Pioneering Days at Antioch — Part 3

Note: Information on why the Scott Nearing referred to towards the end of this post may have been an alarming visitor for college officials, see his Wikipedia entry


STUDENT GOVERNMENT at Antioch is now so much a matter of course that it would probably be difficult for students of today to picture its birth struggles. In most colleges the idea of student government was then considered a failure, dangerous, and at best an outlet for student energy, while in reality only a sugar coating for faculty rule. Arthur was determined that at Antioch it should be real. He was told that since he himself was not a college man he could not know—but he persisted. I shall never forget a crucial test in which he at last won out. Some of the best jobs at that time were in a golf club factory. A number of valuable clubs were found missing, and the loss was traced to certain Antioch students. It was a very serious situation, and all the administration people except Arthur said, “This is no place where students can decide.” Arthur insisted that he would trust them. The student government officers spent most of the night working out a decision on the case, and Arthur spent all night thinking about them. In the morning they produced their decision and everyone — factory officials and faculty — agreed it could not be improved upon. That incident helped real student government to become accepted at Antioch.

Of course there were some students who came from other colleges and wanted Antioch to have the same “traditions” of hazing, football, etc., that they had seen elsewhere. Once with President and Dean both out of town, some students took a freshman who had made belittling remarks about the value of the football team and ducked him in the old horse trough on the Grinnell Road. It took quite a while to get the idea accepted that athletics were to be shared by everyone.

Another amusing contrast between Antioch standards and general small college mores was shown when a Harvard man visiting his brother here persuaded some students to put a cow in the assembly room (then on the first floor where general offices are now). The prank fell completely flat. The faculty took no part. Student government found out who did it and had those boys remove the cow and clean up—that was all.

* * *

ANTIOCH had many interesting visitors in the early days. As our house was then the only one available for receiving guests, it was my pleasant lot to entertain such visitors. Ida Tarbell was one of the first. The night she was there at dinner in the regular dining room in North Hall the lights went out. Some boy started up, “Antioch will shine tonight.” All joined in and she was very amused.

At about the same time there arrived by auto Mr. and Mrs. Knutson from Denmark. They were supposedly camping out, but as it was during a pouring rain they were glad of our spare room. She did the driving, and he wrote on a typewriter about educational subjects as they went. He settled down at Antioch, and, with the college as headquarters, arranged an interchange of American and Danish students which continued for several years. That was a fine project, but it had some amusing sidestories. One American sixfooter arrived at a Danish home where they thought they were getting a little boy, and had only a crib for him to sleep in. Mary Antin, author of The Promised Land, came to Antioch several times, and was always welcome.

In 1923 I bought guest book to give Arthur as a Christmas present. On December 3 I was asked to drive to Dayton to hear Vachel Lindsay speak, and then bring him home, give him dinner, take him to “read” at the college, and then have a reception for him. Unfortunately the Dayton program did not go well, and he was clearly not in a good humor and declined the reception, saying he must retire early. Dinner seemed to revive him, and the college reading was a great success, so he wanted to sit by our fire afterwards. I had asked him privately to write in the guest book in his room, but as we sat by the fire he suggested I bring it to him there. We had the unusual experience of watching a poet write a poem! After each couplet he would read aloud all to that point. Here is the poem:


Here at Antioch the hearth-fire blazes,
Here at Antioch the kettle boils.
Happy here, the guest will watch the wood-flame
Leap and write and draw in its magic coils
Heiroglyphics curing all our toils.
Here the coffee comes to cheer the heart—
Here the conversation helps the cup,
Here the house can whisper like the forest—
Here the sun is up, the moon is up,
Sunbeams, moonbeams, coming from the hearth-fire—
Starbeams coming from the kindly eyes.
Here the guest will learn the way to wisdom,
Here the bread and butter make us wise—
Served with thoughts of just the proper size.

About the same time I found at about 5:30 m that Seumas MacManus would dine with us. I rushed out and got a T-bone steak in his honor and had the end ground up as hamburger for the family. Arthur, as per schedule, cut Mr. McManus a piece of the tenderloin only to have it declined in a strong brogue, “May I be after having some ground meat—my teeth are very poor.” So the family got the best pieces.

In those years, it was the thing for the radicals in every college student body to “try out” their faculty by privately inviting Scott Nearing to speak. Arthur was away when it happened at Antioch. Phil Nash and I consulted and decided it would be best to invite him to stay at our house and to speak at the regular college assembly. We all enjoyed him personally. My then young daughter gave him a very high grade because he made his own bed. The students listened with enjoyment, but under normal conditions. One important student employer at once remonstrated over the phone. Phil Nash asked him pleasantly if he believed in vaccination for smallpox. The mas admitted he did, and all went well.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — Part 13

The group of bookplate designs emphasizes the increasing influence of licensed designs, since none of them came from in-house artists.

B-258 and B-265 were designs licensed from Mary Engelbreit, an illustrator of durable appeal, whose designs on Antioch Bookplate products were perennial best sellers.

B-259 is a vintage design from the Balliol Corporation.

B-260 by Koren Trygg is a design that was used in coordinating social book products once Antioch Publishing acquired the Webway album company (which later led to Creative Memories).

B-261 came from Ron Kimball.

B-262 was by Lynn Bywaters Ferris of Sunrise Publications.

B-263 came from Frame House Gallery.

B-266 is an illustration from the Knopf Classic Fairy Tales edition of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland done by Armand Eisen.

Antioch bookplate B-258

B-258 (later 0018-3)

Antioch bookplate B-259


Antioch bookplate B-260


Antioch bookplate B-261


Antioch bookplate B-262


Antioch bookplate B-263



B-265 (later 0021-3)

Antioch bookplate B-266


Posted in Antioch Bookplate Archives | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

See Us at Street Fair!

Saturday, October 13, from 9 to 5

Find the Yellow Springs Historical Society booth close to the Yellow Springs News office. We’ll have books, mugs, postcards, Antioch Publishing mementos and other memorabilia associated with the special history of Yellow Springs.

Posted in Announcements | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pioneering Days before Antioch

Portions of Lucy Morgan’s Pioneering Days at Antioch have already been shared on this blog (and will be again), but William Mills wrote a few pieces for the Xenia Gazette of his time about Yellow Springs’ earliest pioneering days entitled “Early Reminiscences of the Yellow-Springs”.

One of these pieces has already been shared on the Yellow Springs Heritage website here and here.

A photocopy of another section was found among the papers collected by Mary E. Morgan and is transcribed below.

Jane Baker’s biography William Mills: the Yellow Springs Man is likely to be available for sale next Saturday, October 13, at the Fall Yellow Springs Street Fair at the Historical Society’s booth close to the Yellow Springs News building.

The early history and recollections, of noted persons and events, connected with the incipient settlements and growth of the different towns in Greene county, cannot but be matters of more than passing interest to its present citizens. With this object in view then, I propose to take the reader back and call up some facts and incidents, pertaining to the Yellow-Springs in particular; not that the other villages of Cedarville, Clifton, Jamestown and Bellbrook are not worthy of equal mention — but for the reason that my lot and acquaintance was cast with the former place. It may be an item that will gratify curiosity at least to allude generally to the value of real estate, by stating that 48 year ago, the tract of land upon which that noble torrent gushes forth, and which gives the same to the present locality from the color of its mineral deposit, was sold for $9.00 per acre and the contiguous territory at $3.50. Log cabins were then the style of buildings, that for the most part adorned the beautiful grove that surrounded the chalybeate spring — the universal object of attention and delight. It was in one of these rustic tenements, of unhewed logs, that the late Mrs. Martin Baum, of Cincinnati, informed the writer, that a party of the then elite fashionable young gentry of that city, herself included, found their only accommodations, with no division into rooms, while they passed some days there on a pleasure trip. At that early day, many visitors  from Kentucky came over with their teams bringing their tents and cooking utensils along for hygienic purposes, more than for recreating — believing that there was some majestic virtue in the water, which the angel of health has since, for some cause, withheld from the later visitants. Who then would have predicted, that within the lifetime of some of those present, that $200,000 would have been expended in public houses alone, within the hearing of the gurgling water, as it foamed and dashed over the rocky lege into the deep ravine below? Now, the superior attractiveness of that entire vicinity soon became famous throughout the West generally, and among those drawn to it, wa a community of Owenites, who having all things in common, selected this charming region as the nearest to Paradise within their reach. Accordingly, with the rainbow of hope spanning the second garden of Eden, they went to, and erected a long line of a continuous building, with logs, after the manner of the French Canadians, planting them perpendicularly in a trench, some two and a half feet deep. Here then, some 150 or 200 persons, of all ages and both sexes, congregated, in a sort of promiscuity of privileges, that in the nature of things, as our present humanity is organized, would sooner or later prove inharmonious, in their nearer domestic relations, as well as impracticable in the management of their every-day life. Thus they lived, or rather, tolerated each other, for a twelve-month, amid great diversity of opinions and plans of operation; and finally broke up as a colony, each seeking a shelter and refuge, as best they could, in near and remote neighborhoods, among those who are educated, that not to provide for one’s own special household would rank him as an infidel. Now and hereafter, the antiquarian in looking after ruins and relics at the Springs, may find an immense row of upturned bricks, stone and mortar, overgrown with weeds and briars, on the western brown of that beautiful and ever murmuring cascade, which forms one of the most charming features of the now renowned watering place. In addition to the rare romantic scenery, consisting of deep glens, high bluffs, isolated rocks and waterfalls, all intermingled with shady walks and bowers of overarching trees and evergreen shrubbery — it was the settled conviction of many of the early pioneers, that Providence would not have lavished so much of scenic beauty and unrivaled loveliness, in one spot, upon the surface, without storing away inestimable wealth beneath. With this impression then, several companies were formed, and shaft after shaft sunk, at great labor and expense, to find the hidden treasure, and thus prove their sagacity, in their estimate of the wisdom and goodness of the great Architect. From time to time, as they proceeded, they reported to the stockholders, that both silver and lead, copper and iron, were obtained, but not in sufficient quantities to make the investment of mining profitable, their facilities for working being so meagre and all improvised. Thus the opportunity is still open for the hopeful and venturesome, to prosecute the same enterprise. The pits and various excavations are still to be seen in the picturesque vale that bounds the table land of the pleasure grounds of the Neff property on the east. This conviction as to the existence of the precious ore, arose perhaps in part from the legendary tales reported by the returned captives taken prisoners by the Indians, who always asserted wonderful wealth of the valuable metals near the great Yellow Bank, formed by the deposit of the spring.

Before the white settlers laid claim to the section, it was a favorite resort for the red man, and the writer well recollects the deep worn Indian trail leading from their ancient town, old Chillicothe, on the Miami, by the point, to Piqua, on Mad river, about eight miles distant. It was over this narrow defile, as it crossed the ravine, just south of west on the opposite bank from where the spring gushes out, that the far-famed Tecumseh traveled perhaps a thousand times, as he was born at Piqua and passed his youth and early manhood in this region. He was familiarly known to many of the first settlers, who have often described him to me as a noble specimen of perfect physical manhood, a natural orator, and endowed with rare intellectual gifts. But unfortunately, like many others of the paler race, he was addicted to the vice of intemperance, which rendered him at times disagreeable and highly dangerous. As is generally believed, he fell by the hands of Col. R. Johnson, at the battle of the River Raisin. The only memento of the aborigines now to be seen, in their once favorite stamping ground, is a regularly formed mound, in the midst of the grand old oaks and lofty cedars, centuries old, which with other specimens of forest trees, unite to make a natural park of unsurpassed beauty and delight, affording a quiet sylvan retreat to the devotees of the crystal forest, now as ever, the great center of attraction, and always flowing, as a cooling and grateful beverage to every thirsty applicant. My time and space are up. Adieu.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , | Leave a comment

More Pearl Means

Pearl, although her name was often featured in the newspapers as was shown before, is still little known in Yellow Springs, where she spent her post-theatrical career.

This selection of newspaper articles focuses on her early theatrical career, but also offers a sidelight on society reporting of the time.


Xenia Daily Gazette, December 18, 1891



She Was a “Flip” School Girl, Full of Fun and Life—School Mates Showing Her Attention

(Philadelphia Times)

As soon as it was known that the “All the Comforts of Home Company,” now playing in the city, included among its members Miss Pearl Means, the many social friends of that young lady, who has a most interesting history prepared to give her a cordial greeting and makes her stay a pleasant one.

Miss Means is an Ogontz girl, that is she went to that famous Philadelphia school and although afterward a pupil at Mrs. Reed’s in New York, while here she made many warm friends among her school-day companions who have kept up the friendship, even though grown to womanhood and often married. Miss Means wa always a great “girls’ girl,” one of the sort that other girls like and cling to.

It was not so much that she was pretty and the daughter of one of the leading bank Presidents of Cincinnati that made her popular, but her charming and winning qualities, her own pleasing personality, and despite the fact that she was the most prankish and fun-loving miss in the class, she was liked by the teachers as well. There was no mischief too great for Pearl Means, and what would seem dreadful in another could easily be forgiven in her.

After her father’s financial difficulties and other sorrows she sought the stage and won a place for herself. In almost every city friends of her school days have given her encouragement and support, and in this city she has been shown much attention. She has been invited to several dinners and entertainments, and yesterday a luncheon was given for her by Miss Malcolm, at which a number of their mutual school friends were present. These touching tributes of affection and remembrance have been very gratifying to the young lady, coming under changed conditions to the city of school-girls days.

Cincinnati Enquirer, February 1, 1892


Those who are accustomed to the ordinary sort of farce-comedy will be delightfully surprised with “All the Comforts of Home,” at the Grand. It is no incoherent bundle of specialties and varieties.

“All the Comforts of Home” is a most laughable play, founded on the roguish doings of a scapegrace nephew who is left in charge of his uncle’s residence. He rents off the rooms to a very mixed lot of people, and a bewildering series of complications arise. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the funniest play Wm. Gillette ever wrote. It will be presented at the Grand to-night by Charles Frohman’s Company, among whom is a Cincinnati girl who will be heartily welcomed here—Miss Pearl Means. “All the Comforts of Home will draw a splendid crowd tonight.

Cincinnati Enquirer, February 4, 1892

A Charming Lunch In Honor of Miss Pearl Means — The Social World

Mrs. Richard Smith, wife of Hon. Richard Smith, will give a luncheon at the St. Nicholas Hotel to-morrow to meet Miss Means, the charming daughter of Wm. Means, who is here this week with the All the Comforts of Home Company. Invitations have been issued to a number of prominent society ladies, and the affair will be quite a swell one. The invitations read as follows;

“Mrs. Richard Smith requests the pleasure of your company Friday, February 5, at the St. Nicholas, to meet Miss Pearl Means. Luncheon at 2 o’clock. R.S.V.P.”

Miss Means has had a cordial reception at every performance this week. She has surprised her most sanguine friends by her really excellent acting. It will not be long before she will be at the top of the ladder. Her former society friends have turned out in large numbers and given her a most hearty welcome. Cincinnati has reason to be proud of Pearl Means.

Cincinnati Enquirer, February 6, 1892

The luncheon given by Mrs. Richard Smith yesterday afternoon at the St. Nicholas was altogether the most elegant affair of the kind ever given in Cincinnati. The occasion was in honor or Miss Pearl Means, and the guests included her girl friends and old acquaintances of h er mother, who were present at her debut reception, given a couple of years ago, introducing her to the social world. Yesterday they again gathered around the charming young actress, offering sincere congratulations on her success in the theatrical world, and all were proud of the laurels she has [acquired?] during her short career on the stage. The reception was held in the new banquet hall of the St. Nicholas—that has only been used once before since its completion—and the event of yesterday was almost in the nature of a christening.

The gorgeously appointed room was divided by a handsome oak screen. The front part was furnished with superb Turkish rugs and luxurious divans and made a sumptuous reception room. The other half was filled with tables for the feast.

The congratulatory reception lasted nearly half an hour. Then the massive screen was rolled back, disclosing three long lines of tables with snow linen, each ornamented with a superb silver candelabra with pink-shaded candles. The pink effect was very lovely and the lovely luncheon that followed was altogether the pink of perfection.

A full string orchestra screened from view shared delicious operatic airs during the several courses.

Mrs. Smith was assisted in receiving by her daughters, Miss Mamie Smith and Miss Laura Smith. Miss Pearl Means stood at the left of the hostess, and Miss Gertrude Means received with Miss Laura Smith in another part of the room.

Mrs. Smith wore a most becoming reception toilet of French gray, with violet trimmings.

Miss Pearl Means wore a tailor-made suit of black cloth, with white vest and four-in-hand tie. She wore a light tan box coat and boutonniere of white Roman hyacinths, and carried a huge bouquet of La France roses. Her hat was a tan sailor.

Miss Gertrude Means wore a black street costume, with hat to match. She carried violets with maiden-hair ferns, corsage bouquet of the same, and her bonnet also had a wreath of violets.

Miss Smith wore a becoming toilet of blue and brown striped silk, with black jet hat.

Miss Laura Smith wore gray cloth, handsomely jetted.

The guests were all in the most elegant reception toilets.

Mrs. Elliott Pendleton was gowned in black brocade and jet.

Mrs. O. J. Wilson wore black brocade, with relief of pink satin and jet.

Miss Grace Jordan was very sweet in black satin embroidered in pink roses, and white Irish point lace.

Mrs. Sherlock wore gray brocade.

Miss VanAntwerp was looking very well in gray cloth with Astrakhan bqands.

Miss Bartholomew was very lovely in cream cloth, with white hat set off with American Beauty roses.

Mrs. Harries was very elegant in crimson cloth.

Miss Thrall wore a carriage toilet of blue cloth.

Miss Elizabeth Woods wore a becoming toilet of blue embroidered in gold.

Miss Alice Ferguson wore a very stylish costume of green cloth with sable trimmings, with big green hat trimmed in pink roses.

Miss Strader’s toilet was very elegant, of heliotrope cloth and velvet, with bands of sable, with hat to match.

Mrs. Alex. Sands, Jr., navy blue and jet.

Mrs. Louis O’Shaughnessy, brocade of blue and brown, with Fedora vest and sleeves of turquoise blue crepe de chine, and carried La France roses.

Mrs. J. C. Gallagher, tan Bedford cord, with fur-brown hat with light ostrich tips.

Mrs. Wm. Irwin, gray cloth, with astrakhan.

Mrs. Alex. McDonald, black velvet.

Mrs.Stalio, black satin, with yoke of white Irish point lace on the sleeves. Her corsage bouquet and capote of violets.

Mrs. Wm. Davidson, black net, with Elizabeth collar of jet and a beautiful little bonnet of pink velvet.

Miss Ferguson, turquoise blue and black striped skirt, with blue silk skirt elaborately trimmed in jet; hat trimmed in pink roses.

Miss Susie Pendleton, light gray ottoman, with cut-steel passementerie.

Miss Lena Pendleton, a most becoming toilet of cream-colored silk, with yoke of jet.

Mrs. H. Q. Cleaneay, black brocade, garniture of pink crepe, hat en suite.

Miss Darr, tobacco brown cloth, trimmed in Oriental embroidery in delicate tents. Brown hat, with ostrich tips.

Miss Butler, a most becoming toilet of embroidered silk muslin.

Miss Florence Butler, black mousseline de soie, embroidered in pink polka dots, the corsage trimmed in black thread lace.

Mrss. Murat Halstead, handsome Pompadour brocade of black and pink.

Miss Mary Halstead, black lace and large black Gainsborough hat, trimmed in black plumes.

Mrs. Wm. Brown, crimson brocade en traine.

Miss Mary Hart wore a very effective toilet of green cloth and jet, with large hat trimmed in red roses.

Mrs. Clifford Wright, green cloth.

Mrs. E. P. Harrison, light gray cloth trimmed in sable.

Mrs. James, black silk, brocaded in colors.

Mrs. L. H. Gibson, black satin and jet.

Mrs. Stephen Coles, black cloth.

Mrs. General Devereaux, light gray cloth, bonnet of gray tulle and pink.

Mrs. Dudley Rhodes, gray cloth, the corsage trimmed in steel.

Miss Blanche Burckhardt wore a most becoming costume of London smoke henrietta and delicate brocade of Persian colors, with hat en suite.

Mrs. Leopold Burckhardt, light gray cloth.

Miss Helen Hinkle, black and rose brocade, black hat.

Miss Belle Morrison, light striped cloth and hat of crimson roses.

[There follows a complete list of all guests present.]

Cincinnati Enquirer, February 7, 1892

The luncheon given to Miss Pearl Means at the St. Nicholas Friday afternoon by Mrs. Richard Smith was an elegant affair of 100 or more guests. The young actress received a royal ovation from her old friends, which will form a beautiful page in memory’s tablet.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Heating/Plumbing Ads over 60 Years Ago

With the turn of the season many have the need of heating and plumbing companies’ services. It may be of interest to see how such companies advertised in the Yellow Springs News in 1956, in advertising style and what was considered important to advertise.

Posted in Artifacts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pioneering Days at Antioch — Part 2

Note: More information on the Tea Room can be found here and here.

THE ANTIOCH SCHOOL had been in the Horace Mann House, but after we got possession of the Mills House, as the Means residence was then renamed, it was moved to that building. Every building we had was overcrowded. The Main Building contained offices, classrooms, laboratories, library, gymnasium and auditorium, also the bookstore. One of our early laughs was at the names of the two boys who ran the bookstore one year. They were Sheats and Kelly. Another early joke about names was a consequence of a suggestion that faculty try to make the new students feel at home. Horace English told how annoyed he was at first when he saw a lonesome-looking boy and said pleasantly, “Good morning, I am English,” and the sad freshman replied, “I am Irish.” It was Don Irish, who got over being sad, and the professor got over being cross, and told the story on himself. It was in those early days, too, that a new boy who came to college from North Dakota, almost at once, from something he did, was called “Kris Kringle,” and the name Chris stuck. No one but he remembered it was not his real name. He went through college as “Chris.” When his mother, who came to see him graduate, inquired where to find him, she was told there was no student at Antioch named Rolf. More and more alarmed, she hunted over college and village—no son of that name. Finally she found him, “Chris” Schutz, in later years a trustee of the college. Another incident of names occurred when Austin Patterson, giving an introduction, said “Helen French Greene — Are you related to the Paris Greens?” [Blog note: “Paris Green” is a highly toxic compound used to poison rats and insects.]

A number of people helped to make that first year unique. The winter before, Arthur had run across Hendrik Willem Van Loon, who completely fell for the Antioch idea, and enthusiastically accepted a position on the faculty. At that time he was supported by his wife, “Jimmy,” and her tea room in Greenwich Village. She had typed his Story of Mankind, but it was not yet in print. By spring, when he was offered a fantastic price for the manuscript, he was bewailing the sad fact that it had been used to pack their dishes. They came out and lived cheerfully in very cramped quarters until their house was completed at Christmas. He gave the college all sorts of evening performances. I remember one illustrated lecture on “snoring,” on other occasions he gave us music, and at other times talks on ships, with original drawings. Some days when the building program seems particularly discouraging, we would find on the outside door of the Main Building a new cartoon such as the one headed “Rome was not built in a day—why should Antioch be?”

Then the book came out. At first, all of those we bought he would autograph, along with a fine drawing of a ship, but his book was soon a national best seller, and then if one met him on the street he would stop and display his latest check and gloat over the amount. Finally his self-satisfaction become so intense that he rarely held his classes, being mostly on trip to New York; and then, one Friday in March, he told Arthur he was leaving.

*** *** ***

ONE OF ARTHUR’S ORIGINAL IDEAS is now so generally accepted that few people realize what an innovation it was in 1921. He felt that neither the old-time college entrance examination nor high-school certification would provide the student body he wanted. He therefore initiated what was then an entirely new method of appraising and selecting students. He gathered information concerning them from a wide variety of sources which included medical examination, high school and other references, letters from parents, a photograph, and a form of application which required the student to write almost an autobiography. We remember how one applicant ended his paper with the remark, “This leaves me feeling my soul is naked.”

The first student body was very mixed. One boy had run away from home to enroll. A good many Dayton parents trusted Arthur with their young folks. Eastern people interested in progressive education welcomed such a program, but from all over the United States we got young people who had read of it in the American Magazine and other periodicals. It was an adventure.

Every Saturday evening I posted a general invitation to some sort of party at our house, and was much interested to find that whatever sort of bait I offered, I got the same crowd as guests, and those students are still to be recognized as leaders. We would have refreshments, and they always washed the dishes for me. The next year Manmatha Chatterjee, who had just come, organized a group as the “League of Youth,” and Rita wondered, until I explained, how it happened that they all went to the kitchen to clean up before going home. They were a fine group. I think they still remember themselves as “The Pioneers.”

The jobs, too, were pioneering. The Tea Room had its very small beginning that first year. Two girls were given a dingy room on the northwest corner of the first floor of North Hall. They cleaned and repainted it themselves and served sandwiches, hamburgers, etc., under the supervision of Julia Turner. She told me that a skeptic about the Antioch plan was scoffing at there being any educational value in such work. Julia sent for one of the girls and let the visitor question her. It was Buffy Dennison, Henry Dennison’s daughter, and she rather dramatically said, “If all these walls were lined with shelves and every shelf were full of books and I had read them all, I would not have learned as much as I have on this job.”

The next year two boys had the Tea Room in the Horace Mann House, and when that burned they moved to the old house which in its enlarged form is still the Tea Room.

In 1929 Arthur was about to start for New York and, as usual, he knew he would have to face questions about the educational value of jobs in accrediting Antioch. In those days I knew most of the students quite well, and I went over to the dining room at breakfast time and asked about a dozen students to write in a few minutes what they had learned on their jobs. Their replies were so intelligent that the college reproduced them in a very effective leaflet, “Dick Whittington finds Antioch.” I remember another time when we referred a skeptic to the students. A man from the General Education Board could see no value in the Glen, so Arthur said, “Go ask the students.” He came back saying he felt from their response that he had almost risked his life when he raised the question with them. Julia Turner, who had charge of feeding students, did a great deal in popularizing the Glen. Sometimes on good days she would announce a picnic, telling everyone to take a lunch from the dining room and go. She began serving meals in North Hall when the kitchen floor was still only clay.

Posted in Narratives | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

From the Antioch Bookplate Archives — 1980s part 12

*** Special Note: Former employees of the Antioch Bookplate/Antioch Publishing Company will be holding a reunion at T. J. Chumps in Fairborn at 1:00 Sunday, September 23.

B-216 was one of the designs intended for the use of institutions of all kinds: schools, churches, museums, companies. It used the original Bruce Rogers design, but eliminated the right and left elements to leave the maximum amount of space for dedication text.

B-234 was an original character developed for a series of children’s books (an area that Antioch Publishing was beginning to explore) – Whisper the Winged Unicorn.

B-235 extended the range of bookplates featuring Jim Davis’ Garfield.

B-239 was an illustration by an Antioch Publishing staff artist.

B-250 was licensed from Peggy Toole.

B-251 is a licensed photography by Susan Schelling on the ever-popular teddy bear theme.

B-256 is an illustration licensed from Jan Brett.

B-257 is an illustration licensed from Frame House Gallery (the artist’s signature looks like “Skuba”).

This was also the time at which certain bookplate designs originally printed in either black or sepia on the letterpress on special vellum paper were shifted to the offset press with the vellum effect imitated  by 4-color printing and renumbered from M-, E-, and W- to B- series.

Antioch bookplate B-216


Antioch bookplate B-234


Antioch bookplate B-235


Antioch bookplate B-239


Antioch bookplate B-250


Antioch bookplate B-251


Antioch bookplate B-256


Antioch bookplate B-257



Posted in Antioch Bookplate Archives | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miss Pearl Means Takes the Stage

The previous post on Pioneering Days at Antioch mentioned the colorful Pearl Means, and she was the sort of woman who demands more attention.

The Yellow Springs Heritage post on Pearl Means describes one incident where she claimed public attention when she took it upon herself to deal with a broken-down horse’s fate, but this was certainly not the only time she stepped into the spotlight, either literally or figuratively.

An article from the Ironton Register of 1889 makes note of the beginning of her theatrical career:

Ironton Register Thurs. Feb. 7, 1889 – MISS PEARL MEANS – The New York Sun makes public a fact that the young lady’s friends have known for some time, i.e., that Miss Pearl Means is studying for the stage. Miss Means is positive that she is not “stage struck” in the ordinary sense of the word, but adopts the stage as a method earning a livelihood. Before her parents were fully aware of her intentions she became a member of the Lyceum School of Acting, of which A. M. Palmer is the head, and Boucicault a professor. she has been placed upon the preferred list of pupils and has enlisted, by her earnestness, the interest and sympathy of such men as Lawrence Barrett and A. M. Palmer, and should she develop the requisite talent for success, will undoubtedly have every opportunity of proving it. She promises to be a very delightful “ingenue”, and the many friends of her family here will watch her career with deep interest. She kept her attendance at the school secret for awhile, fearing an unnecessary shock to her father, ex-Mayor Wm. Means, whose health is still precarious. The Sun says: “Two more society girls are ready for the stage. They show the extent to which the stage craze has gone among women in America since Mrs. Potter’s success. One of the young women has just been engaged by Mr. Frohman for the ‘Lord Chumley’ Company, and the other will probably join Mrs. Blaine’s company. Miss Means is the daughter of a former bank President in Cincinnati. She was very well known in society in the West. A series of misfortunes, culminating in her father’s financial ruin, finally led Miss Means to seek for a livelihood. The other society debutante is Miss Moynahan, who comes of the old Irish family of that name in Ottawa. Her fortune was left entirely in the hands of her father’s executors and was dissipated in less than three years. Both of the young women are in the class of society amateurs of which Miss Elsie DeWolfe is such a shining light.” – Com.-Gazette.

Miss Means goes upon the stage probably because she loves the dramatic art. Ever since she was a child she was fond of elocution. She has particularly a sweet voice and graceful manners, and is a most handsome and intelligent young lady. If the information above is true, we are sure she will carry to the stage the best and noblest ideas of the art. “

Because her father William Means was a prominent Cincinnati banker and one-time mayor, Pearl Means’ activities were frequently reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer, so in 1892 her professional theatrical introduction to the stage was noted in the issue of February 11, 1889:

The New York Graphic says: Dan Frohman has just given a position to a young lady quite well known as an amateur actress in this city and Cincinnati. She is Miss Pearl Means, daughter of William Means, of Cincinnati. Miss Means was educated at a well-known seminary, and kept the place merry with such excellent dramatic performances as it has not seen since she left. Her father failed lately, and since that time she determined to study for the stage. She applied to Mr. Frohman for a position, which application resulted in his giving her the part of “Jessie,” the ingenue role in “Lord Chumley.” She will play with the company in Williamsburg Opera House February 11th.

Cincinnati Enquirer, December 21, 1891:

Miss Means

(Philadelphia Ledger)

Miss Pearl Means, a very attractive member of the company that spent the week at the South Broad-street Theater (in “All the Comforts of Home”), is the daughter of a Cincinnati banker, whose failure threw her on her own resources, and by dint of her earnestness and intelligence has won a creditable place upon it. Miss Means was educated at Ogontz and during the week has enjoyed social attentions from many of her former school companions.

Cincinnati Enquirer, January 28, 1892:

Miss Pearl Means, the daughter of Ex-Mayor Wm. Means, will be in the city next week with “All the Comforts of Home.” She has developed into quite an actress.

But not all was starry-eyed praise, as this tidbit from the Enquirer’s issue of February 7, 1892 shows:

Heard a lady remark at the Grand one evening last week that Miss Pearl Means was not on the stage long enough to see her face or for any one to tell whether she could act or not.

One particular incident thrust her in the spotlight in quite a different way:

Cincinnati Enquirer, April 24, 1895

Says He Only Loaned an Umbrella To Miss Pearl Means


NEW YORK, April 23.—Actor “Jack” Hollis, who is suing for divorce, is indignant because his wife in her answer mentions Miss Pearl Means. He says it is a willful slander, instigated solely by malice and jealousy.

He declares that Miss Means was never in his room alone, and that she only called when specially invited by Mrs. Hollis. He loaned her an umbrella one day, and she returned it the following day. He was home alone, and he says his wife returned a moment later, and seeing Miss Means, screamed until a policeman entered and took all hands to the station house. Mr. Hollis was subsequently discharged, and Mrs. Hollis was sent to the inebriate ward in Bellevue Hospital.

Cincinnati Enquirer, August 11, 1895


Every Allegation Made.

Testimony Favorable to Miss Pearl Means in the Hollis Case


NEW YORK, August 10.—Testimony in the action brought by John Beresford Hollis for an absolute divorce from Linna Valeria Hollis was filed in the Superior Court today. Harris, who is an actor, charges that his wife has been guilty of improper conduct with James Dunbar. Mrs. Hollis filed a counter suit against her husband, accusing him with intimacy with Miss Pearl A. Means, of Cincinnati.

Miss Means was an actress until the summer of 1891, when she left the stage to become a teacher of elocution in Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her sister, Gertrude, is also a teacher in the college.

The testimony filed was favorable to Miss Means.

President Daniel Albright Long, of Antioch College, testified that he met Pearl A. Means in 1883, when she was a young and frolicsome schoolgirl. He said she had been a teacher at the college, with an excellent record for the past two years. He added: “I have always found her chaste, and in all her communications as pure as a vestal virgin.”

Miss Means testified that she frequently took lunch with Mrs. Hollis after she returned in May, 18[illegible], from the road with the All the Comforts of Home Company. She also said that in August and September, [illegible year], during which time Mrs. Hollis lays some of her charges in this city, she (Miss Means) was at her home in Yellow Springs.

She denied that she was the cause of a row at the Hollis house, at No. 254 Fourth avenue, July 2[illegible], 1892, which resulted in the arrest of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis.

Miss Means also denied the allegation that while she was ill in San Francisco the previous fall Hollis nursed her through her illness. She also denied the charge that she spent the night of May 18, 1892, at a hotel with Hollis.

As a dedicated early defender of animals (as witnessed by the horse incident), Pearl Means strode boldly onto the legal stage later in her life and used her theatrical training to good effect (at least in garnering publicity):

Cincinnati Enquirer, May 12, 1914

DRAMATIC Scene in Council Hall

When Miss Means Accuses Stockman of Being Heartless

And Declares His Cruelty Will Lead Him To Hell

I’ll Have Company,” Was Quick Reply—Exciting Tilt Over a Proposed Ordinance

Shaking her clenched hand in the face of Talton Embry, Miss Pearl Means, who was the originator of an ordinance to kill injured cattle as soon as they are received at the stock yards, told him that he had no heart or that it is as black as coal and that he is “absolutely devoid of any element of sympathy.” Miss Means is the daughter of former Mayor Means, of Cincinnati.

The veteran stock yards man replied: “I hate to insult a lady, but I fear that your present conduct must lead me to believe that you do not possess the instincts of a lady. I have a heart as big as you would have us believe you have. I have stood at the bedside of suffering, agonizing because I could bring no relief, and I have also repeatedly demonstrated my sympathy for the poor brute. We are willing to co-operate with your society, but this ordinance would deprive up of our property.

Another Hot SHOT.

I again say you have no heart,” interrupted Miss Means, “and your cruelty will lead you to hell.”

I guess I’ll have company,” rejoined Mr. Embry, as he proceeded to quit the scene.

Miss Means got the last word by calling after him: “You bet you will.”

This scene was enacted in the Council Chamber at the City Hall yesterday morning, following the meeting of the Committee on Law Contracts and Claims, which had under consideration the Means ordinance.

The ordinance was backed by the Hamilton County S.P.C.A.A. Committee representing that organization, as well as representatives of the Union Stock Yards, made statements before the committee as to the effects of the proposed law.

The society contended that cattle taken to the yards on Saturday night might frequently have among them some with broken bones. These, they claimed, are permitted to go without water or feed until they are slaughtered on Monday, and that in consequence they suffer greatly.

Stockmen’s Reply

Representatives of the stock yards, however, denied that the animals are treated inhumanely and asserted they do receive feed and water. They contended that it is impossible to secure butchers to slaughter on Sunday, and that in most instances it would mean a loss of approximately $40 to $50 a head if they are disposed of before the slaughter houses open on Monday. The stockmen asked that the ordinance be held up for a while to give them an opportunity to see if they cannot secure a butcher to kill the injured cattle on Sunday. It was stated that arrangements will also have to be made with the Health Department to secure an inspector to witness the killing. This arrangement satisfied everybody but Miss Means, who insisted that the ordinance be passed. The attorneys for the organization, however, told her that the stock yards people are willing to do everything that was demanded of them, but that they are stopped by conditions that no one can control.

This did not satisfy her, and when the meeting adjourned, she renewed the argument with Mr. Embry.


Posted in Narratives, People | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pioneering Days at Antioch – Part 1

Front cover

In addition to The Story of Glen Helen, Lucy Griscom Morgan, wife of Arthur Morgan, was the author of several other slim volumes published by the Antioch Press (still in existence as publisher of The Antioch Review).

Pioneering Days at Antioch is a 24-page booklet full of vivid details about the early tenure of the Morgans at Antioch, and touches on issues that concern us today – utilities, housing, the financial health of Antioch, etc.




This first section refers to one of the more memorable characters in Yellow Springs, Pearl Means (who would be a wonderful topic for either a biography or novelization).  A picture of Pearl and another take on her can be found here.



In 1915 a Dayton friend took me on a long drive to Spring Valley and Springfield. On the way she pointed down what I later knew as Center College Street to “an old college named Antioch.” In 1919 Arthur came home one day saying, “Arthur Hauck said today that I had been made a trustee of Antioch College, I never heard of it, did thee?” Remembering that drive, I could tell him where it was. The following Sunday we drove over to look at it and his remark that we both remember was, “It looks dead enough to do anything I want with.” It was hinted to him later that he was put on the board at the request of the American Unitarian Association, which had a residual interest in the small endowment, to protect their interests in the final liquidation which then seemed imminent.

Arthur and I had been dreaming for years of an educational institution which would combine practical work and cultural studies. In 1919 jobs were plentiful and the discouraged old board of trustees had no hopeful plan at all, so it was comparatively easy to get them willing to let him try his own.

Arthur’s first idea had been to find some suitable person to be the new president (his own college training had lasted only a few weeks), and for a year he hunted for such a person, but in 1920 the trustees, partly the old board and partly new members, asked him to take the position. He agreed to do so, using the year of 1920-21 to prepare for the new regime. He needed younger trustees, largely a new faculty, new faculty houses, renovated college buildings, a new student body—and funds.

The old college buildings were sturdy but of the 1850 vintage. North and South Halls had sixteen chimneys each, two by three feet in cross-section, from the ground up—one chimney for every two rooms. Old-time students told of how “trustworthy boys” supplied the girls’ rooms with firewood. The old oak floors and the oak lath and timbers in the partitions were seared by many fires that had got started from the stoves. Only the fire resistance of oak timber had preserved the buildings.

Toilet facilities were very primitive. There was an outbuilding for South Hall, but for the girls’ hall the original builders had provided an original plan. On the middle of the south side there can still be seen one door on every floor, which now seem to open out into space. When we took over, they opened onto narrow passageways which led to a five-sided building—four besides the entrance, one side for each floor of the dormitory—a tremendous privy. The bricks from it were used as fill to make North College and President Streets passable. Before that, Xenia Avenue and Dayton Street were the only ones in town safe for an auto in wet weather.

The village had no water supply. Luckily, Arthur knew the Ohio Conservancy Act which he himself had helped write for the flood protection work at Dayton, and knew that an almost identical law had been re-enacted for water supply districts. Under this the Yellow Spring (along with the Glen) could be appropriated as a source of water for a water system. Those of us who lived there then will never forget the deposits of iron and lime left daily by Yellow Spring water in all our sinks and basins, but it was wonderful to have running water. Primarily it was even more important in preventing the Glen being sold as an amusement park, as we found had been planned.

The scarcity of houses was then, as always, acute. The Nashes camped out temporarily in North Hall. As soon as we knew we were to live in Yellow Springs, I began to agitate to get a house on what was then called the “Means Lawn.” it had been the home of Judge Mills, who gave the original land for the college, but long ago he had sold to Mr. Means, who by 1921 was a ninety-year-old invalid. The property was then in the name of his son-in-law, W. A. Julian, of Cincinnati. We were told by everyone that many people had tried in vain to buy it. One day in the summer of 1921, while we were still living at Englewood Dam, Arthur had a phone call from Cincinnati, saying that we could have the sixteen acres if we would pay cash. Arthur called me from Dayton to ask about our finances. Luckily by using all our bank account and getting a mortgage for the rest, we were able to close the bargain. Next day, Julian said he preferred to keep it himself, but we had it and could start planning faculty houses. Louis Grandgent, who had recently graduated in architecture from Harvard, and had specialized in colonial houses, was added to the faculty, and our building program started, using college endowment funds for the college faculty homes, while we financed our own. As jobs had already become scarce, some college boys worked on the houses. For some years afterward I would frequently hear some boy at a party remark, “I helped carry the bathtub up in this house,” etc., etc.

The old Horace Mann house, on the foundation of which the college library was later built, was still standing, but Mrs. Weston, who had tried living in it, warned me, “It is a woman-killer.” At any rate, it was needed as a college dormitory, so we started to build the Morgan house on the Lawn, and were fortunate in being able to buy a brand-new house on Davis Street (where Kate Gibbs lives now) as a temporary home. Until after Christmas that first year, we among the newcomers had the only house, and it became a center of social life. We had been s anxious for a home that we bought if over the telephone, “sight-unseen,” and moved in without any idea of its internal arrangement. Knowing George Drake, of whom we bought it, we felt entirely safe.

By autumn Mr. Means had died, and the college was legally entitled to that big house, but “Miss Pearl,” his daughter, always had some excuse for not moving out. To some people she would not even open the door, but to me she was always pleasant, though never ready to move. Finally Phil Nash went to see her. She said, “Do you know why I do not move?” He, “No.” She, “I have always wanted the experience of being evicted.” (She had been an actress.) He, “All right, we will oblige you.” (The arm of the law then was an elderly one-legged man.) Proceedings started; one load of furniture was taken out and, according to agreement with Mr. Julian, left in storage in Springfield. The movers went for the next load only to be met by Miss Pearl armed with a pistol, and she was said to be a very good shot. Phil Nash was sent for. She explained that this was not her idea of eviction. She wanted all her goods put on the sidewalk. So they obliged with that, and the first edition of the Springfield afternoon paper had a picture of her and her dogs and her furniture on the street. It was headed, “Senator Julian’s sister-in-law . . .” etc. She was settling an old grudge with him! Arthur phoned the paper and no further publicity was given to her whim. She moved, dogs and all, into the amusingly gingerbreaded little building, now torn down, called “Little Antioch,” triumphantly crowding out the former tenants.

An amusing sequel took place the following summer. Arthur and I strolled out in the moonlight one evening and were sitting on the front steps of the large Mills House. Around the corner stalked Miss Pearl and her three dogs. As if by stage directions two dogs joined us, one on each side, and she and “Billy Sunday,” her special pet, moved majestically out in front in the clear moonlight. There she dramatically orated, “One year ago tonight, my father was murdered in that house.” She went on to say who did it. The list included all the principal men of the village. The dogs crowded closer and closer to us, and they were not clean. We wondered how we had to get away. Finally I said, “Arthur, we had better go see if th y mother is all right.” The actress exclaimed, “Go—go at once—they may be murdering her,” and we went.

Back cover, showing additional titles by the Antioch Press


Posted in Narratives | Tagged | Leave a comment