroll '13, was one of 
the first two alumnae to be elected to the Board of Trustees; 
she herself was later to serve as trustee. 

The student handbooks from 1915 to 1925 — the first ten 
years of President Brewer's administration, the last ten 
years on the old campus — show that the regulations at 
Meredith then, as now, kept a conservatively liberal pace 
with the times, though they would seem grim to students 
today. For instance, the use of the telephone was a senior 
privilege till 1919, when a pay station was put in for the use 
of the other students. Until 1919 the students shopped only 
on Mondays and received callers only on Monday afternoons 
or — provided they had attended the literary society meet- 
ings at seven — from eight to ten on Saturday evenings. If 
they wished to do so, seniors could choose another afternoon 
or evening rather than Monday or Saturday. Twice a semes- 
ter on Saturday evenings students could dine with friends 
in town; twice a semester they could take part in private 
receptions at school, later called studio parties. So long as 
there were no Monday classes, the students did not, the 
handbook records*, "attend social affairs or those merely for 
entertainment on school days." The six-day schedule for 
classes was put into effect in 1920. Attendance at moving 
pictures, forbidden till 1919, was then restricted to once a 
month with a chaperon for the students in general; seniors 
could attend once a week in the afternoons in groups of 
three unchaperoned. 

By 1925 these regulations, as well as many others, were 
modified. Seniors could shop alone at any time before 
6:00 p.m.; in groups of two the juniors could shop three 
afternoons a week, sophomores two, and freshmen one. 

158 History of Meredith College 

Dating privileges were increased, with a gradation ac- 
cording to classes from three afternoons or evenings a week 
for the seniors to one a week for freshmen. In addition the 
custom known as fifteen-minute dates was introduced in 
1925; students were allowed to see for that short period out- 
of-town guests any time except Sunday and, for underclass- 
men, study hour. Friends from State College, Wake Forest, 
Duke, and the University of North Carolina were not con- 
sidered out-of-town guests. Seniors could dine in town once 
a month, provided the occasion was substituted for a date 
night. Freshmen and sophomores could attend moving pic- 
tures once a week with a chaperon, provided they went on 
a shopping day. Juniors could go to ball games, matinees or 
picture shows in the afternoon in groups of three un- 
chaperoned; seniors had in addition the same privileges at 

In 1924 along with the time honored extra senior privi- 
leges for the last six weeks — senior tables in the dining 
room, an additional week end, light permission after 10:30 
— another appeared which is of decided significance. Even 
though it was cautiously hedged about with provisions, the 
privilege indicates that the wariness concerning young men 
was relaxing a bit. 

During the last six weeks two seniors with their escorts may go 
to ball games at the city auditorium and to picture shows at night 
unchaperoned, provided they are in by ten o'clock and provided 
this is substituted for a date night, and provided this substitution 
be made not oftener than once a week. 

Chaperonage by especially trustworthy seniors on some 
occasions in the afternoon had become more and more 
customary; in 1925 six seniors approved by the executive 
committee of the faculty could at the discretion of the dean 
of women act as official chaperons. The number was later 
enlarged to twelve, then to fifteen; in 1943 every senior 
became an approved chaperon on the few occasions for 
which chaperons were necessary. 

There were many other rules, some of which at times 
seemed vexatious and petty. Yet in the main the sentence 
which prefaced the listing of the regulations in the hand- 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 159 

book in 1922 and for many years thereafter is a fair repre- 
sentative of the students' attitude. 

The following regulations have been adopted to govern college 
life at Meredith because they embody recognized social obligations 
and standards, and express the will of the majority as to rules 
under which they can best live together. 

In the early years of Dr. Brewer's presidency war colored 
the activities of Meredith, as it did those of other colleges at 
that time. The presence of Miss Ruegger, who as a Red 
Cross nurse in Belgium had had harrowing experiences and 
hairbreadth escapes, intensified at Meredith the general 
sympathy felt for that country. In the fall of 1915 and 1916, 
faculty concerts were given for Belgian relief. Clothing 
drives were sponsored by the Y.W.C.A. The classes in sew- 
ing bought material and m.ade garments for the Belgian 
children, which Miss Ruegger sent to the Belgian Am- 
bassador. The student body was thrilled by a letter of 
thanks from Marie, Queen of Belgium. 

In the fall of 1917 a War Activities Committee was or- 
ganized with Marie White, head of the home economics 
department, as chairman. A War Conservation Club helped 
to keep up morale on wheatless and meatless days. "Clean 
your plate and lick the Kaiser" was a popular slogan. Roll- 
ing bandages and knitting sweaters, socks, and mufflers 
kept nimble fingers busy. Not all fingers were nimble; one 
knitter tearfully held up for her roommate's inspection a 
sweater with a cuff twice as large as the armhole. Christmas 
boxes were packed for the soldiers. To encourage the sale of 
Liberty bonds, various songs, more patriotic than beautiful 
were used, such as the one ending : 

So we'll lick the Kaiser Bill 
And we'll give the world a thrill, 
For democracy shall end the war. 

The class day program of 1918 was completely military. 
In heavy white dresses with red ties and with blue and 
white insignia on the sleeves, the class marched on the 
platform as a bugler announced the beginning of the day's 
activities in a training camp. An elaborate flag drill, in- 

160 History of Meredith College 

terspersed with songs, was followed by an evening scene 
which showed the seniors sitting around a campfire, singing 
a reminiscent ballad which told their class history. Time has 
given an ironic twist to the last lines : 

And with this ends the life history 
Of the only real war class. 

The gift of a flag and two hundred dollars in Liberty bonds 
was presented; then under the guidance of the eagle — the 
class mascot — each senior picked out an opportunity of 
service and took her place in the huge service flag which 
formed the background for the scene. 

The volunteering of brothers and sweethearts immedi- 
ately after the declaration of war in April, 1917, had 
brought tearful excitement to the campus. In the next 
eighteen months some of these names with those of others 
who later went across seas appeared in the casualty lists. 
The anonymous writer in the 1918 Oak Leaves was not 
alone in her experience. 

They put his trophies in my hand; 
All golden though they be, 
What are they? I only know 
He came not back to me. 

In the fall of 1918 Meredith became a camp for the whole 
student body during eight weeks, not merely for the seniors 
on class day. Because of the influenza epidemic the city 
authorities quarantined the College in October — a quaran- 
tine which was not lifted till the Christmas holidays. The 
consternation of the students can be imagined. The neces- 
sity of keeping up the morale and the physical vigor of 
several hundred girls cooped up on the diminutive campus 
presented serious problems. A great aid in their solution 
was a plan initiated by Dr. Brewer and carried out with the 
wholehearted cooperation of the students, a movement 
which, a writer in the 1919 Oak Leaves said, "put us all in 
fine physical trim, furnished great amusement, and saved 
the whole student body — and, incidentally, the faculty — 
from nervous prostration." The student body became a 
military organization which was trained by Baxter Dur- 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Eocperimental Stage" 161 

ham,^ a genuine army major, and by Miss Royster, a major 
pro tern. Four seniors — Ella Johnson, Beulah Joyner, Nona 
Moore, and Isabelle Poteat — were captains of the four com- 
panies, with first and second lieutenants, sergeants, and 
corporals. The account in the Oak Leaves continued: 

We made it as nearly like the regular army as possible, even 
succeeding, before the new began to wear off, in making the stu- 
dent body arise before its regular time in order to get an extra 
drill. So you see we were enthusiastic! . . . Army slang became 
prevalent among the officers as well as the enlisted men. And so 
we trudged from one end of our wee campus to the other until 
every soldier knew every bump and every blade of grass on the 
entire square. 

But finally the day arrived when we were allowed to march 
proudly down the streets of Raleigh and the Raleigh people on 
every door step greeted us with bursts of applause. . . . With 
Majors Durham and Royster at the head, followed by Lieutenant 
Herring and Sergeant Major Stroud, the army marched with tri- 
umphant step, Color Sergeant Higgs proudly bearing the flag be- 
fore us. 

The success of the work of the battalion is proved by the fact 
that not one flu germ had the courage to attack a one of the 
gallant warriors. For services rendered on the field the battalion 
extends to Major Durham its sincere thanks; and to Major Royster, 
who was in the lead of her men through rain and shine, we extend 
congratulations and deep appreciation from the battalion. 

The quarantine was still in effect when the armistice was 
declared, and the Meredith parade had to be around the 
campus square rather than with the revelers on Fayetteville 

Much merriment was caused when the men on the facul- 
ty, with the exception of Mr. Ferrell, whose duties as bursar 
necessitated his being on and off the campus, were during 
the quarantine given living quarters in Mrs. Ferrell's studio 
on the first floor of Main Building, four cots and a dresser 
being put in for Professors Boomhour, Gleason (of the de- 
partment of music), Hollings worth, and Freeman. "Mere- 
dith News and Disturber," inserted in the 1919 Oak Leaves, 
gave spicy bits of news from the "co-eds." 

Marked copies of the Handbook have been given to our co-eds. 
. . . Josiah is proctor on first floor M. B. He is very strict with the 

* Baxter Durham was a son of Columbus Durham, referred to in the second 

162 History of Meredith College 

boys. . . . Eddie is inclined to play rag after 10:30. Lem persists in 
playing cards and preparing sermons after light bell. Josiah says 
he can't do much with the boys. . . . Holly led chapel yesterday. 
Eddie is going to be sentenced to lead chapel if he breaks another 
rule. . . . Holly and Eddie are going to be made to stand exam on 
Handbook if they don't observe house rules better. . . . Co-eds are 
not allowed to use the phone, as this is only a senior privilege. 

An outbreak of the disease was inevitable when students 
and faculty returned after the Christmas holidays; there 
were more than fifty cases in the infirmary. Dr. Carroll's 
magnificent work in the epidemic was recognized in the 
dedication of the 1919 Oak Leaves. 

To Elizabeth Delia Dixon Carroll, whose skill has, in years past, 
brought us through so many illnesses; who led us unscathed 
through the influenza epidemic of this year; whose sunny smile 
and ever-ready word of cheer has healed so many soul-diseases, 
we lovingly dedicate this number of "The Oak Leaves." 

Before the book was off the press, there was a death from 
influenza, coming after the epidemic was over. Louise Cox 
Lanneau, '08, instructor in chemistry, daughter of Profes- 
sor J. F, Lanneau of Wake Forest College, died on May 3, 
1919. With her keen intellect and her enthusiasm for learn- 
ing and teaching, in her five years on the faculty she 
made a deep impression on her students and associates. 

The military organization was used as a basis for the 
collection of funds for the United War Work Campaign the 
first week in November, 1918. Meredith was asked on Sun- 
day night to be a pace-setter for the other colleges in the 
state, having its campaign that week instead of the next. 
With no outside speakers and no time for posters or pep 
meetings, the officers had a preliminary meeting Monday 
morning after breakfast to make plans; the student body 
met after lunch; at three o'clock the actual work of col- 
lecting began; and by Tuesday noon $2,500 had been sub- 
scribed, $1,956.50 of this amount by the students. 

Hats, coats, dresses, shoes, and trips were sacrificed to 
make the pledges possible. Some girls swept halls and class- 
rooms, others sewed and mended. More than two hundred 
of the girls decided to do their own laundry the rest of the 

"An Institution , . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 163 

year, with no automatic washers and with only hall bath- 

The success of the campaign was the more remarkable as 
it came two weeks after Meredith had taken part in the ef- 
fort which the Baptist State Convention was making to 
raise a million dollars for the Baptist schools in North Caro- 
lina. Instead of the $5,000 for which the College had been 
asked, the students and faculty had pledged over $6,000. 

Soon afterwards, this state campaign for a million dollars 
for the Baptist schools became a part of the five-year 
Seventy-five Million Campaign of the Southern Baptist 
Convention. At the 1919 State Convention which met in 
Raleigh the Meredith students presented in the City audi- 
torium the Victory Pageant, with Miss Royster as director, 
which set forth in a series of tableaux the objects for which 
the campaign was being carried on — foreign missions, 
home missions. Christian education, aged ministers' relief, 
hospitals, orphanages, and state missions. A sophomore, 
Ruth Goldsmith, regal in her crimson gown, in a clear, musi- 
cal voice introduced each of the twelve scenes. The chorus, 
directed by Dr. Brown, included all the students except the 
fifty who were in the cast. The breathless attention of the 
3,000 delegates and visitors even more than their prolonged 
applause proved the effectiveness of the pageant. At various 
times small and large groups of Meredith girls have added 
interest to the annual meetings of the Baptist State Con- 
vention and the Woman's Missionary Union. 

The Y.W.C.A. continued to be, as it had been in Dr. 
Vann's presidency, an important part of campus life. When 
the point system was introduced in 1925 to distribute more 
widely the responsibilities of campus leadership and to 
prevent the overworking of a few leaders, the presidency of 
the Student Government and of the Y.W.C.A. carried the 
largest number of points, thirty-five of the maximum forty. 
The Y.W.C.A. had services every Sunday evening, morning 
watch each weekday fifteen minutes before breakfast, 
and voluntary Bible study and mission study classes. In 
preparation for the week of special religious services each 
year the Y.W.C.A. usually had small group prayer meetings. 

164 History of Meredith College 

The collections for student relief in foreign countries as well 
as the missionary offerings deepened among the students a 
sense of world fellowship; so did the missionaries whom the 
organization brought to the campus and the reports given 
by delegates to Y.W.C.A. and Student Volunteer confer- 

Its community service department was one of its most ac- 
tive departments; Raleigh affords a large and fruitful field 
for such service. Underprivileged families, St. Luke's Home, 
the County Home, the Old Soldiers' Home, the city and 
county prisons, the epileptic patients at Dix Hill — year 
after year the girls visited them all, often carrying candy, 
fruit, substantial baskets, clothing, or books and magazines, 
as the need indicated. Sometimes they went with Colonel 
Fred A. Olds; sometimes with Professor Charles M. Heck, 
brother of Fannie E. S. Heck; sometimes by themselves. 
Hundreds of dolls which they dressed went to hospitals 
and orphanages and to foreign and home missionaries. For 
many years boxes of clothing were sent to the Crossnore 
School, an activity suggested to the girls by Miss Colton, 
who knew and admired the work of Mary Martin Sloop in 
that mountain school and community. Many alumnae who 
never saw Dr. Sloop felt that a friend had received an honor 
when in 1951 she was recognized as the American Mother 
of the year. The packing of Christmas stockings for Samar- 
cand, the reform school for girls so dear to Dr. Carroll's 
heart, was another annual event. 

To make possible a closer relationship with the home 
churches, to furnish what the handbook called "a ready 
knowledge of her denominational opportunities," a Young 
Woman's Auxiliary was organized in 1916 with Blanche 
Tabor as its first president. Thus during the student's 
college years there was no break with the W.M.U. of her 
home church. The Y.W.A. continued and extended the work 
of the missionary department of the Y.W.C.A. It gave pro- 
grams once a month, promoted the mission study classes 
taught by students and faculty members, invited returned 
missionaries and southwide W.M.U. officers to speak at the 
College, and encouraged the special interests and offerings 
of the W.M.U. and of the convention. By 1925 there were 

The Faculty of Meredith College, 1924 

Front row, left to right: Charles E. Brewer, Dingley Brown, 

J. Gregory Boomhour, Mrs. Octovia Norwood, Ernest F. Canaday. 

Second row: Marion S. Phillips, Florence Jelly, Leila Home, 

Julia H. Harris, Lena A. Barber, Lula G. Winston, Helen H. Law, 

William J. Ferrell. 

Third row: Lattie Rhodes, Mary Louise Porter, Mrs. W. J. Ferrell, 

Margaret Forgeus, Lois Johnson, Mary Martin Johnson, Mary 

Loomis Smith, Mary Lynch Johnson, Esther Lynn, Catherine 

Allen, Samuel Gayle Riley, Edwin McKoy Highsmith, L. E. M. 

Freeman, Janie Parker, Genevieve Freeman, Mrs. Lillian Parker 


Fourth row: Margaret Wyatt, Ida Poteat, Ellen D. Brewer, Gol- 

dina de Wolfe Lewis, Alice Zabriskie. 

Back row: Carolyn Mercer, Ruth Goldsmith, Annie L. White, 

Annie Noble, Pauline Nelson, Mary Frances Welch, Mrs. B. W. 

Cooper, May Crawford, Alice Stitzel, Wilhelmina Crowell. 

Art Studio 1899-1925 

Biology Laboratory 1959 — 

"An Instituiion . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 165 

two general meetings a month, alternating with the 
Y.W.C.A.; and ten circles had been organized, named for 
Meredith foreign missionaries and for state and southwide 
W.M.U. leaders. 

Suggested and encouraged by Miss Campbell, another 
organization which also strengthened the ties between the 
denomination and the College was added — the Baptist 
Young People's Union. It was organized in February, 1921, 
with about 140 charter members, divided into three sec- 
tions meeting Wednesday evenings. By 1925 these were in- 
creased to nine B.Y.P.U.'s federated into a general organi- 
zation. Its members were trained, as in their home churches, 
"in devotion, doctrine, Bible study and missions." 

In the spring of 1926 the Y.W.A. and the B.Y.P.U. with 
the Sunday school department of the Y.W.C.A. formed the 
nucleus for the organization of a Baptist Student Union, 
with Mary Frances Biggers as the first president. It was at 
first coexistent with the Meredith Y.W.C.A.; in 1928 it 
replaced that organization; and all the religious work on the 
campus was carried on under the auspices of the B.S.U. 

So long as the Y.W.C.A. was the only religious organi- 
zation on the campus, much of the fellowship of the College 
centered in it. The student handbook advised the prospec- 
tive student to "look out for Meredith Y.W.C.A. badges at 
the Station." The information bureau, that haven of refuge 
for the bewildered freshmen, was in charge of the Y.W.C.A. 
The reception the first Saturday night was given by the 
Student Government and the Y.W.C.A. and another re- 
ception in the spring was given by the Y.W.C.A alone. In- 
formal parties in the Y-room were given for the new girls in 
the first few weeks. 

The Y-room was in active use all the year. Until 1920 the 
Y.W.C.A. shared a small room in Main Building with Stu- 
dent Government, the Athletic Association, and the publi- 
cations; then it was given a room of its own in East Building. 
A kitchenette was fitted up in a nearby room not much big- 
ger than a closet. Often Saturday night dateless parties 
were held there — evenings far too lively and jolly to be 
considered merely consolatory. Twice the room was trans- 
formed for several weeks into a tearoom, once during the 

166 History of Meredith College 

influenza quarantine in 1918-19 and again in 1922 to help 
with the expense of sending a delegate to Blue Ridge. The 
room and kitchenette were often used for small informal 
parties given by individuals or by organizations other than 
the Y.W.C.A. 

Though the Athletic Association, like the Y.W.C.A., 
played an important part in college life, its activities were 
of necessity restricted by the very small campus. To basket- 
ball, volleyball, and tennis there was added a limited op- 
portunity for swimming. In March, 1917, a representative of 
the American Red Cross promoted a Safety First campaign 
in Raleigh. As part of it a Life Saving Test was held in the 
A. and M. pool. Kate Matthews, a junior, was the only suc- 
cessful contestant. She took off blouse, skirt, and shoes 
while swimming twenty yards, then easily completed the 
set 100 yards without stopping. In 1923 the City Y.M.C.A. 
opened its pool on Monday mornings from 11:30 to 12:30. 
Since the Y.M.C.A. was only a block from the College, the 
girls could have a dip before a twelve o'clock class or after 
an eleven o'clock; any girl fortunate enough to have both 
hours free could have a real swim. The Meredith Mermaids, 
as the swimmers were dubbed, were enthusiastic, even on a 
morning in March when the water was not heated and 
they had to break the ice in the pool. The girls were de- 
lighted to find Miss Welch, their chaperon, as skilled in the 
water as she was in planning menus. 

Until 1920 the Student Government Association, the 
Y.W.C.A., the Athletic Association, and the literary so- 
cieties were the only organizations listed in the student 
handbook. In 1919 and 1920 two clubs were revived which 
had flourished briefly in the Baptist University, the Glee 
Club and the Dramatic Club. Dr. Dingley Brown organized 
the Glee Club, which continued to be a source of enjoyment 
to the College and to the various communities in which it 
gave concerts as well as to its members. 

The Dramatic Club formed in 1903 had by 1913 creased 
to exist. In 1920 a new one was organized with Laura 
Eiberg as sponsor. In spite of her full schedule in the music 
department. Miss Eiberg directed the plays until she gave 
up her position in 1922 because of ill health. Since there 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 167 

were no courses in speech or dramatics and no faculty mem- 
ber both willing and able to succeed Miss Eiberg as adviser, 
the club was not firmly established enough to survive the 
next year. 

But the societies continued their annual dramatic per- 
formances, and with less regularity the seniors gave an an- 
nual play under the direction of Dr. W. C. Horton, a 
physician whose avocation was dramatics. He was director 
of the Community Players of Raleigh, and in 1920 took the 
part of Sir Walter Raleigh in Raleigh, Shepherd of the 
Ocean, the pageant-masque which Frederic Koch wrote for 
the capital city's tercentenary celebration of the Roanoke 
Island colony. 

The first play which Dr. Horton directed, Josephine 
Preston Peabody's The Piper, given by the seniors at com- 
mencement, 1922, was one of the best of the productions 
under his capable guidance. Few who saw it will forget 
Evelyn Baley as the Piper, Beth Carroll as the little cripple, 
and Beatrice Nye as the child's mother. Mary Tillery's 
designing of the scenery which the class made under her 
direction gave promise of the artistic ability which later 
marked her work as a teacher in the art department. 

The Glee Club and the Dramatic Club were open to all 
students in all departments who were qualified and in- 
terested. Coming into existence from 1920 to 1923 were 
various departmental clubs, which gave an opportunity for 
the voluntary development of the students' interest in their 
special fields. The art club adopted the name of an informal 
organization which Miss Poteat had formed many years 
earlier, the K. K. K. The International Relations Club, 
sponsored by the department of history and economics; the 
Helen Hull Law Classical Club, later the Helen Price Latin 
Club; the Hypatia Math Club, later the Canaday Mathe- 
matics Club; the Colton English Club; the Curie Chemistry 
Club, later the Barber Science Club; the French Club, and 
the Home Economics Club all followed in a few years. In 
time, virtually every department organized its club, though 
some of these died and had be revived at intervals. 

The presidential election of 1912 had been used as a basis 
for a mock-serious society program; in 1916 a straw elec- 

168 History of Meredith College 

tion was held in which Hughes received only two votes; in 
1920 conventions of the two parties were held on the cam- 
pus, and vigorous campaigns followed. The week before the 
elections a mimeographed daily paper appeared, the Cock-a- 
doodle-do, the official organ of the Democratic Party at 
Meredith, with Louise Fleming as its editor-in-chief. In 1930 
this growing interest in politics was given definite direction 
by the League of Women Voters, sponsored by the depart- 
ment of history and economics but, like the International 
Relations Club, open to all students. 

Dr. Law was chiefly responsible for the organization on 
March 27, 1923, of Kappa Nu Sigma, the sole purpose of 
which is the encouragement of scholarship on the campus. 
Requirements for admission were made high enough for 
election to be a distinct honor. From the senior class three 
were chosen on the basis of grades — ^Ruth Livermon, the 
president; Alice Lowe; and Ruth Lineberry. At the same 
time, qualified alumnae members were chosen. Ruth Liver- 
mon for several years after her graduation offered a scholar- 
ship of $100 to the rising sophomore making the highest 
average for the freshman year. This scholarship has been 
continued by Kappa Nu Sigma and was in 1952 named in 
honor of Helen Price, who in that year retired as professor 
of Greek and Latin. With contributions from alumnae mem- 
bers, the fund by 1970 increased enough to provide a 
scholarship also to the rising junior with the highest 
sophomore average. 

Though most of these organizations brought speakers to 
the campus — some of general interest, some of interest to 
their special groups — the regular College series of lectures 
continued, the quality and variety of which justified the 
required attendance of all students. There were speakers 
from earlier years — Alfred Noyes, Hugh Black, and Hamlin 
Garland — who were enthusiastically welcomed when they 
returned. Among other speakers were Seumas MacManus, 
Edwin Mims, C. Alphonso Smith, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 
Gutzon Borglum, Frank Parsons, Hamilton Holt, and E. Y. 
Mullins. Helen Keller's first visit to Raleigh, made in 1916, 
with her teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, was under the 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 169 

sponsorship of Meredith. The children from the State School 
for the Blind were special guests to hear her address on 
"Happiness." Sometimes there would be a series of three 
lectures — two on successive evenings with one at an ex- 
tended chapel period. William Louis Poteat gave three on 
heredity; Edward Slosson, on creative chemistry; Norman 
Angell, on international politics; and Paul Shorey, on 
language. J. Q. Adams especially pleased his Raleigh audi- 
ence with the third in his series on the Elizabethan Age, 
"Sir Walter Raleigh." Stephen Leacock followed his two 
lectures on the origin of democracy by an uproarious but 
illuminating talk, "Frenzied Fiction." 

The accounts of College happenings and the alumnae 
news were somewhat flat by the time they appeared in the 
literary monthly, the Acorn: hence the College newspaper, 
the Twig, was a welcome addition to the student publica- 
tions. Three issues of the newspaper appeared at irregular 
intervals in the spring of 1921 under the joint editorship of 
the editors-in-chief of the Oak Leaves and of the Acorn, 
Lidie Penton and Evelyn Bridger. Beginning with Octo- 
ber 7, 1921, with Ann Eliza Brewer as editor, it appeared 
first as a weekly, then as a biweekly. Doubtless the idea of a 
Meredith newspaper received an impetus from the North 
Carolina Collegiate Press Association organized in 1920 "for 
the betterment of college magazines and newspapers." 

The meetings of this body, of the State B.S.U. and of 
Student Government councils brought together in whole- 
some informal companionship the students of various col- 
leges. Joint meetings of the unit organizations in the B.S.U., 
of departmental clubs, of county clubs, and of junior college 
clubs on other senior college campuses — especially Wake 
Forest and State College — multiplied these opportunities, 
and multiplied the number of young men who frequented 
the campus. 

Once every four years the student body has a dateless 
evening with never a regret, because the faculty presenta- 
tion of Alice in Wonderland has always been a strictly 
family affair since it was first given on March 15, 1924. 
Miss Royster conceived the idea and directed the first five 

170 History of Meredith College 

performances. Miss Poteat planned the costumes and made 
the fantastic masks. With a list of characters but no names 
of actors, the first program had as explanatory comment : 

In this country of contraries you will see and hear many strange 
things — a learned Ph.D. who smashes the rules of grammar; a 
charming contralto whose favorite aria is "Beautiful Soup", a 
mere chit of an instructor who lays an audacious hand upon the 
academic countenance of the dignified dean; the chief of the 
classicists who snores not in Greek or Latin, but in plain, loud 

Here also, in delightful confusion, are to be found stately per- 
sonages of the court and amusing animals — sights not otherwise 
to be seen about Our Campus. 

Come to Wonderland with Alice. 

In the first presentation, Carolyn Mercer, '22, instructor 
in French, was an irresistible Alice, round-faced and wide- 
eyed, with cross-tied slippers and pantalettes. Mr. Boom- 
hour, the King of Hearts, quailed before the Queen of 
Hearts, Lois Johnson, "the mere chit of an instructor" 
whose resounding slap left the print of her fingers on his 
cheek. As she had merely feigned the blow at rehearsals, the 
king and the cast were as startled as were the students. The 
American snore came from Dr. Law, the Dormouse. Dr. 
Brewer, the Knave of Hearts, played his part in five suc- 
cessive performances, as did Mr. Boomhour. Three actors 
have taken part in eleven of the twelve performances — 
Dr. Wallace,^ the White Rabbit; Miss Brewer, the March 
Hare; and Dr. Canaday, the Mad Hatter. The first sad 
Mock Turtle who danced the lobster quadrille with Dr. 
Harris as the Gryphon was Alice Moncrief of the music 
department. The Duchess, Miss Barber; her cook and her 
cat, Margaret Wyatt and Leila Home, instructors in math- 
ematics and music; the executioner. Miss Welch; with 
fairies, pages, guards, and ladies and gentlemen of the 
court completed the first cast. 

The first performance was rehearsed in secrecy, and there 
was only mild curiosity among the students as to what the 
entertainment could be to which the faculty had invited 
them. Hence they were totally unprepared for the startling 
costumes and masks, the clever lines, the generous sprink- 

^ Dr. Wallace had the unique distinction of taking part in all twelve. 

"An Institution . . . Passed the Experimental Stage" 171 

ling of the latest campus slang, the farcical humor of the 
action, and especially for the utter abandon with which the 
whole faculty entered into it all. The faculty who had, in 
Miss Royster's phrase, "tumbled headlong into dramatics" 
were equally unprepared for the students' response. In 
breathless silence the audience watched the fairies dance 
around the sleeping Alice; and then through the "delightful 
confusion" their shrieks of laughter and ear-splitting ap- 
plause increased, becoming almost a riot as the final curtain 

The account in the next Twig was headed: "Faculty 
Wows Students." It was accompanied by an editorial com- 

Since we now know positively that the members of the faculty- 
understand our campus colloquialisms, we'd like to take off our 
hats to them, and term them "plum knock-outs." Discussion varies 
as to the outstanding star, but all opinions agree at one point — 
that being the cleverest, best, and most original of all the stunts 
ever given before at Meredith College. . . . We're challenging the 
world to produce a more popular or commendable faculty. 

The 1964 Oak Leaves called it "an unforgettable panorama 
of color, surprise, and sheer delight." 




The most momentous decision in the history of Meredith 
since its founding was made on May 23, 1921, when the 
Board of Trustees approved M. L. Kesler's motion, "that it 
is the sense of this Board that the site of the College be 
moved to larger grounds in, at, or near Raleigh." The 
decision was not a sudden one, nor had it been easily 
reached. From the beginning everyone had recognized the 
inadequacy of the grounds — not even half of the eight to 
ten acres which the original trustees had considered a mini- 
mum in 1890. The pocket-handkerchief of a lawn, the 
cramped space for basketball and tennis could only by 
courtesy be called a campus. There were seven buildings on 
the square; three brick structures and four frame houses 
hemmed in an eighth which could not be bought. These 
were supplemented by three other nearby houses used for 
students' and teachers' rooms; one across Person Street, one 
across Edenton, and a rented house across Blount. 

Crossing these busy streets, especially on rainy days, was 
a constant danger; and the noise of the traffic had become 
increasingly intolerable. With buildings so near the streets, 
the lack of privacy was irking; "friends of the College" 
sometimes reported to the College authorities such indis- 
cretions as lingerie or heads of hair being dried in the 
windows. Dr. Vann told the trustees of increasing dissatis- 
faction with the four-girl rooms. 

Moreover, there was no possibility of growth. Except for 
1914, when the "European War" had just been declared, 
students were every year turned away for lack of space; 
330 resident students should have been the maximum ca- 
pacity, and 360 were crowded in. It was almost impossible to 
buy property, and what had been bought was measured by 
the inch rather than by the acre. 

As early as 1913 Dr. Vann in his annual report "respect- 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 173 

fully invited" the attention of the Board of Trustees to 
nine items of business, the fifth of which was "the report of 
the Executive Committee on various questions referred to 
it in regard to improving Main Building, moving the site of 
the College, etc." No action was taken on this fifth item, but 
at the annual meeting in 1914 M. L. Kesler made a motion 
that the matter of moving the site be referred to the execu- 
tive committee to report fully at the next annual meeting, in 
1915. There is no mention of the matter either in the min- 
utes of the next annual meeting of the Board or in the 
minutes of the executive committee. Doubtless the slight 
decrease in enrollment in 1914, the resignation of President 
Vann in February, 1915, and the strong doubt in some minds 
as to the wisdom of a move explain why the idea was car- 
ried no further until 1921. 

Instead, it was decided in 1916 to work out a plan for a 
new building, which would, according to the minutes of 
the trustees, "take into account present needs and the al- 
most certain growth of the future." The high cost of labor 
and material, together with the campaign proposed by the 
Baptist State Convention for all the educational institu- 
tions, blocked the carrying out of the plan. In May, 1919, an 
effort was made to buy the N. B. Broughton house, on the 
corner of New Bern Avenue and Person Street. When that 
effort failed, the building of a dormitory was again con- 
sidered. W. N. Jones, C. J. Hunter, J. D. Boushall, and R. N. 
Simms must have been somewhat disconcerted when on 
November 11, 1919, G. T. Watkins proposed their appoint- 
ment as a committee "to erect a building to house 200 girls 
and other school purposes, finance it, and have it completed 
by September 1, 1920, if possible." It was not possible, nor 
could the executive committee carry out the responsibility 
given it at the same meeting — "to acquire ten acres of land 
for a playground." 

Hence the decision made on May 23, 1921, was inevitable. 
As soon as the motion was passed, a committee was ap- 
pointed "to secure options on available sites and to present 
estimates on approximate cost of the necessary buildings." 
The committee consisted of Z. M. Caveness, W. N. Jones, 
C. J, Hunter, J. Y. Joyner, Livingston Johnson, M. L. Kesler, 

174 History of Meredith College 

R. N. Simms, Margaret Shields Everett, '02, and Bertha 
Carroll, '13, with President Brewer, ex officio. After the 
Convention had in November, 1921, approved the trustees' 
decision to move, the Committee went to work; and at a 
called meeting of the Board of Trustees on May 13, 1922, it 
presented four possible sites on which it had an option: 
Bloomsbury Park, then just beyond the city limits near 
Glen wood Avenue; a site near the Country Club; the 
Mordecai property, through which Mordecai Drive now 
runs; and the Tucker farm, located about three miles west 
of Raleigh on Hillsboro Road. The trustees visited all four, 
but considered only two seriously — the Mordecai place of 
97 3/10 acres, which could be bought for $81,000, and the 
Tucker farm of 135 acres for $60,000. The other two were 
much too small. The vote by ballot of eighteen to three 
in favor of the Tucker site was readily made unanimous. 
Later, thirty-five additional acres were bought. 

Three objections to the site chosen were raised in arti- 
cles appearing in the Recorder, objections which seem 
laughable now. It was too near the Negro settlement at 
Method, too near the State prison farm, and too near State 

Following the announcement of the choice, two offers 
were made to the College, both of which, after due con- 
sideration, the trustees refused. Greensboro, which had 
been one of the cities considered in 1890, offered Meredith 
$65,000 and a site of 135 acres, valued at $65,000. The offer 
was made in June through J. T. J. Battle, a physician of 
Greensboro, long-time friend and trustee of the College. The 
refusal of the offer in no way estranged Dr. Battle's interest 
in Meredith; for in 1937 he established a scholarship fund of 
$10,250, in addition to the generous help he gave personally 
to individual students whose need he knew. At his death in 
1940 the College received $35,000 by his will. 

The other proposal was made in a letter to the Recorder 
of October 18, 1922, from George W. Paschal, professor of 
Greek in Wake Forest College, In behalf of the town of 
Wake Forest, he offered "an adequate site" for rebuilding 
Meredith near Forestville, about three-quarters of a mile 
from the Wake Forest Campus. Thus located, Meredith 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 175 

could easily be coordinated with Wake Forest. A Wake 
Forest citizen who was enthusiastic about the plan wrote in 
the next Recorder: 

I believe the Baptists are too wise to cast their pearls before 
swine. Think of the happy combination — the new Meredith beside 
the old Wake Forest, made sacred by its noble traditions. When 
the college is moved, it will be at home, and your daughters in 
peace and safety amidst wholesome influences. That will be edu- 
cation of the Baptists, by the Baptists, and for the Baptists. 

There had been much discussion on the Meredith campus 
preceding the decision to move, and the Twig had carried 
several letters pro and con. But there was only vigorous 
disagreement with Dr. Paschal's proposal, reprinted in the 
Twig of October 27, In her two-column protest, the editor 
asked: "Are not the advantages of a site for Meredith in 
Raleigh worth more than the gift of a site elsewhere?" It 
would be assimiliation, not coordination, to tear Meredith 
up by the roots and transplant it in a new soil with new en- 
vironment. Such a move would "threaten the very existence 
of Meredith as a college with the aims and ideals for which 
those interested in her have labored these years." 

One of the letters in the same issue ended thus: 

We like Wake Forest men — ^we truly do, but we think we'll 
continue to like them more if we can do so across the space be- 
tween their campus at Wake Forest and ours at the Tucker site. 

President Brewer and the trustees did not consider their 
decision final until the Convention, which had already ap- 
proved the move, also approved the site. At the meeting of 
that body in December, 1922, the executive secretary of the 
Convention, Charles E. Maddrey, moved that the decision 
of the trustees to buy the Tucker farm be confirmed. Paul 
Bagby, pastor of the Wake Forest Baptist Church, offered 
a substitute motion, that Wake Forest and Meredith Col- 
leges be coordinated. The discussion ran over its allotted 
time in the morning session and continued for three straight 
hours in the afternoon. When everyone had had his say and 
the vote was taken, the substitute was lost with " a few 
scattered Ayes," the News and Observer reported, "and a 
roar of Noes." The original motion was carried by about five 

176 History of Meredith College 

hundred to three or four. Charity and Children said that the 
debate was "full of ginger," but that "not one unbrotherly 
word" was spoken. The vote was followed by the singing 
of "Blest Be the Tie That Binds." 

The next convention, in 1923, authorized a bond issue of 
$750,000 and the sale of the property in town for $250,000^ 
to finance the rebuilding of the College. The cost of the 
buildings, it was estimated, would not exceed a million; the 
cost of the furnishings and equipment would be sought as 

The actual construction was begun in the fall of 1924. On 
October 9, after the second annual barbecue in the oak 
grove at the new place, as the students, faculty, and trustees 
stood in a circle in the middle of a cottonfield, the first 
shovelful of dirt was dug by the person most deserving that 
honor — Wesley Norwood Jones. The other trustees followed 
in turn; Livingston Johnson's prayer followed by the sing- 
ing of the Doxology concluded the simple ceremony. 

Two months later, during the session of the Baptist State 
Convention, the cornerstone of the administration building 
was laid. The address was made, fittingly, by Robert N. 
Simms, whose father, A. M. Simms, had been chairman of 
the executive committee of the Board of Trustees when the 
first building was erected. 

The Quarterly Bulletin for January, 1925, gave the con- 
tents of the box placed in the cornerstone as follows: 

A Bible; the minutes of the 1923 Convention; copies of the Bibli- 
cal Recorder and of Charity and Children; the 1923-1924 Meredith 
catalogue; the 1923-1924 official reports; a copy of the 1907-1908 
college catalogue; the Polk resolutions adopted in 1899 when the 
Convention met in Henderson; the charter incorporating the Bap- 
tist Female University in 1891; copies of the Acorn, the Twig, and 
the Alumnae Association manual of 1924; pictures of the old 
buildings; a blueprint of Greater Meredith; a ms. copy of the 
history of Meredith College being prepared by Rev. O. L. String- 
field; ms. of the address delivered by R. N. Simms at the corner- 

1 The property brought the expected amount. Faircloth Hall was first 
bought by the Y.W.C.A.; afterwards it became the McAlpin Hotel, and in 
1960 it was razed to give space for the Heart of Raleigh Motel. East Building 
was converted into apartments, and the small frame houses were either used 
as dwellings or torn down. Main Building was bought for use as a hotel, the 
Mansion Park; later it was bought by the state to house the Commission for 
the Blind; it was torn down in 1967 to make room for a new state office 
building. By a coincidence the wrecking crew began its work on April 14, the 
day that the ground was broken for the Carlyle Campbell Library. 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 177 

stone exercises; coins given by the Commercial National Bank; 
and copies of Raleigh newspapers and of Old Gold and Black. 

Six fireproof buildings of Georgian architecture forming 
a quadrangle were to be the center of the new college. The 
administration building was to be at the front with offices, 
postoffice, and parlors on the first floor; the library and day 
students' room on the second; and the society halls on the 
third. Four three-story dormitories, each housing about 125 
girls, were to form the sides of the quadrangle, with the 
dining room and kitchen at the back. Each dormitory has a 
kitchenette, a launderette, and a pressing room; each floor 
has a social room. The fourth floor of the second dormitory 
on the east side of the quadrangle (Faircloth Hall) was 
equipped as an infirmary. Of the three temporary frame 
buildings east of the quadrangle, one was to serve as an au- 
ditorium; another was to be used for science laboratories 
and classrooms; and the third for classrooms and art 
studios. The temporary gymnasium was added in 1928. 

These buildings were erected according to the plan. It had 
been hoped that they would be ready for occupancy in 
September, 1925, so that the College could be moved in 
the summer. However, the move could not be made until 
the Christmas vacation of 1925-26, one of the coldest the 
weatherman has ever recorded. 

"To move a family," a News and Observer reporter com- 
mented, "is trouble enough, but to move a college is some- 
thing else!" However, the inevitable confusion was reduced 
to a minimum, largely because of Dr. Brewer's foresight 
and his practical wisdom and skill in planning every detail. 
One would have thought that he had made a specialty of 
moving colleges all his life. Also, he had the industrious and 
intelligent cooperation of all who were concerned with the 
move — chief among them his family; Mr. Boomhour; Mr. 
Ferrell; Miss Rhodes; Miss Forgeus; Miss Welch; Miss Annie 
White, the house director; and Mrs. Beulah Wright Cooper, 
the club stewardess. These all worked day and night. Dr. 
Canaday, Mr. Riley, and Dr. Freeman were doubtless the 
faculty members whom the News and Observer reporter 
saw in overalls the day before school opened putting the 
classrooms in order. 

178 History of Meredith College 

The servants who helped with the move deserve more 
than passing mention. Chief among them was Donis Stroud, 
who, coming to the Baptist Female University as porter and 
general handy man, had ruled the place for twenty years. 
Ed Kirby, Will Nichols, and Joshomore Broadie were in- 
dispensable in the move. Richard Simpson, cook for more 
than twenty years, who was as famous for his skill in the 
annual cake walk as for his hot rolls, had died the year be- 
fore the College was moved. The maids who helped were 
Rossie Jeffers Lyon; Pattie Leach; Sophie Ford and her sis- 
ter, Arthelia Cole; Catherine Evans and her sister, Lizzie 
Anderson; and Arnetta Brown. None of these is living now. 

The moving of the library was a triumph. Boxes were 
made exactly the length of the shelves in the stacks, and in 
undisturbed order the books traveled to their new home. 
Miss Forgeus first followed the truck loads of books by 
street car and bus, but the journey was too slow; and soon 
that dainty, proper little person clambered up on the seat 
with the driver of the truck. 

When the resident students and teachers went home for 
the Christmas holidays, they left all their possessions 
packed and marked with the room numbers of the new dor- 
mitories. It was almost a miracle that every trunk, box, and 
bag was placed in the right room without even a temporary 
confusion to be adjusted. In fact, nothing was lost in the 
entire move except — of all things — the 200 pound stone 
sundial, the gift of the class of 1917; and that was even- 
tually found. 

That nothing was lost was the more remarkable as the 
new buildings were far from ready for their occupants. 
Carpenters, electricians, and plumbers were swarming in- 
side the dormitories finishing up their work as the furni- 
ture and equipment of the College and the bags and bag- 
gage of 375 teachers and students were being moved in. 
Rooms had to be shoveled out rather than swept. For sev- 
eral days cooking was reduced to a minimum; the College 
family lived mostly on bread and cheese. On the day when 
they discovered at lunch time that the bread had been 
brought to the new place and the cheese left at the old, a 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 179 

dinner invitation to all the faculty and staff who were at 
the College was a godsend. The courageous hostess was 
Mrs. Z. M. Caveness, the wife of the chairman of the build- 
ing committee. 

Most of the confusion inside the buildings was over before 
the students returned; and the shiny new rooms in suites 
of two, with large windows and with a closet for each of 
the two girls in the room, delighted their occupants. Some 
of the rooms for two in East Building had been so small 
that only one chair could be squeezed in the room with the 
double bed, the dresser, and a small table. Some rooms for 
four in Main Building to keep the effect of a Gothic castle 
had only one small round window each, opening outwards. 
The bathroom in each suite at the new place was an especial 
delight, because there had been one or two bathrooms to a 
floor at the old place, the second floor of East Building 
having one tub to twenty-nine girls. Anyone missing the 
fifteen minutes for which she had signed had to forego her 
semiweekly bath. Mary Blount Martin, '25, told of the con- 
sternation on the third floor of Main Building the night 
when a girl put in the bathtub for safe keeping overnight 
the alligator her fiance had sent her. Fortunately there 
was no water shortage in the spring of 1926; Dr. Brewer 
said that instead of the 7,000 gallons of water a month used 
in the old place, 50,000 were used at the new. 

It snowed hard on top of the frozen mud, Thursday, Janu- 
ary 7, the day after school reopened; then it rained, and 
the ground thawed. The Twig editor. Crystal Davis, com- 
mented the first week on the snow; then from week to 
week she gave details of the mud. "Friday was spent in 
scrunching, sliding, slipping, slopping, and falling." The 
new Meredith seemed, like Venice, to be built in the sea, 
but this was a sea of mud. Boards laid for walkways would 
"rise up and greet you like a long-lost friend. . . . They 
catapult us along with all the grace and wild abandon of a 
kangaroo." An inch and a half of mud dried on the shoes 
she recommended as an excellent substitute for half soles. 
Even Miss Brewer's cat, Mrs. Polly Wiggles — predecessor of 
Tommy Tucker, Sir Thomas, and Flush— did not venture off 

180 History of Meredith College 

the board walk. Mrs. Wiggles' one kitten was called Vir- 
ginia Dare, because it was the first baby bom in the new 

At first, some of the students wondered if the fireflies 
and the croaking of the frogs would compensate for the city 
lights and the come-and-go of people; they wondered if, 
accustomed to walking one block to the capitol square, 
they would ever get used to going halfway to town by a 
bus which came every thirty-six minutes, and then trans- 
ferring to a streetcar. The long brick dormitories rising 
angular and raw from the red mud were totally unlike the 
ivied turrets and pinnacles of "Old Main Building." At the 
barbecues which for three years before the move had taken 
place in the oak grove in its autumn glory, rosy plans had 
been laid for life in this Utopia. And now — 

But midyear examinations soon made the College family 
forget to look backward, and the masquerade party immedi- 
ately afterwards made them forget examinations. The trips 
to town on special buses for church services on Sunday 
mornings and for concerts and recitals, not yet a matter of 
routine, occasioned much hilarity. 

One cause of anxiety to which the Twig editor after- 
wards confessed was groundless. "We thought before we 
moved to the country that our location would be a sure test 
of our popularity, and many of us were viewing the dismal 
prospect with long faces." The last vestige of doubt was 
swept away by the stampede the first Saturday night, 
with dates overflowing the parlor and the rotunda and 
standing in the halls. Concerning the Student Government 
reception on the night of Founders' Day, the Twig editor 
wrote, "The overworked buses brought representatives 
from Wake Forest, Carolina, N. C. State, Duke, Davidson, 
and Elon, ... all types. Sir Galahads and Dempseys." The 
Phi play. Seventeen, and the senior "three-in-one" enter- 
tainment — a musical, an original one-act play, and a min- 
strel — drew many spectators from the neighboring col- 
leges. The Meredith sophomores entertained the State 
sophomores; some of the departmental clubs of Meredith 
and State had joint meetings; and the Wake Forest B.Y.P.U. 
entertained the Meredith B.Y.P.U. at Meredith. This enter- 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 181 

tainment the Twig called "a signal attention" which was 
reassuring "concerning our status with Wake Forest." 

There had been regrets that the excitement of the State 
College sophomores' painting the sophomore numerals in 
maroon and white on the sidewalk in front of Meredith 
would cease when there was no sidewalk and when the 
College was a third of a mile from the highway. Instead, 
Wake Forest added to the thrill by beginning the annual 
rivalry in which students from Wake Forest and State 
risked life and limb in painting, painting out, and repaint- 
ing the old-gold-and-black and the red-and-white insignia 
on the Meredith water tower. Old timers missed seeing 
those numerals after the tower was removed in February, 
1963, because the city had begun to supply Meredith's 

Serenaders from Wake Forest and State came with songs 
both sentimental and ludicrous, as they had done on the 
old campus. In 1919 the girls had petitioned the faculty to 
be allowed to give yells whenever serenaders came. The 
faculty had gravely responded that if the students made a 
"musical yell" which met with approval, it could be used 
in response to serenaders as well as at ball games. One can 
understand why the faculty suggestion was made, for the 
early Oak Leaves records such gems as : 

Razzlety, Dazzlety 
Hoo Rah Hoo! 
Raleigh, Raleigh, 

By the first week in March when the Woman's Mission- 
ary Union held its annual meeting in Raleigh, the mud on 
the Meredith campus had dried, though the peas which 
were to carpet the court with green in summer had not yet 
begun to struggle through the clods. All the delegates were 
invited to luncheon; and when they came, they found the 
College shining with anticipation. "Oh, how we scrubbed 
our floors," the Twig reporter wrote, "and put flowers in 
our rooms, as well as held little group prayer meetings that 
our rooms might not be found 'lacking' when honored by 
the visits of the ladies." The ladies so revered must have 

182 History of Meredith College 

been a bit startled when at lunch the student body, after 
singing the stately "Alma Mater," gave fifteen Rah's for 
the W.M.U. 

After lunch, with students to guide them, the delegates 
were taken over the College from third-floor society halls 
to basement. "How splendid it seemed," the Twig reporter 
wrote, "to have these lovely women from all parts of North 
Carolina viewing our new college. They were kind enough 
to seem pleased, and our delight knew no bounds." The 
afternoon session, held in the Meredith auditorium, was 
largely given over to the pageant which the students pre- 
sented, "The Light of the World." 

At that session the W.M.U. made a contribution of $120.00 
toward the raising of $2,000 for beautifying the campus, 
a campaign which the seniors had begun and into which 
the students were entering enthusiastically. To make money 
for the purpose, small businesses sprang up all over the 
campus; the Twig listed "collegiate bootblacks, laundresses, 
scrubwomen, shampooers, and employment bureaus, to say 
nothing of the shoe shop business." Some enterprising 
sophomores furnished dates at a quarter each. 

Several of the faculty immediately began gardens which 
became little spots of beauty against the brick walls of the 
dormitories. Miss Allen, Miss Rhodes, and Miss Welch 
worked especially hard. To Miss Allen the College owes the 
first planting of shrubbery at the gate and the row of crape 
myrtles east of the temporary classroom buildings; and in- 
numerable roses, chrysanthemums, and irises over the cam- 
pus were of her planting. Miss Rhodes made a specialty of 
bulbs; her garden near the chimney — the picnicking spot 
close to the tennis courts — grew lovelier each year. The 
most distinctive of Miss Welch's plantings was the garden 
at the corner of Stringfield Hall and the dining room, with 
dogwood, cherry, spirea, redbud, and a scuppernong vine. 
Miss Lillie Grandy, a Chowan classmate and dear friend of 
Mrs. Charles E. Brewer, gave a bird bath for that garden 
in memory of Miss Welch. In honor of Mrs. Norwood, Miss 
Ida planted the "Octavia tree" between Faircloth and the 
old Bee Hive. The alumnae gave the cherry trees which bor- 
der the driveway. Much later they planted in memory of 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 183 

Miss Poteat and Dr. Carroll the two magnolia trees in 
the oval in front of Johnson Hall. 

The terms Faircloth, Stringfield, and Johnson Hall are 
anachronisms when used of 1926, because Johnson Hall 
was then merely the administration building; and the four 
dormitories were A, B, C, and D. Students now sometimes 
wonder at the keys so marked as they do at an occasional 
piece of table silver marked B.U.W. In September, 1927, 
A and B were named Jones^ and Faircloth; at the request of 
the alumnae, C became Vann Hall the next June. String- 
field Hall was named in April, 1930. The reasons for thus 
honoring the four have been given in earlier chapters. 

Johnson HalP was named in 1931 in memory of Living- 
ston Johnson, trustee of the College and member of the 
executive committee from 1901 till his death on February 8, 
1931. As secretary of the Convention for fifteen years and 
editor of the Recorder for thirteen, he was called by Tom 
Bost of the Greensboro Daily News "the most influential 
and best beloved Baptist in North Carolina." In the Cen- 
tennial issue of the Biblical Recorder, January 2, 1935, 
J. W. Bailey called him "the foremost Baptist of his gen- 
eration," and added, "Such was the kindliness of his heart 
and the brightness of his faith that few paused to consider 
his remarkable intellectual capacity or his indefatigable 
application to his tasks." His level head, his kind heart, and 
his keen sense of humor were evident in all his relation- 
ships. Miss Paschal said that Dr. Vann consulted him oftener 
than he did any of the other trustees, and that he was 
known and loved by the whole student body. The minutes 
of the executive committee show that matters requiring 
especial tact were most often assigned to him, from investi- 
gating the questionable religious beliefs of one teacher to 
expostulating with another who at the dinner table had 
called the sweet potatoes "nasty." 

Deeply interested as he was in every aspect of the 
denominational work, he regarded Meredith as "a peculiar 
treasure." A few months before his death, when the college 

2 The name was changed in October, 1952, to Brewer Hall. See p. 219. 

3 Though it is always called Johnson Hall, the marker recently placed at 
the doorway gives the fuU name, "Livingston Johnson Administration Build- 

184 History of Meredith College 

faced the possibility of a foreclosure of the mortgage on it, 
when Secretary Maddrey wrote the trustees that he saw no 
way for even the interest due on the Convention debt to be 
paid unless some "unforeseen, providential miracle inter- 
vened," Livingston Johnson offered to be one of a hundred 
men to give a thousand dollars each to meet the emergency. 
With a salary too small to make savings possible, he knew 
that the only way in which he could obtain the thousand 
dollars was to sell at a sacrifice his only property — the 
little farm in the sand hills, the value of which as a heritage 
from his Scottish forefathers far exceeded its material 

A long series of events lay back of the financial diffi- 
culties which imperiled the existence of Meredith in 1930. 
They were, of course, due in part to the nation-wide de- 
pression. In 1923 some of the denominational leaders had 
believed there should be an appeal for gifts, even if the 
building were delayed, instead of the bond issue which the 
Convention had authorized. But the plan which the Con- 
vention followed had met with general approval, and at the 
time had seemed feasible. The five-year Southwide $75,- 
000,000 campaign in the fall of 1919 had resulted in more 
than $90,000,000 in pledges— more than $18,000,000 rather 
than $15,000,000 a year. Of the original quota from this 
campaign. North Carolina Baptist schools were to have re- 
ceived $1,209,333. 

Moreover, the finances of the College had never been in 
better condition. Dr. Brewer reported in May, 1923, that 
since January, 1920, the Meredith endowment had in- 
creased from $139,000 to $406,000. Of the amount allotted 
to Meredith from the proceeds of the campaign, the board 
of education of the Convention had voted that $15,000 each 
year could be used for current expenses of the College. Of 
this amount in the three years, only $22,000 had been thus 
used leaving $23,000 to be added to the more than $150,000 
which the campaign had added to the endowment. The 
Rockefeller Foundation in New York, by an extension of its 
offer of one dollar for two made in 1913, had contributed 
$73,000 to the endowment. In addition it had in 1921 made 
an annual grant of $5,000 for three years to help in meeting 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 185 

the cost of increased salaries for the faculty. In 1925 
B. N. Duke gave $50,000 for the endowment, at that time 
the largest gift from an individual the College had ever 
received. The financial prospects of the Convention and of 
the College seemed to justify the issuance of bonds. 

However, the retirement of $50,000 in bonds each year in 
addition to keeping up the interest on the others was an 
undertaking which grew increasingly difficult for the Con- 
vention as it became evident that $90,000,000 in pledges 
was quite different from $90,000,000 in cash. As soon as it 
had been pledged, the entire $90,000,000 had been allocated 
to the various objects of the state conventions and of the 
Southern Baptist Convention. The total collections of a 
five-year period fell twenty-five per cent short of even the 
original goal of $75,000,000. Moreover, the new plant had 
cost more than the original estimate,* so that in addition to 
the original bond issue of $750,000, the Convention in 1926 
had to borrow $275,000. The interest alone on the whole 
amount was $60,000 a year. 

At its annual meeting in Raleigh in March, 1926, the 
Woman's Missionary Union unanimously adopted a plan 
presented to them by Mrs. W. N. Jones for freeing Mere- 
dith from the debt which was crushing the College and 
handicapping all the work of the Convention. 

We, the Woman's Missionary Union, memorialize the Baptist 
State Convention, meeting in Wilmington in November, 1926, to 
launch a campaign in 1927 for the payment of the debt on Mere- 
dith College by 1930, and thus celebrate the One Hundredth An- 
niversary of our organized Baptist work in a fitting and worthy 
manner. We pledge ourselves as an organization and as individuals 
to co-operate in every possible way to the fullest extent of our 
ability for the worthy and successful conclusion of such an under- 

"Our women have a profound dislike for debt," Mrs. Jones 
explained, "and they especially dislike to see their money go 
for interest charges when there is such need around the 
world for the gospel of Jesus Christ." 

The proposition, as Foy Johnson Farmer wrote in Hith- 

* R. N. Simms's final report of the Board of Trustees concerning the rebuild- 
ing of the College, which appeared in the 1926 Annvul of the Convention, 
gave the total cost of the building as $1,182,670.55. 

186 History of Meredith College 

erto, the history of the North Carolina W.M.U., "meant in 
reality that the Union would raise the amount of the in- 
debtedness." Since the W.M.U. has never yet failed in any 
of its undertakings, it is a reasonable assumption that, even 
in the depression, it would have been successful in this one. 

But the Convention decided otherwise. There were also 
debts on other schools, debts small but pressing. Therefore 
the Convention put aside the Memorial, in spite of Mrs. 
Jones's vigorous protest, and decided to put on a campaign 
for $1,500,000 to be raised for all the schools by 1930, the 
hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Convention. 

This Centennial Campaign was launched with a dinner 
at Meredith for 665 people on September 15, 1927. Direc- 
tors, sub-directors, chairmen, vice-chairmen, organizers and 
assistant organizers, with a state- wide committee of 300 
went to work. A full page in the Recorder each week for 
months reported the progress of the campaign. Four-minute 
speakers were sent out from all the colleges to the various 
churches in the state; more than sixty went from Meredith, 
some speaking several times. 

But the results were disappointing. Each time the pay- 
ment of the interest alone grew increasingly difficult. It 
was less than a month before the Centennial Convention in 
1930 that Dr. Maddrey wrote the trustees the letter already 
mentioned, in which he said that he saw no way for the 
obligations of the Convention to be met except by the in- 
tervention of "some unforeseen providential miracle." Be- 
tween December 1, 1930, and February 1, 1931, a total of 
$210,494 in principal and interest had to be paid. 

By borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, by re-financing 
loans and then re-financing them again, such emergencies 
were met. The 1930 Convention temporarily made a drastic 
readjustment in the allocation of its funds, realizing the 
necessity of such readjustment if the Convention was ever 
to be freed of debt. Fifty-five cents rather than fifty of each 
dollar contributed was kept for work in the state; of that 
fifty-five cents, thirty-three went to the payment of the 
Convention debt. By the 1944 Convention the entire debt in- 
curred on behalf of all the schools had been paid. 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 187 

In spite of the Convention's rejection of their plan, the 
interest of the Woman's Missionary Union did not waver. 
With the generosity of spirit characteristic of Mrs. Jones, as 
of her husband, she accepted a vice-chairmanship in the 
Centennial Campaign. In 1928 the Union placed a fountain 
in the center of the court at Meredith in memory of Fannie 
E. S. Heck, whose help had been invaluable in the early 
days of the College. In 1930, when there was much talk of 
selling Meredith's new plant and merging the College with 
Wake Forest, the W.M.U. at its annual meeting in March 
passed staunch resolutions. 

Resolved: That the Woman's Missionary Union, Auxiliary to 
the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, hereby declares 
that it is whole-heartedly and unreservedly in sympathy with the 
aims and purposes of Meredith College and hereby commits itself 
to the perpetual maintenance and support of Meredith College as 
a separate institution for Christian education for women under 
the auspices of the Baptist State Convention, and hereby pledges 
its loyalty and support to that institution. 

The following year the entire Heck Memorial offering, 
$12,387.55 — the largest until 1943 — was given to help the 
Convention meet its indebtedness. In 1951 $5,000 was allo- 
cated from the Heck-Jones offering to help with the furnish- 
ing of the new auditorium. 

For eight years, 1931-1938, the Convention could give 
none of the colleges help with current expenses, and for two 
years longer Meredith received none. Moreover, the returns 
from the endowment had dwindled because of the depres- 
sion. Also because of the depression the student body was 
decreasing rather than increasing. The first full year in the 
new place, 1926-27, the total enrollment was 491, the largest 
the College had ever had. The number ran to 551 in 1927-28, 
a number which still left empty rooms in the dormitories. 
For the next four years the enrollment steadily decreased, 
till in 1931-32 and again in 1932-33, there were 419 students. 

Then, as the following table shows, the enrollment began 

^To honor Mrs. W. N. Jones as well as Miss Heck this offering was re- 
named the Heck-Jones offering. 

Total Cost for 

i: of Students 

the Year 



















188 History of Meredith College 

to rise, partly from improved financial conditions, and 
partly from the temporary reduction in cost. 

Year Nur 


The drop in enrollment in 1935 was doubtless due to the 
fact that in the summer of 1935 occurred the first serious 
epidemic of infantile paralysis in North Carolina. 

Temporarily, academic as well as financial adjustments 
had to be made. In 1924, the College had begun to require 
75 quality points on 120 hours of work. In 1927, this require- 
ment was increased to 120. Falling enrollment necessitated 
a temporary return to the 75 points in 1930. But by 1936 
the requirement of 120 quality points was restored, a re- 
quirement which meant that each student must make an 
average of C in all her college work. 

Throughout the whole time, whatever of discouragement 
the president must have felt was never evident to students 
or faculty. His greetings were as cheery, his plans for the 
future of Meredith as confident as in the rosy days of 1923. 

Next to President Brewer, the burden rested most heavily 
on Fuller Broughton Hamrick, bursar^ at Meredith from 
1929 till his death in 1943. He gave to the College the same 
loyal devotion which had made him for seventeen years so 
valued a treasurer of the Baptist Orphanage in Thomasville. 
The position of a bursar is always difficult, and it is espe- 
cially so when the purse strings are of necessity held tight. 
It is an evidence of his ability and of his patience that each 
year — even in the years in which the College received no 
money from the Convention for current expenses — in spite 
of lowered income from endowment and the reduction in 

«In 1951 the title was changed to the more fitting term, business manager 
and treasurer. 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 189 

charges, the College lived within its budget, sometimes 
coming to the end of the year with a small balance. 

In these trying years of debt and depression, when no de- 
partmental expansion was possible and when the purchase 
of needed equipment had to be deferred from year to year, 
the morale of the faculty and staff was excellent. They 
readily agreed to the inevitable cuts in salary, ranging 
from twenty-five per cent in 1931-32 to eleven per cent in 
1934-35. President Brewer was generous in his praise of 
their loyalty. 

In 1926, changes were made in the courses, as well as in 
the physical equipment of the College. The catalogue 
issued in March, 1926, shows more increased flexibility in 
the basic requirements for the A.B. degree. Reckoned by 
semesters rather than by years, twelve hours of English, 
six of religion (Old and New Testament), and three in 
psychology were required without option. From four 
courses — Latin, a modern language, history, and mathe- 
matics — three were to be chosen; and from three sciences — 
biology, chemistry, and physics, two were to be chosen. If 
entrance credit had been offered in any of the three 
sciences, the student could, if she so desired, take all four 
courses from the first group, with only one science. 

The major and the minor, or the two majors if the hours 
were evenly divided, were to aggregate beyond the basic 
requirements not less than thirty-six hours, with not less 
than twelve in the minor. 

This change in basic requirements made possible the 
obtaining of an A.B. degree by students with a major in 
home economics or in general science, rather than the B.S. 
degree formerly granted them. The established major in 
science was divided into biology and chemistry; and a com- 
bination of economics and sociology was added to the list 
of possible majors for the A.B., thus bringing the number to 
fourteen. Three years later, Greek was added to the list. 

In 1931 an even more drastic change was made in the 
requiremjents for the A.B., a change which gave rise to 
the sharpest conflict of opinion that had ever occurred in 
the faculty, a change against which the alumnae registered 
a vigorous protest. 

190 History of Meredith College 

With the requirements without option in English, re- 
ligion, and psychology unchanged, the requirements with 
option were divided into three groups, any one of which the 
students seeking an A.B, could follow. The first group was 
unchanged from the pattern set in 1926 for all A.B. stu- 
dents, except that economics could be substituted for his- 
tory. The second group emphasized science, with a require- 
ment of twelve hours in foreign language (ancient or 
modern) and either two laboratory sciences with mathe- 
matics or three laboratory sciences. 

The third group was the bone of contention. These stu- 
dents chose twelve hours in foreign language; twelve hours 
from history, economics, sociology, and religion (courses 
beyond the basic requirement ) ; and twelve hours from bi- 
ology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and geography- 
geology.'^ Thus a student could be graduated from Meredith 
with no Latin and with either one laboratory science or 

These changes made it possible for a student in four years 
of college work to meet the requirements for graduation 
and for a North Carolina elementary school certificate, 
though she had to use virtually all her major and minor 
and most of her elective hours toward this certificate. At 
first a student who counted toward graduation courses in 
children's literature or methods of teaching in primary or 
elementary grades was given a B.S. rather than an A.B. 
After two years, however, this distinction in courses was 
abandoned; and from 1933 till 1963, when elementary edu- 
cation ceased to be a possible major, students majoring in 
it were granted an A.B, degree. 

In 1937 the prescribed work was again somewhat 
changed. Two hours of theoretical work in fine arts were 
added to the courses required without option — English, for- 
eign language, religion, and psychology; and the three 
groups were merged. All students chose a six-hour course 
from history, economics, and sociology; a six-hour course 
from biology, chemistry or physics; and a six-hour course 
from ancient language, mathematics and a second labora- 

'' In 1937 geology and astronomy were dropped from the courses offered. 
From 1937 till 1940 an ill-fated major in general science was offered. 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 191 

tory science. By this plan, though she was even more 
severely limited in electives than she had been, a student 
could still meet the requirements for the A.B. with an ele- 
m.entary certificate in the 120 hours. 

Since 1932 a student in art has received the A.B. degree 
instead of a diploma, conforming to all the entrance and 
curricular requirements for that degree. In that same year 
theoretical music, which since 1928 had been a possible 
free elective, became one of the subjects from which a 
major or a minor could be chosen. 

Music was still too highly specialized a course to lead to 
an A.B. In 1929 the diploma in music was, however, re- 
placed by a B.M. Of the fifteen entrance units, four were 
to be in English, two in French or German, and nine were 
elective. The requirements of the degree with a major in 
piano, voice, violin, or organ consisted of forty-two hours of 
academic work (twelve of English, twelve of French or 
German, six of history, and twelve elective), forty-two of 
applied music, and thirty-six of theoretical work in music. 
For a major in public school music, only twenty-four hours 
of applied music was required, with an increase of six hours 
in the academic requirements and the addition of methods 
of teaching music and practice teaching. The next year 
violoncello and composition were added to the possible 
majors in music. 

In 1932 the B.M. was replaced by a B.S., with the re- 
quirement of forty-eight hours of academic work, thirty-six 
of theoretical music, and thirty-eight of applied, making a 
total of 122 hours. For the first time the music students were 
required to meet the regular college entrance requirements 
— four units in English, two and a half in mathematics, two 
in foreign language, one in history, and five and a half 
elective. In 1934 as much as twelve hours of practical 
music was for the first time allowed credit toward an A.B. , 
provided that the hours were balanced by an equal number 
of hours in theoretical music. Not till 1938 did the music 
course lead to an A.B. 

With the immediate increase in the student body after the 
move to the new place, necessitating more sections and 
making possible the offering of more courses, several new 


192 History of Meredith College 

positions were created in the faculty and staff, in addition 
to the usual replacements. In January, 1926, Florence Hoag- 
land was added to the department of education. In 1928 
psychology and philosophy were separated from education, 
and she was made head of the new department. Her courses 
were considered among the most difficult and the most in- 
teresting in College. She was concerned with every phase 
of the students' lives, and few people knew how many girls 
in financial straits were aided by her generosity. On her 
return from Cornell in 1933 with her Ph.D. in English, she 
gave in addition to her work in philosophy and psychology 
two courses in speech, the first to be offered since 1913. 

When in 1936 she went to Bethany College as head of 
the department of English, the work she had been doing at 
Meredith was divided; Edgar H. Henderson was made head 
of the department of psychology and philosophy, and Gus- 
sie Riddle List taught the courses in speech. Frances Bailey, 
who followed Mrs. List in January, 1938, remained until 
1943, when the department of speech was temporarily dis- 
continued. With Miss Bailey's whole time given to speech 
and dramatics, several courses were added, so that a minor 
was offered in the department. 

Annie Mitchell Brownlee who came in 1926, is remem- 
bered as the first instructor added to the department of 
biology and more vividly as the first faculty member to 
bob her hair. Her place in 1933 was filled by Elizabeth 
Boomhour, '31, who, with a leave of absence for obtain- 
ing her Ph.D., remained till her marriage to Thomas Kerr 
in 1942. Her proficiency in biology was especially pleasing 
to the earlier alumnae, who had known her as "Mr. 
Boomhour 's baby daughter." An addition to the music 
faculty in 1926 was also in a double sense a daughter of 
Meredith — Bernice Stringfield, ex-'lO, O. L. Stringfield's 
daughter, who had studied with Wade R. Brown. 

That same year Mary J, Spruill was engaged for one 
year — and stayed seventeen years. Her unusually thorough 
work in English composition made a valuable contribution 
to the department, as did the impetus which Lucile Burriss 
gave to creative writing in the few years she was at Mere- 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 193 

dith. Sharing a suite, Miss Spruill and Miss Burriss were 
often confused by the maid in Vann Hall, until she began 
to call them both "Miss Spruiss." Louise Lanham, who came 
in 1936, with her gentle steadiness was for eighteen years 
a force in the department. Her course in recent poetry 
was as distinctively her course as Literary Criticism was 
Dr. Harris', and her retirement in 1954 left disappointment 
among those who had happily anticipated the work with 
her. Norma Rose, '36, came as instructor in Latin and En- 
glish in 1937. 

As head of the department of classical languages Helen 
Price, whose father had been professor of Latin and Greek 
at Swarthmore College, succeeded Dr. Law in 1927. Her 
scholarly ability combined with her vivid personality made 
of Latin and Greek live languages at Meredith. The Satur- 
nalia celebration Dr. Price had each year in her home was 
always so mirthful an occasion that often the students did 
not realize until afterwards how much the festivity had 
broadened their knowledge of Roman life and literature. 
The many Meredith faculty and students who enjoyed her 
hospitality through the years found that the inimitable 
pepper-throwing cook of Alice in Wonderland had extra- 
ordinary culinary ability off stage. 

After Dr. Price's retirement in 1952 she spent almost as 
much time in Greece and Italy as in Raleigh. She was 
always at home at commencement time, however, and 
never gave up the Sunday morning breakfast which for 
many years had delighted returning alumnae. In her wide 
circle of friends, students and alumnae always had a special 
place. On,e of them who visited her less than a month before 
her death in July, 1968, wrote: 

She sent me on my way with a piece of her delicious pound 
cake and a jar of homemade preserves. She had a great way of 
walking into our lives and into our hearts simultaneously. 

Isaac Morton Mercer was associate professor in the de- 
partment of religion from 1928 till 1939. Having studied at 
the University of Leipzig after his graduation from the 
Southern Baptist Seminary, he was well prepared for the 

194 History of Meredith College 

position. "Brother Mercer" was beloved by his students as 
he had been by his congregations as a true Christian gentle- 
man. His courtesy was proverbial on the campus. Instead of 
asking a question, he gently requested an answer, supplying 
it himself if the student momentarily hesitated. 

In 1928, the year that psychology and philosophy became 
a separate department, economics was separated from his- 
tory and with sociology formed a department with Nettie 
Southworth Herndon, who for two years had been acting 
assistant professor of history and economics, as its head. 
She kept this position until she went to Duke in 1937 to 
finish the work for her doctorate. Maude Clay Little, the 
next head, remained until her marriage in 1941. In Miss 
Herndon's place Alice Keith came to the history depart- 
ment in 1928. 

Following Dr. Brown in 1928, Frank L. Eyer came for 
one year; then Isaac L. Battin was for three years head of 
the department of music. In 1932 Leslie P. Spelman was 
elected to that position. Like Dr. Brown, Mr. Spelinan had 
a comprehensive view of the whole curriculum, for his aca- 
demic as well as his musical background was excellent. His 
two years' study of music in Paris had been preceded by 
an A.B. and an M.A. from Oberlin University, as well as 
by an Mus.B. In 1937 Mr. Spelman went to the University 
of Redlands. 

Mr. Spelman was succeeded in 1937 by Harry E. Cooper, 
Mus.D. of Bush Conservatory, a Fellow in the American 
Guild of Organists, whose term of service, much longer 
than that of any head of the music department preceding 
him, brought an expansion of the department, both in stu- 
dents and in courses offered. He took an active part in 
musical affairs in the City as well as in the College. He 
was for several years director of the St. Cecilia Club, re- 
signing from that position when he and Mrs. Wallace or- 
ganized the Raleigh Oratorio Society. He has also been 
president of the Raleigh Civic Music Association and of the 
Chamber Music Guild, and has been organist of the North 
Carolina Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Cooper, an artist with 
a camera as well as at the keyboard, developed a hobby into 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 195 

a second profession, and became Meredith's chief photog- 

Edgar Alden, also a graduate of Oberlin, in 1937 
succeeded Charlotte Armstrong as teacher of violin. His 
rare ability as a musician made the more remarkable his 
patience in teaching, especially in his work with girls who 
were not music majors, whom he taught in groups of four, 
rather than singly. When he went into military service in 
April, 1943, his wife, Dorothy Alden, who often played in 
concerts and recitals with him, took his work for the rest 
of the year. The Aldens, now at the University of North 
Carolina, have a daughter named Meredith. In the program 
of Christmas music presented at Meredith in 1967 "Voices 
in the Mist," which Mr. Alden had composed thirty years 
earlier, was sung. 

Except for three years, 1915-18, the department of home 
economics had been "a flock of one duck," but in 1929 a 
second teacher was added, Lois Pearman, who took over the 
work in textiles. Jennie Hanyen came in her place in 1931. 
The quality of Miss Hanyen's work had striking proof in the 
success of her students in the annual style show sponsored 
by the textiles department of State College from 1929 to 
1944; for in the sixteen shows given, costumes made and 
modeled by Meredith students won first place ten times. Il- 
lustrating an article on the use of cotton, the National 
Georgraphic Magazine had a full-page picture in color of the 
Meredith girls making their costumes for the thirteenth 
exhibit. Miss Hanyen also had charge of the home man- 
agement house in which each major in home economics 
practices for a month the art of home-making. 

Maloy Alton Huggins for the three years between his 
service as educational secretary and as executive secretary 
of the Baptist State Convention was head of the department 
of education at Meredith. He was in 1932 succeeded by 
Bunyan Yates Tyner, who had held a similar position at 
Winthrop College. Mr. Tyner and Mr. Riley were the first 
two Meredith faculty members chosen in 1933 to teach in 
the Meredith-Wake Forest Summer School held for nine 

' Dr. Cooper made the first aerial photograpli of Meredith. 

196 History of Meredith College 

summers on the Wake Forest Campus. Mr. Tyner was also 
the capable director of the summer school which the two 
senior colleges with Mars Hill College had from 1935 to 
1941 on the Mars Hill campus.^ Like Mr. Riley, he served 
one year beyond the retirement age at the request of the 
administration. He was an effective link with the public 
schools of the State, for until his retirement in 1954 he 
conducted the Meredith appointments office. 

In the department when Mr. Tyner came were two as- 
sistant professors, each giving time to other work; Mrs. 
Wallace was in the department of history; Miss English was 
adviser to freshmen. Sallie B. Marks was added to the de- 
partment in 1938 as an assistant professor, remaining till 

Upon the retirement of Dr. Lula Gaines Winston in 1938, 
Mary Yarbrough, '26, who had been in the department of 
chemistry and physics since 1928, became its head. The 
M.S. which preceded her Ph.D. from Duke was the first 
graduate degree granted to a woman by State College. Dr. 
Yarbrough's usefulness in the College goes far beyond her 
department, for her sound judgment and calm poise, un- 
ruffled in any discussion, make her an especially valuable 
member of faculty committees. In 1938 Margaret Cooper 
and Margaret Kramer came to the department. Dr. Cooper 
remained two years; Miss Kramer, with a leave of absence 
in which she received a Ph.D. from the University of 
Illinois, stayed until 1946, when she accepted a position 
with the Standard Oil Company in Baton Rouge. 

When Miss Covington because of ill health gave up the 
position as dean of women in January, 1927, Grace Law- 
rence, an assistant dean, was until 1929 her efficient suc- 
cessor; she later held a similar position in Salem College. 
Caroline Biggers, '15, who had been since 1924 an assistant, 
was dean from 1929 till 1936; thus she was the first person 
since Miss Paschal to hold the office more than three years. 
As uncompromising in principles as she was warm-hearted 

"When Wake Forest withdrew from the trio in 1941. Meredith and Mars 
Hill continued the school for that summer. Since 1942 Meredith has had its 
summer school on its own campus, with the academic dean as head. The 
length of the session was changed from nine to six weeks in 1947, and from 
six to five in 1970. 

The Hut 

Mae GriTYimer House 


Inauguration of Dr. Heilman 


Alice in Wonderland 

Alumnae Day 







Class Day 


Signing of the Honor Code BOOK-IN — Library Moving Day 

=^ ■ f 1 

^^ ' 


1% I 

Christmas Dinner 



Ellen D. Brewer, Talcott W- Brewer 

Will Nichols 

^ 'pprt? 

J. Gregory Boomhour 

Harry E. Cooper 

Ernest F. Canaday 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 197 

in all her relationships, she had a marked influence on every 
phase of college life. No one was ever more devoted to 
Meredith than she; no one ever gave to it more whole- 
hearted, unselfish service. 

After Miss Diggers went to Mars Hill in 1936, Mary Susan 
Steele, '13, who had taught in the department of English at 
Meredith from 1916 till 1922, came to the dean's office from 
Judson College, where she had been academic dean and 
head of the English department. With the experience and 
the interests of a scholar. Dr. Steele remained as dean of 
women only one year. Hazel Clarke, who had been Miss 
Biggers' assistant one year, continued in that place with 
Dr. Steele. 

Anna May Baker succeeded her in 1937. In his report to 
the trustees in 1932, Dr. Brewer had commented on the 
unusually good attitude of the student body, confirming 
what college administrators had said elsewhere of the 
wholesome effect of the depression upon the behavior and 
attitudes of college students. He wrote thus : 

In spirit and in work, the students were a source of joy. There 
was very little occasion for criticism or discipline. On the con- 
trary, they manifested unusual interest in their studies as well as 
in other tasks. 

With easier financial conditions, however, problems arose 
in bringing into accord the ideals and behavior of the stu- 
dents with the more conservative traditions of the College. 
Hence Miss Baker in 1937 was in a position in some respects 
like that of Miss Covington in 1924. Miss Baker believed 
that regulations should be discarded, not when they be- 
came difficult to enforce, but when students had given 
evidence by their conduct that the rules in question were no 
longer necessary. Toward this ideal she worked intelli- 
gently and patiently during the twelve years she was at 
Meredith before her retirement in 1949, seeking consis- 
tently to place more and more of the responsibility for their 
conduct upon the students themselves. 

Coming to the office in 1937, Miss Baker's first year, was 
Vera Tart Marsh, who after two years as assistant dean of 
women became registrar, a position for which her experi- 

198 History of Meredith College 

ence with records in the Treasury Department of the United 
States had well fitted her. "Meredith's Emily Post," as the 
Twig called Mrs. Marsh, several times gave at the request of 
student body a series of talks on etiquette. She retired in 

Her place in Miss Baker's office was filled by Edna 
Frances Dawkins, '37, who had begun work in the office as a 
student assistant. Miss Dawkins did especially good work 
with the freshmen, the responsibility for whom she in- 
herited from Ethel English, '22, who in addition to her work 
in the department of education had been freshman adviser. 

From the first lady principal down to Miss Baker, that ad- 
ministrative office always had the staunch support of Dr. 
Delia Dixon Carroll, whose influence went far beyond her 
classroom and the infirmary and far beyond the College. 
Raleigh and North Carolina shared the shocked sorrow of 
the College when she was killed in an automobile accident 
on May 16, 1934. She was known and beloved by every Col- 
lege generation; for, in her own words, she was "sitting 
waiting on the doorsteps the day Meredith opened." E. Mc- 
Neill Poteat paid her fitting tribute in the memorial service 
held in her honor in the Meredith auditorium on Novem- 
ber 4, 1934: 

She was utterly impatient of things that cramped the human 
spirit. Her impatience made her seem militant in thought and in 
society. She made her modernism serve the largest interests of 
personality. She did not push a taboo over unless she had a truth 
to put in its place; neither did she excavate without planning to 
build firmer foundations. 

I saw her just before she went. Her hand was moving restlessly 
as if with an impatience at delay. But her face was still with an 
immovable calm. That is my last recollection of her, and it is a 
parable of her life. Hands always restless, busy exploring, eager 
discovering, ministering, healing, welcoming, blessing; but on the 
face that reflected her inner spirit always rested a benign calm 
that her busy hands or a hurrying, distracting world could not 

The bronze portrait medallion in Delia Dixon Carroll In- 
firmary — the work of Ethel Parrott Hughes, '08, of Kinston 
— is considered the best likeness of Dr. Carroll ever made. It 
was presented by the Alumnae Association, "in whose 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 199 

hearts her enshrined memory is a monument 'more lasting 
than bronze'." 

Only one person could have followed her at Meredith — 
Bessie Evans Lane, '11, who since her graduation at the 
Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia and the comple- 
tion of an internship in the Philadelphia General Hospital 
had been Dr. Carroll's partner in her Raleigh practice. 
Small and dainty, with a quiet, reassuring manner, Dr. 
Lane had already proved herself a doctor of extraordinary 
ability. For the sixteen years that she was at Meredith her 
concern was not only the care of girls who were sick, but 
the guarding of the health of all the students, and with the 
aid of the physical education department she carried out a 
constructive health program on the campus. 

In 1932, two years before Dr. Lane assumed her responsi- 
bilities, Nora Kelly came from Mars Hill to take charge of 
the Meredith infirmary. She was a registered nurse rather 
than one of the "homespun variety," as Mrs. Norwood had 
been. So was Myrtle Barnette, trained at the Baptist Hos- 
pital in Winston-Salem, who came as assistant in 1937. Both 
the soft-voiced, gentle Miss Kelly and the crisply cheerful, 
decisive Miss Barnette were kindly as well as skilled — in- 
terested in the students as people, not merely as patients. 

An important innovation in the College was the News 
Bureau. Before 1937 the College news was usually sent to 
the papers by whoever was capable and good-natured 
enough to add to regular College duties the writing of this 
or that event. For several years students, unpaid volunteers, 
did the work. For one year, 1935-36, these students were 
under the direction of Elizabeth Foster, a member of the 
English department who was given this responsibility in 
place of three hours teaching. But the work was too heavy to 
be thus assigned; and in 1937, with the coming of Lois Byrd, 
the Meredith News Bureau was created. 

To the new campus, established events and customs were 
transplanted, often with improvements; and new ones were 
added. The daisy chain carried on class day by the sopho- 
mores, through which the seniors walked to the natural 
amphitheater in the grove, seemed more at home bordering 

200 History of Meredith College 

the path between the oaks than it had in the narrow aisle 
between chapel seats. After the bones of the odd class had 
risen, or the even spirit had reigned, the sophomores formed 
their class numerals with the daisy chain on the steps of 
Johnson Hall. The first class to hold its class day in the court 
was 1933. Their historical pageant, "The Past, the Future — 
two Eternities," did not lose its appeal even when spectacle 
and spectators had to scurry to the auditorium to escape the 
downpour which came in the middle of the presentation. 

The first commencement on the new campus was 
climaxed by a wedding. In the afternoon of her graduation 
day, the senior class president, Margaret Wheeler, was 
married to Harvey Kelley, with her uncle. Dr. J. L. Peacock, 
performing the ceremony in the library. As the wedding 
party went up the library steps, the sophomores again held 
the daisy chain, this time singing a bridal chorus, the words 
and music of which were written by Mary O'Kelley. This 
first wedding on the new campus was followed by others 
which have taken place in the chapel, the parlors, and the 

A number of the people who saw this first wedding on the 
new campus had also seen Ruth Couch married to J. LeRoy 
Allen four years earlier, a few hours after her graduation 
in 1922. Her classmates in their class-day dresses sang the 
bridal chorus from Lohengrin as they walked down the two 
aisles of the old chapel. A few who saw both weddings 
had also seen Katherine Ford married to Herbert Peele in 
1911 with Dr. Vann officiating, and with little Hettie Far- 
rior and Elizabeth Vann as bridesmaids. But only Miss Ida 
Poteat had seen Dr. Dixon married to Dr. Norwood J. Car- 
roll on September 26, 1900, in the chapel. Dr. Vann married 
them, and "the young lady faculty members," the News and 
Observer reported, acted as bridesmaids. Tradition has it 
that the wedding had to be postponed a week because the 
bride's other white coat suit did not come back from the 

Field Day, an annual event on the small campus, gave 
way in 1926, the first year on the new campus, to May Day, 
which took place in the grove. In the Astrotektons' big chair 

"Thy Sunny Land of ProTuise and Thy Home" 201 

decked with ivy by Miss Ida's clever fingers, Margaret Cone 
Tucker looked no less queenly for having her train made of 
a lace curtain. The Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle, 
Mother Goose's family, a May day from dawn till sunset, the 
four seasons, spring around the world, a gypsy festival, an 
Elizabethan masque — these were among the varied cele- 
brations of May Day which continue to draw in increasing 
numbers spectators from town. In 1963 the festivities fea- 
tured the development of North Carolina from a colony to a 
state, thus celebrating the state's tercentenary. 

With plenty of room to grow, athletics grew, especially 
with the coming in 1934 of vigorous, alert Marian Warner 
as an associate in physical education. During her three 
years at Meredith the established sports — tennis, basket- 
ball and hockey — increased in popularity and number of 
participants; and soccer, baseball, archery, and volleyball, 
as well as several minor sports, were added. Swimming, 
golf, and horseback riding were provided off the campus in 
1934; in 1935 six horses were kept on the campus, and in- 
struction in riding was given. Bicycles were among the 
additions to the equipment of the Athletic Association, and 
a complete picnicking outfit added to the zest of hikes. 
Athletic trophies, monograms, and letters began to take a 
large place in the awards presented Society Night of com- 
mencement. The Association, through its own work and 
through gifts it obtained from alumnae and other friends, 
bought a movie camera which has recreated many scenes 
of interest for students and alumnae and for prospective 
Meredith students in high schools over the state. 

One of the most picturesque of the events it has recorded 
was Palio, which was in 1935 by Miss Warner, Dr. Price, 
and Miss Poteat, with Katherine Liles as president of the 
Athletic Association, adapted to the Meredith campus from 
a medieval festival held annually in Siena, Italy. An annual 
event sponsored by the Athletic Association, it was de- 
scribed by its sponsors as "a colorful outdoor contest be- 
tween classes, a parade, a horse race, singing, and much 
jolly nonsense." Clever costumes, clowns, huge caricature 
masks of Meredith celebrities were part of the "jolly non- 

202 History of Meredith College 

sense." The numerals of the winning class each year were 
placed on a special Meredith banner, the gift of Miss Price. 
An especially appropriate gift it was, for Palio took its 
name in Siena from the banner awarded to the winner. The 
student body of 1951-52 voted to discontinue the gay cele- 
bration which for eighteen years had been one of Meredith's 
distinctive traditions. 

Palio was usually given in the afternoon, with Stunt 
Night following in the evening. The occasion became an 
official Homecoming Day, with the mid-year council of the 
Alumnae Association meeting in the morning. It was a full 
day indeed, because between Palio and the stunts for more 
than ten years there was step-singing in front of Johnson 
Hall, when each class in competition sang an original song. 
Several attempts had been made to introduce college songs 
for informal occasions, none of which had lived more than a 
few years till in 1926 was written the song which is almost 
as familiar to successive Meredith generations as the Alma 
Mater — "You're the Queen of Our Hearts, Alma Mater." 
Its words and music were by Mary O'Kelley, '26. Other 
songs, even more informal, which became traditional are 
"Hearts are Loyal, Love is True," by Mary Lee, '32; "Rah, 
Rah, Rah, It's Meredith for Me," by Pat Abernethy, '33; and 
"Meredith, Our Alma Mater," by Emily Bethune, '38. 

Since A Midsummer Night's Dream of the first year, no 
other performance of any sort united the efforts of so many 
departments as did the two Greek plays given in the court 
in the spring of 1934 and of 1935, Iphigenia in Tauris and 
Alcestis. They were sponsored by the Little Theatre,i^ 
with Emily Miller and Pauline Perry as presidents the 
successive years. The plays, given in the court, were di- 
rected by Dr. Hoagland, sponsor of the Little Theatre, and 
Dr. Price, teacher of Greek. The dances of the choruses 
were directed by Miss Warner; the music of the choruses by 
Mr. Spelman. The costumes were designed by the art de- 
partment and made, for the most part, by the students in 
home economics. The library obtained the music and fur- 
nished pictures which gave suggestions for the costumes. 

10 The Dramatic Club in 1928 became the Little Theatre, which in 1952 was 
rechristened the Meredith Playhouse. 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 203 

The program for the production of Iphigenia in Tauris 
listed in the cast of characters "Thunder and Lightning — 
Norma Rose." 

In 1938 Miss Bailey introduced the custom of using in the 
plays men from the neighboring colleges. The acting of 
Annie Thompson, '11, as Hamlet or of Mirvine Garrett, '38, 
as Charles Lamb or of Edna Lee Pegram, '36, as Scrooge 
had showed how convincingly girls who could really act 
played the part of men, especially in period plays. How- 
ever, there was the danger of a titter or a roar from the 
audience at the wrong place. When a girl spoke the lines of 
David Wylie in What Every Woman Knows, they had a 
double meaning Barrie never intended. "What do I know of 
the passions of a man! I'm up against something I don't 

With Miss Bailey's sponsorship a chapter of Alpha Psi 
Omega, a national honorary dramatics fraternity, was es^ 
tablished in 1938 on the campus in connection with the 
Little Theatre. Since then modern languages and music 
also have chapters of their national fraternities, Sigma Pi 
Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota. 

The organization of Silver Shield in 1935 filled a need on 
the campus for an honor society more general in its nature 
than Kappa Nu Sigma, for one in which scholarship would 
be one of the qualifications for membership, not the sole 
one. The members of the new organization were chosen 
from the rising senior class, according to the constitution, 
"on the basis of constructive leadership. Christian charac- 
ter, scholarship, and service to the school." It speaks well 
for the quality of leadership on the campus that members of 
Silver Shield are frequently members of Kappa Nu Sigma 
also. The charter members were Elizabeth Lee, Catherine 
Moseley, Alice Bryan, Mary McLean, Margaret Davis, Mil- 
dred Moore, and Mamie Lou Forney. 

The day students had been inadequately provided for on 
the earlier campus, first with space to hang coats and leave 
lunches in an alcove under a stairway on first floor of Main 
Building, then with a small, dark room on the same floor. 
With the move to the new campus they were given two 
large rooms on the second floor of Johnson Hall — one for 

204 History of Meredith College 

study, the other for relaxation. A Day Students' Club had 
been organized in 1924, with Mary Page Franklin as its 
first president. These students are now given representa- 
tion on the Student Government Council, and the presi- 
dency of the non-resident student body is one of the major 
offices on the campus. 

It was not only the students and faculty who enjoyed the 
new campus. It was, in the words of a News and Observer 
reporter, "the Baptist Mecca." There was no summer school 
on the campus then, nor had the Convention provided as- 
sembly grounds at Fruitland and Caswell; and the Meredith 
buildings were at the service of the denomination all sum- 
mer. The preachers' school, the annual Convention of the 
Baptist Young People's Union, and the Sunday school con- 
ferences took place at Meredith in June; later in the sum- 
mer the house parties of the Young Woman's Auxiliary and 
the Girl's Auxiliary were held there, and the encam.pment 
of the Royal Ambassadors. From distinguished theologian 
to bean-shooting R.A., the visitors were pleased with Mere- 
dith's hospitality. "It is a marvel to enjoy such food and 
such rooms for a dollar a day," A. T. Robertson of the 
Southern Seminary wrote in the Watchman Examiner. 
Miss Welch, the dietitian, and Miss White, the house direc- 
tor, well deserved the votes of thanks they received at each 
meeting, especially for their astounding feat of providing 
meals and lodging several years for more than 1,000 of the 
1,500 B.Y.P.U. delegates. 

The years on the new campus, which brought new organi- 
zations, new customs and traditions, brought to an end one 
of the oldest of Meredith's institutions, which had been 
of immeasurable influence in the life of the College — the 
Club, the cooperative dining room. Since 1930-31 the resi- 
dent students all eat in the regular College dining room. 

The Club was a distinct success from its first day in 
September, 1899, till its last in May, 1931. It had been 
fortunate in its managers, beginning with Margaret Fergu- 
son, '04, who successfully carried for two years this re- 
sponsibility, too heavy for a student. Mrs. Jessie B. Earn- 
shaw became its manager in 1901, keeping the place till 
1916, when one of the students she had trained, Mattie 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 205 

Wood Osborne, took charge of the club until 1918. In that 
year Mrs. Beulah Wright Cooper, its last director, came. 

Successful as the Club had been, the reasons for discon- 
tinuing it were sound. With dining room and kitchen space 
and equipment adequate for more than 500 and with the 
large saving possible in overhead expenses, it was economi- 
cally unsound to have between 150 and 175 of the 350 to 450 
resident students taking their meals in a separate dining 

Moreover, conditions had changed since the early days of 
the Club. Then for nearly all the Club girls the financial aid 
had been necessary if they were to come to college. But in 
an interview with Kate Fleming Brummitt, in the News and 
Observer of April 17, 1930, Mrs. Cooper, then director of the 
Club, said: 

There are several reasons why girls enter the Club. The first is 
that they must save money wherever possible in order to go to 
school at all. The second is that after the family at home has made 
a budget for the daughter, she decides to study voice, violin, or 
some other unprovided-for-subject. The third reason is that a girl 
may want some particular thing badly enough; so she saves board 
money till she has the desired amount. 

The girl who really needed the financial aid the Club 
would have furnished had no difficulty in earning what she 
would have saved in the Club. Student waitresses were 
employed in the main dining room. There were student 
assistants in the library, in the administration offices, and in 
the various departments. The N.Y.A. program in the col- 
leges multiplied the opportunities for self help. Records in 
the bursar's office show that then, as now, any student who 
wanted work on the campus could obtain it. 

The one dining room, as Dr. Brewer pointed out in his 
report to the trustees, tended to give greater unity to the 
student body. The location of the Club in the basement of 
East Building on the old campus had been an unfortunate 
necessity; on the new campus its location in the basement 
directly under the main dining room was even more un- 
fortunate, accentuating the division of the students and 
suggesting a distinction that did not exist. 

Though the change was everywhere recognized as wise, 

206 History of Meredith College 

there was widespread regret that the Club had to go, 
especially among the hundreds of alumnae whose college 
education it had made possible. Varying at first from month 
to month, then from year to year, the cost ran from about 
$4.00 a month the first few years to $12.50 the last few 
years of the Club's existence. Thus a Club girl saved then 
about $90.00 a year. In addition, Mrs. Cooper in 1930 told 
Miss Brummitt, two student assistants made their full ex- 
penses and eight more made all their board — "a corn bread 
girl, a biscuit girl, a linen girl, two proctors, and three 
utensils girls." All the other girls worked only half an hour 
a day, the time being arranged after the class schedules had 
been made. By incredibly skillful juggling the director put 
together those half-hours so that three meals a day were 
prepared and served on time, with no confusion or hurry. 
When she first began her work, Mrs. Earnshaw changed the 
assigned tasks every six weeks to give the girls training in 
different phases of housework; but with more students in 
the Club, this rotation ceased to be feasible. 

The only outside help was a colored woman who scrubbed 
six hours a week. Many Club girls will remember Ellen 
Moore, employed thus for years, who told proudly of the 
progress of the missionary society of which she was the 

That $12.50 went a long way in 1930. The College fur- 
nished water, lights, and gas; but the Club bought its own 
equipment — tables, chairs, linen, refrigerators, dishes, and 
silver, and paid its proportionate part of board money for 
girls in the infirmary. It was a day of triumph when the 
Club bought enough forks to go around twice, so that pie 
did not have to be eaten with a spoon. Meals that were ap- 
petizing and well balanced were served at an average cost 
of thirty-eight cents a day. After studying the daily menus, 
Mrs. Jane S. McKimmon wrote that she wished all young 
business women in North Carolina could be sure of being so 
well nourished as the members of the Meredith Club. Mrs. 
Earnshaw had been far ahead of her day in her insistence 
on fruit and green vegetables. Raw carrot salad, which ap- 
peared in the Club twenty years before it was generally 
served, met with widespread approval; a concoction made 

"Thy Sunny Land of Promise and Thy Home" 207 

of ground dried figs instead of coffee was, fortunately, a 
short-lived innovation. 

In the early days Mrs. Earnshaw arranged simple parties 
for her girls — square dances, games, and contests. She also 
gave lessons in general etiquette, as well as in table man- 
ners. Ethel Carroll Squires wrote of her, "By precept and 
example she taught us to glorify everyday tasks and to 
regard life as spiritual and limitless in its possibilities." She 
and Mrs. Cooper were alike in their motherly interest in the 
girls, an interest which went far beyond the three meals a 
day. Nellie Page Smith, '17, in enumerating the benefits of 
the Club — financial aid, training in cooking and serving, 
development of habits of punctuality and thoroughness, 
ended her account with "good food, pleasant work, happy 
fellowship." And a student of Mrs. Cooper's time com- 
mented, "It's every word true." 

The record of the Club girls shows that they lost nothing 
of college life by being what the founder of Wellesley Col- 
lege, Henry Durant, with admiration called "calico girls." 
The first seven Student Government presidents were Club 
girls. Mrs. Earnshaw said that for the first seventeen years 
the majority of presidents of Student Government and the 
Y.W.C.A. were from the Club. In 1930, Mrs. Cooper told 
Miss Brummitt, all four class presidents, the editor of the 
Twig, and the May Queen were Club girls. 

The new campus had become the campus by 1939 when 
President Brewer became president emeritus and professor 
of chemistry. He had guided the College through the last 
years on the crowded city campus, through the problem- 
filled years of decisions concerning the move, through the 
first years of adjustment on the new campus, through the 
dark days of the depression. The annual reports of the presi- 
dent and the bursar show that the endowment had been in- 
creased from $127,000 to $531,162.44; the value of the Col- 
lege property from $289,050 to $1,430,568.94. In spite of 
ten years on the old campus when little growth in numbers 
was possible, and in spite of the decline for five years 
in the depression, the enrollment had increased from 383 
to 583. The faculty and officers had increased from thirty 
to sixty-four. More significant, being evidence of a better 

208 History of Meredith College 

selected student body, was the growth of the graduating 
class from around twenty-five to around a hundred. 

On May 29, 1939, when Undine Futrell Johnson, '09, on 
behalf of the Alumnae Association presented to Dr. Brewer 
a dozen Meredith plates, her words found an echo in the 
heart of every listener. "Because of your efforts during 
twenty-four years, Meredith has come through tribulation, 
and her robe is still clean and white. At your feet our loyal 
hearts their tribute lay." 

On May 1, 1941, Charles Edward Brewer heard the higher 
commendation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. 
. . . Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 




Carlyle Campbell, the fourth president of Meredith, was 
the third college president in his family; his older brother in 
1934 succeeded his father as president of Campbell College. 
The father, James Archibald Campbell, forced by financial 
need to leave Wake Forest after only two years, had opened 
a school in Harnett County in 1887, beginning with nineteen 
pupils in a one-room schoolhouse, built at a cost of $360. 
That school developed into Buies Creek Academy, one of the 
denominational academies which were of inestimable value 
in the educational life of North Carolina before the begin- 
ning of the public school system and in its early days. As the 
public high schools increased in number and improved in 
quality, these academies no longer met a distinct need; and 
most of them ceased to exist. In 1926 Buies Creek, still un- 
der the guidance of its founder, became a junior college — 
Campbell College. The naming of the college was a fitting 
tribute; for Campbell College is, in Emerson's phrase, "the 
lengthened shadow of one man" — a great man, James Archi- 
bald Campbell. His wife, Cornelia Pearson Campbell, was 
through the years a staunch aid and ally in the work of the 

In 1911 the future president of Campbell College, Leslie 
Hartwell, and the future president of Meredith, Arthur 
Carlyle, were graduated from Wake Forest. The younger 
boy was only sixteen, the youngest Wake Forest graduate 
on record. With them their father also received an A.B. 
When President Poteat picked up the first of the three 
diplomas, he broke the academic solemnity of the gradua- 
tion ceremonies by announcing, "The Campbells are com- 

Carlyle Campbell became president of Meredith in 1939 
after three years of graduate work at Columbia University; 

210 History of Meredith College 

twelve years of teaching English, seven at Buies Creek — a 
term interrupted by military service, two at Coker College, 
and three at North Carolina State College. Between his 
terms of teaching at Coker and at State College he was for 
eleven years president of Coker. The University of South 
Carolina and Wake Forest College each conferred on him 
the L.L.D. degree. His breadth of education and experience 
complemented the solidity of his heritage and early train- 

The number and variety of organizations which have 
chosen him as president bear witness to his executive 
ability, organizations ranging from the Raleigh P.T.A. to the 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. These in- 
cluded among others the presidency of the Wake County 
Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the North Carolina Conference 
of Colleges, the North Carolina Conference of Church- 
Related Colleges, the North Carolina Education Association, 
and the North Carolina State Literary and Historical As- 

On May 17, 1954, the esteem and affectionate admiration 
of the Meredith folk for President Campbell were evi- 
denced by the presentation to the College of his portrait. 
The picture, painted by Stanislav Rembski, was the gift of 
the entire student body, with the frame contributed by the 
faculty and staff. In accepting the portrait on behalf of the 
College, William C. Lassiter, a trustee, paid tribute to 
the man who "vigorously and boldly exerts his mind and 
strength in leading this great Christian college in the cause 
of truth." "The portrait," he continued, "will preserve for 
untold generations to come the physical likeness of Dr. 
Campbell. It is the character and the soul of Meredith itself 
that will ever reflect his mind and spirit." The picture is 
now in the foyer of Carlyle Campbell Library. 

"Versatile and scholarly," thus the new Meredith presi- 
dent was characterized by C. Sylvester Greene, who was his 
successor at Coker. Fifteen years later, in 1954, Maxine 
Garner, at that time a teacher in the department of religion 
at Meredith, wrote in the Biblical Recorder: 

As is befitting the head of a liberal arts college, President Camp- 
bell is a scholar with an unusual range of abilities. Whether 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 211 

taking part in team sports on faculty-student play-day, preparing 
well-tabulated comparisons of the mid-term reports of the fresh- 
men with their placement test scores, playing the organ for the 
wedding of a young niece or cousin, or discussing the calling of 
the Christian college in a faculty meeting, he is genuinely and 
modestly himself in the process. 

Had Dr. Garner been at Meredith in 1950, she would have 
included the skill in acting which Dr. Campbell showed in 
the part of Professor Willard in Our Town. 

His chapel talks deserve special comment; quickness of 
mind, depth of spiritual insight, freshness of approach, 
precision and beauty of language — these made each talk 
one long to be remembered. The humor, keen, rather than 
broad, added delight. 

It was the quality of these brief, informal talks as well as 
the esteem in which the seniors and the whole College held 
him that led the class of 1958 to choose him to give their 
baccalaureate address. The News and Observer called the 
seniors' choice "an honor rarely accorded a college presi- 
dent." The splendor of his academic regalia on that occasion 
must have especially pleased the juniors, because the year 
before as sophomores they had presented him with the cap, 
gown, and hood. 

Mrs. Campbell, the former Marian Lee Newman of Suf- 
folk, Virginia, was before her marriage also a teacher. Soon 
after their coming to Meredith she established her reputa- 
tion as an admirable hostess. The Campbells entertained in 
their home various groups — among them the Wake County 
Chapter of the Alumnae Association, the executive commit- 
tee of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, the Faculty Wives 
Club (which Mrs. Campbell initiated), and the senior class. 
Their series of informal suppers for the seniors, who were 
invited in small groups, became one of the happiest tradi- 
tions of Meredith hospitality. "Mrs. Campbell has special 
ways of preparing the usual foods," one of her guests com- 
mented, "as well as unusual recipes; and she is very gener- 
ous about sharing her recipes with the Meredith students." 

Like her husband, Mrs. Campbell takes an active part in 
church and civic affairs. She has been especially active in 
the Raleigh Y.W.C.A., and in 1960 she was the Raleigh 
Mother of the Year. 

212 History of Meredith College 

Dr. Brewer in his inaugural address in 1916 stated that he 
had come to a college which had "demonstrated not only 
its right, but its duty to live." In the first five years of 
President Campbell's administration that right was ques- 
tioned again and again, and in each case reaffirmed. 

He came to the presidency late in the summer of 1939. 
In the months between Dr. Brewer's retirement and Dr. 
Campbell's election, rumor ran riot, magnifying the uncer- 
tainty as to who was to succeed President Brewer into un- 
certainty as to the future of the College itself. On April 11, 
less than two months after the Board of Trustees an- 
nounced that Dr. Brewer would retire in June, there ap- 
peared in the Biblical Recorder resolutions which the 
writer, identified only by the number of a post-office box in 
Durham, planned to offer to the Baptist State Convention in 
November. The resolutions proposed the moving of Mere- 
dith to the Wake Forest campus as part of one great insti- 
tution — Wake Forest University. In a long explanatory let- 
ter accompanying the resolutions, the same arguments were 
given which had been advanced in 1923 — economy of op- 
eration, enriched curricula, the avoidance of conflicting 
loyalties, with emphasis this time on the debt which had 
been incurred in the moving of Meredith. 

George W. Paschal, who in 1923 had vigorously advocated 
the coordination of Meredith and Wake Forest, was from 
January till November, 1939, acting editor of the Recorder. 
He opened the columns to arguments pro and con; edi- 
torially he favored the proposal. In the issue which an- 
nounced the election of Dr. Campbell, an editorial appeared 
on the opposite page in favor of moving Meredith to Wake 

"P. O. Box 176" did not offer its resolution to the Con- 
vention. The withdrawal was due in part, perhaps, to the 
response that the idea met in the discussions which took 
place, as one alumna said, "on every street corner all over 
the State." Undoubtedly an influencing factor in the drop- 
ping of the resolution was the report of a survey of the 
educational institutions of the Convention, a survey 
authorized by the Education Commission of the Convention 
and made by a disinterested authority, the Division of 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 213 

Surveys and Field Studies of George Peabody College. The 
report was thoroughly discussed at an open meeting of 
the Education Commission in Raleigh on November 1, 1939. 
The Convention three weeks later adopted the recom- 
mendations of the report concerning the senior colleges : 

That Wake Forest College be continued and developed as a 
four year college for men . . . and that women be admitted to do 
post graduate work. 

That Meredith College be continued as a four-year liberal arts 
College in its present location. 

A decision of the Wake Forest trustees in January, 1942, 
led to some trepidation among the friends of Meredith. 
"While the [General] Board was in session on January 16," 
the report of the General Board to the Convention stated, 
"it was learned through the daily press that the Trustees of 
Wake Forest on the day before had voted to open the doors 
of the College to young women on the junior and senior 
level." In November, 1942, the Convention approved the 
action of the Wake Forest trustees, at the same time pledg- 
ing to Meredith "as a four-year college for women its con- 
tinued co-operation and support," and urged the Baptists of 
the state "to stand solidly behind her." 

Subsequently events proved that the Baptists of the state 
did stand solidly behind her. The enrollment, which with 
the confusion and uncertainty had dropped gradually from 
583 in 1938-39 to 461 in 1942-43, rose in 1943-44 to 516. On 
October 8, 1943, President Campbell reported to a called 
meeting of the trustees that the opening of the College in 
September was "one of the most auspicious in the history of 
the institution." The minutes of this meeting record the 
decision of the trustees to begin, with the approval of the 
Convention, "a fund-raising campaign which would provide 
$565,000 for the construction of a chapel and music building, 
a gymnasium and swimming pool, and a library." 

The next year, 1944, again the College had an extraordi- 
narily good opening, with an enrollment that before the end 
of the year reached 647, the largest number of students that 
had ever been enrolled. With every dormitory room filled, 
with the debt paid, with approximately half of the $565,000 

214 History of Meredith College 

given or pledged in less than a year, Meredith's problems 
seemed solved. 

Then history repeated itself. On October 4, only six weeks 
before the Convention, there appeared in the Biblical Re- 
corder and in the daily papers a proposal that the Meredith 
property be sold and the College be merged with Wake 
Forest College as the nucleus of Wake Forest University. 
The arguments advanced were the same that had been given 
in 1923 and 1939. The seven proposers explained that they 
had not consulted with the trustees or with the administra- 
tion of either college involved. The next day, October 5, the 
following announcement was sent out from Charlotte to the 
daily papers of the State. 

A Steering Committee which will guide the campaign for the 
proposed merger of Meredith and Wake Forest Colleges into a 
large Baptist University has been named following a meeting 
here of 22 representative ministers and laymen. The Committee 
is to select the personnel for a State-wide drive to put the merger 
before some 40 Baptist associations scheduled to meet prior to 
the Baptist State Convention. 

Up to this point, Meredith had taken no official notice of 
the successive proposals which had involved its very exis- 
tence. This time because excitement and dismay feeding on 
rumors had spread over the state like wildfire, W. H. 
Weatherspoon, president of the Board of Trustees, and 
LeRoy Martin, chairman of the executive committee, wrote 
vigorous letters of protest to the Recorder. The trustees and 
President Campbell issued a small six-page folder, Meredith 
College Reports to North Carolina Baptists, a clear, forceful 
explanation of Meredith's position, with the formal resolu- 
tions from the trustees expressing their "vigorous and 
emphatic opposition" to the proposal and with similar reso- 
lutions from the faculty, the student body, and the execu- 
tive committee of the alumnae. (There was no opportunity 
for the whole Alumnae Association to act.) With the excep- 
tion of two dissenting votes in a student body of more than 
600, all these resolutions had been unanimously adopted. 
The students listed five reasons for their opposition : 

1. The proposed plan would vastly limit the opportunities for 
leadership such as we enjoy here in a woman's college. 

" Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 215 

2. A higher academic rating would not result, for at present a 
degree from Meredith is equivalent to the bachelor of arts degree 
from any university in North Carolina. 

3. The cultural, religious, and educational opportunities af- 
forded us by our advantageous location in the City of Raleigh 
would be sacrificed in the event of a change of location. 

4. The friendly spirit of co-operation and understanding which 
exists between faculty and students here at Meredith — a rare and 
treasured possession — would be almost entirely lacking in a school 
of the type that this proposal would establish. 

5. The spiritual atmosphere, built up through the years, could 
not be transplanted without loss of identity. 

The following resolutions adopted at the 1944 Convention 
in Charlotte show the outcome of the whole matter : 

That Meredith College shall be and remain in its present loca- 
tion as a standard four-year "A" Grade College for young women, 
and that its plant, facilities and curriculxim shall be enlarged and 
expanded to meet adequately the needs of the young women of 
our State for an institution of higher Christian education and 

That Wake Forest now has and shall continue to have full uni- 
versity status as an accredited "A" Grade University of higher 
Christian education and culture; that all classes of Wake Forest 
College shall be open for the admission of young women upon the 
same basis as young men, and that its plant, facilities, and cur- 
riculxim shall be expanded and enlarged to meet the needs of the 
young people of our State. 

One more proposal to move Meredith was too short-lived 
to reach the Board of Trustees. Charles H. Babcock, rep- 
resenting the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, offered 
to Meredith the Reynolda estate of 150 acres and with it the 
sum of $1,000,000, provided that the Presbyterians, who 
were considering a location for their college soon to be 
established, would buy the present Meredith campus and 
that Meredith would move to Winston-Salem. On December 
6, 1955, President Campbell presented this offer to the 
executive committee of the Board of Trustees; on February 
13, 1956, he told the committee that the Presbyterians had 
decided to locate their new college, St. Andrews, in Laurin- 
burg. Thus the matter was closed. 

Since the offer was withdrawn in so short a time, no of- 
ficial action was necessary; and it caused among alumnae 
and other friends only a small stirring of dismay compared 
to the storm of protest which had risen in 1923, 1939, and 

216 History of Meredith College 

1944. One alumna's exclamation of "Not again!" expressed 
the general reaction concerning the whole matter. Frances 
Wallace Rankin, the president of the Alumnae Association, 
concluded her review of the events of the year in the spring 
issue of the Alumnae Magazine thus : 

I know that I speak for all of you when I say that we love 
Meredith and are proud of her as she is — an excellent four-year 
liberal arts college for women; we are pleased also with her 
Raleigh location. 

The approval of Meredith and confidence in her future 
that had been expressed by the Baptist State Convention in 
1944 was again voiced in 1952 and in 1959, before and after 
the Babcock offer. In its report to the Convention in 1952 a 
committee which had surveyed the needs of the institutions 
and agencies of the Convention and made recommendations 
for them said about Meredith : 

We commend the outstanding work done by Meredith College, 
and bespeak for it the constant and increasing support of our 

A similar committee appointed in 1956 reported in 1959 
the results of a much more thorough study in which they 
were aided by Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, consultants in 
planning and administration. The following recommenda- 
tion was made concerning Meredith: 

That the trustees of Meredith College plan for its continuation 
as a senior college, and that it seek to increase the student body 
to 1,000, maintaining its scholarly, cultural, and Christian atmos- 

In his annual report to the Convention, President Campbell 
repeatedly expressed the gratitude of the College for the aid 
of the Convention in making the year, to quote a charac- 
teristic phrase, "one of substantial achievement and sig- 
nificant promise." 

The students also expressed their gratitude on several 
occasions. In the Twig of November 23, 1949 was an open 
letter to the Baptist State Convention concerning the visit 
of the delegates to the campus : 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 217 

We, the Meredith students, were proud to show the delegates 
our school, which they made possible — And as the holiday season 
draws near the Meredith student body gives thanks to you, the 
Baptist State Convention, for your generosity and kindness. 

In 1957, when the Convention refused to allow social 
dancing on the campus even after the General Board had 
given its approval to the joint action of the trustees of Wake 
Forest and Meredith, the students, though woefully disap- 
pointed, showed no bitterness in their attitude. Sarah Eliza- 
beth Vernon Watts, '34, president of the Alumnae Associa- 
tion, reported to the alumnae that the students had taken 
the action of the convention "with deep disappointment, 
but with dignity." Nancy Joyner's editorial in the Twig was 
admirable in its restraint. It ended thus : 

Next week we will be scattered in all parts of the state. We 
will be meeting people with varied opinions of the issues which 
have called attention to Meredith. Let us tell them — nicely — 
how we feel. 

The relations between Meredith and the denomination 
have always been cordial. The Convention founded it, has 
approved each step in its growth, and since 1945 has ap- 
pointed its trustees. This staunch support of the school was 
especially significant from 1926 to 1936 when, in the nation- 
wide depression which came so soon after bonds were issued 
to finance the buildings on the new campus, the very exis- 
tence of the College was threatened. During that period by 
far the largest part of the amount appropriated to the Bap- 
tist colleges went to the payment of Meredith's debt. From 
1919 to 1935 the College received from the Convention 
$1,207,927.37, most of which went into meeting the pay- 
ments on the bonds. From 1936 to 1943, its share was 
rightfully much smaller, only $35,296.77. From 1944 — the 
year that the entire debt which the Convention had in- 
curred on behalf of all its schools had been paid — till 1966, 
Meredith received $3,180,311.47. 

Meredith, like other colleges fostered by the Convention, 
has been benefited greatly by the work of the Council on 
Christian Education, created by the Convention of 1943. The 
Council is made up of the presidents of the Convention, of 
the Woman's Missionary Union, and of the General Board; 

218 History of Meredith College 

the chairman of the education committee of the General 
Board; and the general secretary of the Convention, with 
each of the colleges represented by its president, its dean, 
the president of the Board of Trustees, and the chairman of 
the executive committee of that body. 

Claude F. Gaddy, the first executive secretary of the 
Council, served from 1946 to 1961. The effect of his wise 
leadership can be seen in the increased interest in the col- 
leges on the part of the churches and of individuals and in a 
closer relationship and better understanding among the 
colleges themselves. Of especial value in encouraging this 
spirit of cooperation are the meetings which bring together 
faculty members from the same department in all seven 
colleges. These meetings, held every two years on the dif- 
ferent campuses in turn, afford opportunities for inter- 
change of ideas and discussion of common interests and 
problems as well as for lighter intervals of relaxation and 
fellowship. A small monthly publication of the Council was 
a further tie between the institutions. Of great value also 
were the campus visitations, which brought to the seven 
colleges hundreds of pastors and church leaders each year. 
When Mr. Gaddy retired in 1961, President Campbell paid 
him high tribute : 

Claude Gaddy has rendered invaluable service to Christian 
education and to the whole denominational program. This service 
is abundantly manifest in what he himself has accomplished, but 
it has been more significant if less tangible in what he has enabled 
or caused others to do. Wherever he is and in whatever business 
engaged, life ever seems happier and more hopeful. 

The steady financial support year by year, with what is 
even more important, the genuine interest in the College, of 
which the financial support is evidence, has always been 
Meredith's mainstay. The annual appropriation from the 
Convention is much larger than the average annual income 
from the endowment, which in 1965-66, the last year 
of President Campbell's administration, was $63,767.89; 
whereas the College received from the Convention that year 
$209,567.89. With the excellent business management of the 
College, this Convention support has made the cost to the 
student of her college education much less than one would 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 219 

expect it to be in a college of the type and quality of 
Meredith. In 1965-66 the student was charged $1,500 — $800 
for tuition and $700 for residence. 

This steady support, which included funds for capital 
needs as well as current expenses, made less dismaying he 
results of the three special efforts made in 1944, 1952, and 
1958 to meet the needs of the College for new buildings, 
improvements of existing buildings and of the campus, and 
increased endowment. The 1944 campaign realized about 
two-thirds of the $565,000 which had been hoped for; the 
other two were decidedly less successful. As with current 
expenses, it was the appropriation from the Convention 
together with the excellent management of the College of- 
ficials which enabled Meredith to proceed with the con- 
struction of much needed buildings. 

In 1949 a new auditorium replaced the temporary wooden 
one, which had been in use for twenty-three years. Of the 
$500,000 which it cost, $350,000 had been given in the 1944 
campaign; but it could not be used then because of the 
shortage of building material. The Convention authorized 
the borrowing of the rest. The building was named Jones 
Hall, in honor of Wesley Norwood Jones, a trustee who was 
one of the best friends the College ever had; and of his wife, 
Sallie Bailey Jones, who had also been a trustee and a 
staunch friend.^ It is located near the quadrangle southeast 
of Brewer Hall. 

The October, 1949, Alumnae Magazine gave the alumnae 
some facts about the new building : 

The exterior is of tapestry brick and the fagade primarily of 
stone. The main auditorium with stage and foyer has been com- 
pleted and is now in daily use. The exterior work for the addi- 
tional small assembly hall and other rooms has been completed. 
When finished2 these additions will include the small assembly 
room, seating 220 ;3 five classrooms; eighteen small practice rooms 
with pianos; three large practice rooms with organs; eight studios 
for instructors; three oflBces and a reception room; storage and 
rest rooms. 

lAn account of their services to the College ha?, "ffJl ^"^?So J"„f=^^^i^ 
chapters. The dorm't°'=: --Hiv.ii ixad been ^'■-'Lr. ^ ^" ' 

named Brewe'- "-". m honor of Presiuf"i Brewer. 

2 1+ ^p„ completed in 1950 and the i^an was repaid by June, 1954. 

3 nc-xie small assembly room aotially seats 180. 

220 History of Meredith College 

There is also provision for a music library, a listening room, 
and a recording studio. One of the five classrooms is used for 
the work in speech and drama. 

The alumnae were especially interested in the "1044 
spring-cushioned red seats with backs of natural wood to 
match the wainscoting on the sides," which were their gift 
to the college. On the check which one enthusiastic gradu- 
ate sent she wrote, "One chair for auditorium. Hallelujah!" 

The auditorium was dedicated on Founders' Day, Septem- 
ber 27, 1949, thus celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of 
the opening of the College. It was the most important oc- 
casion to which the College had invited friends since Dr. 
Brewer's inauguration, for an engraved card with no formal 
ceremony had announced the beginning of the presidency 
of Dr. Campbell. In the morning of the fiftieth-year celebra- 
tion Senator Frank Graham gave the address, which was 
preceded by Mary Lynch Johnson's brief historical sketch, 
"1899 Looks at 1949." Lieutenant Governor H. P. Taylor, 
chairman of the Board of Trustees, led the audience in the 
liturgy of dedication. The Meredith Chorus sang in the 
morning and again in the evening when Ralph McGill, edi- 
tor of the Atlanta Constitution, was the speaker. The usual 
Founders' Day reception was a birthday party with more 
than 600 guests. Many of these viewed the collection of 
publications, pictures, letters, and other items of historical 
interest which Jane Greene, the archivist of the library 
staff, had prepared for display in the Library. 

Norma Rose in the October Alumnae Magazine noted the 
threefold significance of the "Gold Letter Day": 

Fifty burning tapers on a mammoth birthday cake, a backward 
glance at the founders and early friends, an expression of deep 
appreciation for the spirit, the service, and the sacrifice that have 
gone into her first fifty years, a representative from each of her 
forty-eight graduating classes — these were her tokens of her past. 
An alert student body, a devoted faculty and staff, and a host of 
friends present for the dedication of a spacious and beautiful new 
auaiv<»rium — these were her evidences of her present blessings. 
But equaiijr oJpnificant for those who know and love the College 
was the promise "w\.i^h the day held for the future. With a heri- 
tage such as the past has beqLa,:.c,tKed her ana with treasures such 
as the present has bestowed, it would have been an uiii««qgijia_ 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 221 

tive and dull heart, indeed, which did not thrill to the future 
challenge of service in her cause. 

Two small structures, the Hut and the Bee Hive, one 
built before the auditorium, the other after, serve the needs 
of the College community and add to its leisure-hour enjoy- 
ment. The Hut, built in 1942 before the College was debt- 
free, was not financed from the College funds; the students 
and alumnae worked several years to pay for it. The Hut is 
in frequent use for the meetings of organizations and for 
social gatherings of small individual groups. The large room 
is especially inviting when log fires blaze in the two big 
stone fireplaces. The sturdy, comfortable maple chairs and 
settees can be drawn about either fireplace so that a small 
group is not lost in the room large enough to accommodate 
a hundred. Two smaller rooms — one with a grill for picnic- 
style cooking, the other with a stove, refrigerator, sink and 
kitchen utensils and dishes — facilitate the serving of re- 
freshments and informal meals. A heating system installed 
in 1957 to supplement the fireplaces increases the comfort 
and usefulness of the Hut. 

The Bee Hive was a remnant which was made into a 
building. When the old auditorium was torn down in 1950, 
passers-by wondered why the long, low portion at the back 
which had been used for music classrooms was left, looking 
awkward and forlorn. Everyone watched with happy ex- 
citement the transformation into roomy, comfortably ar- 
ranged quarters for the Bee Hive, the College supply store. 
Painted white, with the site of the main part of the old 
auditorium green with grass and shrubs, it is a pretty spot. 
"A modern miracle in face-lifting," the Aluvfinae Magazine 
called it. 

Inside, the wide variety of school and personal sup- 
plies — in addition to the text books kept in a separate 
room added in 1958 — attracts hurried shoppers and lei- 
surely lookers. The television set, the magazines and paper- 
backs of the better sort, the soda fountain and the gay 
tables and chairs make of the pine-paneled room a pleasant 
gathering place for friends exchanging news and views over 
a cup of coffee or a cold drink. 

222 History of Meredith College 

Dru Morgan Hinsley, '52, has been manager of the Bee 
Hive since 1953, with three full-time assistants and student 
workers. Having taken courses in store management at 
Oberlin College, Mrs. Hinsley was in 1964 awarded a 
diploma in management by the National Association of 
College Stores. She is a capable successor to Helen Walker, 
'51, the first full-time manager, who with Mr. Martin's 
encouraging counsel overcame the many difficulties in- 
volved in moving and enlarging the store. Formerly the re- 
sponsibility had been assigned to a student under the cap- 
able supervision and guidance of Dr. Canaday. The change 
was made when the College assumed the responsibility for 
the store, taking it over from the B.S.U. 
, ^ The much smaller, student-managed store had been in a 
"*■■ little house which had been occupied by a worker on the 
Tucker farm before the College bought it. Except for 
limited storage space, one rather small room was the only 
usable part of the building. But crowded and inadequate as 
it came to be, when the College first moved out from town 
this newly-christened Bee Hive had seemed spacious com- 
pared to its predecessors. The Y. store had begun in the 
Baptist University for Women, with its entire stock — note- 
book paper, pencils, ink, and candy to be sold by the 
piece — kept in a wooden cracker box. Later it was kept in a 
cabinet at one end of the corridor on second floor of Fair- 
cloth Hall, where the articles for sale were spread out on the 
shelves. Half an hour before and after the evening study 
hour the wooden doors of the cabinet were opened by the 
Y. store manager. An hour sufficed for the transaction of 
business, even though the stock-in-trade was slightly — but 
only slightly — larger than that which had been kept in the 
cracker box. 

Except for the small but very important Mae Grimmer 
House, an account of which is given in Chapter IX, there 
were no new buildings on the campus for seven years from 
1949, when the auditorium was built, till 1956. Then they 
came in what was, for Meredith, very rapid succession — 
five in six years. 

As the wooden classroom buildings, like the auditorium, 
and the gymnasium, had been intended for use only ten 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 223 

years at the most, the replacement of one after thirty years 
and the other after thirty-three was an absolute necessity. 
In an English classroom for more than a year the students 
knew where the seven leaks were; and when it rained, with 
maximum speed and minimum confusion they moved their 
chairs out of the way and brought from the corner of the 
room buckets and pans to catch the rain. The business 
manager reporting to the trustees in 1957 the condition of 
the science building wrote, "It has been repaired so often 
that we are now repairing the repairs." About the same time 
Miss Brewer said that the building would undoubtedly col- 
lapse if the termites did not hold hands to keep it up. 

Hence there was great rejoicing over the new buildings, 
Meredith and its friends felt as did Frances Wallace Rankin, 
'46, when she wrote in the Alum,nae Magazine, "The liberal 
arts building is under construction, and never have red clay 
and steel girders looked so attractive!" 

In October, 1956, Joyner Hall was ready for use; Hunter 
Hall after three more years was completed. Located west 
of the court, both are two-story, L-shaped structures, 
Georgian in style, made of brick with limestone trim to 
harmonize with the buildings of the quadrangle. For the 
humanities, social studies, and art, Joyner provides class- 
rooms and seminar rooms, faculty offices, a large lecture 
room with facilities for showing films, soundproof record- 
ing booths, art studios, and a small art gallery. There is also 
a lounge with an adjoining kitchenette. Hunter has class- 
rooms and laboratories for biology, chemistry, physics, 
home economics, business and economics, and mathematics, 
as well as offices and research laboratories for faculty, a 
science library, a photographic darkroom, and a reception 
room. The class of 1956, in addition to its gift of $280 for 
the Expansion Program, gave $300 for the furnishings of 
the Joyner lounge, A bequest in the will of Dr. Lula Gaines 
Winston, a former head of the department of chemistry, was 
used for chairs, tables, shelves, as well as periodicals in the 
science library in Hunter Hall. Adjacent to Hunter is a 
greenhouse for the use of botany classes. The total cost of 
Joyner and its furnishings was $407,725.83; of Hunter, 
$546,468.25. Both were in a few years debt-free. 

224 History of Meredith College 

Joyner Hall was named for James Yadkin Joyner. Elected 
a trustee of the Baptist Female University in 1894, when 
Dr. Joyner retired from the Board of Trustees in 1948, six 
years before his death at the age of ninety-three, he had the 
unique distinction of having served as a trustee for fifty- 
five years an institution which had been in existence only 
forty-nine years. "The longevity of his service as a trustee," 
Dr. Campbell once said in a chapel talk, "impresses his 
fellow members much less than the value of his counsels." 
Elsewhere President Campbell referred to Dr. Joyner's 
"contagious graciousness, his discerning attachment to the 
College and to the ideals fostered by it." 

This valued trustee of Meredith was an important force in 
public education in North Carolina. It was by his plans as 
state superintendent of public instruction from 1902 to 1919 
that the state system of public high schools was shaped. 
Clyde A. Erwin, a later superintendent, wrote in 1944 of 
J. Y. Joyner : 

Due to his leadership, public schools were made an actual part 
of the life of the State. Taxes were voted, school houses were 
built, the school term was extended, transportation was begim, 
consolidations were made, teachers' salaries were increased, 
libraries were established, and schools in general greatly im- 

It is fitting that Meredith should have honored such a 
man. The choice of this particular building as his namesake 
was an especially happy one; for before he held this state 
office, he was for nine years dean and professor of English 
in the newly established State Normal and Industrial Col- 
lege in Greensboro. A portrait of Dr. Joyner, painted by 
Mildred McMullan Rumley of Washington, North Carolina, 
now hangs in Joyner Hall. The gift of the Joyner family, it 
was presented by his son, Col. William T. Joyner, who was 
in 1951 elected a trustee. In this capacity his service has in- 
deed been worthy of his father's son. 

Hunter Hall was dedicated on Founders' Day, 1959, when 
Paul Gross, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and 
Sciences of Duke University and former chairman of the 
department of chemistry, spoke on "Science in the Space 
Age." The choice of Dr. Gross was an appropriate one be- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 225 

cause the building was named for a scientist, Joseph Rufus 
Hunter. A Ph.D. of the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. 
Hunter had been for ten years professor of chemistry of 
Richmond College^ (now the University of Richmond) be- 
fore he came to Raleigh to be a business associate of his 
brother, Carey J. Hunter, whose service as trustee of the 
College in its early days had been of inestimable value. 

A trustee of Meredith for twenty-eight years ( 1923- 
1951), Dr. Hunter was president of the Board from 1929 to 
1941 and chairman of the investing committee from 1931 to 
1941, an unusually difficult position in that time of financial 
crisis. A resolution adopted by the Board paid special 
tribute to "the cautious, persistent attention given to the 
College investments throughout this critical period, result- 
ing in the preservation of our financial resources without 
any appreciable loss." President Campbell wrote of Dr. 
Hunter as a man "of outstanding integrity. Whatever duty 
or responsibility he assumed, he endeavored scrupulously 
to discharge; and to this moral sense was added a soundness 
of judgment and a spirit of devotion that greatly enhanced 
his usefulness." 

His devotion to Meredith went beyond his long trustee- 
ship; for by his will the College received his entire estate, 
held during her lifetime by his wife. Mrs. Hunter, who died 
in 1957, by her will added $5,000 to her husband's bequest, 
bringing the total to more than $141,000. This was the 
largest gift the College had received from any source ex- 
cept the Baptist State Convention. Dr. Hunter's portrait, 
presented by the family, is hanging in Hunter Hall. 

Before this building was finished, another much-needed 
one was well under way and was completed in February, 
1960 — the house in which the senior majors in home eco- 
nomics in small groups have experience in home manage- 
ment. When Meredith moved in 1926, three suites on the 
first floor of Vann Hall were used for this purpose. The 
arrangement, intended to be temporary, was never satis- 
factory. Moreover, a steadily increasing enrollment brought 

* Roberta Cornelius in The History of Randolph-Macon Woman's College 
noted that Dr. Hunter in March, 1904, delivered an address, Liquid Air, 
"which he illustrated by experiments that even in this atomic age sound 
quite dramatic." 

226 History of Meredith College 

urgent need of more room for incoming students; and so a 
house at 1700 Hillsboro Street was rented in September, 
1958, for the home management residence. The house itself 
was more than adequate, but the expense of renting and the 
distance from the campus were decided disadvantages. This 
house was used only three semesters; for an excellent friend 
of the College, Talcott Wait Brewer, came to the rescue. 

Until a short time before his death Mr. Brewer was head 
of one of the oldest and best-known business firms in 
Raleigh, dealing in farm machinery and supplies. The firm 
was established in the last century by his father, Samuel 
Wait Brewer, an older brother of President Brewer and for 
many years a trustee of Wake Forest and of Meredith. The 
son, like his father, was also deeply interested in Wake 
Forest, of which he was a graduate and of which his great- 
grandfather, Samuel Wait, was the first president. A trustee 
of long standing, Mr. Brewer was treasurer of that institu- 
tion from 1912 till his death in 1970. It is fortunate for 
Meredith that his interest in Christian education was broad 
enough to include the school which was at one time called 
"Wake Forest's sister college." Recognizing a particular 
need, he generously contributed $62,000, which built and 
furnished Ellen Brewer House, thus honoring one whose life 
has been devoted to Meredith. 

Ellen Brewer House has every modern convenience for a 
home. A two-story structure, it has four bedrooms and three 
baths, study room, office for the counselor, living room, 
family room, dining room, and kitchen. A portrait of Mr. 
Brewer, painted by Isabelle Bowen Henderson and pre- 
sented to the house by Miss Brewer, hangs over the fire- 
place in the living room. Miss Brewer's portrait in the 
reception room of Hunter Hall, painted by the same artist, 
was given in 1967 by the Home Economics Club and by the 
alumnae who had majored in home economics. 

The next two buildings came also in rapid succession — 
Delia Dixon Carroll Infirmary and a new dormitory, Poteat 
Hall. The ground-breaking for both took place on Septem- 
ber 26, 1961, the day the Board of Trustees held its semi- 
annual session; both were dedicated on Founders' Day, 
November 8, 1962, also the day of the Board meeting. Both 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 227 

buildings harmonize architecturally with the court quad- 
rangle, to which each is linked by a brick arcade, the 
infirmary being to the west of the dining hall, the dormitory 
to the east. The cost of the infirmary was $255,000; that of 
the dormitory $498,000. Both are now debt-free. 

As was the case with the wooden buildings and the 
home management apartment, it had been intended that the 
original location of the infirmary on the fourth floor of 
Faircloth Hall should be temporary. The freight elevator 
went only to the third floor, and the narrow, winding 
staircase which led to the fourth floor was an ascent to be 
dreaded by a sick girl. Moreover, the space was not large 
enough for adequate care for the larger student body and 
lacked much which is now considered essential to a well- 
equipped infirmary. Delia Dixon Carroll Infirmary has ex- 
cellent furnishings and equipment, up-to-date in every 
respect. The air-conditioned building provides beds for 
thirty-two patients, a physician's consultation room, three 
treatment rooms, a laboratory, a drug room, and an X-ray 
room. It has also a small dining room and kitchen as well as 
living quarters for three nurses. 

Poteat Hall provides for 106 girls and two staff members. 
As in the other living halls, the rooms are in suites for four 
students with a bath between the two bedrooms; each room 
has built-in furniture. There are parlors, a large recreation 
room, kitchenettes, and a laundry room. 

No better name could have been chosen for the infirmary 
than that of Elizabeth Delia Dixon Carroll, college- 
physician from 1899 till her death in 1934. An account of 
her work will be found in earlier chapters of this book.^ 

A bronze plaque with the head of Dr. Carroll, designed 
by Ethel Parrott Hughes ( '08) and considered the best like- 
ness of her ever made, is in the infirmary. 

Poteat Hall was named for three distinguished members 
of the same family, each of whom made distinct contribu- 
tions to the life of the College — Ida Isabella Poteat, William 
Louis Poteat, and E. McNeill Poteat. The one who meant 
most to the College, Miss Ida, who was rarely called Miss 
Poteat, was head of the department of art from its beginning 

s See pp. 63-64, 128. 162, 198. 

228 History of Meredith College 

in 1899 till her death in 1940.^ Her brother, William Louis 
Poteat, professor of biology in Wake Forest College and 
later its president, became a trustee of the Baptist Female 
University in 1891, the year it received its charter. As a 
member of the committee on courses of study appointed 
several years before there was a faculty, he had more part 
than had any other one person in shaping the curriculum of 
the school and puttingit on a sound basis. 

E. McNeill Poteat^ nephew of Miss Ida, had a nationwide 
reputation as theologian, scholar, musician, and poet; but 
Meredith knew him best and valued him most as wise 
counselor and friend. Busy as he always was, not only as 
pastor of Pullen Memorial Church but as a speaker in 
constant demand elsewhere, he was generous in the time he 
gave to Meredith. As a chapel speaker he was a favorite 
with students and faculty and was often on the campus for 
informal discussions. In 1953 he led the vesper service each 
evening in the first session of the School of Christian 
Studies. At the time of his death in 1955, he was a member 
of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees. That 
he was a kindred spirit as well as a kinsman by birth of 
Miss Ida was evident in the discriminating characterization 
made in an editorial comment in the News and Observer, 
"one who in his goodness and wit, his courage and charm, 
was as gay a saint as has ever walked our streets."^ 

The next project enhances the beauty of the campus and 
furnishes a center of activities of various sorts — the lake 
and Elva Bryan Mclver Amphitheater. When the land was 
bought for relocating Meredith, Miss Ida called attention to 
the natural slope in the oak grove southeast of the area 
designated for the College buildings as a place which would 
be ideal for an amphitheater. Later the discovery of a 
spring, too small and too choked with roots and tangled 
weeds to be immediately noticeable, brought the hope that a 
lake could be made there. However, for Meredith the bare 
necessities always kept up to the very edge of its income, 
and it was almost forty years before the lake was more 
than a hope. 

6 See pp. 63, 240-241. 

■^ He died on December 17 on his way to church to marry a couple. In his 
hand was a holly wreath which he had intended to hang on the church door. 

Auditorium 1926-1949 

Jones Hall 1949 — 

Founder's Day — Wreath-laying at 
Thomas Meredith's Grave 

Picnic at the Lake 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 229 

In April, 1963, the landscape architect reported to the 
trustees that after several consultations an official of the 
United States Department of Soil Conservation had assured 
him that "an attractive and self-feeding lake could be de- 
veloped there at no great cost." The business manager, V. 
Howard Belcher, encouraged the project; the trustees 
authorized it; and excavation for the four-acre lake was 
soon completed. But for eight months the rainfall was dis- 
couragingly scanty; and the excavation remained a huge, 
soggy, red-clay hole in the grove. In October, 1963, an 
alumna called it "the Big Mud Puddle, which is going to be 
a lake if our ritual rain dances have any effect." In the late 
spring of 1964, the mud puddle did become a lake, complete 
with a large island and a smaller one. Each island is con- 
nected by a bridge with the bank of the lake nearest Jones 
auditorium; the larger island also has a bridge to the bank 
on the opposite side. Thanks to Miss Grimmer and Miss 
Warner, a former head of the department of physical edu- 
cation, ten or twelve ducks and ducklings enjoy the lake; 
and the spectators enjoy the ducks. Miss Warner also started 
a "Swan Fund," of which Miss Baity, the head librarian, 
was astonished to find herself custodian. Another gift to the 
lake was a boat, constructed by its donor, Lacey Coates of 
Clayton. Mr. Coates was considerate enough to fit its size 
to the limitations of the lake. 

The larger island forms a stage for an amphitheater 
seating 1,200, overlooking the lake. The amphitheater was 
used for the first time on Class Day in 1964; the class nu- 
merals formed by the daisy chain were quite as effective as 
they had been on the front steps of Johnson Hall. The set- 
ting is ideal for outdoor dramatic performances and for 
other college programs even though a sudden shower may 
send audience and performers scurrying to nearby Jones 
Hall. The graduation ceremonies begun there in 1968 had to 
be completed indoors. 

The lake and the amphitheater were made possible by a 
bequest from Elva Bryan Mclver, of Sanford, a teacher in 
the public schools of Jonesboro for twenty-five years before 
she married Dr. Lynn Mclver. It is a tribute to the 
genuineness and breadth of her religion that she, a gradu- 

230 History of Meredith College 

ate of the Woman's College in Greensboro — a Presbyterian 
who made generous gifts to Presbyterian churches in San- 
ford and Jonesboro — included in her will a bequest of 
$45,000 to Meredith. She showed her interest in education 
in other ways; for during her lifetime she helped financially 
many individual students struggling to go to college, and in 
her will she left $100,000 to be used for scholarships in the 
Medical School of the University of North Carolina. 

The next addition to the campus provided for horses 
rather than girls. For four years, 1935-39, horses with the 
service of a riding master had been available, though the 
College owned none. The first Meredith horse was brought 
in 1944 by the father of a homesick freshman. By the end 
of the year there were five horses; they now number about 
forty. The first few were kept in a stable originally built 
for a pair of mules which pulled the campus grass mower. 
In time, more space was provided and adjacent riding rings 
were added; but still the facilities were inadequate for 
Meredith's equitation program, in which for 1965-66 about 
200 college students and 120 boys and girls from town took 
part. In addition, a two-week horsemanship program was 
begun in the summer of 1965. 

In the spring of 1966 a stable-barn complex was built on 
the northwest edge of the campus. Wade Avenue is between 
this site and the main campus. An underpass connecting the 
stables and the main campus is large enough for two-way 
automobile traffic, pedestrians, and horses. There are in 
this stable-barn complex more than forty stalls, with a 
classroom and offices and a lounge for the staff; it has also 
an interior central riding course, thirty by ninety feet, 
which can be used for lessons in bad weather. The fifty-six 
acre lot allows ample space outside for a large student ring, 
two small training rings, and a hunt course, with pasturage 
and storage barns. 

The cost of the whole, $50,000, did not come from the 
regular College funds, but was given by friends interested 
in the program. In September, 1966, the stables were ready 
for use in the equitation program; the day following Presi- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 231 

dent Heilman's inauguration there was a brief dedicatory- 
service and an open house for visitors. 

Virtually all of the horses were given by friends or were 
born here. Articles in the Twig from time to time have 
given accounts of the horses. Silver Mac, an especial favor- 
ite, was retired as a show horse at the age of twenty-four, 
at which time he was presented with a horseshoe of red 
carnations. He continues to be used for student riders. 
Crebilly's LfOU, another show horse, was fitted with a con- 
tact lens to hide scar tissue due to an accident. Flashing 
Challenger, also a show horse, was given by a twelve-year- 
old girl in Columbia, South Carolina. Helen's Firecracker — 
born on July 4 — and Spitfire, a show pony, afford a contrast 
in names to Ease, a gentle pleasure horse, and Gay 
Philosopher, a gentle gold chestnut. 

In addition to new buildings, the six original ones in the 
quadrangle received their share of attention. Extensive al- 
terations were made in Johnson Hall, beginning in 1956 
with the entrance. The stone steps were beautiful, but they 
had misled into the library^n the second floor many a 
bewildered seeker for the administrative offices or the par- 
lors which were on the first floor. They were replaced by a 
terrace bordered with low-growing cedar and a triple-door- 
way entrance, with the College seal embedded in the center 
of the floor just inside the middle door. In 1958 further 
alterations were made so that this entrance led into a 
spacious lobby, giving a more gracious welcome to visitors 
than had the doors on either side of the stone steps. The 
lobby was made by raising the floor and removing the 
walls from a sunken room in the center of the rotunda and 
including the corridors which had encircled "the goldfish 
bowl," as the sunken room was often called. In this new 
arrangement the post office was moved from the east end 
of Johnson Hall to an annex added at right angles to the 
Bee Hive. Thus space was provided for the News Bureau — 
which had been housed successively in Vann, Brewer, the 
old auditorium, Jones, Johnson, and again in Jones — and 
for the office of the director of public relations, which had 

232 History of Meredith College 

also been moved several times. The office of the dean of 
students was transferred from Vann Hall to the west of the 
lobby, in space made from the north corridor, the northwest 
"courting nook," and part of the Rose Parlor, thus bringing 
into Johnson Hall all the administrative offices. 

At intervals between 1955 and 1964 the four original 
living halls were greatly improved with fresh paint, better 
lighting, new furniture for the social rooms and bedrooms, 
and new bathroom fixtures. Also, space was provided for 
about a hundred additional resident students by convert- 
ings the attics of Stringfield, Vann, and Faircloth into rooms 
so attractive that the girls on the other three floors of the 
buildings almost envied the inhabitants of the "pent- 
houses." In 1970 the attic of Brewer was likewise con- 
verted into living quarters. The dining hall was redeco- 
rated and furnished with new tables and chairs; new stoves 
were installed in the kitchen. A heating plant adequate for 
existing buildings and for others yet to come replaced the 
one which had been in use for thirty-nine years. 

Welcome as the new buildings were, the quality and 
morale of the students and faculty had not suffered in less 
prosperous days, even in the face of the unofficial but per- 
sistent questions raised as to the existence of the College. 
As they worked in what one student called "the disreputa- 
ble but very dear wooden buildings," they recognized the 
truth of a sentence which Dr. Garner once posted on her 
bulletin board, "Excellent teaching in wooden halls is better 
than wooden teaching in marble halls." With a decreasing 
enrollment. President Campbell could nevertheless report 
to the Baptist State Convention in 1939, his first year, that 
"in spirit and achievement the students and staff are a 
choice group," and in 1942 that "on the basis of high school 
records, entrance tests, and reports from the faculty there 
seems to be a definite improvement in the student body 
and the quality of intellectual activity going on here." 

With the growth of the College, the duties of one im- 
portant office were divided. Before 1953 there had been a 
series of field representatives — James M. Hayes, R. H. 
HoUiday, R. H. Satterfield, J. Everette Miller, and Edwin S. 
Preston, none of whom remained long in the position. They 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 233 

were responsible for presenting the advantages of Meredith 
to high school students considering the choice of a college 
and for presenting the merits and the financial needs of 
the College to possible donors. Although after 1945 the 
term director of public relations was used instead of field 
representative, the duties of the office remained un- 
changed. After Dr. Preston's resignation in 1951 the posi- 
tion was vacant until 1953. Then the duties of the office 
were divided, with a director responsible for the financial 
aspect of public relations and an assistant to work with 
prospective students. 

The search for a director was a long one, and it was not 
until 1957 that Robert G. Deyton came to Meredith as vice- 
president in charge of public relations. Mr. Deyton came 
from Wake Forest College, where he had been for five years 
vice-president and comptroller; earlier he had been as- 
sistant director of the State Budget Bureau. Thus he was 
well qualified for the position at Meredith. He was giving 
the Expansion Program capable leadership when because 
of illness he was granted a leave of absence for 1960-61. 
Continued illness necessitated his giving up the work at 
the end of his leave. A year later Sankey Blanton came as 
director of public relations (a term changed in 1984 to 
director of development). A native of North Carolina, Dr. 
Blanton had had experience in the ministry and in educa- 
tional work both in North Carolina and in New England. 
For twelve years before coming to Meredith he was presi- 
dent of Crozer Theological Seminary. He made many help- 
ful contacts for the College before he retired in 1966. 

Though there was no director in the office until 1957, 
Mary Bland Josey, '51, came as assistant director in 1953. 
She had just returned from a year's study with a Rotary 
International Fellowship in the University of Reading, in 
England. As assistant director, her work was with prospec- 
tive students. Her understanding of the purpose and pro- 
gram of the College, together with her friendly approach 
to high school students made her an excellent representa- 
tive of Meredith. 

As the dormitories had been full since 1946, usually with 
a waiting list, Miss Josey's responsibility concerning pro- 

234 History of Meredith College 

spective students was somewhat different from that of her 
predecessors. She had to do more than merely interest stu- 
dents in coming to Meredith; she had to interest the right 
students. Dr. Campbell set forth in the Alumnae Magazine 
the principles which should guide anyone presenting to 
high school students the opportunities which the College 
offers : 

We must exercise more care and discrimination in attracting 
to the institution only those students who give promise of real 
achievement and leadership. And particularly in these days of 
confusion and darkness, we must exhibit in its clarifying and 
curative power the light symbolized in the motto of the College. 

The statement met with the emphatic approval of the 
alumnae, whose contact with high school students has been 
of inestimable value to Meredith. However much the high 
school student might wish to come, however enthusiastic 
her alumnae friends might be about her, in order to enter 
Meredith the high school graduate must have met definite 
requirements. After 1931, when the requirement of four 
units in a foreign language was reduced to two, the dis- 
tribution of the fifteen units for entrance was until 1943 
virtually unchanged — four units in English, one and a 
half in mathematics, two in a foreign language, and one in 
history, with five electives, only three of which could be 
in vocational subjects. In 1943 this distribution was sim- 
plified, as the statement in the catalogue shows : 

Of the fifteen units presented, four must be in English; eight 
must be chosen from foreign language, history, social studies, 
mathematics, and natural science; three additional units are re- 
quired in these subjects or from electives approved by Meredith 
College. If a foreign language is offered, at least two units in the 
language must be presented. 

If no foreign language was offered for entrance, eighteen 
hours had to be taken in college in one language or twelve 
in each of two. In 1961 sixteen units were required instead 
of fifteen, including a minimum of two units in one foreign 

Beginning with 1957, in addition to presenting the neces- 
sary units, the applicant was required to take the scholastic 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant ProTnise" 235 

aptitude test of the College Entrance Examination Board; 
four years later the writing sample given by the Board was 
added. The student entering in 1965 had to take three 
achievement tests — one in English (which made the con- 
tinuation of the writing sample unnecessary), one in a for- 
eign language, and a third in an area of the student's own 

The increasingly careful selection of students involved 
other factors. In 1961 entering students had to be in the 
upper half of the class graduating from their high school. 
Most of the successful applicants were already well above 
that rank; in 1960, the year before the stipulation was made, 
seventy-five per cent of them were in the upper fourth; in 
1965 eighty-nine per cent were in that quartile. 

For years a personal interview between an applicant 
and some representative of the admissions office has been 
considered desirable; of late years this interview is held 
in the majority of cases. 

In 1961 the catalogue announced the Early Decision Plan, 

for the unquestionably well qualified student who definitely de- 
sires to enter Meredith. . . . On the basis of junior year test scores, 
the applicant's three-year high school record, together with a 
notice of courses being pursued in the senior year, and recom- 
mendations from school officials, the admissions office will accept 
the qualified applicant by October 15 of her senior year. 

As multiple applications to colleges have become quite cus- 
tomary, involving trouble, expense, and uncertainty on the 
part of student and colleges, the advantages of the plan are 

Students with advanced standing from other colleges, 
usually numbering from thirty to fifty, were by 1966 ex- 
pected to have met the same requirements in units and test 
scores that the freshmen met. Full credit was given for 
courses accepted at Meredith if they had been taken in a 
college belonging to the Southern Association or an as- 
sociation of like rank; credit from other colleges was pro- 
visional, to be validated either by an examination or by 
successful work at Meredith. The completion during her 
first two semesters of twenty-four hours with an average of 
C was considered the minimum for such validation. 

236 History of Meredith College 

With more care in selecting students, stricter re- 
quirements were introduced concerning the quality of work 
which the Meredith degree represents. In 1940 for the first 
time a statement appeared in the catalogue concerning the 
retention of students. 

In general, a student must secure at least six semester hours of 
credit to return the following year. During the college year 
a first-year student must secure at least twelve semester hours 
of credit; a second-year student fifteen hours, a third-year stu- 
dent eighteen hours to be allowed to return the following year. 

These requirements, though kept within reasonable limits 
were gradually raised. A student not meeting them was 
dropped from the College for one semester; then she could 
apply for readmission. After 1949 she could be readmitted 
only if she had completed satisfactorily a semester's work 
at another approved institution or had in some other way 
proved to the College authorities that she was qualified for 
the work at Meredith. 

Beginning that same year, in order to receive a degree 
from Meredith a student must have maintained an average 
of C in all courses offered for graduation, in all courses com- 
pleted at Meredith, in all courses completed in the field of 
concentration and in the major subject, and in all courses 
completed in the senior year. 

Since 1942 a student with written permission from the 
Dean has been allowed six hours of credit in correspondence 

Through the years changes in curriculum as well as in 
admission took place. In 1940-41, the second year of Presi- 
dent Campbell's administration. Dr. W. K. Greene, of Duke 
University, was called in as a consultant concerning the 
curriculum. The April, 1941, catalogue shows the changes 
that resulted from the study made that year. 

Of the changes in basic requirements, some were tem- 
porary, some of more lasting significance. To the require- 
ment in foreign languages of six or twelve hours — depend- 
ing on whether the student offered for entrance two or 
four units — was added the condition that any language 
which a student began in college in fulfillment of a require- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 237 

ment had to be taken for three years. In order that the 
prescribed number of hours might not be too large, such a 
student did not have to take the second year of college 
English. This requirement, with its accompanying excep- 
tion, was in force only two years, 1941-1943. 

History, which in 1940 had been placed in the courses 
required without option, was in 1941 put with the basic 
courses in social studies from which two were to be chosen, 
making a group of four — history, government (now politi- 
cal science), economics, and sociology — to which geography 
was added the next year. The stipulation was made that 
unless the student offered two entrance units in history, 
she must take the six-hour course. Historical Backgrounds 
of Modern Civilization. After 1946 that course was to be 
taken unless one of the two units was in European or World 
history. In 1963, history was again required without option. 
The requirement without option of three hours in psy- 
chology was removed in 1941; and six hours in that subject 
were added to the group of basic courses in mathematics, 
biology, chemistry, and physics from which, as before, 
twelve hours were to be chosen, six of these in a laboratory 
science. From 1946 to 1961 there was no psychology in the 
prescribed courses; in 1961 it was added to the group of 
social sciences. 

The requirement of a theoretical course in fine arts was 
dropped in 1941; two years later a three-hour course in 
art or music was to be taken; in 1945 the choice was limited 
to art appreciation, music appreciation, or music theory; in 
1946 art history was added to the choice. 

Physical education, which had been taken through the 
junior year without academic credit was in 1941 given two 
semester hours credit each year and the total number of 
hours was accordingly raised from 120 to 126. In 1959 the 
credit was removed, and the total number of hours essen- 
tial to graduation was again 120. In 1942 an hour of health 
education each semester of the freshman year was added 
to the prescribed courses; in 1963 the course was reduced 
to one hour. An hour of speech was added to the required 
courses in 1965. 

With the changes in prescribed work made in 1941, slight 

238 History of Meredith College 

changes were also made in the general requirements be- 
yond these. In that year the major of twenty-four hours 
and the minor of eighteen with free electives of twenty- 
three or seventeen hours (depending on whether the stu- 
dent was to take in college six or twelve hours of foreign 
language) were changed to a field of concentration with 
forty-two hours. Of these, eighteen to twenty-four were 
chosen from one department with twenty-four to eighteen 
in at least two other departments, with a minimum of six 
hours from a department. The field of concentration could 
not include any course open primarily to freshmen. In 1945, 
the related field was limited to one or two departments; 
and of the forty-two hours, the minimum for the major 
was increased to twenty-four, a change which gave the 
student's work greater unity. Although a Meredith student 
could continue to meet all the requirements for a certificate 
on the high school or elementary school level, the major in 
secondary school education and the major in elementary 
school education were discontinued in 1953 and 1963. 

In 1942 a department of business was added — a new de- 
partment, for with its majors meeting every entrance and 
curricular requirement of the College it bore no relation to 
the one-year business course discontinued in 1909, which 
had no entrance requirements beyond arithmetic, grammar, 
spelling, and penmanship. In the new department no 
course was open to freshmen, and credit in typing and ele- 
mentary shorthand was restricted for majors in other de- 
partments to those who took a related field of eighteen 
hours in business. In addition to the forty-two hours in the 
field of concentration, each business major before receiving 
her degree must have completed at least forty hours of ap- 
proved, paid work experience. 

In 1957 by the merging of the departments of ancient 
and modern languages, the department of foreign languages 
was formed. From 1957 till 1963 only enough work in 
Latin for a related field was offered; in 1963 the major in 
Latin was restored. Greek has not been offered since 
1952, when Dr. Price retired, though it remained hopefully 
in the catalogue ten more years. 

From 1941 till 1969 Meredith offered, in addition to an 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 239 

A.B. with a major in music, the degree of Bachelor of Music 
for which the candidate must have already been granted an 
A.B. or a B.S. An additional year of study confined ex- 
clusively to music was usually necessary for a student to ob- 
tain this degree. In 1942 the College became a liberal arts 
member of the National Association of Schools of Music. 
To the long established majors in applied music and music 
education was added in 1960 a major in church music. 

Graduation with honors — cum laude, raagna cum laude, 
summa cum laude — was restored in 1941. This public recog- 
nition of work of high quality had not been given since 

Though the faculty and staff of a college like Meredith 
must have a loyalty that goes beyond their financial inter- 
est, there is evident in President Campbell's reports to the 
trustees from year to year his steady determination that the 
College should not take advantage of this loyalty, and that, 
so far as the budget allowed, the salaries should be ade- 
quate. The success of his efforts is evident in the increases 
in salary made nearly every year. 

In the personnel of a college there are always changes due 
to death, retirement, and resignations. When Mr. Boomhour 
gave up the deanship in 1941, remaining as professor of 
physics until 1942, Benson W. Davis, Ph.D., University of 
North Carolina, came from Stetson University to be dean 
of Meredith. Upon Dean Davis's resignation because of ill- 
ness in January, 1945, President Campbell, with the aid of a 
committee of four from the faculty, took over the duties of 
the dean, as he did in March, 1946, when Joseph E. Burk, 
who since September had been acting dean, resigned be- 
cause of ill health. Dr. Davis returned to Stetson after his 
recovery; Dr. Burk died in September, 1946. 

In each case Dr. Campbell, a master of detail, succeeded 
well in straightening out the tangles which inevitably oc- 
cur when the work of a dean is abruptly ended. Hence 
Charles W. Burts, who came to the position late in the 
summer of 1946, found a clear desk. As the son of an execu- 
tive secretary of the South Carolina Baptist State Conven- 
tion, as associate dean and professor of psychology at Fur- 
man, as director for nine years of Camp Ridgecrest for 

240 History of Meredith College 

boys, Dr. Burts was familiar with various aspects of denomi- 
national work. He was beginning an efficient administra- 
tion when, after two years at Meredith, he accepted the 
presidency of Shorter College, in Rome, Georgia. 

Though he had been at a college the very name of which 
connotes distance — Kalamazoo College — Leishman A. Pea- 
cock, the successor to Dr. Burts, was no stranger when he 
came in 1948. He had grown up in Raleigh and had re- 
ceived from Wake Forest College his A.B. and A.M. before 
going to Columbia University and then to Pennsylvania 
State University for his doctorate. His father, J. L. Pea- 
cock, for seventeen years president of Shaw University, 
had been a frequent chapel speaker at Meredith.^ With the 
sound academic ideas and procedures essential to a good 
dean, Dr. Peacock has a cordial graciousness disarming to 
irate parents and heart-warming to visitors to the cam- 
pus. Students and faculty know that this quality goes 
beyond geniality of manner, that it betokens sincere friend- 
liness and a deep interest in everything which concerns 

On February 1, 1940, more than a year before any of 
these changes in administration took place, Meredith lost 
Miss Ida Poteat, the last member of the 1899-1900 faculty at 
Meredith. Her position at Meredith was unique. For forty 
years the College was her home; the folk who worked and 
lived there were dear to her; and she was most dear to them. 
Hosts of alumnae whom she had not taught will always 
remember the happiness of "a cup of tea in Miss Ida's 
room" in South Cottage or in Vann Hall. At seventy-nine 
she picnicked in the spring with more enthusiasm, walked 
in the winter snow with lighter step than many a girl. 

By nature and training a creative artist, she devoted her- 
self largely to teaching others to be artists. One of her best 
students said of her, "She has been my creative urge, teach- 
ing me to see, to want to paint, to study wherever I hap- 
pened to be." To many people who never held an artist's 
brush she showed the beauty of everyday things — the colors 
of a sunset, the incredibly soft pinkness of a tiny kitten's 

* Dr. Peacock led the first chapel service held on the new campus, reading 
from I Kings, chapter eight, Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple. 

"Suhstantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 241 

ear, the lighted capitol in a heavy mist, the madonna face 
of a young Negro mother bending over her baby. 

At the alumnae meeting in May after Miss Ida's death in 
February, Katherine Parker Freeman paid her this tribute : 

Ida Isabella Poteat, of the classes of 1902 to 1940, a major in 
the art of living, graduated February 1, 1940, with the highest 
honors to the campus of the Eternal School, where she fits so 
naturally that, no doubt, she has achieved advanced standing. 

There are reminders of Miss Ida in the daily life of the 
College. The Meredith seal, adopted in 1909, is her design;^ 
the Meredith plate, designed by Mary Tillery '22 in 1935, 
bears Miss Ida's signature. A water-color sketch which she 
made hangs in Mae Grimmer House; her portrait, painted 
by Miss Tillery is in Poteat Hall. 

Mary Tillery, first her student and then her associate in 
the department of art, was as dear to Miss Ida as any 
daughter could have been. Though her chief interest was in 
creative art, she remained at Meredith for a year and a half 
after Miss Ida's death; then she opened her own studio. 
She is especially interested and gifted in portraits; four in 
the College are her work — Mrs. Norwood's, Miss Ida's, Miss 
Grimmer's, and Miss Mary Lynch Johnson's.^" 

Following Miss Tillery at Meredith, Clayton Charles in 
September, 1941, became head of the department of art, 
with John Rembert as instructor. The studio was a lively 
place with these two gifted and enthusiastic young men. 
It was especially lively on Saturday mornings, when classes 
were held for Raleigh school children. 

Mr. Charles and Mr, Rembert brought to the department 
added emphasis on commercial art and on recent trends in 
art. This emphasis was continued with Douglas Reynolds, 
who was from 1946 to 1957 head of the department. The 
display boards outside the studio might please or puzzle or 
outrage the passerby, but they never bored him. With 
proper lighting one room was made a gallery for the display 
not only of the work of Meredith students and faculty, but 

® She also designed the seal of Wake Forest College. 

^0 Miss Ida's portrait is in Poteat Hall; Miss Grimmer's, presented by Miss 
Tillery to the Alumnae Association, is in Mae Grimmer House; Miss John- 
son's, presented to the College by the Colton English Club, is in Joyner 
Lounge. Mrs. Norwood's was presented to the infirmary by Dr. Lane. 

242 History of Meredith College 

also of other artists. Oriental art was one of Mr. Reynolds's 
special enthusiasms, and he brought to the gallery excellent 
exhibits of Chinese and Japanese art. 

Working with Mr. Reynolds came a series of instructors 
and assistant professors, each of whom stayed only a short 
time. One of these, Marion Davis, introduced a course in 
ceramics, thus bringing back the use of a kiln, which had 
not been a part of the studio equipment since 1926, when 
china painting was last taught. 

Ruth Clarke in 1957 succeeded Mr. Reynolds as head of 
the department; she was followed by Lucy Bane Jeffries, 
who had come as assistant professor in 1960-61, Mrs. 
Clarke's last year. Leonard White came as head in 1964. 
Like his two predecessors, he is chiefly interested in crea- 
tive art; and like theirs, his pictures have won recognition 
in various exhibits. Arthur Downs came as second in the 
department in 1961. He was especially well versed in art 
history and in 1965 left Meredith to continue that study in 
England. Dr. Downs was followed by Grove Robinson, who 
has the work in sculpture and commercial art. 

Miss Barber's retirement in 1940 brought to the College 
as head of the department of biology George A. Christen- 
berry. Though he came with the ink not yet dry on the 
diploma pronouncing him a Ph.D. of the University of North 
Carolina, Dr. Christenberry proved to be a capable teacher. 
He resigned in 1943 to enter the Navy, then went to Furman 
University. The Christenberrys are happily remembered as 
the parents of the first faculty baby since Rupert Riley, 
born in 1923. 

Since 1943 Professor or Doctor or Deacon Yarbrough has 
been an ambiguous title at Meredith; for the present chair- 
man^^ of the department of biology is John A. Yarbrough, 
who came that year from the faculty of Baylor University. 
Both he and Dr. Mary Yarbrough of the chemistry depart- 
ment are scholars as well as teachers of ability; both have 
published articles with unpronounceably learned titles. 
Dr. John was president of the North Carolina Academy of 
Science in 1958; in 1965 he was given the Distinguished 

" The term chairman rather than head has been used since 1964. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 243 

Service Award of the Academy Conference, a branch of the 
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 

Of a series of instructors in biology, Helen Parker Kel- 
man was the first since Elizabeth Boomhour to stay more 
than a year or two. She was at Meredith from 1946 to 1952 
and again came as a part-time instructor from 1961 till 1965. 
James H. Eads, Jr., who came as assistant professor in 
1958, fits well in the department; for his field of interest 
is primarily zoology, whereas Dr. Yarbrough is more con- 
cerned with plant life. An Arab-born native of Nazareth 
speaking seven languages, Georgette J. Campbell was in the 
department from 1965 to 1967. Her chapel talk on her first 
acquaintance with the United States will be long remem- 
bered for its genuine spirituality, seasoned with lively wit. 

Readers of the February 11, 1965, Twig were fascinated 
by an interview with Helen Jo Collins, of the department of 
chemistry from 1944 till 1969. As a young girl she had 
experiences unique in Meredith faculty annals. Early in the 
century her family moved from Denver to Boulder, Colo- 
rado, in two covered wagons. Though less than ten years 
old, she drove one of the wagons most of the six-week 
journey of two hundred miles. The ranch to which they 
moved was fifty miles from the nearest railroad station and 
a hundred miles from the nearest doctor. To the young girl 
was given the responsibility of breaking in wild horses and 
training them to be rope horses, used in rounding up cattle 
for branding. One can imagine the difficulties in education 
— first as pupil, then as the one teacher of eight grades — 
in Northwest Colorado, where the winter temperatures 
ranged from twenty-one degrees above zero to fifty below. 

Sallie Melvin Horner, who began her work in chemistry 
at Meredith, came to that department in 1965. She has 
given papers at international scientific conventions in 
Stockholm and Geneva. Her students are often surprised 
at Dr. Horner's knowledge of literature and her interest in 
it. It seems natural to them that an English teacher should 
have a cat named Jeanie Deans or that three kittens were 
named Gerund, Participle, and Infinitive; but they do not 
expect a chemist's pedigreed dog to be named Beowulf of 
Geatland or Heathcliffe. 


244 History of Meredith College 

In 1940 Ellen Black Winston, well known in the state and 
beyond it, was appointed head of the department of sociol- 
ogy, economics, and geography. She had held different po- 
sitions with government agencies in Washington; immedi- 
ately before coming to Meredith she was senior social 
scientist in the Farm Security Administration. In addition 
to magazine articles and monographs. Dr. Winston is the co- 
author of several books, among them Seven Lean Years 
and The Plantation South and Foundations of American 
Population Policy. 

Dr. Winston was in 1944 appointed Commissioner of 
Public Welfare in North Carolina. Her successor at Mere- 
dith for three years, Clarence H. Patrick, was followed in 
1947 by Clyde N. Parker, who had been a pastor in Peters- 
burg, Virginia. 

When the next head of the department, Elizabeth H. 
Yaughan, accepted the position in 1950, she gave up a Ful- 
hright fellowship which had been awarded to her for a 
year's study in India. Her doctoral dissertation, written at 
the University of North Carolina, Community under Stress, 
was published by the Princeton Press in 1949. It is a study 
of the concentration camp in the Philippines where she and 
her two children had been imprisoned for two years. Writ- 
ten with the objectivity of a scholarly sociologist, it is none 
the less a moving book. 

The year 1953-54 Dr. Vaughan spent with her children in 
Switzerland with a grant from the Ford Foundation. While 
she was there, physicians found a malignancy far ad- 
vanced. Her leave of absence was extended a year; then 
she resumed her work at Meredith for two years. During 
that time the shadow of the sword of Damocles was never 
allowed to darken the lives of her students or of her other 
friends. A student wrote of Dr. Vaughan's "cheerfulness, 
her benevolence, and the indomitable courage with which 
she faced the world." 

After Dr. Vaughan's death in September, 1957, Leslie W. 
Syron, who had been in the department since 1945 and 
had been acting head from 1953 to 1955, was elected head. 
Dr. Syron takes an active part in the American Associa- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 245 

tion of University Women; she has been president of the 
North Carolina branch of that organization and has served 
on two committees of the National Association. In 1968, 
with Dean Peacock, Dr. John Yarbrough, and Dr. Crook, 
she took part in the Danforth Workshop on liberal arts 
education at Colorado College. 

After having a number of teachers who stayed only a 
year or two, this department was fortunate in three who 
brought to Meredith valuable experience in other institu- 
tions from which they had retired. P. Floyd Brookens, who 
in 1956 came to Meredith from North Carolina State Uni- 
versity, taught in all three divisions of the department of 
sociology, economics, and geography, the last teacher to do 
so; for in 1961 economics with business formed the depart- 
ment of business and economics. Still vigorous. Dr. Brook- 
ens went in 1961 to teach at Campbell College. 

With a quite different background Ira O. Jones was at 
Meredith from 1957 till 1962. Before coming to Meredith he 
had retired from administrative work in public schools to 
a teaching position in adult education at the University of 
Omaha. The faculty choice of Dr. Jones as a member of 
the student government committee and the student choice 
of him as Duke on Play Day gave evidence of the regard in 
which he was held on the campus. His retirement from 
St. Mary's, to which he went from Meredith, was his fourth 

In 1960 Anna B. Peck, who had retired from the history 
department of the University of Kentucky, came to Mere- 
dith as a part-time teacher of geography. While on the 
University faculty she was given a year's leave of absence 
at the request of the United States War Department to 
serve as one of a group of visiting experts to encourage 
the German teachers to work for some democracy in their 
school programs. It was a tribute to the remarkable ease 
with which she fitted into a small denominational college 
after thirty-five years in a large state university that the 
alumnae on her retirement in 1963 made her an honorary 
member of the Alumnae Association. A part-time teacher 
for three years, she is one of three faculty members to 

246 History of Meredith College 

have received that honor; Dr. Price for twenty-five years a 
member of the faculty and Dr. Harris for thirty were the 
other two. 

Two younger members came in two successive years, 
Vergean Birkin in 1963 and Daniel B. McGee in 1964; the 
latter stayed only two years. Mr. Birkin is the first teacher 
to give his full time to geography, and instead of two courses 
in that subject there are four. 

After the long tenure of Catherine Allen ended with her 
retirement in 1940, the department of modern languages 
was for several years unsettled. S. Elizabeth Clarke, acting 
head for one year, was followed by Elliott Healey, who for 
half of his three years on the faculty had leave of absence 
for service in the United States Navy. During that time, 
from January, 1943, till June, 1944, Elizabeth Lowndes 
Moore was acting head. 

Quentin Oliver McAllister, who was head from 1944 till 
his sudden death in January, 1968, brought distinction to 
the College with his study of the relationship between busi- 
ness and the liberal arts. He directed panel discussions in 
regional and national conferences centered on this rela- 
tionship. In addition to several articles, a book. Business 
Executives and the Humanities, published in 1951, resulted 
from his research. He was for nine years executive secre- 
tary and afterwards president of the South Atlantic Modern 
Language Association. In meetings of the curriculum com- 
mittee and of the academic council his uncompromising 
support of high standards showed his concern for the 
whole College as well as for his own department. Of his 
deep interest in his associates in the department Lucy Ann 
Neblett wrote : 

Whenever we took to him the problems and difficulties which 
arose in our classes, he patiently listened and somehow was able 
to give us encouragement where we had found only frustration. 

Dr. Neblett taught Spanish and French from 1947 to 1963, 
when she went to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. The 
daughter of missionaries to Cuba, she did effective work 
among Spanish-speaking newcomers to Raleigh, helping 
them in the adjustment to life in the United States. She 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 247 

was a Fulbright exchange teacher in Trieste, Italy, the first 
such teacher in that city. On her last day at their school, 
the students presented her with a gold medallion com- 
memorative of the city. Another teacher came to the de- 
partment in 1947 also, Susanne Freund, who left her native 
country, Germany, in the ominous year of 1939. Since her 
retirement in 1965 she has kept her home in Raleigh, 
making frequent trips to the ends of the earth. It was for- 
tunate for Meredith that when Dr. McAllister died, Dr. 
Freund was at home and consented to teach two of his 
classes the second semester of 1967-68. Before and since 
her retirement she has been active in the efforts made in 
Raleigh to bring about right interracial relationships. 

William R. Ledford, whose work is primarily in Spanish, 
came to the department in 1957. The following summer he 
received a Fulbright grant for study in Colombia, South 
America. As acting chairman of the department after Dr. 
McAllister's death, Dr. Ledford met capably the difficulties 
created by that emergency. Ann Eliza Brewer, '22, Presi- 
dent Brewer's daughter, came from Brenau College in 1961. 
She had been at Brenau College for thirty years; while 
there she received the Sullivan award, given each year to 
one outstanding member of the college community. Her 
mother's ill health brought her home; and as the mother's 
need for her grew greater. Miss Brewer gave up even the 
part-time work. It was the second time that she had taught 
French at Meredith, for in 1925 at the last minute she de- 
layed graduate work a year to fill the place of a teacher who 
resigned her position two days after the College opened. 
Jacqueline Beza has been in the department since 1964. 

Harold G. McCurdy, successor to Edgar H. Henderson as 
head of the department of psychology and philosophy, was 
at Meredith from 1941 to 1948. His ability outside his own 
field was recognized by the College in the publication of a 
volume of his verse, A Straw Flute. He wrote for Kappa 
Nu Sigma a one-act verse play. This Is the Glory, which that 
organization has produced several times. Dorothy Park, who 
followed him as head of the department, was interested in 
music; she was a member of the College orchestra and of 
the Raleigh Oratorio Society. She went in 1951 to be a 

248 History of Meredith College 

clinical psychologist in the State Department of Public Wel- 

Ethel Tilley, who succeeded Dr. Park, is a person of many 
and varied interests; chief among them is writing. She has 
written for various periodicals verse ranging from delight- 
ful nonsense jingles to devotional poems. Methodist, Pres- 
byterian, and Congregational presses have published her 
books written for use in study courses and in Vacation 
Bible Schools. Losing none of her vitality or her keen zest 
for living, Dr. Tilley stays busy since her retirement in 
1967, continuing to write, to travel, and to take part in 
the productions of the Raleigh Little Theater. For three 
months in the fall of 1969 she was a consultant in the 
State Juvenile Evaluation Center on the Warren Wilson 
College campus. 

Since Dr. Cooper's retirement in 1970 Stuart Pratt and 
Beatrice Donley have shared seniority in the department 
of music, both of them having come in 1942. Like others 
in the department, they enrich the musical life of Raleigh 
as well as of Meredith. Mr. Pratt for a number of years 
directed the production of Handel's Messiah — the presen- 
tation of which by the Raleigh Music Club was an annual 
tradition. Among his other activities he has for more than 
fifteen years served as judge in the contests held all over 
the country by the National Guild of Piano Teachers. He is 
also involved with certification of piano teachers on the 
national level through the Music Teachers' National As- 
sociation. Miss Donley was for years the contralto soloist 
in the Messiah. Until 1966 she directed the Meredith 
Chorus, which was formed in 1950 to replace the College 
choir and the glee club. She initiated and continues to 
direct the Vocal Ensemble, whose programs are popular on 
and off campus. In 1962 their program of Christmas music 
won the Lions' Club award for the best program of the year. 

In 1945 Rachel Rosenberger, then teacher of violin, or- 
ganized a College orchestra. It was continued by Phyllis 
Weyer, now Mrs. Phillip Garriss, who succeeded Miss Ros- 
enberger in 1951. She is the daughter of a long-time dean 
of Hastings College, a small undergraduate college fostered 
by the Presbyterians of Nebraska. To this background is 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 249 

partly due her intelligent interest in the College as a whole. 
Like the Aldens, the Garrisses have a daughter named 

Edwin Blanchard was an additional teacher of voice 
from 1952 to 1966. Jean Swanson, at Meredith from 1954 
to 1963, and Isabelle Haeseler, who has been in the depart- 
ment since 1956, are both Fellows in the American Guild 
of Organists. James L. Clyburn, who came in 1958, is ac- 
tive in the organization and administration of state and 
district piano contests of the North Carolina Music Teach- 
ers' Association and of the National Federated Music Clubs. 

The musicians of the faculty are in wide demand in Ra- 
leigh and elsewhere as recitalists and as directors of music 
in churches. 

For the last four years that Mrs. Sorrell was at Meredith, 
she gave up the active direction of the department of physi- 
cal education to Betty Barnard Adkerson. Christine White, 
elected as head in 1942, was followed the next year by 
Doris Peterson. Miss Peterson accepted the position be- 
cause she liked to work in a small liberal arts college; thus 
she came with an appreciation of Meredith's ideals and 
customs which was reflected in the work of the department. 
An authority in the field of folk dances, she has a collection 
of more than a thousand dances, many of which she gath- 
ered herself, recording the words and music. 

When Miss Peterson returned to her native state of Kan- 
sas in 1954, Claire Weigt was her successor. After three 
years she was followed as chairman of the department by 
Jay D. Massey. Mrs. Massey is an excellent organizer and 
with tact and firmness has coped well with the difficulties 
inevitable in a department with courses which were re- 
quired but which received no academic credit. The student- 
faculty relationship in the department is unusually good. 

Phyllis Cunningham in this department from 1945 to 
1955 was rivaled in unbounded energy and enthusiasm only 
by Helena Williams, now Mrs. W. R. Allen, who came in 
1952. In addition to her sponsorship of the Meredith Rec- 
reation Association, Mrs. Allen is an especially popular 
society and class sponsor. The Twig of November 8, 1962, 
noted that she also has "the unofficial job of helping the 

250 History of Meredith College 

sophomores with their daisy chain." Though all the staff 
cooperate in the production of May Day, training the 
dancers has been since 1961 the responsibility of Frances W. 
Stevens, as is the spring dance concert. 

Equitation was first offered in 1945 and quickly grew 
in popularity. In addition to the Meredith students, children 
and adults from the city take advantage of this program. 
Diminutive Mary Mackay, who looked as if managing a 
Shetland pony would be too much for her but who had 
managed thoroughbreds since she was seven, took excellent 
care of the horses and riders, who have won blue ribbons at 
horse shows all over the State. She was at Meredith from 
1952 till 1968. 

Clyde Humphrey, the first head of the newly organized 
department of business, remained only one year, 1942-43. 
He was succeeded by Estelle Popham, who in 1949 went to 
Hunter College in New York. Martha Hill, who held the 
position from 1949 to 1954, resigned to complete her doc- 
toral work. Her successor, Lois Frazier, the present chair- 
man, has given the department greater stability. Dr. Frazier 
is active in business organizations, having been president 
of the North Carolina Federation of Business and Profes- 
sional Women's Clubs, treasurer of the National Federation 
of Business and Professional Women, and more recently 
vice-president of the Southern Business Education Associa- 
tion. Ruth Robinson was in the department from 1953 to 
1965, when Annie Sue Parnell came. The first year that 
economics was separated from sociology and placed in the 
department of business, Dr. Brookens continued teaching 
economics, as he had in the other department. Then Jack W. 
Hickman, retired from the United States Army, took his 
place; but one year was enough to convince Colonel Hick- 
man and the College that military tactics and Meredith 
were not meant for each other. In 1962 Evelyn Simmons 
was elected to the position, which she still holds. 

When in 1945, four years before his retirement, Dr. Free- 
man gave up his responsibility as head of the department of 
religion, Ralph McLain came from the faculty of Shorter 
College to fill that position. The cordial relationship be- 
tween the two is evident in the name of the Freeman Re- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 251 

ligion Club. The McLains' house on the edge of the campus 
facing Faircloth Street had a well-worn path to its door. 
Though they are farther away from the campus now, their 
doors are still open to students; for the McLains are among 
the especially hospitable faculty families. 

Upon Dr. Freeman's retirement in 1949, Roger H. Crook 
was elected to fill the vacancy. Dr. Freeman, Dr. McLain, 
and Dr. Crook all conducted classes in the annual Institute 
of Religion sponsored by the United Church as did Dr. 
Tilley. In addition to preparing Sunday school lesson helps 
for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Con- 
vention, Dr. Crook has written six books, one, No North or 
South, dealing with race relations; the others with mar- 
riage and family life. The latest of these. Christian Families 
in Conflict, appeared in 1970. 

The earlier directors of religious activities at Meredith — 
Madeline Elliott, '28, Lucile Knight, and Mildred Kichline, 
'30 — ^had the title of religious secretary and did no teaching. 
Cleo Mitchell in 1943-44, and Billie Ruth Currin, later 
Mrs. H. A. Pruyn, from 1944 to 1952 were given the less 
vague title of director of religious activities and taught in 
the department of religion. Maxine Garner, who took Mrs. 
Pruyn's place in 1952, had just finished two years' study 
in the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her doctor's gown 
of red flannel instead of black silk, with a John Knox hat 
instead of the conventional mortar board, added zest to the 
academic procession. Having once been the associate editor 
of the Biblical Recorder, she was immediately at home in 

When Dr. Garner went to Sweet Briar in 1958, John M, 
Lewis, formerly a member of the faculty of the Southern 
Seminary in Louisville, succeeded her. His tie with Mere- 
dith was not broken when two years later he accepted a 
call to the First Baptist Church in Raleigh, for in 1963 he 
was elected a trustee of the College. 

For one year Bernard H. Cochran also filled the dual 
role of teacher and director of religious activities; beginning 
with 1961 he has given his full time to teaching. In 1962 
J. Henry Coffer was added to the department of religion; 
in 1967-68, his last year at Meredith, he was also dean of 

252 History of Meredith College 

the chapel. Miriam Mollis Prichard, the first full-time di- 
rector of religious activities since Miss Kichline, served for 
two years; then in 1963 R.E.L. Walker (Bud Walker to all 
the students ) filled the place. 

On Mr. Riley's retirement in 1947 he was succeeded as 
head of the history department by Lillian Parker Wallace, 
whose full time after 1944 was given to history rather than 
being divided between history and education. Dr. Wallace 
was one of the most versatile members of the faculty. She 
has been choir director in Hillyer Memorial and in Pullen 
Memorial Church and vice-president of the Civic Music As- 
sociation. Her watercolors and pencil sketches have been 
exhibited in the Meredith art gallery. The establishing of 
the Wake County Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was largely 
due to her, and she was for twenty years its secretary. The 
University of North Carolina in 1948 published The 
Papacy and European Diplomacy, a copy of which is in 
the Vatican Library. With all her varied activities Dr. 
Wallace, the Twig reported, "is well known and much 
admired for her splendid work on the Meredith campus as 
teacher, counselor, and friend to the students." After forty- 
one years of teaching, she retired in 1962. Since then she 
has published Leo XII and the Rise of Socialism and has 
another book ready for publication.^^ 

The same year Dr. Keith retired at the end of her thirty- 
fourth year at Meredith. Her quiet, forceful personality 
and her careful scholarship made a deep impression on her 
students; one of them who has both written and edited 
publications in the field of history said of her : 

Dr. Keith always made it clear that we were expected to do 
our part, but she was more than willing to lead us on for the 
next step — a step made more interesting and challenging by her 

Dr. Keith's chief work in research was the editing of the 
John Gray Blount papers. She finished two of the three 
volumes, one appearing 1953, the second in 1960.^^ 

Sarah McCulloh Lemmon, at Meredith since 1947, suc- 

" Dr. Wallace died on May 30. 1971. 
" Dr. Keith died in April, 1971. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 253 

ceeded Dr. Wallace as chairman of the department of his- 
tory and political science in 1962. Under her guidance the 
department has continued its tradition of scholarly publi- 
cations. Several articles have grown out of Dr. Lremmon's 
doctoral dissertation on the public career of Eugene Tal- 
madge, a work which she is now developing into a com- 
plete biography. Another book, Parson Pettigrew of the 
Old Church appeared in 1970. She has written articles and 
monographs dealing with North Carolina history, as have 
Thomas C. Parramore and Frank L. Grubbs/^ one of whom 
came in 1962, the other in 1963. A book by Dr. Grubbs, 
The Struggle for Labor Loyalty, was published in 1968. 
Dr. Lemmon and Dr. Grubbs have given lectures for the 
University of North Carolina television series of programs 
on American history, as has Rosalie P. Gates, who joined the 
staff in 1965. 

After her retirement from the department of English in 
1952, Dr. Harris lived in Chapel Hill till her death in 1965. 
Hers was an active retirement, for she taught the Univer- 
sity correspondence course in Shakespeare, as well as one 
in creative writing. After several years she made a revision 
of the course in Shakespeare which the University adopted. 
When she was eighty she took a course in art history at 
the University. 

With the exception of a few personal bequests and $1,000 
to the Shakespeare collection of the library of the Univer- 
sity at Chapel Hill, her entire estate of approximately $135,- 
000 was left to Meredith. According to her wishes the 
money will be used for scholarships for promising and de- 
serving students. Of the bequest her student, coworker, and 
friend. Norma Rose, wrote : 

This bequest is but additional evidence of the kind of faith and 
abiding love for Meredith to which Dr. Harris attested in a long 
career of successful teaching here. To those who knew and loved 
her, it appears but as an extension of her generous and gracious 
giving of herself through a long and dedicated life as a scholar, 
teacher, and friend. 

" Dr. Grubbs's marriage in 1965 to Carolyn Harrington, also of the depart- 
ment of history, was the first marriage between faculty members to take 
place since that of Dr. Freeman to Katherine Parker, head of the department 
of home economics, in 1916. 

254 History of Meredith College 

Dr. Harris was succeeded by Mary Lynch Johnson, who 
had been in the department since 1918, Dr. Lanham and 
Dr. Rose continued as her colleagues. Mamie Hafner, who 
joined the staff in 1952, resigned after two years to com- 
plete the work for a doctorate at the University of Wis- 
consin. In 1962 she returned for four years, then went to 
East Texas State University. 

Sallie Wills Holland was in the department from 1954 
till her death in 1959. Her coming to Meredith was for her 
and Dr. Campbell the renewal of an old association, a 
pleasant one, because she taught at Coker College when 
Dr. Campbell was president there. Her bequest of $1,000, 
increased by gifts which others made in her memory, makes 
possible the acquisition each year of a goodly number of 
records — classical and modern dramas and poems. It is due 
to Dr. Rose's generosity that the library has a complete set 
of Shakespeare's plays produced by the Shakespeare Re- 
cording Society. 

lone Kemp Knight, '43, who had been for three years 
head of the department of English in Shorter College in 
Rome, Georgia, came to Meredith in 1956. On three of her 
ten trips to England she investigated twelve of the four- 
teen manuscripts (two in Latin and twelve in Middle 
English) of a fourteenth century sermon, Thomas Wimble- 
don's Redde Rationem Villicationis Tue. The Duquesne Uni- 
versity Press published the book in its Philological Series; 
the librarian of St. Paul's Cathedral in London requested 
a copy for the Cathedral Library. 

Dorothy Greenwood succeeded Miss Holland in 1959, 
remaining till her retirement in 1967. Like Miss Holland, 
Mrs. Greenwood is remembered by her students with espe- 
cial pleasure for her courses in contemporary literature and 
creative writing. Carolyn Peacock Poole, '27, was immedi- 
ately at home in the department when she came in 1965, 
because she had taught in it for six years before her mar- 
riage in 1935. Though she was ill in the summer of 1967, 
it was hoped that she could take up her work in the fall. 
When she could not do so, Betty Simmons Chamberlain, 
who had resigned in the spring after six years to work 
toward her doctorate in English, and Nancy Hill Snow, 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 255 

who had been in the department several years before, were 
good enough to return in the emergency. A scholarship in 
memory of Mrs. Poole has been established by her family 
and friends. 

In 1946 speech, which had not been offered for three 
years, was reinstated not as a separate department, but as 
part of English. Catherine Hilderman was instructor in 
English and speech as well as director of dramatics. The 
combination made the position a difficult one; but after a 
succession of four instructors in six years, Evelyn da Parma 
filled it successfully for four years, from 1952 till 1956, Her 
work in speech with all the freshmen, though limited by 
the time she could give to it, filled a need long felt in the 
College. The tape recording which she made of each fresh- 
man's voice furnished the basis for constructive criticism 
for the small groups of ten or twelve into which she di- 
vided the freshmen for two weeks. Any special defects 
which the recordings revealed were dealt with individually. 
The choice of plays and the quality of their production by 
the Meredith Playhouse under her direction brought credit 
to the department. Velma Mae Gorsage and Nancy Hill 
Snow continued with the combination; Ruth Ann Baker 
Phillips, who came in 1965, was the first since 1943 to give 
her full time to speech and drama. Mrs. Phillips acted for 
several summers in Horn in the West. 

With Dr. Price's retirement in 1952, David Tatem, who 
had taught Latin at the Citadel in Charleston, was for one 
year acting head of the department of ancient languages. 
This half-time instructor could give professional advice 
to amateur gardeners, because the other half of his time 
was spent as a graduate student in horticulture at State 
College. When in 1953 that versatile young man went to 
Flora Macdonald College to teach English, Margaret Craig 
Martin, '30, succeeded him at Meredith. With one year's 
absence she continued in the position until 1962, when 
P. A. Cline, formerly a missionary in Taiwan, came in her 
place, remaining until 1966. 

After Mr. Tyner's retirement in 1954, William V. Badger 
was head of the department of education for one year; then 
he was succeeded by David R. Reveley. Dr. Reveley's un- 

256 History of Meredith College 

dergraduate major in Greek has enriched his background in 
teaching the history and the philosophy of education as 
well as making him a staunch supporter of the classics and 
of modern languages. Two others, Lila Bell and Harry K. 
Dorsett, had been in the department since 1941. Miss Bell 
who retired in 1970, worked with students planning to 
teach in the elementary grades. She held office in various 
educational organizations, among them the presidency of 
the Raleigh Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, and served 
as a committee member in the State Department of Public 
Instruction. Her wood carving, one of her many avocations, 
fascinates her friends, both grownups and children. Mr. 
Dorsett must practice his theory that five hours' sleep is 
enough for anyone, for in addition to his teaching he has 
been a clinical psychologist first with the State Department 
of Public Welfare, then with the Wake County Health Cen- 
ter. His versatility is evident in his activity in the Raleigh 
Little Theater and in his volume of short stories, A Va- 
riety of Edens. Robert Fracker was added to the staff in 

It is not easy to replace one who has been a valued mem- 
ber of the faculty for forty-five years; it was particularly 
difficult to find a successor for Dr. Canaday when he re- 
tired in 1965. The salaries which experts in mathematics 
can command outside the teaching profession were astro- 
nomical compared to Meredith's salary scale. More than 
once one of Dr. Canaday's students her first year out of col- 
lege received a salary larger than his. The year after his re- 
tirement the department was in a peculiar situation — with 
five instructors and with no one above that rank. Three 
were full-time teachers; of the two who were part-time, one 
taught the first semester, the other the second. Dorothy 
Knott Preston, '54, who had come in 1961, was for two 
years, 1965-1967, acting head, the second year with the 
rank of assistant professor. 

In two years the department of home economics had a 
double loss. Miss Hanyen after thirty-four years of valu- 
able service, retired in 1965; Miss Brewer who came to the 
faculty in 1919, retired the same year; but when it seemed 
impossible to find a capable successor, at the insistence of 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 257 

the administration she consented to stay another year. Only 
her deep, self-sacrificing love for Meredith made her will- 
ing, and only heroic will power made her able to continue 
her work in spite of arthritis which made every movement 
difficult and painful. In 1969 the North Carolina Home 
Economics Association named its scholarship fund the El- 
len D. Brewer Scholarship Fund in recognition of her "dis- 
tinguished leadership of the Home Economics profession." 

The library is essential to every Meredith student and 
teacher. The freshmen are introduced to it before they meet 
a single class, because as part of the orientation program 
Hazel Baity, '26, who succeeded Miss Forgeus as head li- 
brarian in 1941, arranges personally conducted tours for 
the freshmen in groups of twenty or fewer, explaining the 
plan and workings of the library. Miss Forgeus once said 
that if she could have picked her successor. Hazel Baity 
would have been her choice. Miss Baity has the same ef- 
ficiency, the same devotion to her work that her predeces- 
sor had. She understands well the point of view of the 
faculty, for before coming to the Meredith library she 
taught English and mathematics in high school and for 
several summers was a visiting instructor in the School of 
Library Science in the University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill. 

Jane Greene, '29, who was head of the acquisitions de- 
partment in the Duke University library before coming to 
Meredith in 1945, is in charge of technical processing of 
books here. She has charge of visual aids and the College 
archives. Dorothy McCombs, '62, the third trained librarian, 
has as her particular province readers' service, which in- 
cludes reference work, the supervision of the circulation 
of books, the keeping of the vertical files, and the arrange- 
ment of special displays. 

The staff grew from two librarians with ten student 
workers in 1938-39 to five librarians with thirty student 
workers, with work hours totaling 5,397 in 1965-66. The 
larger staff was necessary with the larger student body, 
more courses, and more books and periodicals. In June, 
1939, according to Miss Baity's reports, the library had 
22,313 volumes; by June, 1966, the number had increased 

258 History of Meredith College 

to 49,521. In 1939 the budget allowed $1,673 for books 
and $461 for periodicals, an appropriation increased by 
1966 to $9,688 for books and $2,066 for periodicals. The 
library began acquiring microfilms in 1964; in 1966 it had 
in its appropriation $2,336 for microfilms. 

Meredith girls are not always in the classroom, labora- 
tory, studio, or library; and people other than their teachers 
are concerned with them. It is the dean of students (a title 
which in 1949 replaced the term dean of women) and her 
staff who give the new student her first contact with Mere- 
dith officials. Lillian Grant, who had been for a year as- 
sistant dean of women, succeeded Miss Baker in 1948. Miss 
Grant had been senior class adviser in several high schools 
and had served with the Sunday School Board as a worker 
with intermediates. Hence she understood especially well 
the background of the entering students. The smile which 
the Twig described as "a smile as welcome as the warm 
spring sunshine" made them feel immediately at home. In 
1950 Miss Grant accepted the position of counselor to girls 
in the Spartanburg High School. Succeeding her, Louise 
Fleming, '21, came to Meredith from the National Board of 
the Y.W.C.A. With an A.M. in history before she began 
work toward a doctorate in personnel guidance. Miss Flem- 
ing kept the academic point of view. In spite of the endless 
details inevitable in an office which is a clearinghouse for 
college activities, she never lost sight of the real function 
of her office, which she defined as "the providing of settings 
which will help the students to practice democratic living 
and to learn how to make decisions and accept the responsi- 
bility for their consequences." The Twig editor commented 
on "her charm and her delightfully informal manner." 

Coming in 1950 as did Miss Fleming, Margaret Schwarz 
was for three years assistant dean of students. For several 
years after she left, Miss Schwarz gave an award of a hun- 
dred dollars to the freshman who best exemplified the 
qualities of good citizenship. From 1953 to 1959 Edith Zinn, 
Madge Aycock, and Anne Maring filled the assistant's 
place successively. The next two, Lu Leake from 1959 to 
1964 and Lucille Peak from 1964 to 1969, were alike in 
more ways than the euphony of their names. Each had an 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 259 

M.R.E. from the Carver School of Missions and Social 
Work; each had been a director of religious activities on a 
college campus before coming to Meredith; each after five 
years went to another Baptist campus as dean of women — 
Miss Leake to Wake Forest University, Miss Peak to Bel- 
mont College in Nashville, Tennessee. Each won the confi- 
dence and love of the freshmen, the counseling of whom was 
the special province of each. 

Five years before Miss Leake came, a third member was 
added to the staff, MaBelle Smith. Though she was not 
professionally trained, Mrs. Smith's sympathetic nature and 
sound common sense made her a valued staff member until 
her retirement in 1965. Elizabeth Jones, who succeeded 
her, was especially valuable in vocational counseling, be- 
cause she had had much experience in administering signifi- 
cant tests and evaluating their results. Mrs. Jones and the 
director of religious activities worked together in the guid- 
ance of students seeking summer employment. 

Succeeding Dr. Lane, William J. Senter became the 
college physician in 1950. Since 1937 two graduate nurses 
have been associated with the college physician in the di- 
rection of the infirmary and the general care of the health 
of the students. After Miss Barnette left in 1950, a number 
of nurses were in the infirmary, none of them staying more 
than two years, most of them only one. In 1958 the College 
was fortunate enough to find Edna Hurst and Lucy H. 
Saunders. The two had been classmates when in training at 
the Roanoke Rapids Hospital. Mrs. Hurst stayed ten years; 
then Pauline Bone came as Mrs. Saunders' associate. 

Agnes Cooper, wife of Dr. Cooper of the music depart- 
ment, succeeded Lois Byrd in 1941 as director of the News 
Bureau, keeping this position till 1947 and resuming it in 
1957, after a succession of six directors in ten years. Mrs. 
Cooper was, like her husband, an excellent photographer 
and was of great aid to him in his photography. She shared 
his interest in music also, and for years she had a column 
in the News and Observer, "Notes and Half Notes." She 
gave up her work at Meredith in 1964 because of the illness 
from which she did not recover. Mrs. Cooper's never-failing 
cheerfulness and her contagious friendliness will be long 

260 History of Meredith College 

remembered on the campus. Faye B. Humphries with ten 
years' experience on the staff of the News and Observer 
and the Raleigh Times succeeded Mrs. Cooper, remaining 
till 1968; she is now with the North Carolina State Com- 
mission for the Blind. 

There was an especial warmth and tenderness in the wel- 
come given to Margaret Craig Martin as a member of the 
faculty in 1953, because the College was saddened by the 
sudden death of her husband, Zeno Martin, on September 1, 
just ten days before the opening of the session. A graduate 
of Wake Forest with experience in education and in busi- 
ness, he succeeded Mr. Hamrick as business manager and 
treasurer in 1943 and in the ten years of his stay came to 
be regarded as one of Meredith's indispensables. In spite of 
a severe heart attack several years earlier, he had given up 
none of the heavy responsibilities or the wide range of ac- 
tivities which were his. The heartiness of his greeting, the 
vigor of his personality, even his substantial frame made 
those about him feel that all's right with the world, and 
that Meredith is an especially favored spot in the good 
world. Dr. Campbell paid him high tribute in resolutions 
drawn up at the request of the trustees : 

His unfailing kindness and geniality endeared him to a host 
of friends and entered significantly into the prevailing spirit in 
whch he devotedly served. The financial records and the physi- 
cal plant bear eloquent testimony to his faithfulness and man- 
agerial discretion. 

The next business manager and treasurer, V. Howard 
Belcher, came to Meredith in January, 1954, from a similar 
position in Lynchburg College. He took up the many com- 
plex duties of his office so quickly and adapted himself to 
Meredith ways with such ease that by commencement he 
had ceased to be a newcomer. Mr. Belcher went to Ran- 
dolph-Macon Woman's College in 1963. His successor, David 
Olmsted, was followed after one year by George Silver, 
who in 1966 was made president of Chesapeake College, in 
Eastern Maryland, an institution which at that time was 
still on paper. Margaret Johnson, cashier-secretary, was in 
the business office from 1958 till 1970; Virginia Scarboro, 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 261 

secretary to the business manager, is now in her tenth year; 
Faye F. Orders came in 1954 and remained for ten years. 
Two pretty scarlet maples of her planting are flourishing 
on the campus. 

As superintendent of buildings and grounds since 1949 
Harry Simmons has worked with five business managers. 
He carries out his manifold responsibilities with quiet, 
steady efficiency. In addition to his principal work, Mr. 
Simmons contributes to the comfort and happiness of resi- 
dents in the dormitories by his unruffled cheerfulness in 
meeting promptly their many extra requests for help, ex- 
tracting a broken key from a lock or rescuing a car from 
the ditch, producing anything needed from a curtain rod to 
a moving van. Clock hours mean nothing to Mr. Simmons; 
seven days a week, any time in the twenty-four hours he 
is to be found on the campus when needed. It is because of 
his devotion to his work and to Meredith that Mr. Simmons 
can say truthfully, "I enjoy every minute of my work." 

It is said that an army travels on its stomach; un- 
doubtedly a college does. Miss Welch, the first trained 
dietitian at Meredith, retired in 1938 after twenty years of 
capable and devoted service. Then there came a succession 
of dietitians and stewards — the less feminine appellation 
being given to the men — all of whom, men and women, 
remained for short terms. The first steward, Cleveland 
Webber, came in 1940. Cafeteria service for breakfast and 
lunch was begun in January, 1945, when J. A. Cohoon was 
steward. The opportunity for choice in fruits, cereals, sal- 
ads, desserts, and drinks added a pleasing variety and the 
greater elasticity of schedule was welcomed. The family- 
style dinner in the evening continued, making possible cer- 
tain amenities of service which kept the table manners of 
the residents from becoming too carelessly informal. 

Complaints about food in college dining rooms are as 
proverbial as mother-in-law jokes; and through the years 
at Meredith, some were justified, more were not. They 
ceased with the coming of Bobbye Hunter in 1957. "From 
Gripes to Grins" was the title of a Twig editorial in ap- 
preciation of Mrs. Hunter. The quality and variety of foods 
and the attractiveness of the service added zest to the daily 


262 History of Meredith College 

meals. The buffet which she introduced for the Christmas 
dinner and for other gala occasions was a joy to the eye 
and the palate. The use of two short cafeteria lines in- 
stead of one long one for breakfast and lunch facilitated the 
serving of those meals. 

Much as the College regretted Mrs. Hunter's going to 
Randolph-Macon in 1964, the dining hall and kitchen with 
Harriet Holler in every way kept up to the high standards 
her predecessor had set. Mrs. Holler came as assistant die- 
titian in February after Mrs. Hunter came in September; 
hence she was thoroughly familiar with the responsibilities 
of the position. The buffets were just as beautiful and ap- 
petizing as before; the everyday meals just as bountiful 
and tasty. Especially popular were the make-your-own- 
sandwich meals and Saturday night suppers with the choice 
of every possible spread for the pancakes. During exami- 
nation week for several years each girl after lunch was 
given a little bag of goodies which the Twig called "sur- 
vival kits, ration bags, morale savers." In spite of the extra 
work and long hours involved, Mrs. Holler always cheer- 
fully went beyond the second mile in arranging for teas, 
picnic suppers, and lunches or dinners for student organiza- 
tions and for the administration. When she retired in 1969, 
the students presented her with a silver chafing dish. 

As was the case with the dietitians, there have been since 
1938 several dining-room hostesses and assistant dietitians; 
sometimes the positions were separate, sometimes com- 
bined. Lulu Watts, dining-room hostess from 1945 till 1953, 
developed a remarkable esprit de corps among her student 
helpers. From the first she was Aunt Lu to them; she loved 
them and they returned her affection in full measure. Be- 
cause of the illness which proved fatal, she resigned in 
January, 1953. 

After Miss Watts the next hostess who stayed long 
enough to become a part of the College was Ellen D. Mimms, 
who gave up a well earned retirement to spend four years 
as hostess in the Meredith dining hall. She was succeeded 
by Frances E. Thorne in 1961. Elizabeth Rice was assistant 
dietitian from 1964 till 1969. She came to Meredith after a 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 263 

two-year stay in Lima, Peru, where her husband. Dr. John 
C. Rice, was head of the agricultural mission sponsored by 
North Carolina State University. 

Miss White after twenty-one years as house director at 
Meredith went in 1942 to Brenau College, where she re- 
mained till shortly before her death in 1967. Mary McCoy 
Egerton took her place at Meredith. Mrs. Egerton's friend- 
liness and eager enthusiasm endeared her to the College 
community. After ten years she left to take charge of a 
residence hall in Alabama State College. Agnes Mayes came 
to the position next, remaining until her retirement in 
1956. Influenced perhaps by her three-year residence in 
France as a student,^^ Mrs. Mayes established the happy 
custom of afternoon tea in her living room in Faircloth 
Hall, where one could drop in with complete informality. 

Martha J. Whilden, who since 1951 had been assistant to 
four house directors, was made house director in 1959, 
keeping the position till her retirement five years later. 
Mrs. Whilden and her assistant, Lucile Dandridge, who 
came in 1961, like most of their predecessors, showed 
genuine artistry in flower arrangements — a gift as distinc- 
tive as Miss Welch's and Miss Rhodes's green thumbs. Mrs. 
Whilden once said, "I can make flowers from weeds if I 
have to," and she did. Since 1960 Mrs. Whilden's daughter, 
Mary Whilden Liles, has been laundry supervisor. In 1964, 
Frances Thorne, leaving her position as dining-hall hostess 
to Josephine Booth, became house director. In a position 
which becomes more difficult as residence halls and stu- 
dents multiply and as students have more freedom, she 
has shown her competence in coping with changing con- 
ditions with poise and cheerfulness. Often the maids have 
spoken appreciatively of the house directors' sympathetic 
interest in them as individuals, not merely as workers. 

Night watchmen come and go, leaving very different im- 
pressions on the campus. The older faculty remember 
Homer Grogan as the son of Roy Grogan, the fireman on 
the old campus. The younger Mr. Grogan was a staunch 

^ Mrs. Mayes spent the first year of her retirement in Paris in the home 
of the family with whom she had fifty years earlier lived as a student, having 
her same place at the table. She now lives with her daughter in Charlotte, 

264 History of Meredith College 

ally to Miss Baker, who sometimes referred to him as her 
assistant dean of women. Once he reported that a room in 
Vann Hall would sometimes be lighted until two o'clock in 
the morning; the culprit proved to be an English teacher, 
toiling over freshman themes. Another watchman, whose 
name is best forgotten, was nicknamed Grendel. 

Raymond L. Herndon's position on the Meredith Campus 
was unique. For nine years, beginning in 1959, he was of- 
ficially the night watchman, like Mr. Grogan and others a 
faithful, capable watchman. As he wrote once in a letter to 
the Twig, "Meredith girls can sleep tight because I am 
awake." Unofficially he was father to all the girls; and Pops 
Herndon, as he was affectionately called, loved them all. 
He wrote for the Twig Christmas greetings to the students, 
farewells to the seniors, and welcomes to the new girls. In 
1964 he told of his reply to an inquirer about the "crop of 
new girls." "I told him that we had the cream of the crop, 
as always." Each year he gave the big Christmas tree on 
the oval in front of Johnson Hall; one year he gave also the 
trees in the Blue Parlor and the dining hall. 

The affection was mutual. His firm step, his warm, con- 
tagious smile, his ready jest endeared him to everyone. 
Notes of appreciation appeared in the Twig; the 1962 Oak 
Leaves was dedicated to him; he was chosen Duke of Play 
Day in 1963. 

Even with a larger faculty and staff, there continued to 
be informal sociability among the members. They, as well 
as the students, enjoyed the Russian tea served by the dean 
of students with her staff each afternoon of examination 
week, a custom begun by Miss Baker and continued by Miss 
Grant and Miss Fleming. The special occasions when Miss 
Brewer and Miss Hanyen served coffee and tea before the 
faculty meetings were always welcome. 

The custom of coffee after lunch, served usually once a 
week by various members of the faculty and staff, has be- 
come firmly established. The number of guests is so variable 
that the late-comer may be urged to drink three cups of 
coffee or may be offered only a half-cup of half-coffee 
and half-water — a beverage which Miss Grimmer calls 
"stump water." Sometimes there is only coffee with crack- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 265 

ers; more often, delectable homemade cake or cookies, 
cranberry bread, cheese balls, nuts, and candy are served. 
The coffees given in the home economics reception room or 
in Mae Grimmer House are especially festive events, as is 
the laboratory Christmas party of the chemistry depart- 
ment, when the guests see fascinating scientific phenomena 
as they enjoy Christmas goodies with punch and coffee 
served in beakers. Such gatherings keep something of the 
quality which faculty relationships had when the College 
was much smaller. So do the little groups, often made up 
of faculty and students, to be found almost any time of day 
in the Bee Hive. 

Other entertainments more formal took place when the 
Campbells, the Peacocks, and other College families were at 
home to the entire faculty and staff. The Peacocks re- 
mained unruffled even when an untimely shower drove 
into the house the guests who were scattered on the lovely 
lantern-lighted lawn. An occasion of especial note was the 
house-warming which Mr. and Mrs. Harry Simmons gave 
in the house which they themselves had built. 

Retiring faculty and staff members then, as now, were 
honored in various ways. In 1945 those who had served 
twenty-five years or more were dinner guests of the trust- 
ees and were presented with silver appropriately engraved. 
Mr. Boomhour, Mrs. Sorrell and Miss Allen, who were re- 
tired; and the Misses Brewer, Johnson, and Rhodes, Dr. 
Canaday, Dr. Freeman, and Mr. Riley, who were at that 
time still in service, were the nine thus honored. 

Will Nichols, janitor, and Catherine Evans, maid, were 
each on that occasion presented with twenty-five silver 
dollars in recognition of more than twenty-five years of 
service. When Will Nichols retired in 1956, he had spent 
thirty-five of his sixty-five years at Meredith. Joshomore 
Broadie, who was first a cook and then a janitor, exceeded 
twenty-five years before his death in 1963. Arthelia Cole, 
maid, who was with the College when it moved to its pres- 
ent site, retired in 1965, three years before her death. 

Each year there are at Meredith events of interest to 
outsiders as well as to the campus. In the concert and lec- 
ture series there have been noteworthy people in various 

266 History of Meredith College 

areas. Highlights in the musical events were the organ 
recitals of Virgil Fox. Thomas and Louise Curtis, organist 
and soprano, were also on the campus for two days. 

The nine members of the Trapp family gave an espe- 
cially appealing program, the first half being sacred music, 
the second native ballads and folk songs. The dual aspects 
of the series met in a lecture-recital, "An Evening of Bal- 
lads," when Isaac G. Greer, former superintendent of the 
Baptist Homes in North Carolina, talked and sang, with 
Mrs. Greer accompanying his songs on a dulcimer. Suzanne 
Bloch, an accomplished player of the lute, the virginal, and 
the recorder as well as a scholarly lecturer in music of the 
Elizabethan period, gave two lecture-recitals during her 
two-day visit to the campus. 

Some of the lecturers whom the series brought were 
noted nationally and internationally. Ruth Bryan Owen, 
daughter of William Jennings Bryan, was a United States 
congresswoman who earlier held an office which had the 
flavor of Gilbert and Sullivan, "Envoy Extraordinary and 
Minister Plenipotentiary to Denmark." "Galaxies and What 
They do for Us" was the subject of Harlow Shapley, the 
distinguished astronomer. From England came Rhys Davis, 
member of Parliament; Marjorie Reeves, lecturer in medi- 
eval history at Oxford University; and Charles E. Raven, 
chaplain to Elizabeth II. 

Several times speakers stayed for two days on the cam- 
pus, so that in addition to the evening lectures and assem- 
bly programs there were opportunities for conferences with 
individuals or small groups in the afternoon. Hollis Sum- 
mers, poet and novelist, was one of these; Lisa Sergio, an- 
other. The official French and English interpreter for Mus- 
solini, she had been at the same time the only woman 
radio commentator in Europe, broadcasting in French and 
English. Her criticism of the totalitarian regime had be- 
come so daring that to avoid arrest she had fled to the 
United States, aided in her escape by Guglielmo Marconi, 
who had earlier encouraged her to enter the field of radio. 
In this country she soon became a leading radio commen- 
tator and was at one time editor of the Worldover Press 
Service. Hence she was well qualified to give "A World's 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 267 

Eye View of Ourselves." One of the best informed of the 
speakers on the world situation who have come to Mere- 
dith, she was also one of the most effective. After her 
April, 1961, visit she returned in the fall "by popular de- 
mand," the Twig reported. 

Founders' Day and commencement also brought well- 
known speakers and preachers. Among them were Mar- 
jorie Nicolson, president of Phi Beta Kappa, who in 1942 
was the first woman to deliver the commencement ad- 
dress ;^^ Reinhold Niebuhr, George Buttrick, and Halford 
Luccock, theologians and writers; Kyle Haselden, editor of 
the Christian Century; Gerald Johnson, journalist and 
biographer; Henry Steele Commager, economist and his- 
torian; Josef Nordenhaug, general secretary of the Baptist 
World Alliance; John Marsh, principal of Mansfield College 
in Oxford University; and Margaret Mead, anthropologist. 

Several speakers came more than once, either for dif- 
ferent occasions the same year or for the same occasion in 
different years. Elton Truebood, philosopher and theologian 
of Earlham College, was welcomed to the campus for the 
fifth time when he spoke at an informal meeting of stu- 
dents sponsored by the department of religion. Other de- 
partments have brought speakers; the departments of so- 
ciology and geography, history, and religion brought Dan 
Pattir, of the Embassy of Israel in Washington; the eco- 
nomics departments of Meredith and North Carolina State 
University brought John Kenneth Galbraith of Harvard. 

One of Dr. Truebood's earlier visits had been as a lec- 
turer in the School of Christian Studies. This long cher- 
ished plan of Dr. Campbell's reached its fruition first in 
June, 1953. Its purpose was stated in the announcement 
issued in the spring : 

To bring thoughtful ministers and laymen together in dis- 
cussion with lecturers who are making major, scholarly contribu- 
tions to Christian life and thought. 

The first program committee was made up of Dr. McLain 

^« Because her train was four hours late, Dr. Nicolson did not appear till 
after twelve o'clock for the graduation exercises scheduled to begin at 10 :30. 
She was so captivating a speaker, however, that the audience, who had been 
dismissed at 11:00 to reassemble at 12:00, in five minutes after she began to 
speak completely forgot the delay. 

268 History of Meredith College 

as chairman; Dr. Campbell; Harold J. Dudley, executive 
secretary of the North Carolina Presbyterian Synod; Claude 
Gaddy, executive secretary of the North Carolina Baptist 
Council on Christian Education; Edwin A. Penick, bishop of 
the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina; E. McNeill Poteat, 
pastor of Pullen Memorial Church; and Sydnor L. Stealey, 
president of the Southeastern Baptist Seminary. Each year 
the program, as well as the committee, cut completely 
across denominational lines. 

The first year Roland H. Bainton, noted specialist in 
Reformation history, gave in the evenings four lectures on 
the general theme. Rethinking the Reformation. After a 
half-hour of fellowship and refreshments, another lecture 
and a panel discussion completed the morning session. In 
the afternoon there was time for informal conferences with 
the speakers and time for rest and recreation; vespers af- 
ter dinner and another lecture in the evening brought the 
full day to an end. This schedule, except for the substitu- 
tion of another lecture for the panel discussion, set the 
pattern for succeeding sessions. 

In later years among other eminent speakers came Mar- 
kus Barth, the authority in the Divinity School of the Uni- 
versity of Chicago in the field of New Testament studies, 
who chose for his four lectures in 1960 Conversations with 
the Bible. Dr. Barth was born and reared in the home of 
his uncle, Karl Barth. Alan Richardson, canon of Durham 
Cathedral, spoke in 1960 on Frontiers in English Theologi- 
cal Thought Today. Herbert Gezork, president of Andover 
Newton Seminary, gave in 1955 a series of lectures in 
Christian Faith and Crucial Issues. Spice was added to the 
1965 program with a special illustrated lecture "The Gospel 
According to Peanuts" by Robert Short of the Divinity 
School of the University of Chicago. 

Dr. Campbell showed courage in his decision concerning 
Nels F. S. Ferre, professor of philosophical theology in 
Vanderbilt University, the featured speaker in 1954, with 
his topic, Christianity and Society. Dr. Ferre had just be- 
come the target of sharp criticism and the center of bitter 
controversy because of some of his theological ideas. His 
engagement as a speaker for the Baptist Student Union 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 269 

Convention had recently been canceled, and another Bap- 
tist college and a theological seminary had withdrawn their 
invitations to him. Dire prophecies were made as to the 
effect on Meredith if his part on the program of the School 
of Christian Studies were not canceled. He came, he spoke 
— and the prophesied tempest was not even of teapot size. 
No speaker in any year made a more scholarly contribution 
to the discussions or a deeper spiritual impact on the 
audience than Dr. Ferre. 

The last School of Christian Studies was held in October, 
1968, rather than in the summer. To those who came it is 
inexplicable why the attendance was never large. The 
"thoughtful ministers and laymen" who did come usually 
returned year after year and found spiritual and intellec- 
tual quickening in the unvarying excellence of the pro- 
grams. As rooms and meals at a minimum cost were pro- 
vided on the campus, the "goodly fellowship" drew the 
small group together, giving opportunities for informal 
discussions which were both stimulating and relaxing. Kyle 
Haselden, the late editor of the Christian Century, re- 
ferred to the School of Christian Studies as "the intel- 
lectual fertile crescent of the South." 

The introduction of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture 
in 1964 gave the whole Meredith community and the gen- 
eral public an opportunity to add to their knowledge and 
interest in various fields. These lectures were given each 
semester through 1966-67; since then they have been yearly 
events. The ideal, a lecture both scholarly and popular, 
"just the right combination of meat and froth," is not 
easily attainable; but the first lecturer. Dr. Rose (from 
whom the apt phrase above was quoted), reached that 
ideal. Her enthusiasm for Shakespeare and her thorough 
knowledge of his plays made her lecture, "Shakespeare's 
Limnings: A Study of Children in Shakespeare's Plays," 
an excellent choice for 1964, the four-hundredth anniver- 
sary of Shakespeare's birth. A good balance in the year's 
program came in the spring with Dr. Mary Yarbrough's 
clear presentation of DNA (the merciful shortening for the 
layman of deoxyribonucleic acid), "the material which is 
found in the nuclei of all cells, often called 'the code of 

270 History of Meredith College 

life'." Dr. Tilley's "Deity in Aeschylus, Albee et al." was 
as clever — and as scholarly — as one would expect it to be. 
Mr. Blanchard's "Jephthah's Daughter in the Solo Vocal 
Music of Carissimi and Handel" was illustrated by musical 
selections from these two composers. 

The early years of Dr. Campbell's administration, as those 
of Dr. Brewer's, were shadowed by war; for each man was 
in the second year of his presidency when the United States 
entered a world war. Three of the faculty were given leaves 
of absence for service in the armed forces in the second 
world war — Clayton Charles and Elliott Healey in the navy 
and Edgar Alden in the army. Three resigned to go into 
service — Charles LaMond, assistant professor of music, to 
enter the army; George A. Christenberry, professor of 
biology, to enter the navy; and Marian Brockaway, instruc- 
tor in sociology, to join the WACS. Though appeals from 
the WACS and WAVES appeared in the Twig and recruit- 
ing officers were sent to the campus, no student withdrew 
from college to enter military service.^'^ Evidently parents 
and students wisely decided that the best service college 
girls can give to their country in time of war is to prepare 
for peace. 

The College shared in the war activities of other civilians 
over the country. Mrs. Marsh, chairman of the war activities 
committee at Meredith, reported that the purchase of bonds 
by Meredith students, faculty, and staff reached a total of 
$43,339.50. This amount with the $153,440 thus invested by 
the College was designated for "mercy units," such as trans- 
atlantic hospital planes and ambulances for use at home and 
overseas. In recognition of this achievement, the United 
States Maritime Commission in 1945 named a ship the 
S. S. Meredith Victory}^ 

On the campus there were air-raid drills, blackouts, first 
aid classes, knitting and bandage rolling, the collection of 

'^~ Chapter IX has an account of the activities of the alumnae in this period. 

^ Naval Affairs in September, 1951, carried an account (later used as the 
basis of an article in the Reader's Digest) of an after-the-war feat of the 
Meredith Victory. As a Moore-McCormack Lines freighter "with space for 
only 12 passengers and her 46-man crew" the boat accomplished an unparal- 
leled rescue exploit in carrying from Hungnam 15,000 homeless Koreans to 
a refugee camp in Ko.ieto. In November, 1966, according to information sent 
the College by the Maritime Commission, the Meredith Victory was taken 
from mothballs at Puget Sound and prepared for transportation service 

"Suhstantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 271 

waste paper and scrap metal, packing of Christmas boxes 
for soldiers in hospitals, entertainments at the U.S.O. cen- 
ters — all of which absorbed time and attention. Such ac- 
tivities were of value to students themselves in a time when 
travel restrictions limited visits to and from the campus, 
and when many were anxious about relatives, friends, and 
fiances overseas. 

War marriages took some students away from the Col- 
lege; others with husbands overseas remained as students. 
The residence regulations were changed in regard to the 
married student; she was allowed to live in the dormitory if 
her husband was overseas. Later that condition was re- 
moved; and now, with the approval of the dean of students, 
an occasional married student becomes a dormitory resi- 
dent, living under the same regulations as do the other 
resident students. 

After the war there was a decided increase in the num- 
ber of married students living in Raleigh, most of them 
wives of North Carolina State students. A thriving Mrs. 
Club was made up of girls going through college, one of the 
members said, "with Shakespeare in one hand and a pan- 
cake turner in the other, muttering 'To be or not to be . . .' " 
and "One cup of flour, one tablespoon of butter . . ." In 
1963 there were about fifty married students, taking work 
varying from three to eighteen hours, varying in age from 
nineteen to thirty, some of them with five children. Now 
and then a grandmother comes. 

"Varied activities on the campus blend into a pattern of 
purposeful living." This headline in the spring, 1947 Alum- 
nae Magazine which gave an account of the events of the 
campus could well be applied to life on the Meredith cam- 
pus in years of war or peace. Some of these activities are of 
interest to outsiders; others primarily concern the campus. 

Stunt Night, Christmas caroling, the Christmas concert, 
and May Day are traditions of long standing, as are the 
dramatic productions. Formerly a play was given each year 
by each society and by the senior class. Now all the plays 
are sponsored by the Meredith Playhouse. Medea, given 
in 1955, was the first Greek play since Alcestis in 1935. 
Margaret Tucker, who was Medea in the Playhouse produc- 

272 History of Meredith College 

tion, had the same role in 1969 when the Raleigh Little 
Theater gave the play. Electra, Everyman, Midsummer 
Night's Dream (the first play given in the Baptist Female 
University), As You Like It, Twelfth Night, The School for 
Scandal, The Heiress and The Innocents ( two plays adapted 
from Henry James's Washington Square and The Turn of 
the Screw), The Chalk Garden, The Glass Menagerie, The 
Cocktail Party, and The Zoo Story are among the plays 
which have been presented. 

The exhibit of Christmas foods prepared by the depart- 
ment of home economics and shown each year in Hunter 
Hall was first given for the Raleigh Garden Club and was 
usually held at the Woman's Club, though one year it was at 
the Governor's Mansion. Requests for it to be given outside 
Raleigh multiplied; one year the traditional cooky tree and 
the other toothsome dainties must have become travel worn, 
for the exhibit was moved five times. The spring dance 
concert and the horse show on May Day also bring inter- 
ested outsiders in increasing numbers each year. 

Other annual events are of interest primarily to the cam- 
pus. The dormitories vie with one another in the originality 
and beauty of the Christmas decorations on the bedroom 
doors, and after the Christmas dinner an award is given for 
a floor and for an individual door. 

Play Day, sponsored by the Recreation Association, was 
celebrated for the first time in 1941 and for the last in 
1969. In April or May classes were suspended for an after- 
noon, and from the students a duchess and from the faculty 
a duke were chosen to reign over the sports. In 1941, the 
Twig reported, the duke was given "a gold crown of 
twenty-four carrots." The four-hour reign always ended 
with a dip in the fountain. 

Tennis, archery, horseshoes, shuffleboard, badminton, 
and horseback riding attracted the more energetic. Stu- 
dents humored the portly middle-aged or the daintily Vic- 
torian members of the faculty by challenges to croquet. 
In the shade of the big oaks in the court, jackrocks, ca- 
nasta, scrabble, bridge, chess, and checkers drew spectators 
as well as contestants. The nonchalance with which Dr. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 273 

Canaday played — and won — two games of checkers at the 
same time, one with his right hand and one with his left, 
kept an amazed circle around him and his two challengers. 

Everything gave way to the softball game later in the 
afternoon, which with the standbys — Campbell, Peacock, 
Canaday, Cunningham, Williams, Scarboro — and with 
others less skilled, the faculty frequently won. Thus they 
belied the 1953 faculty contribution to the song contest, 
"The Old Gray Mare, She Ain't What She Used to Be." 
Occasionally they won in the total number of points scored 
for the day. It was significant of the esprit de corps of the 
day students that, competing for the first time in 1954 with 
the four dormitories and with the faculty, they won the 
coveted award — a tin cup. 

The picnic supper in the court was the climax of the day, 
especially for the faculty children. There were usually be- 
tween twenty and thirty of them — babies sleeping placidly 
through the ooh's of admiration they excited; toddlers who 
had to be lifted to see Daddy run in the sack race, the 
potato race, and the three-legged race; small children who 
were allowed to win at hopscotch; and long-legged boys who 
were easily victorious over students playing their best. 
Whether spectators or participants, the faculty children 
added charm and color to Play Day. 

Corn Huskin', also sponsored by the Recreation Associa- 
tion, came in 1945; in deference to midwestern Miss Peter- 
son, who introduced the event, the shucks are called husks. 
Couples are often unrecognizable in blue jeans and calico, 
torn straw hats and sunbonnets, galluses and pigtails, with 
corncob pipes and bandannas. Through the years Corn 
Huskin' has become more elaborate; especially so is the 
parade with which the program begins, and in which each 
class has a theme carried out in songs and costumes. 

The contests bring out unexpected talents. The first year, 
the Twig reported, a freshman was the best chicken caller 
and was given an egg basket filled with candy-coated al- 
monds. Dr. Freeman, the best hog caller, received a piggy 
bank. After Dr. Freeman's retirement. Dr. Campbell be- 
came the champion hog caller; there are several experts 

274 History of Meredith College 

in chicken calling. The students' nimble fingers give the 
faculty small chance in husking corn; in bobbing for 
apples their chances are about even. Other contests are 
sometimes added for a year or two. The Twig announced a 
pie-eating contest for 1957. For that year also, the Twig re- 
ported, chicken calling was to be replaced by a cow-milking 
contest, in which each class was "to make its own cow." 
The telling of tall tales has become one of the established 
contests, with tales rivaling those of Baron Munchausen. 
Relay races, three-legged races, and folk dances end the 
evening of fun. 

The school year begins for the new students and their 
counselors and the leaders of campus organization earlier 
than for the other students. In orientation week the dazed 
freshman is welcomed by every College organization and 
official; is repeatedly tested (one freshman wrote that her 
legs were growing into the shape of a lapboard); and is 
given training in Student Government regulations, in study 
habits, in the catalogue, and in the use of the library. In 
every minute not used otherwise the many welcomes are 
reinforced by many entertainments, from formal recep- 
tions to pajama parties. The dazed looks gradually wear 
off the freshman faces, and the progress of the year proves 
the effectiveness of the strenuous week.^^ A freshman 
granddaughter wrote in the account of the semester's hap- 
penings in the Fall, 1961, Alumnae Magazine: "Within a 
few weeks the phrasing of the suggestion to return to the 
dormitory changed from 'Let's go back' to 'Let's go home'." 

The first week does not end the special care of the new 
students — the freshmen and those with advanced standing. 
They are divided into groups of six or seven, each group 
having a student counselor and a faculty adviser. A chief 
counselor with the advice of one of the dean of students' 
staff has general charge of the program. Each group meets 
with its counselor and adviser for programs designed to 
help the newcomers in becoming good Meredith citizens. 
The group enjoys occasional teas, dinners, or picnics with 

^ Since 1941 the adjustment has been made easier for the new girls by the 
glimpse of Meredith life which they have at Hospitality Weekend in the 
spring before they enter. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant ProTuise" 275 

its counselor and adviser. Each student's welfare is a matter 
of concern to both of these, and they welcome the oppor- 
tunity for individual as well as group conferences. 

The three major organizations of which all new students 
are members — and will be so long as they stay at Meredith 
— are the Student Government Association, the Meredith 
Recreation Association, and the Meredith Christian As- 

At best, student government always places a heavy re- 
sponsibility on the officers of the Association, especially on 
the president. In 1962 a change in the structure of the or- 
ganization made student government more efficient and 
somewhat easier. Three boards were established — the Leg- 
islative Board, the Judicial Board, and the Student Ac- 
tivities Board — each with a vice-president of the Associa- 
tion in charge. The Student Council is the executive branch 
of the Association. The Legislative Board seeks to interpret 
and clarify existing regulations and considers changes in 
them. The Judicial Board considers all infractions of rules 
for which the penalties are not specifically given in the 
Handbook. The main concerns of the Student Activities 
Board are given in the 1966 Oak Leaves thus : 

To encourage and promote social activities for students, fac- 
ulty, and administration; to educate the student body in standards 
of social behavior; and to develop cultural interests. 

The findings of all these boards are submitted to the student 
body. The faculty committee on Student Government was 
in 1962 also divided into three sections; thus the work of 
the members is made less time-demanding. 

Changes in social regulations which later became much 
more sweeping were beginning to take place in Dr. Camp- 
bell's administration. As students assumed more responsi- 
bilities, many regulations of earlier years became unneces- 
sary; and others were modified with changing customs. 
Otherwise, Meredith would be an anachronism. 

Occasionally a raised eyebrow and a shocked exclama- 
tion showed the alarmed distrust with which an alumna of 
the early days read the 1965-66 Student Handbook. Fresh- 
men were allowed three afternoon and three evening dates 

276 History of Meredith College 

a week, and juniors and seniors could have "social en- 
gagements at their discretion." Freshmen were allowed to 
go to six dances a year, and seniors nine. Freshmen could 
have three weekends the first semester and four the second, 
seniors an unlimited number. On Friday or Saturday nights 
with late permission a freshman could be out till 1 : 00 a.m. 
six times a year; the number increased by classes to nine 
the senior year. The rule against smoking had been re- 
laxed; not a word appeared in the Handbook about wearing 
a hat. Chaperonage was virtually a thing of the past. "What 
is Meredith coming to! In my day. . . ."^^ 

Occasionally another alumna of the same generation read 
the same Handbook with amused incredulity that Meredith 
continued so strict. Church attendance was encouraged, 
rather than required; but chapel attendance five times a 
week was still required. No dances took place on the cam- 
pus and students could go to those off the campus only if 
they were given by approved organizations or institutions. 
Smoking was not allowed in the classrooms, the labora- 
tories, the dining hall, the library, or Johnson Hall. When 
she left the campus, the student signed a card showing 
where she was going, when, with whom, to which was 
added the exact time of her return. Though there was no 
longer a light bell (except for freshmen), after the of- 
ficial bedtime of 11:15 students were to be in their suites 
until rising bell. "You treat them like children!" the eman- 
cipated alumna exclaimed. 

Either attitude by itself would be disconcerting. The two 
together were — and are — almost as reassuring as the praise 
frequently given to the College because of the poised be- 
havior of its students and their ability and willingness to 
assume adult responsibilities when they become Meredith 

The extremely abbreviated gym suits of 1966 would 
have horrified the maidens of 1906 as much as the long 
skirts of 1906 or the voluminous bloomers which succeeded 
them would handicap the athletes of 1966. Nevertheless, 

20 These older alumnae probably forgot or never knew that in the first 
issue of the Twig, April 30, 1921, a report from the Student Government 
Association stated that "compulsory church and Sunday school attendance 
ought to be abolished." 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 277 

the students at the turn of the century would have agreed 
with the aim of the Meredith Recreation Association (until 

1965 the Meredith Athletic Association) set forth in the 

1966 Oak Leaves: 

The purpose of the Meredith Recreation Association is to de- 
velop a sound body, along with a sound mind; to promote health, 
happiness, and a spirit of fair play. 

The 1968 Oak Leaves pointed out that "the body-builders, 
the weight-watchers, the fun-minded activists all find out- 
lets in the diverse functions of the M.R.A." 

Tournaments in basketball, volleyball, softball, tennis, 
badminton, and ping-pong are held at various times in the 
year. Individual sports such as hiking, bowling, bicycling, 
and horseback riding also have an important place in the ac- 
tivities. The Hoofprint Club, like the Tennis Club and the 
Monogram Club, is a separate organization under the aus- 
pices of the Recreation Association. Its breakfast rides, be- 
gun with Mr. Martin's encouragement and aid, have become 
an established custom. 

While athletics continue to predominate in the activities 
of the Association, the more inclusive term Recreation 
Association better indicates its functions; for it sponsors 
Corn Huskin', Stunt Night, Christmas caroling, and May 
Day. Until 1953 it sponsored Palio; and until 1969, Play Day. 

As the Meredith Recreation Association fosters whole- 
some physical recreation and development, the Meredith 
Christian Association encourages a like spiritual growth. 
From 1928 when it replaced the Y.W.C.A. on the campus 
until 1963 when the Meredith Christian Association began, 
the Baptist Student Union was the organization which 
sought to strengthen the spiritual life of the College and 
to coordinate all its religious activities. Through its study 
courses, chapel programs, sunrise services on special days, 
state conventions and conferences, and collegiate and inter- 
collegiate parties, the B.S.U. made an important contri- 
bution to Meredith life. Its council planned and directed 
the activities of Religious Emphasis Week, always a spiri- 
tually significant experience in the school year. After 1963 
the activities of the Young Woman's Auxiliary were merged 

278 History of Meredith College 

with those of the B.S.U. and M.C.A. The 1962-63 Handbook 
made clear the place which the Y.W.A. held on the campus 
while it was a campus organization: 

Study led by visiting missionaries, service projects in the 
Raleigh neighborhood, observance of special weeks of prayer 
with the privilege of giving make up the Y.W.A. program. All 
who would develop sensitivity to mankind's hunger can find 
here opportunities for intelligent action. 

The B.S.U. was by no means so limited as its name im- 
plied. Students of other denominations found places of use- 
fulness in it, and its community service cut across denomi- 
national lines. Nine years before the M.C.A. was organized, 
there were representatives of other denominations on the 
B.S.U. Council. It supported the work of the World's Student 
Christian Federation. Representatives went to interdenomi- 
national conferences; for instance, during the Christmas 
holidays in 1955-56 four Meredith students attended the 
Ecumenical Student Conference on Christian World Mis- 
sions held at Ohio State University. 

Thus the foundation was well laid for the M.C.A. Con- 
tinuing as a unit of the M.C.A., the B.S.U. can be more dis- 
tinctively denominational in its emphasis than it was before 
1963, as is evident in the three-fold purpose stated in the 
1963-64 Handbook and unchanged in 1969-70: 

To strengthen, correlate, and tmify all the Baptist religious 
activities into one campus unit with a strong central base of 
operation; to provide for the Baptist students at Meredith an 
informative program concerning Baptist doctrine, institutions, 
and affairs; and to project a dynamic program of missionary 
education through LISTEN (Love Impels Sacrifice Toward Every 
Need) and to provide definite channels for contributions and 

The purpose of the Meredith Christian Association, as set 
forth in the 1963-64 Handbook and in succeeding issues is 
one to which the most loyal adherent to any denomination 
can agree : 

To provide the means of understanding the truths of God in 
Christ and the opportunities for expressing them by creative 
service; to strengthen, correlate, and unify all the separate re- 
ligious denominations into one campus fellowship with an all- 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 279 

inclusive program of religious activity; and at the same time 
to encourage each student in appreciation of her particular de- 
nominational heritage. 

Whether the religious organization w^as the Baptist Stu- 
dent Union or the Meredith Christian Association, Catholic 
and Jewish students felt no less a part of Meredith because 
of a faith different from their own. A Catholic mother, a 
Meredith graduate who is a member of the faculty of the 
Catholic University of America, wrote of the gratitude 
which she and her husband feel to Meredith for what it 
meant to their three daughters, all of whom graduated from 

Our daughters' attendance at Meredith spanned a period of 
nine years, 1958-1967. In religion classes they were encouraged 
to do their reading, papers, and reports on their own faith. In 
vespers and in chapel they were asked to present their Catholic 
beliefs. In the dorm there were many discussions around the 
similarities and differences of the various religions represented. 
We feel that these experiences as they were living in a religious 
school such as Meredith, a school which stresses Christian belief 
and behavior, helped to strengthen their faith and to make them 
better Christians. 

An orthodox Jewish student wrote: 

As a Jewish student I felt very much at home at Meredith. 
I loved my years there and cherish warm memories of them. I 
had my introduction to the New Testament in a course given 
there. Once when I saw a sign at State College saying, "Atten- 
tion, all Baptists!" I paused immediately to read it! 

The M.C.A. continues the religious activities at Meredith 
which the B.S.U. had fostered. LISTEN, a southwide pro- 
gram begun among Southern Baptists in 1953 and intro- 
duced on the Meredith campus by the B.S.U. in 1955, has the 
wholehearted support of the Christian Association also. 
Contributions from students and faculty are supplemented 
by various moneymaking projects, the most popular being 
the car-washing week, in which Meredith and the North 
Carolina State B.S.U. cooperate. At least five Meredith stu- 
dents have been among the summer workers who go out to 
mission fields as part of this program. One of the five went 
to Mexico, one to Hawaii, and three to Africa. Some stu- 

280 History of Meredith College 

dents have been summer workers for the Sunday School 
Board and for the Home Mission Board. Others served with 
the state program, North Carolina Volunteers. Six Mere- 
dith students in 1968 went to the Baptist World Youth 
Conference in Berne, Switzerland. 

The M.C.A. encourages Sunday school and church at- 
tendance, which since 1963 has been voluntary. The im- 
portance of having a church home in Raleigh is stressed; 
early in the first semester there is a Join-the-Church Sun- 
day, preceded by a Meet-the-Ministers tea. Buses are pro- 
vided by the College and the churches to take students to 
Sunday school and church. The pastors of the churches 
which the students attend are on occasions guests at dinner, 
and those who come as chapel speakers are usually intro- 
duced by student members of their congregations. 

The churches are generous both in financial help and in 
their hospitality to students. At the beginning of the school 
year new students are entertained by the churches, some- 
times at progressive dinners, sometimes at picnics. Dough- 
nuts-and-coffee breakfasts on Sunday mornings and fellow- 
ship suppers Sunday evenings are customary in most of the 
churches to which students belong. Thus they have the op- 
portunity to mingle with other college students and with 
other young people. Students sing in church choirs; some 
serve as choir directors or organists; many more teach Sun- 
day school classes. 

However close the church ties may be, however much one 
may value the "togetherness" of the campus community, 
there is always a need which Rupert Brooke felt when he 
wrote, "I have need to busy my heart with quietude." The 
tiny chapel created in 1965 from an unused storage room in 
Jones Hall helps to meet this need and encourages students 
to follow the Biblical injunction, "Be still and know that I 
am God." Much credit is due Mr. Walker, the director of 
religious activities who conceived the idea and worked it 
out. He enlisted the aid of the Meredith art department and 
of John Hix of the North Carolina State School of Design 
in planning it. Meredith and State students did eighty 
per cent of the actual work; the heavy carpentry was done 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 281 

by the Meredith maintenance men, who contributed their 
own time to make the wooden benches. The chapel with its 
steeply slanted walls of cedar shingles, with lights set in 
the ceiling which throw the shadow of the iron cross over 
the severely plain altar is strikingly modernistic; a Twig 
writer called it "shocking and beautiful." 

In many ways the Meredith students seek to carry out 
their purpose as stated in the 1953-54 Student Handbook, 
"to translate into attitude and action the truth of the 
Christian faith." One evidence of the effectiveness of these 
efforts can be seen in a letter addressed in 1942 to "Presi- 
dent Meredith College, City," by the Wake County jailer: 

The work your young people are doing at the jails is much 
appreciated. Yesterday morning the girl who taught the Church 
School lesson to us captured the attention of all, including two 
of oiu: roughest men. After she left, their indictments of religion 
and their invectives against it were softened. They even intro- 
duced questions afterwards which developed into long discussions 
of religion. Just thought you would like to know. 

A jail is not an easy place for young, inexperienced girls 
to hold religious services; but rain, sleet, examinations, or 
late engagements Saturday night — none of these kept the 
girls from holding these Sunday services in the county and 
the city jail and those at the women's prison farm. 

More than twenty years later the superintendent of the 
Raleigh Rescue Mission paid a tribute somewhat like the 
jailer's to the Meredith girls who came each Wednesday 
evening with the students from the Southeastern Seminary 
in Wake Forest : 

As for the appreciation for the men and women and their 
services I cannot say too much. They have really given a lift to 
the men's spirits and have added a feeling of worship. 

And he gave a comment typical of the men's appreciative 
words : 

It is wonderful of them to give their time and to think enough 
about us to come here to sing hymns and anthems. 

The work in the jail and the prison farm began as the 
responsibility of the World Fellowship group of the B.S.U., 

282 History of Meredith College 

as did the Gary Street Mission. A large number of the girls 
worked enthusiastically in the manifold activities of the 
Mission, giving freely of time and money. To Evelyn Hamp- 
ton, '43, and Virginia Highfill, '46, each of whom was super- 
intendent for two years, the mission was especially dear. 
The Baptist churches of Raleigh aided the students fi- 
nancially with the work of the Mission; and when it grew 
too big for a student project, these churches took it over as 
the Raleigh Baptist Goodwill Center, with a full-time direc- 
tor. The students, however, kept their interest in the Center 
and continued to help with the work there. 

The Student Handbook of 1965-66 calls attention to the 
opportunities for service which the M.C.A. offers through 
its extension program, which "includes a reading and visita- 
tion program at the State School for the Blind, visitation at 
Dorothea Dix Hospital, and the opportunities to work with 
Negro children and to work at the Raleigh Rescue Mission." 
More than forty volunteers worked at Dorothea Dix Hos- 
pital in 1964. A tutorial program begun in 1964 and later 
developed much further was not listed in these opportuni- 

In addition to these continuing programs, important 
temporary projects have been undertaken. There is a wide 
variety in such work. For instance, in 1965-66 a group of 
students spent strenuous Saturday afternoons every other 
week toiling with Shaw and North Carolina State students 
in a work camp sponsored by the United Church. In 1964 the 
M.C.A. helped with the project sponsored by the Raleigh 
Citizens' Committee to increase the number of negroes in 
Wake County registering to vote. In 1965, Operation Merry 
Christmas sent hundreds of packages from Meredith to 
service men in Vietnam. 

The Meredith girls serve not only through the M.C.A. in 
and beyond Raleigh, but they take part in projects spon- 
sored by other Meredith organizations to which they belong. 
The two societies have been jointly responsible for the 
United Fund drive among the students. The Philaretians 
have had programs varying from year to year, ranging from 
work at the Cerebral Palsy Center and the Rehabilitation 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 283 

Center to adopting a Japanese orphan. For many years the 
Astrotektons have had as their special interest the deaf and 
the blind children of the Garner Road Division (the Negro 
division until the integration of the school began in 1967) of 
the Governor Morehead School. One of the most popular 
assembly programs each year was that given by the Rhythm 
Kids from the Garner Road School. 

Such work is of value to the societies as well as to those 
whom they help, for these two organizations have little left 
of their original purpose. When in 1950 the word Literary 
was dropped from the name of the Astrotekton and the 
Philaretian Society, the omission merely recorded the 
change which had taken place over a period of years. 
Inter-society debates and play contests have vanished. 
From 1955-56 to 1960-61 the programs of the two were 
described together in the Handbook: "Programs are de- 
bates, literary contests, lectures, and social activities of fun 
and fellowship!" In 1961-62 and in succeeding issues the 
statement reads thus: "Programs are social activities of 
fun and fellowship!" The loss of importance of the societies 
is indicated by the time of meeting — once a month instead 
of every Saturday evening, their meeting time until 1920. 
Society spirit is concentrated mostly in the frenzied activi- 
ties of Rush Week, observed now early in the second semes- 
ter rather than in the first. On successive days of this week 
Phi bonfire alternates with Astro picnic, Phi luau with 
Astro Mardi gras. Phi bear with Astro goat. With corsages, 
hot dogs, and lollipops, with breakfasts served in bed, the 
two societies vie with each other for the favor of the new- 
comers until Friday of Rush Week, which is Decision Day. 
On that day the new girl, having made a decision which 
she feels to be of earth-shaking importance, marches into 
chapel with ear-splitting cheers from the purple or the 
yellow ranks. Thus in a college where sororities have never 
existed, where they would be totally inconsistent with the 
democratic spirit which prevails at Meredith, the new girls 
have the thrill of Rush Week without the heartbreak which 
comes to any adolescent who is not chosen. 

The departmental clubs as they have grown in number 

284 History of Meredith College 

and importance increasingly give opportunity for the extra- 
curricular cultural development which was in the beginning 
the ideal of the literary societies. "Joys in the academic life 
of Meredith students," one member called these clubs. The 
students take part in many of the programs, which may 
have been carefully planned and well carried out or may 
have been thrown together at the last minute. The Beta 
Zeta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota sponsors an annual 
recital by members of the music faculty. Tomorrow's Busi- 
ness Women have an attractive yearbook giving their pro- 
grams, for which there is usually an outside speaker. Mem- 
bers of the faculty of nearby schools, writers, business men, 
and people in other fields have been generous in coming to 
speak for these departmental clubs, expecting no honorari- 
um and usually waiving even the small amount a club can 
offer for expenses. 

Some of the visitors speak at assembly programs. The 
Colton English Club and the Creative Writing Club have 
from time to time brought North Carolina writers to the 
campus, among them Ina Forbus, Peggy Hoffman, Sylvia 
Wilkinson, and Meredith's own Bernice Kelly Harris. Dr. 
Campbell, whose field of undergraduate and graduate study 
was English, was especially kind in consenting to speak to 
the English Club at its annual dinner for many years. The 
wide variety of his topics shows the breadth of his scholar- 
ship — Oedipus Rex, Machiavelli, Thoreau, Emerson, Rous- 
seau, Noah Webster, and The Significance of Names. Each 
year this club cooperates with the English department in 
giving two or more book teas, open to the whole school. 
These have no connection with the Voluntary Independent 
Reading which the department of English sponsors, but 
they are a decided encouragement to it. In addition to the 
outside speakers it brings. La Tertulia^^ Club has brought 
to the campus Spanish films. Each year the Club celebrates 
Christmas according to Mexican traditions. The Christmas 
carols which the Price Latin Club sing in Latin give the 
season a touch of the medieval. 

Working jointly with the M.C.A. and independently, the 

The Spanish word for exchange of ideas. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 285 

departmental clubs have done much for the underprivileged 
and handicapped in Raleigh. Various clubs give Christmas 
treats to families and institutions. The Tyner Chapter of the 
Future Teachers of America each year has a Christmas 
party for the first graders of the Methodist Children's 
Home. The members of the Sociology Club and of the 
Psychology Club have done much beyond the time required 
in the directed activity of certain courses. At various times 
they have worked with the Travelers' Aid, the Red Cross, 
the Girl Scouts, and the Wake County Family Service So- 
ciety; they have directed recreation and helped with oc- 
cupational therapy in Dorothea Dix Hospital; they have 
furnished readers for blind social workers taking the merit 
examinations. Members of La Tertulia Club help the 
Spanish speaking students at North Carolina State with the 
English language. Some of its members who have been in 
Spain have spoken and shown pictures to Spanish classes in 
high schools in this area. 

Part of the work of the clubs is done among Negroes and 
thus contributes to interracial good will and understanding, 
the development of which has been marked at Meredith by 
steady progress rather than by revolutionary flare-ups. The 
general policy has always encouraged such steady progress. 
Long before it was the accepted custom, audiences in the 
Meredith auditorium were non-segregated. There have been 
joint meetings of various organizations of Meredith and of 
Shaw University. Such meetings are held on both cam- 
puses. Students attend interracial meetings sponsored by 
the American Friends' Service Committee and take part in 
their work camps. The work of the Astrotektons for the 
deaf and the blind children at the Governor Morehead 
School has been mentioned; the English Club has given 
records for the blind children there. In 1944 Mollie Huston 
Lee, librarian of the Richard B. Harrison Library, at that 
time a library for Negroes, spoke to the English Club about 
the beginnings of this library and its services. Mrs. Lee, 
who had organized the library almost single-handed, gave 
her talk the week before Hubert Poteat, of the Wake Forest 
faculty, under the sponsorship of the club read Green 

286 History of Meredith College 

Pastures for the benefit of the comparatively new library. 
It was an especially happy choice for reading, since Richard 
B. Harrison, who had taught at the North Carolina Agricul- 
tural and Technical College in Greensboro, was the first 
actor to play "De Lawd" in Green Pastures. 

Such contacts were in part responsible for the students' 
welcome of the announcement made in September, 1962, 
that the trustees had "voted to accept qualified women 
students, upon recommendation by the office of admissions, 
without regard to race or national origin." The students 
were ready to accept without reservation Negroes as room- 
mates and suitemates. The faculty on October 8, their first 
meeting after the announcement, adopted the following 
resolution : 

That we express to the trustees our appreciation of their action 
regarding the admission of Negro students and assure them of 
our desire to cooperate in the implementation of the decision. 

It was a few years before applications came from qualified 
Negro students; then two were accepted who later were 
offered elsewhere scholarships which covered all expenses 
four four years.^^ 

By the association which the students have had with the 
churches, with other groups in town, and by their commu- 
nity work, the Meredith horizon is broadened beyond the 
campus. The activities of several clubs have reached over- 
seas. For instance, the French Club sent food and clothing to 
students in France, and some of its members have kept up a 
correspondence with the recipients. So have members of 
the Home Economics Club, which sent food and clothing to a 
Japanese graduate of Meredith and furnished much needed 
materials to a home-making school in Goppingen, Germany. 
The International Relations Club has sponsored a Korean 
orphan. The English Club sent CARE packages to Europe, 
books to a German school, and New Testaments to Korea. 

" Except for a fe'w non-resident students in summer sessions, there •were 
no Negro students at Meredith untU 1968, when two came, one a freshman, 
the other a sophomore from St. Augustine's College in Raleigh. In 1970-71 
there were eleven, one of whom was the first Negro graduate of the College, 
Gwendolyn Matthews Hilliard. She received a Minority Student Scholarship 
from Columbia University for 1971-72. When she could not accept it because 
she had signed a contract to teach, the University held it over for her to use 
the following year. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 287 

For six years it paid for the education of an Indian boy, 
Suthi Joseph, at the Woman's College in Madras.^^ 

Foreign countries have been brought even closer to the 
campus by the students coming from outside the United 
States, of whom there are several each year. Some have 
been from Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Bolivia 
and Brazil. Rita Paez, '47, whose father, a minister of the 
Ecuadorian Consulate in New York, had earlier been Presi- 
dent of Ecuador, was followed by Beatriz Tinajero of the 
same country. 

A number came from different countries of Europe. 
Clairy Gouma, '53, from Greece, was the first of eleven 
Rotary International Scholars who came to Meredith. She 
planned to teach, as do many of the foreign students. 
Yolande Jenny, with a Ph.D. from Duke, is teaching French 
at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Cornelia Bonhoef-* 
fer, another prospective teacher was from Germany. Her 
uncle was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a victim of the Nazi regime, 
whose Christian writings translated into English have been 
widely read in the United States. Gertrude Pichler, who 
came as a junior, was a home economics teacher from 
Austria. Cecilie Lofberg also planned to teach. In each of 
the thirteen years of her preparatory schooling in Stock- 
holm she had a course in Bible. Another Swedish student, 
Birgit Sporre, was interested in medicine. Kari Nirmal, 
from Norway, was married in the Norwegian Embassy in 
Washington just before she came to Meredith. Marjatta 
Saikkola and Pinjo Kantelinen were from Finland. 

Unique among Meredith students were the three Kambis 
sisters, Alexandra, Juliette, and Martha, who were all at 
Meredith in 1943-44. With an English mother and a Greek 
father and with five years residence in France, they had an 
equal command of the three languages. The language in 
which the sisters talked to one another or in which they 
thought, Martha told an inquirer, depended on what they 
talked about or what they thought. 

Kazue Murata who came in 1936, was Meredith's first 

23 These projects of this club are financed largely by the annual book 
auction, begun in 1958 at the suggestion of Dorothy Merritt, '33, a chemistry 
major. Dean Peacock, the favorite auctioneer for the sale each year, has 
made the auction an event as hilarious as it is profitable. 

288 History of Meredith College 

Japanese student; the next was Nobuko Kawano, whose 
father was dean of the Baptist Theological Seminary in 
Fukuoka and a vice-president of the Baptist World Alliance. 
Having come to Meredith as a special student after gradua- 
tion from a Japanese University, Nobuko went in 1953 to 
the Carver School of Missions and Social Work. Lillian Lu, 
from China, also went to the Carver School. The tense situa- 
tion between their native countries did not mar the firm 
friendship between the two. Later Nobuko was granted a 
fellowship for a year's study at the Union Theological 
Seminary in New York, and Lillian received an M.A. 
from George Peabody College. Lillian Lu and Junlin Wong, 
also from Canton, spoke and wrote English with unusual 
ease and effectiveness, as did Chizuko Kojima, from Japan. 
Other students have come from China, among them Vida 
Yao, recommended by General Chenault. Katherine Chung- 
ho King after her graduation in 1957 went to a medical 

Khadiga El-Kammash from Egypt, Nasrin Askari from 
Persia, Liberata Kihohia from Kenya, Fadia Markhan 
from Baghdad, Canan Akkoc from Turkey, Dalia Haitovski 
from Israel, Laurice Hlass from Trans-Jordan, Yeun Sook 
Kim Lu from Korea, Poonsarb Buranakarn from Thailand — 
the names of people and places seem strange and far away. 
From every part of the earth they come as foreign students, 
but from the day of their arrival they are Meredith stu- 
dents. Very soon, as a reporter wrote in the Twig, "foreign 
accents and Southern drawl mix." 

One spring day in 1963 Hong Kong and Meredith were 
closer together than they had ever been before. When 
Verona Chow was troubled because she had not heard from 
her parents in several weeks, three friends hastily collected 
$21.45, almost enough for two telephone calls to Hong Kong. 
The assortment of coins — eighty of them pennies — an ac- 
commodating neighborhood merchant changed into quarters 
for the call. 

The newcomers widen the horizons of the otherwise 
homogeneous student body of a small denominational col- 
lege, giving to the other students deeper appreciation of the 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 289 

culture of foreign countries — and of their own. The new- 
comers, in turn, have eager, friendly help from students 
and faculty in their language difficulties and in adjusting 
their ideas and habits to a way of life so different from their 
own. Many have felt as did Anne Gretta Home, a Danish 
student, when she expressed her gratitude to "teachers, 
students and staff members," who worked hard to teach her 
the customs of the school and the country, "always in a 
gentle understanding way." Meredith will always be to her, 
she wrote, "an impulse to growth and a source of delight." 
Verona Chow said shortly before she returned to China : 

Meredith is the fulfillment of a dream for me. I have been 
overcome with the hospitality of everyone and with the positive 
Christian approach one finds here. ... I plan to return to China 
with this message of Christian love. 

Though Kazue Murata Mizoguchi, '39, ten years after her 
return to Japan wrote to her English teacher that "English 
is not so well with me as she was," excerpts from a letter in 
which she told the editor of the Alum,nae Magazine, "how 
happy I am to let me write you about myself," reflect the 
influence of Meredith. 

My husband is a professor of Kanto Gakuin College. He teaches 
architecture. I hope he is a good builder of the new Japan, not 
a breaker during war-time. I am very sorry I cannot enter my 
boys at Meredith, but I hope they will find Japanese girls at 
Meredith as their future half. 

We have started our kindergarten department in this College, 
and we are planning to start our grammar grade school this fall, 
and our W.M.U. was born last year. . . . 

Our Japanese Christian people have slept so long, and did not 
grow. Now we are waked up by your Christian love and kind- 

Founders' Day in 1966 was really Founders' Days; for the 
celebration was a three-day event, February 26-28, which 
marked Meredith's seventy-fifth anniversary. Tradition at- 
tributes to ladies the tendency to subtract years from their 
actual age; Meredith added eight years to hers. The fiftieth 
anniversary in 1949 was followed by the seventy-fifth in 
1966. Either count could be considered correct; the Baptist 

290 History of Meredith College 

Female University opened its doors to students on Septem- 
ber 27, 1899; eight years earlier on February 27, 1891, the 
North Carolina legislature had granted the institution a 

The day before the celebration in 1966 an anniversary 
edition of the Twig appeared, with ten pages instead of the 
usual four or six. It covered every aspect of the history of 
the school from the four presidents and the College seal to 
Alice in Wonderland and the alumnae dolls. On the front 
page was the three-day program : 

Founders' Day Program — 75th Charter Year 

Saturday, February 26, 1966 

9:30 A.M Coffee Hour and Registration for Alumnae Seminar 

10:30 A.M Addresses 

The Honorable Luther H. Hodges, A.B., LL.D. 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

J. E. Starnes, B.S. 

Branch Manager, The IBM Corporation 

1:00 P.M Luncheon for Alumnae and Guests 

2:00 P.M Panel Discussion 

Charles E. Bishop, Ph.D. 
Department of Agricultural Economics, North Carolina State 


Charles E. Ferguson, Ph.D. 

Department of Economics, Duke University 

Theresa Demus, M.S. 

Consultant, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 

Sunday, February 27, 1966 

11:00 A.M Founders' Day Sermon 

The Reverend Vernon B. Richardson, B.D., D.D. 
River Road Church, Richmond, Virginia 
3:00 P.M. Wreath Ceremony at the Grave of Thomas Meredith 
4:00 P.M Annual Founders' Day Reception 

Monday, February 28, 1966 

10:30 A.M Founders' Day Address 

Lois Edinger, Ph.D. 

Department of Education 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro 

11:30 A.M Meeting of the Board of Trustees 

1:00 P.M Luncheon for Trustees and Guests 

Lois Edinger, '45, is the only alumna to have had the 
honor of being asked to give the Founders' Day Address. 

"Substantial Achievement and Significant Promise" 291 

The year before she had the nationwide distinction of being 
the first woman to serve as president of the National Educa- 
tion Association.^* 

The year 1965-66 brought to an end Dr. Campbell's presi- 
dency. His administration of twenty-seven years was truly 
one of "substantial achievement and significant promise." 
Although for the first ten years debt and the effects of the 
financial depression made material progress virtually im- 
possible, by 1962 seven permanent buildings had been 
added to the original six, three replacing temporary wooden 
structures. Plans for the new library were well under way, 
and numerous improvements had been made in the original 
buildings and on the grounds. The campus had been en- 
larged from 170 acres to 225; the value of the College prop- 
erty increased from $1,430,568 to $5,298,877. The enroll- 
ment in 1939-40 was 569; in 1965-66 it was 983. The faculty 
and administrative staff had grown from sixty to eighty- 
five, with thirteen other part-time teachers. The average 
faculty salary increased from $2,006 to $8,010 and several 
fringe benefits were also added. 

Statistics, however impressive, can never adequately 
measure the quality of any man's work. Of the extent of 
President Campbell's influence Charles B. Deane, chair- 
man of the Board of Trustees in 1966 wrote : 

One cannot in a brief statement assess the true value, the 
sharp intellectual knowledge, and the great respect in which 
Dr. Campbell is held by his educational colleagues among our 
North Carolina Baptist Colleges, as well as by the entire educa- 
tional community throughout North Carolina and beyond. 

Important as was his work and influence in North Caro- 
lina, esteemed as he was by leaders in denominational and 
educational circles, it was the Meredith community to 
whom he meant most, who esteemed him most. The Twig 
editor wrote in October, 1965, of the debt which every 
Meredith student owes to President Campbell : 

That Meredith students serve as an example of his aims and 
ideals can make every Meredith girl proud and fearful of the 
task that is hers as a member of the Meredith student body. 

2* It is worth noting that Dr. Edinger was the first president from North 
Carolina since James Yadkin Joyner, then a trustee of Meredith, held that 
office in 1910. 

292 History of Meredith College 

The incoming editor on May 25, 1966, wrote that Dr. Camp- 
bell's mark was deeply stamped on the College, "a mark 
bespeaking excellence, dignity and dedication." And one 
especially significant sentence in the dedication of the 1966 
Oak Leaves finds a grateful echo in the minds and hearts of 
the Meredith community, past and present, "A true gentle- 
man, you pursue knowledge and inspire in us a desire to 
know life." 

Dr. Campbell would not like for this account to end with a 
backward look. Meredith must not be unmindful of what he 
wrote in the Oak Leaves of 1962 : 

It is our privilege and responsibility to insure that what was 
worthy and hopeful in the past shall have more adequate ex- 
pression in the present and future. 

In the Founders' Day, 1966, issue of the Twig, he wrote, 

Both past and present are but successive chapters in an ever- 
unfolding text. 



A new chapter in "the ever unfolding text" began on 
September 1, 1966, when E. Bruce Heilman became the fifth 
president of Meredith College. His election in the preceding 
May had brought to a successful end the eighteen-month 
search which a committee with Charles Bennett Deane as 
chairman had made for the right person to be president of 
Meredith. President Heilman came to the office with wide 
experience, unbounded vigor, and genuine enthusiasm for 
Meredith. He needs all these qualities because the presi- 
dency of a college, never a sinecure, has now become an 
almost impossibly demanding position. 

A good many alumnae felt twinges of age when they 
learned that the new president was born July 16, 1926, 
about six months after the College had moved to its present 
site. His accomplishments would do credit to a much older 

He grew up on a large dairy farm near La Grange, 
Kentucky, where with other farm chores the boy early be- 
gan to mik cows, mow hay, and help in curing tobacco. Af- 
ter four years' service in the Marine Corps, he continued 
his education, receiving a B.S., A.M., and Ph.D. from George 
Peabody College. He held different positions in quite rapid 
succession, some of them while he was completing his 
graduate study. He was a teacher of business in two col- 
leges (in one of them he was also treasurer), business 
manager and treasurer in another, controller and bursar in 
another, and vice-president and dean in yet another. He 
gained experience in a different aspect of higher education 
as coordinator of higher education and special schools in 
Tennessee. In 1963 he became administrative vice-president 
of Peabody College, from which position he came to Mere- 

His background and experience fitted him especially well 

294 History of Meredith College 

for the presidency of Meredith. He grew up in a deeply re- 
ligious home; and he and the three other children with 
their parents attended every service held in the Ballards- 
ville Baptist Church, in which his father was a deacon. He 
himself is now a deacon in Hayes Barton Baptist Church. 
His first two years of college were completed at Campbells- 
ville Junior College, a Baptist College in Kentucky. Four of 
his former positions were in church-related colleges, three 
of them Baptist — Belmont College, Georgetown College, 
and Kentucky Southern College. In talks to the Meredith 
faculty and students, in addresses to churches and civic 
clubs, in interviews with newspaper reporters, and in arti- 
cles in the Alumnae Magazine, he has repeatedly asserted 
his strong belief in the church-related, liberal arts college. 
In his first address to the students, faculty, and staff he made 
it clear that a college like Meredith "must prove that aca- 
demic excellence and Christian commitment are not mu- 
tually exclusive." And in an interview appearing in the 
Twig of April 13, 1967, he said: 

Education must embody a core of conviction to ■which life may 
be tied. In a Baptist College, this is the Christian faith. 

Since the 1969 calalogue, Meredith has been designated as 
"a college in which the Christian perspective is the 
integrative principle of all that comprises the college pro- 
gram." The statement of the purpose of the College remains 

The purpose of Meredith College is to develop in its students 
the Christian attitude toward the whole of life, and to prepare 
them for intelligent citizenship, home-making, graduate study, 
and for professional and other fields of service. Its intention is 
to provide not only thorough instruction, but also culture made 
perfect through the religion of Jesus Christ. These ideals of aca- 
demic integrity and religious influence have always been cher- 
ished at Meredith. 

President Heilman is also a firm believer in a woman's 
college, especially Meredith. He chose Meredith rather than 
accepting one of three other tempting positions offered him, 
and since coming he has refused the offer of several other 
excellent positions. In explaining the choice to the trustees 
at their September, 1967, meeting, when he had been a year 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 295 

at the school, he told of the conference with the committee 
appointed to investigate presidential possibilities: 

It became evident that this committee and I had many of the 
same hopes and expectations for church-related, Baptist, Uberal 
arts education for women. ... I came to have an almost pre- 
sumptuous feeling that I belonged in such a community. 

In an interview which appeared in the Twig of December 
13, 1967, reprinted from the Raleigh Times, he gave as his 
primary reason for coming to Meredith his conviction that 
"This woman's college has a real future." He characterized 
the presidency of a woman's college as "the most delightful 
experience I have ever had," and said that "Meredith has 
more potential than I ever dreamed." 

To developing this potential. President Heilman devoted 
himself without reservation. Representing Meredith at ses- 
sions of the Baptist State Convention and of Baptist associa- 
tions, speaking all over the state and beyond to churches, 
alumnae chapters, and service clubs, conferring with busi- 
ness firms and foundations, he has an almost incredible 
schedule. Yet the faculty member, the student, or the parent 
who comes to him with a problem always feels welcomed 
and assured of his sympathetic interest. It is no wonder 
that the Board of Trustees in a resolution of appreciation 
adopted in September, 1988, said that President Heilman 
"has succeeded in doing in two years what the Board of 
Trustees had aspired to accomplish in five years or more," 

His ability and experience keep him in demand in wider 
educational circles. Among other responsibilities he served 
in 1968 as director of long-range planning studies for pre- 
dominantly Negro colleges for the Academy for Educational 
Development; and in the same year he was director of the 
annual workshop of the Council for the Development of 
Small Colleges. In 1969 he took part in seminars in four 
countries — Britain, Russia, Austria, and Germany — spon- 
sored by the International Society of Comparative Educa- 
tion. In 1970 he was elected president of the Southern As- 
sociation of Colleges for Women. 

Of his wife and five children Dr. Heilman said, "They are 
my best supporters and my greatest asset." Mrs. Heilman, 

296 History of Meredith College 

who before her marriage was Betty Dobbins, was described 
in the Alumnae Magazine for December, 1966, as "a petite 
brunette, who could easily be mistaken for one of the Angels 
on the campus." Her winsome friendliness and her calm 
poise make a charming combination. That poise is not 
ruffled by a whirlwind of a husband, five lively children, a 
large house to keep, and dinners for various Meredith 
groups. These dinners are family affairs, with Timmy, the 
only son and the youngest of the five, receiving guests at 
the door; Dr. Heilman cooking the steaks to order on a char- 
coal grill; the girls serving; and Mrs. Heilman keeping 
everything running smoothly. One or more of the four 
girls — Bobbie, Nancy, Terry, Sandra — may be baby-sitting, 
because in addition to being good house-and-grounds help 
at home the Heilman children find employment elsewhere. 
Bobbie, a freshman in 1969, and Nancy, who began in 1970, 
both worked before entering Meredith, thereby earning 
their spending money, including clothes and textbooks. 
Terry and Sandra were pages in the 1971 session of the Leg- 
islature. The first year that the family were at Meredith, 
when Timmy was eight, he worked four hours on Saturday 
mornings, helping to take out trash from the College build- 
ings, for which work he was paid by his father twenty-five 
cents an hour. 

Busy as they are, the Heilmans find time for fun together 
in a variety of ways, from jigsaw puzzles indoors to swim- 
ming out-of-doors. Because Timmy is so far outnumbered 
by his sisters, the two men of the family occasionally go 
fishing together. All the family love music, which Mrs. 
Heilman considers a wonderful means of binding the fami- 
ly together. As "One Man's Family" the five children have 
frequently given programs for various Meredith groups, 
for religious and civic organizations, and for television. 
Their large repertory ranges from hymns through folk 
songs to rock-and-roll. The group name, though clever, is 
misleading. Mrs. Heilman first had the idea of the group 
singing; she arranged for the children's training and en- 
courages them in practice. 

The Heilmans had become a well-established part of 

''The Doors Are Open Wider" 297 

Meredith by the day of the presidential inauguration, April 
15. The weatherman was kind that day; no showers marred 
the impressive ceremony, which took place at the amphi- 

In the procession, spectacular in the rich colors of the 
academic regalia, were the College marshal, the College 
chorus, the faculty, representatives of Colleges and uni- 
versities and of learned societies and educational and pro- 
fessional organizations, the trustees, and the presidential 
party. The 106 educational institutions represented ranged 
from Harvard, founded in 1636, to Wilkes Community Col- 
lege, begun in 1964. The twenty-six societies and organiza- 
tions ranged from Phi Beta Kappa, which dates back to 
1776, to the North Carolina Council of Higher Education, 
organized in 1955. 

Luther M. Massey, chairman of the Board of Trustees, 
presided over the ceremonies. W. Perry Crouch, executive 
secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina Baptist State 
Convention, read the scriptures; H. Franklin Paschall, 
president of the Southern Baptist Convention, gave the in- 
vocation. Greetings were brought by representatives of the 
Meredith community — by Ellen Kirby, president of the 
Student Government Association; by Cleo Perry, president 
of the Alumnae Association; by Leishman A. Peacock, 
Academic dean; and by C. C. Cameron, a trustee. From or- 
ganizations outside Meredith, greetings were brought by 
Carl Bates, president of the Baptist State Convention; by 
Rabun L. Brantley, executive secretary-treasurer of the 
Southern Baptist Education Commission; by Travis H. 
Tomlinson, mayor of the City of Raleigh; by Howard 
Boozer, director of the North Carolina Board of Higher 
Education; and by Felix Robb, executive director of the 
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

Before the invocation the Meredith chorus sang "Sound 
the Trumpet"; and before the inaugural address, "How 
Excellent Thy Name." The Honorable Brooks Hays, intro- 
duced by Governor Moore, gave the inaugural address, "The 
Church, the College, and the Man." Mr. Hays is most widely 
known for his career in government, having served through 

298 History of Meredith College 

eight sessions of Congress and having been a special presi- 
dential assistant to Kennedy and to Johnson. He is also well 
known among Baptists; he was chairman of the Christian 
Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and 
was twice president of that body. Among his honors is the 
annual Layman's Award given by the ministers of Washing- 
ton for outstanding Christian service. 

The inaugural prayer of T. L. Cashwell, pastor of the 
Hayes Barton Baptist Church, to which President Heilman 
and his family belong, preceded the presidential address, 
"Never Ceasing to Give." In this address President Heilman 
emphasized the limitless possibilities of Meredith as a small, 
liberal arts, church-related college for women and discussed 
those factors to which we must never cease to give attention 
if these possibilities are to be fulfilled. While the essential 
purpose of the College — "to provide education for young 
women who are interested in academic excellence and 
Christian commitment" — remains unchanged, the President 
also pointed out that these young women must be provided 
with "opportunities which result in competence and self- 
confidence in a world which is in rapid transition." 

The title of the address, "Never Ceasing to Give" was 
quoted from one of J. W. Bailey's fervent editorials in the 
Biblical Recorder, urging support of the Baptist Female 
University. Near the end of his address President Heilman 

Step by step through the history of Meredith, those who have 
gone before us have made possible all that this new administra- 
tion will build upon. Our heritage is rich indeed. Our past is 
behind us. That which is ahead is a responsibility for each of us. 
God grant us the wisdom to fulfill our aspirations. 

Here and elsewhere in interviews, letters, and conversa- 
tions he has paid generous tribute to Meredith's past. "Im- 
proving upon success will not be easy," he said to the 
Alumnae Council a few weeks after his arrival. This recog- 
nition of what has been done at Meredith and his confident, 
far-reaching plans for her advancement give bright promise 
for the future. As President Heilman asserted in his in- 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 299 

augural address, "The doors are open wider today than ever 

There were other events of the inaugural day — coffee in 
Mae Grimmer House for the guests before the inauguration, 
luncheon in the College dining hall after it, and a reception 
in honor of President and Mrs. Heilman in the afternoon. In 
the late afternoon the President's home on Glen Eden Drive 
was open for viewing. In the evening the Meredith Play- 
house presented Stephen Vincent Benet's John Brown's 
Body. Ruth Ann Baker Phillips, of the department of 
English and Speech, directed the beautifully dramatized 
poem, a production in which she had the cooperation of 
Beatrice Donley in the music and Frances Stevens, of the 
department of physical education, in the dances. 

In the inauguration ceremonies the linking of the im- 
mediate past with the future was symbolized in the pres- 
entation of the presidential medallion to the new president 
by the president emeritus. Used for the first time on this 
occasion, the medallion, which consists of the College seal 
hung on a double grosgrain ribbon of maroon and white, the 
Meredith colors, is to be worn by the president on all 
academic occasions. 

The linking was symbolized in a much more significant 
way in the ground-breaking for Carlyle Campbell library, 
which took place the day before the inauguration. As was 
fitting. Dr. Campbell turned the first shovelful of earth. Fol- 
lowing the ceremony a reception was given in Mae Grimmer 
House in honor of President and Mrs. Campbell. 

The need of a new library building had long been recog- 
nized. On the old campus three classrooms — two of these 
put togther — had served for the library. Hence when the 
College moved to its present site, the whole of the second 
floor of Johnson Hall, with the exception of the rooms in the 
east wing used by the day students, seemed wonderfully 
spacious to librarians and readers. But even though addi- 
tional space was provided by the use of one of the society 
halls on the third floor, as books, students, faculty, and 
courses multiplied, much more room was needed. 

This need was recognized long before it could be met. In 

300 History of Meredith College 

1944 the goal of the fund-raising campaign, $565,000, was 
intended to provide for a chapel and music building, a 
gymnasium and swimming pool, and a library. (Money 
went a long way in 1944! ) In the 1952 campaign the 
trustees and administration were less sanguine; and of the 
$2,250,000 set as a goal, $50,000 was designated for im- 
provements in the library. In 1958, of the $5,000,000 hoped 
for, $500,000 was to be used for a new library. Before 1958 
Jones Hall and Joyner Hall had been built; and later came 
Hunter Hall, Ellen Brewer House, Poteat Hall, and Delia 
Dixon Carroll Infirmary. To the executive committee of the 
trustees in October, 1960, and again in November, 1961, Dr. 
Campbell pointed out "the urgent and increasing need for a 
new library." 

A gift of $50,000 from the Mary Reynolds Babcock 
Foundation in December, 1962, gave impetus to the plans 
for the new building. Nine months later, on September 24, 
1963, the trustees voted unanimously "that the proposed 
library building for which gifts are now being received, be 
named in honor of Dr. Carlyle Campbell." To the Board of 
Trustees Sankey Blanton reported in February, 1965, that 
$110,661.61 had been pledged for the building. A few 
months after the ground-breaking in 1967, the construction 
of the building began; it was completed in January, 1969. 

On the afternoon of Founders' Day, February 27, 1969, 
the library was dedicated. In the brief dedicatory service in 
the auditorium, W. Perry Crouch, general secretary-trea- 
surer of the Baptist State Convention, gave the invocation; 
William W. Finlator, minister of Pullen Memorial Baptist 
Church, led a litany of praise; President Heilman wel- 
comed the guests; Elizabeth James Dotterer, chairman of 
the library building committee, spoke on the naming of 
the library; Mary Lynch Johnson, senior member of the 
faculty, gave the dedicatory address; Luther M. Massey, 
former chairman of the Board of Trustees, offered the 
prayer of dedication; and Sankey L. Blanton, former direc- 
tor of development, pronounced the benediction. The Mere- 
dith Vocal Ensemble, under Miss Donley's direction, sang. 
After this service, C. Clifford Cameron, chairman of the 
Board of Trustees, who had in the morning given the 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 301 

Founders' Day address, made the formal presentation of 
Carlyle Campbell Library in a ceremony which took place 
on the mall in front of the library. The building was ac- 
cepted for the administration by President Heilman; for the 
library staff by Miss Baity; and for the students by Suzanne 
Carpenter Wright, president of the Student Government 
Association. A reception in the library followed the presen- 
tation of gold keys to Miss Baity and Dr. Campbell. 

The visitors going from the mall into the library for the 
reception found in the center panel of the entrance a large 
bronze seal of the College. Within the entrance they faced 
Dr. Campbell's portrait, presented to Meredith in 1954.^ 

The guests found much to see and admire in the new 
library. On several trips to colleges and universities in dif- 
ferent parts of the country Miss Baity and Miss Greene had 
made a careful study of buildings and the workings of 
their libraries. Throughout the planning of the Meredith 
library they were in close consultation with the architect, 
J. Russell Bailey, a nationally known expert in the archi- 
tecture of libraries. The library building committee was 
composed of Hazel Baity, Howard R. Boozer, W. J. Broad- 
well, Raymond A. Bryan, Elizabeth J. Dotterer, Elizabeth 
D. Reid, Norma Rose, W. Hal Trentman, and Straughan H. 
Watkins. Their interest in the project and their conscien- 
tiousness were evident in their faithfulness in attending 
the meetings and their helpful suggestions throughout the 

The building is ideally located between Joyner and 
Hunter, set slightly back from them. Like the other build- 
ings on the campus, it is brick, with limestone trim. It is a 
functional structure which, though different in style, 
harmonizes with the other buildings. The architect called it 
"a graceful combination of contemporary and traditional 

It has all the equipment of an up-to-date library — an 
audio-visual center, photo-copy equipment, microfilm files, 
a special collections room, archives, an art-lending library, 
and large, well-furnished staff offices and lounge. The circu- 

1 See p. 210. 

302 History of Meredith College 

lation desk was given by the class of 1967. The three floors 
of the library have ample room for 150,000 books; at pres- 
ent (1970-71) there are 60,600 volumes with 312 periodi- 
cals, 1944 public documents, 2,500 reels of microfilm, 348 
records, 39 filmstrips, and 50 framed pictures. The ap- 
propriation to the library for 1970-71, exclusive of salaries 
and upkeep, was $37,276. 

All three floors have a generous number of carrels as 
well as study tables; and on the second floor are nine small 
study rooms, to six of which faculty members engaged in 
research have first claim. The library has a seating capacity 
of 360, exclusive of the lounges. 

The books are even more accessible than they were in the 
Johnson Hall library, where the stacks, though open, were 
in a separate room. Now the book shelves are in easy reach 
of the carrels and study tables. In Johnson Hall even a tip- 
toe resounded; the wall-to-wall carpeting in the new library 
makes footsteps noiseless and has a quieting effect on 
voices. The chairs at the study tables and at the desks in the 
study rooms are comfortable; in the periodical room and in 
the open lounge at the front of the second floor the arm- 
chairs and divans are even more invitingly conducive to 
leisure reading. 

Carlyle Campbell Library fully measures up to the ideal 
of which Dr. Vann wrote in 1911, when the Meredith library 
was still housed in two classrooms: 

A library should be not only ample, airy, and well-furnished, 
but it should be attractive and pleasant, so as not only to afford 
eager students opportunities for comfortable reading and study, 
but to invite the indifferent and cultivate in them a taste for 
reading and study. 

Of the six who make up the library staff, three — Hazel 
Baity, Jane Greene, and Dorothy McCombs — have degrees 
in library science; Dorothy Quick is a library assistant, and 
Rebecca Anders and Josephine Chapman are clerical assis- 
tants. Student assistants worked during the year 1970-71 a 
total of 6,151 hours. 

The use of the library began about three weeks before the 
dedication. February 5 was moving day — Book-In, the stu- 

''The Doors Are Open Wider" 303 

dents called it. There were no classes; and students, faculty, 
and staff with armfuls of books trudged or tripped, accord- 
ing to the agility of the mover, from Johnson Hall to the 
new building. Though a few shirkers chose to regard the 
day as a mere holiday with no responsibility on their part, it 
was for most a happy, exciting experience. The procedure 
could have resulted in chaos had it not been for the excel- 
lent planning of the library staff and of Dr. Grubbs, chair- 
man of the library committee. In the old library, staff mem- 
bers gave each mover an armful of books and a number; 
and in the new quarters, staff members were ready to make 
sure that the books were placed on the new shelves accord- 
ing to the numbers. Coffee, cold drinks, and doughnuts in 
the morning and afternoon with a picnic lunch at noon gave 
pleasant breaks between the repeated trips. Dr. Campbell 
moved the first book, A History of Meredith College. ^ 

Before the library was completed, a new dormitory, east 
of the quadrangle and slightly northeast of the Bee Hive 
was under way. The ground for it was broken on Alumnae 
Day, 1968, and it was ready for occupancy in September, 
1969. The general structure of the other residence halls 
was followed — two bedrooms for four students with a bath 
between the two rooms. The furniture is built-in; for each 
student there is a bed, a dresser, a wardrobe, two chairs, and 
a desk with bookshelves. The first floor has a study room, a 
laundry room with a drying area, a social room, and a fami- 
ly room with chairs, divans, tables, a full-sized stove, sink, 
and refrigerator. There is wall-to-wall carpeting in the 
corridors and in all the rooms, A second dormitory, com- 
pleted in 1971, is almost identical in plan. It is north of its 
twin and in exact line with it. The two will eventually be 
joined end to end by a common reception room. The stu- 
dents' enthusiasm for these new dormitories and for Presi- 
dent Heilman was evidenced by their nickname for the first 
of them — the Heilman-Hilton. 

The second of the two newest dormitories was built on the 
site of the old gymnasium, torn down after forty-two years 
of use. The physical education program had long been 

* This was, of course, the 1956 edition of the book. 

304 History of Meredith College 

severely handicapped by inadequacy in size and equipment 
of that building and by its deplorable dilapidation. The 
trustees' minutes show that virtually every reference to the 
urgent need of a library was accompanied by a reference to 
the equally urgent need of a physical education-recreation 

Completed in September, 1970, Weatherspoon Building 
amply meets that need. $400,000, half of its cost, was given 
by the family of the late James Raymond Weatherspoon 
and by his brother, Walter Herbert Weatherspoon. Though 
such a generous gift would justify the naming of the build- 
ing for the donors, in accord with Meredith tradition the 
name has in other ways a significant connection with the 

James Raymond Weatherspoon was one of the best known 
and most respected business men in Raleigh. One of the 
founders of the Durham Life Insurance Company, he was 
until his death in 1950 treasurer of that company. He took 
an active part in business organizations in Raleigh and in 
the state, as well as in the community affairs of the city. 
As a deacon and chairman of various important committees, 
Mr. Weatherspoon was an influential leader in the First 
Baptist Church of Raleigh. 

His wife and daughters continue his interest in Meredith. 
Of the four daughters — Laura Weatherspoon Harrill, Stuart 
Weatherspoon Upchurch, Margaret Weatherspoon Parker, 
and Anne Weatherspoon Phoenix — three are Meredith 
graduates. Mrs. Harrill is a trustee of the College; she is a 
past president of the Alumnae Association and is vitally in- 
terested in all its activities. Mrs. Parker, who has been 
vice-president of the Alumnae Association, is a member 
of the Board of Associates. One of her daughters, Margaret 
Anne, graduated in 1966; another, Mary Stuart, in 1971. 

Walter Herbert Weatherspoon is as prominent in the legal 
profession as his brother was in business affairs. Among 
other responsibilities is his position as attorney for the 
Carolina Power and Light Company. He is a director of that 
company, as well as chairman of the Board of Directors of 
the First Federal Savings and Loan Association. Mr. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 305 

Weatherspoon is active, as was his brother, in the First 
Baptist Church, where for many years he taught the Jones- 
Brewer Berean class and where he is a life member of the 
Board of Deacons, of which he has often been chosen 
chairman. He was first elected to the Meredith Board of 
Trustees in 1918; in 1967 he was made an honorary life mem- 
ber of that body, the only one who has received that honor. 
His experience, his wisdom, and his unstinted use of his 
time in its behalf are of inestimable value to Meredith, 

Weatherspoon Building is as nearly ideal for its purpose 
as is Carlyle Campbell library for its use. Like Jones Hall 
and the library, except for the use of brick with limestone 
trim it breaks completely from the Georgian architecture 
on the campus. It is an H-shaped building, with the gym- 
nasium in the west side and the swimming pool in the east. 
The space between provides for a large dance studio, a 
class-room with audio-visual equipment, faculty offices, a 
lounge, showers, and lockers. The well-equipped gym- 
nasium has basketball and tennis courts of regulation size, 
as well as provision for other sports. It has excellent sound 
equipment and seating for 670 spectators. The six-lane 
swimming pool has a one-meter springboard and space on 
both sides which can later provide for seating for specta- 
tors. Like Johnson Hall, the infirmary, the library, the 
dining hall, and the two new dormitories, the building is 
air-conditioned, as all the buildings will eventually be. 

The ground was broken for Weatherspoon Building on 
May 3, 1968, and it was ready for occupancy in September, 
1970. It is located on the northwest side of the campus, 
with its main entrance facing south. To the north it faces 
the extension of Wade Avenue, which leads into the belt- 
line of U.S. Highway 1 and 64. 

The dedication took place in the gymnasium on Septem- 
ber 25, 1970. Shearon Harris, chairman of the Board of 
Trustees, who presided, accepted the building for the trust- 
ees; Victor Bell for the Board of Associates; President Heil- 
man. Craven Allen Burris, academic dean, and Marie Ma- 
son, dean of students, for the administration. Jay Massey, 
chairman of the department of health and physical educa- 

306 History of Meredith College 

tion, accepted it for the faculty; Eula Hodges Boatright, 
'28, president of the Alumnae Association, for the alumnae; 
and Gail Gaddy, president of the Student Government As- 
sociation, and Jane Kiser, president of the Meredith Recrea- 
tion Association, for the students. The vocal ensemble 
paid a tribute in song to the family, the honored guests of 
the occasion. A group of dancers gave a light touch to the 

The series of acceptances which looked rather formi- 
dable on the program were brief, holding the attention of 
the audience well. As a climax, Mr. Weatherspoon was pre- 
sented with a gold key to the building. The tumultuous ap- 
plause when he rose was a tribute to him as representing 
all the donors; the redoubled applause after he spoke was 
a tribute to the wit and the heartwarming quality of his 

An editorial, "Brother Builders" in the News and Ob- 
server of February 28, 1968 paid tribute to the Weather- 
spoons and to Meredith. 

Long before the announcement of their splendid gift to Mere- 
dith College, the services and citizenship of the two brothers, 
Herbert Weatherspoon and the late James Weatherspoon had 
been appreciated by Raleigh and North Carolina. In public and 
private enterprise, they led in the generation which made the 
State Capital the greater and more vital city which it is today. 

Also few institutions have so well marked the growth in ser- 
vice to the city and the State as has Meredith College. ... In 
its fine plant on its lovely campus, it beautifies and blesses the 
city with its presence. All who join the Weatherspoons in aiding 
its growth can be sure that they stretch their hands into a future 
of service in the education of young women and the endless 
enlightenment of this community and country. 

Two more buildings are under construction — the College 
Center and the President's home, which President Heilman 
refers to as the College residence as it will be used for 
many college functions and special guests. Ground was 
broken for the first-named on Founders' Day, February 27, 
1971, and for the other on the following day. A site south 
of Weatherspoon Building and west of Joyner Hall was 
chosen for the College Center; the President's home is on 
the part of the campus north of Wade Avenue. This house is 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 307 

nearly finished; it is expected that the College Center will 
be completed in the spring of 1972. 

The College Center, a two-story brick building, is to be 
decidedly modern in design, with not even a nod of recog- 
nition to the Georgian style which prevails on the Campus. 
In it will be a social center for the College, replacing the 
structure which now houses the Bee Hive and giving much 
more space for books, other supplies, and the snack bar. The 
day students, crowded in a suite in Brewer Hall since the 
remodeling of Johnson Hall displaced them, have a study 
and recreational area in the building. Also there are faculty 
lounges and a dining room, which will be used instead of 
the alumnae house for meals served by the dining hall for 
special guests of the College. 

From an earlier campaign $209,861 was designated for a 
College Center. Also, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation 
gave $100,000 to be used for this building.^ The Kresge 
Foundation gave $50,000 to the College to be used in pro- 
viding facilities in the center for a continuing education 
program for women in the area. 

The College Center has not yet been named, but like 
Carlyle Campbell Library and Weatherspoon Building, 
the President's home was named before it was built. The 
name, Massey House, is not only in recognition of the gener- 
ous gift of Dr. and Mrs. Luther M. Massey which made 
possible its construction, but in gratitude for Dr. Massey 's 
long service to Meredith. He has been a trustee for more 
than twenty years and was chairman of the Board when 
Dr. Heilman was elected. The choice of the President's 
home on Glen Eden Drive was made largely by Dr. and 
Mrs. Massey, as were the preparations for the occupancy of 
that house. 

Three of his honors quite different in nature give an idea 
of Dr. Massey's activities outside his profession, dentistry. 
In 1966 he received an award from the Zebulon Baptist 
Church for "thirty-nine years of devoted and outstanding 
service" as superintendent of the Sunday school; in 1967 
he received the Second Mile Award from the General As- 

3 Later this foundation gave an additional $100,000 to strengthen the finan- 
cial aid program of the College. 

308 History of Meredith College 

sembly for meritorious service in the field of retirement 
legislation; and in 1970 he was given a distinguished ser- 
vice citation as an outstanding alumnus of Wake Forest 

As the new buildings were going up, many improve- 
ments were being made in the existing buildings and on 
the grounds. Summer after summer, workmen swarmed 
over the campus. Deep red carpeting was laid in the foyer 
of Jones Hall and in the aisles of the auditorium. The 
podium given by the class of 1970 adds impressiveness to 
the stage. The portrait of Wesley Norwood Jones, painted by 
L. Freeman and presented to the College by the family of 
Mr. Jones, has been hung in the foyer. 

Lighter paint and new doors brightening rooms and cor- 
ridors, wall-to-wall carpeting in the corridors, fluorescent 
lights, new furnishings for the social rooms, new tile and 
built-in cabinets in the bathrooms, showers to supplement 
the tubs — all these increase the comfort and attractiveness 
of the four dormitories in the quadrangle — Brewer, Fair- 
cloth, Vann, and Stringfield. In the renovation of String- 
field, one room is of especial interest — the Ellie Beckwith 
Stringfield Room. Wishing their mother to be honored in 
the building honoring their father, the living children of 
Mr. and Mrs. Stringfield — Mozelle Stringfield Swain, Pres- 
ton Calvin Stringfield, Miriam Stringfield Brantley, Bernice 
Stringfield McKay, Oliver Linwood Stringfield, and Vann B. 
Stringfield^ — made a gift to be used for refurnishing and 
redecorating the first floor social room. They also gave for 
the room two paintings done by their mother and her por- 
trait, painted by her granddaughter, Dorothy Swain, The 
room was presented and dedicated on April 30, 1971, at 
which time Dr. Stringfield in behalf of the family presented 
to the College the family Bible. 

The reminiscent talk which he made on that occasion 
and at an earlier assembly delighted his audiences. On 
every visit which he has made to the campus he is warmly 
welcomed for his own sake as well as for his parents'. Dr. 

* The same honor came to Dean Peacock in 1964. 

5 All three daughters are Meredith alumnae. Another son, the late Lamar 
Stringfield, was the founder and first director of the North Carolina Sym- 
phony Orchestra. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 309 

Stringfield is a retired physician of national repute, living 
in Stamford, Connecticut where the consulting room in the 
children's wing of the Stamford hospital is named for him. 
He has been called "an up-to-date physician with the heart 
of a horse-and-buggy doctor."^ 

Students at Meredith before 1919 remember that using 
the telephone was then a privilege restricted to seniors; 
earlier generations remember that there was only one tele- 
phone for the whole college. Now extension and pay tele- 
phones are on every floor of the dormitories. Since 1968 
any student (except first-semester freshmen) may have a 
telephone in her room, for which she pays the telephone 
company the regular rate. The number of these phones, 
107 in 1970-71, shows the popularity of the innovation, even 
though one junior commented ruefully the first month that 
she was paying "$5.35 a month for nothing but two wrong 
numbers in three weeks!" 

When the library was moved from the second floor of 
Johnson Hall, sweeping changes were made in that build- 
ing. With the removal of the floor of the large circular 
room which had served as reference room and main reading 
room, the rotunda is now open from the first floor to the 
dome; thus a stately spaciousness has been given to the re- 
ception room, into which the main entrance leads. The four 
Scripture texts around the wall immediately under the 
dome, which had a deep significance for the more thought- 
ful users of the library, can now be seen by everyone who 
comes into Johnson Hall, which means virtually everyone 
who comes to Meredith. The inscriptions are more beauti- 
ful and more easily read now as the letters are overlaid 
with gold. '^ 

A broad stairway carpeted in rich red directly opposite 
the main entrance divides halfway up into steps leading to 
the right and to the left. In the east wing is located the 

« The girls in Stringfield Hall have initiated a "String Scholarship," awarded 
/or the first time in 1970-71. For the next year Dr. Stringfield has matched 
their contribution of $125.00 to the fund, and plans to continue to do so in 
succeeding years. 

' These are the inscriptions : 

Jesus saith, I am the way, the truth, and the life. 

Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 

Study to show thyself approved unto God. 

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 

310 History of Meredith College 

president's suite, with the impressive Board Room for meet- 
ings of the trustees and for other special meetings. The 
walls of the suite are finished with walnut paneling with 
which the gold carpets and drapes harmonize. In this room 
are the portraits of Thomas Meredith and President Heil- 
man. Thomas Meredith's was painted and given in 1911 by 
his granddaughter, Mrs. Ada Tolson Ralls; President Heil- 
man's was painted by Charles G. Tucker and presented by 
Irwin Belk. The portrait of President Vann, painted by 
Jacques Busbee and presented by the class of 1909; and 
that of President Brewer, painted by L. E. Gebhardt and 
presented by the class of 1924, are on the wall obliquely 
facing the entrance to the presidential suite, one on either 

In the west wing are the offices for the directors of de- 
velopment and for the director of admissions and their 
staffs. Mr. Stringfield's portrait, painted by Jacques Busbee 
and presented by the class of 1912, is on the wall obliquely 
facing the entrance to the offices of the directors of de- 

The removal of all these offices from the first floor gave 
additional space much needed for the academic dean, the 
registrar, the business manager, and the dean of students. 
Plans for the use of the third floor were not fully completed 
at the end of the 1970-71 session. The offices for the director 
of the Raleigh Cooperating Colleges will be in the east 
wing, and the College duplicating office and storage rooms 
will be in the west wing. An elevator, a gift from the 
Westinghouse Company, was in 1970 installed in the west 

With the newest dormitory not completed, forty-three 
new students lived for the first semester of 1970-71 in both 
wings on the third floor. Before coming they all knew of 
their temporary lodging; and in spite of the inconveniences, 
there was little complaint, partly because they were grate- 
ful to be accepted at Meredith and partly because they 
enjoyed the novelty of living temporarily in "barracks." 

Alumnae coming back for commencement in 1970, 
remembering how hot and noisy the dining room had been 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 311 

during the alumnae luncheon, could hardly believe they 
were at Meredith as they entered the air-conditioned room. 
The walls are covered with felt which, with the carpeted 
floor and the acoustical tiles of the ceiling, reduces the 
noise of footsteps, rattling dishes, and excited voices. The 
white inner shutters at the windows, the dark, rich hunter's 
green of the wall-covering with which the shades of green 
in the figured carpet harmonize, the soft lights set in the 
ceiling, and the chandeliers transform the appearance of 
the room. The seven chandeliers, patterned closely after the 
candelabra used in Colonial Williamsburg, are in keeping 
with the Georgian architecture of the living halls. 

The last of the quadrangle buildings to receive a name, 
the dining hall is now Belk Hall. Its renovation was made 
possible by a gift of Irwin Belk, of Charlotte, a member of 
the Board of Associates since 1967, who made the gift in 
honor of his wife, Carol Grotnes Belk. Both were present 
for the dedication of the hall on Founders' Day, February 
27, 1970. One of the foremost business men in Charlotte, Mr. 
Belk, president of Belk Enterprises, was for four consecu- 
tive years named one of Charlotte's ten outstanding young 
men. He is a director of the North Carolina Bureau of Em- 
ployment for the Blind and has been state campaign chair- 
man of the North Carolina Chapter of the Arthritis Foun- 
dation. He is active in the work of the Presbyterian Church. 

Ever since the purchase of the present site, the trustees 
and administration have kept in mind the future growth 
and development of the College. A master plan for the 
campus hung in Dr. Brewer's office; one was in Dr. Camp- 
bell's; and one is now in Dr. Heilman's. Though through the 
years there have been changes and additions, the soundness 
of all the planning is evident in that every building is well 
placed in relation to the campus as a whole. 

The grounds have been improved in many ways. Year 
after year the need for adequate lighting on the campus was 
brought up in the trustees' meetings. A gift of $75,000 
from the General Electric Company has since 1968 provided 
bright lights over the entire campus. The rainy days which 
made the Meredith campus, to quote the Twig, a "flower 

312 History of Meredith College 

garden of umbrellas" also made muddy walks of the sand- 
clay paths. These have been replaced by brick and cement 
walks, gifts of several graduating classes having been desig- 
nated for this purpose. The brick for the first of these 
walks, those in the court, were given by George Norwood, 
of Lillington, who has also made later gifts of brick. 

The chain-link fence which surrounds the campus looked 
rather grim in 1969 until pine trees and rosebushes were 
planted along by it the next spring. Even though they 
were so small, many of the rosebushes had blossoms when 
they were set out; and now they are growing so well that, 
instead of the red roses merely covering the fence, the 
fence will soon serve as a support for the roses. 

Alumnae and other friends have given trees, shrubs, and 
flowering plants which, as they grow, add each year to the 
beauty of the campus. The gift of the class of 1960, dog- 
woods on either side of the driveway, was especially wel- 
come, as some of the Japanese flowering cherry trees given 
by the alumnae soon after the College moved have died. 

On the cover of the Biblical Recorder for December 14, 
1968, was a picture of the Meredith lake and amphitheater 
after a snowfall, with this cormnent : 

The Elva Bryan Mclver Theater at Meredith College was one 
of the most beautiful places in Raleigh — or any-where else — last 
week as winter came early to some parts of North Carolina. 

That winter beauty is now rivaled in the spring when 
around the lake and on the hillside masses of azaleas flame 
into bloom. 

With the addition of the new buildings — the library, the 
two dormitories, the physical education and recreation 
building, the College Center, and the President's home — 
and with the remodeling of existing buildings, Meredith 
adequately provides for a thousand resident and two hun- 
dred non-resident students, an enrollment which the trust- 
ees and administration consider maximum for the fore- 
seeable future.^ The limitation in size increases rather 
than lessens the opportunities for the advancement of the 

* As yet no proAdsion has been made for a chapel or for additions to Jojmer 
and Hunter, both of which are in the master plan. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 313 

College, as President Heilman pointed out in the Meredith 
Advocate for December, 1968 : 

At Meredith we use a dollar wisely and well. We do so because 
of what we are. The big universities need football teams and 
stadiums; they need medical schools; they need graduate pro- 
grams; they need urban renewal; they need planetariums. We 
do not need them. Therefore with a million we can do more for 
Meredith than many universities can do for themselves with ten 
million or more. There is nothing to prove that any college or 
university anywhere has more successfully educated its students 
than the small college, especially Meredith. 

In "Charting Meredith's Future," an article in the Alumnae 
Magazine for June, 1968, President Heilman wrote: "By- 
becoming a very large college, Meredith could unques- 
tionably hold and increase the variety of its offerings, but 
it would sacrifice the precious quality of intimacy." 

Genuine as is the President's enthusiasm for Meredith, 
generous as is his recognition of what has been so well 
done in the past, nevertheless he realizes that not to ad- 
vance is to go backward. And he is not a man to let the 
grass grow under his feet — or under anybody else's. The 
minutes of the trustees show that by November of his first 
year plans were well under way for the Advancement 
Program which was launched in February, 1968. 

The immediate aim of this program was to provide $4,- 
300,000 for new buildings, the remodeling of some of the 
existing buildings,^ and campus improvements, all of which 
have been earlier described; and $700,000 for faculty and 
staff benefits and for student aid. Of equal if not greater im- 
portance is the setting up of a permanent program which 
will provide for the College a million dollars each year 
beyond its regular sources of income. The Advancement 
program has been and continues to be successful, with $3,- 
884,609.31 contributed by July 1, 1971. It has at the same 
time created good will among many to whom Meredith was 
little more than a name and increased it among those who 
were already friends and supporters of the College. 

9 In the spring of 1966 there was a nucleus for the building program. The 
minutes of the executive committee of the Board of Trustees for March 28, 
1966, show that on that date there was on hand $209,861.77 for a student 
center building, $116,178.47 for the library, and $30,584.34 for equitation 

314 History of Meredith College 

The Board of Trustees took the first step in support of 
the proposed program when they gave it their unanimous 
approval, an assent which was strengthened by their im- 
mediate and unanimous agreement to the suggestion of Dr. 
Massey, at that time chairman of the Board, that the mem- 
bers pledge themselves to be responsible for $500,000 of 
the $5,000,000 in the years 1967-1970, a goal which they 
far exceeded. From 1889, when the first trustees were ap- 
pointed, all through the history of the College, the trustees 
have given it their staunch, unwavering support. Since 
1945, when the Convention began in all its institutions the 
rotation of trustees, it has been impossible to have long, 
unbroken tenures like those of the earlier trustees. How- 
ever, there are always deeply interested new members who 
do good service, and there are men and women who main- 
tain their interest in the school whether on or off the 
Board. These may be reelected again and again after the 
year's interval necessary each time for them to be eligible 
for another term of four years as Meredith trustees. 

In 1966-67, the year the Advancement Program was 
planned and begun, the Board of Trustees consisted of the 
following : 

Douglas Aldrich Donald G. Myers 

Hugh G. Ashcraft J. R. Noffsinger 

W. J. Broadwell Mary C. Norwood 

Raymond A. Bryan W. Roy Poole 

C. C. Cameron Bland B. Pruitt 

Edwin S. Coates E. L. Rankin, Jr. 

C. B. Deane Elizabeth D. Reid 

Elizabeth J. Dotterer Thomas L. Rich, Jr. 

Christine B. Farrior E. T. Rollins, Jr. 

Hayden B. Hayes D. J. Thurston, Jr. 

R. W. Kicklighter Henry Turlington 

lone K. Knight W. H. Westphal 

John M, Lewis W. Fred Williams 
L. M. Massey (chairman) 
W. Herbert Weatherspoon, Honorary Life Member 

The gifts and services of some of these are noted in this 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 315 

chapter. To other members of this year and of other years 
whose gifts have been just as generous — some of them more 
sacrificial — and services just as devoted, Meredith owes a 
deep debt of gratitude. 

The references from time to time in the accounts of the 
meetings of the Board to the need for sacrificial giving 
and for prayer remind one of the earnestness of the early 
trustees. An alumna trustee who gave to Meredith far be- 
yond her limited means wrote to her classmates : 

Will you join me in praying daily, with earnestness and faith, 
that God will put it into the hearts of men and women to enjoy 
"the luxury of large giving" to our beloved Alma Mater? 

Charles Bennett Deane, elected to the Board first in 1959, 
was also especially aware of this need. Recorded in the 
minutes of the trustees for September 25, 1962, is Mr. 
Deane's urgent plea that "each trustee pray earnestly for 
one another and for Meredith College." He asked that "each 
trustee study his own stewardship program and think about 
how we as a group can be more forceful in creating a better 
society in the future." 

Mr. Deane had been a congressman for ten years when in 
1956 he lost his seat because of his refusal to sign the 
"Southern Manifesto," which pledged resistance by any 
legal means to desegregation. A resolution adopted by the 
executive committee of the Board of Trustees on December 
15, 1967, said of Mr. Deane's refusal: 

His great stand in sacrificing his seat in Congress for a princi- 
ple of brotherly love to all men made an impact of Christianity 

When he was thus freed from national responsibilities, his 
wholehearted devotion to the forces of righteousness in 
North Carolina turned defeat into victory. 

In addition to the Board of Trustees, made up of Baptists 
who are residents of North Carolina, another source of great 
strength to the College is the Board of Associates. Its for- 
mation was authorized by the trustees in September, 1966; 
it was organized in January, 1967. This board, the members 
of which serve a three-year term and are eligible for re- 

316 History of Meredith College 

election, consists of about fifty business and civic leaders 
from all parts of North Carolina and beyond. Distinguished 
for activities in many different fields, these men and women 
are united in their genuine interest in Meredith. Though 
the wide contacts which its members have in the business 
world are of vast importance to the College, their service 
is by no means limited to that aspect. In the Twig of De- 
cember 15, 1966, Dr. Massey, then chairman of the Board 
of Trustees, said of the associates : 

The group can give the trustees and the College invaluable 
aid, not only by helping to obtain the money Meredith needs to 
maintain its position of leadership, but also by lending us both 
tangible and intangible benefits from their years of experience 
in the non-academic world. 

This new board was fortunate in having as its first chair- 
man a man so well qualified for the position as Shearon 
Harris. As chief executive officer of the Carolina Power 
and Light Company and as a director of other important 
companies in North Carolina and elsewhere, Mr, Harris 
has great influence in the business world. He also assumes 
responsibilities as a citizen; he is a director of the Raleigh 
Chamber of Commerce and a member of its executive com- 
mittee and is president of the North Carolina Citizens' 
Association. A devout Christian, the son of a Baptist min- 
ister, he is a leader in his local church and in larger Chris- 
tian enterprises. He is a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, 
and a trustee in Hayes Barton Baptist Church; a director 
of the North Carolina Foundation of Church-Related Col- 
leges and of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation; and he 
has been parliamentarian of the Baptist State Convention. 

Yet he saw his chairmanship of the Meredith Board of 
Associates not merely as one more demand on the time and 
energy of a very busy man, but as an opportunity for great 
service which he welcomed. The Twig of December 15, 
1966, reported a significant comment which he made soon 
after his election: "I am thrilled and challenged by the in- 
vitation to have a part in the development of Meredith's 
future." And six months later, in the first number (July, 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 317 

1967) of the Meredith Advocate, a small paper issued by 
the College at intervals, he wrote : 

I look upon service on the Board of Associates as a commit- 
ment of personal responsibility. In my own case I found it neces- 
sary to withdraw from other commitments in order to give 
Meredith the time and effort that I think she deserves during 
this important period of her development . . . Meredith stands 
on the threshold of a new and exciting era in her history. 

The relation of the Board of Associates and the Board of 
Trustees is close. President Heilman characterized the new 
board as "an extension of the Board of Trustees in that its 
members will be committed to the ideals of Meredith, to 
its program, and to its support." The chairman of this board 
is invited to attend the meetings of the executive committee 
of the Board of Trustees as a non-voting member, and in 
the semiannual sessions of the Board of Trustees the two 
boards meet jointly at dinner. In several cases members 
of one board have served on the other — the terms, of 
course, not being concurrent. After three years as chairman 
of the Board of Associates, Shearon Harris was in 1970 
elected to the Board of Trustees and became its chairman. 
In that capacity he succeeded C. Clifford Cameron, who 
was in turn elected an associate and was made chairman of 
that board. In 1971 Mr. Cameron again became a trustee 
and chairman of the Board of Trustees. 

One of the leading business men in North Carolina, Mr. 
Cameron was a founder of the Cameron-Brown Realty 
Company, one of the eleven largest mortgage banking firms 
in the nation, in which he is still a director. He is now 
president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the 
First Union National Bank Corporation which has its head- 
quarters in Charlotte. His interest and activities go beyond 
the business world; he is vice-president of the North Caro- 
lina School of Arts Foundation and is a trustee of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina. In 1961 President Campbell com- 
mented on "the distinguished service of Mr. Cameron as 
chairman of the United Fund of Raleigh." 

Mr. Cameron came to the Board of Trustees in 1960. 
Chosen for a second term beginning in 1966, he remained 

318 History of Meredith College 

on the executive committee of the Board even though he 
had moved to Charlotte. His airplane has been a magic car- 
pet, making it possible for him and President Heilman to 
have in a few days an almost unbelievable number of en- 
gagements and interviews in Meredith's behalf. 

In recognition of all of Mr. Cameron's and Mr. Harris' 
service to Meredith and especially in gratitude for their 
gifts which made possible the renovation of the presidential 
suite and of the offices of development in Johnson Hall, 
these two areas were named respectively the Cameron and 
the Harris suite. 

The rotunda was named in honor of Raymond A. Bryan 
of Goldsboro, president of the T. A. Loving Company. His 
service of more than twenty years as trustee and as as- 
sociate marks him as one of the especially devoted and 
especially influential friends of Meredith. Avoiding rather 
than seeking publicity, Mr. Bryan protested the naming of 
the rotunda for him, a protest which his fellow trustees and 
the College president overruled. 

Another man who deserves special recognition in the 
Advancement Program is Victor E. Bell, an important 
figure in the business and civic life of Raleigh. Shearon 
Harris said that he considered Mr. Bell one of the most 
significant factors in the financial success of the Advance- 
ment Program. As co-chairman of the Board of Associates, 
Mr. Bell led in the Raleigh campaign. His ability in fund- 
raising and his generous use of this ability in volunteer 
work has given him much experience by which Meredith has 
profited. He has been campaign chairman for the Wake 
County United Fund, the North Carolina Symphony, and 
the Raleigh Little Theater. Not only his skill and experience 
in finances, but his ability in other ways has been at the 
service of the community. He is a past president of the 
Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and of the College Founda- 
tion, and for eight years was chairman of the Raleigh Re- 
development Commission. 

In recognition of the "outstanding contribution of time, 
talent, leadership, and resources to the advancement of 
Meredith" made by the first chairman and co-chairman 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 319 

of the Board of Associates, the trustees in 1969 established 
the Harris and Bell Award, a certificate to be presented 
annually by the College "to the extraordinary man or 
woman, other than an alumna, trustee, or member of the 
faculty, whose personal influence and achievements are of 
historical significance to the College." The first presenta- 
tion of the award was, most appropriately, a double one — 
to Mr. Harris and to Mr. Bell. In 1970 the award was given 
to Mr. Cameron. 

Mr. Harris made the 1968 Founders' Day address, "To 
Sway the Minds of Men."^'' Having given high praise to 
the sacrifices of the founders of the College, he asked two 
pertient questions: "What commitment shall we make to 
the Founders for the future of Meredith College?" and 
"Will there be a Meredith College to observe the Cen- 
tennial in 1999?" A thorough, objective consideration of 
these questions based on research and on discussions 
with people experienced in education and finances brought 
him to this conclusion : 

I believe we possess a full appreciation of our tradition and 
we have a clear vision of our obligation and opportunity to 
serve. With clarity of understanding that we may justify and 
sustain our institution only by the true value of its service, I am 
persuaded that so long as Meredith College remains dedicated to 
and succeeds in achieving the objective charted by its Founders, 
"to sway the minds of men in behalf of virtue and religion," its 
light shall continue to beam brightly. 

Mr. Cameron in his Founders' Day address, "Man's Most 
Vital Need," a year later referred to the "stern challenge" 
of Mr. Harris's two questions. Praising not only the sacri- 
fices of the past, but the generosity of those deeply con- 
cerned with Meredith "whose unprecedented support has 
made this year [1969] one of the most significant of Mere- 
dith's seventy-eight years," he, too, presented a "stern chal- 
lenge." To strengthen this support of "our most intimate 
friends," he said, "we must seek the generosity of a larger 

1" Mr. Harris took his title from William Hooper's recommendation to the 
1836 Baptist State Convention concerning the establishment of a Female 
Seminary. See p. 3. 

320 History of Meredith College 

circle of friends by creating in them an awareness of Mere- 
dith's role in the development of our society." In choosing 
the causes to which we give, we are preserving our indi- 
vidual freedom; and in giving to worthy causes and en- 
couraging others to give, we are not only improving our 
community, state, and nation, we are meeting our own 
and other givers' most vital need — generosity. He applied 
this principle to the great opportunity which Meredith of- 
fers for generous giving : 

When we contribute to causes great, such as Meredith, we 
are enhancing our freedom, our community, and ourselves. When 
we ask others to give, we are helping them. . . . We are meeting 
their highest need. 

Delivered by men who give freely of their time and in- 
fluence as well as their means, both addresses were worthy 
of the business man, the philosophical thinker, and the 

An organization more recent than the Board of Associates 
is the Public Relations Advisory Board, created in 1969. 
With Bryan Haislip, of John Hardin Associates, as the first 
chairman, this Board is made up of experts in various areas 
of public relations. Its purpose, the May, 1969 Advocate 
stated, is "to strengthen the College's public relations by 
analyzing projects now in effect and advising Meredith as 
it seeks to meet opportunities effectively." 

The November, 1970, Advocate announced the formation 
of two even newer organizations — the Meredith College 
Parents' Association and the Meredith College Estate Plan- 
ning Advisory Council. The first named, composed of par- 
ents of current students, as well as former students' par- 
ents who wish to join, has as its functions the encouraging 
of prospective students to apply for admission to Meredith, 
the fostering of parents' interest in Meredith, and the pro- 
motion of Meredith to the general public. 

The purpose of the Estate Planning Advisory Council as 
stated in its constitution is "to add the present and future 
estate planning program of Meredith College by advising 
with the President, the Director of Estate Planning and 
other administrative officials." Working closely with Mr. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 321 

Patterson, the Council sponsored a successful estate plan- 
ning seminar on Founders' Day, 1971. The Advocate stated 
the purpose of the seminar thus : 

This short program is primarily designed to inform friends of 
the College as to why estate planning is necessary, what happens 
to one's estate when there is no planning, the tax advantages 
of planning, and the role charitable giving has in estate planning. 

The newest organization of them all — thus far — is the 
Meredith College Student Foundation, created in 1971, and 
composed of a select number of students who will aid in 
fund raising and in student recruitment and will represent 
the College when they are needed to do so. 

Together with these leaders among trustees and as- 
sociates, other influential friends, and student leaders, there 
are hundreds of men and women all over North Carolina 
and beyond who each year join enthusiastically in working 
for Meredith. These have been given the name Meredith 
Advocates. The nature of the group was explained in the 
July, 1970, Advocate: 

In addition to our Board of Trustees and Board of Associates 
we have a membership roll of Meredith Advocates. . . . Tremen- 
dous benefit has been derived from the Advocate group, organized 
more than two years ago. . . . Not only have many made financial 
contributions to the College, many have also contributed in other 
ways — in student recruitment, in transmitting the Meredith story, 
in sharing ideas with us, and in promoting the good will and 
interest of Meredith. The results have been extended not only 
throughout North Carolina and the Southeast, but throughout 
the country and the world by some of our friends who are far 
removed from Meredith. . . . The special services rendered and 
the contributions made are a part of the reason that Meredith 
continues to serve. 

In the past few years with the vital interest and the 
unceasing work of President Heilman, the trustees and 
associates, and the Office of Development, grants from 
foundations and corporations have increased markedly. The 
1969-70 report of the Office of Development showed that 
files have been developed for more than 275 foundations, 
and grants have been received which varied from $1,000 
to $100,000. By July 1, 1971, $354,000 had been thus re- 

322 History of Meredith College 

Meredith's position in appealing to foundations and cor- 
porations has undoubtedly been strengthened by the results 
of two recent studies. One of these, The New Depression 
in Higher Education, a study made by Earl F. Cheit, was 
sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation and the Ford Foun- 
dation; the other, The Golden Years, a study made by 
Hans H. Jenny and G. Richard Wynn, was published by 
Wooster College, in Ohio. 

The New Depression in Higher Education is a study of 
forty-one colleges and universities for the years 1959-60 to 
1970-71, institutions which were chosen as representative 
of 2,729 colleges and universities in the United States. 
Meredith was one of forty-one institutions chosen, one of 
eight in the south, one of two in the state (the other being 
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and one 
of two women's colleges in the nation (the other being 
Mills College in Oakland, California). The study showed 
that twenty-nine of the forty-one were in financial trouble 
or headed for it. "Many are continuing to operate," Dr. 
Heilman reported in a talk to the College assembly in Janu- 
ary, 1971, "only through the sacrifice of some of the quality 
and service normally considered essential to their pro- 
grams." Of the twelve liberal arts colleges only four were 
not in trouble or headed for it; and Meredith was one of 
the four. 

The Golden Years, an analysis of the income and expendi- 
tures of forty-eight liberal arts colleges in the United States 
for a period of eight years, showed that about half of the 
forty-eight colleges studied were operating with a deficit. 
Meredith was the least expensive of all forty-eight for every 
year from 1962 to 1970. With one of the smallest endow- 
ments of the forty-eight, Meredith has had in recent years 
one of the higher levels of gift income. The expenditure 
per student for administration was one of the lowest, and 
for plant operation and maintenance Meredith's expendi- 
tures have been since 1962 the lowest of all those colleges. 

President Heilman warned against overconfidence about 
Meredith's finances. If the College is to continue finan- 
cially healthy, the enthusiastic support it has received must 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 323 

continue. With our gratitude for its prosperity must go a 
determination "never to yield our uniqueness as a small, 
liberal arts Christian college for women, seeking to be 
different rather than following in the footsteps of the trends 
financial or otherwise." 

Its place as the least expensive of the forty-eight liberal 
arts colleges surveyed in The Golden Years makes it clear 
that the increases in the cost of tuition and residence from 
$1,500 in 1966-67 to $2,400 in 1970-71 were necessary. That 
these increases even though justifiable brought dismayed 
protests is not surprising. President Heilman told in the 
December, 1969, Alumnae Magazine of the reaction of one 
alumna : 

She asked me the other day how soon we would get 100,000 
new volumes for the library, thinking that it ought to be soon. 
In the next breath she expressed concern for the increasing 
tuition charges. 

Most people, however, realized the inevitability of the 
move; concerning the response to his letter to the parents 
in 1967, President Heilman told the trustees of "the very 
positive reaction received so far to the tuition increases, 
most responses having been sympathetic and supportive." 
The increased cost to the student has not worked the 
hardship it might have done had not the funds available 
for student aid greatly increased. President Heilman 
pointed out to the alumnae in September, 1968, that in 
spite of increased expenses, "as a result of several years of 
phenomenal development in financial aid opportunities for 
college-bound students, we today have at Meredith a num- 
ber of students who five years ago would have found it 
financially impossible to enroll here." And in January, 1971, 
Miss Josey, director of admissions said: 

The increase in financial aid is a result of Meredith's commit- 
ment to providing opportunities for qualified students who do 
not have the necessary resources to attend college. 

Concerning the student aid available, Miss Josey gave 
the following information : 

324 History of Meredith College 

The types of aid administered by the admissions ofi&ce include 
scholarships, campus jobs and the following federal assistance 
programs: Educational Opportunity grants for students from 
low-income families, National Defense Student Loans, and Col- 
lege Work-Study jobs — most often off-campus summer jobs. A 
program of competitive scholarships has been developed. Each 
year two renewable merit scholarships are available to National 
Merit Scholarship Finalists; ten renewable Honor Scholarships 
to ten freshman applicants chosen by a committee who interview 
the finalists in tlie competition; ten renewable Regional Baptist 
Scholarships; and three renewable Music Talent Scholarships. 
The stipends for the first three range from $100 to $1000 per 
year; for the last named they range from $100 to $800. 

The stipends, like those of the general scholarships and 
grants-in-aid which are available, vary according to need. 
There are also endowed scholarships, the donors of which 
in some cases set restrictions as to their use. 

From 1965-66 to 1970-71 the scholarship budget of the 
College tripled. Pay for student employment increased from 
eighty-five cents to $1.60 per hour. The total amount of 
student aid awarded to the 212 recipients of aid in 1970-71 
was $268,658. 

Before 1966-67 though a committee passed on all appli- 
cations, a student applied to the president, the dean, or 
the business manager according to the type or types of 
aid she desired. Since that year all the opportunities for 
financial aid have been coordinated in the admissions of- 
fice, so that a student makes application to that office for 
any type of aid. 

In meeting these increased financial needs of the school, 
the importance of large gifts cannot be overestimated. They 
are necessary to assure the financial stability of the Col- 
lege, to provide conditions under which students can live 
happily and study effectively, and to maintain the academic 
excellence essential to Meredith. 

However, neither can the value of gifts from individuals 
with large hearts and small pocketbooks be overestimated. 
These smaller contributions come from alumnae, from par- 
ents of students, from former faculty members, and from 
som.e who have no personal ties with the College, but who 
recognize its value and its need. President Heilman in 
expressing to the alunmae appreciation for these smallef 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 325 

gifts reminded them that all of these put together make 
a significant part of the support of the school. What is more 
important, they represent a love for Meredith and a loyalty 
which cannot be measured in dollars and cents. A gift of 
ten dollars from some individuals can be of greater signifi- 
cance than a gift of thousands from others. 

Though the giver is a spinster, what was truly the 
widow's mite came not long ago from a 1907 graduate 
who, after a lifetime of teaching spent her last years in 
one of the Baptist homes for the aged. In spite of being 
severely handicapped by arthritis, for more than a year 
she did washing for one of her fellow-residents and sent 
the money she earned to Meredith. Another gift was from 
an eighty-one year old alumna who is not a graduate, whose 
"nest egg has been used up years ago." She wrote : 

I am a diabetic and medicine costs a fortune, which I do not 
have. Would that I could give thousands, but I pray that this 
mite may be extended as were the loaves and fishes. 

These two and many other givers prove the truth of 
Shearon Harris's words in his Founders' Day Address: 
"Sacrificial giving is a bright thread woven conspicuously 
throughout the fabric of the College's history." 

Many small and large gifts are from individuals whose 
names the College will never know. They are given through 
the Cooperative Program, from the proceeds of which each 
year the Baptist State Convention appropriates generous 
amounts to the Baptist colleges for their current expenses 
and their capital needs. 

Since the beginning of the Advancement Program the 
Office of Development has been a very busy place. In 1966- 
67, when Grover J. Andrews, who succeeded Sankey Blan- 
ton, was director of development at Meredith, plans for 
the new program were laid and the work was begun. In 
January, 1968, John T. Kanipe Jr., formerly in the Division 
of Student Affairs at North Carolina State University, be- 
came coordinator of development, a title changed the next 
year to executive director of development. President Heil- 
man defined Mr. Kanipe's position as "a key administrative 
post which will encompass the over-all College development 


326 History of Meredith College 

program," and added that the responsibility "is a tremen- 
dous weight on the shoulders of a young man who is able 
to fulfill it." Later in the same year Charles W. Patterson, 
III, came as associate director. Before assuming his special 
role as director of estate planning, Mr. Patterson had with 
a long-established firm of financial consultants a study 
which, the September, 1969, Advocate said, "included key 
principles of federal, estate, gift, and income tax law, as 
v/ell as extensive investigation of the fundamentals of vari- 
ous trust investments and life insurance plans." Individuals 
with whom he has had interviews have commented on his 
genuine interest in their problems and the general value 
of his sound financial advice, independent of any benefit to 
the College. The first gift from an irrevocable living trust 
was received in 1970 from the estate of Ethel Baugh, a re- 
tired school teacher who had been a grammar grade student 
in the Baptist Female University. In making the gift Miss 
Baugh was carrying out the wishes of her mother, who 
was interested in the College. 

In an administrative reorganization, alumnae affairs and 
information services are all a part of development affairs 
and are thus listed in the catalogue. Carolyn Covington 
Robinson, who had been for nine years secretary to the 
director of development, in 1967 became director of publica- 
tions and in 1968 director of information services. When in 
1970 she accepted the position as director of alumnae af- 
fairs, W. L. Norton succeeded her. 

Much has been going on at Meredith besides erecting 
buildings and raising money. Three self-studies have in- 
sured the College against the unexamined life, which Socra- 
tes pronounced not worth living. The first of these was 
begun in February, 1959, and completed in the spring of 
1961. Dr. Campbell had several times reminded the faculty 
and council that the College should have in mind the impor- 
tance of keeping abreast of a sound educational program. 
Deploring the doubtful procedure of adding a course here, 
changing one there, and dropping one yonder, he had 
stressed the need of a careful study of the curriculum as a 
whole. Such a study of the curriculum became part of a self- 
study of the whole institution which was made for the 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 327 

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and which 
followed the methods and outline suggested by that body. 
Under the guidance of a steering committee of nine, differ- 
ent areas to be studied were divided among twelve commit- 
tees of the faculty. Many questionnaires and many commit- 
tee, departmental, and faculty meetings resulted in a clear 
presentation of the existing situation in the College with 
recommendations for the future. All the material was col- 
lected and organized into a whole in the spring of 1961, a 
report which was, the foreword pointed out, "the culmina- 
tion of two years of study and discussion by the total 
faculty and staff of Meredith College." 

The second study, much more limited in scope, was made 
in 1963-64 for the Division of Professional Services of the 
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The 
study covered six standards with which the division was 
concerned: over-all policies; student personnel programs 
and services; faculty; curricula; professional laboratory ex- 
periences; and facilities, equipment, and materials. 

The latest study was the most comprehensive and the 
most intensive of the three, as is indicated by the length of 
the report — 370 pages where eighty-seven had sufficed for 
the 1961 report and sixty-two for that of 1964. The study 
began in the spring of 1967 as a basis for long-range plan- 
ning. "Retrospect and Prospect," part of the final report, 
quoted a sentence pertinent to the situation: "Planning 
without action is futile; action without planning is fatal." 
A year later it was decided that this long-range planning 
survey could well be combined with the self-study which 
would be necessary for re-accreditation of the College by 
the Southern Association, a study required of every institu- 
tion at ten-year intervals. 

The survey covered every phase of the College — its his- 
tory and purpose, organization and administration, educa- 
tional program, financial resources, faculty, library, student 
personnel services and activities, alumnae, physical plant, 
continuing education, and community services. Recom- 
mendations were made in each area for the next ten years. 
As in the 1961 study, the steering committee and the ten 
committees among whom the work was divided met end- 

328 History of Meredith College 

lessly during the two-year period. Also two three-day fac- 
ulty workshops, one held before the opening of the school 
year in 1967 and the next in 1968, were devoted to the 
project. Progress reports were made by each committee; 
and its final report, previously distributed to each faculty 
member for study, was voted on item by item in a series 
of faculty meetings. The separate committee reports as 
approved were organized into one report which was in 
September, 1969, presented for action to President Heilman 
and to the trustees, each of whom had copies for study be- 
fore the Board meeting. 

On the recommendation of President Heilman the trust- 
ees gave their "strong affirmation to the spirit and intent 
of the report." The endorsement did not mean "final ap- 
proval of every recommendation. . . . The administration 
and faculty are to use the self-study as a basis for con- 
tinued inquiry into the program of the College and to im- 
plement the results of that inquiry according to the usual 

This endorsement was in keeping with the statement in 
the foreword of the report : 

It is not intended to be a fixed, unchanged blueprint for the 
next decade — it is, rather, a thoroughly developed set of guide 
lines to be used as a tool in charting the course of the College. 
Although remaining faithful to the objectives of the College, 
the plan presupposes that the institution will keep abreast of 
the rapid social and economic changes occurring. 

With the trustees' general commendation of the faculty 
for their work in preparing the report went a special note 
of appreciation to Roger Crook and to Gloria Blanton, both 
of whom well deserved special commendation. 

Dr. Crook as chairman of the steering committee held 
frequent meetings of that committee, met at least once 
during the course of the study with most of the separate 
committees, and had individual conferences with the chair- 
men. He presided over all the meetings of the faculty de- 
voted to the project, including the workshops. It was not to 
be expected or desired that there should be unanimity of 
opinion among faculty members who in many cases held 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 329 

widely divergent views. However, these often presented 
difficulties to Dr. Crook, which he dealt with admirably. 
While allowing plenty of time for exchange of ideas, he 
did not let discussions go off at a tangent from the issue 
under consideration; nor did he let them drift into time- 
wasting trivialities and repetitions. With tact and firmness 
he occasionally explained a point which some speaker had 
not made clear, calmed a speaker who was too excited and 
vociferous, brought to an end the remarks of another who 
was too verbose, and never let a timidly raised hand go 

Dr. Blanton came in 1967 as coordinator of the long-range 
planning program. Her work in the final assembling of all 
the separate committee reports and the organizing of them 
into a unified whole was a complex, gigantic task well 
done. To accomplish it she must have had now and then a 
day of forty-eight hours instead of twenty-four. 

For financial reasons no definite date could be set for 
the implementation of some of the recommendations. Even 
with the success of the Advancement Program, Meredith 
cannot say dbracadahra and immediately add thousands of 
volumes to the library, produce expensive equipment, and 
raise teachers' salaries up to the A level on the scale of 
the American Association of University Professors. But 
definite goals are set and the College is advancing toward 

The academic changes began almost immediately; the 
requirements for admission were modified before the com- 
pletion of the self -study. Sixteen units are still required; 
but since 1968 certain ones formerly prescribed are now 
recommended, as the statement in the 1968 catalogue and 
succeeding issues shows : 

Of the sixteen units, the following are recommended: fovir 
units in English, the completion of the second year of algebra, 
one unit in geometry, and a minimum of two units in at least 
one foreign language. Additional academic units, to total at 
least thirteen, shall be chosen from language, history, social 
studies, mathematics, and natural science. Three additional units 
may be chosen from the above subjects or from electives ap- 
proved by Meredith. 

330 History of Meredith College 

Since 1969 an additional statement follows : 

The Admissions Committee will consider the applicant whose 
secondary - school units differ from the recommended program 
if the over-all course program and quality of work have been 

Special consideration is given to a student unusually gifted 
in music or art. 

The achievement tests in three fields are no longer re- 
quired because the results over a period of six years 
showed them to be of negligible value as indications of a 
student's qualifications. For the same reason a transfer 
student is accepted on the basis of her college record if the 
college from which she comes did not require the Scholastic 
Aptitude Test for admission. For several years a student 
who received a grade of 4 or 5 (on a scale which runs up 
from 1 to 5 ) on the Advanced Placement Examination of the 
College Entrance Board was with the approval of the de- 
partment involved given advanced placement, sometimes 
with academic credit. Also a student could receive ad- 
vanced credit by a satisfactory grade on an examination 
given at Meredith by the department involved. However, 
no statement to that effect appeared in the catalogue until 
1969. Since that time in both cases academic credit is given 
with the advanced placement. 

The curricular changes which resulted from the self- 
study were put into effect partially in 1969-70 and carried 
further in 1970-71. The changes give the student more free- 
dom of choice in shaping her course to meet better her 
individual needs. The number of definitely prescribed hours 
in the 124 necessary for graduation has been reduced, as the 
following table from the March, 1971 catalogue shows: 

A candidate for the Bachelor of Arts degree must complete 
certain prescribed subjects, area distribution requirements, and 
a major specialization in a selected field, but the College seeks 
to provide optimum opportunity for choice in the selection of 
specific courses. 

I. Prescribed Subjects 

A. English Composition 3 hours 

B. Literature 6 hours 

1. A three-hour survey of major British authors and 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 331 

2, A three-hour course in English, American, or World lit- 
erature; or any literature course in a foreign language. 

C. Foreign Language 0-12 hours 

Each student will be required to demonstrate a proficiency 
level comparable to that attained by the end of the second 
college year of the language. 

D. Religion 6 hours 

1. A six-hour introduction to the Old and New Testaments or 

2. A three-hour introduction to Biblical literature and history 
and one advanced three-hour course in religion. 

E. Physical Education 4 semesters^ 

F. Freshman Colloquium 1 hour 

11. Area Distribution Requirements 
in Addition to Prescribed Subjects 

A. Humanities and Fine Arts area — Art, English, Foreign Lan- 
guage, Music, Philosophy, Religion. 

Majors in subjects in this area will be expected to complete: 
12 hours in subjects in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics 
area, and 12 hours in subjects in the Social Sciences area. 

B. Natural Sciences and Mathematics area — Biology, Chemistry, 
Mathematics, Physics.12 

Majors in subjects in this area will be expected to complete: 
6 hours in subjects in the Humanities and Fine Arts area,* 
and 12 hours in subjects in the Social Sciences area. 

C. Social Sciences area — Economics, Geography, History, Politi- 
cal Science, Psychology, Sociology. 

Majors in subjects in this area and majors in Business and 
Home Economics will be expected to complete: 6 hours in 
subjects in the Humanities and Fine Arts area,* and 12 hours 
in subjects in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics area. 

* Neither applied music nor studio art courses will count in 
the six hours of work required in the Humanities and Fine Arts 
area. Speech 353 is acceptable. 

The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music, first 
offered in 1938, continues, with the number of hours re- 
quired in liberal arts and science subjects other than music 
increased from 60 to 72. The Bachelor of Music degree 
offered for the first time in 1971 differs radically from the 
Bachelor of Music established in 1941, described on pages 

The 1970-71 catalogue makes clear the distinction be- 
tween the two degrees: 

" Since the March, 1971, catalogue was issued, the Academic Council voted 
to give academic credit on a pass-fail basis to physical education, with the 
total number of hours required for graduation increased to 124. 

^ Since the March, 1971, catalogue was issued, the Academic Council voted 
to add to this group physical geography, which now requires laboratory work. 

332 History of Meredith College 

The Bachelor of Arts in music is intended for the student who 
wishes music to be part of a total liberal arts program or for the 
student who may wish to do graduate study in musicology, music 
history, or composition. It is a non-professional, non-performance 
degree; it is not intended to prepare the student for a graduate 
program in applied music. 

The four-year Bachelor of Music degree with a major in either 
Music Education or Applied Music seeks to produce competent, 
practical musicians who are well versed in the liberal arts. 

There is more flexibility in the distribution of the re- 
quired courses through the four years. Much of the work 
assigned definitely to the freshman year may now be de- 
ferred until later; only English composition, a foreign 
language, physical education, and the one-hour colloquium 
are specifically scheduled for the freshman year. 

The colloquia, initiated in 1970-71, are discussion groups 
limited to twenty freshmen, under the guidance of a 
teacher. They take up significant contemporary issues not 
dealt with in the regular courses. Some of the topics dis- 
cussed in 1970-71 were the following: 

Popolution: Over-population and Ecological Implications 

For Mature Audiences: Contemporary Cinema 

The News Media : Ideal and Reality 

Cults and Isms Today 

Square Pegs in Round Holes: Problems of Conformity and 

Non- conformity 
Negro Thought in American History 
Black Poetry 
Woman's Liberation: From What and Why? 

The colloquia are taken on a pass-fail basis. Since 1968, a 
pass-fail option has been in effect in a limited number of 

Changes which allow more flexibility in major fields of 
study have been made in the curriculum. Since 1970 a 
student may have a second major, a plan which had been 
followed from 1926-27 to 1934-35. In addition to the tra- 
ditional major in history, one in American civilization and 
one in non-western civilization, under the direction of Dr. 
Grubbs and Dr. Gates respectively, have been added. Other 
interdisciplinary majors and interdisciplinary courses are 
being planned. 

Another curricular innovation is the credit, up to four 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 333 

hours, allowed for work experience off the campus — com- 
munity internships. These programs are carried out with 
the permission of the academic dean and the chairman of 
the department involved — usually, but not necessarily, the 
student's major department. The first such work was with 
the North Carolina Department of Archives and History. 
In psychology, students have received credit for work un- 
der the supervision of the high school guidance counselor, 
for work with the director of psychological services in the 
Wake County schools, and for assisting with play activities 
in the Method Day Center after the regular program. In 
business, students have worked as saleswomen and as of- 
fice assistants; in sociology (with the cooperation of art 
majors) they have at the Africana Gallery made a study of 
creativity in children, according to age and social back- 
ground. Other fields also afford opportunities for work 
experience off campus. 

In each department opportunities are offered for ad- 
vanced study and research, not only in a seminar now 
required in each department, but in special studies, either 
group or individual. Special studies, which may be pro- 
posed by either teachers or students, must have the ap- 
proval of the academic dean and of the departmental chair- 
man involved. These, like the freshman colloquia, offer 
possibilities for study in areas not included in the regular 

The number of courses open to Meredith students is en- 
larged by the consortium formed by the Cooperating Ra- 
leigh Colleges — Meredith College, North Carolina State 
University, Peace College, St. Augustine's College, St. 
Mary's College, and Shaw University. This consortium be- 
gan in 1967 as a cooperative venture between North Caro- 
lina State University and Meredith. The next year the plan 
was extended to include the other four institutions now in 
the consortium. Four grants have been made toward the 
expenses of initiating the program — one of $7,500 from the 
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, one of $11,000 from 
the Southern Education Foundation, and two of $10,000 
each from the I.B.M. Corporation. In 1971 the Alcoa Foun- 

334 History of Meredith College 

dation gave $30,000 directly to Meredith in recognition of 
the leadership given in the program. Dr. John Yarbrough 
as the first coordinator of the Cooperating Raleigh Col- 
leges had the chief responsibility for implementing the 
enterprise. He was, therefore, for 1968-1969 relieved of his 
teaching duties. In 1971 Austin Connors, Jr., was chosen as 
full-time director. 

This cooperation is carried out in several areas — with 
student and faculty interchanges, library cooperation, stu- 
dent inter-institutional departmental seminars, and foun- 
dation support. Each institution retains its distinct identity; 
no course available at Meredith may be taken in another 
school; the work must have the approval of the student's 
adviser, the academic dean, and the chairman of the de- 
partment involved. In general, the courses taken at any 
one of the other five schools are restricted to sophomores, 
juniors, and seniors. 

Advanced courses in mathematics, including computer 
science, in genetics, botany, zoology, and microbiology are 
available at North Carolina State; courses in radiobiology 
and radiochemistry at St. Augustine's. Additional work in 
French, German and Spanish may be taken through this 
inter-institutional cooperation, Italian is given at North 
Carolina State; Russian at that school, at Shaw, and at St. 

The curricular possibilities for Meredith students go be- 
yond the institutions in Raleigh. For the first semester of 
the 1969-70 session, Barbara Perry, a Meredith junior, 
went to Drew University for the special United Nations 
study course offered by that university; three more took 
the same course the second semester. Two juniors, Spanish 
majors, Barbara Curtis and Alice Hill, spent that year at 
the University of Madrid; the next year two junior French 
majors, Mabel Godwin and Jane Nichols, were at the Uni- 
versity of Lyon. A number of students over the years have 
had summer courses outside the United States on both sides 
of the Atlantic- Dr. Neblett, Miss Peaden, and Dr. Galligan 
have taken groups for study in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, 
and France. Kyn Dellinger, who in the summer of 1969 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 335 

studied in Nice, was awarded a fellowship to be used for a 
year's study in the Interpreter's School of the University 
of Geneva after her graduation in 1971. 

The most recent off-campus course, one which was im- 
mediately popular, was a course in skiing at the French- 
Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mountain. There 
were no broken bones among the hundred Meredith skiers 
during the five-day session in the Christmas vacation of 
1970-71, and the innumerable tumbles in the snow in no 
way chilled their enthusiasm. 

Recognizing that, as President Heilman stated in his in- 
augural address, "faculty members are the heart of the 
academic enterprise, and the end result depends on their 
quality," the trustees and the administration have, with in- 
creased financial resources, made increases in faculty sal- 
aries. From 1965-1966 to 1970-71 the average salary of pro- 
fessors has increased by almost fifty per cent and that of 
instructors by twenty-five per cent, with proportionate in- 
creases in the salaries of the ranks between the two. The 
increase in the percentage of the salary of professors was 
greater because in 1965-66 the average salary of the in- 
structors was almost up to the minimum level of the scale 
of the American Association of University Professors; that 
of the professors was decidedly below that level. In the 
budget adopted for 1971-72 the average salary of a faculty 
member was $10,300, with medical insurance, life insur- 
ance, and retirement pensions making the total compen- 
sation $11,200. The half tuition which had much earlier 
been granted to daughters of faculty and staff members 
was in 1967 increased to full tuition and was extended to 
include wives as well as daughters. 

Also, sabbatical leaves are now granted. In 1964 Presi- 
dent Campbell recommended that a system of sabbatical 
leaves be adopted, a system by which the teacher who has 
a sabbatical may be on leave a year with half salary or a 
semester with full salary. The recommendation was ap- 
proved by the trustees, this approval, however, did not pro- 
vide the necessary funds till 1970-71, when sabbaticals were 
granted to two faculty members. Dr. Ledford traveled in 

336 History of Meredith College 

Spain the first semester; Dr. Syron studied at the Uni- 
versity of London the second. Leaves to Dr. Lemmon for 
the first semester and to Dr. Knight for the second semes- 
ter of 1971-72 have been approved. 

The First Baptist Church of Greensboro in 1970 gave in 
each of the seven Baptist colleges in the state an award of 
$750 each to a full professor and to one of lesser profes- 
sorial rank as a "recognition of outstanding Christian 
teachers." Dr. Crook, professor of religion, and Dr. Davis, 
associate professor of mathematics, received these first 
awards at Meredith. Dr. Lemmon, professor of history, and 
Dr. Lynch, associate professor of music, were the recipients 
in 1971. 

The gift of the class of 1971 to the College was the es- 
tablishment of an endowment fund for a visiting professor- 
ship. By commencement the class had given or obtained 
gifts totahng $7,000 toward their goal for the first year 
of $10,000. As a class they plan to designate their annual 
alumnae contributions for this endowment fund until the 
income is sufficient for the support of a visiting scholar 
for one semester or for two. The professorship was named 
in honor of Lillian Parker Wallace, professor emerita of 
history. The announcement was made at commencement 
just two weeks before her death. 

Dr. Heilman could not so confidently assert that "at 
Meredith we use a dollar wisely and well" were it not for 
the business manager and treasurer, Joe Baker, who is both 
penny and pound wise. Mr. Baker came to Meredith in 
1966 from Clarke Memorial College in Newton, Mississippi. 
He has been heavily burdened with responsibilities in the 
extensive building program of the College as well as in the 
increasing complexities of its current operation, the budget 
for which increased from $1,500,000 in 1965-66 to $3,000,000 
in 1970-71. Yet his poise is never ruffled; his good humor 
is never failing. 

Several other changes in administrative officers have 
taken place. Craven Allen Burris, who in 1969 came to 
Meredith as academic dean, could have inherited his inter- 
est in Christian education from his father, C. C. Burris, who 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 337 

for many years was president of Wingate College. That it 
is a very real interest of his own is evidenced by the fact 
that between his A.B. from Wake Forest and his Ph.D. at 
Duke he took a B.D. degree from Southeastern Theological 
Seminary, not with the intention of entering the ministry 
but with the purpose of preparing himself better to work 
with young people in a church-related college. Before com- 
ing to Meredith in 1969, Dean Burris was a professor of 
history in St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg. 
In the second semester of 1969-70 he taught a one-hour 
course in the Meredith history department, the Politics of 

Dr. Peacock gave up the deanship in 1969 to go back to 
his first love, teaching, and became a professor in the 
department of English. His graduate degree was in that 
field; before going into administrative work he had taught 
English; and from 1951 through 1962 he taught the course 
in American literature at Meredith. Of Dean Peacock and 
his work President Heilman reported to the trustees in 

I cannot say enough for Dean Peacock, his cooperative spirit, 
his fervent efforts, and his support of all that we have been 
trying to do. He has certainly had a great part in making it 

The year 1969 brought to Meredith a new dean of stu- 
dents as well as a new academic dean. Marie Mason suc- 
ceeded Miss Fleming, who after twenty years as dean of 
students retired from one position to another; for she was 
appointed for 1969-70 as special assistant to President Heil- 
man. In February, 1969, Miss Fleming was awarded by the 
National Association of Women Deans and Counselors a 
citation "for outstanding service in the field of educa- 

Since graduating from Meredith in 1947 with a major 
in sociology. Dr. Mason has had extensive training and wide 
experience. She was director of nurses in several large 
hospitals before receiving a Ph.D. in psychology from the 
University of Kentucky. Before coming to Meredith she 

338 History of Meredith College 

was professor of psychology and counselor in the graduate 
school of that university. President Heilman introduced her 
as "an active Baptist, a church leader, and an able admin- 
istrator, researcher, and teacher." The students soon found 
her to be, as the Twig of September 23, 1969 noted, "a 
thoughtful lady with a concern and interest in them and 
their growth as individuals." 

Dr. Mason is the first dean of students to live off the 
campus. Working closely with her are three residence coun- 
selors, all new in 1970-71. In Stringfield is Alva Lawrence 
James, a 1921 graduate of Meredith with an M.R.E. from 
the Carver School of Missions and Social Work. Mrs. James 
was for five years director of Young Women's Auxiliaries 
in the state and has been a trustee of Meredith and of 
Wake Forest. Madeleigh Cooper, a graduate of Georgia 
Southwestern College, was a kindergarten teacher for eigh- 
teen years before coming to be counselor in Vann. Terry 
Fuller, a graduate of Wake Forest who is director of testing 
and placement, is the counselor in Brewer. 

John B. Hiott, who came in 1968 as registrar, is also 
assistant to the academic dean. Formerly he was at Gardner- 
Webb as campus minister and dean of students, then at 
St. Andrews as assistant dean of students and director of 
financial aid. Scrupulous attention to details and diplomacy 
in dealing with faculty and students mark his work. 

Before Mr. Hiott, Miss Josey was registrar for three 
years following Mrs. Marsh's retirement in 1964. In 1967 
the registrar relieved the overworked dean of the respon- 
sibility for admissions. The following year a separate ad- 
missions office was set up, and Miss Josey has since that 
year been its director. Her experience as assistant director 
of public relations, in which office she interviewed pro- 
spective students and evaluated their qualifications, is valu- 
able to her in her present capacity. The responsibilities of 
the position, always a difficult one, have increased with the 
growth of the College, the changes in high school educa- 
tion, and the increased number of high school graduates 
without adequate financial resources who are seeking en- 
trance to college. Working with her are Sue Ennis Kear- 

''The Doors Are Open Wider" 339 

ney, '64, as assistant director; Shera Jackson, '69, as ad- 
missions counselor; and Audrey Gardner as financial aid 
assistant. Mary K. Hamilton is in charge of processing ap- 
plications for admission. 

Charles B. Parker in 1967 succeeded R. E. L. Walker as 
College minister. Like Mr. Walker, Mr. Parker is popular 
with the students, speaking their language and using up- 
to-the-minute presentations of religious themes and ideas. 
Mr. Parker had an undergraduate major in dramatics be- 
fore his Th.M, from Southeastern Baptist Seminary and has 
taken a leading part in several productions of the Raleigh 
Little Theater. 

In 1970 the creation of a new position, that of pastor-in- 
residence, brought to Meredith Edward H. Pruden, who 
merits President Heilman's introduction of him as "a man 
of notable distinction, with many attributes to his name." 
With a Th.M. from the Southern Baptist Seminary, a Ph.D. 
from the University of Edinburgh, and graduate study at 
Yale, Dr. Pruden was for thirty-three years minister of the 
First Baptist Church in Washington. In that time he was 
for a year guest professor of English in the University of 
Shanghai. His larger denominational responsibilities in- 
cluded the presidency of the District of Columbia Baptist 
Convention, of the American Baptist Foreign Mission So- 
ciety, and of the American Baptist Convention. He also 
served as a delegate to the World Council of Churches 
when it met in Upsala, Sweden. It is not, however, his at- 
tainments and offices which have won the hearts of the 
entire Meredith community; it is his deep spirituality with- 
out a trace of the pietistic, his delightful sense of humor, 
and his understanding interest in every individual — an 
interest which in conferences and in chapel talks goes a 
long way toward closing the generation gap. 

When the school year began in 1970, the infirmary staff 
were as new to the returning students as they were to the 
freshmen. Instead of Dr. Senter, Earl Parker is college 
physician. Replacing Mrs. Saunders and Mrs. Bone, the two 
nurses associated with him are Jean C. Merritt and Ruth 
Ann Gnadt. 

340 History of Meredith College 

In 1969, when Mrs. Holler gave up her work, the Slater 
Food Service took over the kitchen and dining room. Under 
the direction of Hoyt Taylor it does not have the imper- 
sonality one associates with a professional food service. The 
entire cafeteria staff was kept; thus the transition was made 
smoothly. The serving of meals to a thousand girls in a 
dining room built for a maximum of seven hundred and 
fifty is not easy, and it is not surprising that beginning in 
1970 cafeteria service has replaced the family-style dinner 
in the evening. However, the President's dinners — formal 
buffet dinners — are served once a month. These are festive 
occasions, especially the traditional Christmas buffet. Mr. 
Taylor has added a pleasing touch to these dinners with his 
ice carvings. A candle, a bell, a baby doe, a swan, and other 
figures show a delicacy of detail which molded figures lack. 

In February, 1971, Mr. Taylor arranged with the Slater 
Service for an exhibit. Alien in His Own Land, a collection 
of documents, prints, and reproductions of paintings which 
showed various aspects of American Indian life. 

Any account of Meredith would be incomplete with no 
mention of those employees who prepare the meals, who 
keep the buildings clean, who keep them in repair, and who 
care for the grounds. The directors of their work have often 
praised their industry and their loyalty. In an interview 
with a Twig reporter, Mrs. Whilden said, "The maids al- 
ways stick by me when I need them." Mrs. Holler's com- 
ment on the kitchen and dining room staff was, "They're 
each a valuable jewel." Mr. Simmons spoke just as highly 
of his men — ^yard men, janitors, and other workers. 

The students, too, recognize the worth of these members 
of the Meredith community. An article about them in the 
Twig of February 25, 1966, characterized them as "these 
employees who not only serve us but befriend us." An 
editorial paid tribute to their faithfulness. 

The Twig staff wants to raise a cheer for the dining hall staff, 
the maids, the yard men, and the janitors. Neither snow, slush, 
ice, nor the prospects of a three-mile walk have deterred them 
from coming to work on the mornings we have blizzards. 

A freshman counsel group agreed unanimously with one of 

''The Doors Are Open Wider" 341 

their number who said, "The way our maids mother us 
helps cure our homiesickness." 

With many day-by-day evidences of the students' regard 
for the servants, two special occurrences deserve mention. 
Mary Booker, a maid in Stringfield who had been toothless 
for fifteen years, said that she had missed her teeth in eat- 
ing only when she wanted to crack nuts. Nevertheless, she 
once confessed to a student, she had always hoped some 
day to have a set of new teeth made. When sympathetic 
girls presented her case in student assembly, the appeal pro- 
duced, the Twig said, "a laugh, hearty applause, and 
$166.00." "When they told me," Mary said, "I hugged every- 
body from Dr. Campbell on down." She was never seen 
without her teeth; and, the Twig reported, "she always has 
a big smile instead of her usual small, shy one." The stu- 
dents' regard was evidenced also in the dedication of the 
1971 Oak Leaves to William Stewart, janitor in Jones Hall. 

That the satisfaction of employers and employees is 
mutual is evidenced in the many years some of the em- 
ployees stay at Meredith and in those who bring members 
of the family to work here. Harry Dunstan, the chief meat 
and vegetable cook, has been at Meredith forty years, hav- 
ing come when he was sixteen. His wife. Novella Dunstan, 
was a maid in the infirmary more than twenty years. 
Among the kitchen workers Bill Williams, at Meredith for 
thirty years, is next to Harry in length of service. Four of 
his children have worked at Meredith. Willie Morgan had 
been here more than twenty years when he died in 1966; his 
son Henry became a part-time worker when he was eleven. 
Lang and Georgia Hinton both came to the kitchen staff in 
1947; Lang was in charge of breads and desserts, Georgia of 
salads. Georgia retired in 1969, her husband a year later. 
Leila Smith, who helped Georgia with salads, was here 
twenty-three years. 

Since Arthelia Cole's retirement in December, 1965, after 
forty-five years of service, Louise Booker has seniority 
among the maids, having been at Meredith thirty-two years. 
Lillie Hayes is a close second with twenty-five years. Thel- 
ma Avery, who takes care of the new dormitory, came 
eighteen years ago. Lou brought her mother-in-law, Mary 

342 History of Meredith College 

Booker ( who became the proud possessor of new teeth ) , as a 
maid; later two of Mary's daughters came also. Lottie 
Kearney, who has had varied experience at Meredith as a 
worker in the kitchen and a maid in Poteat and in the 
library, had a brother who worked here. Two maids. Bertha 
Musgrave and Bertha Towns were mother and daughter; 
and two sisters, Glendora Pone and Hettie Hatfield, were 
also maids. Hettie's husband was for some time janitor in 
the auditorium. 

Arce Jackson has worked on the grounds for twenty-five 
years, the longest term of service of any of the maintenance 
workers. Mr. Simmons says Arce is his right hand man, who 
"does the running" for him. Competent and trustworthy, he 
saves Mr. Simmons many a trip to town. James Jeffrey, 
whose efficiency and cheerfulness Joyner Hall takes for 
granted, has been at Meredith seventeen years, longer than 
any other janitor. 

In the faculty there have been since 1966 six new depart- 
mental chairmen, replacing one acting chairman and five 
who had been at Meredith many years. 

In 1966 Callie Hardwicke succeeded Miss Brewer as 
chairman of the home economics department, coming from 
a position with the Agricultural Extension Service of North 
Carolina State University. The next year when Mrs. Hard- 
wicke accepted a similar position in Virginia, Marilyn 
Stuber — ^who two years earlier had taken Miss Hanyen's 
work in textiles — became acting chairman. Virginia Swain 
and Kay Ann Friedrich divided Miss Brewer's work in 
foods. When Mrs. Swain left in 1970, Ruby T. Miller, who 
had come the year before as a part-time teacher, began full 
time work. Ruth Current for a year and a half after Miss 
Hanyen's retirement was in charge of the seniors in Ellen 
Brewer House. After Miss Current's sudden death late in 
1966, Margaret Clarke, retired from the Agricultural Ex- 
tension Service of State University, assumed that responsi- 
bility. Mable S. Rabb since 1968 has been a consultant in the 

When Dr. Tilley, chairman of the department of psy- 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 343 

chology and philosophy, retired in 1967, philosophy became 
a part of the department of religion. Dr. Blanton, in addition 
to her administrative duties, is chairman of the department 
of psychology; Dr. Mason since 1969 has taught a course 
in the department. 

In 1967 Charles A. Davis became chairman of the depart- 
ment of mathematics. Mrs. Preston, who had been for two 
years acting head, remains in the department, as do Martha 
Bouknight and LaRose Spooner. With a two-year grant 
from the National Science Foundation, Mrs. Preston is 
on leave for 1970-72 to complete the work for a doctorate. 

Dr. Rose, a member of the English staff since 1937, be- 
came the departmental chairman in 1968, in that capacity 
succeeding Dr. Johnson, who gave up the chairmanship a 
year before her retirement. A clear thinker and an untiring 
worker. Dr. Rose is valuable in faculty committees and as 
an adviser in student affairs. She is the representative at 
Meredith of the Danforth Foundation and was also for three 
years one of the committee who read the papers of the 
applicants for the Danforth Graduate Fellowships for Wom- 
en and held interviews with candidates in this region. 
Dr. Peacock filled the vacancy created by Dr. Johnson's 
retirement in 1969. In the same year graduate study and 
home responsibilities took away Susan Hull Gilbert and 
Letitia D. Hamill, both of whom had come in 1966. Frances 
Pittman Woodard, '37, was in the department from 1968 till 
1971; Mildred W. Everette and Helen E. Jones both came 
in 1969. Linda Solomon in 1970 followed Ruth Ann Phillips 
as teacher of speech and director of dramatics. 

Dr. McLain, while continuing to teach, gave up the 
chairmanship of the department of religion in 1968. As 
chairman he was succeeded by Dr. Crook, who had been at 
Meredith since 1949. Harold E. Littleton, at Meredith since 
1968, teaches the courses in philosophy. During Dr. Coch- 
ran's leave of absence in 1970-71 four of his classes were 
taught by John Colin Harris and John Eddins, both of the 
Southeastern Seminary faculty; and by James Z. Alexander 
and Charles L. Coleman, both of the Shaw University facul- 

344 History of Meredith College 

ty. With the coming of Dr. Alexander and Dr. Coleman, 
"without regard to race" includes faculty as well as stu- 
dents. ^^ 

Helen P. Daniell joined the staff of the department of 
foreign languages in 1968 and the next year became acting 
chairman during Dr. Ledford's sabbatical leave. Two years 
before Dr. Daniell came, Nona Short succeeded Mr. Cline 
as teacher of Latin. Like the work of Dr. Cooper and Mr. 
Pratt, Miss Short's photography is of professional quality. 
For two years after Dr. Freund's retirement, German was 
taught by graduate students from the University of North 
Carolina; since 1967 Robert W. Morgan has taught that 
language. Ann Peaden, who became a member of the staff 
in 1968, is counselor to foreign students at Meredith. 

When Dr. Cooper in 1969, a year before he retired, gave 
up the chairmanship of the department of music after 
thirty-two years, W. David Lynch was appointed to that 
position. Dr. Lynch studied in Salzburg and in Paris, has a 
D.M.A. from the Eastman School of Music, and has had wide 
teaching experience, Jane Watkins Sullivan, '46, in 1966 
succeeded Edwin Blanchard as a teacher of voice. She also 
directs the Meredith Chorus and the Meredith Singers. The 
latter group since 1967 has gone on tour during spring vaca- 
tion, giving concerts in churches and schools, thus reviving 
an activity which had been discontinued for more than ten 
years. In addition to the full-time staff in music, eight 
special part-time instructors in applied music were added to 
the staff in 1970. 

There have been changes in departments other than these 
six with new chairmen. Jo Anne Nix, in the department 
of art since 1966, continues the work in art history which 
was the special interest of her predecessor. Dr. Downs. Miss 
Nix's creative ability is evident in the paintings shown at 
exhibits in North Carolina and in other states. Paul Smith, 
who came in 1967 to the department of biology, was granted 
a leave of absence for 1970-71. The chemistry department 

^ "Without regard to race" was carried further in 1971 with the appoint- 
ment of Mildred Mallette as a full-time member of the library staff. Miss 
Mallette is a graduate of Bennett College with a degree in library science 
from North Carolina Central University and with further study at the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina at Chapel HUl. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 345 

has also a claim on Clara Ray Bunn, '55, who came to the 
biology staff in 1969, as she teaches the course in biochem- 
istry. Audrey Robinson Allred in the department of edu- 
cation succeeded Miss Bell, who was at Meredith thirty 
years before her retirement in 1970. Mrs. Allred, who is 
British, transferred her credits from an English university 
and graduated from Meredith in 1959. 

In health, physical education, and recreation Janie S. 
Archer came in 1967 with health education as her special 
field. With Mrs, Archer and her husband as coaches, interest 
in basketball has increased. In 1971 Meredith won first place 
in the DUMP tournament,^^ and in recognition of their 
success Mr. Archer presented the team with the E. Bruce 
Heilman trophy. In 1969 Luke Huggins replaced Mary 
Mackay Edwards as director of equitation. Donald Songer 
came in 1970 to the department of history and political 
science, the latter being his special field. 

Charles Tucker can see Meredith from two points of view 
because he was a member of the Board of Trustees when in 
1966 he was elected to a position in the department of 
sociology. With a Th.D. from the Southern Baptist Semi- 
nary, with graduate study at the University of North Caro- 
lina, before coming to Meredith Dr. Tucker taught at Win- 
gate College and also had experience in the pastorate. 
Ruby Hayes Brooks, '42, and Hugh Livingston Roberts 
came in 1968 as part-time teachers and were followed in 
1970 by Helen P. Clarkson and Ida J. Cook. In 1970 Mere- 
dith qualified for constituent membership in the Council 
on Social Work Education, the highest accreditation offered 
to a college with an undergraduate program in social work. 

The term secretary may have quite different meanings. 
A secretary may be what was once called a stenographer, 
often a young girl with no experience in business, or may 
be one who is virtually an administrative assistant. Much 
of the effectiveness of the work of the College depends on 
those who from the length and increasing value of their 
services have become a vital part of Meredith. 

1^ The initial letters of the names of the four participating institutions, 
Duke, University of North Carolina, Meredith, and Peace gave the tourna- 
ment its name. 

346 History of Meredith College 

Betty Jean Yeager, '47, who since a year after her gradua- 
tion has been secretary in the dean of students' office, 
knows well all the ins and outs of the life of the students. 
She is interested in every phase of their activities and is 
often chosen a sponsor of student organizations. The keep- 
ing of the College calendar is one of her many responsibili- 

Lois S. Renfrow, who came in 1953 as secretary to Presi- 
dent Campbell, called herself the president's girl Friday. 
Since 1967 she has been administrative secretary — a well- 
deserved title, for she relieves the president of a multitude 
of responsibilities. No matter how pressing these are, she 
has a cheerful welcome which puts a bewildered freshman 
at ease and gives a visiting dignitary a pleasant first im- 
pression of the College. Her earlier experience as business 
manager of the High Point Enterprise, which she and her 
husband owned and published, prepared her for her activi- 
ties in the Business and Professional Women's Clubs. In 
that organization she is president of the Raleigh branch, a 
member of the State Council for Sound Legislation, and 
state chairman of the legislative committee. Each year since 
1952 a group of Meredith girls have enjoyed an Easter trip 
to New York conducted by Mrs. Renfrow and Miss Yeager. 

Mary K. Hamilton began her work at Meredith in 1956 
as secretary to Dean Peacock; five years later, when an 
additional secretary was needed in that office, Mrs. Hamil- 
ton worked largely with the processing of applications for 
admission to Meredith. When in 1968 an admissions office 
was set up, she continued that work in the new office. Mrs. 
Hamilton's chief outside interest is in literature and music. 
Her poetry, which has several times received awards from 
the North Carolina Poetry Society, won her a place in the 
International Who's Who in Poetry. Her name for the Col- 
lege news sheet. The School Pigeon, was chosen from more 
than fifty suggestions made by the faculty and staff. 

Virginia Scarboro, secretary to the business manager 
since 1961, has had much experience in leading young peo- 
ple in Christian work. A graduate of the Presley School of 
Christian Education in Richmond, she was for eleven years 
before coming to Meredith director of Christian education 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 347 

in Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church. She still teaches a 
Sunday school class there and is a member of the Christian 
education committee. Miss Scarboro was a welcome addi- 
tion to the faculty on Play Day because of her athletic 
prowess. She once represented North Carolina in the na- 
tional finals of the Women's Softball Tournament. 

At different times members of the visiting committee of 
the Southern Association of Colleges have commented on 
the unusual stability of the faculty. At the opening session 
in 1959 Dr. Campbell reported that there had been no 
resignations or retirements, "a situation almost unprece- 
dented in all college circles." That year there were eight 
teachers with a combined total of 279 years of service; in 
1962 the average tenure of the faculty was 14.3 years. The 
average tenure of the ten who retired between 1962 and 
1970 (inclusive) was 38.6 years. 

The relation between faculty and students, which can be 
much closer on a small campus than on a large one, is 
unusually good at Meredith. Judy Kornegay, writing in the 
May 25, 1967, issue of the Twig, gave a Meredith teacher's 
comment that of all the campuses on which he had been, 
"Meredith is the only one that possesses a true spirit of 
community." Then she added her own comment : 

Perhaps it is this unique quality that gives our campus the 
rare sense of family closeness and friendliness which is so often 
noted by visitors on the campus. It is so ingrained in our pattern 
of life at Meredith that we sometimes forget it or take it for 

The self-study and long-range planning brought faculty 
and students even closer, for the students had a larger part 
in making decisions affecting the whole college than they 
had ever had. Student members were on virtually all the 
committees appointed for the study and planning. Nor was 
this working together for the time only; what were for- 
merly standing committees from the faculty are no longer 
thus limited; except for the faculty affairs and the special 
appeals committee, students are on every standing commit- 
tee, with full voting power. 

In recent years the relations between students and 

348 History of Meredith College 

trustees are also closer. The students serve as hostesses and 
guides during the semiannual meetings of the Board. Stu- 
dent leaders have been added to the faculty members 
invited to dinner with the trustees at their meetings. Also 
students as well as faculty members have been asked to 
attend meetings of committees of the Board when matters 
concerning them are being discussed. A committee on stu- 
dent affairs has been created in the Board of Trustees, the 
members of which from time to time meet with individual 
student leaders and with groups. Since 1968 student leaders 
have read the Scriptures and prayed at the opening of the 
sessions of the Board. In November, 1970, Cynthia Griffith, 
Student Government president in 1969-70, was elected to 
full membership on the Board. The 1970 Oak Leaves 
expressed the gratitude of the students to the Board: 

Without their guidance, understanding, and willingness, much 
of what we have at Meredith today would not have been possible. 

In the main the students accept their increased responsi- 
bility intelligently and conscientiously, although with their 
multiplicity of other interests, even those most eager for 
student participation do not always attend the committee 
meetings Vv^ith regularity — an evidence, perhaps, that they 
are maturing, rather than mature. 

The students appreciate the fact that their increasingly 
important part in College affairs was not yielded grudg- 
ingly by the faculty and administration. Shera Jackson's 
editorial in the Twig of March 20, 1969, expressed gratitude 
for this spirit of cooperation. 

This campus, as opposed to some other colleges, has an excel- 
lent opportunity to see a unit of faculty, administration, and 
students. The faculty and administration are not forces opposing 
the students, but rather, they exhibit the same desire for change. 

On May 8 of the same year the new Twig editor. Brooks 
McGirt, wrote concerning the curricular changes : 

These changes represent once more the willingness, nay, the 

determination of the faculty to place more and more responsi- 
bility on the shoulders of students who have expressed the desire 
to have it there. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 349 

One "responsibility placed upon the shoulders of stu- 
dents" is set forth in the March, 1971 Catalogue: 

Regular attendance of the student in the classroom is indis- 
pensable both to herself and to her teachers and fellow students 
in sharing the benefits of her thinking. She must accept full 
responsibility for class presentations, announcements, and assign- 
ments missed because of absences. Absences tend to affect the 
quality of one's work, and therefore may lower her standing in 
courses. Each student must determine for herself what consti- 
tutes responsible class attendance. 

Throughout the history of the College there have na- 
turally been changes; activities and diversions which now 
are taken for granted in high school were new and thrilling 
to college students in earlier days and made a life fuller and 
more exciting than most of the students had experienced. 
There were no automobiles to encourage the general exodus 
which led someone to say that "college serves as a spring- 
board for weekends." Moreover, the number of married 
students has greatly increased,^^ and their center of interest 
naturally tends to shift from the campus. Also, students en- 
tering now have had twelve years of schooling before col- 
lege rather than the eleven or even ten which the earlier 
students had. 

The changes which give to students more responsibility, 
which seek to encourage self-dependence, have been much 
more rapid in recent years. The revolutionary spirit in the 
world has been felt at Meredith as it has in colleges and 
universities the world over. It is greatly to the credit of 
Meredith students that, while radical changes have been 
made, the mad tumult of anarchy too often accompanying 
changes on other campuses has not existed here. That 
Meredith is a woman's college is partly responsible for this 
lack of violence, but more important is that the students 
have always been given and have accepted much responsi- 
bility for their own conduct. 

Officials and students have noted this admirable situa- 
tion. As early as 1913 Miss Paschal, who then had the now 
archaic title of lady principal, wrote in the alumnae depart- 
ment of the March issue of the Acorn: 

IS There were 112 married students at Meredith in 1970-71. 

350 History of Meredith College 

The president of the Student Government Association is more 
of an authority in equity and law than is any teacher in the 
institution, and it is into her ears that the transgressor pours 
out her confession. 

Fifty-one years later Miss Leake, after five years at Mere- 
dith as assistant dean of students, commenting on the great 
respect for student leadership at Meredith, said: "It seems 
to me that Meredith students assume great responsibility 
in keeping Meredith the kind of school it ought to be." Dean 
Fleming in her 1968-69 report to the president referred 
to "the traditionally strong student government." Dean 
Mason in the next year's report wrote that she regards the 
students as being "mature, responsible, and worthy of self- 
set goals." 

This note runs through many of the students' editorials, 
letters, talks in assembly, and conversations. Gail Gaddy, 
the student government president for 1970-71, reminded the 
students in her first address that "if we are to have free- 
dom, we must accept the responsibilities which justify that 

The praiseworthy attitude prevalent at Meredith was 
well expressed in Brooks McGirt's editorial in the Twig of 
May 22, 1969. In commenting on students in some institu- 
tions who "march, riot, run nude across the campus, barri- 
cade the president in his home, seize the administration 
building for use as a community love-in, camp-in, and 
wreck-in," she wrote : 

We do not agree with nor can we condone the actions of these 
"students." There can be no excuse for wilful destruction of 
others' property, no matter how well founded their grievances. 
In fact, we question the validity of student demands which name 
the complete demise of any and all rules which tend to keep 
them from "doing their thing." No governing body, be it national 
or state government or Board of Trustees, can be expected to 
grant so many liberties and privileges to students who insist on 
throwing a temper tantrum and burning another building when- 
ever things don't go their way. . . . 

This year has meant many changes, both social and academic, 
for this school. And yet, not one of them was brought about by 
rioting or burning. Students, bringing their requests before the 
Trustees, found a body of men and women eager to hear and to 
act on these requests. Faculty and administrators have shown 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 351 

their willingness to cooperate with student wants and needs. . . . 
Students at Meredith College have shown their willingness to 
work, even slave, for what they want — not by staging dramatic 
protest marches, but by sheer brain and leg power in endless 
committee meetings, discussions, and studies. And, with a few 
exceptions, students have shown the still greater attribute of 
waiting patiently, realizing that nothing good happens fast. 

The w^orking together of students and faculty as mem- 
bers of the Meredith community led in 1970 to the creation 
of an important new committee. Instead of the faculty com- 
mittee on student government, there is now a student life 
committee, the function and membership of which are given 
in the 1970-71 Student Handbook: 

It shall be the function of the Student Life Committee to direct 
attention and/ or study to the concerns and/ or the welfare of 
the students; give consideration to the spiritual, recreational, and 
health needs of the students; study and review student organi- 
zations and their budgets; and devise plans for working with 
students and student organizations, as well as periodically re- 
viewing all student life regulations. This Committee shall serve 
as the responsible body to see that the College's philosophy finds 
expression in the College community. 

The Student Life Committee shall be composed of the S.G.A. 
President, the M.C.A. President, the M.R.A. President, the presi- 
dents of the four academic classes, the Dean of Students or 
Director of Student Affairs, the College Minister, five faculty 
(instructional staff) members elected by the faculty, and the 
Director of the College Center. (When this position is filled, one 
faculty membership should be withdrawn.) Whatever student 
board shall be concerned with the specific proposal may send 
a representative from that board to discuss the proposal with 
the Student Life Committee. 

The Honor Code given below, first adopted in 1947, em- 
bodies the principle of the honor system on which all life at 
Meredith is based, as it has been since the earliest days. 

1. Each student strives at all times to be honest and truthful. 

2. Each student is personally responsible for her own conduct 
and for informing herself and abiding by college regulations. 

3. Each student is personally responsible for her obligations 
to the college community. 

4. Each student is responsible for seeing that the honor code 
is, at all times, carried out. If she is aware of a violation of the 
code by another student, it becomes her duty to see that the 
offender reports the violation. 

352 History of Meredith College 

No student enrollment at Meredith is complete until she has 
signed the Honor Pledge: 

I do solemnly pledge my honor that as long as I am a student 
at Meredith College, I will faithfully uphold the principles of the 
Honor System and will respect and observe its procedures and 
requirements. I also pledge my support to oiu- system of self- 
government, an integral part of our way of life at Meredith 
College. I promise to help my fellow students by calling to 
their attention any action or attitude that will jeopardize the 
Honor System or that will weaken the system of self-govern- 
ment. I make this pledge in view of the pledges of my fellow 
students, thus signifying our mutual trust and our high resolve 
to keep our honor forever sacred and oin: self-government for- 
ever strong. 

The Twig of October 6, 1966, said of the special service at 
which the Honor Pledge was signed : 

The symbolic service, consisting of the lighting of candles, the 
signing of the Honor Code Pledge, and the singing of the Alma 
Mater was a significant and outward sign of the students' will- 
ingness to live under the honor code, a fact already attested to 
by their presence here. 

The ceremony, always impressive in its solemnity and beau- 
ty, is especially so now that it takes place on the island in 
the lake. 

Cynthia Griffith, the Student Government president in 
1969-70, in telling the Alumnae Council of the increasing 
"freedom with responsibility" reassured them by adding: 

In spite of the changes, tradition is still strong, and the honor 
system is an increasingly important part of Meredith life. 

Obviously a thousand girls living together cannot discard 
all rules, but so far as possible they have been reduced to a 
minimum. Rather than following regulations as to dress, 
students are reminded in the current Handbook that "at all 
times appropriate and socially acceptable standards of dress 
are expected of Meredith students." Except for first semes- 
ter freshmen (who may have four day and four evening 
engagements per week and twelve overnights) the number 
of day and evening engagements and of overnights is left to 
the students' discretion; however, parents must give per- 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 353 

mission for overnight visits. Reasonable quiet is expected 
in the dormitories at all times, and Busy signs are to be re- 
spected. Light bell has given way to official bedtime at 
11:45 p.m., except for Friday and Saturday, when it is 
1:15 a.m. The closing hour for the College is 11:30 p.m. 
except for Friday and Saturday, when it is 1 :00 a.m. Smok- 
ing is permitted in the dormitory rooms, the Bee Hive, the 
Hut, the student lounges, and the smoking room on the 
ground floor of the library. A junior or senior may with 
parental permission have a car on the campus. 

The 1970-71 Handbook makes clear the College policy 
(which cannot be changed without the approval of the 
Board of Trustees) concerning alcoholic beverages: 

The College strongly discourages the use of alcoholic bev- 
erages. Students shall not possess or consume intoxicants on the 
campus or at College-sponsored functions. Meredith students 
are expected to represent the College with dignity at all times. 

Freedom of dissent is a right always recognized at 
Meredith. There are, as is to be expected, some students 
who resent what Dr. Heilman in his inaugural address 
called "flexible but firm direction"; what one recent gradu- 
ate commended as "supervised independence"; what a stu- 
dent expressed gratitude for, "a guiding hand offered when 
needed." Editorials, letters, and cartoons appearing now 
and then in the Twig express dissatisfaction with various 
aspects of life at Meredith, as do the gripe sessions held oc- 
casionally in the student assembly. Some comments are 
sound, constructive criticism; some few are peevish com- 
plaints. More than once a contributor to the Twig has 
called Meredith a prison; an unsigned letter in the issue of 
January 13, 1956, attacked "the Supreme Council for the 
Inquisition (Faculty Committee to some)"; in February 20, 
1969 a Twig cartoon showed the "Faculty Arsenal" — 
guns, pistols, daggers, knives and bludgeons labeled grades, 
rules, authority, class attendance, and intimidation. 

Such outbursts are wholesome safety valves for a small 
minority; the decided majority of comments show the 
maturity and reasonableness characteristic of Meredtih stu- 
dents. They do not hesitate to criticize their own attitudes 

354 History of Meredith College 

and actions. Of several answers to criticism of chapel pro- 
grams one made an excellent point : 

It seems that in our search for speakers who know what 
college students are thinking, we are overlooking someone who 
can give college students something to think about. 

Another discerning editorial said : 

We at Meredith often ask the question: "Why doesn't the 
administration treat us like adults?" Perhaps they can answer 
it with "Why don't you act like adults?" 

And another: 

We as college students are against countless things. Have we, 
however, failed to set up opposing aims; do we know what we 
are for? 

The faculty and administration have small cause to be 
disturbed by occasional outbursts against them so long as 
editorials appear such as Anne Stone's "A Top-Notch Facul- 
ty" in the Twig of November 3, 1967. 

Meredith faculty were the real stars of Corn Huskin'. Not only 
the teaching faculty, but also the administrative staff were well 
represented. . . . They entered Corn Huskin' not to compete with 
the students for top honors, but to add to the spirit of fun and 
community that was at its height during the evening. For this, the 
student body says "Thank you." 

Corn Huskin' is only one of the occasions during the year 
when the faculty and staff contribute their share and more to 
campus extra-curricular activities. They head and serve on nu- 
merous committees for the improvement of every phase of life 
at Meredith, act as counsel group advisers, club sponsors, publi- 
cation advisers, and chapel speakers. They are usually the most 
enthusiastic participants in Play Day each spring, and once every 
four years give their traditional production of Alice in Wonder- 
land. In past years they have helped to raise approximately four 
thousand dollars by offering their services at two successful 
faculty auctions. All the while, faculty and staff members carry 
full teaching or work loads and maintain an interest in their 
own church and community affairs. . . . We who feel so busy 
and imposed upon might look to them as examples of what can 
be done when one is truly interested, involved, and active. 

In the costume parade that year, faculty and staff were 
dressed as hippies. They carried protest signs demanding 

''The Doors Are Open Wider" 355 

coed dorms and flower power. President Heilman, carrying 
a huge sign "Down with the Establishment," was dragged 
away by Mr, Hiott, who was for the evening policeman 
rather than registrar. 

Only a student body and a faculty and staff whose rela- 
tions were close and cordial could have had such successful 
faculty auctions as those to which the editorial referred. 
Originated by the students in 1965 to make money for the 
Carlyle Campbell Library and repeated for the same pur- 
pose in 1967, the two auctions were far more lucrative than 
the flea market, the original play, the collection of S & H 
green stamps, or the $1.00 privilege of wearing bermudas 
anywhere on the campus for a week or of smoking in the 
College dining hall for "ten cents a puff." 

On the stage of the auditorium more than forty faculty 
members were brought out from behind prison bars one by 
one to have their services auctioned off to vociferously bid- 
ding students, some in pairs or small groups, others by halls. 
Steak dinners, picnics, refreshments for hall parties, laun- 
dry, the typing of term papers, breakfast served in bed — 
these and other services were the offerings of faculty 
women, for which the highest bid was sixty dollars. But 
the men were the hilarious financial success of the affair. 
Dean Peacock and Dr. Yarbrough waited on tables at din- 
ner; several volunteered for hall duty. In that capacity 
Mr. Eads, Dr. Cochran, and Mr. Coffer brought two hundred 
dollars each. The most applauded slave was Mr. Baker, 
whose activities the Twig of May 25, 1967 described thus : 

Mr. Baker, who claimed that he "didn't know what to expect" 
in volunteering for phone duty, found himself making trips for 
ice, playing "Twister," and setting hair, in addition to answering 
the astonished queries of phone callers. Dressed in a colorful 
housecoat, flapper beads, and a hat direct from the 1967 Mardi 
gras, he was voted "Mr, America" by Fourth Vann, 

In a news letter which the Granddaughters' Club sent to 
the alumnae at Christmas, 1970, the president, Suzanne 
Pomeranz, told of a student-faculty swim mieet by which 
the students made money for the United Fund Drive, The 
account ended with a happy comment: "It's really great to 

356 History of Meredith College 

live on a campus where you can have fun with your pro- 

It is easier for parents, as well as for students to know 
the faculty and staff and to feel at home at Meredith than it 
would be if the College were larger. Parents have always 
been especially welcome visitors to the campus at any time 
they will come. In 1967 a special day was designated 
Parents' Day, with its program planned and carried out 
by the Students' Activities Board. It was a distinct success; 
though the College had thought that 500 would be a maxi- 
mum attendance, 673 came. The next year Parents' Day 
became Parents' Weekend — a two-day event. Parents were 
invited to attend classes Saturday morning; and in the 
evening the stunts winning first and second place were 
repeated for them. The plan was so successful that since 
1969 it has been necessary to limit the invitation to the 
parents of freshmen and seniors. Saturday afternoon the 
visitors register in Johnson Hall; and refreshments are 
served in three residence halls, Brewer, Vann, and Poteat, 
Later in the afternoon a special program is presented for 
parents and daughters; in 1969 it was a discussion of 
careers for women. Supper in the dining hall is followed by 
a concert, a play, or some other entertainment. After the 
midday dinner on Sunday, student-guided tours take the 
visitors to the classroom and laboratories, the library, 
the home management house, the infirmary, and the alum- 
nae house. From two to four o'clock the faculty are in their 
offices in Joyner, Hunter, and Jones to talk with parents. 
The last event of the weekend is a reception in Johnson 
Hall, when the parents and administrative officers have an 
opportunity to meet. Greater importance was given to the 
occasion in 1971 when the first meeting of the Parents' 
Association was added to the events by which the parents 
are drawn into the Meredith community. 

As they have done in seeking greater freedom for them- 
selves, the students have evinced their interest in the 
national and world situation without rioting. In order that 

16 The faculty and staff went even further in their cooperation with the 
students in raising money; they defeated the basketball team of a local radio 
station, the WKIX Cagers. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 357 

as many as possible of the Meredith workers might attend 
the memorial service for Martin Luther King held at noon 
in the Raleigh auditorium, students volunteered to take the 
place that morning of maids and dining room workers. A 
service in King's memory initiated and planned by the stu- 
dents had been held earlier at Meredith, 

A memorial service took place in the quadrangle court for 
the four Kent State University students who had died in 
the affray between students and police. Two days later, the 
students had a "write-in" in the Meredith court, when let- 
ters were written to their congressmen and to President 
Nixon, protesting the killing of the four students and the 
invasion of Cambodia, On October 15, 1969, a day desig- 
nated for student protest against the nation's involvement 
in Vietnam and Cambodia, the students held a lively panel 
discussion at the assembly period, which the Raleigh Times 
that evening characterized as "sane, sound, but definitely 
spirited." Some have taken part in the orderly vigils for 
peace held by concerned citizens each Wednesday at noon 
in front of the recruiting station at the post office on Fay- 
etteville Street, Two Meredith girls joined in the Washing- 
ton March against Death in November, 1970, 

Their interest in national and world affairs is not limited 
to these special occasions. Students each year are repre- 
sented in the North Carolina Student Legislature and in the 
Model United Nations assembly held in the state. In 1969 
for the first time four students went to the national Model 
United Nations held in New York, The Young Democrats, 
the Young Republicans, and the International Relations 
Club foster an interest in politics, Geni Tull, a sophomore 
member of the Granddaughters' Club, wrote in "Days on 
the Calendar" in the December, 1968, Alumnae Magazine: 

The chief interest of everyone was centered on the Presidential 
election. From the beginning of school, posters mounted on doors 
and buttons sported on collars revealed student favorites. Friendly 
gossip sessions grew into heated political discussions, and many 
students took active interest by campaigning for their favorite 
candidates. On November 5, the election returns were followed 
closely, and when the winners were announced, wails, sighs, and 
cheers were heard all over the campus. 


358 History of Meredith College 

Since the days of the Baptist Female University, the rela- 
tions between the school and the city have been cordial. Its 
225 acre campus still gives Meredith the freedom from the 
disturbing noise of city traffic that it had when it first 
moved to its present site. However, with the steady 
growth of Raleigh westward, instead of there being more 
than a mile of wooded area between the city limits and the 
College, Meredith is now well within the city limits and is 
as much a part of Raleigh as when it was only a block from 
the capitol. 

The place of Meredith in Raleigh was well characterized 
by the 1967 Oak Leaves: 

A separate, but not separated community in the city of Ra- 
leigh, we at Meredith seek to question, to know, to lead, and to 
serve. Because we are a part of the whole we take from and give 
to the community. 

Raleigh has given to Meredith in many ways. In the 
Advancement Program the city by the first of July, 1971, 
had contributed more than $1,377,000. In the buildings, 
new and remodeled, various firms and individuals have 
contributed furniture, materials, and services. In 1968 Trav- 
is Tomlinson, then Mayor of Raleigh, designated April 5 
as Meredith Day. Business firms displayed posters and 
inserted "Meredith Day" in their advertisements. Restau- 
rants had cards on their tables; business men and other 
citizens wore on the lapels of their coats the affirmation, 
"Meredith Won Me Over." Radio and television stations, 
always generous in the time alloted to the College and its 
activities, gave special salutes on this day. In spite of the 
steady downpour of rain, the day was pronounced a decided 
success. A picture of the master plan of the Meredith cam- 
pus was used for the cover of the Raleigh telephone direc- 
tory in 1969. The hospitality of the Raleigh churches has 
been noted in earlier chapters. 

Though they are here only four years, the students are 
regarded as part of Raleigh, as is evidenced by the contests 
for the title, Miss Raleigh. The Raleigh contest was not 
held in 1970; but in the eleven previous years, nine winners 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 359 

of that honor were Meredith students. Patsy Johnson, the 
1969 Miss Raleigh, was chosen Miss North Carolina.^'^ 

In many ways the College contributes to the city. In his 
greetings at President Heilman's inauguration, Mayor Tom- 
linson said : 

Raleigh is fortunate in having many graduates of this institu- 
tion as her citizens. is The recently announced Advancement 
Program will contribute to our economic growth. . . . Raleigh 
can and does list tlie institution when it counts its blessings. 

In his proclamation of Meredith Day, he said "Meredith 
College has been an integral part of the cultural, religious, 
and social life of the city since 1899." 

Most of the faculty and staff have their established 
homes in Raleigh and are active in the community life. 
Mention has been made of the work of a few; a complete 
account would include most of the faculty and staff and 
virtually every phase of Raleigh's activities. 

The students also give to the community. Each year they, 
as well as the faculty, take part in the campaign for the 
United Fund, the Red Cross, the March of Dimes, and other 
such efforts. Before Christmas, 1970, the Astros and Phis 
joined with the Inter-Fraternity Council of North Carolina 
State in a city-wide food drive. In addition to door-to-door 
visits, collection centers were set up in food stores all over 
Raleigh, and students urged shoppers to buy an extra can or 
package for the needy of Raleigh. Later in the year Mere- 
dith students took part in a city-wide drive to provide 
books for prisons and prison camps. 

More important than these special efforts, however, is 
the steady, year-by-year volunteer work that goes on at the 
Baptist Goodwill Center, the Cerebral Palsy Center, the 
Raleigh Rescue Mission, the Governor Morehead School 

I'' Two students had been Miss North Carolina before entering Meredith. 
The College has also had winners in other beauty and talent contests, either 
state or regional, some having been given that honor before they entered, 
others while they were students here. Among them were two North Carolina 
Junior Misses, Miss Tobaccoland, Miss Consolidated University. Miss North 
Carolina Press Photographer, Miss Universe of North Carolina, Miss Variety 
Vacationland, Princess Soya, Rhododendron Festival Queen, Apple Festival 
Queen, Peanut Festival Queen, Peach Queen, Blueberry Queen, and Water- 
melon Queen. 

M More than a thousand Meredith alumnae live in the Raleigh area. 

360 History of Meredith College 

(for the blind and deaf), and Dorothea Dix Hospital. A 
more recent type of service is the tutorial program, which is 
under the auspices of the Meredith Christian Association, as 
is the work at Dorothea Dix. Begun in a small way in 1964 
and now much extended, the project provides tutors to work 
individually two afternoons a week with underprivileged 
children who are having difficulty with their lessons. The 
first year six girls volunteered for this work; in 1965 there 
were seventeen; and in 1966, thirty. That year the program 
was carried out in cooperation with the Raleigh public 
school system, and the new volunteers were given two 
orientation periods by representatives of Youth Educational 
Services. For several years most of the tutoring was done 
in the Meredith classrooms; in 1970-71 more than a hundred 
tutors were scattered over the city in churches, schools, and 
community centers. Teachers and principals have been 
pleased with the improvement in grades and social adjust- 
ment which the children who are tutored show. 

The experience is a happy as well as a helpful one for 
tutor and child. Now that the tutoring goes on elsewhere, 
people on the Meredith campus miss their glimpses of the 
earnest faces of both as they stood at the blackboard work- 
ing over a problem in arithmetic or grammar. They remem- 
ber the affectionate pride of the older and the shy eagerness 
of the younger as they went hand in hand to the Bee Hive 
for a treat after the lesson, or as on a cold day the tutor 
knelt to button a tattered little coat. 

In the summer of 1971 a new project, HELP (Healthy 
Environment for Little People, ) was added to the Meredith 
students' volunteer services. With the guidance of Mr. 
Songer, teacher of political science, a group of students 
conducted three ten-day sessions of a day camp for disad- 
vantaged children. About twenty-five children were in one 
of the camps, forty in each of the other two, A variety of 
planned activities kept them all busy and happy — sports, 
crafts, and remedial work in subjects where it was needed, 
with a substantial midday meal. The children were all 
from Method, and for two of the groups no transportation 
was available; so the girls walked to Method for them in the 
morning and walked back with them in the late afternoon. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 361 

The accounts of five of these projects, each written by a 
student for the June, 1971 Alumnae Magazine, showed the 
genuine joy the workers have in this service. Sanne Jones, 
a sophomore, wrote of the work at the Governor Morehead 
School : 

These young people need the concern, love, and friendship 
of Meredith girls, and we in turn need theirs. Sharing with 
others and gaining knowledge of their way of life is a sure way 
of keeping the Meredith community living and growing. 

Renee Elks, a junior, ended her account of the work at 
Dorothea Dix Hospital with "Happiness is our reward." 

Between 250 and 300 volunteers take part in these vari- 
ous programs. Recently their work has been made easier 
and more effective with the use of a courtesy car, a station 
wagon seating nine, through the generosity of Robert Mur- 
ray, president of the Triangle Chevrolet Company in Ra- 
leigh. Mr, Murray said that the company would also pay 
the insurance and repairs on the car; and if the girls took 
good care of it, they would replace it at intervals. 

Lectures, concerts, plays, and other special events spon- 
sored by the College are open to the public without charge. 
Thus the cultural life of the city as well as of Meredith is 

Outstanding among these occasions was the two-day 
whirlwind visit in March, 1967, of R. Buchminster Fuller, 
renowned as scientist, inventor, architect, and philosopher. 
A joint committee with Dr. Syron of the faculty and Kath- 
erine Freeman, a senior, as co-chairmen, planned for more 
than a year for what was, in Dr. Syron's words, "A new 
pattern in student-faculty adventure." Mr. Fuller's most 
famous invention, the geodesic dome, is the lightest for its 
strength of any structure ever made.^^ His topic. The Im- 
portance and Implications of Cybernetics, in no way limited 
the extent of his discussions, which, the Twig stated, 
totaled ten hours. The lectures were the culmination of 
Directions '67, a yearlong consideration of one issue. Hu- 
man Adjustment in a Technical Society. 

In order that the hearers might have the greatest possible 

i» The United States pavilion at Exposition '67 in Montreal was a geodesic 
dome valued at $9,300,000. 

362 History of Meredith College 

benefit from what the New Yorker of January 8, 1966, 
called "the somewhat overwhelming effect of a Fuller 
monologue," reading lists were prepared and distributed, 
and lectures and discussions preceded the two-day visit. 
During his stay an exhibit of models was set up in Johnson 
Hall showing the latest trends in structure design. Two of 
the speakers in the preliminary sessions were especially 
helpful, Mr. Coffer of the faculty and Dr. H. J. Cassidy, 
professor of chemistry at Yale. Chosen by the students to 
speak in the assembly several weeks later, Dr. Knight, also 
of the faculty, gave a wholesome reminder that in an age of 
such drastic scientific and technological changes, unchang- 
ing values need the more to be stressed. 

No event at Meredith has had more widespread recogni- 
tion than Mr. Fuller's addresses. Fifteen hundred special 
invitations were sent to key figures in the Research Tri- 
angle area, to government officials, and to administrative 
officials and faculty members of the seven Baptist colleges 
in the state and other colleges in this area. A feature ar- 
ticle about the visit appeared in the May, 1968, Campus 
Scene, a magazine which has nationwide circulation on 
college campuses. 

Other addresses of value and interest have been given by 
speakers less spectacular than Mr. Fuller. Elizabeth Duncan 
Koontz, director of the Woman's Bureau of the Department 
of Labor, pleased those under and over thirty with her 
talk. The Generation Gap. Before coming to the governmen- 
tal position she was president of the National Education 
Association — the third North Carolinian, the second 
woman, and the first Negro to hold that office.^^ Houston 
Smith, professor of philosophy at the Massachusetts Insti- 
tute of Technology, spoke on East and West in Religion: 
A Cross-Cultural Dialogue. Born of missionary parents. Dr. 
Smith lived in China till he was seventeen; hence he had 
an excellent background for his extensive research in com- 
parative religions. 

Two North Carolina writers were among the speakers — 
Sylvia Wilkinson, novelist, and Guy Owen, novelist and 

=0 The first North Carolinian was James Yadkin Joyner, Meredith trustee; 
the second was Lois Edinger, Meredith alumna, who was also the first woman. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 363 

poet. Paul Engle, poet, novelist, anthologist and critic, who 
is now director of the Program for International Writing, 
had as his subject, "Poetry and People." Maynard Mack, 
Professor of English at Yale University and President of 
the Modern Language Association, made an address both 
scholarly and pleasing, "An Ecology for Lovers: Romeo and 
Juliet." Frank J. McEwen, a Danforth visiting lecturer, 
on the campus for two days, gave two lectures and held 
informal discussions about African art and culture, illustrat- 
ing the talks with films, slides and recordings. As director 
of the Rhodes National Gallery, Mr. McEwen in fifteen 
years has sponsored more than seventy exhibitions of Afri- 
can art, in addition to his own work as an artist, lecturer, 
and teacher. Earl Wilson, introduced as the most widely 
syndicated columnist in America, kept his audience laugh- 
ing with "Confessions of a Columnist." Mr. Wilson, who had 
dinner with the students and chatted informally with them 
afterwards, complimented them for "having independent 
spirits without being radical." 

In the faculty lecture series Dr. Johnson chose as her 
subject "Words: Daughters and Sons of Earth and of 
Heaven," a choice not surprising for one who had taught 
Old English for forty years. Dr. Cochran returned from 
Duke, where he was on leave with a grant from the Ford 
Foundation, to give "The Anatomy of Puritanism," which 
cleared away some traditional misconceptions concerning 
Puritanism and interpreted its essential nature. Dr. Coop- 
er's "From Hoop Skirts to Mini-Skirts" was meaningful 
not only to those learned in music but to anyone inter- 
ested in it. Dr. Lemmon's "Toward a Philosophy for a 
Historian" heightened the interest of her audience in the 
nature of historical research and its fascination. Leonard 
White's "An Untitled Hour" provided the variety which the 
title promised. 

Musical events have also benefited Meredith and Raleigh. 
The piano recital of Fedora Horowitz, permanent soloist of 
the Israel Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra, was spon- 
sored by the department of music. The Lucktenberg Duo — 
Jerrie Lucktenberg, violinist, and George Lucktenberg, 
pianist-harpsichordist — appeared twice, in 1968 and in 1970. 

364 History of Meredith College 

The second time they gave three programs in which they 
presented the entire Beethoven sonata cycle. These three 
programs were especially fitting for 1970, the bicentennial 
of Beethoven's birth. This anniversary was also marked by 
Mr. Pratt's Beethoven recital. 

Variety was given to the concert and lecture series with 
Rossini's comic opera, The Italian Girl in Algiers, given in 
English by the National Opera Company; with Llords' In- 
ternational Marionettes' production of scenes from Faust; 
with Sartre's No Exit produced by the Lyric Players; with 
three programs given by the Lucas Hoving Dance Com- 
pany, whose appearance was sponsored jointly by Meredith 
and the Raleigh Civic Ballet; and with the outdoor exhibit 
of Edward Brown's very modernistic sculpture. 

The installation of the Cooper organ was one of the chief 
campus events of 1970-71. When Jones Hall was built in 
1949, it was thought wise to install the old organ in the 
small assembly room downstairs instead of in the new 
auditorium.21 It was used until 1961, when Mary Louise 
Huffman Cornwell, '30, of Morganton, gave $30,000 for a 
three-manual organ.^^ Other pressing needs in the College 
delayed the acquiring of an organ for the auditorium until 
a fund was initiated by Annie Laurie Pomeranz, '41, and 
her husband, Robert E. Pomeranz, of Sanford, with a gift 
of $25,000. Gifts from other friends — chief among them 
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Strawbridge, of Durham; Margaret 
Anne Thomas, '41, of Quincy, Florida; and the late Mrs. 
W. T. Brown, of Murphey— brought the fund to $80,000. 
The Huffman Cornwell Foundation contributed $6,700. Mrs. 
Pomeranz made the gift as "a tribute to Dr. Cooper, who 
has done so much to keep Meredith in a nationally com- 
petitive position in the field of music." The organ was built 
according to Dr. Cooper's own design. 

The dedicatory recital of the Cooper organ on December 5 
marked Dr. Cooper's first public performance at Meredith 

^ Renovated several times under Dr. Cooper's skilled supervision, the old 
organ, bought from a Presbyterian church in Buffalo for $4,700, survived 
astonishingly well its fifty-five years of constant use at Meredith. Dr. Cooper 
estimated that each year it was played as many hours as a church organ in 
fourteen and a half years. 

22 On November 9, 1961, Mrs. Cornwell attended the dedicatory recital of 
the organ; one month later, December 9, she died. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 365 

since his retirement the preceding June. On January 12, 
1971, the second organ recital was the first public per- 
formance at Meredith of his successor. Dr. Lynch. Both 
recitals justified the tribute which President Heilman paid 
the outgoing and the incoming musician when he announced 
to the trustees Dr. Lynch's acceptance of the position. 

I am confident that he will help us to maintain the excellent 
department for which Meredith has long been noted. 

The 1970 Christmas concert was given on December 6, 
the day after Dr. Cooper's recital, in Bryan Rotunda of 
Johnson Hall, with the two upper levels and the stairs of 
the rotunda being used for the musicians. The program was 
divided into two parts, the first being given from 3:00 
to 3:30; the second from 4:00 to 4:30. The Meredith Chorus, 
under the direction of Mrs. Sullivan, and the Meredith In- 
strumental Ensemble, under the direction of Mrs. Garriss, 
gave the first part; the Meredith Singers, also under Mrs. 
Sullivan's direction, and the Meredith Vocal Ensemble, un- 
der the direction of Miss Donley, gave the second. Between 
the two parts and after the second, performers and audi- 
ence were invited to the President's reception, held in Belk 
Dining Hall. 

Townspeople come to the campus for their own activities 
as well as those of the College. The Chamber of Commerce 
has frequently had its dinners at Meredith, as have other 
organizations. Before it had an adequate building. Ridge 
Road Baptist Church used the auditorium for Sunday school 
and church services. For three years the North Carolina 
Literary Forum was held in it, and various musical organi- 
zations in Raleigh use it for concerts and recitals. The 
service on Reformation Day sponsored by the churches of 
Raleigh has taken place in the auditorium several times. 
The amphitheater is used for the community Easter service 
of a group of West Raleigh churches. In the summer of 
1970 the first Triangle Summer Fest, with five concerts of 
classical and semi-classical music, took place there. "Cul- 
ture under the Stars," President Heilman called it. Families 
were invited to bring suppers for a picnic on the campus 
before each performance. 

366 History of Meredith College 

In the summer of 1970 there was a wedding on the island 
in the lake. Neither bride nor groom had any ties with 
Meredith; they chose the place solely for its beauty. In 
1971 a photographer brought for their pictures two wed- 
ding parties to the lake. The second wedding was to be a 
triple ceremony — that of three sisters. One use of the 
lake the College regretfully but firmly ended. During sev- 
eral days of bitter cold weather early in January, 1970, the 
lake was completely frozen over. Children and adults from 
Raleigh joined students in the fun of skating and sliding 
till the Raleigh Fire Department pronounced it unsafe. 

From over the state and the region as well as from the 
city, organizations and groups have been welcomed at Mere- 
dith. In April, 1971, the North Carolina General Assembly 
of the Disciples of Christ held a two-day session here, and 
in the summer 400 young people of the Church of Latter 
Day Saints were on the campus for the weekend. For many 
years debates and plays from schools in this area prelimi- 
nary to the state-wide contest at Chapel Hill were held 
here, with Meredith teachers serving as judges. Workshops 
and conferences of various types come to the campus. 
Teachers in virtually every field meet here in sessions from 
one to ten days. 

In recent summers in addition to the College's own ac- 
tivities — the regular summer session of five weeks, the 
three-week workshop in transformational grammar which 
Mrs. Jones of the English department directed, the three 
equitation programs of two weeks each, and three day 
camps of ten days each for disadvantaged children — visiting 
groups have made the campus a busy place. They ranged 
from the South Atlantic Regional Conference of the Ameri- 
can Association of University Women and a leadership 
training workshop for the North Carolina Council of Wom- 
en's Organizations to a majorette camp and a cheer lead- 
ers' camp for high school girls from three states. (Twelve 
hundred came to the two sessions for cheer leaders in 
1971.) One group leaving, laden with baggage, may meet a 
similar group coming in, with only a few days at the end 
of the summer between the last group and the incoming 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 367 

In the summer of 1968 under the auspices of the National 
Defense Education Association, an Institute for Advanced 
Studies in Asian History was held at Meredith. The thirty- 
five students in the six-week program were chosen from 
all over the United States. The faculty and guest lecturers 
were twenty specialists in Asian studies from several large 
universities. The work of the session received certificate 
and graduate credit. 

Dr. Gates, who conceived the plan and was director of 
the institute, is an authority in Asian history. She has spent 
several summers studying documents in the India Office 
library and archives in London. She had a grant from the 
Fulbright-Hays Foundation for research at the University 
of Mysore in India and from the Ford Foundation for study 
at Duke University. 

She and Mrs. McCombs of the library staff were two of 
the faculty members chosen from ten schools to be partici- 
pants in the Middle East Program sponsored by the United 
States Office of Education. This program, initiated to as- 
sist schools in establishing courses in Middle East studies 
consisted of a summer seminar in the United States in 1970 
and summer seminars in Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt in 
1971, with an in-service program throughout the school 
year 1970-71. 

The College always welcomes representatives of the de- 
nomination which founded it and which contributes gen- 
erously each year to its support.^^ The General Board of 
the Baptist State Convention in its annual session usually 
has a dinner meeting at Meredith; and when the Conven- 
tion meets in Raleigh, the College always has an open 
house for the delegates. In the summer of 1968 young peo- 
ple who were to work in North Carolina for the Convention 
were at Meredith for a ten-day workshop, sponsored by the 
Department of Student Work of the Convention. In the 
same summer the College gave the first of the annual pic- 
nic suppers for the workers of the Convention, the Decem- 
ber, 1968, Alumnae Magazine reported, "just to show ap- 

23 From 1960 to 1970 the Convention has appropriated to Meredith $1,- 

368 History of Meredith College 

preciation for all they have meant and continue to mean to 
the College." 

These and other such occasions involve North Carolina 
Baptists. A program in the summer of 1970 had a much 
wider scope. The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern 
Baptist Convention held its eight-week Journeyman Train- 
ing Program on the Meredith campus. With the general 
preparation for work on any foreign field, these seventy- 
one volunteers for two years of mission work overseas were 
given especial preparation for the country to which they 
were going and the types of work which they were to do. 
Meredith was chosen for this training program in 1971 

Though Meredith's standing in denominational and aca- 
demic circles has always been good, the last few years 
have brought it wider recognition. Part of this recognition 
is due to commencement and Founders' Day speakers who 
are important figures in the financial world. Besides Mr. 
Harris and Mr. Cameron, who are closely associated with 
Meredith, others have come. 

Wallace Johnson, president of Holiday Inns of America 
and chairman of the Board of Directors of Medicenters of 
America, gave the baccalaureate sermon in 1969, the first 
time that a layman has been chosen in that capacity. He 
is, however, a layman who spends much time in religious 
activities, being a director of the Memphis Baptist Hospital, 
of the Memphis Y.M.C.A., and of the American Bible So- 
ciety. In 1965 he was chosen by the Religious Heritage 
Foundation as Layman of the Year. 

Mr. Johnson was so pleased with Meredith that the fol- 
lowing September his niece entered the freshman class; 
and in October the Holiday Inn Magazine had a feature ar- 
ticle about Meredith with a full page picture of the campus. 
This magazine with a circulation of 650,000 is distributed 
in every Holiday Inn in the nation. A gift of $50,000 for 
the College center in 1971 showed his continued interest in 

In 1970 Donald Regan, president of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 369 

Fenner, and Smith delivered the Founders' Day address,^* 
and the next year L. C. Rast, president of the Southern 
Bell Telephone Company, spoke on the same occasion. The 
addresses of both these men with high positions in the 
business world showed a sympathetic understanding of a 
liberal education. 

A full page advertisement of Meredith appeared in the 
September 13, 1968, issue of Time. The usual rate for the 
full page advertisement is $6,000, but this one was inserted 
without charge in accord with Time's decision, announced 
in the December 2, 1966, issue, "to open its advertising 
pages to messages from institutions of higher learning." 
As many as fifty free advertisements a year might be 
run, "provided that the messages demonstrate the imagina- 
tion and scope that will appeal to Time's readers." 

After the College rejected copy submitted by two pro- 
fessional agencies, one in New York and one in North 
Carolina, neither of which seemed appropriately to repre- 
sent Meredith, Carolyn Robinson, then director of publica- 
tions, and Faye Humphries, director of public relations, 
prepared two advertisements, either of which Tim,e was 
ready to accept. 

It is obvious that the confidence with which Meredith 
faces the future has a sound foundation and that this con- 
fidence extends beyond the Meredith community and its 
friends and benefactors. After a visit to Meredith in con- 
nection with the Carnegie study of higher education, 
Charles G. McCurdy, executive secretary of the Association 
of American Universities, wrote to Mr. Kanipe that, in 
reporting the visit, he made this comment : 

Meredith College is one of the few institutions of higher learn- 
ing I know about which disseminates good cheer and confidence 
for the future. I have been mulling over this situation ever 
since my visit, trying to assign reasons for it, and I believe 

2* Mr. Regan's trip to Raleigh brought Meredith's name into financial news 
which shook Wall Street. Speaking at breakfast to the Chamber of Commerce, 
he predicted that a drop in the prime interest rate on loans would come in two 
months. The News and Observer reported the next day that before the day 
was over his talk "was being cited in New York financial circles as one of 
the reasons for a sharp rise in the stock market." 

370 History of Meredith College 

there are many, not the least of them being that the institution 
exudes optimism and is able to infuse it into others. 

For one who has entertained the thought that small colleges 
like Meredith are in trouble and may face extinction, I am now 
obliged to change my thinking and just hope that other small 
colleges can emulate Meredith and all it stands for. 

With all that is new in buildings, in curriculum, in per- 
sonnel, and in social customs, that which is essentially 
Meredith remains. The comments of three students are 
proof that it does. A few weeks before her graduation in 
1957, Jo Ann Selley wrote in the Twig: 

We came not merely for knowledge, for companionship, or 
for the development of our individualities; we came seeking a 
way of life that would unify and make meaningful our experi- 
ences; we came to fill our spirits with a faith that springs from 
glimpses of eternal truth that is God. 

Immature and human as we know ourselves to be, we know 
that we have not found truth. But we have found new tools in 
these years at Meredith; we have learned patience and humility 
of mind as well as courage of thought; we have met inspiration 
in flesh and blood as well as in print; and we have known happi- 
ness that comes with understanding one another. 

Fourteen years later Suzanne Reynolds ,^^ another senior 
Hearing graduation, wrote : 

A few years and many experiences ago when on an application 
blank I gave my reasons for wishing to come to Meredith, I used 
the terms "individual attention," "liberal arts," and "church- 
related college." Today as a senior I still use these terms con- 
cerning the College, but in light of the Meredith tradition I use 
them with more insight. I realize that individual attention means 
more than routine conferences, that the term signifies Meredith's 
genuine concern that each girl develop her individuality in all 
the avenues open to her. When I write "liberal arts" in refer- 
ence to the College, I know that, though Meredith recognizes 
the importance of preparing for a career, she recognizes the 
greater importance of drawing from each day the beauty and 
richness that enable one to live rather than merely to exist. I 
know that church-related reveals more than denominational 
sponsorship; I know that Meredith regards true relationship 
with Christ as the center of every real life, making all other 
relationships meaningful. 

25 Suzanne Rejmolds is the only student who has ever graduated with a 
grade of A on every course she took during her four years at Meredith. 

"The Doors Are Open Wider" 371 

And in the same year, 1971, Deana Duncan, a sophomore, 

Faith in the traditions and standards for which Meredith is 
noted led me to choose her as my college and allows me to lay 
my future in her hands. She will not fail me now. 

Through these doors that are open wider enter girls each 
year for whom Meredith is "an impulse to growth and a 
source of delight." And through these doors go out each 
year young women who face life with more confidence, who 
will be happier individuals, better citizens, more dedicated 
Christians because of what Meredith has given them. 


(1902 — ) 

The four presidents since 1900 all noted the devotion of 
the daughters of Meredith and their value to their Alma 
Mater, A sketch of the Baptist Female University which 
Dr. Vann wrote for the first Oak Leaves, in 1904, foretold 
the time when the school, the influence of which was al- 
ready being felt, would have "throughout this and neigh- 
boring states an association of devoted daughters, from 
whom she may expect great things." Dr. Brewer in his first 
year made a statement which several times later he con- 
fidently repeated: "Meredith is safe so long as the alumnae 
love her." President Campbell in the Summer, 1947, issue 
of the Alumnae Magazine wrote: "We are stimulated by 
the consciousness of your abiding devotion and the effective 
way in which this interest is demonstrated." And President 
Heilman in the Magazine for December, 1968, wrote: "The 
future of Meredith is to a large degree in the hands of her 

"The association of devoted daughters" had already had 
its beginning when Dr. Vann wrote; for the Alumnae As- 
sociation of the Baptist Female University was organized 
by the first class the day they received their degrees. May 
21, 1902. Sophie Stephens Lanneau was president; Mar- 
garet Shields, vice-president; Rosa Catherine Paschal, sec- 
retary; and Margery Kesler, treasurer. So long as the classes 
were few and small, it was not difficult to keep the alum- 
nae in touch with one another and with the school. How- 
ever, the class of 1907 added twenty-two members to the 
fifty of the first five graduating classes. Also the College 
realized the importance of keeping the loyalty of those 
former students who were not graduates. The March, 1908, 
Quarterly Bulletin stressed the importance of the alumnae 
to the institution and made a suggestion which later bore 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 373 

In many counties there is a sufficient number of graduates and 
matriculates to make possible the organization of B.U.W. clubs. 
These should be organized as fast as possible for the purpose of 
personal contacts and of discussing the best things for your Alma 
Mater, Thus you will guard and keep alive her interests and also 
promote, at the same time, the spirit of higher education for 
women in your community and in the State. 

Meredith clubs were discussed for several years before 
any definite action was taken. The first ten were organized 
in 1912-13 by Lulie Dickson, '10, of Wake Forest. With the 
title "Secretary of the Meredith Clubs" she was elected in 
the spring of 1912 to "canvass for students" in the summer 
and to organize clubs over the state during the college 
year. Membership in the Alumnae Association at that time 
was restricted to graduates; membership in the clubs was 
open to anyone who had ever been a student at Meredith, as 
it has been since 1930 in the Association. 

Enthusiastic reports were made from the clubs; and when 
Miss Dickson after one year went to be assistant director of 
the Y.W.C.A. in Charlotte, the constructive work she had 
begun was continued by successive secretaries who gave 
what time they could spare from their own work during 
the year. Their expenses were paid for a month to travel 
over the state to organize new clubs and encourage existing 
ones. Later the position was an unpaid office in the As- 
sociation. In 1913-14, under the direction of Minnie Middle- 
ton, '11, nine more clubs were organized. Dora Cox, '08, 
her successor, must have found encouraging the valiant an- 
swer which came to one of her letters. "We have only three 
girls here; but if you think we can have a club, we will 

These clubs developed into chapters of the Alumnae As- 
sociation, of which there are now forty-five. Thirteen are 
out-of-state chapters; the farthest away are Houston and 
Dallas in Texas, and Los Angeles and San Francisco in 
California. Keeping the alumnae in close touch with Mere- 
dith, the chapters are increasingly important in the life of 
the Association and of the College. They take an active part 
in the financial campaigns; they frequently invite to their 
meetings speakers from the College; in the summer many 
of them entertain entering and returning Meredith stu- 

374 History of Meredith College 

dents. The Richmond chapter in March, 1970, with the 
leadership of Eula Hodges Boatright, '28, was the first 
chapter to make a day's visit to Meredith. The visitors were 
welcomed with a coffee hour in Mae Grimmer House; and 
lunch there was preceded and followed by tours of the 
campus, with talks on various aspects of Meredith life by 
College officials. Thus there was opportunity for enjoying 
the dearly familiar at Meredith and for learning about the 

After Lulie Dickson's resignation, except for one year, 
1925-26, when Susie Herring, '24, divided her time be- 
tween mathematics and alumnae, there was no paid alum- 
nae worker until 1928. Nevertheless the Association made 
good progress, because the officers gave the work much 
time and thought, and the members cooperated well. How- 
ever, the officers had too heavy a responsibility; no matter 
how willing their hearts were, their hands were too full 
with their own duties for them to give the work the atten- 
tion it needed. Hence in 1928 the trustees, at the urgent 
request of the alumnae, elected as executive secretary for 
the Association Mae Grimmer, '14.^ "Redheaded, en- 
thusiastic, sensible, original Mae Grimmer" — thus she was 
called by Bertha Carroll, '13, president of the Association 
in 1928; thus she remained during the thirty-six years she 
was secretary. 

Her capable management and faithful attention to de- 
tails kept the affairs of the Association running smoothly; 
her initiative and wisdom provided new activities; her 
courageous enthusiasm led the members gladly into these 
new fields. Of equal importance was her genuine friendli- 
ness, which made every alumna glad to be at Meredith. 
Ruth Vande Kieft, '46, characterized her as "a smiling wel- 
come from head to toe of her small, enthusiastic self." 

To mark her twenty-fifth year as its secretary, the As- 
sociation presented to Miss Grimmer a silver bowl and a 
check for $715.73. When in 1964 she retired, the alumnae 
house was named in her honor Mae Grimmer House. Her 

1 Miss Grimmer received a diploma in music in 1914 and an A.B. with a 
maior in history in 1941. She taught in the department of music from 1916 
to i920. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters'' 375 

portrait, painted and presented by Mary Tillery, '22, is in 
the reception room of the house. Living in Raleigh since her 
retirement, Miss Grimmer is still a vital part of Meredith. 
The years have not abated a whit her boundless energy 
and enthusiasm, and alumnae are still amazed at her 
memory. Names, faces, home towns, occupations, children 
— none of these among the thousands of alumnae elude her. 

Many of the current activities of the Association owe 
their existence largely to Miss Grimmer, among them the 
Granddaughters' Club, the alumnae seminar, the luncheons 
at the annual meetings of the Baptist State Convention and 
the W.M.U., and the preparation of the silver and gold an- 
niversary booklets for the twenty-fifth and fiftieth year 
reunion classes. The establishment of the Loyalty Fund and 
of the Alumnae Division of the Meredith Development Pro- 
gram was due to her leadership. 

Margaret Craig Martin, '30, for six years, 1964-70, was 
Miss Grimmer's successor. No other person has served 
Meredith in so many capacities, and in each capacity she 
proved herself a tireless, efficient, and cheerful worker. 
As a senior she was president of the Student Government 
Association; she returned to Meredith first as the wife of a 
business manager; then she was twice a teacher of Latin 
and English. She was a member of the Board of Trustees 
when she was elected executive secretary of the Alumnae 

Mrs. Martin was a most appropriate choice for the posi- 
tion because she knew the workings of the Association 
well, having served on various committees and as its presi- 
dent for two years. With her guidance the Association con- 
tinued its progress in various ways which are noted 
throughout this chapter. 

Like Mrs. Martin, Carolyn Covington Robinson, '50, was 
part of the College community before her election as di- 
rector of alumnae affairs^ in 1970. The daughter of a for- 
mer house director, she began her work with the College in 
1958 and had proved her ability as secretary to the direc- 
tor of development for nine years, as director of publi- 

2 The change of title from executive secretary-treasurer to director of 
alumnae affairs was made in 1968. 

376 History of Meredith College 

cations for one year, and as director of information services 
for one year. Before coming to Meredith as a staff mem- 
ber she was church secretary, Sunday school teacher, and 
W.M.U. president in the Tabernacle Baptist Church. As 
president of the Business Women's Federation of the Ra- 
leigh Baptist Association she gained a wider acquaintance 
with denominational affairs. She was also active in the 
civic life of Raleigh; a past president of the Pilot Club, she 
went to Yugoslavia as Raleigh's community ambassador in 
1956.^ These varied experiences are helpful to her in the 
leadership of an association which is increasing each year 
in size, in complexity of organization, and in opportunities 
for service to the College. 

For years Miss Grimmer with only student help was the 
entire alumnae staff; then several workers, most of them 
wives of Southeastern Seminary students, were in the of- 
fice successively for brief periods. Evelyn Posey has been a 
full-time office secretary since 1962; Kate Matthews, '18, 
from 1963 to 1967 was a part-time assistant; so was Eliza- 
beth Hostetler Ponton, '41, and Hannah Carter, both of 
them in the office from 1964 to 1971. Whether part-time 
or full-time, these four have given whole-hearted devotion 
to the work. 

Alumnae Day at Commencement brings together all the 
chapters and all the classes. Beginning in 1903 as an 
alumnae banquet at the Yarborough House on Monday 
evening, it became first a Monday, then a Saturday morning 
meeting followed by a luncheon in the College dining hall. 
In 1971, when the baccalaureate sermon was preached on 
April 30 and graduation took place on May 15, Alumnae 
Day was Friday, May 14. For two years after the College 
moved from the old site, sentiment prevailed over common 
sense; after the business meeting at the College the As- 
sociation adjourned to the Mansion Park Hotel, where the 
luncheon was held in the old Meredith dining room. Now 
it takes at least half an hour for so large and chatty a 
group as the alumnae to go from auditorium to dining hall. 

3 Two other Meredith graduates have been Raleigh's community ambas- 
sador. Alice Jo Kelly, '59, in Taiwan in 1964, and Alma Jo Hall, '68, in Egypt 
in 1968. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 377 

In 1923, with Mary Lois Ferrell, '16, as president, the 
Association had its first Alumnae Day speaker, Ethel Car- 
roll Squires, '07, whose subject was "The Personality of 
Meredith." The next year for the first time the meeting 
was open to the public with Sophie Lanneau, '02, one of 
the "immortal ten" as speaker, her subject being "Chinese 
Womanhood and the Tide of New Thought." 

These two speakers set a high standard for their suc- 
cessors, whose addresses have been varied and stimulating, 
showing the breadth of interest of the speakers and their 
appreciation of Meredith. Some talks grew out of their 
professional interests. Betty Miller, '44, gave her experi- 
ences as pastor of a New England church; Lois Edinger, '45, 
a pioneer in the use of television in teaching, told of prog- 
ress in that field; Elizabeth James Dotterer, '30, brought 
her hearers up to date with "Some Recent Developments 
in Medicine"; Virginia Highfill, '47, in Japanese cos- 
tume, took the listeners to the mission field in Japan. On 
the other hand Pat Smathers Mitchell, '53, did not talk of 
dentistry in her address, "The Catalyst"; nor did Lina Lee 
Spence Stout, '32, in "Trained and Commissioned" talk of 
law. Both in quite different ways emphasized the respon- 
sibilities of a college woman in modern society. Lois John- 
son, '15, who celebrated her fiftieth year as an alumna by 
taking part in an African seminar-safari, reminded her 
hearers of some ancient responsibilities of the modern wom- 
an. Elizabeth Lee Haselden, '35, taking her title "A Hand- 
ful of Seed" from an old Gaelic saying, "I, too, will turn 
my face to the wind and cast my handful of seed high," 
showed the importance of a courageous facing of the future. 
Mae Grimmer in "Separation," Ellen Brewer, '18, in 
"Acorns and Oaks," and Ruth Vande Kieft in "Ye Shall 
Know the Truth" combined delightful reminiscences with 
a reminder that Meredith alumnae are to be concerned 
about the future as well as the past. 

In 1971, forty-seven years after Miss Lanneau's address, 
Lillian Sung-hsi Lu, '53, a native of Canton, spoke. With 
undergraduate work at Shanghai University and Meredith, 
with an M.R.E. from the Carver School of Missions and 
Social Work, with an M.A. in English — ^her major at Mere- 

378 History of Meredith College 

dith — from Peabody, and a year of study at Westminster 
Choir College, she is admirably fitted for her positions as 
associate professor of foreign languages in National Taiwan 
University and as youth and choir director in the Grace 
Baptist Church in Taipei. Her breadth of education and 
experience gave significance to her address, "The Role of 
Education toward World Understanding." She has a distinc- 
tion unique among alumnae speakers; she was for a month 
alumna-in-residence on the Meredith campus. While she 
was here, the art department arranged for an exhibit of her 
paintings in Bryan Rotunda. 

The reunion classes are centers of interest at the general 
meetings, especially the fiftieth-year class. The years have 
dealt kindly with most of them, and they justify the ex- 
clamation of the young photographer who in 1964 took the 
picture of the 1914 graduates: "You all are the youngest- 
looking antiques I've ever seen!" 

In a half-mocking, half-serious ceremony originated by 
Mae Grimmer, the graduating class at the luncheon make 
their traditional promise to be faithful alumnae. Then the 
president of the class presents to the Association their doll, 
ready to take its place in the array of class dolls. Miss 
1902, prim in her pique skirt and high-necked shirtwaist, 
leads a parade of fashion which as it lengthens is of in- 
creasing historic as well as sentimental value. The idea 
was suggested in 1936 by Elizabeth Briggs Pittman, for 
many years state leader of the Sunbeams, the children's 
organization in the Woman's Missionary Union. Mrs. Pitt- 
man, though not an alumna, was as interested in the Col- 
lege as if she had been. 

Margaret Bright, '07, always came for commencement a 
day early to press the tiny dresses and fluff out the matted 
hair before placing the dolls on their stands — her gift to 
the Association — and stayed an extra day to put them 
away. She was unique among Meredith alumnae, proba- 
bly among the alumnae of any school; for she was present 
at every commencement for sixty-six years from 1904, her 
freshman year, through 1969, only a few weeks before her 
death. Her care for the alumnae dolls was a symbol of 
her faithful devotion to Meredith in ways large and small. 

"An Association cf Devoted Daughters" 379 

Hence it is especially appropriate that the west side of the 
third level of Bryan Rotunda, where the dolls now have a 
permanent home, should be named the Margaret Bright 
Gallery, with a bronze plaque in her memory. 

The business meeting which precedes the address and the 
luncheon is less rushed and more effective since the fall 
meeting of the Alumnae Council, initiated in 1934, takes 
care of much of the business of the Association. 

Recognized as deserving special honor at the annual 
meetings of the Association and the Council are the alumnae 
trustees. In 1918 the alumnae were given the privilege and 
responsibility of representation on the Board of Trustees. 
Chosen that year were Margaret Shields Everett, '02, and 
Bertha Carroll, '13, who was at that time executive secre- 
tary of the North Carolina Woman's Missionary Union. 
The alumnae trustees, varying in number from two to eight, 
have served as officers of the Board and as members of the 
executive committee and of other committees. Elizabeth 
James Dotterer was the first alumna to act as president of 
the Board. When C. B. Deane in 1959 was elected president 
of the Baptist State Convention, he resigned his Meredith 
trusteeship; and Dr. Dotterer as vice-president took his 
place as president of the Meredith Board, presiding over 
the February, 1960, meeting. A year later in the illness of 
LeRoy Martin, president of the Board, Sarah Elizabeth 
Vernon Watts, '34, at that time vice-president, presided 
over the February, 1961, meeting. She was in April, 1961, 
named president for the remainder of the year; hence she 
was the first woman to sign the Meredith College diplomas. 

In September, 1967, for the first time the president of 
the Association — at that time Cleo Glover Perry, '45 — 
was invited to attend, without voting privileges, the meet- 
ings of the Board. Alumnae are also represented on the 
Board of Associates; five were among its first members. 

A third meeting which concerns all the members of the 
Association has nothing to do with its business. The Alum- 
nae Seminar gives alumnae the opportunity of coming back 
to Meredith to pretend for a little while that they are stu- 
dents again. The first program, in 1938, was a simple one, a 
lecture by Miss Ida on Friday evening and three lectures by 

380 History of Meredith College 

members of the English department on Saturday. For five 
years, 1943-47, because of the difficulty in travel the semi- 
nar was not held. 

Cooperating with the chairman of the seminar committee, 
each department, singly or jointly, has sponsored a seminar, 
most departments more than once. In 1952 home economics, 
sociology, and history presented the topic. The Mid-Century 
Woman. In 1954 the department of modern languages sup- 
plemented Dr. McAllister's talk with talks by Dr. Price, 
Lois Johnson, Mary Bland Josey, '51, and Anne Gretta 
Horn — a Danish student — and with folk dances of various 
European countries. At the coffee hour the Spanish dances 
of Senorita Neblett, of the modern language department, 
the cookies, and the tiny recipe books which were distributed 
added an extra across-the-Atlantic touch. My Lady's Purse 
Strings was sponsored by the departments of business and 
mathematics in 1956; ten years later Economic Knowledge 
for Citizenship Responsibility broadened the earlier topic. 
The HoTne was an especially appropriate topic in 1960 be- 
cause Ellen Brewer House had just been completed. The 
next year the English department led A Literary Pilgrim- 
age. Church Music in 1964 fitted well with the major in that 
field which had been established three years earlier. Educa- 
tion chose as its chief speaker in 1968 for New Directions in 
Education, Lois Edinger, then president of the National 
Education Association. Modern Math and Modern Science 
for the Modern Woman in 1970 by the departments of 
chemistry, biology, and mathematics enlightened some of 
the audience, mystified others, and interested them all. 

The reporter for the first seminar wrote of the delight of 
hearing again the teachers they had enjoyed. Especially 
important is the opportunity of making friends with the 
newer faculty members. To borrow the words of Margery 
Kesler Thomson, '02, used in another connection, B.F.U., 
B.U.W., and Meredith girls (they never cease to be "girls") 
are for a little while "amid the dearness of things long re- 
membered and the charm of the ever new." "Life-reviving 
alumnae seminars," Ethel Carroll Squires, '07, called them 

The members of the Mae Grimmer Granddaughters' Club 
are invaluable as baby sitters for the Alumnae Seminar and 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 381 

as pages, ushers, guides, and unofficial hostesses on Alum- 
nae Day. The club was organized as an active group in 
1930, two years after Miss Grimmer came to the Associa- 
tion, and was given her name in 1966, two years after she 
retired. In 1930 there were seven members; in 1970-71 
there were 104. These "junior alumnae," as Miss Ida called 
them, each year sponsor a faculty-student tea. A popular 
feature of Alumnae Day is the introduction of each Mere- 
dith mother by her Meredith daughter; recently grand- 
mothers have in several cases made the mother-daughter 
pair a trio. Joy Beaman, '24, daughter of Mattie Brooks, 
ex-'04, was the first granddaughter at Meredith; her daugh- 
ter, Betsy Brooks McGee, '53, was the first great-grand- 

Numerous class notes show the happiness of hundreds 
of alumnae when their daughters become Meredith stu- 
dents. Several years ago in an informal daily English 
theme a freshman wrote concerning the day her letter of 
acceptance came from Meredith: "I wish I could have 
framed the look in my mother's eyes when she read that 
letter." Another alumna wrote: "You just don't know how 
fully to enjoy commencement until you have sent a daugh- 
ter to Meredith." 

Aunts and cousins and sisters are also links between 
students and alumnae. Three or four sisters are not un- 
usual; four Carroll sisters, Ethel, Bertha, Mary Jane, and 
Beth graduated in 1907, 1913, 1920, and 1922. Three of 
them were once on the faculty; two were trustees. The 
four daughters of the oldest — the only one who had daugh- 
ters — were Meredith students. Evelyn, Ruamie, and Hil- 
dreth Squires graduated in 1932, 1934, and 1935; the 
fourth, Julia, went to Wake Forest for premedical work her 
last year. Her loyalty to Meredith was evidenced in the gift 
of five hundred dollars which she and her husband. Dr. 
Thomas Adams Witten, made to Meredith in 1971 in honor 
of her mother's eighty-fifth birthday. The eight daughters 
of J. D. Hocutt, of Warsaw, undoubtedly set a record not 
to be equaled. Rosa, the oldest, was followed successively 
by Berta, Olivia, Naomi, Zelma, Alma, Catherine, and 
Louise. Alma graduated from Wake Forest; the other seven 

382 History of Meredith College 

from Meredith. From 1912 to 1934, except for two years, 
one or more of the Hocutts were at Meredith. 

All the activities of the Association have been stimulated 
by the Alumnae Magazine, first published in the fall of 
1946. It is the culmination of a succession of alumnae pub- 
lications — a small bulletin which appeared four times in 
1905-06; the alumnae department of the Acorn from 1907 
to 1926; the weekly alumnae column and its successor, the 
monthly Alumnae Supplement, in the Twig from 1926 to 
1945. In these were letters and news from the alumnae. In 
addition, from 1937 to 1944 the fall number of the Mere- 
dith Quarterly Bulletin was an alumnae number, with the 
alumnae address and with articles written by alumnae or 
featuring alumnae. 

The Alumnae Magazine, a quarterly, carries feature ar- 
ticles by or about alumnae with experiences or positions of 
unusual interest or about some aspect of the College and 
its life. In addition are its regular features: reports of the 
progress of alumnae projects, announcements of coming 
College events or reports of recent ones of interest to 
alumnae, a glimpse of student activities usually written by 
a Meredith granddaughter, reports of chapter meetings, and 
class news notes. The faculty lectures appear as inserts in 
the Magazine, and recently other inserts record the prog- 
ress of the Advancement Program. Surpassing in interest 
even the best of Dr. Cooper's photographic illustrations 
were the pictures of children and grandchildren, a few of 
the hundreds of snapshots which each year at the luncheon 
are enthusiastically circulated by doting mothers and 
grandmothers and patiently admired by the spinsters. 

Too much praise cannot be given to Norma Rose, '36, 
editor of the Magazine from the beginning, who is as care- 
ful and intelligent in her editing as she is in her teaching, 
whose work on the Magazine is an embodiment of the ideals 
of journalism which she keeps before the editors of the 
Twig. Of the staff, Kate Matthews, with her long experience 
on the Biblical Recorder, was especially valuable, more 
than once taking over in an emergency the responsibility 
of the editor. Working with Dr. Rose in 1970-71 were 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 383 

Carolyn Robinson, Jane Greene, '29, Mary Lynch John- 
son, '17, and Hannah B. Carter. 

The latest publication of the Association is the Alumnae 
Directory, which appeared in 1968, the compiling of which 
was a gigantic undertaking for Margaret Martin and her 
staff. It lists the alumnae in three categories: an alpha- 
betical list with the address and the class of each; a list 
by classes, and a geographical list. The directory is of un- 
told value to all alumnae and to anyone seeking informa- 
tion about alumnae. It is to be revised with additions and 
changes every five years. 

The Directory had a predecessor in the Meredith Alum- 
nae Association Handbook, which was published each year 
from 1912 to 1926. After an interval of two years, in 1928- 
29 one more was published. With fewer and much smaller 
classes then than now, the single list by classes with the 
address of each graduate sufficed. The Handbook also con- 
tained the minutes of the annual meetings of the Associa- 
tion and the treasurer's report. After the last Handbook 
was issued, for two years, 1929-1931, supplements appeared, 
containing only the names and addresses of the new gradu- 
ating classes. 

Meredith alumnae have won recognition from many 
sources. They are listed in Who's Who of American Women, 
Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Who's Who in 
Education, Who's Who in American Art. Each year alumnae 
have appeared in Outstanding Young Women of Am,erica; 
ten were in the 1968 issue. One alumna was the same year 
included in this publication and in Outstanding Civic Lead- 
ers of America; previously she was Raleigh's Young Career 
Woman. Numerous city and county newspapers and civic 
clubs have chosen an alumna as Woman of the Year. Sev- 
eral have been chosen Teacher of the Year; one was Dis- 
tinguished Citizen of the Year; one was Outstanding 
Woman in Industry; one was National Singer of the Year; 
and one was Best Dressed Woman of the Year. Many have 
been acclaimed Mother of the Year in their cities; five 
have been named North Carolina Mother of the Year. Sev- 
eral alumnae families have had the honor of being Family 

384 History of Meredith College 

of the Year; at least one was North Carolina Master Farm 
Family. Without doubt there are other honors not men- 
tioned here. 

To these honors the Alumnae Association in 1968 voted 
to add its own award, designed to be "a recognition and 
appreciation of an alumna's outstanding achievement in 
some area and of her significant service and contribution 
to her community and to Meredith." In accordance with 
the recommendation of the Committee, four were chosen 
the first year; four the second, with two each year there- 
after. The first awards were made on Alumnae Day, 1968, 
to Elizabeth James Dotterer, Mae Grimmer, Bernice Kelly 
Harris, '13, and Mary Lynch Johnson; the second year to 
Ellen Brewer, Laura Weatherspoon Harrill, '27, Carolyn 
Mercer, '22, and Sarah Elizabeth Vernon Watts, '34. 

November 13, 1953, was a red-letter day in the history 
of the Association, for on that day the new Alumnae House 
was used for the first time. The Alumnae Council held its 
annual meeting there, preceded by a buffet supper served 
before the fires blazing at either end of the large room. 
Though the whole Association had worked hard five years 
for their house, the success of the undertaking was due in 
large measure to the persistence and wisdom of Mae Grim- 
mer and of Margaret Craig Martin, president of the As- 
sociation the year it was decided to build the house. Later 
she was chairman of the Alumnae House Committee. The 
alumnae are grateful to the late J. M. Kesler, of Win- 
ston-Salem, who without charge drew up the plans. Mr. 
Kesler 's ties with Meredith were close. He was a trustee; 
the son of a former trustee, M. L. Kesler; the nephew of a 
member of the first faculty, J. L. Kesler; the husband of 
an alumna, Annie Mercer Kesler, '18; and the brother-in- 
law of Carolyn Mercer, a former member of the Meredith 
faculty and president of the Alumnae Association for 1952- 

The small brick colonial building in the edge of the 
grove directly south of Joyner Hall was originally only a 
large room adjoining which were a small office and an 
even smaller kitchen with an attic with dormer windows 
over the whole. Ten years later, in 1963, the wings which 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 385 

from the beginning were part of the plan, were added. The 
east wing has two large offices and a conference room; the 
west wing has four bedrooms — two double and two single 
— with two baths. Also with the addition of this wing the 
minute kitchen was enlarged to an adequate size. 

In 1964 the house was named in honor of the retiring 
executive secretary. In 1970 the Association honored her 
successor by the gift of the Margaret Craig Martin Garden. 
It is a patio, adjacent to Mae Grimmer House, enclosed by a 
garden wall, on either side of which are azaleas, camellias, 
rhododendron, hollies, aucuba, liriope, and other plants. 
The garden is a link between the old and the new, because 
many of the bricks in the wall were brought from the old 
campus when Main Building was demolished. 

At commencement, 1954, Mrs. Martin presented to Presi- 
dent Campbell a key to the Alumnae House. Though it is 
used chiefly by the alumnae, the house is of great value to 
the College as a whole, especially since it has been enlarged. 
The guest rooms, which are available to alumnae at a very 
modest charge, are used by the College for speakers and 
for other special guests. The main room is used for lunch- 
eons and dinners for small groups who are guests of the 
College on various occasions and for meetings of depart- 
mental clubs and other College organizations. Bridal show- 
ers for students and faculty take place there and wedding 
receptions for faculty members; one alumna, Mildred Ays- 
cue, '62, was married there. Like the Hut, when the house 
is available it is used by Sunday school classes and mis- 
sionary societies and circles from the Raleigh churches. 

A variety of gifts have come to Mae Grimmer House 
from alumnae and their friends. Among them are two 
matching sofas which the Raleigh chapter bought with 
prize money won by repeated successes in competition with 
other Raleigh clubs in a radio program. Time Out. The 
class of 1922 gave a walnut banquet table. Sarah Elizabeth 
Vernon Watts gave a silver punch bowl and tray in honor 
of her mother, a student in the Baptist Female University; 
and a silver epergne in honor of three aunts, Verna 
Gates Stackhouse, ex-'14; Carrie Sue Vernon Walker, '17; 
and Bertha Cates. Mary Timberlake Stem, '08, gave a Rus- 

386 History of Meredith College 

sian cloisonne vase which had been for four generations in 
a Russian family who gave it to the Stems when they were 
in Turkey. Madge Daniels Barber, '20, brought from Italy 
a linen and lace banquet cloth. A large Chinese vase of the 
Ming dynasty, given by Belle Tyner Johnson, '05, accords 
well with the Chinese prints given by Eliza Turner Bing- 
ham, ex-'34, in honor of her mother, Myrtle King Turner, 
who entered the Baptist Female University the year it 
opened. When Lillian Lu returned to Meredith as Alumnae 
Day speaker, she gave to the College a garden stool and to 
Mae Grimmer House a large jar, both of them pieces of 
beautiful Chinese pottery. 

Of associative as well as of actual value is the antique 
brass fireplace fender given by Dorothy Vann, '16, and 
Elizabeth Vann, '17, daughters of President Vann. It had 
been long used in Mrs. Vann's family before it came to the 
Vanns' living room. Many alumnae will remember seeing in 
Dr. Harris's living room in Vann Hall and later in Chapel 
Hill the brass teapot, candle holders, snuffer, and gong, as 
well as the Greek vase and Chinese ivory chess set which 
are now in Mae Grimmer House. 

Mrs. Campbell, who, like Dr. Harris, is an honorary 
alumna, gave the two mirrors over the mantels in the main 
room. Dr. Campbell gave two antique German vases and 
candlesticks from his uncle's estate. 

Valuable antique furniture was left to the house by Lillie 
Grandy, a Chowan classmate and lifelong friend of Presi- 
dent Brewer's wife. The large sideboard, two desks, two 
chests, small tables, chairs, and the Victorian love seat were 
all hers. Miss Grandy also evidenced her friendship for 
Meredith and Mrs. Brewer in her generous bequest of eight 
scholarships of three hundred dollars each. Another friend 
has a different tie with the College; Owen Meredith Smaw, 
an attorney in New Bern, who is not a direct but a col- 
lateral descendant of Thomas Meredith, gave to the Alum- 
nae House two Queen Anne winged chairs. 

These special gifts are not limited to Mae Grimmer 
House. In many ways the alumnae have helped to make 
Meredith a more comfortable and more beautiful place. 
Ellen Brewer, for many years chairman of the College so- 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 387 

cial committee, said that the gifts of alumnae — silver ser- 
vices, punch bowls, salad trays, candelabra "have made the 
serving of a reception in the Meredith parlors a real joy 
instead of a borrowing headache." 

Alumnae have worked on the grounds also. Shrubbery, 
trees, and flowers have been contributed by them and 
sometimes planted under their supervision. Virgie Egerton 
Simms, '04, who had encouraged and directed the students 
in beautifying the small campus in town, was especially 
active in providing trees and shrubbery. She was chairman 
of the committee which was responsible for the planting of 
double and single Japanese cherry trees on either side of 
the long driveway leading up to Johnson Hall. Maude 
Davis Bunn, '10, personally supervised the laying out of 
six tennis courts and the planting of shrubbery around the 
outdoor chimney which the Wake County Chapter gave in 
1937. The chimney itself was built under the direction of 
Janie Parker Dixon, ex-'14. Among other donors of plants, 
Laura Weatherspoon Harrill and Eliza Turner Bingham 
have been generous with camellias, boxwood, and other 
shrubbery. Mary Jane Warrick Brannan, '54, and her hus- 
band, who have a nursery, gave and planted for the Mar- 
garet Craig Martin Garden approximately sixty shrubs 
and four young birch trees, one at each entrance to the 

Loleta Kenan Powell, '41, is working with the buildings 
and grounds committee and College officials in a project to 
beautify the oval in front of Johnson Hall. The plans call 
for the oval to be enlarged, with shrubbery, iris, lilies, and 
other colorful flowers in addition to the two magnolias 
which are there now. 

Alumnae and their friends are much interested in the 
Carlyle Campbell Library. Individual alumnae and reunion 
classes have made contributions to the book fund. Often 
they give books honoring friends or the memory of friends. 
Some give as a token of gratitude for specially loved 
teachers. Some of the books make the regular courses more 
meaningful; others are rare books or expensive luxuries 
which the yearly budget cannot afford. Charlotte Wester 
Gate, '38, gave a rare Shelley pamphlet, "We Pity the 

388 History of Meredith College 

Plumage, But Forget the Dying Bird." More recently she 
and her daughter, a Meredith student, gave a copy of The 
Merchant of Venice extracted from the Second Folio, the 
1632 edition of Shakespeare's plays. Margaret Bullard 
Pruitt, '37, gave a volume of steel engravings illustrating 
Scott's, The Heart of Midlothian, made in 1873 for the Royal 
Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts in Scotland. 

Another gift of special value was made by Elizabeth 
James Dotterer and her husband in honor of her father and 
mother. They gave a beautiful reproduction of the Lindis- 
farne Gospels, an eighth-century Latin manuscript with 
an interlinear Anglo-Saxon gloss. The Oxford Companion to 
English Literature calls the manuscript "one of the earliest 
and most beautiful examples of Anglo-Irish script with 
magnificent illuminations." 

Among other books from their parents' library, Ellen and 
Ann Eliza Brewer gave an 1813 edition of Isaac Watts, 
Poems Chiefly of the Lyrical Kind, a copy with the auto- 
graph of Samuel Wait, first president of Wake Forest and 
grandfather of President Brewer. Another valued gift is a 
two-volume edition of The Letters of Robert Browning 
and Elizabeth Barrett, with the inscription, "To Love,* from 
Charles, December 25, 1899." They also gave the watch 
given Dr. Brewer by Mrs. Brewer and a scrapbook concern- 
ing Dr. Brewer's presidency, beautifully kept by his family. 

These and other treasures will find a place in the Mere- 
dith Historical Collection — a project which Sarah Elizabeth 
Vernon Watts, one of the most concerned and active of the 
alumnae, has generously undertaken. The Julia Hamlet 
Harris Room, with provision for the safekeeping and display 
of the collection, will be dedicated to this purpose. Although 
in it will be preserved the few rare books which the College 
possesses, its main purpose is the preservation of manu- 
scripts, records, letters, documents, and mementos of sig- 
nificance in the life of the College throughout its history. 
Much of the success of the project depends on the coopera- 
tion of the alumnae in giving to this historical collection 
material of interest which they have stowed away. 

■• Mrs. Brewer's maiden name was Love Bell. 

Friends of Meredith for Whom Buildings Are Named 

Oliver Larkin Stringfield 
James Yadkin Joyner 
Livingston Johnson 

William Turner Faircloth 
Sallie Bailey Jones 
Wesley Norw^ood Jones 

Buildings are named also for Richard Tilman Vann and 
Charles Edward Brew^er w^hose pictures face page 132. 

(Continued on next page) 

Friends of Meredith for Whom Buildings Are Named 

Ida Isabelle Poteat 
J. RuFus Hunter 

Delia Dixon Carroll 
Luther M. Massey 
Vivian Massey 
James R. Weatherspoon and W. Herbert Weatherspoon 

Buildings are named also for Mae Grimmer and Ellen D. 
Brewer, whose pictures face page 197. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 389 

One valued gift came not from an alumna but from a 
relative of Mrs, Thomas Meredith. Mrs. Charles G. Snow of 
Chapel Hill gave to the College daguerrotypes of the 
Merediths' twin daughters, Cordelia and Cornelia, A col- 
lateral descendant of Thomas Meredith, Meredith Smaw, 
gave interesting material concerning the Meredith family, 
including a pardon signed by Andrew Johnson to G. R. 
Meredith for "taking part in the late rebellion against the 
government of the United States." Mr. Smaw also gave a 
collection of rare coins and paper money, in which is a 
silver dollar with the Meredith coat of arms, dated 1769. 
Bronze plaques of the Meredith coat of arms and of the 
Blasingame coat of arms are among his gifts. The String- 
field family Bible, presented to the college by the family in 
1971, will have a place in this room, as will the Bible pre- 
sented to "Elder R. T. Vann" by the Scotland Neck Baptist 
Church when he was its pastor. 

Elsewhere in the library are evidences of the interest and 
the influence of alumnae. The class of 1910 established in 
memory of one of its members the Ella Graves Thompson 
Picture-Lending Collection. Miss Thompson, at one time a 
teacher at Meredith, was a cousin of Miss Ida, and was 
herself a person sensitive to beauty. Fifty pictures were 
chosen by Mr. White and Miss Baity as the nucleus of the 
collection. For a nominal fee, a picture may be kept for a 
year or a semester. The collection was formally opened to 
the public with an open house in the library on March 29, 

The periodical room was given in memory of Sarah 
Briggs Trentman, '31, by her husband, Harold Trentman, a 
trustee of Meredith. The head librarian's office was given 
by W. L, Wyatt in memory of his wife, Lulie Marshall 
Wyatt, '09. A bequest in the will of O, J. Howard, father 
of Frances Hunter Howard, '24, was used for a study room 
in his daughter's memory. Another study room was given 
in honor of May Baldwin Turlington, '08, by her family. 
Another was given by Mrs. James M. Davis and her daugh- 
ter, Elizabeth Davis Reid, '46. The names of two study 
rooms, though they have no direct connection with alumnae, 


390 History of Meredith College 

are of great significance to them. One room was given by 
Mrs. David Coker in honor of Dr. Campbell; another was 
given by Dr. and Mrs. Heilman. 

Both as groups and as individuals alumnae have estab- 
lished scholarships. The Ida Poteat scholarship, originated 
in the Kinston chapter, is given by the Association each 
year. Hester P. Farrior, '18, who began her study at the 
Baptist University for Women in the second grade, from 
time to time adds to the scholarship which she gave to be 
used preferably for a student from Mills Home, where Miss 
Farrior had taught. Madge Daniels Barber, '20, adds at in- 
tervals to the scholarship fund she gave in memory of her 
parents. Frances McManus, '34, has made an initial gift, 
also to be increased, for a scholarship in honor of her aunt, 
Margaret Mason McManus. The Mary Lynch Johnson schol- 
arship was established by a mother and daughter, both 
alumnae, who wished to remain anonymous; other alumnae 
have added to this fund. In memory of Martha McKeel 
Whitehurst, '60, her husband and family have established a 

These scholarships show that the alumnae are increas- 
ingly aware of their financial responsibility for the College. 
Edith Stephenson Simpson, '48, president of the Association 
in 1968, said to the members : 

Surely we who have reaped lifelong benefits from what others 
have sown should be the first to insure the same privilege to fu- 
ture generations. 

Frequent references to the alumnae loan fund and to the 
endowment fund occur in the early reports of the annual 
alumnae meetings and of the Meredith clubs. In 1918 the 
Association voted to raise $25,000 to endow a chair at 
Meredith, a project which was a part of the southwide 
$75,000,000 Campaign. By commencement of 1919 the 
whole amount had been given in cash or pledged by mem- 
bers of the Association or through them by their friends, 
though such a chair was never designated. The alumnae 
were not organized as a unit in the financial campaign un- 
dertaken in 1944, but they took an active part in it. In 1949 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 391 

they provided the 1,044 seats for Jones Hall at a cost of over 

Reactivating the expansion program begun in 1952, the 
College set a goal for two years— 1954-56— of $750,000. Of 
this amount the Association assumed $100,000 as its share. 
At the October, 1956, Council meeting $63,869.10 was re- 
ported as pledged or given, and by commencement, 1957, 
the three-year commitments amounted to $75,368.39. 
Though the full amount hoped for was not raised, the 
alumnae efforts were far more successful proportionately 
than the campaign as a whole. 

The enthusiasm of Carolyn Mercer, president of the 
Association for 1952-54, was contagious; and her wise 
steadiness was reassuring to the alumnae in beginning this 
enterprise. The Association was also fortunate in having as 
chairman of the Expansion Program committee Ruth Couch 
Allen, '22, one of the best volunteers in the 1944 campaign, 
who, it was said, could do easily and well twice as much as 
most people in half the time. Mrs. Allen had come to the 
rescue of the English department twice in an emergency, 
had taught German in the College for two years, and for a 
few months had been Mae Grimmer's substitute. Her death 
in 1969 was a grievous loss to the Association. 

By 1957 the alumnae were, as Carolyn Mercer said, "con- 
ditioned by giving for three years to the Expansion Pro- 
gram." An important first step had been taken toward 
regular, systematic giving to the College with the beginning 
of the Loyalty Fund in 1940. In a contribution to the Loyal- 
ty Fund, everything over the yearly dues to the Association 
(at that time five dollars) was a gift to the Association or to 
the College, whichever the giver preferred to make it. This 
"over-and-above" received increased emphasis and grew 
steadily. In 1963 the need for alumnae dues was eliminated 
as the administration of the College made the expenses of 
the Association part of the College budget. Thus the Loyalty 
Fund became the Annual Giving of the Alumnae Division 
of the Meredith College Development Program. By this 
change, interest in the College has been greatly stimulated 
among the alumnae, as all of them, regardless of whether or 

392 History of Meredith College 

not they contribute, receive the Alumnae Magazine and all 
other communications sent out from the office of the As- 

Betty Rose Prevatte Wall, '44, was the first coordinator of 
the Alumnae Division of the Meredith College Development 
Program. Early in the summer of 1963 she and Mae Grim- 
mer and Elizabeth Davis Reid, Loyalty Fund Chairman for 
the preceding year, with the vigorous encouragement of 
Jane Watkins Sullivan, '46, that year president of the As- 
sociation, worked out the details of a plan whereby alumnae 
visitors would go to all the alumnae in their hometowns or 
nearby areas and explain the new plan and ask for gifts to 
the College, An alumna too far away to be reached in this 
way would receive a letter making the request — "Person 
to Person by Postman," Mrs. Wall called it. 

The plan was carried out and the results were amazingly 
good; "Alumnae giving more, and more alumnae giving" 
became a reality, not merely a slogan. In the year ending 
June 30, 1963, twenty-two per cent of the alumnae gave to 
the Loyalty Fund $16,000. In the year ending June 30, 
1964, fifty-two per cent of the alumnae gave $66,394.24. As 
one of the few colleges in the nation to reach the goal of 
fifty per cent participation, Meredith received a check from 
the Aetna Life Insurance Company through its Incentive 
Grants Program which brought the total to $80,810.44. Also 
the Association for its accomplishment won the incentive 
award of $1,000 given by the American Alumni Council to 
the private college for women which made the greatest 
improvement in annual giving during the year. 

The success of the visits was not solely financial. Many 
wrote the alumnae office of their enjoyment of the visits; 
some wrote who for years had not shown a spark of interest 
in the College. Mrs. Wall in "You — the Making of a Mira- 
cle" in the Magazine wrote: 

There were hundreds of you — going out as a little part of 
Meredith itself to other alumnae, and bringing a little part of 
Meredith to them. . . . You went, not just to collect money, but 
to talk about Meredith and the old days, and former classmates, 
and Dr. Campbell's twenty-fifth year, and the hopes and dreams 
for the future. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 393 

Though Mrs. Wall gave this well-deserved credit to the 
hundreds of visitors, the miracle would have been impossi- 
ble without her excellent planning, endless work, and 
steadfast belief in what the alumnae could and would do. 
The Association and the trustees expressed their apprecia- 
tion of her work. 

The active part which the alumnae have taken in the 
Advancement Program proves that they are indeed "condi- 
tioned by giving." The Development Office reported that 
since the beginning of the program in February, 1968, they 
have contributed more than $500,000. 

Alumnae give to the College in ways other than financial 
contributions. The enthusiasm of alumnae as well as stu- 
dents means much in introducing Meredith to high school 
students. In her first year of teaching, Ella Graves Thomp- 
son, '10, wrote to the Acorn of one little fellow who listened 
to her accounts of chemistry experiments and then with 
eyes sparkling exclaimed, "That's the kind of place I'd like 
to go to. I b'lieve I'll go to Meredith!" 

Personal contacts in schools, churches, and neighbor- 
hoods; the cooperation of individuals and groups with the 
College officials in preparation for College Day in the local 
high schools; the entertainment of junior and senior girls 
at chapter meetings, where often pictures of life at Meredith 
are shown — all these are helpful in interesting the right 
kind of student in the opportunities which Meredith offers. 
As the number of applicants grows larger each year, the 
responsibility of the alumnae becomes increasingly im- 
portant; for with enthusiasm must be blended sound judg- 
ment of ability and personality. 

The obligations of a Meredith alumna go beyond her rela- 
tionship with the College. The existence of Meredith is 
justified primarily by what its students do and what they 
are after leaving college. 

A survey of the alumnae indicates how well the College 
has succeeded in its purpose, "to develop in the students the 
Christian attitude toward the whole of life and to prepare 
them for intelligent citizenship, homemaking, graduate 
study, and for other fields of service." 

In the seventy years from 1902 to 1971 (inclusive) ac- 

394 History of Meredith College 

cording to the records in the registrar's office, Meredith has 
awarded 6,168 degrees and diplomas. A few students have 
received a diploma and a degree or two degrees. Approxi- 
mately 6,640 have attended Meredith who did not graduate. 
The proportion of non-graduates is high largely because of 
the number of elementary and high school students and 
special students in the early days of the institution. A total 
of 752 graduate degrees have been earned by Meredith 
alumnae, as shown in the following table : 

PhD 32 M.S 82 

M.D 16 M.Ed 82 

D.D.S 1 M.A.T. (Master of Arts 

V.M.D. (Doctor of in Teaching) 21 

Veterinary Medicine) .... 1 M.M 17 

M.A 329 M.L.S 17 

M.R.E 86 M.M.T 3 

A scattering of other degrees are included in the total num- 
ber. Also included are twenty-one B.D.'s, three S.T.B.'s, 
and three L.L.B.'s.^ In addition to these, a number of gradu- 
ates have an A.B. or B.S. in Library Science. Still others 
have done work not leading to a degree — technical courses 
or individual study in music or art. Also, four graduates 
have five honorary degrees: one has an L.L.D., one an 
L.H.D., and two have three Litt.D.'s 

The first M.A. from Meredith was granted in 1902 to 
Margery Kesler. Of graduate degrees from other institu- 
tions, the first master's degree, M.M.T. (Master of Mission- 
ary Training), was given in 1908 by the Woman's Mission- 
ary Union Training School^ in Louisville to Beulah Bowden, 
'02. The first M.A. from an institution other than Meredith 
was granted in 1918 by Radcliffe College to Harriet Herring, 
'13. The first M.D. was granted in 1920 by the Woman's 
Medical College in Philadelphia to Blanche Barrus, '10; the 
first Ph.D. by Cornell University in 1920 to Mary Susan 
Steele, '13. 

Among the colleges and universities which have granted 

5 The three recipients of the L.L.B. are now entitled to a J.D., the degree 
now usually conferred upon a candidate whose study of law is based on a 
bachelor's degree, rather than being part of the work leading to that degree. 

« The name was changed in 1953 to the Carver School of Missions and 
Social Work; in 1957 the school was merged with the Southern Baptist Theo- 
logical Seminary. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 395 

scholarships and fellowships to Meredith graduates are Rad- 
cliffe, Smith, Wellesley; Columbia, Cornell, Tulane, Wake 
Forest, Yale; Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New 
Mexico, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and South 

A number of graduates have studied outside the United 
States for a year or more. The first was Mary Lois Ferrell, 
'16, a piano student in Vienna for two years. Jeanne 
Grealish, '57, a Meredith voice major, after graduating from 
the New England Conservatory of Music studied in Vienna 
several years. Her study was aided by several important 
grants — the Frank Huntington Beebe Award, the Schoen- 
Rene Scholarship, and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant. 
Harriet Rose, '38, with a Cresson Traveling Scholarship 
awarded by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 
1941, painted in Mexico and Guatemala, as well as in the 
United States. Another artist, Betty Lou Anderson, '42, 
after five years as associate art editor with Charles Scrib- 
ner's Sons, was in Paris two years. 

Mary Bland Josey, '51, with a Rotary International Fel- 
lowship, was the year after her graduation a student of 
philosophy at the University of Reading. While in England 
she met another holder of a Rotary fellowship studying at 
Oxford — Richard Tilman Vann II, grandson of Meredith's 
second president. Ruth Vande Kieft in 1953-54 worked at 
Oxford on a doctoral dissertation. Anne Rowe, '61, at the 
Baptist Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, in 1962-63 
was the only unmarried woman student who had ever come 
from the United States to that institution. 

More than twenty years ago the occupations which alum- 
nae reported to Miss Grimmer fell into ninety-eight cate- 
gories; the number by this time must be considerably 
larger. From housekeeping to decorating floats for parades; 
from computer programming to modeling fashions; from 
portrait painting to taxidermy; from clinical psychology to 
the professional reading of horoscopes; from the business 
management of a dance school to the pastorate of a church — 
they run the gamut. A few examples chosen from many 
will give some idea of the occupations. 

Teaching, traditionally the most ladylike of the "profes- 

396 History of Meredith College 

sional and other fields of service," always claims more than 
half the graduates in paid occupations. As in choice of 
occupations, the alumnae vary widely in the field of teach- 
ing. Some teach only a few months; others are veterans like 
Annie Brackett, '18, who called herself "the dyed-in-the- 
wool variety." They teach at all levels, from Jane Livingood 
Collins, '55, with a "Mother Goose Play School" to Carmen 
Rogers, '18, who gave graduate courses in Florida State 
University. Kate Mills Suiter, '38, wrote that she was 
"teacher, principal, superintendent and janitress" of her 
one-teacher school; whereas Nora Binder, '40, has charge 
of seventy-two sections of freshman English at Lamar Uni- 
versity in Texas. Katherine Weede, '63, in India taught 
mathematics in the Telugu language; Ellen Brewer said 
that she was "fortunate to be one of the older daughters 
whom Mother Meredith lets stay home to help take care of 
the new sisters as they arrive." 

Two alumnae teach in the most distant states of the 
nation. Edna Lee Pegram Leib, '36, teaches in the pre- 
school division of the University of Hawaii; Linda Dobson 
Edwards, '61, in Alaska, began her teaching as principal of 
a school in Kotlik, a tiny isolated village, with her husband 
as the only other teacher. The temperature dropped below 
zero in early October, and for a period of eighty-two days 
in midwinter the sun did not rise at all. After six years in 
Alaska she wrote that she found Eskimos a "truly delight- 
ful people." 

Others have taught outside the country. Versatile Doro- 
thy Turner, an English major at Meredith, went to Mexico 
to study art and taught Spanish in San Miguel Institute. 
Another whose range of teaching shows her versatility is 
Shirley Hurwitz Weiner, '48, who has taught English in 
every grade from the first through the twelfth, some of the 
time in Ecuador and Peru. In recent years she has been 
teaching Hebrew, comparative religion, Bible, and ethics in 
synagogues and Hebrew schools. At least two were ex- 
change teachers, Nancy Gulledge, ex-'26, in Peterborough, 
England, and Kathleen Jackson, '40, in Osaka, Japan. Some 
while overseas with their husbands have taught in schools 
for the children of men in military service. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 397 

Two alumnae were college presidents. Annie Dove Den- 
mark, '08, retired in 1953 after twenty-five years as presi- 
dent of Anderson College in South Carolina; Sarah Briggs 
was president of Penn Hall Junior College from 1944 till 
her marriage to Harold Trentman in 1955. Academic deans, 
deans of women, registrars, and numerous college teachers 
have come from Meredith. One of the teachers, Lois Edin- 
ger, professor of education at the University of North 
Carolina at Greensboro, in 1966 had a special recognition 
from a distant state. That year the Illinois Education 
Association sent a check for five hundred dollars to Mere- 
dith in appreciation of Dr. Edinger's service as president of 
the National Education Association. 

Jeanne Grealish teaches music in the University of New 
Mexico. Melba Long, '46, teaches art in Converse College; 
LeGrace Gupton Benson, '29, is teaching in the same field 
in Ithaca College. 

Two highly successful private schools were established 
more than fifty years ago by alumnae — one by Bonnie 
Howard, '08, and Pearl Howard, '11, in Birmingham and 
one by Louise Futrell, '14, in Winston-Salem. The Misses 
Howard are still in charge of their school; Miss Futrell in 
her school now teaches children with reading difficulties. 

More than twenty have taught or are teaching the deaf 
and the blind. Lula Belle Highsmith, '33, taught for several 
years in the state school for the deaf in Florida. Ruth 
Daugherty Browning, '37, has been teaching the deaf in 
the Louisville public school system for thirty years. Some 
of her pupils are children of deaf children she had taught. 
She has written history, geography, and language books for 
the deaf. The first teacher of an oral Sunday school class 
for the deaf in Louisville, Mrs. Browning has written four 
books of lessons for such a class. 

Gladys Currin, '25, retired in 1971 after forty-three years 
on the faculty of the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh. 
In 1956-57 she was given a year's leave of absence to teach 
in Diamond Head School for the Blind in Honolulu. In 
1966 she received from the Governor Morehead School a 
citation with a hundred-dollar award for her "greatness in 
teaching children to know, to understand, and to love that 

398 History of Meredith College 

which they may never see." Frances Cox Morrison, '31, 
has been teaching twelve years in that school; Blanche 
Tabor Burchard, '17, Olive Hamrick Miller, '41, Elfreda 
Barker Johnson, '41, and Martha Lillian Henderson, ex-'68, 
have taught there at different times. 

Others have taught mentally retarded children. Ethel 
Parrott Hughes, ex-'08, taught arts and crafts twenty-four 
years in the Caswell Training School in Kinston, where the 
children lovingly called her "Little Mama." Demetra 
Bellios, '61, teaches retarded teen-agers in Atlanta and is 
an active member of the Greater Atlanta Council for Ex- 
ceptional Children. In 1971 Elizabeth Kennedy Collins, '66, 
won the Young Teacher of the Year award, presented by 
the State Jaycees. She taught deaf children in Kentucky 
and for the past two years has been teaching a trainable 
mentally retarded class in Cary. 

Working closely with teachers are librarians in schools 
and colleges. Minnie Middleton Hussesy, '11, once a mis- 
sionary in China, was for more than twenty-seven years 
readers' adviser in the library of the Woman's College of 
the University of North Carolina. Before Jane Greene came 
to the Meredith library, she was chief cataloguer in the 
Duke University library. In recognition of her thirty-nine 
years as librarian in the Grainger High School in Kinston, 
that library was named for Beulah Stroud, '27. The same 
honor was accorded Ethel Knott Smith, '37, at Wingate Col- 

As head librarian of the Federal Power Commission in 
Washington, Paige Leonard Fuquay, '28, had not only the 
responsibility for the main library of that commission, but 
also the supervision of the organization and maintenance of 
subsidiary collections for five regional offices. Ruth Hub- 
bell, '19, who gives a creative writing award at Meredith, 
was for thirty-nine years on the staff of the District of Co- 
lumbia Public Library as reader's adviser. Frances Elrod, 
'47, is head of the children's department of the public 
library in Mt. Vernon, New York. Doris Lee Tyson, '49, was 
for eleven years newsroom librarian for the Winston-Salem 
Journal and Sentinel. 

The tradition of "culture made perfect through the re- 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 399 

ligion of Jesus Christ" partly explains the large number of 
Meredith graduates in full-time Christian service. More than 
fifty have gone to foreign fields as missionaries under the 
Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. 
The first one, Maude Burke Dozier, '03, went to Japan in 
1906. She led in the organization of the Woman's Mission- 
ary Union in that country and in the opening of the W.M.U. 
Training School there. Her daughter, Helen Dozier Pietsch, 
'33, is in another mission, the Tokyo Bible Centre. Had 
Sophie Stevens Lanneau not been too young to be appointed 
as an unmarried woman by the Foreign Mission Board un- 
til 1907, she would have been Meredith's first missionary. 
Like Mrs Dozier, Miss Lanneau from childhood was sure of 
her calling. In China she became the founder and principal 
of Wei Ling Girls' Academy. It is said that the Chinese had 
profound respect for her scholarship in the Chinese lan- 
guage. Virginia Highfill, '47, has been in Japan since 1950. 

Rosa Hocutt Powell, '17, was the first Meredith graduate 
to go to Africa. Her daughter, Mary Hester Powell, '42, was 
until 1962 a missionary nurse in Nigeria. Stella Austin, '47, 
is in Africa, as was Eunice Andrews Smith, '49, until her 
husband's death in 1968. She is now in the Foreign Mission 
Board headquarters in Richmond. Rosalind Knott Harrell, 
'51, and Rebecca Knott McKinley, '51, twin sisters, were ap- 
pointed the same year, but their fields of service in Nai- 
robi, Kenya, and in Gwelo, Rhodesia, are 1,400 miles apart. 
Mabel Summers, '46, in Lebanon since 1948, is Meredith's 
only missionary in the Near East. Marjorie Trippeer Ben- 
nett, '50, and her husband are the first Southern Baptist 
missionaries in East Pakistan. 

A number of these were interviewed before their ap- 
pointment by Edna Frances Dawkins, '37, associate secre- 
tary for missionary personnel of the Foreign Mission Board. 
She has the discernment and kindliness necessary in de- 
termining the fitness of applicants for service in the foreign 
fields and in guiding them through the preliminaries lead- 
ing to their appointment. Before coming to the Board, Miss 
Dawkins was assistant dean of women at Meredith. 

Meredith missionaries are not all on Southern Baptist 
fields. Among those of other denominations, Sarah Liver- 

400 History of Meredith College 

more Kingsbury, '47, was a Congregational missionary in 
Turkey, Elizabeth Lee Hill, '62, taught three years in the 
Pressley Memorial Institute, a Presbyterian school in As- 
suit, Egypt. Rebecca Edge Bideaux, '53, and her husband 
were Methodist missionaries in Costa Rica. When the Car- 
rolls, Methodists in Southern Rhodesia, learned of the 
arrival of a new family on their mission field, they invited 
the newcomers to visit them. When the two wives met, they 
learned for the first time that each is a Meredith graduate — 
Virginia Corbett Carroll, '54, and Dorothy Swaringen 
Hughes, '49. 

One whose name ranks high among Meredith mission- 
aries never reached the field of service to which she had 
dedicated her life. A few weeks before Blanche Barrus, '10, 
finished her internship at the Philadelphia General Hos- 
pital, it was discovered that she had a cancer too far ad- 
vanced to be operable. She had already been appointed by 
the Northern Baptist Convention for service in India. After 
a long rest, fully realizing that her improvement was 
merely temporary. Dr. Barrus finished her internship be- 
cause, she said, "I do not want to meet God with an un- 
finished task." The nurses' home of the North Carolina 
Baptist Hospital was named in her memory. 

Before she went to Woman's Medical College in Philadel- 
phia, she was for five years executive secretary of the 
Women's Missionary Union of North Carolina, the first full- 
time secretary of that organization. Five of the first seven 
who held that position after her were Meredith alumnae. 

The Baptist State Convention as well as the W.M.U. has 
used Meredith graduates in various positions of responsi- 
bility. Myra Sherman Motley, '42, has been with the Sunday 
School Department more than twenty-five years. As an 
associate in the department, she heads up the Vacation 
Bible Schools over the state. Nancy Kistler, '53, was for a 
number of years with the Church Development Depart- 
ment. Mary Lee Ernest, '39, before she went as a mis- 
sionary first to Hawaii and then to Singapore, was B.S.U. 
secretary at East Carolina College; Melba Long, now teach- 
ing art in Converse College, was for a number of years 
B.S.U. Secretary at Mary Washington College. Other alum- 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 401 

nae have held similar positions on college campuses and at 
the North Carolina Baptist Hospital. 

The greatest number of those doing full-time Christian 
work are in local churches as secretaries; pastor's assistants; 
and directors of education, young people's activities, and 
music. Some of these have had further training; many went 
to their positions straight from Meredith. The places thus 
filled are not limited to Baptist churches. A Methodist 
minister, seeking an assistant, explained that he had had a 
Meredith graduate who was intelligent and devoted to her 
work — and he wanted another like her. 

A number of these full-time workers are teachers. Mil- 
dred Kichline, '31, teaches Bible in the public schools of 
Burlington, being paid by the churches of the city. She has 
published texts for such study which are used in many other 
places. Ruth Miller Brewster, '47, one of the state B.S.U. 
workers before she received her B.D. from Yale, now 
teaches at Mercer University. Phyllis Trible, '54, is a pro- 
fessor in the department of religion in Wake Forest. She was 
a featured speaker at the last School of Christian Studies in 
October, 1968. With a leave of absence from Wake Forest, 
she taught at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka and in 
the two months vacation period studied Zen Buddhism in 
Kyoto. While in Japan she visited with Virginia Highfill 
and Nobuko Kawano, ex-'53, who teaches in a Baptist col- 
lege in Fukuoka. She and Nobuko were suitemates at 
Meredith, and were both at Union Theological Seminary in 
New York in 1955-56. 

Betty Miller, '44, in 1947 was the first Meredith graduate 
to become an ordained minister. She was for six years pas- 
tor of the First Baptist Church in Reedsboro, Vermont. The 
church evidently liked having a woman minister, for Addie 
Davis, '42, began her ministry in 1964 in the same church. 
Mary Ann Peebles, '28, and Betsy Ann Morgan, '50, are 
Congregationalists; Elizabeth Hill, '62, and Martha Stone, 
'65, are Presbyterians. The last-named three were all or- 
dained in 1968. 

Law, like the ministry, is not traditionally a profession 
which encourages women; apparently only four Meredith 
graduates have entered the field. Flossie Marshbanks, '15, 


402 History of Meredith College 

was the first to do so. After practicing several years in 
Edenton, she took an administrative position in the State 
Department of Education. Lina Lee Stout, '32, so success- 
fully combined a legal career with marriage that in 1955 she 
was voted Durham's mother of the year. Fannie Memory 
Farmer, '44, used her legal knowledge in the hearings which 
she held over the state as state welfare administrative as- 
sistant for four years. In 1954 she set up the Domestic Re- 
lations Court in Cabarrus County and was its first judge, 
the only woman judge of such a court in the state at that 

Nancy Viccellio, '34, began private practice of law after 
teaching Latin and English, serving in the WAVES — where 
she rose to be lieutenant-commander — and working in the 
Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency. 
In 1969 she successfully represented the residents of a 
Georgetown neighborhood in a suit against an architect 
who had built an ultra-modern house without regard to 
legal restrictions concerning construction. The case brought 
nation-wide publicity, and was featured in Time and Life. 
Inquiries came to her from several other states and even 
from Switzerland. 

More than twice as many alumnae are physicians as are 
lawyers and ministers together. Elizabeth Vann, '17, was 
for thirty-eight years on the staff of St. Elizabeth's Hospital 
in Washington, first as a general physician, later as a psy- 
chiatrist. Also from the class of 1917 and also in Washing- 
ton, Blanche Tabor Burchard is a general practitioner. 
Elizabeth James Dotterer, practicing with her husband and 
brother, is in Sanford. Pearl Huffman Scholz, '37, is an 
instructor in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and has a large 
private practice as a children's psychiatrist. Susan Jackson 
Mellette, '42, an assistant professor in the Medical College 
of Virginia, has also a private practice and still finds time 
for a column, "A Doctor Advises," in Grit, a national weekly 
newspaper. Katherine Chungho King, '57, is on the staff of 
the Metropolitan General Hospital in Cleveland. Ellen 
Johnson Preston, '46, has the surveillance of all the com- 
mercial products of the Robins Drug Company in Richmond, 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 403 

In addition to these doctors, among the alumnae are 
nurses, laboratory technicians, physiotherapists, medical 
secretaries, and hospital dietitians. Virginia Marshbanks, 
ex-'06, was for ten years superintendent of nurses at Rex 
Hospital in Raleigh. Alda Grayson, '15, has retired after 
long service as director of a hospital in Lai Chow, China. 
Kathleen Mallory, executive secretary of the Southern 
W. M. U., wrote of her, "To know her is not only to love her, 
but to admire her and her Alma Mater." Miriam Daughtry, 
'29, once superintendent of nurses at the Baptist Hospital 
in Winston-Salem, is now executive secretary of the North 
Carolina Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Educa- 
tion. Jennie Fleming Severance, '10, trained in physio- 
therapy, for many years had a nursing home in Asheville 
with most of her patients "on borrowed time." 

Florence Pittman, '37, has been for more than thirty 
years dietitian at the East Carolina Sanitarium in Wilson. 
Jeanne Tong Yeh, '57, until she returned to Singapore was 
dietitian at the New York Presbyterian Medical Center; on 
her return to this country she went as dietitian to a hos- 
pital in Chicago. Verona Chow, '65, cousin to Katherine 
King, holds a similar position also in a Chicago hospital. 

Carolyn Mercer, who was educational consultant with 
the State Board of Health, was the first layman to be made a 
member of the North Carolina Dental Society. Lula Belle 
Highsmith Rich worked with the North Carolina Tubercu- 
losis Association and with the State Board of Health. 
Catherine Johnson Jackson, '39, with experience as medical 
editor for the Bowman Gray School of Medicine and for the 
School of Medicine of Duke University and of the Universi- 
ty of North Carolina, is a free-lance editor, reading manu- 
scripts for numerous doctors. Earlier she was assistant edi- 
tor of the North Carolina Medical Journal, a position in 
which she was succeeded by Louise McMillan, ex-'33. 

More and more Meredith graduates are going into various 
types of social work. They do research, industrial work, 
family counseling, and psychiatric social work. They work 
with the Red Cross, the Travelers' Aid, the Y.W.C.A. and 
the Girl Scouts, and in hospitals, day care centers, chil- 

404 History of Meredith College 

dren's homes, adoption agencies, and innumerable city, 
county, and state welfare agencies. 

Harriet Herring, '13, did pioneer work of distinction in 
industrial research in the Institute for Research in Social 
Science at the University of North Carolina. In addition to 
various articles she has written three books : Welfare Work 
in Mill Villages, The Passing of the Mill Village, and 
Southern Industry and Regional Development. Chloris Kel- 
lum, '30, was for several years assistant director of the 
Employment Division of the Works Progress Administra- 
tion. Emily Miller Lay, '34, is with the Catholic Family and 
Children's Services in Washington and teaches a course in 
family therapy at the Catholic University. Her three daugh- 
ters, all Meredith graduates, have been in social work. 
Euzelia Smart, '30, has since 1959 been director of the 
Department of Social Work, North Carolina Memorial Hos- 
pital, and associate professor in the Department of Family 
Medicine in the School of Medicine of the University of 
North Carolina. Hallie Coppedge, '45, was an instructor in 
psychiatric social work at the Bowman Gray School of 
Medicine; Bernice Limer Everhart, who now works with 
adoptions, family counseling, and unwed mothers in the 
Family and Child Service Agency in Winston-Salem, was 
formerly a medical social worker with the department of 
pediatrics at the same school. Elva Burgess, '32, has a 
private clinic in Charlotte in which she works primarily 
with children, though she is also a marriage counselor. 
Mary Lou Morgan Argow, '63, was youth supervisor with 
the Raleigh Recreation Department, the first person in that 
newly created position. 

Laurice Hlass, '51, has become an international figure. 
In April, 1954, the Alumnae Magazine reported that she 
was "the director of a mammoth welfare service for almost 
500,000 Palestinian refugees in the Hashemite Kingdom 
of Jordan." In 1957, the year she received an M.A. from 
Columbia University, she was named Columbia's Woman 
of the Year. She was for five years a representative of the 
United Nations in Morocco, where for her work among 
the village women she received from the King of Morocco 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 405 

the highest honor which that country gives to a foreign dip- 
lomat, the Decoration of the Throne. In 1967 she became the 
first woman plenipotentiary in the Foreign Office in the 
Kingdom of Jordan. 

Home economists are in constant demand. Some have 
been employed by public utilities companies; Carolyn 
Knight Nelson, '49, for several years was a demonstrator 
and service assistant for the Carolina Power and Light 
Company, and Joan Langley Harrod, '53, had a similar posi- 
tion with the Appalachian Power Company. Martha Ann 
Riley Fisk, '36, has written several small cookbooks to be 
used with electrical equipment. She was also at one time in 
charge of the research kitchen of the Hotel Statler system 
and traveled through the chain, training supervisors. 

Others have been county, state, or federal employees. 
Flossie Whitley, who retired in 1970 after thirty years as 
the Chatham County home demonstration agent, was in 
1953 recognized for distinguished service by the National 
Home Demonstration Agents' Association. Ruby Pearson 
Uzzle, '37, has for more than twenty-five years been a 
marketing specialist with the Agricultural Extension Ser- 
vice of North Carolina State University. For two years of 
that time she was on leave of absence in Peru as adviser to 
the national director of home economics. Nancy Duckworth, 
'50, was the first home economist in the nation to serve on 
the meat inspection staff of the United States Department of 

Other besides welfare workers and home economists are 
or have been state or federal employees. Among these Nell 
Barker, '29, recently retired after more than twenty years 
as accountant in the North Carolina Wild Life Resources 
Commission. Corinna Sherron Sutton, '40, is training officer 
of the North Carolina State Department of Health. Fannie 
Memory Farmer Mitchell is head of the Publications Di- 
vision of the Department of Archives and History. Rebecca 
Knight Clegg, '57, is records management consultant in the 
Department of Administration. From the same class Edith 
Brewer Johnson Seifert was editor of Roadways, a magazine 
for the employees of the Highway Commission. Jerry 

406 History of Meredith College 

Martin Stuart, '65, an art major at Meredith, is with the 
State Highway Commission; she was responsible for the 
colorful scenes in the 1967 State Highway map. 

Before Cora Fender Britt, '30, came to the Federal Supply 
Bureau in 1949, she worked in the Census Bureau and in the 
Treasury Department. When she retires in 1972 she will 
have been in government service thirty-five years. Evelyn 
JoUey Keenan, '29, who began work in the Social Security 
Administration in 1936, retired in 1970 from her position 
as director of the Division of Health Insurance. In 1969 she 
received a Commissioners' Citation for superior perform- 
ance in her position. Joyce Causey, '55, senior policy 
specialist in the Social Security Administration in Balti- 
more, says that she has "interesting and challenging work 
in a dynamic atmosphere." Lester Salley Ely, ex-'38, for 
years a cost accountant in the Bureau of Reclamation wrote 
of her work, "Remember my final grade in algebra — a 
59! — with a note to 'learn a little arithmetic, please!' I 
never did, but it is amazing what a machine or two can do." 
Probably the most recent addition to this group is Martha 
Dicus, '71, who began office work with the F.B.I, soon after 

Meredith has sent numbers of alumnae into publication 
work of various kinds. Kate Ford Peele, '09, with her hus- 
band, Herbert Peele, owned and edited the Elizabeth City 
Daily Advanced Emily Pool Aumiller, '50, was also co- 
owner and editor of the Cherokee Scout, a weekly in 
Murphey. A number of daily and weekly newspapers have or 
have had on their staffs Meredith graduates, some of them 
just out of college. Jewell Eatmon Pope, '46, wrote of her 
work on the Dunn Dispatch, "The printer's ink from the 
Twig seems to have become a permanent stain." Fifteen or 
more alumnae are or have been editors or assistant editors 
of trade journals. Flora Ann Lee Bynum, '46, for several 
years directed the publicity of the Winston-Salem Chamber 
of Commerce. Margaret Kerr, '66, as an editorial assistant 

''That paper carried a vigorous editorial dissent following Gerald John- 
son's article in the News and Observer of March 15, 1947, which had asserted 
that, because of the Reynolds bequest to Wake Forest, Meredith, "skimpily 
eqxiipped and poorly endowed" was "a gone gosling." 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 407 

was "abstractor, editor, and indexer" for the National 
Academy of Science. 

Dollie Smith, '65, went from her position as editorial 
assistant with Look to be a reporter for the United Press 
International. In a letter to the December, 1966, Alumnae 
Magazine she wrote : 

UPI's managing editor in New York warned me that the job 
would be unglamorous, nerve-racking, slave-driving, and poor- 
paying. It has lived up to his word, but I love every minute 
of it. 

Peggy Wilkins, '62, before her marriage was on the edi- 
torial staff of Business Europe, published in Geneva. 

In the field of publication the most venturesome alumna 
is Charleen Swanzey Whisnant, '54, who has twice launched 
a new enterprise. In 1964 she began the Red Clay Reader, 
as editor of which she did not impose upon the contribu- 
tors "any kind of restrictions or editorial formulas." De- 
signed primarily for Southern writers, the Red Clay Reader 
welcomed "new and experimental work from all over the 
country." After seven successful issues, Mrs. Whisnant gave 
up the annual to establish a publishing company which will 
continue in books her emphasis on new and experimental 

Their Meredith background especially fits graduates for 
work with religious periodicals and publishing houses. 
Kate Matthews was for more than twenty-five years on the 
staff of the Biblical Recorder; Ruth Andrews Holland, '37, 
is assistant editor of the Maryland Baptist; and Louise 
Yarbrough, '50, is associate editor of the Alaska Baptist 
Messenger, as well as executive secretary of the Alaska 
W.M.U. After several years as a newspaper reporter and a 
free-lance writer, Frieda Culbertson, '40, went to the Broad- 
man Press as assistant to the book editor. Mabel King 
Beeker, '30, associate editor of periodicals, has been with 
that press longer than any of the other Meredith graduates 
who have held positions there. Elizabeth Shelton Smith, 
'46, in addition to her painting and teaching of art, con- 
tributes frequently to the periodicals of the Broadman 

408 History of Meredith College 

Press, as do Kathleen Durham Reaves, '31, and Charlotte 
Tedder Swift, '30. 

Dorothy Hampton, '54, was at one time on the staff of the 
Christian Scholar. After her work with North Carolina 
Education and the University of North Carolina Press, Jean 
Branch Hamm, '47, went to the American Baptist Publica- 
tion Society. Elizabeth Henley, '38, is associate editor of 
Social Action, a publication of the Council for Christian 
Social Action of the United Church of Christ. 

Besides innumerable contributions to periodicals, many 
books have been written by Meredith alumnae. Harriet 
Herring's books have already been mentioned. Susie Her- 
ring Jefferies, in Papa Wore No Halo gave an account of 
her father, a missionary in China. Two of Foy Johnson 
Farmer's seven books. At the Gate of Asia and Mrs. May- 
nard's House, grew out of her experiences as a missionary 
in Japan; another is a life of Sallie Bailey Jones. 

Ruth Vande Kieft's Eudora Welty, as well as her edition 
of a collection of Eudora Welty's stories and numerous 
articles on English and American authors, gives evidence of 
her scholarly interest and ability. Diet and Therapy was 
written by Sue Rodwell Williams, '42, who is nutrition con- 
sultant and program coordinator for the Health Education 
Research center. Permanent Medical Group, Oakland, Cali- 
fornia. Alice Tuttle Steadman, '51, an astrologer as well as a 
teacher of art in the Charlotte Mint Museum has written 
Who's the Matter With Me?, which has been described as a 
"self-help health book." Beulah Bailey Woolard, '18, writes 
plays, pageants, and skits which have been used in over 
five hundred high schools scattered over every state in the 
nation. Mary Edith Sullivan Kelly, '21, also writes plays 
and pageants which have been widely used in schools. 

Sidney Ann Wilson, '43, historian of Peace College and of 
the First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh, is also a ghost 
writer for many book-club members; but her heart is in 
poetry, as her poems published in anthologies and her book 
of poems, Moonwehs, show. Impressions is a collection of 
poems by Sarah Cook Rawley, '29. Mary Ella Hall, '53, who 
has not gathered her poems in a volume, has twice won first 
place in the nation-wide Southern Baptist hymn-writing 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 409 

competition. From the hundreds of her poems published in 
newspapers and magazines, Edith Taylor Earnshaw, '05, 
selected the poems for a slender volume. Verses. The un- 
pretentious title belies the wisdom, the tenderness, and de- 
lightful humor of her writing. Another from the same class, 
Irene Haire Wilde, author of a volume of lyrics, Fire 
Against the Sky, was chosen poet laureate of California. 

Mrs. Wilde also wrote a novel. The Red Turhan, one of 
the few novels to be credited to Meredith alumnae. The 
College has a slender claim to Lettie Hamlett Rogers, ex-'39, 
author of South of Heaven, Storm Cloud, and Landscape 
of the Heart. She was a Meredith student for one year be- 
fore going to the Woman's College of the University of 
North Carolina. 

Meredith's most distinguished author is a novelist, Ber- 
nice Kelly Harris, '13, who in 1939 with her first novel 
Purslane, won the Mayflower cup, awarded each year by 
the State Literary and Historical Association. She was the 
first novelist as well as the first woman to be thus honored, 
and it was the first novel published by a university press. 
While picturing vividly and realistically a rural community 
in North Carolina, the book has a universal quality which 
brought letters from Vermont and Utah praising its vivid 
and realistic picture of rural life in those states. Frank 
Swinnerton called it a "modern transatlantic Cranford." 
Six novels have followed, the last being Wild Cherry Tree 
Road. She explained that the title of Southern Savory, her 
latest book, an informal autobiography, "is meant to suggest 
that people in whatever time or region are the seasoning 
that imparts flavor and spice to the human experience." 
In the November, 1937, Alumnae Bulletin, Mrs. Harris, 
explaining that a pencil always felt good in her hand, told of 
the experiment which led her into writing, beginning with 
the plays preceding her novels, which she modestly called 
"unpretentious folk, social, and religious plays." 

I organized a group of town women into playwriters, with my 
interest concentrated on producing their efforts. ^ It promised to 

« As a teacher of high school English Bernice Kelly was much interested 
in play production. Her feat in May, 1923, of bringing her high school stu- 
dents to Wake Forest and to Meredith in a surprisingly good production of 
Hamlet is unparalleled in alumnae annals. 

410 History of Meredith College 

be unique and was while it lasted. The women, good friends of 
mine, met with me out of sympathy rather than much interest or 
real talent. . . . Surreptitiously I found myself revising and re- 
writing their efforts, for there could be no directing of original 
plays without the plays. When my women tired of creating and 
would compare chickens and gardens at our meetings instead of 
protagonists and conjflicts, I rather hardheartedly took my pencil 
in hand. The personality, material, and plot of "Ca'line" were 
offered to my class vainly. So "Ca'line" became my first play, 
and the damage was done. 

Some of the alumnae are mindful of readers who are chil- 
dren. Dorothy Clarke Koch, '47, has written three books 
for children, J Play at the Beach, Gone Is My Goose, and 
Monkeys Are Funny That Way. Gone Is My Goose was 
selected by the Institute of Graphic Arts from among 4,000 
books as one of the seventy-nine most distinguished chil- 
dren's books published in the last three years. Kate Coving- 
ton Weede, '37, and Louse White Laughton, '59, write 
stories for children. In addition to more than three hundred 
feature stories and other articles, Lou Rogers Wehlitz, 
ex-'29, wrote The First Thanksgiving Children, which went 
into six editions. 

Mary O'Kelly Peacock, '26, is both writer and composer. 
Her stories and songs, both music and lyrics, have appeared 
in children's magazines. Also for twenty consecutive years 
she wrote a Christmas play given in Moorestown, New 
Jersey, where she lives. Three lyrics from these plays are 
among the songs which have been published in Etude and 
other music magazines. 

Two from the class of 1957 are making names for them- 
selves as singers. One of these, Jeanne Grealish, has been a 
recitalist and soloist with well-known orchestras in Europe 
and in this country. A brochure from the National Federa- 
tion of Music Clubs said of her when she won the Federa- 
tion's Young Artist award in 1965 : 

She won European acclaim with recitals of American music 
as well as glowing reviews in this country. Her repertoire is 
astonishingly versatile and covers a vast field of literature. 

With a Ph.D. in musicology, the only Meredith graduate 
thus far to earn that degree in the field, Miss Grealish is 
now teaching at the University of New Mexico and is con- 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 411 

tinuing her recitals and concerts. Her recital at Meredith 
in April, 1966, convinced the audience that she deserves the 
glowing reviews. 

In 1966 Marilyn Greene Burris was chosen as national 
singer of the year in the competition for young singers held 
by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She was 
soloist in the Messiah when the new auditorium of the 
Baptist Assembly in Southport was dedicated; she was 
soloist in a concert at a Tri-State Church Music Leadership 
Conference at Fruitland; she was soloist with the North 
Carolina Symphony Orchestra in its 1968-69 season. She 
gave a recital on Alumnae Day of the 1968 conmiencement, 
the only time that a recital rather than an address has been 
the feature of the day's program. Mrs. Burris has had a 
number of leading operatic roles with the University of 
North Carolina Opera theater, among them Madame But- 
terfly, in which Kay Johnson Sewell, '59, also took a lead- 
ing part. 

Mrs. Sewell is interested in drama also, and has had 
five seasons of summer stock experience in places as diverse 
as the Barter Theater of Virginia and the Little Theatre of 
the Rockies in Colorado. Edna Lee Pegram Leib has also 
gone beyond amateur status in acting. When she was teach- 
ing in Honolulu, Maurice Evans saw her in A Bell for 
Adano, produced by the Honolulu Community Theatre, and 
gave her a part in his production of Blithe Spirit, which in 
the summer of 1945 was being shown in army hospitals and 
camps in Hawaii, Midway, and Miau. Emily Lay, '67, with a 
recent master's degree in drama, two summers in a stock 
company at the Flat Rock Playhouse, and membership in 
Actors' Equity, is well on the way to becoming a profes- 

Thus far, however, only Annie Judson Thompson, '09, 
became a full-time actress. For years she traveled with the 
Ben Greet Players, who made a specialty of the production 
of Shakespeare's plays, giving them out of doors when pos- 
sible. Her roles varied from Puck in A Midsummer Night's 
Dream to Olivia in Twelfth Night.^ 

» Since her death her husband, Paul Hubbell, has each year given books in 
the field of drama to the library in her memory. 

412 History of Meredith College 

Others have portrayed life on canvas rather than on the 
stage as actresses or on paper as writers. Dorothy Home 
Decker, '38, is well established in portraiture, having 
painted the portraits of about three hundred persons. Her 
paintings of two West Virginia governors are in the capitol 
in Charleston. Beth Turner, ex-'62, is another artist who is 
not going to starve in a garret. "Have You Heard?" in the 
December, 1966, Magazine, reported that half of the twenty- 
five paintings in her recent exhibit in Palm Beach sold for 
up to a thousand dollars each. Her pictures are on the walls 
of homes in twenty states from Maine to Florida. 

Another Meredith artist, Effie Ray Calhoun Bateman, '37, 
in addition to her painting has made an amazing success of 
her gallery for exhibits and art sales, despite its location in 
a very small place, Belhaven. Frances Woodard Pittman, 
'37, writing in the December, 1970, Magazine of a visit to 
the gallery said that since its opening on July 3, 1969, Mrs. 
Bateman had "sponsored eighteen shows by more than fifty 
artists, attracting nearly 19,000 visitors from all fifty states 
and twenty-five other countries." Of double interest to 
Meredith was the open house held on September 28, 1969, 
with an exhibit of the paintings of two of Mrs. Bateman's 
art teachers. The artists thus honored were Meredith 
alumnae — Ethel Parrott Hughes, ex-'08, and Lucy Sanders 
Hood, ex-' 14, both of Kinston. 

Mary O'Kelley was the first of a number of alumnae to go 
into the field of radio; before her marriage she was a 
program director for WPTF in Raleigh. Rebecca Calloway 
and Jean Forbes, both in the class of 1955, were copy writers 
for that station, which has employed several other Meredith 
graduates. Margaret Hines, '36, with the professional name 
Margaret Arlen attained national prominence as a news 
commentator for WABC in New York; she also appeared in 
television. When Alyce Epley Walker, '54, was asked about 
her part in The Castle in the Clouds, a daily program for 
children shown for two years over WBTV in Charlotte, she 
answered that she not only played Princess Alyce, but 
"wrote the script, designed and made the puppets, made the 
costumes, planned the shows, and in general, did every- 
thing." Although she "loved every minute of it," she 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 413 

probably finds less strenuous the real estate business in 
which she is now engaged. 

Martha Stuckey, '62, with experience in different pub- 
lishing companies, went into television, where she "worked 
on several big shows, got to know stars by their first names 
and their neuroses, and worked eighteen hours a day for 
several weeks at a time." Currently, she wrote in the sum- 
mer of 1971, she is "working for a film director who is 
preparing to make a big candy-puff musical in Europe next 
year." But she is leaving the "promised land, sunny south- 
ern California" in September and is planning to move into 
a new area altogether, "something more intimately in- 
volved with the human condition." She believes that "the 
world can get along without movies and television shows, 
but it can't get along without a little love and justice and 
concern for others, plus a few things like good paying 
jobs and houses without rats." 

Mary Jo Clayton, '46, who as editor of the Acorn wrote a 
feature article on Margaret Arlen, knows another side of 
television. She was one of two people responsible for the 
first weekly style show of Hutzler Brothers in Baltimore, 
telecast over WBAL. This responsibility, she wrote to the 
Alumnae Magazine, was "on top of regular copy writer 
chores concerning ad proofs lineup, schedules, and such, 
and the commercials for the Hutzler radio program — which 
managed to keep me busy before television ever reared its 
demanding head." With Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove, an 
advertising agency in New York, Miss Clayton writes a 
variety of television commercials as well as newspaper and 
magazine ads. Recently she wrote copy for Chinese fortune 
cookies which are the product of a Japanese firm. 

Meredith graduates know from experience aspects of 
business less recent than radio and television. To choose a 
few among many, Anne Ashcraft Brooks, '17, was for years 
a buyer at Macy's. Nancy Harris Cording, '46, held a simi- 
lar position at Miller and Rhoads in Richmond. Mirvine 
Garrett Okrasinski, '38, was on the personnel staff of Lord 
and Taylors; later she was personnel director for a large 
store in Huntington, West Virginia. She is now with 
Stewart and Company in Baltimore. Margaret BuUard 

414 History of Meredith College 

Pruitt, is secretary-treasurer for three of the six divisions of 
the Bland Pruitt Industries. Her daughter, Margaret Pruitt 
Benson, '64, was for some time an investigator for the 
Wachovia Bank. Billie Parker Barbee, '63, is personnel 
manager for all thirty-three branches of the First National 
Bank of Eastern North Carolina. Donnie Simons, '57, is 
system analyst at the Chase National Bank in New York; in 
1971 she received an "outstanding citizen's award" from 
that bank. Martha Ellen Walker, '68, with a summer's ex- 
perience in the Stock Exchange in Baltimore went immedi- 
ately after her graduation to take a position with the Lon- 
don Stock Exchange. 

Numerous alumnae have businesses of their own. Marvel 
Carter Campbell, '12, has a catering establishment in 
Winston-Salem, from which she sent a cake for Queen 
Elizabeth's coronation. Amy Wyche Holden, '46, was owner 
and president of a New York ship brokerage company. 
Lorine Smith Caveness, '57, owns the Lemon Tree Restau- 
rant in Louisburg. Anne Britt Smith, '61, has her own 
advertising agency in Chapel Hill. 

Virgie Harville Tomlinson, '25, has in Thomasville a suc- 
cessful real estate agency, which she began thirty-seven 
years after she graduated. In Thomasville also is Katherine 
Covington Lambeth, '38, president of Erwin-Lambeth, Inc., 
a furniture manufacturing firm which she organized in 1947. 
With showrooms in High Point, New York, Philadelphia, 
Dallas, Denver, and Chicago, the firm is currently selling 
around $2,000,000 worth of furniture from coast to coast. 

Powell's Gardens near Princeton is a flourishing busi- 
ness which Loleta Kenan Powell has developed from the 
beginning. Although she grows many kinds of flowers, her 
specialties are the daylily and the iris, which is the Mere- 
dith flower. Among the five hundred varieties of iris in 
her gardens are many which she produced by crossbreed- 
ing, some of them national award winners. "Meredith," 
registered and introduced in 1968, she described as having 
"standards of creamy white and falls of maroon neatly 
edged with white." Mrs. Powell is versatile, for she writes 
columns for two weekly newspapers and has had patterns 
for children's dresses accepted by Vogue. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 415 

Emilia Kutchinski, '51, was Meredith's first airline hos- 
tess. A more recent hostess, Ann Freeman, '66, a 1969 Pan 
American Airways brochure described as "a pint-sized 
schoolmarm from Dunn, North Carolina, who has sprouted 
wings and is soaring westward over the Pacific — to Hawaii 
and the South Seas, and over the North Pole route to 

Though women are in the overwhelming majority in 
this occupation, according to the reports in the Magazine 
this comparatively new venture has attracted only about a 
dozen Meredith graduates. In some well-established fields 
there are even fewer because women have been generally 
considered not to be fitted for them. Roxie Collie, '32, is 
unique in the work she chose — taxidermy. After a five 
years' apprenticeship and several years' experience in the 
North Carolina State Museum, she has a position in the 
Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Two more graduates 
are unique in their fields. Pat Smathers Mitchell, '53, is a 
dentist; after ten years of practice in Chapel Hill she went 
in 1969 to the faculty of Emory University. Joyce Rudisill 
Donahoe, '67, began in 1971 her practice as a veterinarian 
in Georgia. She is also on the faculty of the University of 
Georgia. Dealing with animals in a quite different way and 
probably also unique among graduates is Donna LeRoy 
Newell, '66, who with her husband owns and operates the 
Don-Mar Ranch near Raleigh, with stables for thirty-five 
horses. Rachel Leonard Smith, '37, and her husband for 
several years raised chinchilla rabbits; one pair, she re- 
ported to the Alumnae Magazine, they sold for $11,000. 

Katherine Stinson, ex-'40, is the first woman to hold the 
position of chief of the specifications staff of the Aircraft 
Engineering Division, U. S. Civil Aeronautics Administra- 
tion in Washington. Ida Leane Warren, '36, went much 
earlier into a similar field. After teaching in Creswell with 
fourteen Spruills, thirteen Phelpses, and nine Davenports 
on her roll, she worked in Washington with the War De- 
partment as a cryptographer, taught engineering students 
at North Carolina State, and in 1944 was given the responsi- 
ble position of aerodynamist with the Piasecki Helicopter 
Corporation of Philadelphia, with highly trained men and 

416 History of Meredith College 

women working under her supervision. The aerodynamics 
department, she explained, "estimates the performance of a 
helicopter, determines airloads, solves vibration problems, 
and analyzes flight test results." 

It was war which led Ida Leane Warren to leave school- 
teaching for a new venture. War, with its aftermath of 
more wars and the problems of occupied countries, brought 
other Meredith women into fields new to them. 

In the first world war, the activities of the alumnae were 
limited to volunteer work such as rolling bandages, making 
soldiers' kits, and participating in Liberty Loan drives. Ap- 
parently only one alumna did duty overseas — Fay Memory, 
'11, who went to France as a nurse. 

In the second world war, many were diverted from their 
regular occupations, either temporarily or permanently. It 
was an abrupt change for Mary Kate Collier, '39, who wrote 
that she had jumped from teaching home economics to using 
a monkey wrench. Among the volunteers were seventeen 
WACS, three WAVES, one WASP, one marine, and three 
camp librarians. At least two were among army nurses who 
went overseas — Swannanoa Branch, ex-'29, and Marie Ma- 
son, '47. The latter served both in Europe and the Pacific 
area, then returned to finish the college work which her 
term of service had interrupted. 

Most of those who went overseas were army or Red Cross 
recreational hostesses. Pat Abernethy, '33, began her work 
with the Army Service Clubs in 1941. She was sent overseas 
in 1945 and built up the Special Service Clubs Program in 
Germany after the war and was director of army hostesses 
in the European theatre of war. Since 1949 she has been 
director of the entire Army Service Club program, with 
headquarters in Washington. A feature article in the Ra- 
leigh Times quoted in the October, 1960, Alumnae Magazine 
paid tribute to Miss Abernethy as "head of a vast network 
of army service clubs which stretches from Tokyo to Berlin, 
from Alaska to San Juan — perhaps the biggest recreation 
job in the world." Among those in charge of service clubs 
were Nina Binder, '36, in Europe and in the Philippines, 
and Patricia Eberhardt, '54, and Patricia Maynard, '58, in 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 417 

postwar Germany. Mary Lou Morgan, '63, was in Korea 
fourteen months with the Red Cross. 

A hopeful aftermath of war is the Peace Corps, in which a 
dozen graduates have served. Mary Kiser, '56, the first 
volunteer, went to the Ivory Coast of Africa. After her term 
of service she married a business man in that country and 
still lives there. Katherine Weede, '63, in May, 1966, less 
than a year after her two years' term in India, became 
special assistant to the director of training for all Peace 
Corps volunteers. In 1967, when the training of volunteers 
was given to four regional offices, each with a training 
coordinator, she was made central training coordinator. 
Thus she was responsible for coordinating all phases of the 
training of approximately 10,000 volunteers a year. Since 
her marriage in 1969, she works with the Southern Regional 
Education Board, coordinating their resources development 
program in South Carolina. 

The army hostesses, the Red Cross workers, and the Peace 
Corps volunteers were in other countries for varying 
lengths of time, but were not planning to stay permanently 
out of the United States. However, there are Meredith 
alumnae living all over the globe — in Canada, Mexico, 
Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, 
Venezuela, England, Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, 
Switzerland, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethi- 
opia, Rhodesia, the Philippines, Japan, India, Indonesia, 
Malaya, Malaysia, and East Pakistan — the list is almost a 
roll call of nations. Some of these came to Meredith from 
foreign countries and have returned; some are missionaries; 
some wives of army officers, of government officials, or of 
business men. Their letters add an exciting foreign flavor to 
the class notes. 

Dorothy Myers Millinder, '40, wrote from Japan that in 
preparing to sail she packed three important books — "my 
Bible, a dictionary, and a cookbook."^*' The combination 
could be symbolic for most of the Meredith alunmae. They 
are Christians; they want to continue to learn; and the over- 

1" The first articles carried across the threshold of the foods laboratory in 
Hunter Hall were a Bible, a broom, and bread. 

418 History of Meredith College 

whelming majority of them are homemakers, whether they 
continue in paying positions after marriage, and — to quote 
one of them — "do housekeeping in a haphazard fashion," or 
are recorded in the census as having no occupation; whether 
they buy oHves on the streets of Kavalla, Greece, or carrots 
at the A and P on Main Street, U. S. A. 

Women's colleges have been called medieval cloisters; 
one writer called them "spinster factories." Meredith alum- 
nae disprove this charge. A study made by the alumnae 
office in 1954 of the classes from 1930 to 1939 shows that of 
these graduates, who have been out of college from fifteen 
to twenty-five years, 84.4 per cent are married — 760 of the 
900. A similar study made in 1971 of the classes from a 
comparable period, 1947 to 1956, shows that of these gradu- 
ates, 92 per cent are married, 1,111 out of 1,205.^^ 

The class notes in the Magazine give vivid glimpses of 
happy, busy lives. 

A farmer's wife, busy from dawn till bedtime. What with 
chickens, milk and butter, cooking, canning and other household 
duties — well, I never have to be rocked to sleep. Then there 
are various church and community interests to be looked after. 
It's a strenuous life, but ever so fascinating. 

We expect a Ph.D. and a baby this spring. 

Our baby cries with a Yankee accent, but soon we shall be 
dipping his heels in North Carolina tar. 

I have a new boss, six months old. He is entirely merciless in 
his requirements, and has never heard of a 48 hour week. 

I am learning how to be a preacher's wife and run a five-ring 

circus on the side. 

I am still writing, but with attending a house, husband, family, 
two turtles, a dog, a cat, four kittens, and a horse, life is FULL. 

I still have my job as a cost accountant. I am also hopelessly 
in love with a handsome young man — my grandson. 

My [library] job is full of hard work, fun, and great variety. 

^ The high percentage speaks well for the attractiveness of Meredith 
students; however the location of the College, with North Carolina State in 
the neighborhood and Duke, UNO at Chapel Hill, and Southeastern Seminary- 
less than thirty miles away, encourages matrimony. The students from these 
institutions almost have to b3 swept off the breezeways. 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 419 

Also I teach a Sunday school class of eight-year-old boys, am 
chairman of a Business Women's Circle, and serve as library 
hostess at the USO. All this, in addition to my housekeeping 
chores of washing, cooking, and cleaning! Life is never a bore. 

I have never had a career outside the home, but with home, 
church, school, and civic duties, my life has iDeen so full and 
abundant that I would like to live to be a hundred and take a 
lease on another hundred. 

Spinsters can have happy home lives also. Two — one of 
them twenty-nine years, the other forty-seven years after 
graduation — w^rote : 

Honors such as "Best Teacher of the Year" or "Best-dressed 
Woman in Tidewater" have eluded me, but my five-year-old 
great-niece gave me this tribute: "Nobody can play Old Maids 
like Aunt Lou!" ... I grow prouder and fonder of Meredith all 
the time. Don't you? 

For days on end I have tried in vain to sandwich a respectable 
letter between the multiplied April duties of house and gar- 
den. . . . Just being alive in this beautiful world, with bound- 
less interest in many small things is really adventurous. 

In preparing her 1945 Alumnae Day address, "Meredith 
and the Woman's Missionary Union," Foy Johnson Farmer 
sent out a questionnaire to 1,300 presidents of missionary 
societies in Baptist churches of the state. The 350 answers 
bear witness to the usefulness of the alumnae, married and 
single, in community as well as church. Mrs. Farmer sum- 
marized the results thus : 

A study of the replies of the presidents brings the gratifying 
realization that our alumnae are filling important offices in every 
department of the work of the Baptist churches, — clerks, trea- 
surers; S.S. teachers and secretaries and superintendents; edu- 
cational directors; B.T.U. leaders; officers in missionary societies, 
counselors of junior organizations of the W.M.U.; music directors, 
organists, pianists, and soloists. It is evident, too, that they are 
active in all movements that make for civic righteousness, lead- 
ers in bond drives, Red Cross drives, and Red Cross work; 
workers in USO centers, registrars for ration boards, members 
of County Boards of Education, directors of art galleries, service 
leagues, tubercular associations; participants in nurses aide 
training, loyal supporters of Parent-Teacher Associations. Many 
spoke of the fine influence and outstanding work of Meredith 
girls who are public school teachers. 

420 History of Meredith College 

The class notes in the Magazine show that the alumnae 
continue their volunteer work in causes which Mrs. Farmer 
cited in 1945 — and have added to these causes. Sunday 
school teachers and missionary society presidents continue 
to abound; indeed, there is no church office, large or small, 
which has not been filled by a Meredith woman. Among 
other community activities they take part in innumerable 
fund drives; they are volunteer workers in children's hos- 
pitals, mental hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and com- 
munity centers; they are grade mothers and den mothers. 

Patricia Lay Dorsey, '64, as a trained social worker, is of 
especial value in the children's division of the Detroit City 
Hospital. In Washington, Cora Fender Britt, '30, has made 
recordings of textbooks for the use of the blind. Mary Ann 
Brown, '60, working for a Ph.D. at the University of North 
Carolina and teaching a section of freshman English, finds 
time to lead a Brownie troop. Elizabeth Davis Reid is a 
docent in the North Carolina Museum of Art. 

One volunteer project of short duration went beyond the 
community. For a month in the summer of 1963 Nancy 
Wallace chaperoned thirty-four students from eighteen for- 
eign countries on a bus tour over parts of the United States. 
The trip, one of seventy-four such from various parts of 
the nation, was the climax of a yearlong program spon- 
sored by the American Field Service. Miss Wallace was well 
qualified for her responsibility; before she entered her 
profession as librarian she was for more than two years a 
guide in the United Nations Building. 

Only a few have written to the Magazine of their political 
activities. Some have taken part in precinct meetings. 
Marilynn Ferrell Gay, '46, was chairman of the Kinston 
City Board of Education. Rebecca Calloway Daniel, '55, 
who was once a ghost writer for a candidate for one of the 
most important state offices, was in 1962 coordinator of the 
Democratic Women's groups and of the Young Democrat 
Clubs in the State. Mabel Claire Hoggard Maddrey, '28, was 
state head of the Women for Preyer in the Democratic 
primary in 1963; the following year Sarah Mull Gardner, 
'43, was vice-chairman of the North Carolina Democratic 
executive committee. 

Gymnasium 1928-1970 

Weatherspoon Building 1971 

Old Faircloth Hall 1904-1925 





New Faircloth Hall 1926 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 421 

Presidential positions which alumnae have held are nu- 
merous and varied. Mabel Claire Hoggard Maddrey, '28, was 
president of the North Carolina Federation of Woman's 
Clubs; she was also the 1966 state chairman of the Red Cross 
Christmas Seals Sale. Louise Craven Godwin, '29, was presi- 
dent of the North Carolina Parent Teachers Association; 
Ethel Knott Smith, '37, of the North Carolina Division of 
the American Association of University Women; Elizabeth 
Jackson Middleton, '39, of the North Carolina Family Life 
Council. Marguerite Preslar Irwin, '33, was state president 
of the Women of the Presbyterian Church. Outside North 
Carolina, Madeline Elliott Buchanan, '28, was president of 
the Delaware State Board of Education, and Mary Louise 
Edwards Durham, '30, was for three years president of the 
Episcopal Women of Michigan. 

Everywhere in North Carolina Meredith alumnae are 
leaders in the work of the Woman's Missionary Union. In 
his expression of gratitude for their furnishing the small 
assembly room in Jones Hall in 1951, President Campbell 
noted that the retiring president, the current president, the 
first and second vice-president, and the recording secretary 
of the North Carolina W.M.U. as well as the president of the 
Business Women's Federation were all Meredith graduates. 
Chairmen of state committees and associational leaders in 
the organization are everywhere. 

From the W.M.U. another alumna, Velma Preslar McGee, 
'31, was in 1965 elected first vice-president of the Baptist 
State Convention, the only woman thus far to hold that of- 
fice. Madeline Elliott Buchanan was in 1969 elected second 
vice-president of the American Baptist Convention. 

Lena Honeycutt Mitchiner, '34, a member of the Foreign 
Mission Board, and her husband, William A. Mitchiner, a 
member of the Home Mission Board, have taken the world 
as their mission field. Mr. Mitchiner's highly successful 
business in Oxford enables them to devote themselves un- 
reservedly to learning about missions firsthand and to 
creating and increasing interest in missions. In doing so 
they have visited twice every area at home and abroad in 
which Southern Baptists have mission work. In their eleven 
trips abroad they have made a collection of twenty thou- 


422 History of Meredith College 

sand color slides which picture vividly the countries and 
their customs, the missionaries and every aspect of their 
ministry, together with national costumes and artifacts 
from many countries. These furnish the material for the 
two thousand programs which they have given in churches, 
schools, camps, retreats, and conventions in sixteen states. 
It is truly volunteer work, for the Mitchiners have paid 
every penny of expense involved in the half-million miles 
they have traveled and will accept no honorarium or ex- 
pense money for the programs they give. 

It is impossible in this chapter to do justice to the variety 
and extent of the volunteer work done by Meredith alum- 
nae. They deserve the tribute President Heilman paid to 
them in a talk which he made to the Alumnae council, re- 
ported in the December, 1966 Magazine: 

Social, civic, and church leadership responsibilities are well 
provided for when a Meredith alumna is at hand. In this state 
and the nation at large, it is fantastic what has been done and 
is being done by the women of Meredith. 

There are, of course, exceptions. Meredith alumnae are 
not all industrious, civic-minded angels. There are some 
self-centered alumnae, some lazy, indifferent, incapable 
alumnae. Yet only three of the 350 replies to a query Mrs. 
Farmer made as to the influence of Meredith alumnae in 
their communities were adverse criticisms. These that fol- 
low are typical of the other 347. 

It is the exception rather than the rule that a student of Mere- 
dith College does not come back to the local church with a 
deepened religious life, ready to take her place in the program 
of the Kingdom in our community. 

Meredith girls have made Christian homes that are an asset to 
any community. 

Vision has been brought to our community it could never 
otherwise have had. 

With the added testimony of letters and comments con- 
cerning the alumnae which come to Meredith officials and 
teachers unsought from school superintendents, pastors, and 
other citizens all over the State, it is evident that the Col- 
lege does, to a gratifying degree, "develop in its students 

"An Association of Devoted Daughters" 423 

the Christian attitude toward the whole of life and prepare 
them for intelligent citizenship, graduate study, and other 
professional fields of service." 

One is a college student, normally, for four years. Presi- 
dent Campbell says the average tenure of a faculty member 
is ten years. But an alumna is an alumna the rest of her 
life. She never escapes the solemn obligation which Dr. 
Vann pointed out when he addressed the alumnae in 1904 
as women "to whom much has been given and of whom 
much will be required." Forty-two years later Betty Brown 
MacMillan Green, '41, in her stirring Alumnae Day address, 
"The Fields Shall Blossom," stressed the fact that in the 
third verse of his "Alma Mater" Dr. Vann was not merely 
making a prophecy; he used the emphatic shall — a stern 
imperative to the daughters of Meredith when he wrote: 

In thy paths the fields shall blossom, 

and the desert shall rejoice; 
In the wilderness a living fountain spring; 
For the blind shall see thy beauty, 

and the deaf shall hear thy voice, 
And the silent tongues their high hosannas sing. 



We have built this institution to last so long as Baptists have 
anything to do with education. We began it with the intention 
of never ceasing to give to it. . . . We can never be done with 
giving to a really great cause. 

Thus J. W. Bailey wrote in the Biblical Recorder in 1900. 
This same certainty as to Meredith's future is expressed in 
a line of President Vann's "Alma Mater," written in 1904. 

Thou are born unto a kingdom, and thy crown is all of light. 

President Brewer in an address to the graduating class in 
1921 said: 

We must build, not for today, but for generations to come, 
with an everlasting faith in God, in our people, in our institution. 

These assertions find their echo in a phrase President 
Campbell used in 1952 as the title of a brochure concerning 
Meredith's future, "The Fair Beginning of a Time." And 
President Heilman in June, 1968, wrote to the alumnae: 

Meredith has had a distinguished role in the past. We think 
it will play a very dramatic and dynamic role in the future. 

As is the case in any wholesomely growing college, there 
will always be among those who guide the policies of 
Meredith differences of opinion as to methods and pro- 
cedures, disagreements as to whether this decision or that is 
a step forward or backward. Yet never in the eighty years 
since it was chartered has there been any doubt or waver- 
ing as to the purpose of the College. That purpose was 
foreshadowed in Thomas Meredith's proposal of "a female 
seminary of high order . . . modeled and conducted on 
strictly religious principles." The same purpose is in 
Dr. Vann's significant phrase in the catalogue issued in 

iSee p. 114. 

"Under the Good Hand of God" 425 

1900, "Culture made perfect through the religion of Jesus 
Christ." A statement which first appeared in the 1940 
catalogue is still included in each issue : 

The purpose of Meredith College is to develop in its students 
the Christian attitude toward the whole of life and to prepare 
them for intelligent citizenship, homemaking, graduate study, 
and for professional and other fields of service. Its intention is 
to provide not only thorough instruction, but also culture made 
perfect through the religion of Jesus Christ. These ideals of 
academic integrity and religious influence have always been 
cherished at Meredith. 

The academic integrity of the work has been proved by 
the success of Meredith students in graduate schools, in 
professional training, and in a wide variety of professions 
and other occupations. Maintaining its standards has not 
always been easy for Meredith, a college never heavily en- 
dowed and more than once heavily burdened with debt, 
dependent for patronage as well as much of its financial sup- 
port upon the good will of its constituency. The admiration 
of North Carolina Baptists for a college "of high order" is 
evident not only in the 1938 resolution, but in later resolu- 
tions which the Convention has passed from time to time 
recommending the continuance of Meredith as a standard 
liberal arts college for women. But it becomes a different 
matter when Ann Doe, a trustee's daughter, does not meet 
the entrance requirements; when Mary Roe, daughter of an 
influential pastor in the state, does not make the number 
of quality points required for graduation; or when Susan 
Smith, an orphan who has borrowed money to come to 
college, does not pass enough work to return a second year. 
Such cases have brought and still occasionally bring letters 
of indignant and pained protest from parents, school princi- 
pals, pastors, alumnae, and other friends. The faculty is 
keenly aware of this pressure upon the administration and 
is appreciative of the courageous firmness with which each 
administration has resisted it. 

There is no cleavage at Meredith between the clever and 
the good, no conflict between intellectual development and 
spiritual growth. Those in authority recognize the truth 
and importance of Dr. Vann's words written in 1900: 

426 History of Meredith College 

But for the desire that the higher education of our women 
should be definitely, positively Christian, the Baptist Female 
University would never have been reared. 

The same recognition of the paramount importance of 
Christianity at Meredith is in President Heilman's state- 
ment made sixty-eight years later : 

At Meredith the Christian perspective will be the integrative 
principle of all that comprises the College program. 

The administration has always been definitely, positively 
Christian and has always kept the Christian ideal upper- 
most in the selection of the faculty. A gratifying number of 
faculty and staff members take an active part in the religi- 
ous activities on the campus, in the local churches, and in 
the work of the conventions and conferences of their respec- 
tive denominations. Religious organizations have always 
had an important place on the campus. 

Spiritual influence is a term so bandied about that one 
hesitates to use it, but an excerpt from a personal letter 
written by a college teacher from another state who had 
visited on the campus gives evidence of that undefinable yet 
unmistakable quality at Meredith. 

What impressed me most about your wonderful college is the 
genuineness of the religion there, the wholesomeness and depth 
of the spiritual life. It delighted me to see such essential good- 
ness without ostentation or fanaticism. 

Though the College holds fast to the ideal of intellectual 
and religious development — which William Louis Poteat in 
a Founders' Day address at Meredith called "illumination 
keeping step with penetration" — how near it comes to that 
ideal is impossible to determine. Spiritual values are not so 
easy to measure as material. We can say so much endow- 
ment, so many buildings, so many books, so many faculty 
members, so many students; but we cannot say so much 
intellectual illumination, so much spiritual insight, so much 
sensitivity to beauty in art and in life and — above all — to 
the beauty of holiness. 

However, that these values can be recognized, if not 
measured, is evident in the comments from letters of three 
Meredith graduates. 

"Under the Good Hand of God" 427 

One wrote a personal letter to a teacher; the other two 
wrote for the Alumnae Magazine. The first writer was a 
graduate student at a western university who has since re- 
ceived a Ph.D. and has published scholarly articles and 
books. She wrote : 

To me the spirit of Meredith has meant the spirit of enlighten- 
ment and fearless intellectual activity, combined with and guided 
by Christian principles, a combination which seems to me, with 
my limited experience, almost unique. At Meredith a girl can 
develop intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually if she has 
only half an inclination to draw from the infinite resources 
offered her. 

The second, a teacher who is now working towards a Ph.D., 
wrote two years after her graduation from Meredith: 

I hold in near reverence the fact that in every course at 
Meredith I was taught how to think, how to use the intelligence 
with which God has endowed me. Living in a community of 
young women students, the invaluable companionship with fac- 
ulty members, the emphasis on living Christianity — all these 
contributed to the goodness of my education. 

Of equal if not greater significance is a comment from a 
housewife who did not formally continue her education af- 
ter graduation, but who has continued to grow intellectually 
and spiritually. Ten years after she graduated, she wrote to 
the Alumnae Magazine a letter, "To Meredith — With 
Thanks." One paragraph read thus : 

You helped me feel that I belonged to a community of seekers 
whose coming together under your guidance made it possible 
for many girls who came from their cozy little cocoon-like world 
of home town and family to emerge after four years as mature 
women, full of ideas — ready to apply them when given the 
opportunity. ... I came not only to know but actually to feel 
that God as revealed in Christ is the most powerful force in 
the world today. 

The host of students who feel thus about Meredith gives 
proof that through the long, hard struggle in the darkness 
to bring the College into being, through the crises which 
more than once threatened its existence, up to the present, 
when "the doors are opened wider," Meredith has been 
"under the good hand of God." No better prayer could be 
made for its future than that it continue to be. 


Thomas Meredith 

Thomas Meredith was of Welsh descent; his great-great- 
grandfather, Simon Meredith, came in 1708 from Mont- 
gomeryshire to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Nearly a 
century later, on July 7, 1795, in Warwick Township in 
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Thomas Meredith was born — 
the oldest of eight children of John Meredith, a prosperous 
farmer, and of Charlotte Hough Meredith, a Quaker. Her 
great-great-grandfather, Richard Hough, who had come 
from Cheshire, England, in 1683, was a personal friend of 
William Penn.^ 

John Meredith was not a member of any church until 
several years after his son had left home. After the father's 
death on April 8, 1843, Thomas wrote of him in the 

He was truly and emphatically a good man. By nature diffident, 
gentle, kind, and accommodating to an unusual degree, all these 
virtues were eventually enhanced by the power of religion. 

Twenty years before he died the elder Meredith became, 
in his son's words, "the subject of divine grace," and united 
with the New Britain Baptist Church near his home. Mr. 
Speight found the tombstone of John and Charlotte Hough 
Meredith in the New Britain churchyard, "one grave-length 
from the rear wall of the church." 

From early childhood, according to William B. Sprague, 
who wrote in Annals of the American Pulpit a biographi- 
cal sketch of Thomas Meredith, the boy "evinced great 
sprightliness of mind, quickness of apprehension, and an 
unusually tenacious memory." From the neighborhood 

1 The information about Meredith's ancestry was furnished by Francis 
Speight, who obtained it from records in the Bucks County courthouse, in 
Doylestown, and from the writings and clippings of E. Mathews, a des- 
cendant of the Merediths. These papers are now owned by Carl Myers, 
another descendant of the family. Mr. Speight, formerly a member of the 
faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and now at East Carolina 
University, had his first lessons in art at Meredith College from Miss Poteat. 

430 Appendix 

school he went to Doylestown Academy, a classical school 
famous in its day. He was, in the opinion of his master, 
the Reverend Uriah Dubois, "a vigorous and successful 
student," amazing his teacher by his Latin scholarship. 
Once after the Christmas holiday, young Thomas recited 
page after page of his Latin grammar without error or 
pause till Dubois interrupted him. "Thomas, will you never 
finish? Surely, you have feasted yourself on Latin instead 
of mince pie! "^ 

Encouraged by his teacher's insistence that a boy so 
highly gifted should continue his education, young Mere- 
dith in 1813 entered the University of Pennsylvania, in- 
tending to become a lawyer. There he found especially 
helpful training in the newly organized Philomathean Lit- 
erary Society, the programs of which consisted almost 
wholly of the debates and orations of its members. The 
next year the nineteen-year-old boy was called home by 
the serious illness of his mother. The earnest concern 
which she expressed on her deathbed for his spiritual wel- 
fare intensified the deep impression her years of conse- 
crated living had made upon him, and the boy became 
"the subject of divine grace." Returning to the University, 
he decided to become a preacher rather than a lawyer 
and began to prepare himself for the ministry. 

The commencement program of January 4, 1816, shows 
that Thomas Meredith, one of nine graduates, delivered the 
"Valedictory Oration," choosing as his subject "Christian- 

The year 1816 he spent in Philadelphia studying theology 
with Dr. William Staughton, pastor of the Sansom Street 
Baptist Church, into the membership of which the young 
student had been received by baptism after an earnest 
study of the New Testament had led him to the Baptist 
faith. On December 30, 1816, he was by the Sansom Street 
Church licensed to preach. 

2 J. D. Hufham, in preparing for the September 18, 1889 issue of the 
Biblical Recorder, asked J.H.A. (whom I have not been able to identify) for 
information about Meredith's early life. This incident was included in infor- 
mation which, J.H.A. wrote, "was imparted to me by members and connec- 
tions of the Meredith family." 

s Until 1857 the University of Pennsylvania followed the British custom of 
conferring on a graduate after three years, with no further work required of 
him, the M.A. degree. 

Appendix 431 

In 1817 he came as a missionary to eastern North Caro- 
lina, sent in all probability by the Board of Missions of the 
Triennial Convention,'* which had been organized in 1814. 
Upon his arrival in Edenton late in 1817, he met Martin 
Ross, that tower of strength among North Carolina Baptists. 
It was Ross who in 1809 had made the proposal in the 
Chowan Association which led to the formation in 1811 of 
the North Carolina Baptist General Meeting of Correspon- 
dence, soon to become the North Carolina Baptist Benevo- 
lent Society, forerunner of the Baptist State Convention. 
Ross was fifty-five, Meredith twenty- two; and the deep af- 
fection between them has been compared to that of Paul 
and his "son in the gospel," Timothy. In one of a series of 
papers, "The Baptists in North Carolina," in North Carolina 
Baptist Historical Papers, July, 1899 J. D. Hufham wrote 
of the relationship of the two: 

There are few things in the history of the denomination more 
touching than the devotion of these two men to each other. To 
him [Ross], this earnest handsome young man, fresh from the 
city and the university, seemed a gift of God sent in answer to 
his prayers for a teacher and leader of the people. And Mere- 
dith, in this new country to which he had come, with strange 
ways and people, had found what he sorely needed, a wise and 
faithful friend, counselor, and guide. On the one hand there 
was the spirit of a proud and gracious father; on the other the 
admiration and loving reverence of a son. 

The elder man introduced him to the ministers and the 
churches of that section. The two drove together on evan- 
gelistic trips, on one of which. Dr. Hufham wrote, the 
church at Tarboro was organized. The minutes of the Cho- 
wan Association show that Meredith was in 1818 assistant 
secretary of that association, and that near the close of the 
year he was ordained "to the full work of the gospel 
ministry," with Martin Ross presiding at the ordination 

In March, 1819, Meredith accepted a call to the pastorate 
of the church at New Bern. While there he married Geor- 
gia Sears, whom he had met when she came to Edenton as 

* Thus this convention was called because it met triennially. Its full name 
was The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in tlie 
United States of America for Foreign Missions. 

432 Appendix 

a schoolgirl, perhaps in the school kept by William Saun- 
ders, in which Thomas Meredith had taught for two years 
before he became pastor of the New Bern church. Her 
father, George Sears, had been lost at sea when Georgia 
was a baby; and her mother, Mary Sears, had married 
William Hancock of New Bern, who was as devoted to his 
two stepchildren, Elizabeth and Georgia, as if they had been 
his own, 

Thomas Meredith, who called his wife "the only really 
beautiful woman I ever saw," was himself "a man of 
dignified and commanding presence," Hufham wrote, add- 
ing that many would come to the churches of which Mere- 
dith was pastor as a young man just to see "the handsome 
young preacher and his beautiful bride." T. H. Pritchard, 
who knew the older Meredith well, wrote of him : 

He was tall, spare, and very erect, with something of a military 
bearing. His appearance was most striking and impressive; his 
features were delicately chiseled and still gave evidence of the 
manly beauty for which he was greatly distinguished in the years 
of his youth and health. His brow was high, his eye singularly 
brilliant, and his whole manner dignified and stately. 

This impression is substantiated by T. E. Skinner's descrip- 
tion in an address he made to the Convention in 1898 on 
"Four Able Baptists." 

I knew Thomas Meredith, and remembered well his person and 
facial features. The only man that ever reminded me of him was 
Jefferson Davis. The portraits we have of Meredith are totally 
imlike him. He was tall, and slender, held his head very erect 
when walking, and swung his arms from the elbows only, not 
with stiffness, but gracefully, which was mistaken sometimes for 
pride and bombast, while in truth it was unconscious grandeur 
displayed by dignified Christian manhood. ^ 

5 The College has two portraits of Thomas Meredith and one of Mrs. 
Meredith. In 1911 Ada Tolson Ralls, granddaughter of Thomas Meredith, 
copied a portrait, the work of Anne Peale, and presented it to the College. 
It is now in the Board Room in the presidential suite in Johnson Hall. The 
portraits of Meredith and his wife Mrs. Ralls inherited from her mother, 
Claudia Meredith Tolson, who believed them to be the work of Gilbert 
Stuart, painted about 1820, when Meredith and his bride were in Philadelphia 
soon after their marriage. Mrs. Ralls, who lived to be ninety-nine, intended 
to give them to the College. After her death Claiborn Landers, of Winter 
Park, Florida, encouraged the sons, Claude and St. John Ralls, to carry out 
their mother's wish, and in 1966 Dr. Landers brought the pictures to Meredith. 
An expert in New York to whom the portraits were sent to be restored did 
not consider them to be Gilbert Stuart's work, but he valued each at $2,500. 
The portraits will be hung in the Julia Hamlet Harris Room in the library, for 
which articles of significance in the history of the College are being collected. 

Appendix 433 

In July, 1822, Meredith and his wife went to Savannah, 
where he held a pastorate for two years. A daughter, the 
oldest of eleven children, was born there.^ 

In 1825, after a visit of a few months to his father's 
home in Pennsylvania, Thomas Meredith returned with his 
wife and daughter to Edenton, where for nine years he was 
pastor of the Baptist church. After the death of Martin 
Ross, in 1827, Meredith was for a short time Ross's successor 
as pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church, nine miles from 
Edenton, the only country church he ever served. 

In 1830, five years after his return, the historic meeting 
took place in Greenville, when without a dissenting vote 
the Baptist Benevolent Society transformed itself into the 
Baptist State Convention. Martin Ross, in whose "conse- 
crated brain," Livingston Johnson said, "the Baptist State 
Convention was conceived," had been dead for more than 
two years; but he had talked much with Meredith about 
the proposed convention — its importance, its feasibility, and 
the best means of organizing it. Samuel Wait wrote in his 
journal that Meredith, when he went to the meeting in 
Greenville in 1830, "having anticipated the wishes of his 
brethren, had drawn up a constitution such as he supposed 
would substantially embrace their views." It was adopted 
with only slight changes; then Meredith was instructed by 
the new convention to prepare a letter to the Baptists of 
North Carolina to be attached to the minutes of the meet- 
ing, explaining the necessity of the new enterprise, so 
much larger in scope than its predecessor, and its vast 
possibilities. Of this letter, covering sixteen pages of fine 
print, G. W. Paschal in the History of Wake Forest College 
wrote : 

As a statement of principles and an apology for a new enter- 

8 The children were Laura, Claudia, Marcus, Bettie, Cordelia and Cornelia 
(twins), John, Luther, and three who died as infants, one in New Bern and 
two in Edenton. Four daughters and two sons survived him. From several 
references to them it is clear that the good looks of the parents were in- 
herited by their children. R. H. Lewis in his reminiscences of the First 
Baptist Church in Raleigh wrote that Meredith's "two beautiful daughters 
frequently came into town to attend preaching, and at these times some 
young gentlemen were in the audience who were not in the habit of conde- 
scending to become one of a congregation made up largely of the poor and 
needy." J. S. Farmer, editor of the Biblical Recorder, in the centennial issue 
of the Biblical Recorder, January 2, 1935, included with other valuable in- 
formation about Thomas Meredith an account of his grandchildren and 

434 Appendix 

prise, it is hardly too much to say that it ranks with the Declara- 
tion of Independence. It has the same clear statement and 
interpretation of pertinent facts, the same lucid reasoning, the 
same enthusiasm for the new undertaking, the same calm courage 
and the same vision of future success. 

Two years later, Thomas Meredith again "anticipated the 
wishes of his brethren" in another way. When Samuel Wait 
drew the attention of the Convention in 1832 to the need 
of "a well-conducted religious journal," so that "much in- 
formation on important subjects could be imparted to the 
churches and our congregations at large," Thomas Meredith 
announced that he had made definite plans for just such a 
journal. On January 17, 1833, he published the first number 
of The North Carolina Baptist Interpreter: a Monthly 
Periodical Devoted to Sacred Criticism, Moral and Re- 
ligious Essays, Miscellaneous Selections and General In- 
telligence. It was printed at the office of the local paper 
in Edenton. 

Encouraged by the success of the Interpreter, and realiz- 
ing "the convenience and importance of a weekly publica- 
tion in connexion with the Interpreter," Meredith in the 
sixth issue of the Interpreter, June, 1833, proposed the 
publication of a weekly and in September gave more de- 
tails of his plan. The new paper was to be called the 
Biblical Recorder and Journal of Passing Events. Its price 
was to be two dollars; that of the Interpreter was one 

It is evident from the announcement in September, 1833, 
that Meredith originally planned to begin publishing the 
weekly in January, 1834, In that year one single issue did 
appear on January 4, to which he referred as "a specimen of 
the size, form, type, paper, etc., of the Recorder." The delay 
of a year was due in part to his unwillingness for the new 
publication to begin without an adequate subscription list. 
In March, 1834, he wrote: 

The lists of the Recorder are increasing slowly. The question 
of its existence will be decided during the present and insuing 
months. ... As we said before, it is left entirely up to the Bap- 
tists of the State. Should they see proper to put forth their 
hand, the paper will live; if not, it must die. We shall wait with 
patience to learn their decision. 

Appendix 435 

The delay in publication may have been due also to 
Meredith's indecision as to his own future plans; for in 
May, 1834, he was offered the chair of mathematics and 
moral philosophy in the Wake Forest Institute which was 
to open in the fall, a school in which he was deeply inter- 
ested. When Meredith came to North Carolina in 1817, he 
was so far as the records show, George Paschal wrote, the 
only Baptist minister in the State with a classical educa- 
tion. The Benevolent Society had made no mention of edu- 
cation in its constitution; one of the three purposes of the 
Convention stated in the constitution Thomas Meredith 
drew up was "the education of young men called of God 
to the ministry." When Samuel Wait, a native of New 
York and formerly a member of the faculty of Columbian 
College — now Georgetown University — came to Edenton 
in 1827 with William Staughton, who was financial agent 
of the college, Meredith warmly welcomed the newcomer. 
It was natural that Meredith should befriend Wait, who 
came as a stranger to the ne