Coffee Hour

Extinct Tradition

One of the most infamous of Cottey's weekly activities was Coffee Hour, when students gathered in the parlors to sip coffee and politely converse. The half-hour event took place immediately following Sunday's noontime dinner.1 Like assemblies and chapel services, all students were required to attend.

Cottey faculty believed Coffee Hour to be part of important social practice for their students. It refined etiquette, improved hosting skills, and generally promoted the idea of domestic, polite womanhood. Each Cottey society took a turn hosting the event, and music students alternated as entertainers.7 Dr. Orpha Stockard called it a time when "all in the college pause to visit and enjoy a restful half-hour" by quietly chatting over soft music.1 Some students remember it differently, like 1944 graduate Beverly Murray Kimball. Kimball recalls that the coffee "tasted horrible and we weren't allowed to put anything in it. We had to sit and be gracious sipping our coffee, which wasn't very easy to do."7

While originally held in Main Hall's parlors, the tradition moved to P.E.O. Hall in 1939. Sometimes Coffee Hours were taken elsewhere, including the homes of the president or faculty. In the 1930s, the first Hour of the year was held in Stockard Hall with Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard as hostess.8 In the 1940s, after V.A.C. Stockard passed on, Coffee Hour was occasionally held in the president's apartment of Stockard Hall, and in the Faculty House (now the President's House).9

After becoming an outdated and rather unpopular tradition, Coffee Hour was omitted from the weekly schedule by the 1970s.

Coffee Hour in PEO Hall, c. 1940
Coffee Hour in P.E.O. parlor, c. 1940.2
Coffee Hour in PEO Hall, c. 1952
"Sunday afternoon coffee hours are a part of the social program at Cottey," c. 1952.3
Coffee Hour, c. 1959
"Barbara Paulsen, Magnoperian President, and Victorine Perkins, Delphian President, hostess over a Sunday coffee hour. Carol Tower serves coffee to Jane Fowler and Lynn Fredy," c. 1959.4
Coffee Hour in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1965
In P.E.O. parlor, c. 1965.5
  Coffee Hour in PEO Hall, c. 1968
"A coffee hour in P.E.O. Hall is one of the varied social events that students of Cottey College enjoy," c. 1968.6

Works Cited:

  1. Stockard, Dr. Orpha. "Cottey College Interiors." The P.E.O. Record. Apr. 1938: 5-7. Print.
  2. Cottey Junior College promotional booklet. c. 1940. Print.
  3. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1952. Print.
  4. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1959. Print.
  5. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1965. Print.
  6. The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1968: Cover. Print.
  7. Kimball, Beverly Murray. "Alumnae Memories from the '40s." Cottey College Viewpoint. Winter 2008: 1, 18. Print.
  8. Lieghley, Helen. "Opening Days at Cottey College." The P.E.O. Record. Nov. 1938: 5-7. Print.
  9. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1949. Print.
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