HENDRIX COLLEGE ARKANSAS ATHLETICS and WWI PHOTO ALBUM 1914-1918 - SPANISH FLU - UC BERKELEY
Although the embossed seal on this 13 ¼” x 10 ¼” album says “Seal of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Oklahoma, the album begins with a photograph of four young men standing under the entrance to Hendrix College, which is in Conway, Arkansas. An assumption one could make is that the experiences documented within started at Hendrix, and then perhaps the compiler transferred to what is now Oklahoma State.
The album is filled with photos of college life, many of them related to athletics, especifically track and field. Towards the end of the album, the photos turn to the Army. Apparently the compiler volunteers or is inducted into the Army. He is at least in the service long enough that there is a photo of two young soldiers wearing masks, obviously to ward off the Spanish flu.
The pages of the album are attached to the bindings, except for the first two. The second page has split down the middle---the photos front and back are not affected. There are 39 pages, though the last ten pages are blank. A number of pages toward the back are missing completely, the only evidence the small strip with the hole punches that attached to the binding. There are approximately 170 photos in the album, plus 26 cut-outs, smaller images of mostly young men which have been scissored from snapshots and used to decorative effect on three different pages. The most effective, or at least the most memorable, of the cutouts is one of a dog, a pointer posing, from the looks of him. That one was very carefully done (as are the others, but the dog is a standout). All the images in the album are glued in.
While the photographs of college life are fairly typical, and the photographs of army barracks life the same, the emphasis on male athletic pursuits in this album is notable. There are 16 images of various men’s track and field activities, three of men’s basketball, including one spectacular page that shows the starting five of the team, with their coach, posed with a trophy. This large photo is surrounded by 20 cutouts of various players. On another page with a 6” x 4” photo of five basketball players, the fellow in the center is holding a basketball on which “College Champion 1914” has been painted. This photo in the center of the page is surrounded by five more cutouts, four full figures of other players, and one smaller head of a man who is probably the coach. There are more photos of athletic pursuits when the album shifts to Oklahoma, though the numbers are fewer.
The shift away from college life is marked by a single page with an oversize snapshot of an American flag. Three large, 8” X 10” images appear on the three pages following, two showing groups of soldiers on a parade ground, and one memorable photo showing a large group of soldiers performing calisthenics. These photos appear to be the work of a professional photographer. On the next four pages, there are scenes of a campus on the west coast in two 8” x 6” photos, and two 6” by 8”, each occupying its own page. All of these may be scenes at The University of California at Berkeley, as one of them identifies itself, in printing at the bottom, as a photo of The Campanile there. Other photos of soldiers follow, mostly snapshots, including the photo of two soldiers sitting on some steps outside a barracks, wearing masks. The album ends with three photos of more west coast buildings, again, possibly at Cal Berkeley.
There are not a lot of photos of young women in the album, though there are several from a women’s basketball and tennis team. The album provides a lovely record of an athletic college life, followed by preparation for war, sadly, circumstances that would repeat themselves again in the 20th century.