Blog: Faithful to their foundation, the Facultettes organize a fun hat magazine (5/10/22)

Funny hats always catch my eye. But place them on the heads of some of the most worthy ladies of Cape State College’s 1963 faculty and you will truly have my attention.

I came across two photos from Garland Fronabarger’s collection of mature women wearing hats put together from their own imaginations. I just knew there had to be a story behind them.

Posted May 18, 1963 in southeastern Missouri:



Missouri Staff Writer

” Spring has arrived
The grass has rice,
I wonder where
Flowers are!”

Not all, but many of the flower-adorned quirky designs that capped the State College faculties at their recent spring dinner party. In the ballroom of Memorial Hall, members turned out in droves and in accordance with part of the invitation which read:

“Just for fun
make a hat,
Bell or bonnet,
Or something like that.
wild imagination
Is it yours to use
did i give you
Clues ?
Wear your hat proudly
And maybe it’s you
Who is the winner of
Our review of hats.”

What a variety of models they wore. There were big hats, little hats, short hats, tall hats. Standing or bowing, forwards or backwards, everyone paraded with great aplomb in the gala review. They represented the comic, the beautiful; professional fields, hobbies, odds and ends. They were the epitome of everything fashionable in kingdom milady headgear.

Hat Revue winners from left to right are: Dr. Irene D. Neu, Ms. Marvin Webb and Ms. Nell Beall. (GD Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missouri Archives)

The season of spring was loudly proclaimed by myriads of flowers and notes overflowing from a large model carried by Mrs. Edwin (Bertha) Stevens’ “Spring Song” and in “Spring on the Range”, an eye-catcher worn by Mrs. Mary Hélène Flente. “Plastic” By Fair — turkey feathers, with a blue bird in an apple orchard heralded the season in Miss Verda Farrar’s original design.

After spring, summer. It gave birth to the “first rose of summer”, a kind of bell created from large yellow petals by Mrs. Marvin (Imogene) Webb, the new president

Advance the summer

Mrs. Christine Wheeler Heil’s pretty lampshade growing long-stemmed red roses for the “City of Roses” model and Mrs. RL (Helen) Sheets’ unusual cool snowball hat depicting “snowball winter or the Idiot in Bloom” brought the summer forward. .”

Ingenuity was needed to create and strong necks were a necessity to support the originals of Mrs. Nell Beall, who modeled her hat on household and hobby ideas; Mrs. Richard (Delores G.) Snider is the Kent Library Review; Mrs. Ila A. Holmes showing the Dearmont Quadrangle girls and Mrs. RL (White) Huff’s ‘Do It Yourself’ model, home decor idea.

Among the outstanding toppers evocative of their vocations were “Bread Basket, Rolls and Wheat Stalks” by Mrs. Leslie (Grace) Hoover, “A Data Processing Creation”, by Mrs. Kenneth (Joyce) Pitchford; office staff originals, “Grapes of Wrath” by Mrs. Fred (Linda) Peacock and “Office Supplies and Things” by Mrs. Alice Hulett. “Chore Girl” was the subject of Ms. Glenn (Bessie) Stevens.

Dr. Irene Neu scored with her hat, “Bubble Dancer,” Mrs. John (Dorothy) Statler in a smocked gingham dress and hat. Strange was Mrs. Homer (Reva) Collin’s real wasps’ nest hat, and useful was Miss Clara L. Hoffman’s “ice cream hat to use after overeating such an appetizing meal.”

Because she had forgotten to create a hat for the occasion, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Magill was given a large dunce’s cap made from a newspaper. What she labeled “…Am a dunce!”

The notable creations were modeled by: Mrs. Edwin Stevens, left, Mrs. Christine Wheeler Heil and Mrs. Carroll Walker, center and Miss Verda Farrar. (GD Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missouri Archives)

What is the origin of the Facultyettes? How did the band get its name. Excerpts from the minutes taken from a scrapbook dating from 1924 reveal these facts and, in addition, offer an interesting reading. It’s history:

THE TIME: An afternoon in September 1924.

THE CHARACTERS, in order of appearance: Librarian, Sadie T. Kent; two secretaries, Edna N. Wilson and Christine W. Randolph; an English teacher, Martha C. Shea.

A debate

RESOLVED — That women in the faculty should have fun.

For the alternative: The librarian, the two secretaries, the English teacher.

For the negative: 0.

THE DECISION — Unanimous, in favor of the affirmative


THE TIME: An afternoon in September 1924.

LOCATION: A shady spot on campus, west of the Academic Hall.

THE CHARACTERS: Twenty-five Beautiful Ladies (faculty).

PROPERTIES: Twenty-five bottles of milk, 50 sandwiches, 150 cookies, a bushel of fruit, a large basket of donuts. Lots of celebrations (eating business).

TWENTY MINUTES LATER: Twenty-five beautiful ladies; 25 empty milk bottles, a large empty basket.

A GREAT DISCUSSION: When, where and how to have fun.

RESOLVED — That this group hereby organize a club.

RESOLVED TO ELECT THE OFFICERS: Miss Sadie Trezevant Kent, President; Miss Martha Catherine Shea, vice-president; Mrs. Christine Wheeler Randolph, secretary; members…

RESOLVED — That this club must have a name. As this proposal proved too important to be decided in a hurry, it was agreed that each member would propose a name, these suggestions would be put to a vote at the next meeting and a prize would be awarded to the chosen name.

October 1924.

A sausage roasted at Ferme Brucher. Hostesses: Mis Brucher, Mrs Eicholtz, Miss Rehkopf, Miss LeMasters, Mrs Townsend.

A big bonfire. Smoked sausages, bacon, tomatoes, buns, coffee, apples, persimmons, pumpkin pie topped with 3 inches of whipped cream. After doing justice to this party, the bonfire was replenished and in its light the list of proposed names for the club was read and voted on:

1. As you like it. 2. Beavers transformed butterflies. 3. Beautiful Serene. 4. Come play for a while. 5. Drop your dignity. 6. Faculty Flappers. 7. Follies of the Faculty. 8. Fun and Frolic. 9. Party people. 10. Happy Thought Club. 11 Go out for fun. 12. Pleasure seekers. 13. The Touchstone Club. 14. The village vampires. 15. FACULTYETTES.

Vote of 20

There was a scattered vote in favor of several of the names (and) a close race between “The Faculty Flappers” and “The Village Vamps”, but those two worthy appellations were far outdistanced by “Facultyettes”, and by a vote more from 20 the club became LES FACULTYETTES.

President Kent asked the initiator of this idea to stand. Miss Esther Knehans came forward modestly to claim the honor and the prize – a box of sparklers. President Kent then ordered that, as Miss Knehans had kept her light hidden under a bushel all this time, she should now adopt the attitude of the goddess of liberty and shine for the edification of her colleagues here assembled. This scene was so effective, the pose and the lighting so becoming, that all faculties were jealous. Miss Knehans generously divided the sparklers, all participated in a beautiful tableau, and the sausage roast ended brilliantly…”

Among the founders, only Mrs. Heil (then Mrs. Randolph), was present for the Hat Revue. Today, membership numbers about 75 and is made up mostly of single female teaching and non-teaching staff.

Today, as in its beginnings, the Club des Facultéettes is established above all to have fun. The dinner meetings are presented at the three or four gatherings of each school year and with them, generally, is presented a type of novelty entertainment.

“It seems,” said Ms. Beall, outgoing president, “that our ‘founders’ met more often than we do now and played a lot of bridge.” It hasn’t been said that next year is another year that will bring with it more gay parties and funfests for The Facultyettes.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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