The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Overview of the Collection
Creator: Kappa Tau Club of the Demonstration School, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Collection Number: M430
Title: Kappa Tau Scrapbook
Dates: 1948 - 1955
Quantity: .33 cubic feet
A scrapbook compiled by members of a girls’ club in Hattiesburg,
The Kappa Tau Club was formed in the fall of 1948 by a group of girls who attended the Demonstration School at Mississippi Southern College (now The University of Southern Mississippi. These eight classmates formalized their friendship into a club for the dual purposes of hosting social events and conducting charitable works. The club was strictly an extracurricular organization, and it is not mentioned in the Demonstration School annuals. Meetings were held in the homes of members, and the group established a functional and formal system of electing officers, taking minutes, and collecting dues. Club officers were president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer, and historian.
It is not known why Kappa Tau was selected as the club’s name. However, at various points, attempts were made to change the name of the club. One of the alternative names was “The Darling Dixie Dolls”, which only lasted one week. The club’s colors were green and white, and its motto was “vera semper.”
Kappa Tau instituted two annual events. The first was a Mother-Daughter Tea held in late spring, and the second was a Progressive Dinner held each winter. From time to time, the club also hosted Coke (Coca-Cola) parties, spend-the-night parties, taffy pulls, and ice cream parties. Charitable works included donating money to the March of Dimes, preparing a “sunshine box” for an ill member, sending condolence cards, and preparing a box for a needy family.
There is no clear termination date for the Kappa Tau Club. The final entry in the minutes is dated July 26, 1955, and it describes installation of new officers. Therefore, it is likely that the club continued beyond the scope of this collection.
Contents of the Collection.
This collection consists of a scrapbook with original photographs, newspaper clippings, artifacts, minutes of meetings (1948-1955), correspondence from commercial jewelers regarding membership pins, and copies of the club’s constitution. Additionally, a preservation photocopy of the scrapbook has been made on acid-free paper and placed in the collection.
Of special note is the formality of the club’s constitution. The document includes a preamble, four articles, and a list of original members. Minutes from April 1949 attribute the writing of the constitution to Nancy Owings and Laura Ann Wilbur. The document’s breadth is impressive, as official duties are outlined and future plans suggested, as are methods for maintaining order and consistency within the group’s membership. Most striking among the passages is Article VI: Limitations. Subsections of Article VI clearly state that membership is not to be denied “because of race, creed, or color”, although all Mississippi public schools were racially segregated in 1949, including the Demonstration School.
A unique artifact in this collection is a memento (possibly a pencil case) made of green felt, with “Jackie” embroidered in white thread. It is not certain who created the memento, but one of the members was named Jackie Yelverton.
Aside from its intrinsic worth, this collection is valuable because of its connection to the Demonstration School, which was the teacher training school at The University of Southern Mississippi from 1927 to 1954. It also provides a vivid picture of the extracurricular activities of teenage girls in postwar Mississippi.
Kappa Tau Club
Teenage social activities of the late 1940s – mid 1950s
Transferred to the USM Archives from the Demonstration School by Dr. Anita Stamper, November 28, 1989.
Restrictions Governing Access:
No restrictions. Open for research.
This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Preferred Citation Method:
Item, Title of Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi.
Language of Materials:
Processed by Catherine Bowers
RG 54 Demonstration School Records