Monday, September 28, 2020

The General Reflects on 100 Years of Ole Miss History Through Yearbooks

Jim Stephens (“The General”) has collected over 90 years of Ole Miss annuals during the previous 35 years. Recently, the General shared 1918, 1919 and 1928 books with me and their contents.

The General holding his 1928 pride and joy.
The General holding his 1928 pride and joy.

What is particularly interesting about the 1919 book is the faculty. Names such as Bondurant, Bishop, Brown, Guyton and Hume were all included with so many latter buildings being named in their honor. Alfred Hume was the Dean of Liberal Arts, Professor of Math and Vice-Chancellor. In the 1920s he would become Chancellor. (His granddaughter was the smartest person in my high school class.)

The 1919 yearbook was divided into five sections. Number one was “Military” apparently influenced by WWI. The acronym “SATC” was highlighted which stood for Students Army Training Corps Unit apparently a forerunner of ROTC. Next came Section II “University” featuring faculty and students. Section III was “Athletics” which described the 1918 football season. The first game that year was November 9th at West Point. Section IV “Student Activities” followed with Section V “Miscellaneous” pulling up the rear.

The 1918 book included an ad for the Hotel Chisca in Memphis which proudly stated: “Absolutely Fire Proof.” Rooms were $1.50 without bath and $2 with. This yearbook featured the Confederate Monument and displayed photos of Gordon Hall and the Medical Building. Whatever became of these two structures would be of interest. The 1918 book also included an outlook for baseball that year which referred to catchers as receivers. Coach C.R. Noble who coached all sports was in his first year. He had 7 of 22 returning baseball players that season.

In the 1928 annual there was a reference to the War Between the States opposed to the term “Civil War.” A photo of The Lyceum showed trees directly in front obscuring the six columns somewhat. The 1902 archway was highlighted. Three fraternities (Phi Epsilon, Phi Pi Phi and Alpha Delta Mu) were featured with two being founded in 1926 on the campus.

I asked the General why he enjoys these yesteryear journals so much. He replied that they represent a chronicled history of Ole Miss reflections in time. He especially is fond of the 1979 yearbook because of its cover. He still is seeking the 1897 book which is número uno for the university. He has seen one, however, in the J.D. Williams Library.

Knowing the General as I do, he will not stop short until he has it. His Ole Miss memorabilia collection is second to none. How anyone could love this university more is debatable. Living in Oxford is a bonus for the General and his family. Living anywhere else would be problematic.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at or call him at 985-852-7745.

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