Girl with the Arrow
Elizabeth (Libby Ann) Reid Balentine (class of 1933)
Mrs. Margaret Miller Erbey (class of 1934)
Mrs. Margaret (Peg) Reed Sweitzer (class of 1940)
Mrs. Lorraine Hook Davis (class of 1941)
Mrs. (Myrtle) Jean White Kettlewell (class of 1945)
This month's Girl with the Arrow
is an interview with five Kianu alumnae from the 1930's and 40's. Thanks to
all five women for their participation!
Mrs. Balentine |
- For many years, we have had the house at 163 Montgomery Blvd. Where was the Kianu house when you
were at MC?**
Mrs. Balentine '33: The original Kianu House
was on Thompson Avenue (The Law House). It had living quarters for the house
mother on the first floor. A Mrs. Hunter was the housemother for several
years and Mrs. DeJong (Prof. Gerrit DeJong’s wife) was our advisor.
There was an annex for a short time on Montgomery Blvd. (the Herron house)
which housed 8 Kianus. Mrs. Herron was the Kianu cook. In the fall of 1932
the Kianu house was on Lakeside in one of the large houses up near the dorm
Mrs. Erbey '34: As I recall, the house was
on Lakeside Dr., opposite the girls dorm (now Patton), but we moved to the
present house in 1931-32, my sophomore year. Agnes Smith and I shared the
attic room on the third floor.
Mrs. Davis '41: Meetings and meals for all
were at 163 Montgomery. There was an “annex” across the street.
(update: After reading the accounts of the other women, Mrs. Davis wrote,
"Right off I became aware that I believe I confused 'Montgomery' and
'Thompson'. I can so well picture the houses in my mind but not the street
names. Please don't count my testimony for 'Montgomery'... We were next
door to the Stag House as I remember." The Stags did not move to their
current house until the 1950s, and we do not know where the old Stag house
was when Mrs. Davis was at MC.)
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: When I pledged the house
was on Thompson Avenue. During the summer of 1943, the college made it possible
for the Kianus to move into the present house at 163 Montgomery Boulevard.
I recall Professor Ernest Work who helped us with the official step of acquiring
the house. He also personally took care of some of the repair work that
the house needed.
The Kianu seniors elected to live there the first year it was open, the
fall of 1944. Betty Smith Holderman and I moved into the front room upstairs.
We agreed that the President would use that room. Since I became President,
I had that privilege. Our housemother, Mrs. Knapp, had a small two-room
apartment at the back of the first floor.
**Note: The timeline of Kianu houses is somewhat confusing
due to conflicting records. According to our records, we bought the current
house on May 25, 1946 and paid it off in October of 1962. This conflicts
with several accounts above. Also according to our records, the first house
was located at 156 Montgomery Boulevard. In the "History of Muskingum
College" by William Fisk, it states that Muskingum College fixed up
and sublet a house on Montgomery Boulevard (presumably 156 Montgomery) to
the Kianus in fall of 1927. It is not clear when we actually acquired the
current house, but it was sometime between 1931 and 1946. We suspect that
we may have acquired the current house in 1944, but actually bought it in
1946. According to a Black and Magenta issue from the 1958-1959 school year,
"the (Kianu) club has had many homes" although the article does
- Did pledge sisters receive
Mrs. Davis '41: We didn’t have designated
big sisters, but I roomed with a senior my sophomore year, Dorothy Emmick
Spencer. We have remained close, life-long friends.
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: Being a Kianu was very significant for me during my college
days, 1941-1945. As freshmen, we were assigned a big sister. My big sister
was Evelyn Keppel who married Don Simcox and is now deceased. She was a
big help in getting adjusted to dorm living and college life. My (real)
older sister, Mary Virginia White Evans (class of 1942) was also very helpful.
She was president of the Kianu club her senior year.
is a picture from the Kianu 25th anniversary reunion. It was taken
in front of the Kianu house (163 Montgomery) in May of 1952. The
Kianus in the picture are (l-r): Elda McKorvan (sp?) McCoy, Sarah
Uherka (sp?) Hunter, Libby Ann Balentine, Mary Belle Rankin Dolder,
and Mabel Wheeler Shipe. They all graduated in 1933.
Photo provided by Mrs.
- What was the rush process
like for potential members?
Mrs. Erbey '34 : We were invited to dinner
at clubs which were considering us for membership. I chose the Kianus because
I liked the members although my best friend went FAD.
- What sororities and
fraternities were at MC?
Mrs. Balentine '33: (In addition to the Kianus),
the Deltas, FADs and also the Wawyins were active clubs.
Mrs. Davis '41: The sororities were Kianu, Delta, Wawyin, and FAD. The
men’s clubs were Sphinx*, Mace, Stag, Stoic and Alban*. There was
lots of rivalry.
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: There were five girls’ clubs: Kianu, FAD, Wawyin,
Delta and Kona. There were five boys’ clubs too: Mace, Stag, Sphinx,
Stoic and Alban. (I married a Sphinx)
* Note: Sphinx is now Kappa Sigma, and Alban became Phi Kappa Tau.
- What was pledging like
Mrs. Erbey '34: It’s been 72 years since I pledged Kianu. The pledge
period was six weeks. As pledges we were required to memorize the club history...
and wear black and magenta beanies the whole 6 weeks.
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: I was happy to be invited to become a Kianu pledge with
about twenty other girls. As I recall the pledge duties, we were asked to
help take care of the house which was then on Thompson Avenue. Learning
names of members and procedures, we tried to be helpful to upper class sorority
sisters. We were proud of our purple and gold colors and our hearts and
- What kind of rules and
regulations were imposed on girls who lived in the XAN house?
Mrs. Balentine '33: We did lots of campus walking
as cars were a “no, no”, as were Sunday dates. We could get
a demerit for disobeying a rule or (have to have a) conference with Dean
(of Women) Cora I. Orr.
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: We had to sign in and out in the evening when we were
going to the library or having a date. And we had to be in by 10:00 p.m.
on weeknights, 11:30 on Saturday nights. Shall I tell this? I guess enough
years have gone by to let the world know. One night at 11:00 p.m., I slipped
out of the house with the help of friends, for a date with Ken on the hillside
above the lake. I had baked a cake, and we ate cake on the hillside.
Through the years, many couples have met on campus and dated, and married.
That was the way with me. Our senior year, Ken Kettlewell and I began to
date. He was a local New Concord fellow. We were both in the play, “The
Man Who Came to Dinner.” He was Social Chairman of the YMCA and I
was Social Chairman of the YWCA, so we had “Cupid’s Carnival”
to plan together. As I have told the story through the years, he did the
talking at our planning sessions and I did the work. Ha!
- Was the club known only
as Kianu, or were the letters Chi Alpha Nu used as well?
Mrs. Erbey '34: We were known as Kianus.
Mrs. Davis '41: We mentioned the Greek name infrequently.
- Which Kianu sister had the biggest impact on you?
Mrs. Erbey '34: I liked all of the Kianus and would hate to single out
Mrs. Davis '41: Dorothy Emmick Spencer ’39 has seemed almost a
sister though much of our togetherness has been via letters! I also was
close to Elizabeth (Betty) Walker Hershey ‘41, a former XAN president.
I saw her and her husband Merle from time to time, but only about every
10 years because they were on Navy assignment all over the world. Two others
from the class of ’41 made up a round robin: Esther Zika Welborn and
H. Taggart McCreight.
- What made you want to pledge Kianu?
Mrs. Davis '41: I decided I wanted to be a Kianu during rush because
the Kianus had leadership qualities, diverse interests, attractive personalities
- What kind of activities
and parties did the club have while you were there?
Mrs. Balentine '33: The activities and parties
were very limited and restricted by today’s standards. Several of
us dated the men of Mace and enjoyed some good times (Mrs. Balentine’s
husband was Mace Kenneth Balentine). One of our favorite “eateries”
was Lou’s diner on the Main Street. He served up the best hamburgers.
Thinking about eating- the club girls were responsible for the weekly menus
and looking back I marvel at the good, balanced and attractive meals prepared
by our cooks without all the appliances, etc. we have today. We often had
guests- faculty, friends, other club members: students who (normally) ate
at the “forts”- campus dining houses.
Mrs. Erbey '34: Mrs. Hunter was our housemother, an elegant lady who
required that everything be done properly. We were not allowed to dance,
drink, or play cards. The dancing and cards were permitted the year after
I graduated (1935). Despite the rules, we girls danced and played Brook
(bridge with rook cards). I loved my years at Muskingum and as a Kianu.
Mrs. Davis '41: We had serenades and formals.
picture was taken on June 11th, 1983. These women all graduated
in 1933, and this was their 50th reunion celebration at Muskingum
College. The women are (l-r): Mary Belle Rankin Dolder, Dot Laird
Buckman, Mabel Wheeler Shipe, Elda McCoy, Sarah Hunter, Libby
Ann Balentine, and Elizabeth Classman Young.
Photo provided by Mrs.
- How many girls were in your pledge class? the whole club?
Mrs. Balentine '33: There were 17 Kianus in
the class of 1933… four are still living as far as I know and we exchange
holiday greetings. I roomed with Libby Stemm my freshman year, she had a
sister, Kay, who was a Kianu and roomed with my best friend from Youngstown,
Alice Smith who was also a Kianu. However, my big sister was a Delta. My
ties to MC and the Kianu Club are strong. There was a time when we had several
Mrs. Erbey '34: The college enrollment was smaller then (900-1000) and
the clubs were smaller- about 20-30 members. Our pledge class was small.
There were six of us.
Mrs. Davis '41: There were 12 in my pledge class and about 35 total members,
but MC enrollment was smaller then.
- What impact did World War II have on Kianu and Muskingum?
Mrs. Kettlewell '45:
In 1943, during World War II, (Muskingum) President Robert N. Montgomery
planned with the government to bring Engineer Cadets to the campus to study.
Many of the Muskingum men had joined some branch of the military service
and were no longer on campus. Thus there was room for the ASTP (Army Specialized
Training Program) unit. They had a heavy class schedule but entered into
college activities also. It made a different atmosphere on the campus. It
proved to be a worthwhile contribution which Muskingum College made to the
Some of the college girls dated army men. I had one date with a fellow the
very night before the unit left the campus. I remember a group of us going
to the train depot in New Concord to wave goodbye to the men as they left.
The social activities continued in campus life and the Kianus entered into
everything that came along.
During the war, we (Kianus) couldn’t find a cook. I went personally
from house to house on several streets, knocking on doors, and trying to
get someone to be our cook. Not finding anyone, we girls decided to take
turns preparing the meals. We had lots of fun doing that. Nobody criticized
because they appreciated somebody doing it.
- Did you wear letters
when you were an active? Did you receive XAN pins upon activation?
Mrs. Balentine '33: We did not have all the “rush parties” you
use today, nor did we wear shirts. The Kianu pin was a lovely jeweled shield
with pearls and the guard was an arrow set with pearls.
Mrs. Erbey '34: We did not wear letters. We could buy the Kianu pin to
wear. As I remember the pin cost $75 and at the end of the great depression
that was a lot of money.
Mrs. Davis '41: People did not wear letters when I was at MC. Some had
pins but many of us could not afford them.
- What is your favorite memory as a Kianu?
Mrs. Sweitzer '40: One of my proudest moments
was to be president of Kianu. We were the best. Wonderful girls. Good students.
Mrs. Davis '41: Our “serenader” Doris Mellott, an outstanding
music major, would mark out a program around a theme. We would learn all
of the words- and there would be solos. Then we loaded the piano on a truck
and serenaded the men’s clubs!
Mrs. Kettlewell '45: I remember the serenades we had each year. We would put
the piano in the back of a truck and walk along with it from the college
manse to the men’s clubs, one by one. As President, I had the speaking
to do my senior year at these serenades. With a flashlight in my hand, I
read my script. Among our songs we sang, “I want to be a college girl,
um and a little bit more, um and a little bit, um and a little bit, um and
a little bit more. I want to be a Kianu!”
One more memory… One spring day when it was warm and sunny, several
of us decided to sun-bathe. With our swimming suits on (not bikinis in those
days), we posed on the roof of the back room of the Kianu House. I have
the picture somewhere, but I won’t be sending it to you.
O yes, and another memory, wonderful Mrs. DeJong, our faculty advisor. Her
husband was a history professor. As I write this, I ask myself what her
first name was. I don’t think I know. I do know this, we never called
her anything except “Mrs. DeJong.” She was a wonderful role-model
for us. O now I know her name. She was Helen DeJong. She and her husband
lived in the right half of the lowest faculty house overlooking the lake.
She came to our board meetings, and every so often I went to her home for
counsel. She was devoted to her “Kianu girls”.
Special thanks to the following
people for their help with this piece: Bethany Drake '04 for scanning in the
pictures, Jen (Schultice) Bronner '97 and Leigh Ann (Blickensderfer) McCray
'91 for factual verification, and Marni Chidsey and the MC library for helping
sort out the details surrounding the timeline of Kianu houses.
If you would like to nominate someone for this profile (active or alumna),
please e-mail ruthcseaman(at)gmail(dot)com with your selection. Changes are
made as nominations are received.
To see other honorees, click on month:
Last Update: July 2003