Tag Archives: Smiths Grove College

The Apple and the Core

Smiths Grove College was established in 1875 and operated as such until 1901, when it became the Vanderbilt Training School and then Warren Baptist Academy.  Today, North Warren Elementary School is located on the site.

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, let’s look at some notes, probably from the 1890s, of a debate at Smiths Grove College on “a question that is agitating the whole nation,” namely whether “it is right to give to women the same right[s] as we do to men.”

Listing the arguments in favor, our anonymous scribe was both principled and practical.  Times had changed, and as the barriers to women’s property ownership and entry into the professions were disappearing, so too should their political disabilities.  “Suppose some woman owns a farm and she would have a hired hand.  This hired hand would be allowed to elect the officers of the country and she would have no voice whatever although she is paying taxes,” observed our proponent.  Contrary to fears that politics would corrupt the female sex, the grant of suffrage would allow women to “purify politics.”

"Should Women Vote?" wonders a harried husband (from a 1903 postcard, WKU Library Special Collections)

“Should Women Vote?” wonders a harried husband (from a 1903 postcard, WKU Library Special Collections)

But no consideration of the issue was complete without addressing Biblical notions of women’s roles, to which our writer responded wryly and dismissively.  When the Apostle Paul called upon women to be obedient and “keep silence in the churches,” his admonition came at a time when “there were about a dozen women in the country and all they knew was to have some fried meat & bread ready when the men got hungry.”  True, it was Eve who gave Adam the apple to eat, “but I’ll venture to say,” concluded our debater, “that he helped her up in the tree and then gave her the core.”

Click here to access a finding aid for the collection of Smiths Grove College materials containing these righteous feminist arguments, housed in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives section of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  For more collections, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

Comments Off on The Apple and the Core

Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

Smiths Grove College

Smiths Grove College commencement

Smiths Grove College commencement

A historical collection on Smiths Grove, Kentucky housed at WKU’s Special Collections Library offers a look at the educational heritage of this Warren County community.  In 1875, William Wirt Beck established Smiths Grove College on the site now occupied by North Warren Elementary School.  The college operated until 1901, when it was sold to the Methodist Church and renamed Smiths Grove Training School for Vanderbilt University.  Another sale in 1910 transformed the school into the Warren Baptist Academy.

At a meeting on January 27, 1884, the trustees of Smiths Grove College considered a disciplinary matter involving Professor W. P. Maury and student John Hazelip.  After hearing from six witnesses, the board found Professor Maury “justified in chastizing Jno. Hazelip for disobedience, and that said Jno. Hazelip had to some extent been mischievous and annoying before this discipline took place.”  He was asked to apologize to his teacher for “language used outside the house.”

A finding aid for the collection, which includes the Smiths Grove College trustees’ minute book for 1884-1901, can be downloaded here.  For other collections on Smiths Grove history, search TopScholar and KenCat.


Filed under Manuscripts & Folklife Archives