Maud Mary Mason, “Iris”

Works in the College’s art collection are housed in the Library when not on display in the galleries or campus building.  At times pieces move from one location to another for longer-term loans.

Recently a large still life painting of irises by Maud Mary Mason was transferred to the Kilgore-Clinkscales House on campus, the home of the Dean of the College.

The painting has been in the college collection for many years.  A photograph of long time college librarian Miss Mary Sydnor DuPré shows the painting behind her in the old Whitefoord Smith Library.  Miss DuPré was librarian from 1905-1953.  An undated note on the reverse of the painting itself also confirms the history:  “This painting, ‘Iris’ by Maud M. Mason, A.N.A. was given to Wofford College at the request of Grace Annette DuPré.  For many years, Miss Mason was considered to be the finest painter of flowers in the U.S.A.”

Maud Mason (1867-1956) indeed was well known in her time.  Born in KY, she moved early to New York City where she studied under Impressionists Charles Merritt Chase and Arthur Wesley Dow, as well as at the Art Students League and the Pratt Institute.

First known as a ceramist and ceramics teacher she also exhibited her paintings widely.  She reports to have begun doing floral paintings out of boredom:

"One day I just go bored while working from a model in Mr. Chase's studio, so I went out and bought a bunch of daffodils and painted them.  Mr. Chase liked the painting, and so did everyone else, and later I showed flower paintings at the National Academy of Design which were admired very much.  Orders for flower paintings began to come in, and I have never had time to paint much of anything else". [AskART]


So, What’s an Archives?

[This column ran in the November issue of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate.]

Archives conjure up all sorts of image, and in the popular imagination, they usually involve dust.

You probably are thinking of scenes from a movie, maybe an Indiana Jones film where he dashes into a room with lots of shelves and old volumes in search of some bit of information, some item of lost knowledge. Or maybe you’re thinking of a warehouse of boxes, or a small, dark room with someone, probably of advanced age, there to help find some hard to locate bit of information.
The truth is, we don’t really like dust, and we try to keep the books and papers in the various collections as free of it as possible. Archives vary in size, from closet to warehouse. And the types of things in archives aren’t limited to books, but can range from paper files to audio recordings and video tape, from maps to computer files, and from yearbooks to photographs.
Technically, archives are the permanently valuable records of an organization, such as a college, a church, a state, or an annual conference. In our case, they include such things as the conference journals, the Advocate, conference board and commission minutes, agency files, and district records. An archives might also collect materials that relate to its mission, such as books by and about South Carolina Methodism or Methodists, pictorial directories, local church histories, and files on different churches. Taking a broader view, archives to some people are simply the place where the old stuff goes, or where one goes for information about the past.
Our primary focus is on the records of the Annual Conference, though we do have the records of some closed local churches. If you are looking for local church history, the best place to start is in the local church or in the community, though we may be able to help with some statistics, a list of pastoral appointments, and changes in charge lines. We’ve been trying to put pictures of clergy online so that local churches can download them. 

Some researchers call to ask if we can produce an ancestor’s baptism or marriage record,
and anticipate that all of those records are on the internet, ready to be found with a quick Google search. I wish it were that easy. We don’t have the baptism or marriage records for active congregations, nor do we have their church council minutes. If we tried to keep all of that, we would need a warehouse, and anyone who has visited knows we don’t have that kind of space!

Why should your church have an archives? In part, because keeping local church history is the local church’s responsibility. That’s why you have a local church historian and a committee on records and history. The church historian’s job is to take care of the church’s historical records and to make sure that records being produced today – everything from the weekly bulletin or newsletter to the minutes of the church council – are being kept in a safe place.

You can find some help for these tasks on ourwebsite: http://www.wofford.edu/library/archives/methodist.aspx. There are links to the collections here in the archives and to resources that will help your church organize its own records. And you can always contact me for guidance. I’ll even remind you to keep the dust out.

WRITTEN BY: PHILLIP STONE - November 14, 2012

Where are all the Chi Phi brothers?

Would all of the alums who are members of Chi Phi please stand up.
Members of Chi Phi with Professor Henry Nelson Snyder, center,1896.
Oh, that’s right, that fraternity hasn’t existed at Wofford for over 100 years.  What happened to it?
Chi Phi was the third fraternity to be established at Wofford, after Kappa Alpha and Chi Psi.  These first two got started in 1869, and the Chi Phis were chartered in 1871.  Over its forty years at Wofford, the Sigma chapter initiated a number of students who went on to become prominent in the community.  A short list of those would include Howard B. Carlisle ‘1885, James A. Chapman ‘1883, a noted textile leader, Dr. John G. Clinkscales ‘1876 of the Wofford faculty, Thomas Carey Duncan ‘1881, a noted textile leader, William Preston Few ‘1889, the first president of Duke University, W. Thornwell Haynes ‘1893, an American diplomat, and approximately 160 other alumni.
Though the number of active fraternity members was never especially large, the actions of some fraternity and anti-fraternity students caused the trustees to ban all of the Greek-letter organizations in 1906.  All of the fraternities had to surrender their charters, though many of them simply went underground.  After several years of agitation by students and alums, and after what really amounted to an ultimatum from a group of students, the faculty and trustees relented, and in the fall of 1915, fraternities were allowed back, subject to the rules of the college.
However, the national organization of Chi Phi declined to allow the chapter at Wofford to have its charter back.  President Snyder, himself a Chi Phi from Vanderbilt, worked his connections to try to get the fraternity back on campus, but to no avail.  He reported to one correspondent that the objections came from the northern chapters.
The Chi Phis left a few items behind for us to remember them by.  Among these are a few group photos, some alumni bulletins, and assorted fraternity pins.  The pin below, which belonged to James A. Chapman ‘1883, was recently donated to the library by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Laura Chapman Jackson Hoy, who is now a member of the Wofford board of trustees.
Written by Phillip Stone, November 20, 2012
Chi Phi pin, 1883
Chi Phi pin, inscribed JAC, WC 83