Dallas Art: Then and Now, 1920-1921

University life and culture of the Arden Club at SMU reflects a microcosm of the broader political and arts landscape of the city of Dallas. My era of study for the Arden Club was 1920-1921. This is a time in American history where the country is thriving in the dawn of the roaring 20s. There is a surge of economic prosperity which resulted in urban growth and an increase in the arts. Social correlations between politics and the arts allow us to observe the rise in social reform when the arts are thriving. Continue reading “Dallas Art: Then and Now, 1920-1921”

The Arden Club from 1925-1926

The vast importance of and respect for the arts (drama/theater, painting, music) in our society are undeniably apparent when looking at the growth/development in particular region.  This development with the arts is mainly thanks origins that seek out to expand and improve their environments appreciation and opportunities, either by participating in, or viewing an art form.  Even the smallest organization have made significant impacts on their culture that leave a lasting mark for how and why the environment became what it is today.  Southern Methodist University’s Arden Club is one of these small organizations with a rich heritage that can be seen through the records that have been kept well maintained.  Continue reading “The Arden Club from 1925-1926”

Two Primary Performance Spaces at SMU, 1916-1929

McCord Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium are two well-known performance spaces at SMU.Both spaces offer unique qualities and complement SMU’s university and surrounding community. The Arden Club occupied both spaces, and the history of the two auditoria offers insight about SMU’s impact on the performing arts.

Continue reading “Two Primary Performance Spaces at SMU, 1916-1929”

The Origins of McFarlin Memorial Auditorium

The opening of McFarlin Memorial Auditorium in March of 1926 was the most important event of Southern Methodist University’s 1925-1926 school year [1]. In December of 1923, Dr. Charles C. Selecman, President of SMU, received a building grant of $325,000 from an oil-rich Methodist couple, Robert McFarlin and Ida Barnard McFarlin [2]. When the auditorium was completed in 1926, the total cost was roughly $700,000, and it was dedicated as a memorial to Robert’s parents, Benjamin and Caroline McFarlin [3]. Continue reading “The Origins of McFarlin Memorial Auditorium”

Double Standards Anyone? An Essay on the Societal Norms of the Arden Club and SMU, 1916 – 1918

Societal norms differ with each passing time period and culture. Whether it has to do with sex, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, family and economic background etc., these norms create a foundation for society and dictate how groups in society are supposed to act, less them taking the risk of being ostracized. Race and gender are the most prominent when it comes to the analysis of societal norms, but the one that was most prevalent in documents regarding SMU’s Arden Club referred solely to gender Continue reading “Double Standards Anyone? An Essay on the Societal Norms of the Arden Club and SMU, 1916 – 1918”

A Photo History of The Arden Club 1920-1921

According to, “The Southern Methodist University Arden Club was the student dramatic group on campus from 1916 to 1969”. SMU Arden Club began performing annual Commencement Shakespeare plays shortly after the completion of the Dallas Hall. These performances were typically performed on the steps, and in front of Dallas Hall on the lawn. Continue reading “A Photo History of The Arden Club 1920-1921”

Extracurriculars At SMU: The Arden Club in 1923-1924

Extracurricular activities have long been an integral part of the academic experience for collegians across the globe, whether their participation be in athletics, the arts, Greek organizations, or student governing bodies. These activities provide students with opportunities that help complement their studies and allow students to branch out into disciplines that they may otherwise have ignored. [1] Such was the case at Southern Methodist University from its earliest days, as the Arden Club provided a dramatic organization for those who wished to perform plays, both long and short, for S.M.U. and the surrounding community. Continue reading “Extracurriculars At SMU: The Arden Club in 1923-1924”

SMU Arden Club Digital Archive: Establishment in 1916

The Arden Club is a dramatic club which not only culturally enhanced the campus of Southern Methodist University, but also the surrounding Dallas community as well. It presented a diverse selection of productions, while offering a unique program for active students and alumni to participate in. With over 100,000 audience viewers and hundreds of engaged members and alumni throughout its active years, the outreach and consistency of the Arden Club is unparalleled. Continue reading “SMU Arden Club Digital Archive: Establishment in 1916”

The Arden Club Membership: A Ten-Year Evolution 1916-1926

In 1916, under director Mary McCord, Southern Methodist University founded a dramatic club called The Arden Club; Mary McCord directed the club for twenty-seven years and deserves a considerable amount of commendation (“Southern Methodist University Arden Club Collection”). Between 1916 and 1918 the club’s charter members consisted of the students who participated in the first opening play or those who worked closely with Miss McCord in the Department of Speech (“. The ten-year evolution between 1918 and 1928 serve as significant formative years for the club’s popularity and growth not only on campus but also in the surrounding Dallas area Continue reading “The Arden Club Membership: A Ten-Year Evolution 1916-1926”

The New Wave of Women in the 1920s

Women are capable of so much greatness. Held back from being able to attain their full rights legally as well as sociality for hundreds of years, women’s potential was unfairly marginalized. During the 1920s a new wave of woman were taking charge their independence and the futures they wanted to hold for themselves. The early 20th century was a turning point for women that brought new jobs, technology, voting rights as well as a surge of new culture. Continue reading “The New Wave of Women in the 1920s”

The Arden Club 1924/1925 Season

The 1924-1925 season of the Arden Club displayed much improvement and solidity in performance and in the club as a whole. Though their first performance went up in flames (literally) they continued on with great fervor throughout the rest of the season. Continue reading “The Arden Club 1924/1925 Season”

The Origins of the Junior Arden Club

During the first few years of the Arden club, the enrollment of the college rose by a lot, but the Arden Club had not kept pace with this growth because the number of people in the club stayed the same. Continue reading “The Origins of the Junior Arden Club”

Handwriting: Obsolete or of Utmost Importance? An Introduction to the Arden Club 1916-1929

When researching the Arden Club, specifically during their 1923-1924 season, the club’s minutes provided the most insight into the inner workings of the organization. The Arden Club secretary, Hattie Mae Russell (see Fig. 1), meticulously recorded the happenings of the club’s weekly meetings and documented information such as budget reports, scheduling changes, and motions to improve the club’s everyday operations. Each minutes of Arden Club meetings mirrored the format of the previous minutes in an almost identical manner. Despite these scrupulous and well-organized records, Russell’s handwriting was practically illegible. This brings up the comical but relevant question of how important to secretarial duties is handwriting, and do the aesthetic qualities of cursive outweigh its functionality? Continue reading “Handwriting: Obsolete or of Utmost Importance? An Introduction to the Arden Club 1916-1929”

Comparing the Early and Final Years of the Arden Club’s Publicity

On March 10, 1917, The Dallas Morning News published a column titled “Arden Club Entertains” which states: “The Arden Club of the Southern Methodist University gave a program at Grand Prairie last night in the high school auditorium. About 250 persons expressed their appreciation of the entertainment. The program consisted of a reading by Miss Ruth Handon and done by Lowell M. Dye. “Gringoire,” a comedy, was the play of the evening. The club contemplates several trips in the future” (Dallas Morning News, 1917). Continue reading “Comparing the Early and Final Years of the Arden Club’s Publicity”

Dallas Hippodrome Theater 1913-1960

In all my studies of the 1922-23 Arden Club, the most interesting thing I saw was the story of the Dallas Hippodrome. This piece will look at how the theater was involved in the evolution of entertainment in Dallas’ downtown, and how it was related to the years of the Arden Club closely related to 1922-23. Continue reading “Dallas Hippodrome Theater 1913-1960”