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Principia Archives

Exhibits

Exhibits are planned, designed, and installed on the Principia College campus. They showcase the Principia Archives, artwork, and cultural objects from the Principia Collections. We encourage you to find inspiration by viewing exhibits at multiple locations on the Principia College campus:

  • Marshall Brooks Library - 1st Floor, West Study Area, 3rd floor Gallery, and Lobby display case.
  • Merrick/Davis Theater and Music Building foyer display cases.

Athletics for Everyone - Library Exhibit April - Oct. 2024, West Study Area

Introduction to the exhibit poster

ATHLETICS FOR EVERYONE AT PRINCIPIA, 2024

Principia founder Mary Kimball Morgan promoted character development through the "education of the whole man — physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually, as well as intellectually." From its earliest days, Principia embraced the “whole person” physical education approach, providing opportunities for all students to participate in physical education classes, interscholastic competitions, intramurals, athletic clubs, hiking, cheerleading, dance, and marching band. We hope you enjoy this celebration of athletics for every student at Principia.

Here are some engaging questions to consider as you enjoy this exhibit:

  • How has your perception changed regarding Principia Athletics?
  • How do you see character demonstrated throughout the exhibit?
  • Which photograph or artifact makes you wonder?

The following online version of this Exhibit is divided to resemble the physical cabinets viewers browse at the Marshall Brooks Library, West study area. Learn more about Principia through our Digital Collections website, yearbooks, course catalogs, photograph collections, and read books about Principia, such as As the Sowing.

Do you questions about this exhibit or the Principia Archives? Do you have helpful information to update descriptions about the items in this exhibit? Please contact the Principia Archivist.

Display Cabinet 1: Athletic Letter Awards, GAA, and more...

Photograph: Principia Girls Athletic Association Board, mid-1920s. From the Principia Archives.

Principia, The Athletic Creed. Printed on yellow paper.
Donor: Miss Cabbage, Upper School Girl’s Athletic Coach.

Principia (WAA) Women's Athletic Association Annual Banquet program, 1938. Printed paper event program.
Donor: Mary Elizabeth Wright.
 
Principia GAA Board Pin, 1934. Letter award to Girls Athletic Association Board members. Gold pin with Principia "P", blue accents, with chain attaching the number 34. 
Donor: William E. Morgan, Jr. Estate. 
 
Principia GAA Letter Awards, 1930s-1950s. Patches, All Star patches, Basket Girl basketball patches. Navy blue and golden yellow felt. GAA stitched design.
Donor: Principia Upper School Girl's Athletic Department, Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.
 
Julianne Oakes thesis (copy): History of Girls' and Woman's Physical Education at the Principia: The Formative Years, 1897-1934
Donor: Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.
Photograph of Julianne Oakes (reprint), Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.
 
Principia College Varsity Football Lettered Athlete Certificate for John Boyd Jeffries, 1928. Original, signed, paper certificate decorated with golden yellow "P" and metallic gold seal.
Donor: Joanne Jefferies Osborn. Awarded to John Boyd Jefferies, US 1927, JC 1929.

Principia College Varsity Football Letter for John Boyd Jeffries, "P", 1928. Felt in gold and navy blue.
Donor: Joanne Jefferies Osborn. Awarded to John Boyd Jefferies, US 1927, JC 1929.
 
Principia Sheaf Yearbook, 1924. From the Principia Archives. Locate more yearbooks near the elevator or search through the Principia Digital Collections site.
 
Principia Lettered Athlete Sweater, c1970-1975. Navy blue wool long-sleeved sweater with design including golden yellow armband and varsity athletic letter, Principia "P" attached to the chest. Label inside Seth Marshall embroidered on it.
Donor: Donor: Dr. Scott Schneberger, CO 1970, former Dean of Academics, Trustee. Owned by Seth Marshall, Jr., US 1970, CO 1975.
 
Principia varsity letter "P". (Faded) felt navy blue "P" stitched to golden yellow square background, surrounded with navy felt bars.
Donor: Mrs. Clare Sperry. Awarded to Mr. Clare Sperry, US 1920, JC 1922.
 
Principia Letter Award Blanket, mid-century. Wool navy-blue blanket with felt golden yellow Principia "P" stitched to middle. Awarded blankets would have additionally had the sport embroidered to the blanket.
Donor: Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.
 
Principia "P" varsity letter award.
Donor: EB (Earl) B. Stitt III, US 1933, CO 1937.  

Display Cabinet 2: Varsity Letter Garments and Certificates.

 Principia College Varsity Football Lettered Athlete Certificate for Jim Clough, 1974. Original, signed, paper certificate decorated with golden yellow "P" and metallic gold seal.
Donor: James (Jim) Clough, US 1971, CO 1978.
 
Principia Upper School Lettered Athlete Jacket, 1987. Golden yellow wool and synthetic with navy blue sleeves and navy metal buttons jacket by Butwin. Stitched to the chest is a navy blue and golden yellow varsity Principia "P" awarded letter highlighting the ABC league, stitched yellow star, gold-colored metal football with two bars, and number 87.
Donor: Ellen (Johnson), CO 1993 & owned by Josh Sprague, US 1987, CO 1991.
 
Principia School Lettered Athlete Sweater, 1948. Off-white wool button-down cardigan sweater. Attached lower than the chest is a navy blue and golden yellow varsity Principia "P" awarded letter with additional patch icons for swimming and track, symbols and bars on each arm, and number 48 attached to the bottom pocket. 
Donor: Neta Hathaway. Owned by James Alderman Hathaway, US 1948. James is one of the lettermen featured in the open yearbook.
 
Principia Upper School Lettered Athlete Sweater, 1954. Cream wool button-down cardigan sweater. Attached lower than the chest is a navy blue and golden yellow varsity Principia "P" awarded letter, with awarded symbols and bars made of navy and golden yellow attached on each arm, and the number 54 also attached to the arm. 
Donors: Nancy (Hough) Armstrong US 1957, CO 1962, and Susan (Hough) Eastman US 1962, CO 1966. Owned by Capt. Claude L. Hough, III, US 1954.
 
Principia Blade School Yearbook. Find copies of yearbooks near the library elevator, or search the Principia Archives Digital Collections by searching the Principia Archives Digital Collections website. https://principia.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/PYB01
 
Principia College Varsity Basketball Lettered Athlete Certificate for Earl Stitt, Captain, 1937. Original, signed, paper certificate decorated with golden yellow "P" and metallic gold seal.
Donor: EB (Earl) B. Stitt III, US 1933, CO 1937.

Display Cabinet 3: Football

Principia College Football Uniform Jersey #22, 1993. (Back) Navy blue synthetic short sleeved jersey with golden yellow arm band stripes and number 22 applied to back, "PRINCIPIA" on the front, and appliqued fabric name "PARIS" stitched across shoulders.
Donor: Peter Paris, CO 1993.
 
Principia Leather Football Helmet, late 1920s- early 1930s. Blue dyed leather helmet with gold color number 22 painted on the back, and white painted "Prin" likely added later.
Donor: Upper School Boy's Athletic Department.
 
Principia Upper School Football Uniform Jersey, Number #24, (1930s-1950s) likely 1950s. Navy blue 100% wool long sleeved football jersey with golden yellow felt number 24 stitched to chest by Lowe and Campbell Athletic Goods Co.
Donor: Principia Upper School Boy's Athletic Department, Football.
 
Principia Leather Football Helmet, early 1900s. Brown and black leather helmet with silk stockings stitched to the inside. "x" and "+" symbols in addition to the name "Dale W" carved into leather. [degenerative carving may have come later after transferring out of athletics].
Donor: Principia Upper School Athletic Department, Upper School Theater Costume Department.
 
Principia Football Uniform Jersey, number 46. Navy blue synthetic short sleeved football jersey with golden yellow and white striped design at neck, shoulder, and edge of sleeves. "PRINCIPIA 46" applied to the front and Sprague to back.
Donor: Ellen (Johnson), CO 1993 and Josh Sprague, owned by Josh Sprague, US 1987, CO 1991.
 
Principia Football Helmet, before 2005. Shutt brand Golden tan color plastic helmet with black metal face guard, white plastic chin guard, white and black padding inside, and metal screws and snaps. [Helmet was not used for games].
Donor: Principia College Media Services.
 
Principia Upper School Football, 1946. Spaulding winning football from 1946 game against Country Day School. Result painted on ball: 1946, Principia 7, Country Day 6.
Donor: Principia Upper School Athletic Department, football.
 
Principia Upper School Varsity Football Award, 1956. Navy with golden yellow stitching in shape of a football: ABC Co-Champions, 1956.
Donor: purchase, owner unknown.
 
Principia Football keychain, 2005. Football-shaped brass-colored metal keychain "PRINCIPIA ALL CENTURY TEAM, 1905-2005".
Donor: Principia.
 
Principia Upper School Football, 1948. Football from 1948 game against Western Military Academy School in Alton. Score result painted on ball: 1948, Prin 0, Western 0.
Donor: Dr. Scott Schneberger, CO 1970, former Dean of Academics, Provost, Acting Acting Chief Executive, Board Chair.
 
Principia Upper School Football, undated. Rawlings football signed in pen, "Best Wishes !!!".
Donor: Principia Upper School Athletic Department, football.
 
Principia Upper School Football Helmet, 1970s-early 1980s. Golden yellow plastic helmet with navy blue and white stripes down the center and navy-blue panther design applied to side. Metal face mask and snaps for attaching a chin guard. White plastic padding inside with the name written "John Doerr US 1975", and face mask broken from side.
Donor: Jonathan Gibbs, US 1989.
 
Principia College Football Sweater, before 1984. Navy-blue long-sleeved football sweater (for travel days) with embroidered branding "PRINCIPIA FOOTBALL" and profile of a view of a first nations Native American added to the chest. Principia's mascot was changed to a Panther in 1985.
Donor: Keith Eccles, CO 1986
 
Principia Upper School Football Uniform Game Pants, approximately 2000s. Golden tan, synthetic, knee length football game pants with Navy blue-black stripes and Principia "P".
Donor: Principia Upper School Boy's Athletic Department, Football.

Display Cabinet 4: Volleyball, Horseback riding, and more!

Photographs (reprinted copies): Volleyball (indoor and beach) players.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia Athletic Schedules Fall 1983. Tan, folded, printed paper schedule.
Donor: Principia Archives.
 
Photographs (reprinted copies): Boxing, Gymnastics, Golf, Horseback, Wrestling, Fencing, and Archery.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Horseback Riding Habit, Split Skirt and Gaiters, 1903. Bifurcated golden ochre cotton split sport riding skirt with removable buttoned center panel, hidden built-in pants, and matching leg gaiters with leather buckles to wear under boot heels.
Donor: Minnie Morey Howard, Trustee and Patron.

Display Cabinet 5

Photographs (reprinted copies): Principia girls and young women were required to play sports to wear proper athletic uniforms. These photos show the 1920s-1930s girls and women actively playing baseball, basketball, and hockey while wearing their gym uniforms of various styles. 
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia Gymnasium Uniforms, 1920s. Golden yellow ochre cotton "Moore's Official Gymnasium Bloomers". [These likely would've been worn with a sash at the waist, but these are missing].
Donor: Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.

Display Cabinet 6

Photographs (reprinted copies): Principia Upper School and College students participating in Cross Country Running and Track and Field events.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia Upper School Track Jersey, late 1970s - early 1980s. White synthetic nearly sleeveless jersey with golden yellow and navy blue diagonal stripe.
Donor: Principia Upper School Athletic Department, Track and Field.  
 
Principia Upper School Track Jersey, 2022. Synthetic sleeveless jersey with golden tan and dark navy blue diagonal stripe. 
Donor: Principia Upper School Athletic Department, Track.
 
Principia Upper School Track ABC Champion Letter Award, 1956. Navy blue track patch, with golden yellow embroidered stitching reads "Dist. ABC 1956 Champ". Removed from purchased Letterman sweater. Donor was US Letterman for basketball and track, 1957 football ABC co-champions, 1956 and 1957.
Donor: Purchase, owner unknown.
 
Varsity Letter Principia "P". Navy blue Principia "P" letter with embroidered golden yellow star, with attached brass colored basketball pin and track pin awards.
Donor: unknown.
 
Principia Gym Bag, undated. Leather and plastic zippered navy blue and golden yellow gym bag, two handles at top, metal feet on bottom, with "PRINCIPIA" printed in golden yellow on the side.
Donor: Jean (Lany) van L Maas Clough, US 1975, CO 1979, from the Van L Maas Family Collection, bag owned by Albert (Al) J J van L Maas, CO 1954.
 
Hanging travel bag, undated. Fabric navy blue, yellow, and white sewn bag with velcro to hold closed once folded up. "PANTHERS" and profile of panther mascot applied to white panel.
Donor: unknown.
 
Principia School Basketball Gym Shorts, 2007. Dark navy blue and white panel PE gym shorts, with "GENUINE PRINCIPIA PANTHERS" applied to bottom edge.
Donor: unknown.

Display Cabinet 7 & 8

Photographs (reprinted copies) showcasing various versions of Principia College and Upper School Marching Bands.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Upper School Marching Band Uniforms, 1979-1980:
Drum Major Bib, c1980. White with military style details in navy and golden yellow, with applied “P” embroidered on the back, and golden cords. White furry busby hat, and white shoes.
Donor: Principia Mother's Club fundraiser, 1979-1980.

Marching band uniform, c1980. Blue long-sleeved jacket, matching blue pants with golden yellow and white stripe detail, and matching blue bib with golden yellow embroidered "P" applied to the front and sheaf of wheat design on back, golden cords, and golden yellow furry busby hat.
Donor: Principia Mother's Club fundraiser, 1979-1980.
 
Upper School Pom Pom Squad Uniform, 1984. Satin golden yellow long-sleeved shirt, short navy-blue skirt, white cummerbund, white boots, and white hat with black ribbon. Flag in white, gold, and blue fabric.
Donor: Principia Mother's Club fundraiser, 1979-1980.
 
Pom Poms, 1984. Plastic navy blue and yellow pom poms on white plastic wands.
Donor: unknown.

Display Cabinet 9

Photographs (reprinted copies) of Upper School and College Field Hockey Team.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Junior College Field Hockey Athletic Letter Award, 1923. Faded felt navy blue triangle with golden yellow "'23" and letter "H".
Donor: Donor: Helen Palmer Henley Robertson, US 1921, JC 1923.
 
Upper School GAA Newsletter, Sports N Shorts Vol. 4, Issue 2, 1963. Authored by Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia Upper School Athletic Director and Coach.
Donor: The Principia Archives. 
 
Photographs (reprinted copies) of Principia College and Upper School Dance Departments and Dance Productions.
Donor: The Principia Archives.
 
Photographs (reprinted copies) of Principia College and Upper School Cheerleaders and Pep Squads. Copy of 1922 yearbook pages with “yells” and cheers.
Donor: The Principia Archives.
 
Pom Poms, 1984. Navy and yellow pom poms on white plastic wands.
Donor: unknown.
 
Red Megaphone for display purposes.
Donor: Principia College Media Services Department.
 
Principia Upper School Varsity Cheerleader Athletic Letters, 1960-1961.
Donor: Susan Hough Eastman, US 1962, C 1966.
 
Principia Cheerleading Varsity Athletic Letter Awards, 1960s-1980s.
Donor: Principia Upper School Girl's Athletic Department, Julie (Julianne) Oakes, US 1940, CO 1944, Principia School Athletic Director and Coach.

Display Cabinet 10

Photographs (reprinted copies) showcasing Principia Tennis Team members.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia College Women's Tennis Team uniform jersey, early 2000s. Women's white sleeveless jersey with navy blue edging and Principia icon on bottom edge.
Donor: Principia College Athletic Department, Tennis.
 
Principia College Women's Tennis Team uniform jersey, mid-2000s. Women's navy blue sleeveless jersey with white details and Principia "P" on the upper chest.
Donor: Principia College Athletic Department, Tennis.
 
Tennis Racket, 1968 approximately. Wooden Bancroft Tournament racket, authorized by Billie Jean King.
On Loan for exhibit: Shannon Carney, Principia College Athletic Department, Tennis Coach.
 
Tennis Racket and cover, 1967-1970. Metal Wilson T2000 (authorized by Jimmy Conners) Tennis Racket with white cover.
On Loan for exhibit: Shannon Carney, Principia College Athletic Department, Tennis Coach.
Owned by Chestnut Booth, Trustee; former Dean of Students.
 
Photographs (reprinted copies) showcasing Principia College and Upper School Soccer Team members.
Donor: The Principia Archives.
 
Practice Jerseys, undated. Hot pink and yellow soccer team practice jerseys. 
Donor: Principia College Athletic Department, Soccer.
 
Principia "P" Varsity Athletic Letter. Yellow, undated.

Display Cabinet 11

Photographs (reprinted copies) highlighting Principia College and Upper School Athletics Aquatic Sports: Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, and Water Ballet. 
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia Athletic Schedules Spring, 1984. Yellow, folded, printed paper schedule.
Donor: Principia Archives.
 
Women's Bathing Suit, 1940s (approximately). White and blue smooth wool knit one piece suit with leaf design, and cross back straps.
Donor: unknown.
 
Principia "P" Athletic Letter in Navy Blue.
 
Principia College Swimming Warm-ups, undated (2000s approximately). Navy blue synthetic long sleeved zippered jacket and pants with Swimming & Diving label and Principia "P" on the chest.
Donor: Principia College Athletic Department, Swimming & Diving.
 
Men's Bathing Suit, early 1920s. Wool knit black and red full one-piece swimming suit with grey/white belt by Bradley Knit Wear. 
Donor: unknown.
 
Swimming cap, undated. White cap by Seamco Sporting Goods [brittle, yellowing, and flat].
Donor: unknown.
 
Practice Jerseys, undated. Hot pink and yellow soccer team practice jerseys. Blue hooded sweatshirt, labeled in white "PRINCIPIA SWIMMING". 
Donor: Dr. Edith Pfiefer List, PhD, US 1988, CO 1993.

Display Cabinet 12

Photographs (reprinted copies) showcasing Principia College Athletics, Rugby.
Donors: The Principia Archives.
Early team photo, black and white, on loan to exhibit from Ward Patterson, former Principia Rugby coach. 
 
Principia College Rugby Uniform Jersey, early 1990s. Red and black striped long-sleeved rugby jersey with white collar, and embroidered Principia Thunder Chicken mascot on chest, Principia College, RFC, Thunder Chickens XV.
Donor: On loan from Ward Patterson, CO 1982, former Principia College Athletic Department, Rugby coach.
 
Photographs (reprinted copies) of Principia College and Upper School Athletic Departments, Baseball and Softball Teams.
Donor: The Principia Archives.
 
Principia College Winning Baseball, 1940. Baseball signed by the winning team with no hits, no runs, no errors, and pitched by Phil Edwards. His photograph is displayed next to the baseball.
Donor: Philip Edwards, CO 1941, later teacher at the Principia School and athletic coach. 
A tab includes a Principia Purpose Alumni Magazine article about his experience.

Principia College Baseball Cap, 1998. Navy blue baseball cap with golden applied Principia "P".
Donor: Purchase.
 
Principia College Baseball Cap, 1990. Navy blue baseball cap with white applied Principia "P".
Donor: Kevin Bennett, CO 1992.
 
Principia Pennant, undated. Navy blue pennant with golden yellow applied "PRINCIPIA" and sheaf logo.
Donor: Principia Archives.

Principia “P” Letter, golden yellow over navy blue.

Display Cabinet 13

Photographs (reprinted copies) of Principia Athletic Departments, Basketball.
From the Principia Archives.
 
Principia College Women's Basketball program. Folded goldenrod yellow paper printed with panther profile.
Donor: Principia Archives.
 
Principia College Basketball Warm-up pants, undated. Synthetic white warm-up pants with navy and golden yellow stripes, snaps, and "PRINCIPIA" written down the leg.
Donor: unknown.
 
Principia College Basketball Travel Warm-ups, 1993 approximately. Synthetic collared short-sleeved shirt, snapped front in navy blue, golden yellow, with white stripe. "PANTHERS" applied across the chest. Synthetic warm-up pants in navy blue, golden yellow and white stripe, with snaps down the leg.
Donor: unknown.
 
Principia Upper School Leather Basketball, 1947. Winning basketball with score results painted on: Principia 44, Western 28. 
Donor: Principia Upper School Boys' Athletic Department.
 
Principia "P" Athletic Letter in golden yellow, undated.
 
Principia Junior College Athletic Letter for basketball, 1922. Golden yellow felt "B" & "B". 
Donor: Donor: Mrs. Clare Sperry, Mr. Clare Sperry, US 1920, JC 1922.
 
Principia Junior College Athletic Letter for basketball, 1923. Navy blue felt in diamond shape with golden yellow outline, "23 B B".
Donor: Helen Palmer Henley Robertson, US 1921, JC 1923. 

Principia Winter Sports Schedule, 1959-1960. Goldenrod paper trifold.

Principia Basketball shaped award, 1957. Previously removed from a purchased Principia Upper School Letterman sweater. Unknown owner was an Upper School Letterman for basketball and track, and 1957 football ABC co-champions, 1956 and 1957.
Donor: Purchase, owner unknown.

Display Cabinet 14:

Poster: The Principia Archives hopes you’ve enjoyed this exhibit, made possible by decades of donations from cherished donors, alumni, and our athletic departments. We invite you to celebrate all past and present students who honed their skills, showed sportsmanship, exuded grace, and simply reveled in the joy of the game!

Do you, or someone you know, have Principia athletic or student memorabilia in need of a new home? Whether it's athletic uniforms, that winning ball, your mom’s cleats, your great uncle’s dorm scroggie, WTPC radio stickers, club relics, event programs, Soph Prod scrapbooks, or snazzy photos of your student experience, the Principia Archivist is happy to chat about your donation. Your valued treasures are the key to sharing Principia's rich history with future generations!

Photographs of Principia Upper School and College Athletes.
Donor: Large Rugby poster on loan from Ward Patterson, former Principia Rugby coach, and (reprinted copies) from the Principia Archives.

Leonard, E. S. (1951). As the sowing; the first fifty years of the Principia. [2d ed.]. Principia.
Read it online: https://principia.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/books/id/2570/rec/9
 
Principia Upper School and College Sweatshirts, 1988-1993. Collection of sweatshirts in yellow, grey, and navy.
Donor: Dr. Edith Pfeifer List, PhD, US 1988, CO 1993.

Do you think something is missing from this display? The Archives would love your Principia-related donation to help us better represent all decades of all athletics at Principia! We welcome your hockey sticks, jerseys, cleats, bats, rackets, boxing gloves, uniforms, caps, tennis ball can, you name it … because 10, 20, 50 years from now, it will be perfect for a future version of this exhibit.

Athletics for Everyone - Exhibit Photographs

Principia Cadet Corps - Library Exhibit 2022

Principia Cadet Corps (1905-1935): 30 Years of Noble Character

Come visit the 1st and 3rd floor Exhibit and Gallery space to learn more about the fascinating history of the Principia Cadet Corps. The Cadet Corps experience had an enormous impact on Principia's students. You are invited to peruse exhibit cases on the first floor, West Study Area, and imagine wearing wool uniforms during the hot spring months. Take a walk upstairs to look closer at the enlarged photographs displayed in the 3rd-floor gallery. See what life would have been like during those early decades at Principia. Visit the Marshall Brooks Library (through Dec. 2022) and explore!

Put yourself in a cadet's shoes without internet or apps, TV, or cell phone: The American Civil War was fought by your grandparents' generation. World War I will explode into your life while you are in school, and you will likely participate. You personally know Principia's founder Mary Kimball Morgan and her family. Your campus is in St. Louis, on Page Blvd., near the center of the bustling city, and all grades from Kindergarten to Junior College share the same campus spaces. Your day is highly structured in a military-style ranking system that is displayed on your uniform and adhered to in drill formations as well as in your dorm life. However, life wasn't all about the cadets. It also included academics, athletics, fine arts, parties, dances, and social events.

The photographs displayed are from a larger collection housed in the Principia Archives. Please visit the Principia Digital Collections Site to view a majority of Cadet Corps photographs found in the Principia Archives.

During the spring of 1905, the idea of a Principia Cadet Corps arose from a discussion during a Principia parents' meeting. Parents complained that their children needed to learn better manners and that their children were giving undue attention to what attire they wore to school. The idea of a student uniform was presented.

Although Principia was not a military academy, the uniform essentially sparked the idea of instituting a cadet corps. Fashionable military-style uniforms were selected for boys and girls, and Arthur T. Morey led the way later that year into what became a 30-year program at Principia.

Arthur T. Morey originally conceived of the cadet corps as a voluntary organization, having some previous familiarity from attending a high school cadet corps in Denver, Colorado. It didn't take long after that Parents' meeting voted in favor of a cadet corps before the training began with Morey. The new cadets were assembled on a Wednesday afternoon and Morey began drills with them two days a week. thereafter. It was during Morey’s 5 years of governance that he was bestowed the title 'Colonel' (even though his highest military rank was actually of a 'Major'

In the early days, the boys were initially admitted as cadets by application. The cadets organized and drew up a constitution with by-laws and regulations for their own governance. (Garner E. Hubbell was a student on the original by-laws committee.) A clause of the 1910 Cadet Corps Constitution, as published in the 1910 Principia Prospectus - 'The purposes of this organization are: to learn the re­sponsibility and the discharge of duty; the meaning of dis­cipline; the acquiring of self-control; the acquitting of au­thority; the attainment of proper and manly carriage; the appreciation of truthfulness, and the acquisition of true gen­tlemanliness and noble character.'

In 1911, Garner E. Hubbell (Captain, class of 1908) took over for Colonel Morey, serving as Commandant of the Cadet Corps until 1927. Hubbell brought greater discipline, inspections, and overall stricter demands, such as requiring uniforms to be worn at all times. All boys above third grade in good academic standing participated in cadet activities in addition to their schoolwork and athletics.

The Cadet Corps was a democratic, self-disciplined organization subject to the government of the school. The Cadet Corps provided structure for every boy’s daily life while attending Principia, with many fundamentals derived from U.S. Army regulations. The boys were grouped into companies where older cadets held authority and responsibilities after having proved and progressed themselves through successful ranking. Learning through a deep foundation in character education was the priority throughout all activities.

All students wore sensible uniforms that were also fashionable for the time. Cadets wore drab olive green uniforms for their everyday activities with accompanying accessories, hats, and footwear. In the early years, a grey/blue dress uniform with simple tweed stripes was worn for formal events. White duck (canvas) trousers were substituted in warm weather and wool overcoats were added in cold weather. During the 1920s, a navy blue dress uniform was substituted for the grey/blue uniform. Both are found in the exhibit display.

Once World War I broke out and the possibility for the Cadets going off to war increased, there was a shift in preparation activities. During the time surrounding the war, cadet activities intensified in all facets. Drills increased to 50-minute daily drills, practical work, interior guard duty, and one hour a week of theoretical work. Field exercises increased, with 3 to 5 hours on Saturdays. There was an additional 2 hours a week devoted to special subject studies in small groups such as patrols, map reading, surveying work, and signaling. By the fall of 1917, Principia conformed the cadet training to ROTC instructions. Preparation proved to be of great value to the enlisted Principia boys and men. "Over eighty percent of the graduates of Principia who entered the army became commissioned officers," wrote Arthur T. Morey, Cadet Corps - Commandant.

The Military Ball had its roots in a cadet celebration banquet for George Washington's birthday. Not many cadet-only banquets passed before the girls decided to crash the event, and with enthusiasm by all, the annual "cadet hop" was established in 1911. All Principia students, Alumni, Trustees, and friends were invited to the grand event. In 1915, it was noted in the yearbook that they "ushered in the gala affair by raising "Old Glory" and firing a small cannon on stage". Howard Gymnasium was transformed with decorations of red, white, and blue bunting, gold and blue school colors, flags, large palms, and a full orchestra.

The last year Junior College students participated formally in the Military Ball was 1927. The 1936 Military Ball, celebrating the 30th and final year of cadet corps activities, was fittingly the most opulent produced: from the invitations, decorations, spotlights, giant red velvet curtains to hide gymnasium features, and full banquet, to the pre-dance entertainment of the cadet's complicated drill formation demonstration and ranked grand march to usher in the dance.

Although women held all manner of valued positions in all facets of a student's education at Principia, including the founder Mary Kimball Morgan, there is a surprising lack of written and/or photographic evidential details to help us remember the historical significance and place girls and women held equal to the cadet activities during these 30 years. There are, however, two areas where details about women and girls are noted: uniforms and dances.

Female students were required to wear uniforms (in an effort to remove importance from a focus on clothing), but only during the school week. The designs over the years were functionally simple in navy and/or white with hints of military design themes. They wore 'middy' blouses and long navy blue skirts, and white crepe de chine options for evenings and social functions. The color of one's scarf was where there was an option for personal flair. Junior College women could opt out of uniforms for their evening attire.

Cadet corps training had always been met with a certain level of opposition in the Christian Science community. With years of post-World War 1 drills, the intensity and usage of government-supplied rifles, training at early ages, and a general appearance of sympathy with war in general, the opposition rose even further. By 1925, the response was to minimize the war-like sense and eliminate as much military focus as possible. In 1927, Hubbell retired from his Commandant duties to take up work as Dean of Men, and cadet work was entirely discontinued for Junior College students. Additionally, intense drill work was eliminated except for the basic training at the start of the year for the Upper School boys. The organizational structure continued for the boys; however, the focus was turned toward band practice. There had always been a number of boys in the band, boys that either had a strong inclination for playing music or those boys with less interest in military drills. The training as a method for character education was maintained, focusing on "... Such qualities as teamplay, promptness, neatness, obedience, and the ability to give and receive an order impersonally."

By 1929, Principia offered a soft transition with an option for continued camaraderie and inclusivity, "Every boy in the Cadet Corps who wanted to, regardless of any sense of musical limitation that may have been placed upon him" a chance to play in the band. A former Cadet-turned-Commandant, Lt. Chauncey B. Nelson, wrote in a letter to the Trustees that he felt the enrollment numbers went up and there was renewed interest in the military work by having less time devoted only to it. Approximately 25 stayed with drills and over 60 boys moved to the band. As a result, later that year, 45 musicians went to support the basketball team playing against Pembroke College. The Pembroke coach remarked, "when the band marched out on the floor at the basketball game he felt that his team was defeated right there. The unity and spirit manifested by the band was truly Principian and sent a thrill through all of us who were there."

Years of increased pressure from the Trustees and the College's move to Elsah created an opportunity for the complete dissolution of the Cadet Corps in 1935. For a short time thereafter the color guard and band used the uniforms for occasional events, but that too ended. In 1936, a final grand Military Ball closed out the 30 years of Principia's Cadet Corps era.

Frank Parker - Merrick/Davis Exhibit 2018-2020

Frank Parker

Frank Parker
Principia Actor - Director - Professor
(1922-1966)

Visit Merrick/Davis Theater and Music Building foyer to learn about this beloved professor and one who inspired Principia student , now world famous actor, Robert Duvall.

Frederick Oakes Sylvester - Library Exhibit 2018 & 2019

Frederick Oakes Sylvester, ca. 1911
Frederick Oakes Sylvester
Painter - Poet - Principia Art Director
(1901-1915)

Come visit the Frederick Oakes Sylvester Exhibit, 2018, at the Marshall Brooks Library on the 3rd Floor Gallery and the 1st floor lobby display case.