Suitelife

Current Suites

Arizona (Swan, Arizona-McKee)
Arkansas
California-Gardner (California PEO)
California-Remy (Illinois-Reeves)
California-Weller (California Reeves)
Colorado-Minear
Colorado-Thompson
Dakota (North Dakota)
Florida
Illinois (Illinois-Parks)
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska
New Mexico
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pope
Rosemary
Rubie (Marguerite, Washington)
Santa Barbara (Beardsley)
Seaboard
Southeastern (Pacific Northwest)
Texas
Wallace (Byler)
Washington (Washington-Raney)
Wheatlake (South Dakota)
Wisconsin
Yellowstone
Cottey boarding room, c. 1900s
An early Cottey boarding room, likely in Main Hall, c. 1900s.12 Note the box camera on the table.
Cottey dorm room, c. 1908
A dorm room, probably in Main Hall, c. 1908.9
A suite's single room, c. 1938
A dorm room either in Main Hall or Rosemary Hall, c. 1938.14

A Century of Suitelife

Suitelife has been a part of Cottey College for over 100 years. In 1903, after seeing a suite layout at the University of Toronto, V.A.C. Stockard incorporated the idea into Rosemary Hall.2 Main Hall's boarding rooms were remodeled into suites in 1905, and since then, suitelife has been a Cottey staple. A promotional booklet from 1940 extols the educational and social benefits of the suite plan:

The housing plan at Cottey College is unlike that found in other colleges. The arrangement of rooms divides the students into groups of ten girls. Each unit has its separate living room, utility room, and bath. Living in such a group has great educational value, especially since girls come to Cottey from many states. The group is small enough to give a girl a feeling of belonging which aids her greatly in her transfer from family to institutional life; and yet large enough to provide variety and to prevent the forming of small cliques. The plan, which originated with Mrs. Stockard, proved so successful through many years that in 1939 the new dormitory, P. E. O. Hall, was built with the same arrangement. The suites in this building have been furnished by different state chapters of the P. E. O. Sisterhood, except one, which was given by Mrs. Anna Randall Pope of Oakland, California.4
Missouri suite in Main Hall, c. 1938
Missouri suite in Main Hall, c. 1938.15
Colorado suite in Rosemary Hall, c. 1941
The first sponsored suite was Colorado in Rosemary Hall, c. 1938.15
Oklahoma suite in Rosemary Hall, c. 1941
Oklahoma suite in Rosemary Hall, c. 1938.15

P.E.O. Sponsorship

P.E.O. chapters have sponsored Cottey suites for more than 70 years. The Colorado State Chapter was the first in the P.E.O. to donate money to a specific suite. In 1937 Colorado honored its chapter president, Gladys McCue Thompson, by donating $1,000 toward the refurbishment of a suite in Rosemary Hall.2 This second-floor suite was named after the state, and was moved to Robertson Hall as "Colorado-Thompson suite" in 1959.

Other P.E.O. chapters followed suit. In 1937, the Oklahoma State Chapter gave $1,000 to furnish the other second-floor suite in Rosemary Hall. This suite was also moved to Robertson Hall. The Missouri State Chapter was the third to furnish a suite — they chose the North suite in Main Hall. Missouri suite was transferred to P.E.O. Hall in 1939.

Cottey's suites are still primarily sponsored by P.E.O. state chapters, and named accordingly. The California and Colorado are the only state chapters to support more than one suite. Throughout the year, a suite usually receives packages from its P.E.O. chapter containing baked goods and other thoughtful gifts. Sometimes the gifts are specifically themed to the region: Louisiana suite has been known to receive boxes full of Mardi Gras beads.

Lost Suites

The suites that resided in Main Hall and Rosemary Hall no longer exist. The suites in Main were known as the North suite (Missouri suite), South suite, Middle North suite, and Middle South suite.4 After 1937, Rosemary's four suites included Colorado suite, Oklahoma suite, and Upper Rosemary (nicknamed "Top Senior" by students5).6 Main's suite sponsorships were transferred to P.E.O. Hall in 1939, while Rosemary's sponsorships were moved to Robertson Hall in 1959.

More Photos

Chafing dish party in rosemary, c. 1914
A chafing dish party in Rosemary Hall, c. 1914. The U.S. flags are in honor of the first World War.13
Colorado suite in Rosemary Hall, c. 1938
Colorado suite in Rosemary Hall, c. 1938.8 (Virginia Harrington, Margaret Roediger, Dorothy Ellen Simms, Aileen Springer, Dorothy Arbogast, Edna Mae Dansdill.)
Main Hall suite, c. 1938
A suite in Main Hall, c. 1938.14
Typical suite floorplan, c. 1938
A typical suite floorplan, c. 1938.15
Missouri suite common room in P.E.O., c. 1941
Missouri suite living room in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1940.4
Suite utility in P.E.O. Hall
A suite ute (kitchenette) in P.E.O., c. 1940.4
A single room in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1941
A single bedroom in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1941.4
A double bedroom, c. 1941
A double bedroom, c. 1940.4
A double bedroom in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1941
A double bedroom in P.E.O., c. 1940.4
Suite living room in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1949
Suite living room in P.E.O. Hall, c. 1949.16
Cottey room, 1952
A dorm room in 1952.10
  Suitemates ironing hair, c. 1965
Karen Anderson irons Carol Campbell's hair in their suite kitchen, c. 1965.1
A Robbie suite, 1966
An unnamed Robbie suite, 1966.7
Suite kitchen, 1978
A Cottey student puts dishes away in the suite ute (kitchen), 1978.11
Typical suite floorplan, 1978
A typical suite floorplan, 1978.11

Works Cited:

  1. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1965.
  2. Stockard, Dr. Orpha. Cottey College: The First 75 Years. Joplin, MO: Joplin Printing Co., 1961.
  3. Troesch, Helen DeRusha. Life of Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Wayside Press, Inc., 1955.
  4. Cottey Junior College promotional booklet. c. 1940.
  5. Stockard, Dr. Orpha. "To Go Or Not To Go To College?" The P.E.O. Record. June 1938: 16-17, 25.
  6. Farley, Floella P. "News From P.E.O.'s College." The P.E.O. Record. Feb. 1938: 18-19.
  7. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1966.
  8. Farley, Floella P. "News From P.E.O.'s College." The P.E.O. Record. Feb. 1938: 18-19.
  9. "1908 Cottey Catalogue." Nevada, MO: Cottey College. 1908. Courtesy Annette Dunaway.
  10. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1952.
  11. Tinsley, Beverly. "Cottey: A Feeling of Home." The P.E.O. Record. Apr. 1978: 6-8.
  12. "Miss Cottey Started Her School in 1884." The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1969: 17-24.
  13. McVean, Ruby. "Miss Cottey's School: The First 25 Years." The P.E.O. Record. Nov./Dec. 1986: 2-5.
  14. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1938.
  15. Cottey Junior College promotional booklet. c. 1938.
  16. Sphinx, The. Yearbook. Nevada, MO: Cottey College, 1949.

Last updated 18 Jan. 2011.

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