Several weeks ago, a kind person in Oakland, California, contacted me via email, saying he’d purchased an old scrapbook from 1938-39, which contained photographs, news clippings and football programs from Schreiner Institute.
He’d run across my name online, finding my website, www.joeherringjr.com, which is the home of my Kerr County history blog. I’m always thankful when someone finds me this way, because it often means something relating to our community’s history will find its way home.
The scrapbook was kept by Loretta Stehling when she was in her early 20s. Ms. Stehling was a 1933 Tivy High School graduate, and she obviously had an interest in football and Schreiner Institute. When she passed away in 1998, her obituary mentioned she’d worked at the college at some point; perhaps this scrapbook was kept during her time there.
I remember Ms. Stehling’s brother, Martin, and two of her nephews, Scott and James. She was quite a musician, and served her church, Notre Dame Catholic Church, for many years as church organist.
The scrapbook is in good shape, considering its age, and the distance it traveled from home (almost 1,700 miles). It contains four football programs for Schreiner, one or two from Tivy, lots of newspaper clippings and several pages of Christmas cards Ms. Stehling received.
It also contains photographs of Schreiner students, both cadets there and “day students,” as the young women were called. Schreiner started out as a military school for young men; women students were allowed but did not live on campus.
The quality of the student portraits makes me guess they were taken for the school’s yearbook or other publications.
There are three photographs of the campus itself, taken in the school’s 16th year. All show young men in uniform, and two include young women.
J.J. Delaney, who served as Schreiner’s first president, wrote a greeting to students in the campus newspaper in the fall of 1938, of which a clipping is included in the scrapbook.
“By now,” Delaney wrote, “the many details incident to the opening of school are past. Your courses have been given you, and the way is mapped out for you to the best interests of your individual plan, and I want to urge each of you to attack your studies with a determination to stick it out through the entire year and WIN. Just as you back your athletic teams to ‘Fight for Schreiner,’ do some fighting on your own, for yourself, and when the end of the school year comes you will be proud, and those who are making the financial sacrifice to help you do something worthwhile in life will be proud that you made the greatest effort of your whole career in this, your 1938-39 school year at Schreiner.”
Scrapbooks like this one tell many stories. Of course, the items included in its pages each tell a story, and the photographs tell a different kind of story. The biggest story, of course, is of the person who collected the items and carefully arranged them on the pages, preserving them for her own enjoyment — and, in this case, for the rest of our community.
I’m especially thankful to the kind resident of Oakland, California, who sent the scrapbook back home.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who is thankful so many folks are very generous, sharing their Kerrville and Kerr County historical items with him.