Marvin College and Conservatory of Music
Fredericktown, from the Iron Country of Missouri, is another town that I have never visited. Bettye Warner has kindly placed the contents of the 1914-15 Marvin College Annual and the 1920 Bulletin on line. Thus we have a both a visual and written record of this small Methodist college. The Ozark Regional Library has helped with information about the disposition of buildings. `
Marvin College was the creation of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The online Gerald Blackstone Family Tree says that the school was founded as Arcadia College by Reverend Jerome Berryman and “was eventually moved to Fredericktown and became our beloved Marvin College.”
The Annual shows a strong school of 232 students, 22 faculty members, and a number of programs. The traditional collegiate/academic program had 131 students. Additionally, the conservatory of music had 30 students in piano, 14 in voice and 10 in violin. The commercial department which taught stenography, typewriting, and bookkeeping had 21 students. The department of expression had 11 students, and the art department had 10 students. Five additional people are listed as ministerial students. Like many small colleges, Marvin had a preparatory division, admitting students who had finished the fourth grade. The annual also lists a teacher education program. So Marvin College was set up to meet many of the educational, career, cultural and spiritual needs of the region.
Bricks and Mortar
The Annual shows a campus of three main buildings. The Administration Building, the Women’s Dormitory and the Auditorium/Gymnasium all are three-story brick. The foundation of the dormitory and the administration building are of locally quarried limestone. A fourth building—the Charles Lee Men’s Dormitory—appears to be a wood frame building.
The Ozark Regional Library reports that after Marvin College closed, the buildings were acquired by the Fredericktown school district. The Administration Building became the high school building until 1955. It later served as a middle school building. All the campus buildings were torn down in 1977 with the exception of the Auditorium, which was razed in 1986. Its stained glass windows were removed to Holman Funeral Home in Marquand.
Administration Building ( Annual, courtesy of Bettye Warner)
The annual shows football, basketball, baseball, hockey and track teams for male students, and a basketball team for women. Additionally, there was a tennis club for women and a rod and gun club for men. The bulletin shows no football team—perhaps because the enrollment had dropped.
In football the location of Marvin College dictated their opponents. The proximity of Farmington meant that Carleton College was a stable opponent until that school closed. Like Carleton, Marvin often played local high schools and clubs. They made headlines in 1915 because, according to the Ft. Wayne News, “the pendulum of success swung further with this team than any other in the United States.” The team that lost 165-0 to Christian Brothers College of St. Louis then defeated Flat River Junior College 131-0. The CBC score has since been revised to 65-0. Marvin College had wins over St. Vincent College of Cape Girardeau and the Bonne Terre All-Stars set against two losses to Ozark Business College, giving Marvin a 3-3 record for the year.
Marvin College football team 1911 (Spalding Official Football Guide https://archive.org/stream/officialfootball19111nati#page/208/mode/2up) accessed 11-1-2017
To “suppress pride and rivalry,” female students were required to conform to a dress code of blue skirt and white waist while in public. All boarding students were forbidden to read or circulate novels or newspapers without the permission of the president.
Among co-curricular activities, Marvin College sponsored both a brass band and an orchestra.
In 1924 the Methodist Episcopal Church South consolidated two smaller colleges—Marvin and Scarritt-Morrisville—into Central College at Fayette.