“suggested by the girls and discarded by the administration,” 1924

Last week I found this little note describing the founding of the Owen Wister Literary Society. I was taken rather aback. Apparently a two year prison term for sexual perversion was frowned upon by the authorities.

Huh. Who could have predicted that??


Here’s the first bunch of OWLS, including the young woman who thought it up, Adelle Roensch ’26. Heaven knows what mischief they were capable of!


Bonus: We have some of Oren Arnold’s papers in the Woodson, by the way. I just read the biographical information and I’m frankly feeling  a bit dubious about some of his literary opinions.

Extra Bonus: Ten points to whoever can name the first two women’s literary societies.

Extra extra Bonus: ‘Tis the season for holiday confusion.



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8 Responses to “suggested by the girls and discarded by the administration,” 1924

  1. Carolyn Brewer says:

    Must be EBLS & PALS ?

  2. effegee says:

    “And I’m twice removed from Oscar Wilde, but he didn’t mind, why, he just smiled”

    –Don MacLean, “Everybody loves me, Baby”

  3. Gloria Meckel Tarpley says:

    In further OWLS lore — I served as OWLS president in the ’80-’81 school year. Along with the title and the responsibilities came a real stuffed owl, Samantha, perched on a wooden branch pedestal. Samantha was a little road-weary, losing feathers here and there, but otherwise intact. Wonder where she ended up — any idea, Melissa? I know I passed it on to my successor (although I cannot remember, for the life of me, who that was….

  4. Katherine Eggert says:

    Too bad about Oscar Wilde’s name’s being “discarded.” Miss Roensch should have retorted in the words of OW himself: “Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.”

  5. I understand the administration’s reticence, but the Oscar Wilde Literary Society could have been big fun.

    Perhaps it is time for an OWLS rebirth with the original name, because I’d go to that party.

  6. Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

    The girls’ hairstyles are interesting.

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