Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweet Violet

110 years ago today Agnes Robertson Moorehead was born.  The world was yet unaware of the talented secreted away in this tiny baby.  Lavender Lady, Sweet Violet Shakespeare surely predicted your coming:

Sonnet XCIX.

The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.

Happy birthday darling girl!  We are all the better for having known you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You May Come Close.....But Not Too Close

This article was written by Bernice Mason.  I don't know exactly when because all I have is a copy that was among some papers that I got several years ago.  It is intriguing because it illustrates many instances of the abandoned sibling who has detached themselves from reality.  Interestingly enough the author picked it up as well.

"What is Agnes Moorehead really like as a person?  Since there seems to be some mystery surround her, it follows that there is much curiosity in the mind's of her TV fans who, for four years, have been highly entertained by her antics as the witch Endora, in ABC-TV's popular "Bewitched."

Throughout her career, audiences have always granted her enormous respect due her as an actress who has distinguished herself in radio, on the Broadway stage, in motion pictures and most recently, on television, which has accorded her two Emmy nominations for her role as Endora.  To these honors add the New York Critics Award for Best Actress of the Year for her screen performances in "The Magnificent Ambersons," plus five Academy Award nominations for "Johnny Belinda," "Mrs. Parkington," All That Heaven Allows," Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte," and , of course, "The Magnificent Ambersons."

So much mention has been made of her stellar career, but details of her personal life are not known.  There are things that have set people to wondering.  Signs....trail signs.  Signs that aren't actually there but you read them anyway--like Private Property, No Trespassing, and Stranger, Keep Out.  There also seems to be a general impression that she lives within a created impenetrable fortress composed of layer on layer of self protecting covering, perhaps to guarantee the safety of a hypersensitive spirit against the knife thrust of living...a fortress to which nobody would probably lay ruthless siege but which evokes the wonder if this fine, beautiful granite strength would crumble at too cruel a jest, too sweet a song, a too knowing surgeon's probe.

Any conversation with Agnes Moorehead should properly be held on or near a stage.  Which is why we caught up with her in the cavernous depths of Columbia Pictures' Stage 4, where Screen Gems is filming the fifth season of Bewitched.  Agnes comes off the set looking 20 years her junior, and we pick our way around cables, the lamps, the directors chairs to her dressing room. (For those who are color conscious, it is decorated in shades of violet.

She is gracious, professional, sincere, interested--and impersonal.  Lacking the terrible hardness of many other long established celebrities, her flexibility of manner is something like that of a good fencing foil, which can be bent into a circle without breaking yet is made of finely tempered steel.  For openers, she skates around for a long while on the edge of things.  In April, during the long filming hiatus, she had put on 23 one night stands of lectures in colleges across the country.  In May she had gone to Germany to act as a judge of seven plays produced by American  soldiers in different areas of the Western sector.  She had crossed into East Germany and found the wall sad.

We perceived that our questions would have to be abrupt and direct.  "Are you married, Agnes?"
"I was married--twice.  My first husband died.....The second one I divorced."  She speaks of it with a surprising lack of interest.  "I've been single since 1954,"  she adds--the only information she was to volunteer.
"Do you have any children?"
"My foster son Sean."
"How did you find him?  How old was he then?"
"He was a year and a half old.  My doctor told me about him...He was a legitimate child with about 14 brothers and sisters.  His mother had put six of them up for adoption.  Sean was very anemic, his little eyes were crossed, he had  bad teeth and a spot on his lung."
"A foster son....You didn't think of adopting him?"
"I couldn't.  I was single at the time and single women then weren't permitted to adopt babies.  But I took him into my home and raised him as my own son.  He's grown now and has gone out somewhere on his own."
"You don't know where he is now?"
"No, I haven't heard from him in quite a while."  There is no emotion in the things she says.  Now, quite suddenly, she flashes a most unexpected and radiant smile. "But that's all right.  That's the way boys are."

Agnes comes from a religious family, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister Rev. and Mrs. John H. Moorehead, of Scottish descent.  "I'm a religious girl," she says, "a fundamentalist not a modernist in any sense.  I've lived my life by prayer and faith and the belief that I will always be guided.  I've never had a problem that the Lord couldn't solve.  I put everything into the lord's hands.  It has given me serenity.  Of course, I got much of my religious thought from my father and mother.  In college I didn't think about religious things; I didn't know the depth and meaning.  But now....well, I'm no paragon of virtue or anything like that, but I am aware-I'm very aware...I know who I am.  I've been blessed materially and I'm really grateful for everything.  But if it were all to be gone tomorrow, I could adjust to that.

Cotten became co founders of the acclaimed Mercury Theatre Players.

There was her first trip to Hollywood when Welles sent for her to play an important role in his still remembered "Citizen Kane"- a short time after a movie representative in New York had stripped her hide off by telling her with disdain that she had absolutely nothing of interest to Hollywood, and had left her so desolate after a series of personal insults that she wept for three days and was ready to give up everything, feeling she was unattractive and without any talent at all.  But she went to Hollywood-and to triumphant success.  The three men who believed in her and opened doors to great opportunities--Orson Welles, Charles Laughton and Paul Gregory--earned her undying gratitude.  There are the one woman shows that she has put on since 1951, keeping herself before audiences; and now television, making her known to the young audiences of the future.  She has poured her life blood into her career.

She doesn't dwell much on what she doesn't have: the son who has gone, the husbands of yesteryear, the hundreds of acquaintances-but only two friends; the absence of anyone close to give her affection, the final lack of any present romantic interest.

"I don't know why I shut it out," she confesses "I don't know why.  I haven't sought it, it would have to come to me.  I can't go out and get involved in some scandalous affair--I owe something to the public that has kept me going.  And....I'm not really alone.  I have many pets-- three dogs and three birds.  And then there are the two girls who work for me--one has been with me for 20 years, the other for 14.  They look after me and take good care of me.  As for personal loves---you can't always depend on a human being, you know.  Then again, I seem to need a certain amount of solitude.  It renews me.  Solitude enriches ones being....."

Sometimes, in solitude, it is good to rest,
Either to mend the broken blossoms
And the life that hurts within....
Or be forever reconciled.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Other Moorehead Girl

On Thursday April 12, 1906 Margaret Ann Moorehead was born in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio to John Henderson Moorehead and his wife Mary McCauley Moorehead.  It has been reported that Margaret was born on April 23rd but the date on her certificate of birth is April 12th.
Margaret had an elder sister. Her sister would grow up to become the gifted actress Agnes Moorehead. Agnes was a woman who would become well known by several generations of radio listeners, moviegoers, theatre attendees and television watchers. From what little is known of Margaret it is hard to know exactly what she was like. We do know from the very few references made to her by her sister Agnes that she, like Agnes, had a gift for mimicry and mischief, but beyond that her life, as well as her death, is shrouded in mystery. A mystery I hope to abate somewhat.

I have said to many friends and associates that I would never talk publicly about my family, I’m an eighth cousin, but recent events have changed my mind. Speculation about those who have passed on is a waste of time, in my opinion, so in an effort to end some of that and shed some light on why people were who they were I’ve opted to end my self-imposed silence.

It has been rumored off and on that Margaret died by her own hand. Let me end that rumor with the truth of it, she did. Margaret Ann Moorehead died on the 14th of July 1929 at 7:50am in the Miami Valley Hospital, Ward 8 of Bichloride of Mercury poisoning which the coroner ruled a suicide. A contributing factor to her demise was listed as Nephritis which was a fancy way of saying her kidney function was impaired.

It took Margaret four days to die. The “attack”, as it has been referred to, began on Wednesday July 10th. I do not know when Margaret was hospitalized but I do know that her sister was sent a telegram telling her “Things are not so well come at once.” This telegram was received in New York at 9am on July 12th 1929. I also know that her mother telephoned her but I do not know when. I know that during that conversation she was told that her sister had attempted suicide and I know that from Molly Moorhead’s letter to Agnes transcribed below:

My Dear Agnes,
I didn’t intend to frighten you so last night for I didn’t want that word to go over the telephone but as you know what happened why you are prepared for the worst if things don’t go on well. I came down early and Margaret is sleeping –had a fair night. The kept her doped and we have two good nurses…we will send for you if we things are going against us. Mother came and is at the house, we dad and I can take turns being here. I in the morning and he in the afternoon. Peg realizes now what a mistake she made and says she was to blame and wants me to forget all the trouble which I told her I would and ask her to forgive me for being crass and unreasonable. I told her, she and you were the only things we had in this world and we couldn’t lose her. She said she would fight and has been. She says that she took care of girl who was worse than she is and she pulled through. Agnes, I think Frank was cruel to her, for out of a clear sky he said they would quit and she fainted and he never called me. And if he had I could have watched her. I’ll try to keep calm and keep your dad cheered up. Please think of us…He has been a peach and he directed things when we needed a cool head around. Let us hear from you.

We all send love.

Lovingly yours,


It is apparent “that word’ Molly was so desperate to avoid using on the telephone is suicide. In the ensuing years it was always said that Margaret died of a heart seizure or heart attack. Every obituary written from Xenia to Zanesville contains disinformation from “a brief illness” to “a sudden illness while at her occupation as a nurse in New York.” Suicide was then and continues to be today a stigma that families are saddled with. In addition Margaret’s father was the minister of a Presbyterian church and to have the daughter of a minister die by their own hand was unthinkable. If you read between the lines of that letter you will witness a family dynamic that formed the personalities of both children. Molly refers to herself in the first person 9 separate times. She only refers to her husband and herself as we 4 separate times. Rev. Moorehead is only referred to only 3 times and finally Agnes is referred to only as Agnes once and as “you” 6 times. Blame for the suicide is laid squarely on the shoulders of Margaret who accepts it willingly. Frank, the lover/boyfriend who instigated the ending of the relationship, is chided for simply failing to call Molly but not for driving a disturbed young woman to suicide. I believe that Charles Tranberg makes a valid observation when he says that Agnes was “daddy’s girl” and Margaret was “mommies girl.” However much we may want to believe it suicide is never a momentary lapse in judgment. There are always signs and portents that someone is on their way down the one-way street of suicidal behavior.

Many physicians have listed characteristics of suicidal people. These are thought to be:

1. Preoccupation with death.

2. A sense of isolation and withdrawal.

3. Few friends or family.

4. Distraction and a lack of humor.

5. A focus on the past. Often voicing that the world or people would be better off without them around.

6. Being haunted and dominated by hopelessness and helplessness.

7. Viewing themselves as helpless is 2 ways. First by being unable to free themselves from the sea of despair that is swallowing them and secondly that nobody else can help them either.

There are certain life events that precipitate suicidal behavior and one of them is the loss of a love relationship. It has also been said that past emotional or physical damage to the person can lead to self-destructive behavior. It has been written many times over “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” If a person is what they call “presuicidal” they are in a state of extreme anguish in which there is no ability to neither make rational decisions nor distinguish rational options to the problem. For most people who are in the right state of mind the decision to end ones own life seems not only irrational but also incomprehensible. Loved ones cannot understand or accept that somebody they love could possibly do this to himself or herself. Unfortunately that inability to comprehend the depth of a loved one’s pain can act as a blinder to family or friends preventing them from picking up on the clues that may be right in front of them. The person who dies by suicide is in so much pain emotionally that they cannot focus on anything but ending that pain by whatever means possible.

Margaret appears to have been isolated from her parents by distance for quite a long time.  Margaret did not, as has always been believed, move to Dayton with her parents in 1925 nor did she remain in Reedsburg with her parents after their fall 1919 relocation from Saint Louis. Margaret, who would have been 13 at the time of the move, remained in Saint Louis with family. She graduated in June of 1925 from Cleveland High School in Saint Louis. I can only assume that between 1925 and her move to Dayton in the fall of 1928 that she attended college to become a nurse. I have never been able to find any record of her nursing degree or what college she might have attended to obtain it. All there is to go on is misinformation in an obituary that gives her occupation as a nurse and her mother’s reference in the letter to Agnes of a girl that Margaret had taken care of who was far worse off but survived. It has made me wonder if she might have been a psychiatric nurse but I’m afraid that we’ll never really know for sure. Her death certificate, which I have, lists her occupation as “at home.” This indicates to me that she either couldn’t find work or wasn’t capable of it any longer. The reference to her moving from Saint Louis to Dayton comes from a front-page obituary in a Xenia, Ohio newspaper and is specific in the details of the move happening the year before her death. It is transcribed below:

“Miss Margaret Moorehead, 22, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Moorehead of 19 Stone Mill Road, Dayton, died at Miami Valley Hospital early Sunday morning after a brief illness. Dr. Moorehead is a first cousin of Miss Margaret Moorehead and William Moorehead of this city.

Miss Moorehead had been a resident of Dayton for a year, coming to that city from St. Louis last fall when Dr. Moorehead assumed the pastorate of Patterson Memorial Presbyterian Church.

She is survived by her parents and one sister, Agnes Moorehead, New York City. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.”

The Evening Gazette, Xenia, Ohio, Monday, July 15, 1929

This brings us to one of the roots of Margaret’s problem, “Frank.” Whoever Frank was, obviously there was a romantic relationship. Margaret either moved to Dayton from Saint Louis to be near him or she met him after her move to Dayton. If the latter is true then she couldn’t possibly have known him for more than a year before opting to end her life over his rejection. I think that it was a very intense affair as evidenced by Agnes’ quoting of Margaret’s words to her in her postmortem letter to her sister, “your words of last year ring in my ears, “You never loved a man like I have.” The truth of it is you can search forever in a sea of Frank’s and never find the exact one. He is never referred to in any document that I am aware of other than Molly’s letter to Agnes. There were several young men with the right name and of a similar age within a short radius of her parent’s home at 19 Stone Mill Road but we will never know if “Frank” was one of those young men. Her parent’s home now falls within the campus confines of the University of Dayton and even then may have housed students among the families that lived there. It is possible that Frank was a student. What is less likely is that the decision to end their relationship came out of “a clear sky” as Molly states in her letter to Agnes. Rarely do children dole out specific details of their romantic relationships to their parents so we have to accept Molly’s statement as coming from her own point of view. Margaret and Frank’s relationship may have been one sided or extremely stormy from the very beginning. There were obviously difficulties that had drove Margaret down the road toward suicide long before Frank ended their relationship. I have never read of anybody just suddenly on a whim decide to take their own life. It could have been a long lasting depressive state that pushed Frank to sever ties with Margaret, however, we’ll never really know for sure because we weren’t there. I do know from the letter to Agnes that Margaret asked Molly to forget “all the trouble.” This statement seems to indicate that there were tensions within Margaret’s family as a result of her relationship with Frank. There is also mention in the letter of forgiveness between Molly and Margaret. It is a confusing statement. I don’t know whether Margaret is asking Molly to forgive her for “being crass and unreasonable” or if Molly asked Margaret to forgive her for “being crass and unreasonable.” The sentence says specifically “and ask her to forgive me for being crass and unreasonable.” Anyway you cut it family tension added to Margaret’s already apparently fragile emotional state. This leads me to the method Margaret chose to end her own life.

BiChloride of Mercury is highly, highly toxic. If Margaret had been a nurse she would have been acutely aware of the properties of this poison. It was used primarily as a topical treatment for Syphilis before the advent of antibiotics. It was also used as a fungicide. It usually came dissolved in alcohol, which, if ingested, took it into the bloodstream more quickly thereby making it all the more deadly. It was a long drawn out extremely painful way to die. In the early 1920’s the actress Olive Thomas, wife of Jack Pickford, died from BiChloride of Mercury poisoning. It was widely covered in the popular press of the time and perhaps that was what made Margaret think of it. The symptoms are a litany of severe pain and are as follows:

1. Severe abdominal pain.

2. Severe difficulty in breathing.

3. Decreased urine output potentially stopping completely.

4. Diarrhea

5. Metallic taste

6. Mouth lesions

7. Severe pain in the mouth and throat.

8. Shock

9. Severe swelling of the throat.

10. Vomiting

The prognosis for survival of this type of poisoning depended then on what symptoms manifested themselves within the first 10-15 minutes of ingestion and how rapidly you got to a hospital. It didn’t take much of dose to kill you. Kidney failure and death could occur with small doses of the poison. It simply appears as though even having expressed regret, according to her mother, that Margaret was determined to end her life. What a painful tragic end it was.

This brings me to the second reason for talking about this incident, Margaret’s sister Agnes. Everyone who knows of Agnes Moorehead and has a sense of devotion to her reads whatever they can about her. I think perhaps in an attempt to understand her better. What I want to talk about here is how it affects a person when a sibling takes his or her own life.

So much has been published now about how suicide affects the surviving sibling or siblings. I have read that they are often called the forgotten mourners. Most typically people fixate on the parents of a dead child rarely on the remaining child or children. This leaves them to fend for themselves with their grief. Often they put that grief aside in an attempt to help parents cope with the loss and never fully grieve on their own.

Agnes was 28 years old when her sister died. When a sibling dies by their own hand at this stage in life the surviving sibling learns, in a most difficult way, that life does not hold the unlimited promise they once believed it did. They are literally blindsided by reality. At this point in their lives siblings have spent more time together than they have with their parents. We know this to be true of Agnes and Margaret because it is documented that Agnes spent a great deal of time in St. Louis in the 1920’s. The two of them had shared their whole lives with each other. Sharing a room, secrets, dreams, wishes, fears and plans. Now, at 28, she would find herself having lost her other half. Typically when there are only 2 children they are always grouped together. In 1925 there is a reference in the Zanesville newspaper to the “Misses Agnes and Margaret Moorehead,” returning to Saint Louis after visiting their grandfather. You can believe that they were a tandem, Aggie and Peggy. Suddenly you are left without your right hand. You are without the one person you would talk to about something this life altering and tragic. The anguished letter Agnes wrote to her sister the week after she died and transcribed below evidences that:

“A week later so many things have happened and my own dear sister where are you? Where can you be? How brave and courageous you are to face death so young—how you know our maker—the secret of life and death you know…How I wanted to see you and yet the thought of seeing you was beyond my strength. I loved you—I love you know—you asleep in a cold little bed in a tomb like the good father who created you. And you were beautiful. I only wish you could talk to me sometimes. I know you are alive and well and even so much better off than we. If only you could have come to us. Men are so heartless so cruel. Poor dear little girl your words of last year ring in my ears, “ you never loved a man like I have.” Now you know I have your spirit will know how I feel toward Jack. My little sister I loved you so. I have always loved you and prayed for your happiness. I dreamed of you last night—I love you.”

Agnes never spoke of her sister’s death. This is typical of a time when the stigma of suicide was considered a black mark on the family. The public denial of the sibling’s suicide often leads to a failure to cope with the grief. It would be then that grief, like a mold, would force its way out of the person in many other ways. Frequently it would manifest itself in a physical illness. Sometimes it would come out in deeper more damning ways such as difficulty in establishing healthy long term relationships, fear of rejection, control issues, isolation, and not least of all guilt. The guilt of believing that they could have done something to change what happened or the guilt that they should have been able to tell something was not right. It is my opinion that all of these things are evident in Agnes’ personality. Agnes had difficulty in establishing long-term relationships. She isolated herself from everyone emotionally. She was distant and was often described by those who adored her as being “cold.” I think she demonstrated a fear of rejection and yet a willingness to involve herself in relationships that would end in rejection. Perhaps it was a form self-punishment because of the guilt that hung in her over her sister’s death. Agnes definitely had control issues but, again, constantly put herself into situations over which she had no control. She literally was two people living in one body, one mind. The eccentric outgoing woman the world saw and the troubled, isolated, abandoned sibling that the world only caught fleeting glimpses of. Her career was literally her salvation. She could spend time not having to be herself. It allowed her to leave the isolated sibling behind and become anything she wanted to be. It seems to me that Margaret’s suicide was one of the things that made her so successful at her career and so unsuccessful in her private life.  Despite the issues surrounding her private life Agnes is still one of the most loved and respected names in entertainment history and that would please her no end.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Central High School St. Louis

Eugene Field Grammar School St. Louis

Carondelet Presbyterian Church St. Louis

Preacher's Daughter From St. Louis

St. Louis Post Dispatch Friday January 8 , 1943
Harry Niemeyer Jr.
Early in the Spring of 1917 Aggie Moorehead quietly "cut" her physics class at the old Central High School and slipped out to Forest Park in company with another young lady of teen age.  Before their teacher even noticed their absence they were standing in line with some 200 other stagestruck girls waiting for tryouts for an opera about to open in Forest Park.  Aggie, who had danced a little in school, didn't really hope to tryout.  After all her father was the Rev. Dr. John Moorehead pastor of the Carondelet Presbyterian Church.  Aggie had a feeling that the Reverend Doctor might have some objections to his daughter becoming a chorus girl.
More to keep her friend company than anything else Aggie went through the first tryout with her and passed.  Then went through the second and passed again.  Aggie's girlfriend failed to make the grade leaving a terrified preachers daughter on the stage in company of with some 40 other youngsters who had pleased Musical Director Charles Previn.
Before she could conveniently faint and back out of the whole thing, Aggie was give a stage pass and told to report the next night for rehearsal.  Trembling she put the pass in her purse and went back into town.--not to the physics class at Central High, but to her father's study at the Carondelet Presbyterian Church.
"Aggie," he said, "Why aren't you at school?"
"I cut class papa," replied the girl.
The good doctor was worried.  Aggie had never cut class before.  In fact she seemed to realize that as a minister's daughter she had a certain dignity to uphold.
"What did you do?" he asked.
Nervously Aggie told him what she had done and waited for the reverends wrath to descend.
For a few seconds Dr. Moorehead studied his daughter.  Then he smiled and said:
"When does the show open, Aggie?  I'll want to get a couple of seats for your mother and myself."
A month later Aggie Moorehead made her professional stage debut in the chorus of "Aida," playing one of the dancing slave girls.  In a front box were Dr. and Mrs. Moorehead accompanied by several of the Presbyterian flock.
Since obtaining the parental sanction to a stage career Aggie had been deliriously happy.  She worked like a Trojan at rehearsals and as a consequence had been put in the front line of the dancers.  She squinted nervously through the opera's footlights trying to catch a glimpse of her parents as the dance began.
Then it happened.  In her over enthusiasm in kicking she managed to kick off her right ballet slipper.  It sailed gracefully over the footlights, past the orchestra, and landed in the lap of a gentleman in row three of the pass section.  The happy gentleman, flushed from a few beers at Tony Massa's bar, stood up and exhibited his catch to the rest of the 8000 people viewing the opera.  Aggie, who was the end girl, fled into the wings where she promptly had a tantrum.
In an effort to console the unhappy girl stage director Previn admiringly watched her go through her contortions of mental agony and the said:
"Honey, you don't belong in the chorus.  Acting like that should put you out with the principals."
Last week, for "acting like that" in a similar tantrum in the motion picture version of "The Magnificent Ambersons," the New York film critics got together and voted Aggie Moorehead the best actress of the year.
This honor, in which she competed with and won over such actresses as Greer Garson and Katherine Hepburn cam entirely unexpectedly to the actress who, when she received the telegram notifying her of the award thought it was a gag and threw the wire away.
Only now a week or so later, is she getting used to being pointed out on the streets as the Number One Actress in Hollywood.  A year ago when Orson Welles brought her out here to play the Mother role in "Citizen Kane" no one in the film city ever heard of her.  Now she working in two films at once and has offers from every major studio in Hollywood.  Although she's billed as "Agnes Moorehead" in the screen credits she's still Aggie to everyone on the sets from her leading men to the make up girls and prop boys.
Aggie recalls her St. Louis childhood with no small amount of nostalgia.  She moved there from her birthplace in Clinton, Mass, when she was 6 years old and her father had been called as the pastor of the United Presbyterian Church.  the Mooreheads moved to a home on McPherson Avenue and Aggie was installed in the Eugene Field Grammar School.
"Even then," she says "I had the acting bug.  With other girls I'd slip downtown after school and watch the actors coming out of the stage doors after the matinees at the Shubert-Jefferson.
"Every Friday I night I went to the Pageant Airdrome out on Delmar and watched the actresses like Gloria Swanson and Colleen Moore.  Then I'd go home and walk through the entire picture playing their parts.
"Once I went down to the Gayety Theater and asked everybody for their autograph as they came out the stage door of a burlesque house.  I shudder to think now what would have happened if a friend of my father's had seen me soliciting autographs at the stage door of a burlesque house.
Finishing the Eugene Field School, Aggie moved on to Central High, where she joined the Lambda Alpha Lambda Sorority a very theatrical group of young girls at that time.  Some of these ladies still keep up a correspondence with the actress and she renewed her acquaintance with them a couple of years ago when she sopped off in St. Louis to visit a distant relative Jacob M.Lashleywhom she calls "Uncle Jake."
Despite the embarrassing incident of the flying slipper, the actress later survived four seasons at the Municipal Opera working  in virtually all of the Gilbert and Sullivan and Victor Herbert shows so popular in the years immediately after the first World War.  During her last season she had fulfilled Director Previn's prophesy and was "out in front" with the principals.
Finishing high school and her opera years at the same time, Aggie went into stock roles in various Midwestern stock companies working her way East and to her ultimate goal Broadway.
As a stage actress her record is one to be envied, while more recently, in the radio field she has portrayed more roles than any other actress her age in the country.  It was through her radio roles that she came to the attention of the Boy Wonder Orson Welles, who immediately signed her up for roles in the Mercury Theatre of the Air.
Welles, too, is responsible for bringing her to Hollywood and for directing her in the extremely hard role in "Magnificent Ambersons," which won her the New York critics award.  Having completed "Journey Into Fear" for Welles at RKO she's now working with him again in "Jane Eyre" at Twentieth Century Fox.  She also has a swell role in MGM's "The Youngest Profession."
With her husband, Jack G. Lee, also an actor, Miss Moorehead lives quietly in a small home in the Cheviot Hills district.  The have a 320 acre farm outside of Zanesville, Ohio, to which she hopes to commute "between pictures" when the war is over.
No matter what happens she expects to drop back to St. Louis next summer to have a look at her theatrical birthplace the Municipal Opera.
"Not so much the show itself as the seat 32, row 3 in the pass section." she says "The man in that seat who caught my shoe and exhibited it to the audience.  God bless his soul, made an actress out of me."

Friday, June 11, 2010


I found this all very interesting especially since Aggie was allegedly called to the President's Office where she was given council for having performed a suggestive dance during a talent show.  The name of the dance was "The Bump."  It has been said that she was quite good at it.  This being called on the carpet was most likely the reason she became a great deal more conservative. 

During the 1920's Muskingum College of New Concord, Ohio, experienced
student unrest similar to that which engulfed many campuses. Never before had the student body challenged so threateningly the school's traditional code of behavior, which embodied certain prescribed social, moral, and spiritual values known as the "Muskingum Spirit."  Originally founded by Presbyterians as a small liberal arts college without formal church sponsorship in 1837, the institution had developed its code in line with the religious heritage left by Scotch-Irish settlers in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The founders were among those Presbyterians who achieved unusual prominence on the frontier before the Civil War in setting up colleges to prepare men for both the ministry and the missionary fields. Later, Muskingum became coeducational and was administered by the United Presbyterian Church of North America, which had been formed by the union of various splinter groups in 1858. While loyally serving the leadership needs of the church, the college concerned itself also with the moral aspects of small town life. In the 1920's the school officials affirmed their moral principles and admonished students more firmly than ever to follow a code of behavior which did not offend the townspeople. Unlike their predecessors, however, these Jazz Age students openly defied enforcement of what they considered an outmoded code. During the decade social mores were rapidly changing throughout the nation, and even students from small towns accepted these changes in spite of the school regulations. But when the Muskingum College administration defied change and reiterated its traditional policies, it aroused more student unrest. Ultimately, however, belated administrative concessions had to be made so that more positive faculty-student relationships could be maintained.  Like other academic institutions in the 1920's, Muskingum experienced unprecedented growth. Under the leadership of John Knox Montgomery, a clergyman who became its president in 1904, the pace of growth had accelerated. Through vigorous promotional efforts, he had secured financial support and had actively recruited students in order to ensure the school's future. When President Warren G. Harding stopped in New Concord to receive an honorary degree in 1922, however, one Philadelphia paper said that the institution had been put "on the map -- temporarily." In effect,Montgomery rejected such disparagements by pointing out how the college continued to become more attractive and successful. After World War I, student enrollments exceeded the prewar peak of 298, which had been attained in 1914. By the academic year 1929-1930, the enrollment totaled 863 men and women. About one-half of the students were United Presbyterians, while the others were mainly Methodists and Presbyterians. On the campus, which had expanded from about two acres to over 100, new buildings were constructed. In the 1920's, the first dormitory and two buildings with classrooms and offices were completed. The new stadium was dedicated in 1925.  Pointing with pride, in 1922 one bulletin described the beautification of the campus and the development of a beautiful lake, which offers recreation to the swimmer, fisher, boatman and skater. Early in the fall, during the first months of the school year, newcomers relieve the monotony of study, by fishing and boat riding, to say nothing of the picnics and hikes, through the woods and across the rolling grassy slopes of the campus. Later, when winter blankets the hills, and hardens the lake, that most invigorating of all sports, skating, becomes the fad, and through the dark and busy months, the main relief from the school routine is skating, tobogganing and sleigh riding. Then comes spring, with birds, and flowers in the woods, when everyone strolls with their books and cameras for a close to nature jaunt and then back for an evening swim in the lake.  In addition to the physical improvements, academic progress was also reported. While the faculty reaffirmed the required program in the liberal arts for graduation, more new courses were organized, notably in the fields of science. The Department of Home Economics as well as the short-lived School of Agriculture were set up in the 1920's. In summarizing the academic program in 1927, the college warned that, as elsewhere, loafers were unwelcome since more emphasis was being placed on "intellectual application." Throughout the decade, Muskingum was generally advertised as an institution with many attractions and equal to any other place of higher education in its standards and modern facilities. If Muskingum's spokesmen were to be believed, in 1921 the institution was located in "an ideal college town," nestling among picturesque hills in southeastern Ohio. New Concord boasted of having paved streets, electric lights, and a water works. Above all, the town was regarded as ideal for students because of its rural setting, moral atmosphere, and freedom from temptation." It had four churches.   But the claims that it had never had a saloon ignored the fact that a local churchman and college benefactor had willed to a son his "brick Tavern house" in the nineteenth century.  Other claims were also made in regard to the moral character of the townspeople. Authorities had never arrested for crime anyone born in the town.  Local citizens had participated patriotically in the Civil War. Also, there were many retired ministers and missionaries who lived in the area, and some even taught at the college. When trains stopped to discharge passengers, conductors acknowledged the moral image of New Concord in their own way by announcing it as, "Saints' Rest."

President Montgomery piously boasted that Muskingum College itself was morally safe. From the time of his arrival, the president had shown extreme devotion to matters of morality  .He was active in the United Presbyterian Church which had ordained him a minister, as well as in the Anti-Saloon League of America and the Anti-Cigarette Alliance of America. Most of his moral crusading, however, was devoted to the guardianship of youth in loco parentis. After his arrival, a special bulletin announced that learning subject matter in the classroom was only "a part, and often the less important part, of a college 'education.'" Forming moral standards was, instead, more important.  "The chief treasure of Muskingum, more valuable than rich endowments or costly buildings," college publications repeatedly said after 1905, "is the character of her student body and the traditions of honor, morality, and religion which pervade the life of her campus."   New emphasis was given periodically to the statement as regulations were formulated for student conduct. Compulsory chapel attendance and courses in religion were prescribed. Students were also expected to attend one of the local churches on Sunday. Social dancing, card playing, and drinking alcoholic beverages were forbidden. The use of tobacco in any form was not permitted on campus or in rooming houses. But while the smoking of pipes and cigars was only discouraged, the use of cigarettes was banned at all times and in all places. Most importantly, the coed was enmeshed in a maze of rules that were designed to protect her honor. Dating was forbidden on Sunday, but permitted under certain conditions on other days. Couples could stroll in the daytime if they did not frequent "secluded places." Mixed swimming was not allowed in the lake, and swimmers who were out of the water had to wear raincoats or topcoats. Chaperones, of course, attended all organized social functions. Landladies were required to help enforce these regulations since most students lived in private homes.  Because it had the cooperation of townspeople, the college believed that it was well qualified to train youth in the development of good habits and high ideals as well as to protect them from temptation when away from parental supervision. In line with these objectives, President Montgomery more than once referred to his college as "a character factory."   After World War I, faculty members were not all in full agreement with the president in regard to institutional goals. New instructors, in particular, expressed doubts. Although faculty disagreements were rarely made public, the alumni bulletin suggested their existence in 1925. The increase in faculty
numbers, explained the publication, had resulted in the introduction of crosscurrents of opinion about educational objectives.   President Montgomery indicated that it was increasingly more difficult to find the ideal teacher who shared values embodied by the Muskingum Spirit. In a period of teacher shortages after the war the president complained that there was a lack of instructors with high standards of scholarship and strong commitments to the moral values of the college. He reported that, because some teachers were judged not fully qualified on all counts, they were not invited to return in 1922.  After three years of service, reported one of those teachers, he was not rehired because of his rejection of the dominant educational aim which tried to cram students "into a certain tight mold."  By and large in the 1920's most permanent faculty members accepted Muskingum's values,or, at least, they muffled their criticism of them.  The students, however, were more openly alienated by the strict regulations than were the faculty members. Throughout the 1920's, the gulf widened between students and their elders who ran the college. The president felt the reason for this difference of opinion was that the influx of new students had introduced "a spirit that was not altogether in harmony" with his institutional aims. Such an impact was not surprising, he added, because students came, in general, from a world that had little regard for law and order and, in particular, from high schools that did not foster Muskingum's values. Thus, he said, students failed to share "those deep spiritual currents running through the college that have been characteristic in other years." But, he noted, the problem was not just peculiar to his institution. This was little consolation in the face of the increasing student unrest. The president of the alumni association also reported sensing a new spirit. He concluded "that students are more cosmopolitan and less provincial than formerly."   By 1927, even the college trustees recognized this point. After studying student life in New Concord, they observed that "we are living in a day when perhaps a majority of young people have been accustomed to such practices in their own community as are not countenanced by the college."  Although aware of the dissension, the trustees and others in authority were not yet ready to make any substantial concessions to those who rejected their policies.  Among the students, "intellectuals" tried to formulate the case againstthe academic and social life of the campus. Sharing the widely-held cynicism of their classmates, they even questioned claims made in the college catalog regarding "wonderful opportunities" that were supposedly available at Muskingum.  Much concern was expressed over the failure of the campus community to foster what was called "independent thinking" and "individual self-expression." This concern was shared in 1925 by the student who was the most honored orator of the year. In his address on conformity, he denounced American colleges for shaping the average student into a common thoughtless mold, for holding him down by authority and tradition, and teaching him only "the amazing rightness of things as they now are." Because of this practice, the instructors failed to reveal to him the sterner realities of life, such as the wrongs found in religious, political, and economic institutions.  In examining conditions at Muskingum, the campus weekly echoed the orator's case. One of its writers satirized the student who cultivated "the satisfied attitude with life" and was never guilty of the sin of Individual Thinking."  But such an outlook, suggested other writers, resulted partly from the institutional failure to develop "academic quality." As long as academic standards were so low, said one writer, the average student developed a lighthearted regard for scholarship since he could participate excessively in extracurricular activities without danger of "flunking out" of school.   As a result of the many restrictions and requirements of the American college system, argued another, conformity was developed among students. Even campus rebels conformed to whatever was the current form of protest.   Dismayed by what were regarded as anti-intellectual forces at work on the campus, these observers necessarily made the intellectual synonymous with the critic.  In making their case, the critics welcomed F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, This Side of Paradise, which had appeared in 1920 and portrayed the collegiate mood of unbelief in the social, moral, and intellectual values of the older generations. Students read his books and shared with him not only an interest in flappers, parties, and Bohemian behavior but also the dream of intellectual independence. Reviewing favorably Fitzgerald's novel on the student, one writer in the campus yearbook contended that "the conservative, reactionary classes" of "the orthodox world" had blindly damned the novelist. In defending the book, the critic wrote that everything in it pictured honestly and realistically a very "distinctive type of honest-seeking, hard-thinking young men of today. . . ."  Indeed, campus rebels everywhere could identify themselves with such men for one reason or another. Even in New Concord their representatives complained that the academic institution frustrated their social, intellectual, and vocational ambitions.  By offering added opportunities for vocational preparation in the 1920's, Muskingum recruited more students whose ambitions made them impatient with the required study in the traditional liberal arts. Many came from low income families without previous collegiate connections and were anxious to secure the "practical" training needed in industry, business, or professional work. In 1927, two-thirds of the students reported earning part or all of their own expenses.  Their vocational goals were undoubtedly more personal and secular than were those of the ones who had enrolled before them. In 1921, over one-half of all male graduates entered the ministry, but by 1930 the percentage was less than one-third.  Sensing this trend, the student weekly suggested that chapel speakers should include representatives of different vocations, since clergymen and missionaries could at best help only those with ministerial inclinations.  More students were by 1930 less interested in a liberal arts program designed primarily to prepare them for the ministerial and academic professions than in the vocations that were higher paid as well as less demanding in self-sacrifice and moral dedication. Consequently, faculty members and administrators complained about the erosion of the interest in classical studies and about the low regard for scholarship. In 1926, for instance, the academic dean bewailed the fact that students did not "value scholarship for its own sake" and concluded that perhaps everyone was not worth educating.   But the faculty did not modify its academic requirements. Very probably, this failure, ironically, increased student involvement with non-academic matters.  Even in their extracurricular activities, students gave evidence of dissatisfaction with the college. They showed displeasure notably with the officially-sponsored literary and religious societies that had been developed before World War I and were designed to provide opportunities to socialize as well as to develop talents useful in the classroom and pulpit. Since the nineteenth century, all men were expected to join one of the two literary societies set up for them. The same expectation also applied to women, who had their own two societies. Each society was given the use of a room where parties. Even though associated somewhat with classroom activities, the societies could not escape the general discontent with the academic program that was evident after the war. The result was by 1925 all of these "official" societies had disappeared, after spending their final years in relative inactivity.28 Although the Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations still its members could debate, recite, declaim, sing, present plays, and arrange arranged parties and held midweek meetings, they aroused less enthusiasm than before. To increase support for these organizations, in February 1926 the executive faculty reaffirmed the rule that no college activity could be conducted during the meetings of the religious associations. But this action did not prevent students from developing new organizational loyalties.  As the old organizations became less vital as a foci of extracurricular life, campus homogeneity was weakened. Even students spoke of the decline of the "family atmosphere" which had pervaded the school community before the war.   College spokesmen explained that increased enrollments made all-campus parties and social functions less feasible than before, (They were undoubtedly thinking of those sponsored by the literary and religious societies.)   To restore identity with the campus community, the administration encouraged student pride in competitive sports. In 1921, Muskingum consequently joined the Ohio Athletic Conference. The organization of the student council in 1922 was officially initiated as an attempt both to control student behavior and to arouse a sense of loyalty to the college through pep rallies and other activities. By institutionalizing the "rah rah spirit" and by sanctioning student participation in campus government, officialdom expected much more vigorous support for activities which had been relatively unimportant before the war.   In turn, however, the older forms of organizational activity were further weakened.  The tempo of extracurricular life increased as other new organizations proliferated, revealing the varied special interests of students. The prewar groups that survived included the glee clubs and debate teams which ha existed alongside the literary and religious societies. The weekly, called the Black and Magenta, and the yearbook, entitled the Muscoljuan, were still published. But the new organizations, including vocational, cultural, and honorary clubs, became more and more numerous. The most important new ones were the social clubs. These, however, could not join national sororities and fraternities because of the college's traditional opposition to Greek-letter and secret societies. Two local clubs were formed in 1918 and four others were set up in the mid-1920's to compete with the three organized before the war. The social clubs increasingly found student favor and provided the highspots of campus party life. In 1925, the college became concerned that the clubs had grown unduly large under the pressure of increased student enrollment and otherwise had disturbed campus life and the appearance of many new organizations each year.  It therefore devised special regulations which the clubs had to accept in order to continue their activities.   In surveying the direction of extracuricular life a student editor concluded that college life had become "one continuous series of meetings interrupted occasionally by classes."    No doubt, the drive to organize various extracurricular activities was intensified by the increased self-conscious desire to promote social mingling between the sexes with more freedom from supervision by the older generation. The new social clubs merely highlighted this desire. In the past, campus  organizations had given men and women some opportunity to meet socially by merging social with academic and religious purposes.  In the 1920's, however, students insisted more strongly that they should be freer to date and to be relieved of a tradition which protected women from unsupervised contact with men. Avant-garde women asserted their freedom by copying the flapper, whose bobbed hair, shorter dresses, and silk hose were featured by advertisements in the campus paper. These advertisements showed female models boldly exposing their legs and knees more than was generally thought proper. Avant-garde men found in the automobile their symbol of freedom, and both men and girls of the new order gave vogue to the practice of "dating" that replaced the older one called "strolling." Underlying this new insistence on freedom was the franker recognition of the role played by sex in human relationships. Student wits were particularly suggestive about "it," that is, sex, in their publications. Automobile accidents, said one writer, occurred at night because of sex. Another observed: "Some women operate on the basis that it is better to be naughty than to be neglected."35 Sex was also suggested by amorous scenes in movies like "The Flapper" and "Sinners in Heaven," which were shown in the chapel building. Sexual discussion was stimulated even during the chapel hour by speakers who showed charts in connection with talks on human body functions and social hygiene.  Listeners were thus left merely to find practical applications of the knowledge presented.  In pursuing their extracurricular interests, students more and more violated the college's social regulations during the 1920's. Never before had President Montgomery spent so much time in dealing with violators. Every year both men and women were suspended from school or reprimanded, especially for smoking. Others were punished for going on dates without permission and riding at night in unchaperoned cars. On one occasion in 1924, about thirty couples were caught dancing at an off-campus establishment. Dancing was even reported on the campus. Of course, not all violators were apprehended by officials or reported by landladies and informers. No complete record of the violations exists, but there still remain recollections of the "bar mop" who liked liquor and the girls' club house whose rooms were "blue with cigarette smoke on weekends."  These violators probably shared the view of the campus wit who wrote that "the sin of being found out" was abominable. Beginning in 1926, violations became even more numerous than earlier in the decade. During the semester that started in September 1926, President Montgomery reported suspending more violators than he had suspended in all the years since his inauguration as president in 1904.   In spite of his action, the flagrant violation of rules continued to scandalize the campus. The infractions also drew special attention in cases involving students who were prominent in various capacities, such as editor, athlete, or class official. During the summer session of 1927, the major scandal was created by two students who were expelled after the local constable entered their boarding club and seized a dishpan of home brew containing sixteen percent alcohol in January 1928, dancing occurred at the carnival sponsored by the student religious associations in the chapel basement.  Two years later a group of prominent students were punished for going in unchaperoned cars to a dinner dance. Such dates were frequently reported after the mid-1920's, and fellow students tolerated those who were caught. When two girls were penalized for dating without permission in 1926, "a large number of girls" were reported signing a petition in their behalf. In the early 1930's this widespread defiance of the rules was suggested by a survey of over 500 students. The survey indicated that 44 percent danced while under college supervision and 66 percent did so while not under surveillance.  Since other rules were also usually broken by students going to dances, the survey displayed proof of the failure of the school to enforce obedience to its restrictive code.  While violations in general increased after 1926, more protests were organized in opposition to the institution's social policies than to any other phase of campus life. In 1926, the Campus Rules and Regulations Committee was formed as an ad hoc group with a reported membership of 189. It issued a leaflet saying, "The present situation of stringent regulations and heavy penalties encourages an individual to compromise his own honor." Consequently, the leaflet asked for revision of the rules on dating, motoring, and other matters.   In the student forum conducted by the student council, the committee secured "a standing vote which showed almost unanimous opinion against 'the existing rules and their enforcement.  As a result, the council was compelled to work with the ad hoc committee in asking for faculty modification of the rules. Two years later, at the suggestion of the college president, the forum supported its demands by conducting a poll. It reported that 411 favored and 282 opposed social dancing and that 400 supported and 252 rejected card playing.  The council then petitioned the trustees of the college to change the policies on campus behavior. In 1927, the council's president testified to the faculty that, like other students, he was unsympathetic towards the rules and did not feel very responsible for enforcing them. As if to underscore this point in 1928, the student council rejected a motion to condemn the dancing that had occurred at the campus carnival.   Other student groups also continued to petition the faculty for changes. Their opposition was kept alive by the college's insistence on enforcing the policy which had been announced in 1926.  During the summer of 1926, the social regulations for women were codified, strengthened, and published without advance notice by the administrative committee of the faculty. The published code brought together for the first time various rules which had evolved out of efforts to deal with specific matters, such as marriages and automobile rides. Although the basic policies were not new, the code provided more specific regulations to ensure compliance with them.  Each student who expected to return in the fall received not only a copy of the rules but also a letter emphasizing that admission would be granted only to those who agreed with Muskingum's ideals and regulations.  In the same spirit, the handbook for 1927 told those desiring entrance that attendance was voluntary, and, hence, applicants should have "the clear understanding that the ideals and traditions of the college are to be maintained, and that their enrollment is to be reckoned as expressing their purpose to heartily support the institution while they are a part of it."  Finally, the handbook reminded the applicant that he should feel privileged to enter the college and to identify himself with its interests, for only in this way could one be "comfortable in his surroundings and happy in his work."  In response to the continued student challenge in the late nineteen twenties, officials renewed the institution's commitment to the code that was published in 1926. Reporting that students did not believe the trustees were in accord with the rules, President Montgomery asked the board for a definite statement.   Following their special committee's visit to the campus in the spring of 1927, the trustees were announced as undisposed "to change the standards governing the social conduct of students...."  One year later they applied this policy by rejecting a petition on dancing and card playing.  To cope with the campus unrest, President Montgomery insisted "that a strong hand must be shown" toward the dissidents.  Such students, he said, believed that originality consisted in having "a critical attitude toward what now is" and avoiding "any reasonable constructive ideas or program that has a forward and upward look."  To deal with the most serious offenders, the president fell back upon the policy of expulsion and suspension that was formulated in 1926. To handle the less offensive ones, he denied social privileges and restricted them to their rooms each evening. On more than one occasion during the chapel hour, offenders were compelled to confess their guilt publicly in order to avoid expulsion. When confessions were heard from those who participated in the dance scandal of 1928, the president berated his listeners because of their disrespect for the rules and advised them "to avoid the negative attitude that is dominant, and get into a happier and more constructive one."   In addition to his chapel talks on discipline and the avoidance of liquor and tobacco, he counselled individual students and particularly tried to meet with each newcomer admitted at the start of the academic year.  During this period of unrest, President Montgomery and his faculty tried to cultivate student confidence by granting some concessions to petitioners who sought changes in the rules by instituting the pre-school indoctrination program for freshmen. In 1926, for instance, couples were permitted to attend church together on Sunday. One year later senior class women were given broader discretion as to conduct. To make social regulations less offensive, women were encouraged to support a special organization that was set up in 1927 to share responsibility for the enforcement of the regulations.  In the fall of 1928, the faculty welcomed and counselled the freshman students before anyone else arrived. This reception, reported the president, enabled the newcomers "to form their own estimate without being prejudiced by the attitude of some disgruntled upperclassman toward this or that Professor." The new arrivals, he added, thus developed "such a spirit of enthusiastic devotion" to the college ideals that upper-class students were impressed and created fewer disturbances than in previous years.  There-after, each fall freshmen arrived in advance of the others. By working in these and other ways to improve campus relations, President Montgomery with his faculty slowly helped pave the way for the overall reassessment of the institution's social policies that was made in the 1930's by one of his sons who succeeded him as president. Eventually such activities as dancing and smoking were permitted. But the trustees, president, and faculty would not officially concede a place for the student rebel in the campus community, and, having the power to discipline an offender, they probably were confident of their ability even to eliminate him. Student generations were shortlived, moreover, while officials and instructors lingered much longer on the campus. The administrators expected hopefully that the incoming generations would be easier to handle. But their hope was frustrated because the newcomers came from a world that was increasingly less and less in harmony with Muskingum's traditional values. To undermine the rebel's case, therefore, those in authority slowly learned to make modest changes in the social policies, although at no time was he given any credit for contributing to campus life, as was a football hero or debate team. Also, the authorities did not acknowledge publicly his role in teaching them to recognize the nationwide development of youth as a self-conscious group.  The rebels of the 1920's, by not maintaining their identity in a clearcut manner, were partly responsible themselves for their failure to secure acceptance by the college authorities. Although their aims were generally defined in terms of intellectual independence and social freedom, their criticism was diffuse and disorganized. Without going so far as to question the assumptions on which the campus environment was built (since many of them had been brought up in a milieu which had long cherished Muskingum's values), their protest activities often represented only a tortured and incomplete break with the past. In other words, the untutored dissenters drifted and wavered without developing a new frame of reference with which to guide their criticism systematically. Advancing no further than F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920's, they, too, did not commit themselves to any major new intellectual enthusiasms. Instead, they were largely without direction, such as their fellow student who wrote in 1921, "We don't have a very clear idea of what Bohemian is, but we know that we are going to be it or bust."  No rebel who lacked clear guidelines, therefore, could easily withstand the pressures of elders, who at least had taken the time to define their own goals. In general, both campus rebels and authorities behaved at Muskingum in a similar manner as their counterparts elsewhere during the 1920's. Everywhere students flouted what were known a "middle-class proprieties," especially in regard to the relations between men and women. The more venturesome even challenged other values cherished by their elders. Although failing to secure official approval on campuses, the rebels were effective in an unintentional way. After the earliest outbursts of protest, the authorities became fearful of organized student power. Much of the administrator's time and energy thereafter was devoted to the prevention of potential unrest. If outbursts did occur, they were ready to employ disciplinary measures. But they also learned to appreciate the value of conciliatory measures as well as subtle forms of control. More deans of students and dormitory supervisors were employed to maintain orderly behavior. To help accomplish their pur- pose, more emphasis was placed on extracurricular activities, such as team sports and student government. Through these and similar measures, above all else, colleges hoped to preserve their traditional commitments within a framework of change. More slowly than some institutions, Muskingum College was able to adjust its values to the changing mores of the times.

THE AUTHOR: A. William Hoglund is
Associate Professor of History at The University of Connecticut.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

For Sale

On May 19th Aggie's North Roxbury Drive home went on the market.  The asking price is $19,000,000.00.  Contrary to what we have all read the home has not been torn down and rebuilt.  It is still listed as having been built in 1926.  According to the realtor the updates have been done to the bathrooms but the rest of the house has apparently remained original right down to the beamed ceilings in the living room.  The only photo shown by the agent is of the main patio which looks exactly as it did when Agnes was alive.  It has been painted and the plaster repaired but the area is unchanged.  The current owner has had it for 10 years.  I can tell you this if I had 19 million I'd be buying a house right this very minute just to assure that it would remain in the hands of someone who would cherish it for the history and for the chance to be closer to a family member she never had the chance to know.