Showing posts with label students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label students. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

1925 UK Yearbook illustrations

We recently received two vibrant, original watercolors drawn by the art editor of the 1925 UK yearbook, Lucile Bush.

Image 1 was printed in color on page 12 of the yearbook 

Image 2 was printed in color on page 89 of the yearbook

Lucile's senior photo looked like this (on page 27 of the yearbook):

Four of her other color illustrations also graced the 1925 yearbook:

The donation of the watercolors was made in memory of Lucile Bush's first cousin, Nancye Bush Trimble Hodson Pettus, to whom Lucile gave the watercolors as a gift.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sesquiecentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #85

A Student’s Perspective from 1887

Picnic at High Bridge; James A., Tom Davenport, Jesse Mills, J. Tandy Ellis, Florance Dudley Dillard, Sallie Allen Hornbrook, and Jennie Hill Bissicks, 1887

A&M College, Lexington
February 26, 1887

Mr. Stanley Bridges,

Dear Cousin,
               I received your most welcome letter last night and was glad indeed to hear from you.  I dident [sic] receive but two letters last week and one was from my girl and the other from you.
               Stan you spoke of me having a little trouble.  Who told you about it.  I will tell you how it was.  We drill one hour every day and one day after the Drill was over I had started to the Dormitory and a little Dude was standing on the steps of College and just as I was passing by him he said to another fellow he is a regular Country Greener and I heard him and I went back and asked him if he knew who he was fooling with and he said he was fooling with a Damn Fool and I knocked him down with my Gun and he got up and ran like a turkey everybody was glad of it he hasn’t pestered me since I don’t intend for any of them to run over me.
               Stan you asked me how much Johnie Hil owed me it is $3.00 I wish you would spur him up on it.  Stan send me a pair of small scissors of some kind by mail next as I need a pair to cut things.
               Stan I think I shall have some pictures taken with my uniform on.  Ask Tomie what he thinks about it.
               How is Paw getting along with the Drummers does he hal [sic] many now I guess he makes Bill Smith stir around late and early.
               I heard that Leouie had gone to Houston to live.
               Stan you must go with my Girl some time and give her my best regards, tell Professor I will answer his letter soon and not to think hard of me for not writing sooner.  Tell Artie and Cretia I wish they would fix me up a nice box of eatables we doant [sic] get much to eat up here at Dormitory.  I must close for this time.
               Write soon to me
               Your cousin,
                              Jesse P. Mills
P.S. Tell Tomie to be sure to send me some money next week as I will be out.

Group of male students in 1886 or 1887; photo probably taken in the yard of Maxwell Place. Some of the names listed are: (fourth) Jesse Mills, (sixth) Keene R. Forston, (ninth) James Guthrie Herr, (thirteenth) J. Tandy Ellis, 1886

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #98

In the early 1900s, State College, as UK was then known, had a total enrollment in the 700s, tuition was free to all residents of the state of Kentucky, and the physical boundaries of the core campus were Rose Street, Graham Avenue, Limestone Street, and Winslow (now Avenue of the Champions).  Three buildings were outside those bounds: The Department of Agriculture (now Scovell Hall); a greenhouse; and Patterson Hall – constructed a far distance from main campus to keep the women students isolated from the men.

Tug of War
Campus had a military feel to it.  Male students dressed as cadets and held drills in front of the Main Building.  The men students tended to also be rough and rowdy at times.  And the relationship between town and gown was shaky at best.  Headlines in the newspaper commonly read:  “The State College Trouble,” “State College, Another Ruction,” “On a Tear,” “Student Racket,” “State College Rumpus,” and “Cadets on Rampage.”  
You can see the tug of war cable in the right center of the photograph
Despite the trouble, traditions were being formed and a campus culture was evolving – perhaps too slowly for some.  With a freshman class of around 150 it was easy for everyone to get to know one another.  The classes moved forward together toward their collective graduation year and class rivalries were quite popular. There was the annual flag rush, hand painting class graduation years in outlandish locations, mock funerals, bucking the corduroys, sophomore freshman football games, and the freshman sophomore tug of war.  The present site of Young Library was the Clifton neighborhood complete with Clifton Pond – the site of the annual battle.

The "losers" of the tug of war battle
With the firing of a gun, the tug of war would begin. The massive steel cable that they used would slowly become taut across the pond with one class pulling towards Rose Street.  The competitors all dressed in bathing suits and old clothes in anticipation of losing the battle.  After the losing class was pulled into to the pond (usually the sophomores), the victors would march to Main Street to announce their victory to the town – shrieking and yelling the entire way.

Map showing Clifton Pond at left

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #100

Campus culture is constantly evolving at the University of Kentucky.  The early students at A&M College were often criticized for their often overly boisterous pranks.  In a particularly infamous period before organized athletic programs and recognized campus groups the local newspapers identified the mischief as:  “The State College Trouble,” “State College, Another Ruction,” “On a Tear,” “Student Racket,” “State College Rumpus,” and “Cadets on Rampage."

At a time when the public was still willing to believe the hazing stories that came from the campus, the “Disappearance of Willis Smith” became the subject of public interest.  On the night of September 22, 1908, W. E. Smith, a freshman, was reported to have left his room to attend a meeting of his class at the Old Dormitory, but never reached his destination.  When he had not appeared by the next day, his brother became alarmed and appealed to the university and city authorities.  Having been the victims of so many pranks on the part of the students, the police and the faculty at first refused to take the matter seriously.

Accepting the general opinion that the boy was being held prisoner by hazers, university officials appealed to the students to release him.  When Willis still did not appear, the case became a state-wide sensation.  There were many theories and clues but all proved false.

Early in October, his brother, L. E. Smith, reported that he found in his box a penciled note signed, “Black Hand,” which warned that he “had better stop this investigation.”  Detective Chief Malcolm Brown took this as virtual proof that the missing youth, perhaps injured by hazers, was being kept in confinement by students.

Other clues had to be investigated; a report that a body had been discovered burning on the city dump, caused a momentary furor until it was proved otherwise.  A small boy told a story of overhearing a student’s conversation that Smith had been bound, gagged, and locked in a freight car, although railroad officials attempted to discount the story, it received wide credence, and Smith “discovered” at widely separated points. 

A man found in a boxcar attracted attention until he was able to establish his identity as a foreigner who had never even heard of State University, Lexington, Kentucky.  A strange young man turned up in Decatur, IL, where a letter to Willis Smith was also found, caused much speculation.  A stranger at Wyandotte Station near Lexington brought attention closer to home, but again the trail was false.  A picture which was thought to resemble the missing freshman was discovered in the band of a hat found floating down the Ohio River near Louisville and this discovery convinced many people that at last the lad’s fate had been brought to light.

The failure to find a solution to the mystery led to many theories, from the youth having met with foul play, to gory stories of his demise, to information from a séance, where it was learned the boy had been killed as the result of hazing on the campus and that his body had been thrown in an abandoned well.  At this point the spiritualist made arrangements to come to Lexington to locate the well.  While President Patterson worried for fear many students would fail to return after Christmas, Willis Smith walked into his sister’s home at Owensboro. 

His reappearance could not have been better timed, and great was the relief felt by all friends of the university.  The ridiculous affair was not yet closed, however, for the errant youth now told a hair-raising tale of being kidnapped, drugged, transported over a long distance by freight car and horse, and held for days in an isolated mountain cave in Wisconsin from which he had finally managed to escape. His sunburned face and work-hardened hands gave the lie to this story. 

However, and after consultation with his brother, he concocted another.  According to the “Second series of Wandering Weary Willie’s Novels,” as the student newspaper phrased it; he had left Lexington when a fraternity threatened to haze him, knowing that “if they tried that somebody would get killed.”  The students branded this story as false, and Smith’s story was generally doubted. 

Each year until their graduation, the members of Smith’s class observed with appropriate ceremonies the anniversary of his disappearance, flying the flag at half-mast and constructing in front of the Main Building a grave over which was shed many a mocking tear.