The 1930's -- The Beginning

In 1929, the club moved to "the country" for its fall meeting, a "Frolic in October" at the home of the club president, Mrs. Earl Partridge. The next year, an afternoon style show from Bjorkman's was added, and in 1931 (not 1933!), the "raising of the year's funds and the introduction of the undergraduates to the Smith Club were combined in an all day party at the home of the president, Mrs. Charles M. Case, at Maplewoods." Chaired by Mrs. Meech, and named the "Smith Fete," this earliest Smith Day in the Country featured an auction and fortune telling, as well as "the sale of fruits, vegetables, flowers, cakes, candy, books, clothes, and silhouettes by Barbara Bell." Net proceeds: $1023.43!

By 1935, the sale was called the "Smith Day in the Country" and referred to as an annual event. My prime source for this era, Mrs. Fowell Coan, told me that the main idea was a day in the country, an excursion, just to "come and have a good time". The sale was "Bring and Buy", and Entertainment was paramount with emphasis placed on clever and amusing skits, performed by active members such as Mrs. Dalrymple and Mrs. Pierson. By the end of the decade, undergraduates performed skits designed to inform club members of what was currently happening in Northampton, communication from the college being meager compared to what we have today. Mrs. Coan gave me an example of a lyric referring to the fad of eating lollipops and riding in open air trolleys:

Whether we walk,

Whether we ride,

We take the trolley.

POP! goes the lolley."

A typical Smith Day in the 1930's would have begun at 11:30. Until 1:00, when lunch was served on someone's (Mmes. Angus Morrison, George Hoke, Earl Partridge, Phillip Pillsbury, Cargill MacMillan) terrace overlooking the lake, club members occupied themselves with buying. There was a Wardrobe exchange, a Pantry, White Elephants ("unwanted wedding gifts"), a Book Exchange, flower and vegetable markets, and iced drink stand, table decoration tables, bingo, and slot machines. A typical luncheon menu consisted of: corned beef hash, cole slaw, apple pie, and coffee, with chicken salad as an alternate. After a business meeting came the main event of the day, the Entertainment. There were always skits, and raffles, and sometimes an item or two, like an umbrella or "unwrapped cakes", to be auctioned off in a "hilarious manner" by someone clever like Mrs. Dalrymple. One year the Entertainment included horse racing on the front porch; another year, movies from twenty years before; a third, a style show from Harold's with modeling by the undergraduates. Though held during the depths of the depression, Smith Day continued to produce profits of more than $750; and in 1939, with tuition raised to $1100 a year, the club decided to give four scholarships of $250 apiece, instead of the usual two at $100.

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