Stephens College

My dad always said his grandmother went to Stephens College.  The college was founded in 1833 in Columbia, MO not far from the state capitol of Jefferson City.   Stephens was originally a Baptist college for women.   Dad sometimes embroidered his stories but he didn’t fabricate so I believe Alice Lillian Jackson probably did attend Stephens and went on to teach school in Vinita, Oklahoma for many years.

I figure she would have attended sometime around 1883.  She was married in 1886 and teaching in Vinita shortly thereafter.  Sadly the college has no records before 1900.  I spent an enjoyable time today with the Archivist, Dr. Alan Havig, a retired history professor and looked through the existing yearbooks. It was very interesting to see the young women pictured in their long white dresses and impossibly small waists.  Their hair was usually piled on their head in masses, tendrils escaping and curling along their necks and foreheads.   Many of them were very beautiful young women; they came from as far as Colorado and Illinois but most were from Missouri.

I did find a contingent of students from Vinita, Oklahoma in the 1909 yearbook “Stephensophia” which made me wonder if my great grandmother facilitated their going to what may have been her alma mater.  I especially liked to read that May Day Clark was in attendance!

This is the original building which housed all the out-of-town students and still does–though plumbing has been installed.  The girls slept 4 to a room in bunk beds; each room had a small coal brasier which was started by an employee in the early morning so the room would be warm when the young ladies arose and dressed.  Columbia didn’t have a railroad through-line so the Katy RR had a spur from Centralia, MO that shuttled students and Columbians into town and back.  This is a beautiful campus only a few blocks from the MU campus which is also lovely.

Historic Senior Hall Stephens College

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