Articles # 135-154
Printed in the Yellow Jacket
Spring 2007-Spring 2008
by Dr. Robert G. Mangrum, University Historian
“John Mitchell HPC Poet Laureate”
While organizing the university archives, we found a photo of a blackboard in Old Main with poetry written on it. At the time, we wondered why the photo had been taken; later we found a photo of a janitor in one of the HPC annuals with the notation”John sez.” By reading in other places, we became aware of an employee who became the unofficial poet laureate of Howard Payne College, John Mitchell.
In the university history files we find a copy of “John Sez: A Volume of Verse,” printed by the HPC Press Club in October 1948. Inside the very plain, “home-made” cover are nineteen pages of single space, front only print and a forward written by Dr. T. R. Havins, long time history professor at HP.
In the forward Havins introduces the reader to John Mitchell saying “to know John is to have more than a speaking acquaintance with him. The real John is revealed in his cherry greeting, in his readiness to be helpful, in his many acts of kindness to faculty members, students, and employed people with whom he labors.”
Continuing, “to know John is to have an understanding of his philosophy. And his philosophy includes a strong conviction that work–hard work– is a cardinal virtue. It incorporates common honesty–“penny honesty” John calls it–as basic. Coupled with these is an acquired tolerance of the actions and opinions of others. John is no dogmatist.”
The slim volume “is an accumulation of verses and rhymes that have appeared on the blackboards of the Administration Building [Old Main] since John assumed his duties as janitor of this building in 1945. These warm, homely verses have become proverbial. No instructor enters his room without having read John’s contribution for that day.” As a result, “John sez” was a real, integral part of the life of the college during his tenure as janitor in Old Main.
The volume is divided into two parts with 35 poems in the collection. The first section dealt with life, memories and nature. Some samples:
Tho you smile from your eyes
Let it come from your heart
For I have counted you my friend
From the start.
Autumn leaves are beautiful
As they slowly fall
But they come in my windows
An litter up my halls.
I have ask you boys not to use chairs for foot stools
I am not going to ask you any more
Enough is enough and to much is to much
So cut it out—this means you.
To the Students
The board was blank
I should have left it that way
For I am just an old crank
Waiting for pay day.
What beautiful walks we have all around
Yet some of you still walk on the ground
If you would use the walks as you should
Then you would not bring in so much mud.
If you have worked hard
An did your best
You will have no trouble
In passing your tests.
But if to much campusology
Has you brain in a spin
You will be sorry
Both you an your friend.
Dear ole HPC
The college of romance
If you don’t get married here
You haven’t got a chance.
In closing, John sez
I am just a janitor
As you all know.
But I like to make friends
Where ever I go.
The Summer HPC Toured Great Britain May 18 - August 15, 1959
In the summer of 1959, the Howard Payne College Theater troupe toured Great Britain. What is remarkable about such a statement, is that the costumes were in the western style and, as an official memorandum from then Governor Price Daniel of Texas noted, the play was presented as a “Texas version” of the Bard’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Much to the delight of “numerous Texans” the play had been performed May 12, 14-16, 1959 in Brownwood; from there the troupe sailed to England on the SS Flandre, a French Line ship.
Set in an early day Texas setting, rather than ancient Greece, the cast wore costumes typical of the frontier of Texas. In addition to rave local reviews, the production had been honored by the International Theater Festival at the University of Bristol, England as the “featured attraction of the summer activities.” The troupe was designated by Governor Daniel as the “British Tour Company of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ of Howard Payne College, Brownwood, Texas” and the official representative of the State of Texas during the tour with the cast individually and collectively designated “Ambassadors of Good Will from Texas to Great Britain.”
The idea for a Texas version of the play originated with HPC’s Alex Reeve, an Englishman, who served as associate professor of speech and director of the production. The initial production and the subsequent tour were encouraged and promoted by Dr. McDonald W. Held, chair of the Division of Speech which included the College Theater.
The press release noted that “far from a gag, the production was a serious experiment in theater and Shakespeare, attempting to demonstrate the universal appeal and truths of the author’s work. Not a line of the play was changed. The sets and costumes simply were transferred to a West Texas ranch setting of the mid-  eighties. The Duke became a rancher; his intended wife, an American Indian, and the artisans (comics), ranch hands or cowboys.”
Reeve explained that the “drawl of Texans today is very like the Warwickshire dialect that was spoken by the comedy characters of the play in Shakespeare’s own time.” The original performances of the play [March 1958] received a very wide notice, eliciting an invitation “to present it at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas [in the] fall [of 1958.] It played for three performances October 10 in the Margo Jones Theater ‘58 Building, which had been designated the Higher Education Center for the fair. These three performances were ‘in the round.’”
The play was then presented during Homecoming; “one of the pictures made at the homecoming production by Life Magazine photographers was featured in the magazine’s entertainment issue in December, as part of a picture story on theater in Texas.”
Following the initial performance in the Spring of 1958, “some of Reeve’s friends in England suggested that he might bring it over to England for a tour. . . . [HPC’s] Student Association voted to undertake a fund-raising ‘England or Bust’ campaign to provide $22,500 ($759 per member of the 30-person troupe) to cover the essential tour costs.”
Financial support and pledges from family members, students, faculty, trustees and Brownwood businessmen were aided by Governor Price Daniel who donated the first dollar to the fund. This guaranteed a successful campaign to fund the trip.
The itinerary for the tour began with the entire troupe departing for New York City by bus on May 18. Scheduled to arrive on the 20th, the group had time to see the sights and take in a Broadway musical before departing for England by ship on May 25. Landing on June 1 at Plymouth, the group immediately went to London for a week of rehearsals. Daily performances began on June 8 in the Belgrade Theater, Coventry, Warwickshire, England. Following two days there, the troupe moved on to the Barn Theater in Welwyn Garden City. This stay lasted from the 22nd to the 27th of June. On June 29, the troupe began performances in the Dundee Repertory Theater, Dundee, Scotland. Celebrating the 4th of July in Scotland, the next stop was Northampton, England with daily performances at the Northampton Repertory Theater July 13 through 18. Then they moved on to Cambridge for five days at the Arts Theater. From July 27 to August 1, the Jackets participated in the International Festival of University Theater at Bristol University in Bristol, England. On the 4th of August the troupe sailed from Southampton for New York City. Arriving in New York on the 10th, the hardy group returned to Brownwood on August 15, 1959.
Midsummer Night’s Dream
In an earlier column, we described the British tour of the Texas version of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Continuing, today we survey some of the press reviews in order to get a feel for the production and why the production was considered so unique.
The first review, in the Brownwood Bulletin dated March 14, 1958 by John Chandler, observed that “when two great things are combined, the result simply must be good. And that was the case Thursday night in Coggin Chapel Theater when the Howard Payne College Theater combined William Shakespeare and Texas to bring to the audience one of the most hilariously side-splitting comedies ever presented in Brownwood.” Continuing, Carpenter noted that the actors were dressed in Texas attire, “complete with boots and guns, giving one the feeling at times that he was gazing at ‘High Noon’ instead of Elizabethan drama.”
Another review, in the Houston Chronicle by Sigman Byrd, began by observing that “Texans, having done almost everything else better than non-Texans, now have scored in the field of Shakespearean drama. Maybe you’ve seen Shakespeare in modern dress. But you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve seen [it] in Western costume (cowboys and Indians), with the lines read in an exaggerated Texas drawl!” Byrd said the evening in Brownwood was “the most enjoyable Shakespeare I have ever witnessed.” The costumes consisted of “levis, cattlemen’s boots, cowboy hats, sleeve garters, chaps, cowgirl shirts, riding skirts, Indian blankets and holstered revolvers. Scenic detail included steer horns mounted over Grecian doorways. And the super-drawled passages from the immortal bard’s maddest comedy were hilariously funny. Honestly, I haven’t heard an audience laughing like this Brownwood audience since before the beginning of the last depression.”
A third review, John Rosenfield’s in the October 11th Dallas morning News, considered the performance “not a worthless stunt, but, rather, a creative theatrical thought that brought it nearer Brownwood. . . . Howard Payne showed the Higher Education Program a sample of sophisticated and imaginative stage thinking.”
The news media also covered the fund raising attempts to transport the cast and crew to England for the tour. Beginning in chapel on February 9, 1959, the student body immediately got behind the effort. Over 200 students signed up to donate a day’s salary. During chapel many students agree to support the effort. The Brownwood Chamber of Commerce quickly endorsed the effort. Several said the trip would be “the best thing that has ever happened to the college.” Several student projects were planned to raise funds. The HPC Symphonic Band, directed by Ed Cain, was to hold a Sunday benefit concert in Mims; tickets were 75 cents or even larger donations. The Freshman Class planned a hayride for March 20 with all proceeds donated to the fund. Phi Epsilon Mu, the women physical education majors organization, planned to donate the proceeds of the women’s intramural program to the fund. Plans also were made to take up a collection in Wednesday’s chapel.
Enthusiasm was increased by a pep rally led by the college cheer leaders and the band. Don Newbury, a junior, “said the college should be the first with such a project, and show England that there are still cowboys, and also that Howard Payne is willing to make an effort to send the play overseas.”
Alex Reeve, the director of the play, “quipped he would like to see the school teach the British how to speak English.”
However, in a moment foretelling the future, it was Newbury who, as the Bulletin observed “brought down the house with the phrase, ‘Need Money, can’t Swim.’”
The beginnings of HPU’s College Theater Program 1956-1959
While reading about the “Midsummer’s Night Dream” cast tour of England, we found a brief history of the beginnings of the theater program at HPC.
Although there had been a speech department at HPC for many years, no regular, organized theater program existed. That changed in the fall of 1955 when Dr. McDonald W. Held became chair of what became the Division of Speech Arts. Held came to HPC from Baylor where he was acting chair of the speech department. After service in the Air Force 1945-46, Held earned the bachelor degree from Baylor and masters and doctorate from Northwestern University. Held hired Alex Reeve, a native of London, England, in the fall of 1956. Reeve, a World War I veteran, had a wide background both on stage and the director’s chair.
Held soon created the College Theater, establishing a regular program of plays for the campus. The newly created Division of Speech Arts was moved from the main campus to the Daniel Baker Campus taking over the Coggin Memorial Chapel. The Coggin chapel had been both the chapel and home economics building of DBC before the college was merged with HPC in 1953. Under Held’s supervision, the auditorium and stage were extensively remodeled with a new flexible-lighting system control board being installed.
The first production in the newly remodeled theater was Thronton Wilder’s “Our Town.” The cast included HPC’s president Dr. Guy D. Newman as the stage manager. In the fall of 1956 the group opened the theater season with “Candida.” Held directed both of these productions. Reeve joined the faculty during the production of “Candida.” From that time, Reeve directed the college productions while Held continued as technical director. Mrs. Beverly Held was responsible for costumes for all the productions.
It was determined that Reeve could best exhibit his directing skills with a Shakespeare play, “As You Like It.” Reeve had previously been director of productions at the Royal Theater and Opera House in Northampton, England. There he had worked with a very distinguished theatrical designer, Osburne Robinson. When Reeve came to Brownwood, Robinson came for a visit and was commissioned not only to design the scenery and costumes for “As You Like It” but he would also eventually paint a mural “Sealing of the Magna Carta” in the room of that name in the remodeled DBC Administration Building, now the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom.
Completing the first full season of the college theater program was Emlyn Williams’ “Night Must Fall.” The next season opened with “Family Portrait” which debuted on Homecoming weekend; the second production was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The season concluded with Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.”
Following in the third season was a reprise of “Midsummer” for Homecoming; the spring 1959 production was a new version of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabbler” by Noel Langley.
The Link, November 1957
The Link, the alumni magazine of HPC, is a valuable source for elaborating and discovering the history of Howard Payne. Today we investigate volume 8, number 1, published in November 1957. This was the issue which highlighted homecoming. Dr. Newman, HPC president, called the forthcoming homecoming “unique.” Writing on page two of the issue, Newman elaborated: “This approaching Homecoming will be . . . unique in that we will have some wonderful things to show you–some wonderful people to introduce you to. You will get to meet some new faculty members; see a wonderful student body; see a great football game between Texas A&I [now Texas A&M-Kingsville] and Howard Payne College. . . . [Many] of you will want to see the campus. It is more beautiful, we think, than ever.”
Continuing, Newman noted: “Howard Payne is on the verge of what we believe to be its greatest year ever. Our faculty is stabilizing itself; the quality of our student body is among the finest in history, according to the interpretation of some of the professors and friends that have been here a long time. Our plant facility is the finest it has ever been. All of these things conspire to make your Alma Mater a highly significant institution in an age of frustration and fear.”
A long-term tradition at HPU was the recognition of “HPU Man-of-the Year.” In 1957 it was Robert S. Calvert, Texas State Comptroller. A student at HPC in 1909-1910 when HPC was a junior college, Calvert observed it was “long enough ‘to get into one or two little scrapes.’” He was “‘one of the students who played hookey on April Fool and went swimming in the Bayou.’ The discipline meted out to the large group of students . . . was to fine each student a dollar, to be donated to the athletic department.” Several family members, including two of his sisters, graduated from HPC. His father was a member of the board of trustees for several years. Calvert was scheduled to speak at the Friday, November 15, banquet and was further honored at half time of the football game.
According to Don Newbury, Sports Information Director, HPC became an official member of the Lone Star Conference with the start of the fall 1957 football season. The Jackets were “having a tough time finding the key to an LSC win.” The Jackets were 1-5 going into the Homecoming game.
The football team, under head coach Bennie Williams, were reported ready for the 2:00 PM kick off against the Javelinas. “Though it wasn’t the oldest series in the Howard Payne record books, the visitors from Kingsville are far from being total strangers. The series began in 1946, with the Jackets scoring their greatest victory over the Hogs with a 27-0 whitewashing. The Jackets have accumulated a total of 128 points in the 10-game series to Texas A&I’s 111 tallies, but the Javelinas hold the edge in the win column, 6-4. The game this year will be the first conference clash since the Jackets and Javelinas were Texas Conference cousins. [Both were long time members of the old Texas Conference.] Though the Jackets will enter the game as decided underdogs . . ., they could prove double-tough on the Homecoming Day.” [They were winning 14-7.]
In another story, it was reported that HPC’s enrollment remained stable. “In a fall when leading Texas schools, including Baylor University and the state university, reported drops in enrollment, Howard Payne has maintained its ‘on campus’ enrollment of a year ago. The total enrollment for full time and night class students is 985.’” All the dorms showed increases. This was only two students less than the fall of 1956.
Eighteen new faculty were listed in this issue of the Link: Mrs. Jo Ann Hamilton, physical education; Dr. Fred Inman, chair of department of physics and math; Mrs. Elva Love Dobson, English; Curtis Wayne Davenport, math and assistant coach; Dr. Charles C. Mitchell, chair division of business; LeRoy Preston, history; Dr. Rayford Hoyle, chemistry; Dr. Bransford Eubank, agriculture; Francis H. Burke, music; Ed Cain, band; Dr. Robert Luther Dobson, religion; Tessica Martin, public information and journalism; Dr. Donanld Bell, psychology; Mrs. Dorothy Jean Schroeder, sociology; Mrs. Lela Spencer, history; Bobby Eugene Parker, dean of students; Alis Woodle, music; and Nancy Rainwater, library.
It was also reported that education, business and Bible courses had the largest number of HPC students as major subjects in the fall of 1957. According to a survey, 258 were planning on majoring in education, 137 in business, and 125 in Bible. Other department totals were science 98, language 47, speech 31, journalism 2, psychology 5, music 42, and social studies 51.
HPU Band Camp
Each year as we begin to wind down the semester, the thoughts of the faculty and students begin to turn to summer vacation, summer research or a summer job. But for many HPU staff their thoughts turn to preparing for the numerous summer camps scheduled to be hosted on campus during June and July. In addition to the numerous church camps, HPU routinely hosts the Air Force Junior ROTC state wide camp and, for 33 years, the Band Camp.
Beginning in the summer of 1974, HPU hosted a training camp for high school band flag and rifle corps. Originally begun by Greg Berry, HPU Band Director from 1968 to 1977, Chuck Christian continued the annual camp when he became band director. He was assisted by Buddy Strickland, an 1973 HPU graduate.
The first of their kind in the state of Texas when the camp began, by the mid 1980s the scope of the camp had been expanded to include the training of drum majors as well. Not only do the students who attend benefit from the training and experience, the HPU Band receives the proceeds. In the summer of 1987 that amounted to $3,000.
Assisted by many HP alumni who have, in turn, become high school band directors, Strickland noted in the September 1987 issue of the Link, that “the recruiting value of his camps cannot be measured, and HPU’s band program has benefitted tremendously.”
Following Strickland, have been several additional HPU band alumni including Darin Jolly and Pete Hazard. Currently HPU’s Band Director, Corey Ash (HPU 1992) heads the camp which will be held the 11-15 June 2007.
In the same article denoting the band camp as a “tradition,” Strickland also provided some insights into the HPU Band in the 1970s. Arriving on campus in the fall of 1969, Strickland “immediately got involved in the School of Music and began playing in the ‘Swingin’ Stingers’ band.” He related that his greatest memory was the HPU USO Band tour of Germany in the summer of 1972. “‘We got to stay in the homes of German people and experienced first-hand what a language barrier is!’”
He also discussed the HP Band version of Freshman Initiation. Dubbed the “‘Skunk Initiation,’” the activity coincided with the annual initiation of the freshman at the college. “‘That was back in the really wooly days of Initiation. . . . As far as I know, you couldn’t ‘sign out’ of it, and back then it was still a ‘slop ‘em up’ type of tradition. I really had a lot of fun with it . . . as an upperclassman, of course.’”
In 1970 Strickland was involved in establishing another HP band tradition, designed to foster unity among band members over the years. “‘In addition to the fun, sloppy side of Initiation, we decided that it was important for the band to be really committed to each other . . . . So we began having a serious time of dedication as a part of the ‘Skunk Initiation.’”
HPU Joins the TIAA
The summer issue of the Link, the HPU alumni newspaper, announced that HPU had left the Lone Star Conference after 31 years. The application for admission to the new athletic conference was approved in December 1986. HPU would begin competing in the fall of 1987. The Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association was a non-scholarship conference and was affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA.) [The members of the TIAA merged with other colleges and formed the American Southwest Conference in May 1996. At the same time the conference joined the NCAA Division III.]
HPU would be eligible for conference titles in volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, golf, track and field, baseball and men’s and women’s tennis, but not football due to scheduling problems, Jerry Millsaps, athletic director reported. The TIAA waived the two-year exemption so the HPU could immediately compete for championships.
All current scholarship recipients were assured of their scholarships at the time of the change over; HPU phased out the athletic scholarships over a three year period. Dr. Don Newbury, HPU president noted “‘since we are now in a league which provides no athletic scholarships in any sports, we are in a position to broaden our intercollegiate programs, provide an athletic environment in which many more student athletes can play and still save a significant amount of money. I am convinced that non scholarship athletics will be the wave of the future for small institutions such as ours, and I foresee several additional membership applications for the TIAA within the next few years.’”
Current TIAA member schools in 1987 were Austin College, McMurry, Sul Ross and Tarleton State. In addition, HPU also played the University of Arkansas Monticello, Southwestern Oklahoma, Texas Lutheran and Panhandle State that fall. The Jackets ended the season with a 5-5 record with wins over Austin College, McMurry, Southwestern Oklahoma, Panhandle State and Texas Lutheran.
As part of the move to join the TIAA, the HPU Board of Trustees approved the administration’s recommendation to resume baseball as a varsity sport; baseball was last played at HP in 1962. In addition, the TIAA voted to add baseball as a conference sport effective with the 1968 season. The first head coach was Tres Womack, 1981 Brownwood High graduate and ex HPU student. Womack and his wife were also named dorm directors of Taylor Hall.
Yellow Jacket April 3, 1997
Continuing our exploration of old newspapers, today we examine the Yellow Jacket issue for April 3, 1997. This edition, totaling twelve pages, featured as the headline story on page one the theft of $700 of two guitar effects processors from Phelps Chapel the proceeding Saturday night. One of HPU’s bands, Free Association, reported the loss on Saturday March 22. The building had been secured after the band rehearsed that afternoon. Before this event, during the preceding two years, the band had successfully secured their equipment in Phelps. One of the band, Maury McCown, observed “One strange thing that kept bugging us was that whoever this cool guy was that stole our processors, he didn’t bother to take anything else.” It was further noted “this moron didn’t take the power supplies required to make our processors work. This dope actually put forth the effort to unplug our guitar cables from the processors, unplug the power supplies, and leave them all sitting on the floor.” In the other headline story, Student Foundation awarded eight scholarships for the spring semester.
Turning to page two, the Youth Ministry Workshop (the forerunner of the current master’s program in youth ministry) resumed its final week of sessions. The workshop used several veteran youth ministry personalities and addressed key topics related to contemporary youth ministry. In a related story, the BSM’s Children Ministry was highlighted; a real need for male role models was noted in the on-going ministry at Southside Apartments.
KHPU TV was airing four student produced shows weekly on the local cable station. The shows were “Take One,” “The Blitz,” “1-5-0,” and “The Scene.” Take One was a magazine format show that dealt with things happening on and around the HPU campus. The Blitz was a sports format show that discussed not only HPU but also national sports. “1-5-0" was a contemporary Christian music video show while the Scene was an alternative Christian music video show.
It was announced in this issue of the newspaper that Dr. Joe Weatherby of the Political Science faculty was to begin a Model UN class.
On page 4 it was reported that the Taylor Hall’s “bad rep” was changing . The article went on to catalog the many changes occurring to alleviate the prejudice and fear evoked by Taylor Hall and its residents. From the tone of the article it must be assumed that many on the campus were fearful of the dorm and its residents. Installing a pool table, replacing old furniture with nicer, newer furniture was planned as well as needed building renovations. Prayer meetings in the hall were begun in the fall semester. The article noted “most prejudged ideas about Taylor are unwarranted. Yes, there are some problems in the dorm, but these problems also occur in the other dorms as well.” The dorm director, football coach Brian Mayper and his wife, Theresa, had much to do with these changes. “The female outlook on Taylor Hall has not been a very positive one, but (Theresa) Mayper seems to think that those thoughts are unjustified.” Many of the dorm residents “feel that the other dorms are getting satisfactory response to their requests [for new furniture, repairs etc], while Taylor students are being ignored. . . . Many guys in Taylor have a bad image, and are trying desperately to change that. It affects the attitude that many students have for these guys.”
Turning to sports, the golf team was readying for the spring tournament season; coached by Mike Blackwell, the team had seven for the links. The track team qualified four for the national meet to be held at Baylor; included were Casey Pierce in the javelin, Cliff Hall in the long jump, Marty Van Dyke in the 100 meter dash, and J. J. Davis in the 200 meter dash. The tennis team continued to win notching victories over the University of Dallas and Texas Wesleyan while dropping matches to St Edwards and Temple Junior College. Optimistic about a national bid for the men’s team, the Jackets were scheduled to leave for three contests with Harding, Hendrix, and the University of the Ozarks in Arkansas. HPU baseball’s team won two of three from HSU the previous weekend; the first game on Friday was won 7-6 while in the Saturday double header was a split with HP winning the first game 18-17. The twilighter was a loss 8-6 as HP’s pitching collapsed. Next up was Sul Ross with a three game series scheduled for HP’s Don Shepard Park.
The Lasso 1957
In the spirit of Homecoming, in which the graduating class of 1957 will be honored this Homecoming 2007, we will take a cursory view of the Lasso, the HPC annual for the year 1957. The annual was dedicated to Dr. William Arthur Todd, long serving Bible professor who had retired in January 1957 after 25 years of service at HPC. The dedication noted that Todd was “To his students an inspiration; he was practical in his teaching, original in his approach, understanding and sympathetic, friend of his students, a constant source of homely humor and rustic philosophy. To his college a dedication; he gave unreservedly of his time, thought, strength and devotion toward making Howard Payne the college it now is. To his denomination a contribution; he was a faithful minister, friend of preachers, counselor of churches, advocate of missions.”
Campus buildings were Old Main, the new girl’s dorm (later named Veda Hodge Hall), Taylor Hall, Yantis Hall (girl’s dorm), Howard Payne Hall (girl’s dorm), Jacket Gym, the Science Building (old BHS High School), Mims Auditorium, Walker Library, Ministerial Apartments and the President’s home; on the Daniel Baker campus there was the old administration building, the white building (now Girling Center) and Coggin Theater.
Dr. Guy D. Newman was completing his second full year as college president. He observed “There are a lot of things that you learn from a great group of students, things that you shall cherish all of your life. One of the things [one] learns from his student body is that there are certain students, regardless of their background, the obscurity of their lives, that are constantly coming through to give their friends and acquaintances pleasurable pride in their achievements and accomplishments.” Included in Newman’s administration were Dr. Z. T. Huff, dean and academic vice president; J. Horace “Cap” Shelton, director of properties and development; Dr. Thomas Taylor, president emeritus; Dr. Joe B. Rushing, administrative vice president; A. C. Garvin, administrative assistant and ex-student’s secretary; Mrs. Dora Mae Herring, registrar; Lena Vinson, office secretary; Joe Swan, director of publicity; Martha St. Clair, director of student promotion; Mrs. Robbie Vardaman, dean of women; and, Frances Burrage, librarian. There were 58 faculty pictured in the annual.
The senior class was led by Cecil Elkins, president; Arlen White, vice president; Rosemary Purvis, secretary; Wanda Hyman, treasurer; Randall Purvis and Alis Dickinson, Student Council representatives; Gene Dickson, song leader; Sue Rowlett, pianist; and Zimmalew Cooper, reporter. The class had 143 pictured in the annual.
Campus organizations included the Lasso and Yellow Jacket staffs, Student Council, BSU Council, General Governing Council of the Girls’ Dorm, Jackets for Jesus, Science Club, Ministerial Wives Auxiliary, Future Teachers of America, Jacket Co-eds, Pogo Club (girls social club), Urbanites (designed to bring local off campus girls into a more active role on campus), Press Club, Curtain Club, Alpha Rho Tau (Art Club), Rifle Club, Home Economics Club, La Hora Bautista, Cen-Tex Aggies (agriculture students club), Alpha Beta Sigma (business majors), Alpha Chi (academic honor society), Mission Band (volunteers for missions), Life Service Band (part of BSU), YWA (part of BSU), Phi Epsilon Mu (physical education majors), Ministerial Association, Circle K (service club sponsored by Kiwanis Club), Rose Petals and Piano Ensemble, A Capella Choir and Men’s Glee Club, Symphonic Orchestra and Oratorio Chorus, girls and boy’s quartets, opera workshop, the Yellow Jacket Marching Band and the HPC cheerleaders.
The football team posted a 6-4 record in Lone Star Conference play with wins over East Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Eastern New Mexico, McMurry, Sul Ross, and Abilene Christian. The men’s basketball team posted a 10-15 mark for the 1956-57 campaign. Cap Shelton’s track team was slated to participate in 10 meets during the spring semester. Other sports included a boxing team and women’s volleyball.
Campus activities highlighted in the annual included the DIA Week which featured a military parade and Senator (later vice president and president) Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. The theater department featured “As You Like It” and “Candida.” All in all, a very busy academic year.
Yellow Jacket November 11, 1947
I have been asked where the subject for the column originates. Sometimes it comes from some event occurring on campus such as Homecoming; other times it is identified in more haphazard ways. That is how this week’s column subject was selected. In sorting through copies of HPC’s newspaper, my eye caught the headline in the November 11, 1947 edition heralding: “HPC Faculty approves and passes rigid requirements for class and chapel attendance.” Interestingly, there was to be no lag time or postponement until the spring semester; instead, the new rules were to go into effect that very week! “Under the new regulations any student missing a class more than 25% of the time will forfeit credit in the course. [Coincidentally, this is current HPU class attendance policy as well.] It is considered by the faculty that unless a student can attend a class at least 75% of the time, he receives little benefit from the work. This regulation applies to attendance for the current semester.”
Continuing, the story elaborated and noted: “This does not mean that absences up to the 25% limit will be accepted. . . . Unexcused absences still mean lower grades as printed in the catalogue. The instructor now passes on the validity of excuses. Emphasis on chapel attendance is also stressed in the new rules. A student with four unexcused absences from chapel will be placed on probation and with five unexcused chapel absences may be suspended.”
The application of the rules seems to have been similar to current  procedures. Continuing, “students who are absent from a scheduled examination shall not be excused except for serious illness or unavoidable, acceptable absence.”
Continuing to review this edition of the newspaper, it was noted that 500 exes were expected at homecoming which was scheduled for Thursday November 27. A special assembly was to be held in Mims at 10:00 which would last until noon. Lunch would then be served; the football game with rival Abilene Christian was scheduled for Brownwood High School Lions Stadium.
There were several other “newsy” items on the front page with perhaps the most interesting being a story about Miss Tessica Martin (who served from 1947 through the spring of 1990 at HPU). Described by the student writer as “one of the most interesting people that we have met in some time; a trifle shy, but with a real interest in the students who are enrolled in her classes, and a real interest in her work.” Born in Stamford in 1920, she came to HPC as a student in the fall of 1938. During three years at HPC Tessica served as Feature Editor on the Yellow Jacket, she then joined the Brownwood Bulletin working as Society Editor for three years. As soon as the World War II ended she enrolled at UT-Austin, graduating in 1947. Returning to HPC, she devoted her time since then to journalism both at HPC and in actual practice.
Turning to the sports page, we find that HPC “thumped” Brooke Medical 38-0. “Six Jackets shared in the scoring spree, with Charlie Olsen, frosh back gathering two TD’s. Paul Stewart, Blanket freshman, and leading Jacket ground gainer, galloped 60 yards for his 6 pointer. Dozier scored on a 20 yard pass play. Mike Gonzales scored in the first of the last period counters. Bill Scoggins pulled in 30 yards to pay dirt. Charlie Olsen plowed over later in the period for the final Jacket tally.”
Further, the sports editor noted “the Jacket’s easy victory over Brooke Medical Center should prime the Jackets for their tilt with the powerful McMurry Indians. The Indians had a hard time disposing of the cross town Daniel Baker Hillbillies . . . 19-6.” The Methodists boasted a better record than HPC with wins over Centenary, New Mexico State, Abilene Christian, Austin College and a tie to Texas A&I while suffering losses to Hardin and the University of Houston. Observing that this would be the closest out of town game this season, “everything points to an exciting mela [sic].” It was McMurry’s Homecoming “and there’s nothing the Jackets would like better than handing the Indians a defeat to add to their celebration.”
In a related story, Joe Swanner analyzed the past week’s play in the Texas Conference. As HPC had played the reserves most of the game against Brooke Medical, Swanner concluded, “from all indications the Jackets are pretty well set for next season. . . . If Howard Payne beats McMurry they still have a good chance of tying for the Texas Conference Crown.” A review of the records indicated that HPC lost 13-6 at Abilene while defeating Abilene Christian 35-7 ending the season with a 4-6-0 record.
Yellow Jacket 17 Sept 1931
Recently a pristine box of Yellow Jackets from the 1930s appeared in the Treasure Room. While examining these prizes we thought you would find some of the issues of interest. The first to be examined is the campus newspaper from Friday, September 17, 1931. With an advertized price of five cents per copy, this Yellow Jacket consisted of four pages. A notice, placed just below the masthead noted “if you have any fault to find with the size of this paper, either mention the Yellow Jacket when doing your shopping or get out and TRY to sell advertising yourself.–The Editor.”
Page one’s headlines announced “Enrollment exceedingly good this year as available figures show as many studes [sic] as last.” Although the actual figure is never cited in the ensuing story, the reporter notes that although “Germany may be the place for ‘back to nature’ movements . . . [HPC] is the place for ‘back to school’ movements.” . . . The number of students in college for the fall term of 1930 only exceeds the fall term of 1931 by 15.” Additional students were expected to register the following week and the reporter observed “this idea that the ‘depression is ruining everything’ will hardly hold true when our college enrollment is considered.” Dr. M. E. Davis, professor of Greek and Bible, said “the class of ‘35 is a thing of beauty and a joy to behold for ever.” The upperclassmen were especially excited concerning the large number of freshmen to “welcome” onto campus. “Sophomores can be picked from a crowd by the accentuated looks of sophistication of their otherwise expressionless maps. However, one can hardly blame them for wanting to look sophisticated–the poor things suffered for nine months the indignities of being freshmen.” [Hazing of freshmen undoubtedly lasted the entire freshman year at that time.] The juniors and seniors, it was reported, “vie with each other in seeing who can look the most intelligent. The Seniors have had one more year’s practice . . . so it is expected that they should look a little more learned.” It was then revealed that the youngest student at HPC that fall was 14 years old while the oldest was 44.
In a related story, it was reported that thirty of HPC’s graduating senior class of 1931 were married during the previous summer; “matrimony seems to have taken the usual tool from the ranks of the past year’s class of Seniors. . . . [They have] entered into the great adventure.”
An announcement was found below the marriage story which identified who was selling freshmen caps. “Therefore Freshmen should act accordingly. They are priced at one dollar. Better get that cap, Slime.”
Other stories on page one described the Girl’s Glee Club prospects for the coming year, First Baptist Church’s welcome party for HPC students. Called a “radio party” the entire group sang some harmony songs, followed by some games. Then program proper began with the group listening “to station PHUN broadcasting broadly on 639 bicycles, etc.” Included in the program, covering everything from religion to burlesque, included Professor Weakback, “eminent daily dozen instructor” various renowned singers and “one of Bill Shakespear’s rousing dramas.”
The other major headline story on the front page reported “one of the largest squads ever witnessed here reports to Cheaney and Keaton Monday.” Included in the football players reporting were ten returning lettermen with the first game slated for September 25th versus McMurry at Brownwood. Hoping to win another Texas Conference championship, coaches Joe Bailey Cheaney and McAdoo Keaton welcomed fifty men to the squad. While losing some “mighty good material last year” Cheaney was “confronted with the scrappiest bunch of men he has ever witnessed.” It was noted by the reporter that HPc “will be favored with a comparatively easier schedule this year. The first six games are to be played at home and the last two in foreign country. No Southwest Conference teams have been scheduled. . . . Austin College is favored to cop the title this year, but they have the Jackets to reckon with in their first conference game [October 15].” [HPC ended the campaign of 1931 with a 6-2-0 record]
On page two one finds several editorials concerning football and pep rallies. The third editorial notes “we all should feel extremely fortunate for having the opportunity of attending school of any kind; doubly so, Howard Payne, the college that builds character along with general education. If you or I leave this institution in any other condition, it is our own fault, not the schools. . . . Throughout the Texas Conference [HPC athletic teams are noted] for its clean sportsmanship at all athletic contest, its spirit and enthusiasm. These are enough to prove the caliber of the college you and we have selected. . . . Our faculty is unbeatable. They are the most unselfish individuals you may find anywhere. They are not mere job-holders, they are advisors, conscientious too.”
In a related story, the YJ reported that the Daniel Baker Hillbillies were preparing, behind “closed gates,” for the opening football game of the season clash with the Simmons (now HSU) Cowboys. DBC, “with as bright prospects as anything during the past few years, have plenty of pep and ginger at the start of the season.: With a large number of lettermen and vets from the 1930 squad returning, hope were high for the Billies. [Simmons won 6-0.]
On page four, it was reported that chapel services opened the previous Thursday at 10:00 AM when the faculty and student body invited the city’s pastors as guests. Dr. M. E. Davis introduced each one and invited each to speak. “For the most part each confined his remarks to that of complimenting the college and faculty and of extending to the students the invitation to each of their respective church-fellowships.”
Yellow Jacket 6 Dec 1934
Today we examine the campus news from seventy-three years ago as printed in the Yellow Jacket published on Thursday, December 6, 1934. Homecoming the previous Thursday was “one of the biggest” in campus history. This was partly as a result of the special honors accorded Mr. John G. Hardin and Mr and Mrs John A. Walker. Mrs. Hardin was ill in Dallas; the Hardins had only recently included HPC in the one million dollar Hardin Trust (sharing the monies with what are today HSU, Mary Hardin-Baylor and Midwestern State. HPC would ultimately receive $300,000.) The festivities began on Wednesday night with a banquet in the Gold Room of the Hotel Brownwood (ex Sid Rich dorm and now the derelict building downtown.) One hundred and twenty attended. The keynote speaker at the banquet was Dr. W. R. White, pastor of Broadway Baptist Church in Ft Worth and a 1917 HPC graduate. (He was later president of Baylor.) White said HPC “is on a new throne–a throne of prestige, power and permanency. . . . The money given is enough to make it possible for the school to be dedicated to a century of progress and faithful service and with the thought of insecurity removed will have a greater effectiveness and will do even greater work for Christian education. . . . Howard Payne is a well balanced school. It is a good thing that the college with the largest number of ministerial student enrollment to its size of any college on the face of the globe, should also send out on the field unbeatable football teams. . . . ‘This college was never truer and never more nearly approximated the purpose of its founders than it does today under the leadership of Thomas H. Taylor as president.’”
A sunrise Thanksgiving and prayer service began Thursday morning activities. A noon barbeque serving 600 in the gym (which burned in 1939) was followed by the afternoon football game against the Southwestern (at Georgetown) Pirates. HPC won 14-0 gaining the Texas Conference championship with an overall record of 9-0-1. At halftime head football coach Joe Bailey Cheaney received a 1935 V8 [automobile] while coach MacAdoo Keaton received an Electrolux and a chest of silver from the Brownwood fans. Mr. Hardin, to whom the football team had dedicated the game, kicked off the first ball of the game.
In other front page stories, the fall revival was slated to begin the following Monday with Dr. J. Frank Murrel of Denison, HPC trustee, delivering the sermons. The services were slated to begin at 9:40 AM and to close at 10:40 with evening services beginning at 7:00 PM. The HPC board also met during the Homecoming activities. In addition to qualifying for the Hardin Trust money, the board voted to increase the size of the board to 50 members. “Objectives for the college were set out by the board as follows: A debt free charter and a debt free college, refitting and refurnishing the old main building, building a boy’s dormitory and gymnasium, aggressive campaign to secure a larger percentage of paying students and plan for membership.”
In addition to having several editorials, page two was filled with very informative movie reviews and national sports stories. Page three continued the national sports coverage as well as some interesting stories from other college newspapers. Perhaps the most revealing items in this edition of the Yellow Jacket were the advertisements. The ads covered everything from congratulating the Jackets for winning the championship to advertising repairing watches, shoes, typewriters and dyeing and cleaning to three different barber shops. Optometry was also a good supporter with two different eye doctors represented. Coupled with ads for Piggly Wiggly and Austin Mill and Grain the paper seemed to be very informative.
The Yellow Jacket 18 February 1932
On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be interesting to review an edition of the Yellow Jacket detailing that holiday in the past. Therefore we examine the February 18, 1932 edition of the Yellow Jacket. The headline on the front page heralded “H.P. Basketeers [sic] step up to second place.” On the previous Monday, the Yellow Jacket basketball team “whips” the Austin College Kangaroos 38 to 22. This victory placed HP in second place in the Texas Conference (Simmons led with no defeats.) “According to the reports the game was not up to par with the Jackets ability. Most of the scoring was done in the last half although there was no great difference in the totals for the first half, the second half gave a different story.”
The second story that attracts one’s interest was titled “Howard Payne Gridsters [sic] not over-enthusiastic in discussing new rules.” [The rules in question dealt with new safety equipment.] The unsigned article reported that of the nine football players interviewed for the story, eight were “unenthusiastic.” Continuing, “‘next year the sale of cosmetics will increase a whole lot during the football season. The men will have to have their vanities on the field and perhaps an average of three will be broken. It won’t be very long till all the girls will be engaging in the ‘manly’ sport, was the sarcastic remark of ‘Hoot,’ who plays full and half in a manly fashion.”
In the past “there were no rules governing the general necessary roughness of the game. The main point was to put a man out of the game. Very few were killed. Now, there are rules to try to prevent the unnecessary injuries and the number grows every year in an astonishing way. They think it possible that we are growing into a race of molly-coddles?” Observing that “about ten times as many men playing the game now as there was when there were only a few killed each year [the new rules are necessary.]” In a discussion between a football player and another student the number of deaths was the primary issue. The student claimed “the game was not worth the life of one man. A player was quick to show him the names of several . . . killed by some accident in baseball. . . . When confronted with the facts the man muttered weakly that baseball was different.”
On page two one finds an editorial about the HPC annual, the Lasso. The Lasso was first published by the senior class of 1908. “The book was the embodiment of all the most advanced ideas of year-book publishers at that time. The next classes failed to put out a book but again in 1912 a book was published. Perhaps the editing staff met with difficulties that very few of the present student body could cope with but they put out an annual. The senior classes until now have never failed to produce books that their owners would not part with for any consideration. This book has become a tradition, placed here by the work of staffs handicapped as we have never been. . . . Now in 1932 the Lasso is going to be the best book in the history of Howard Payne. The book is to be larger than the previous books.”
A second editorial dealt with one’s attitude in the library. “One must of course keep as quiet as possible in the library. The only way to do this is to have some purpose in mind when one attends there. For it is human nature to keep doing something, or to be attracted by the opposite sex. Attraction, of course, leads to aggregation, and in meeting together disturbance is bound to issue, that is, noise of any kind is considered void in the library. It is the duty of the librarian to see that other members of the institution are not disturbed while perusing there. Therefore, to do this, the one set on carrying on a conversation there that can be carried on elsewhere will suddenly find himself on the outside. In government institutions persons who disturb the peace are put in; in library institutions they are put out.”
In a “lighter” column we find a note that the below valentines were received:
“‘I’m sorry that you’ve gone away,
I wish that you could stay,
I surely do miss you,
Etc, etc, etc”
“I know my onions and I am strong for you.”
Like a baby needs tobacco
Like a blind man needs a book,
Like a drowning man needs water,
Like Wall Street needs a crook,
Like Rockefeller needs a million,
To pay his rent when due,
Like an Eskimo needs ice cream,
That’s how I need you.”
Yellow Jacket 18 Feb 1932 part 2
Continuing our review of the Yellow Jacket for February 18, 1932 we turn to page three which featured a half page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes; the remainder of the page included a story about Old Main. Describing the exterior of Old Main, George G. Smith, the reporter, said “its floors are battered by the passing of many feet, and its stairways are almost worn through but the interior of the old building has an atmosphere almost sacred. . . . [In 1902 students] went to school amid surroundings very different from those to which the students of today have grown accustomed. The beautiful homes and wide lawns that line Center Avenue near the college were not there then. In their place were pastures and mesquite thickets. A negro [sic] Masonic lodge held sway a block from the college, where the Brownwood postoffice now stands, and between the lodge and the campus was a large wagon yard..”
The reporter interviewed then HPC president Thomas Taylor for this article. Taylor remembered the early days: “I was a pretty small boy then . . . . The construction work was done by local contractors, and the building was built of native Brown county stone. The first administration building was named Robnett Hall, a three story wooden structure which was made into a girls’ dormitory as soon as the main building was finished.. . . . [It was] destroyed by fire.”
When Taylor came to HPC “a few years after it [Old Main] had been built . . . the campus, which was only about half as large as it now is, was surrounded by a high board fence. This was to keep stray cattle, which wandered up and down the Brownwood streets, off the campus.” In the earliest years Old Main “consisted only of the square central portion. Provision had been made for two wings, and the walls had been left unfinished with the expectation that the wings would soon be built. [Not until 1907 was] the southeast wing was added, and the northwest wall of the structure still stands bare on unfinished, a constant reminder of the vision of those founders of the institution, whose dreams extended far beyond the boundaries of their financial resources.”
In the early years of the college, the student clubs spent “many a night [in] the old chapel on the third floor of the building has resounded and re-echoed with thunderous oratory and debates between representatives of the Philo-Phila and Theodoric Irving literary societies. . . . [An alum] tells of one occasion [during 1920-24] when an inter-society debate came near resulting in a riot. It was the custom in those days for members of the victorious society to carry their debaters off the stage in a triumphal procession as soon as the decision was announced. On this occasion, however, the members of the losing side . . . thought that their debaters should have won, and that the judges had been bribed. So they stormed the stage and carried their debaters off on their shoulders. Their procession met the one staged by the victorious society in the middle of the auditorium, and what happened may be left to the imagination. At least half of the seats in the chapel were torn up in the battle, and the poor mother of one of the debaters, who had come to hear her son perform, was nearly killed before the aforesaid son could come to her rescue.”
Continuing, the article discussed social regulations of the college. Described as strict, “the boys and girls were kept separated as completely as possible. They were given separate seats in chapel, and had to go up and down separate stairways. The dormitory girls were kept close at home, and dates were so rare as to be almost mythical. It was positively disgraceful for a young lady to walk down the street with a young gentlemen without a chaperone.”
Turning to further details about Old Main, “one of the prominent features of the administration building for many years was the high cupola, or tower, on the front of the structure. This cupola stood over a hundred feet high, and was the tallest building in Brownwood. In 1915 it had to be torn down because of the strain on the walls during high winds, leaving the now familiar stubby platform on the top of the tower. The old cupola was surmounted by a tall flagpole. This pole was used by the rival societies, and later by the rival classes, to display their flags, and many bitter flag fights were staged on the roof of the building.” One alum detailed that “one society hoisted their flag to the top of the pole and guarded it so closely that the rival organization could not get it down. Finally a gun was sent for and the heroic members of the society did their best to shoot down the offending banner. Their ammunition was finally used up, however, and the flag remained untouched. The startled neighbors must have thought that a sure-enough battle was being fought on the campus of dear old Howard Payne.” In 1932 an electric sign was found on the pinnacle of the tower which proclaimed “that the spirit of Howard Payne still lives in the hearts of her students and alumni.”
Yellow Jacket 8 March 1934
Continuing our investigation of old campus newspapers, today we delve into the Yellow Jacket for Thursday March 8, 1934. The front page headlines heralded the beginning of a new term on March 5. “The spring term, which is the third and last term of the regular school year, opened Monday.” The enrollment figure had not been released but it was assumed that HPC would have 700 students. Considered the busiest term of the academic year, “all the most important functions of the year coming during the months of March, April and May. The class activities are usually held during the month of April and the Junior Prom. Commencement and track hold important places in the interest of the student.”
The first chapel of the spring term was reported; held the day before, Wednesday, it “was devoted principally to announcements by members of the faculty pertaining to text books which will be used this term and to changes in the time schedule. Mr. McAdoo Keaton, physical education instructor, explained the new state regulations with regard to physical education requirements for public school teachers.” One item was removed from the agenda that morning. Questions concerning one’s grades from the winter term would be answered next week after “grades were altered in accordance with the rule on chapel cuts.”
Page two has several editorials as well as a beauty column and information about the college library. One of the most “enlightening” stories dealt with cosmetics. Quoting an old saying, “‘A little powder and a little paint will make a lady what she ain’t’” the columnist observed that although most girls really question the truth of the saying, “the proper way for girls to look at the question is [although powder and paint don’t make a lady what she ain’t but] they do accentuate and magnify her own colorful or colorless beauty.” Mentioning the amount of cosmetics, the writer notes, “much as boys like to rave and raise the mischief over girls and their silly cosmetics, they would never be happy did not the fair ones make themselves more fair with the use of powder and less fair in spots by the use of rouge.”
Concerning the library, there must have been a problem with books not being returned after being used. Several comments are found on page two about placing the books in the proper place for re-shelving and returning after being checked out. An example: “How about starting the term out right by bringing your books back on time? It will save all those fines at the end of the term.”
Page three carried the first installment of a history of Howard Payne. The remainder of the page contained, besides advertisements, jokes and an article on learning. Scanning the jokes one finds the following memorable chuckles: “‘Say, why do you nickname your girl Appendix? Because it costs so much to take her out.’”
The article on learning begins by quoting President Woodrow Wilson who said “learning is on the defensive.” The writer seemed to think that such an observation was still valid twenty-six years later. “The intellectual activities which are sovereign in themselves have been subject to abashed justification by students and instructors alike. . . . [And yet, comments were continually made by the general population questioning the real value of “book learning.”] It is criminal indeed that with all but the learned themselves, learning is on the defensive-and will be until Babbitt’s last breath.”
Page four was devoted to sports and the movie reviews. The sports columnist summed up the 1934 Texas Conference race for the basketball title. Several circumstances led to McMurry winning the conference title. One was HPC’s upset victory over Simmons which cleared the way for a clear title while the second was the fact that McMurry had three of the four highest scoring games in the conference that season. Mention was also made of the Brownwood high school team going to the state championship in basketball.
Page five had a syndicated report from the “Little America Aviation and Exploration Club: With Byrd at the South Pole.” Page six had a story that observed that famous actress Mae West had not only “popularized feminine curves she also opened the road to health and long life to millions of women.” This statement was based upon the opinion of the large Texas insurance companies. Citing improved health of women by the change in diet, one noted “normal weight was what was desirable for health’s sake. But style demanded ‘slenderness’ and the women gritted their teeth and battled nature to be skinny. . . . And then came Mae West, sexy swaggering Mae. She was not skinny nor did she have those so-called fashionable straight lines. Not Mae. She had curves and natural upholstering. . . . [Modern girls] took the cue and overnight curves for women were in fashion again.”
Throughout this edition there were numerous advertisements with the most numerous and, by page size, the most noticeable being those advertising cigarettes. Four in six pages!!
Yellow Jacket 14 April 1932
Today we examine the Yellow Jacket published April 14, 1932. The primary headline announced a five college track meet in Austin with HPC, UT, Saint Edwards, Southwestern, and Daniel Baker participating. Coached by legendary Cap Shelton, the cinder men from Hp were expected to “bare out.” In two previous meets that spring, Cap’s men had emerged “overwhelming victors in both . . . The meet this week will largely determine whether the Jackets can repeat or not. Dope has it that the University of Texas will cop first honors, with the Howard Payne giving plenty fight for the second berth, when the final honors are divided. As has been the problem during the past year or so, the Jacket squad has been strong in dashes and running events, but comparatively weak in the field.” [HPC did indeed finish second in the meet.]
The second front page headline reported that, under the direction of Mrs. Charlene B. Underwood, the music department had performed at First Christian Church on the previous Wednesday night. Included in the program was the Girls’ Glee Club, the Mixed Chorus, the Girls’ Trio and the Peanut Band.
In a related story, the HP Orchestra presented a concert at Coggin Avenue Baptist the previous Sunday evening. Professor J. P. Bohlin directed the band. “The program was intended to take up the full hour, as Dr. Hornburg [pastor] aimed to be out of town on that evening and the church asked that the orchestra furnish the evening services.”
Other front page stories detailed that senior invitations were ready to be ordered; “William Hall Preston, actively connected with student work in Texas, who spoke [in Chapel Thursday morning] about the ‘Game of Life.’” A third story noted the Peanut Band was “making name during term.” The musical group, “a model jazz orchestra for any and all lovers of the highly emaciated art of hoakum, noise or what have you. Making its initial appearance several eras back in chapel (while still in its infancy) the group has been added to until now it contains thirteen of the liveliest jazz hounds ever seen at Howard Payne, and its list of engagements is fast growing.”
Finally, the front page had a review of HPC’s own “Boswell Sisters”: Aleene Tate, Fay Canady, and Clarice McCarty. “The trio that is pleasing to the eye, soothing to the ear, and yet sacrifices nothing in the tonal process. They are kind to your ear-drums, they have removed all the harsh irritants of discord completely from their lyrics, long before they are placed before you for your overwhelming approval. What more could you ask?” Discovered and directed by Mrs Underwood, the trio has become “the most popular musical organization.” Listing several engagements the trio has performed, perhaps the most highly touted was the performance at chapel for the Daniel Baker student body. The trio “more or less bring down the house, home and bacon.”
Page two begins with editorials for campus election participation and for working students. Then one find s two feature columns that are humorous and as ad for the up-coming minstrel show on April 29.
Page three featured a half page cigarette ad which included information on when the real Boswell Sisters were on the radio. The president of McMurry, Dr. J. W. Hunt, was the previous Friday chapel speaker. His topic was “The Contributions of the Small Christian College to the World.” Hunt observed: “‘Education is a good thing. . . . Education with a moral basis is better; but education with a religious basis is still better.’”
The District Track Meet scheduled for Brownwood at Howard Payne Park was postponed until April22 and 23. The HP Bulletin, described as “a publication somewhat similar to those put out at other institutions, containing the latest news and events surrounding the college and its graduates, as well as former students” was in the final editing by Dr. T. R. Havins. It was due out in the near future.
The final story on page three announced that HPC would continue to observe “Dad and Mother’s Day” on April 24. “On this day the parents of the students are invited to visit the college where entertainment has been planned for them. The object of this day is two-fold. The students have an opportunity to honor their parents and . . . the parents have an opportunity to become acquainted with college life of their children.”
On page four one finds several news items from other college newspapers and from the 1932 Olympics. There was also a story reporting that the annual had been sent to the publisher and would soon be delivered; the Junior Class plans for the annual; prom were detailed; and, the theatrical production, “The Trial of Mary Dugan” was set to be performed by the Federated Clubs of Brownwood on April 20-22 in the District Court Room at the Brown County Court House.
Yellow Jacket April 9, 1936 part 1
Today we examine the campus newspaper, the Yellow Jacket, for Thursday April 9, 1936. The headlines announced the first “HPC Day” for visiting high school seniors. The day, sponsored by the Women’s Missionary Union, and supported by the junior class, was slated for the upcoming Saturday. “An extensive program has been arranged by the Missionary Union in order that the visiting high school students may have the opportunity to become acquainted with Howard Payne. . . . A large crowd is expected by those in charge and preparations are being made to conveniently take care of seven hundred and fifty to a thousand visitors. The entire college is turning out in order that Howard Payne will be exhibited to every extent possible to those who are interested.” Aiding the Missionary Union were the pep squad and the junior class. Registration was to begin at 9:00; a band concert and a presidential address filled the morning. The afternoon activities began with a barbeque at the HPC Dining hall. Dinner music was to be provided by the HPC Orchestra. Following lunch campus tours were scheduled from 1:30 to 3:00. The time was “spent in showing the high school students the work, the results of work, and the manner in which the various departments of the college operate. Several exhibits have been prepared and most of the departments will be open for inspection.” In addition to the academic visits, “the metronscope and the spectroscope, famous reading machines which are in use in the elementary education department will be exhibited. Not only are these machines interesting and educational in themselves, but they were invented by ex-students of Howard Payne and are being manufacturing [sic] here in the city.”
A campus museum, the Boenicke, “which has been increased by the gift of several hundred dollars worth of antiques by Dr. G. C. Shurmann, will be open for the first time for public inspection. This museum is one of the most interesting collections in the state and has created much interest among those who have already seen the exhibit.” The climax of the day featured a football game between the freshmen-sophomore and junior-senior squads which would mark the culmination of spring training. An exhibition by some of the track team was also planned. These events were planned in lieu “of the annual junior-senior prom to which
the high school seniors from the surrounding communities have formerly been invited. This was decided after the junior class began to work on the Howard Payne Day program and it was thought that the students would not attend both affairs in very large numbers.”
A second story on the front page heralded the forensic team’s “best record in history in a national meet.” Returning from a week of contest in Houston, the team participated in the National Convention of the Pi Kappa Delta. Sporting a record of three wins and three losses, the team competing against teams from thirty-eight states and one foreign country which represented one hundred twenty college teams. HPC’s team of five were coached by O. E. Winebrenner. One of the losses was by default due to a misunderstanding of the rules as HP used a three man team (and won the debate); posting wins against De Kalb, Marietta, and Centenary the team lost against Emporia State, and St Olaf, while being disqualified against Tulsa University. “The fact that Baylor University was the only Texas team winning more debates than the local squad shows what an excellent record they made. Baylor won six straight debates, and went on to win second place in the entire meet in the men’s division. . . . Hardin-Simmons had a high-powered debate team, but for some reason fail-to hit their stride, and lost five out of six debates. Marietta University went into the semi-finals with six wins and one loss, that one loss being to Howard Payne.”
Other front page headlines noted that HPC’s track team won their first meet of the season against the John Tarleton Plowboys scoring 69 ½ points to 39 ½. Meanwhile, the freshman class entertained several hundred students at Lake Brownwood the preceding Wednesday. Observing that the day was not really good for a picnic with high winds and dust, nevertheless “a large crowd was present to enjoy the festivities. . . . Boat riding and playround ball were the chief sports of the day, while surf board riding came in for its share of the activities.”
It was noted by the newspaper staff that “we again strive to place in your hands a regular issue of the Jacket after our lapse of last week when we went into a brain storm to turn out the April Fool rag.”
Finally, a contest was held earlier in the month to determine which one act play HPC would send to the state contest in Houston; it was reported on page one that the winning play, “Mansions” with its cast of four and director, Mrs. Leta Newby Shelton, had departed for Houston the previous Monday. “It is hoped that the group will be able to make a very creditable showing in the contest with the splendid play and excellent cast of characters they have. The players, however, have been seriously handicapped during the past two weeks by not being able to practice because of the illness of Mary Fleming. Despite this fact, it is believed by Mrs. Shelton that they will be able to give a good account of themselves.”
HPC’s Previous National Championship Teams
In the wake of the glorious national championship the 2007-2008 Lady Jackets won for HPU this March, 2008 in basketball, it was suggested we investigate the previous two national team championships Howard Payne has secured on the athletic hustings.
Of course, any investigation of HPC track teams must begin with the legendary John H. (Cap) Shelton, called the “Dean of Texas Track Coaches.” Shelton was born 20 days after his father died on a farm near Rockwood, Texas in Coleman County on May 12, 1893. After attending Rockwood schools, Cap was enrolled in HPC’s Academy (high school prep school) in 1912; he graduated with a BA in 1917. During his undergraduate days he was a fullback with the football team, manager of the basketball team, and ran the 880 and mile in track.
Upon graduation, he taught math at Sherman High School in 1917-18. Then he was in the U.S. Army. He returned to Sherman and the classroom for the 1919-20 academic year. In the fall of 1920 he returned to his alma mater as an instructor of math in the HP Academy and as track coach. He also served as faculty manager of athletics. He was a student at the University of Michigan in the summer of 1923. In 1928 the college named Shelton director of athletics. Although Cap was busy, he found time to do additional graduate study at the University of Illinois and at Baylor.
From 1929 to1931, Cap served as Registrar of the college. In 1931 he began to serve as Business Manager of the college, a position he held until 1956. In 1934 Cap was listed in the college catalog as vice president & business manager. This additional duty ended in 1938. Cap also served as director of properties and development from 1956 to 1964. Cap was so multi-talented that he also served as basketball coach from 1920 to 1924.
In 1925 he represented HPC at the organizational meetings of the Texas Conference. He later served as chair of the conference athletic council. On the cinder track Cap won 15 conference titles between 1925 and 1956. As a result, he was named to the national track hall of fame in 1955.
When HPC joined the Lone Star Conference, Cap was successful in winning 3 additional conference titles in track between 1957-1964, bringing his total to 17 conference titles from 1925 to 1967. Recognized by the conference, he was named LSC coach of the year in 1964. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1964 and was also named to the NAIA Hall of Fame.
The NAIA established a men’s cross country championship in 1956; HPC was the second champion in 1957. Held at Omaha University on November 30, 1957, the Yellow Jacket Cross Country Team consisted of Willie Myers ( finishing 5th), Don Shepard (7th), Louie Hayes (8th), Bob Pullig (10th), and Lydon Gathright (15th). Royce Denton (finished 28th) ran but not as a member of the official five man team. HPC’s team point score was 45 with a team from South Dakota State finishing second with 64 while Oklahoma Baptist was third with 93. While ten schools had full five man teams in the contest, a total of 24 participated with 132 runners. Of that total, 85 representing 20 colleges actually started and 77 finished the race. The weather was clear and cold but without wind.
The quest to capture that second national championship began when Cap’s Cross Country team again traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to participate in the Ninth Annual NAIA Cross Country Championship held at the University of Omaha November 28, 1964. The competition was held on a cold Saturday with a stiff wind. Over 144 runners were in the race. The individual winner was John Camien of Emporia State of Kansas who ran the course in 20 minutes 25.8 seconds. Jim Ewing of HPC was second with 20:30 while Don Lakin of Fort Hays State in Kansas (of the 1963 defending team champs) was third. Howard Payne’s Bill Thomas finished fifth with 21:02, Tommy Sikes was seventh with 21:08, Alex McKee was 10th with a time of 21:18, Jack Petty was 11th with 21:19 and Gene Graham was 42nd posting a time of 22:05.
The New York Times noted that the 144 runners, all of whom finished, was the greatest number in NAIA history to that moment. It was also noted that thirty one colleges were represented with twenty fielding full teams.
As regards team scoring, HPC notched the top spot with a team score of 29 points. Fort Hays State of Kansas was second with 69 points while Redlands of California had 110, Central Michigan 122, Emporia State of Kansas 134, Southern Oregon 148, Earlham of Indiana 220, Western Illinois and Roberts Wesleyan of New York 239. Rounding out the top ten was Winona State of Wisconsin with 279 points.
“Howard Payne captured the spotlight by running away with team honors” and in addition, placed five as All-American in Men’s Cross Country for 1964: Jim Ewing, Bill Thomas, Tommie Sikes, Alex McKee and Jack Petty. Ewing and Thomas would garner this honor a second time in 1965. Junior Lee received NAIA All American honors in 1967 for Men’s Cross Country.
Howard Payne continues to this day to hold one record in the NAIA record book: the best winning team score of 29 points in cross country was set that cold, blustery day in Omaha. Cap Shelton died at the age of 74 when he suffered a heart attack on June 28, 1967.
Updated 19 August 2008
© Dr. Robert G. Mangrum, University Historian