Transcribed from College Symposium of the Kansas State Agricultural College Topeka, Kansas: The Hall & O'Donald Litho Co. 1891.


During the spring term and summer vacation of 1887, the question of a young ladies' literary society was agitated to a considerable extent. The first day of the fall term of '87 found a group of girls engaged in discussing the advisability of making such a move. Finally, with the aid and approval of Mrs. Kedzie, the plan was tried. Committees were appointed to draw up a constitution and by-laws, under which officers were elected as follows:

Julia R. Pearce, President.
Dora Van Zile, Vice-President.
Nellie P. Little, Recording Secretary.
Carrie K. Hunter, Corresponding Secretary.
Tina Louise Coburn, Marshal.

Twenty-three organizing members were enrolled. Their names are as follows:

Alice Abbott, Carrie K. Hunter. Anna Snyder,
Allie Atwood, Doris Kinney, Jane Tunnell,
Gertie Coburn, Mary Lee, Alice Vail,
Tina L. Coburn, Nellie Little, Dora Van Zile,
Minnie Cowell, Tulliola McCormick, Fanny Waugh,
Eunice Donaldson, Susan Nichols, Flora Wiest,
Anna Fairchild, Josie Pearce, Esther Zeitz.
Franc Green, Julia Pearce,  

The progress of this new society was watched with much interest by everyone, and the faculty thought there was no harm in trying the experiment.

Meetings were held in the north corridor until the fall of '88, when the southeast room in the third story was given to the Hamilton and the Ionian societies as their future meeting place. By them it was transformed from a bare, uninviting room to the cosy, well-furnished society room which it now is. The society has grown until now it is one of the strongest of the four literary organizations, and has a membership of over sixty. The large and constantly increasing membership will necessitate more spacious apartments in the near future.

The object of the society is, as stated in the words of the preamble of the constitution, "For our mutual improvement and the cultivation of the forensic art, literature, and music." In the years the society has existed and flourished, it has more than accomplished the objects stated in the few words of the preamble. Parliamentary rulings in the society have never been extensively practiced, because the work of the society has ever been so harmonious that much knowledge of these rules has never been necessary.

The ladies who have presided over this society are in order as follows:

Julia R. Pearce, fall, '87. Fanny E. Waugh, fall, '89.
Anna Snyder, winter, '88. Julia R. Pearce, winter, '90.
Minnie Cowell, spring, '88. Mayme A. Houghton, spring, '90.
Jennie C. Tunnell, fall, '88. Tina L. Coburn, fall, '90.
Susan W. Nichols, winter, '89. Alice Vail, winter, '91.
Gertie Coburn, spring, '89. Maude E. Whitney, spring, '91.

In the spring term of '90 the society, as its first effort at public entertainment, ventured to give an exhibition. The effort was pronounced by all one of the very best entertainments of the kind ever given in the college chapel. The second annual exhibition, given April 24, 1891, was considered an improvement, if possible, on the one given April 25, 1890,

We can but hope that the society will exist in the years to come as a necessary part of the K. S. A. C., and that its work and influence will aid many Kansas girls to become good, true women.


Gertie Coburn, Mayme Houghton, Carrie Stingley,
Tina L. Coburn, Lotta Short, Fanny Waugh.
Effie Gilstrap, Alice Vail, Maude Whitney.
Susie Hall, Ora Wells,  
Inez Avery, Eusebia Mudge, Mary Pierce,
Mildred Frost, Lizzie Myers, Ada Rice,
Jessie Hunter, Bessie Morrison, Jennie Selby,
Maude Knickerbocker, Clara Pender, Clara Short,
Mary Lyman, Ida Pape, Phoebe Turner,
Edith McDowell, Kate Pierce, Dora Thompson,
    Jessie Whitford.
Emma Adams, Harriet Dodson, Ellen Nilson,
Carrie Beatty, Josie Finley, Martha Pape,
Florence Corbett, Maria Hanlin, Lottie Puckett,
Mabel Cornell, Gertrude Haulenbeck, Mabel Selby,
Verta Cress, Marie Haulenbeck, Lillie Secrest,
Elsie Crump, Blanche Hayes, Ida Staver,
Daisy Day, Rena Helder, Emma Stump,
Flora Day, Alice Horton, Jessie Tinkham,
Lillian Davis, Ivy Kellerman, Hilda Walters,
lone Dewey, Minnie Moffett, Myrtle Whaley,
    Hannah Wetzig.



[An address at the First Annual Exhibition of the Ionian Society, of the
State Agricultural College.]

Europe is a continent of literature, America a continent of invention. These two, placed on opposite sides of the earth, with the rolling Atlantic between, are not more widely separated in their position than they are in their characteristics.

Europe, by her broken surface and irregular coast line, is divided into small nations, each living so distinct from the other that entirely different languages may sometimes be found on the opposite sides of a mountain. America, with her sweeping prairies and vast extent, is peopled with one nation, the American, as it were, with one purpose, one interest, from Cape Horn to Baffin's Bay. The Europeans, reared for ages in the narrow confines of small districts, hemmed in by mountains, have had to let their minds soar upward, the only outlet; so their productions have been idealistic, and on their roll of fame are names of great sculptors, poets, dramatists, artists, and singers. The myths and legends which are to be found among every petty tribe gave food for poetic fancy. The stability of their institutions gave but little chance for change and reformation. Each man lived the life laid down for him and never felt the restless activity of the American, who knows that each man's fortune depends upon his own exertions. Here, the trials and privations of a pioneer's life left no room for dreaming. He must depend on labor and inventive genius to furnish him the tools which he could not afford to have sent from Europe. The intense activity of the American people is in direct contrast to the life of the plodding peasant. The rush of business and whirr of machinery has taken the place of the speculation and theory of the European. Europe has a poet or a poet's memory in every glade. America has a whittling Yankee at every gate post.

And that Yankee! Compare him with the stolid, slow going, indifferent German, and you have the types of the New World and the Old. From the well fed Englishman, who spends three hours at his dinner, to Hans Schmidt, who sits smoking with his companions and drinking beer in the coffee house, on south to the indolent Spaniard and Italian, who spend their days lolling in the sun and their nights in amorously rattling the castanet or twanging their guitars, all Europe has been content to do as their fathers have done. The same old latch, the same old plow, the queer, uncomfortable furniture will do, as it has done for ages.

The Yankee, the inventive, the inquisitive, honest hearted Yankee is a product of America only. His native haunts were among the hills of New England; but he went west. His descendants scattered all over this glorious continent, and may now be found anywhere on the road from Terra del Fuego to Behring Straits, till all the Americas have been Yankeefied. What is the characteristic of the Yankee that distinguishes him from the European? Go into any New England home for your answer. He will hasten to show you his new lock, hinge, wrench, a gate that will open when the carriage approaches and close when it is passed, or a machine for baking buckwheat cakes, into which you put the batter and receive in three minutes a hot cake. All about his premises are multitudes of these little labor saving contrivances which he proudly shows to foreigners, and explains the details and how they all work; for everything works from the patented lemon squeezer to a steam engine or the Atlantic cable. Everything he knows he applies.

This application of scientific truth is characteristic of the American. He hasn't the turn for the careful investigation of the true scientist merely for the love of it. The European investigates; the American applies the principles. Nowhere in America do we find such universities as they have in Germany. They study science as a purely intellectual gymnastics, and the American, taking their knowledge, applies it to the needs of mankind; makes it carry his burdens, light his houses and streets, print his books, or even talk for him, as the phonograph now does. The foundation of science lies in the fact "of the indestructibility of the two products of creation - matter and force, and the fruit of their union - energy." It has been the work of the American to apply this energy. The Frenchman Boursuel could discover the principles of transmitting sound to a distance; but it took Graham Bell to make the telephone. Jablakoff could introduce electric candles; but it took an American to produce the electric lighting system. A European could predict the steamboat and possibly tell you how it might be made; but it took a Yankee to make it and make it go. While the Old World swung the scythe, McCormick made his famous reaper. For ages sewing girls stitched patiently away until a Yankee comes forward with the sewing machine. We have no Darwin, no Pasteur; but we have Cyrus Field and we've an Edison.

A nation that contributes nothing to civilization and the progress of the human race has little right to its existence. What claim has the United States on the recognition of the world? Has she paid the debt of nation to nation? Let her records answer. No American need blush for his country's share in the production of the world's good, as he sends his messages across the continent or across the ocean on Yankee' telegraph lines and Yankee ocean cables. The Arabian carried his civilization to the Atlantic Ocean and turned back. The Yankee doesn't stop for any Atlantic Ocean, but sends his steamers over it, his cables under it, and his torpedoes through it.

Take from the world the work of Edison alone, and we would feel what America has done for civilization. This man, with his ceaseless activity, his inventive genius, simple in his habits, frank and cordial in his manner, keen in observation, quick to see and apply whatever may be put to his use, independent, practical in all his work, he combines the qualities and attributes of a typical American.

The dream of Henry Clay was "a continent of closely allied Republics, settling all difficulties and differences in an occasional Congress on the isthmus of Darien, wherein the honorable giant from Patagonia might join in harmonious debate with the honorable dwarf from Greenland." Whatever may be the future of our continent, the remotest parts united by the telegraph line, and one, two, three, four messages at the same time, and on the same wire, are flashed from ocean to ocean, from Arctic to Antarctic, when by means of the telephone and phonograph the pastor of Trinity Church preaches on Sunday morning to a congregation seated in their homes in Alaska, in California and in Chili, we will indeed be one people, and a man's neighbors will be the inhabitants of the American continent.

We will not shrink from the comparison of European Bard with American Inventor. As electricity sheds its beautiful light over American city and European city alike, sending its intense rays into the darkest alleys and byways, lighting the pathway of the traveler, or revealing the haunts of crime, so American science and Yankee ingenuity have sent their light to all the human race, enlightening with knowledge the darkest corners of the earth. And when, in the final marshalling of the nations, the benefactors of mankind shall be brought face to face, the Yankee will be given his reward, and Shakespeare will step across the ages to shake bands with our Edison.


[Oration delivered at the Ionian Annual, 1891, by Gertie Coburn.]

The modern girl, being an interesting creature, is much talked of, praised, blamed, loved and laughed at. Her brothers seem to be rather neglected, but while they are less popular and lovable they are fully as interesting and important. In this fast age the young people are accused of much nonsense, giddiness and mischief, but our best friends believe that we have a good deal of seriousness and practical sense ready when occasion demands it. While others are talking about us we may well turn our attention for a few minutes to ourselves, and, recognizing the fact that we boys and girls of this generation are about taking our places as the men and women of America, look soberly behind, joyfully around, and hopefully before us.

To feel our insignificance and weakness and inability, we have only to face the fact that for the first quarter of the 20th century the security, prosperity and glory of our nation depends on young America personally. To realize our strength, and gain courage for the race before us, we need only to make a little inventory of our wealth, advantages, privileges and abilities, and remember from whom we inherit strength, perseverance and energy.

In general, we occupy a position unparalleled in the history of the nations. I know it is the tendency of history and biography, poetry and romance, to make us think our ancestors far above us in every way. If a little distance lends enchantment, much lends more, and the farther back we go the more glowing the colors become, until in the "remotest antiquity," in "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome," are found subjects sufficiently indefinite and obscure to exhaust our vocabularies in laudation, when we scarcely know what we are talking about. But it does not take an extreme optimist to believe that the great and good people have not all disappeared from the earth, and that their posterity are not all inferior and deteriorating. Without taking into account the scum and driftwood of society, notice the position of young America as a whole.

It has been said that the chief corner stone of a nation is the hearthstone. Then our national corner stone is the nearest perfect ever yet found. With houses all that science, art and skilled labor can make them; with furnishings and conveniences to make all comfort and save much labor; with cooking reduced to a science, and eating to an art; with books and papers for all, and time to use them; with music and healthful amusements; with everything material that brain and hand and money can produce, - where can history show its equal?

Not far back we find no schools for the masses. Yet we do not remark at the idea of having a college on every hilltop and a school house in every valley, where boys and girls, black, red and white, may be educated as far as they desire. Our own grandmothers saw little of their brothers after school days began until marriage brought them together again, - the boys educated at college, the girls over work basket and kitchen table. Now brother and sister go up the hill of learning together. He carries her books and she helps him with hard lessons, while she is awarded the Torrey prize at Harvard and outdoes the senior wrangler at Cambridge. She takes physical training as well as mental, and from her complexion, figure and activity it is evident that she is not deteriorating. Boys and girls stand side by side in class room and on play ground, and their clear brains, broad chests, firm muscles, and whole physique promise the emancipation of a race from much of its former weakness and affliction.

The effects of modern education appear prominently in social life. Girls have acquired strength and individuality that give them the name advanced, and I believe they are just as gentle and ladylike still, though they make little tatting and talk much sensible truth. Their brothers are modest, sensible, brotherly fellows, with just as much wit and gallantry and more real manhood and purity than had the knights of old. They are not loungers nor dandies. Someone has said of the American gentleman, "His wholeheartedness, his broad, liberal thought, his nobility of soul are a glory to the nation and an honor to all mankind." The American woman believes that and tries to deserve her place beside him. And so equality in society - the narrowing of the difference between social requirements of boys and girls, is elevating both.

In the business world able men are needed to carry on the work of our fathers, and the right young men are ready in schools, on farms, in office and factory and shop and store - ready to make the country more prosperous still.

In public affairs the men now gone have made us great, and now our brothers are ready to do their part in guiding the ship of state safely through peaceful seas and possible storms. With the demand will appear men as grand and powerful as our Washington and Hamilton and Lincoln and Webster and Clay, from those who find in their names inspiration to higher thoughts and stronger efforts. With another war our brothers would fight as bravely and as well as any men of former days.

The young woman has a large field in which to use her power and ability. She is not clamoring for suffrage, but she takes an interest in public affairs, chooses and makes her career, earns her money, sees the world, and doesn't have to marry for money or protection. Still she makes the more devoted helpmate, efficient home-maker and womanly woman.

As we look around, we see from what fields are to come the men and women of to-morrow, in every department of life and work. Looking back from the heights where we stand, we may say with another, "We need no sign in the sky to assure us that a power greater and a plan more far reaching than any of man have been concerned in the progress;" and looking forward toward a new century, "it does not seem presumptuous to expect that consummations are still to be reached more delightful and stupendous." Make the picture what you will. Look through the coming years and see in America "the true home, the pure church, the righteous nation, the great, kind brotherhood of man." And then with such an ideal to be reached and kept by young America collectively, we may find inspiration for our individual living and thinking and working; and when our country is given the praise and honor due it, we, having done our part, may make an honest claim in saying, "We, too, are Americans."

How dear to our hearts are the memories of Ag. Chem.,
     Which tells us how turnips are properly grown,
Where Prof., with his bald head and the book he puts grades in,
     Was worried by notes in the days that are flown.

We studied of drainage, of tillage, of composts.
     Of everything horrid the author could say,
Till at last the term ended, and with it our sorrows,
     But the memory will linger for many a day.


College Symposium - Index
Introduction, History, 1863 to 1873, 1873 through 1878, 1878 and 1879, through 1879, Experiments and Experiment Station, Philosophy, Chemistry, Horticultural, Botanical, Mathematics, Industrial Art, Telegraph, English, Home Economics, Sewing, Mechanical, Music, Printing, Law, Farm, Military, Physics, Veterinary, Faculty and Assistants, Faculty Biographies, Alumni, Classes, College Organizations, Ionian #1, Ionian #2, Ionian #3, Hamilton #1, Hamilton #2, Hamilton #3, Alpha Beta #1, Alpha Beta #2, Alpha Beta #3, Webster #1, Webster #2, Webster #3, Webster #4, Editors and Church Directory, Advertisements#1, Advertisements#2, Advertisements#3

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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