Recently I’ve been asked to speak at the Georgetown Heritage Society on a topic that is very dear to me – about first-year Southwestern University student in 1913, Ms. Reba McMinn. Here is a yearbook picture of her – isn’t she lovely?
Reba McMinn’s best friend, Becky, donated Reba’s letters written to her while Reba was a first-year student at Southwestern. The collection, donated to Special Collections in 1988, is unique in that it is very complete – Reba wrote to Becky nearly every week. The letters are timeless – she talks about the food, the boys and the teachers and classes. She even draws a diagram of how she decorated her dorm room.
About 100 years later, in 2012, Special Collections started a Facebook page for Reba McMinn. Current first-year students were able to follow along with Reba’s first-year experience. You can still read bits of her first-year letters here on her Facebook page.
Today I am sifting through an exhibit SU Special Collections did about her and her time at SU. I’m laying out photos and text cards to see what I have and to see what might be appropriate to take with me to place in the lobby of the Heritage Society venue. Here is a bit of my layout:
Here is a blurb about my presentation:
“Reba McMinn: first-year Southwestern University student 100 years ago.
Using letters donated to Southwestern University’s Special Collections paired with photographs from the SU archives, this presentation will provide a window into the life of student Reba McMinn in the early 1900s. Details in these timeless letters written to her childhood best friend include what went on in town, on campus and in the mind of this charming female student, in a time when women were seeking the vote, driving automobiles and WWI was on the horizon. Presenter Anne M. Veerkamp worked in the Southwestern University Special Collections on the Reba McMinn project in 2012-13.”
This Georgetown Heritage Society event will take place at the Grace Heritage Center on Thursday, September 10th.