Friday, March 21, 2014

"Sweet and good as girls ever were": Women's Basketball at Samford

Since March is a big time for college basketball and women’s history, the Special Collection thought it would be interesting to take a little look at early women’s basketball at Samford University, or, more accurately Howard College.

1923 Howard College Women's Basketball team

The Howard Collegian was the campus magazine in the early 20th century. In March of 1903, ten years before the campus would become co-ed, the magazine published an article criticizing women’s involvement with basketball, and possibly, all athletics.

1903 Howard Collegian article about the dangers of women in sports

“We believe that girls are, as a rule, just as sweet and good as girls ever were, but it is, we think a dangerous departure for colleges to public athletics among girl students. Dangerous for the reason that society depends to a large extent upon the element of reverence in a man’s love for women and, whether just or unjust, the fact remains that if a women attempts to be like a man it makes men think no more of her than if she were one.”

However, after the school became co-ed in 1913 and the first women’s team was organized, we believe, over the 1921-1922 school year.  Here is the team as they appear in the 1922 Entre Nous.
1921-1922 Howard University Women's Basketball team

They played Auburn, Birmingham Southern, Central College and Jefferson County High. The entire Entre Nous from 1922 can be viewed at the Internet Archive, as can all of the Entre Nous yearbooks. 

The next year, the team got their first coach, George Yarbough. They appear in the 1923 Entre Nous. Interestingly, there was no men’s basketball team that year, only a women’s team. 

Thanks to Rachel Cohen, Archivist and User Services Librarian, Special Collection, for pictures and text.

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