McMinn, Reba Letters
Processed by: Williams, Cory E.
Reba McMinn, a student from Childress, Texas, studied at Southwestern University Ladies’ Annex from 1913-14. McMinn transferred from Southwestern University to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In 1917, she attended graduate school at Columbia University in New York City.
The collection contains McMinn’s letters to hometown friend Mary Biggerstaff throughout McMinn’s college experiences. Biggerstaff, who was approximately a year behind McMinn, studied at TCU in Fort Worth. Most of the letters were written consistently once a week (Thursdays for the most part.) Several letters from her friends Intha, Frieda Wirtz, and May accompany the collection.
Box and Folder
September 25, 1913—breakfast; bell schedule; Fannie Dobie, Kate Laws, Florence _?_; Chapel service briefly described (no “lady teachers”); matriculation, taking placement exams; weather, rain, umbrellas, parasols, “stores out of overshoes”; dinner-bell and menu; Eldridge Dobie (Fannie’s brother); settling tuition; library on the third floor of the Main building to get books; “better to go here (SU) than to State for the first two years”; drawing of the floor plan, she and her roommate Edythe were next to the matron’s room (which had the post office), piano at the end of the hall (“rags all the time”); Reba’s class schedule; drawing of their own room lay-out
October 9, 1913—hot weather; homework load; pennants; friendship, “going with” a girl; mail twice a day; SU football team to play State; staying in the Annex over Thanksgiving; “landscaping”, violets, fountain, bermuda grass; negroes working; automobiles, driving, swell cars, negro “chiffoneers”; beginning gymnasium work
October 17, 1913—Annex meeting, reading the Constitution, “mile long”, Honor Council; Dr. Bishop; football, boys to play Daniel Baker (the Presbyterian boys’ school), rally, practicing yells; English, Latin, History, Geometry; Annex lights “wink” at night to signal lights out in a few minutes; cutting classes ten minutes after the gong; absences and excuses, being sick; date night; the annual “Southwestern”; homework
October 23, 1913—football; Lyceum course; exchanging teachers between two German classes every two weeks; Prof. Eddy, Mr. McGinnis; Prof. Moore (history); Mondays off (holiday) instead of Saturday; tennis
October 30, 1913—weather getting cooler; food; six weeks exams; many girls “run automobiles”; Prep boy beaten by Austin, not University boys (football?); Halloween party, expects pranks from the boys; Kate (Laws) and Fannie (Dobie) tell Reba not to study so much
November 14, 1913—Lyceum the night before, Miss Sarah Mildred Millner gave “the piece about the persecution of Christians by Nero”; dates; her hair is oily, girls washing their hair and drying out on porches on sunny day; substitute teacher in math; library, to see what the “periodicals say about the political question”; Prof. Moore nicknamed “Sleepy”; lectures, homework; football team beat by “little Trinity”; societies, sororities, fraternities, clubs: East Texas, West Texas, “B” club, Preachers’ Sons and Daughters; “Mary”, “John”, Spanish, German, Smith, David; signing full names on themes
November 20, 1913—so much work to do; the range of questions on a test (politics or civics?); lecture on Mexico, how Catholicism is ruining the country; gym twice a week; sleeping, almost being late to class; two new lamp posts out in front; going to the picture show; football, University team loses every game
November 29, 1913—short note, all in German
[missing January 5, 1914 letter, mentioned in letter of February 5, 1914]
January 14, 1914—gym, folk dancing lessons; convention at Kansas City from all nations in the world, delegate spoke in chapel; German class, reading “Der Hase und die Schildfrote” Professor Lienberg from Germany
January 23, 1914—warm weather; train schedules; Mr. McGinnis, English assignment to write an article for Atlantic Monthly; election day, badges on ribbons, signs and pamphlets all over campus; boy died from Scarlet Fever; German script alphabet
February 5, 1914—mother coming up to visit; post office, no letter in the “M” box; a friend, Bettie Kennedy left school; Bettie Kennedy and Reba plan to meet at SMU the next year; math and English classes mentioned; current events, Murphy and Tammany; Every Woman playing in Austin; Reba and Mary turn eighteen; themes, history class; SATC mention
February 11, 1914—German class; end of the first six weeks term; signing up for the train (Intha Collins), Reba’s mother coming to visit; going to town with her mother for errands; Lyceum number, Edmund Vance Cook “quite a noted poet”; debate between SU boys and TCU; girls’ basketball game between freshmen-sophomores and juniors-seniors, in the fourth floor basketball room—boys came; another game in “Roundrock”; Prep boys won a game against St. Edward’s (a Catholic boys school);
February 15, 1914—SU versus. TCU debate, SU won; Prep basketball team won the State championship, girls’ basketball team traveling; sorority party (clothing); class sponsored picnics; activities in the Annex; a woman missionary from Mexico; YWCA-Prof. Grandberry’s wife to speak on “White Slavery”
February 21, 1914—cleaning; homework (themes); lots of girls going home for the weekend (special occasion?); Lyceum-Dr. McConnel, his father was a noted lawyer in the South; Miss Head spoke at dinner, “a noted woman in the missionary movement”; a girl’s birthday party; date-night; girls’ (basketball?) winning over State and a school in San Antonio, played Denton Normal; to wash their hair, they got water from a cistern; Corean Love, a student; German class; weather; peach trees in bloom February 28, 1914—Reba and Mary turn eighteen; English class, history homework; Churchill’s novel Inside of the Cup; rules more strict; sandstorms in Childress; Prep girls’ (basketball?), Prep won playing by boys’ rules, the other team won playing by girls’ rules
March 7, 1914—Reba’s birthday; picnic for Alamo day, going to the San Gabriel River in wagonettes and cars, swimming, climbing rocks, dinner, taking pictures, boy and girl baseball game; getting sunburned, using Almond cream; girls wearing middies; exams
March 13, 1914—math homework; planning class schedules; Preps to play the Deaf and Dumb School in Austin; cooking with a chaffing dish; playing tennis; “legs (“limbs”)” hurting for some exercise
March 29, 1914—Sou’wester pictures taken out on the porch; public speaking class; German class; boys acting up in Chapel; baseball, the Topeka league, the new grandstand; going to the picture show, Reba has never “heard” a talking picture; Lion’s head (letter written after a visit to her grandparents)
April 16, 1914—train wreck at the corner of the University campus early Wednesday morning, four men killed and two men survived; recital, Mr. Seagle sang
April 20, 1914—sympathy letter to Mary about the death of Grandpa Biggerstaff
April 23, 1914—Southwestern and State baseball game, State won; race-Mexicans may “rise up”, Negroes; flowers, landscaping at the Annex; YWCA prayer meeting; gym-five demerits for missing, one girl fainted; classes; church; talked in History about the Mexican War, Germany, Japan and the U.S.
May 5, 1914—hot weather, heavy rains earlier; dinner; English class, short story; German class; studying late; gym
May 12, 1914—dinner; exams, classes; Everett Rittenhaur from Beeville
May 27, 1914—Reba got eye-glasses to read; exams schedule; two wrecks on Katy rail line caused by rain; seniors graduating (SU); speaking in public speaking, “suffragette stump speeches”; Kodak pictures mentioned
mailed June 12, 1914, no date—finals, arrangements to move back home; SU Homecoming
mailed September 24, 1915—from Dallas, Reba at SMU, Mary at TCU; making arrangements, moving in
January 23, 1916—from Dallas/SMU?; Reba joined as charter member of the Kappa Delta sorority; five members total, initiation, alumni locations, rushing, officers, colors, flower, jewels, pin
February 1917 (not dated)—from New York, Reba at Columbia with her mother arriving in New York, finding an apartment ten blocks from Columbia campus; grocery stores, foods; drawing of the layout of the apartment; apartment has gas and electricity; close to the subway and the elevated train; one of the biggest entrances to Central Park is a half a block away; possible U.S. involvement in way (World War I) mentions, with New York the center of action, explosives, “Deutsch,” every house with U.S. flags, singing national hymns, newsboys selling “war extras,” Germans in the city, German ships stuck here, “mortally guarded”; cold but everyone wears thin clothing because houses, cars, etc are heated; meeting people from Texas, Southwestern, and SMU; dates; admissions, matriculating at the university (Columbia)
not dated—“Test Reba’s English Teacher Gave Them,” daily test, not an exam
program, June 13, 1916—Southern Methodist University first commencement exercises, Reba Uarda McMinn included; small photograph of two girls (same girl, two images)
February 1915—from Georgetown, Texas, from Intha to Eda; classes, exams, Reba mentioned-tatting, gardening; practicing for May Day
April 1915—from Intha to Mary; breakfast picnic; baseball rally
July 4, 1915—from TCU, from Frieda Wirtz to Mary; family, travel; classes
July 4, 1915—from TCU, Jarvis Hall, from May to Mary; July 4th holiday plans; family at home canning fruits and vegetables; making salt in lab; small photograph included of six young women in nursing(?) uniforms, one of them named.