Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Look Back: the Howard Masquers

The Howard Masquers, later known simply as the Masquers, were a student group on campus that contained both drama majors and other interested students. The Masquers performed many different plays throughout their years on campus and today the Special Collection would like to share some photos of their past productions.
Puck, Cindy Kirby, and  Nick Bottom, Harold Hunt, in the 1964 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Howard College.

Directed by Harold Hunt, the Masquers performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1964. Hunt also played the part of Bottom. The Howard Crimson reported that the performance was an “impressive production” in their March 13th, 1964 review of the play.

Titania, Sherlee Scribner, and Nick Bottom, Harold Hunt, in the 1964 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Howard College.

Waiting for Godot is play by Samuel Beckett, in which Vladimir and Estragon wait endlessly for someone named Godot. The set of the play features a very important large tree which was constructed by students for the 1972 production by the Masquers. Chuck Leachman and Rich DuBois played the main characters, Vladimir and Estragon.
A photograph of Jay Smith and Charles Sievers in the 1972 Samford College production of Waiting for Godot.
The tree in construction for the Samford College production of Waiting for Godot in 1972.


Chuck Leachman and Rich DuBois in Waiting for Godot in 1972.

The Misanthrope by Moliere is a comedy of manners first performed in 1666.  In typical Moliere style, the play features lovers, deception and a harsh criticism of societies’ frivolity. The Misanthrope was performed on campus by the Masquers in 1973. Though most of the cast is unknown, Beck Britton, Kim Harzard and Chuck Leachman were all in the production.

The 1973 production of The Misanthrope preformed on the Samford University campus. Neither actor is identified. 

Kim Hazzard and an unidentified fellow actor in the 1973 production of The Misanthrope. 
Pictures and text provided by Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Look Back: A Samford Production of Pygmalion and George Bernard Shaw's Birthday

July is the birthday month of George Bernard Shaw. To celebrate, The Special Collection would like to share some photographs of the campus 1957 production of Pygmalion, one of Shaw’s most well-known plays. 

Rod Davis as Colonel Pickering and Lou Jean Porter as Eliza Doolittle in the 1957 Pygmalion production.

Pygmalion is the story of Professor Henry Higgins, who bets he can train Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower seller, to pass for gentility at a party by teaching her proper English speech.  A biting satire of the British class system and a commentary on women's independence, Shaw was adamant that the play would not end with Professor Henry Higgins marrying Eliza Dolittle.  Despite his protests, this was exactly the ending audiences desired.  Directors regularly transformed the story into a romance, much to the disgust and protest of Shaw. 

The cast in dress rehearsal for the Howard College production of Pygmalion in 1957. 
After Shaw’s death, the romantic musical My Fair Lady transformed the story entirely, making it a romance and gaining mass popularity. It’s through My Fair Lady that most people know the story today. 
A photograph of a cast member, identified on the back of the photograph as Linda Jones, in make up for the 1957-1958 production of Pygmalion

Text and photographs contributed by Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Church Life in Alabama




Along with being the university archives, the Special Collection is the repository for the Alabama Baptist State Convention and strives to preserve the history Alabama’s religious life. Collecting photographs of churches and church activities throughout the state allows the Special Collection to document Baptist life in Alabama.


River Baptisms, for example, are not common anymore, but were very common in the early 20th century when this photo was taken. Though not featured in this picture, long poles were used to check the depth of the water, making sure it wasn’t dangerously deep. The church members stand on the river bank of the Cahaba River ready to welcome a new member to First Baptist Church, Trussville.



Stewardship revivals are done to help church budgets and finances.  This stewardship revival took place at the Johntown Baptist Church in June of 1947.  The church interior might look familiar- it was used in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.



Baptist churches may choose to be members of Baptist associations, known as BAs in the Special Collection. In the Alabama Baptist State Convention, Baptist associations are organized along geographic lines. There’s a great map of the current Alabama Baptist associations on the Special Collection webpage

Annually, Baptist associations meet for discussion and fellowship. This meeting of the Central Baptist Association in 1903 was held at the First Baptist Church in Weogufka, Alabama, and was attended by many pastors and messengers from various churches.



Of course, associational meetings were also occasions for festivities as can be seen in this 1914 picnic photograph.

Many of our students here at Samford and many of us are members of Sunday school groups not unlike this one in 1900 at the East Gadsden Baptist Church, part of the Etowah Baptist Association.


These are only a few of the wonderful photographs housed in the Special Collection documenting the rich religious life of Alabama. 

Images and Text contributed by Rachel Cohen of the University Special Collection.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Library Closed July 4th for Independence Day


The Davis Library will be closed on July 4th, 2014, for Independence Day.  

We will re-open on Saturday, July 5th, at 10:00am.  

Have a safe and blessed holiday!


From "United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges." Cia World Factbook. Washington: CIA, 2012. Credo Reference. Web. 27 June 2014.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Look Back: The Glee Club Conundrum

As an archive, the Special Collection takes great care in properly labeling our items, but sometimes we get it wrong. Recently, we came across a photo which was simply marked on the back “53-54” and appeared to be a group of male chorus members. Filed with several other photos of choruses and glee clubs, there wasn’t any reason to doubt the penciled dates or that it was the Men’s Chorus.

But when it was noticed that the director of the chorus was wearing the exact same outfit, down to the jewelry, as she wore in a photo of the Women’s Glee Club from 1946-1947, we got curious.  Could it be that this photo was actually a photo of the Men’s Glee Club from 1946-1947, rather than a photo of the Men’s Chorus from 1953-1954?

The first step to finding out was to find out who the women in the photo was. Fortunately, our Women’s Glee Club photo was labeled. She was Kathleen Martinson, a vocal instructor. Checking the Howard College Bulletin for the year 1946 informed us that she was the director of the Glee Clubs. The first mention of her in the bulletin was in 1939 and she appeared in every catalog as an instructor until 1964, which told us that this was her last year teaching.

Caption: Kathleen Martinson, the Glee Club director, appears in both photos and was the sign to the Special Collection that our Men’s Glee Club photo had the wrong dates written on it. She was a professor at Howard College (now Samford University) from 1939 until 1964. 
Since we were basing our assumption that this photo was from the 1940s on our Women’s Glee Club photo, we need to confirm that our Women’s Glee Club photo was actually from the 1946-1947 school year. Since it was labeled with the student’s names, we were able to check them against the student records, confirming that they had attended during the 1946-1947 school year. Knowing that photo was properly labeled, confirmed our suspicions that our Men’s Chorus Photo has was not from 1952-1953, but rather from 1946-1947.


 Caption: Ladies Glee Club of Howard College in 1946-1947. The photo is labeled on the front with the women's names. 1st row: Mya Gravlee, Maude Ellen Jordan, Loretta Rosebrough, Kathleen Martinson, Director, Majorie Sue Barcliff, Nancy Smith, Jimsy Murphree. 2nd Row: Miriam Cockrell, Martha Jean Harris, Anna Belle Counts, Mildred Hughes, Nell Gardner, Ann Breeden, Jane Frame, Evelyn Reed, Patricia Trent, Martha Ann Ingram. 3rd Row: Wilma Rosebrough, Sue Marion, Edith Van Keuren, Margie Perkinson, Iva Nell Hurt, Wilma Simmons, Patricia Parker, Billie Joe Butterworth.

Caption: Men’s Glee Club 1946-1947. Originally labeled with the years 1952-1953

A new label was penciled onto the back of the photograph and our records were corrected. All in the days work when tracking the history of Samford University. 

All text and photographs provided by Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection.