POWER OF THE DREAM
“Our ESA lives in America”
History of ESA and ESA in Kansas
In 1930 Epsilon Sigma Alpha came to Kansas. Chapters were chartered in Hutchinson, Salina, Topeka and Wichita the same year the charter was issued to ESA in the state of Missouri. Today, only two of the original charter chapters remain active: Iota Kappa and Iota Mu of Wichita, 1933. Only two charter members remain, Pauline Cowger of Omicron, and LaGreta Bute-Brown of Iota Kappa. Today, within the borders of Kansas, membership is contained in 97 chapters with more than 1500 members.
During the early years, Kansas chapters were "islands unto themselves". Contact with other chapters did not exist, each functioned individually. Chapters within the same town seldom joined together in sorority activities.
The economic situation continued to be hard as Americans opened the 1940s with the first selective service lottery, just a short year away from the Bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. ESA members turned their attention to the war efforts of America and addressing the devastation that war brings to everyone it touches. Dances for soldiers, relief programs for Italian orphans, working in VA hospitals, entertaining wounded service men, joining the WAVEs or other military institutions, working to replace our men at arms in the work place, and gas rationing pretty much replaced ESA in their lives.
After World War II ends, they will once again return to building ESA in their lives but there was activity in the 1940s. In 1941, Iota Kappa and Iota Mu will host the National Advisory Council convention in Wichita. Dixie and Bob Palmer will become associated with ESA. During WWH, The Palmer’s will have a calming impact on ESA. The Palmer’s ranch in Loveland will figure prominently in the decision to move the ESA Headquarters from Kansas City to Loveland, Colorado in 1941.
Moving into a new phase of growth, the Kansas State Council is established in 1946 at Hutchinson, Kansas. Zura Crockette-Dittman, Iota Kappa, will lead its efforts as President for the first two years. Pauline Cowger is elected President in 1949. Ms. Dittman will divide Kansas into eight zones where 46 chapters resided and were having a difficult time staying active since it was just following the War. In an effort to maintain contact, Kansas will start the first state publication called the “News & Views. In 1947 Kansas will select the Institute of Logopedics as its state philanthropic project.
The 1940s were filled with mixed emotions. The Manhattan Project was taking place in secret under football stadiums as Albert Einstein led America toward becoming a nuclear power. The Enola Gay will drop the first Atom Bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 to help end the war but unleash a generation filled with uncertainty. It will be the beginning of the Cold War as Winston Churchill comes to America and tells us that, “An Iron Curtain has descended across Europe.” Israel will declare its independence and the Truman Doctrine will promise American aid in case of military threats to European stability.
It is an age of uncertainty and celebration. America has emerged out of the 1940s as the number one super power in the World and ESA is just beginning to realize “The Power of the Dream.”
Oneila Comes Roig
Helen Louise Wilson 1947-1948
Past State Presidents
Lamplighters of the Kansas State Council to 1959
Zura Ditman served two consecutive years as the first president of the Kansas State Council.
No photo is available of Ditman
Her themes were:
"Hands Of Friendship"
and for 1947-1948 it was
"The Open Road"
No Newsletter was published
1946-1948 - Our State Council beginnings in Kansas
The State Newspaper - "News & Views" There are no newsletters in existence under this President.
In 1946 Bethry Porter Ingram, presided over the council's meeting in Hutchinson. She was not an "elected" official but did preside. According to Mary Hill the history of the council isn't totally complete without this mention: "I wanted to tell you that at the time the Kansas State Council was formed (by Bethry Ingram) Bethry had served as National Vice President, but was beat out by Do Jo Murray (California) in the next election. Bethry was also instrumental in the formation of the Zones/Districts. This all happened around the same time period, and Wichita had 6+ chapters chartered in 1949. Pauline was credited with being a major force in the Kansas State Council by virtue of her appointment as our zone "Counselor". Bethry NEVER received the appropriate recognition for the work she did. She died of Cancer. Her Chapter Iota Kappa also published the original mimeo copies of the News and Views back in the day. None of them exist anymore either."
(Pauline’s memories as compiled by Verneene Forssberg)
Pauline celebrated 50 years of ESA membership in 1979 and was presented a silver tea service from the Kansas State Council for her years of loyal service to ESA. She joined ESA in 1930 as the first chapter in Kansas was formed (Omicron) in Salina, Kansas. The cost of the dues to join was $106, for which she received a set of text books, “Writings of Mankind” along with other benefits of membership.
Pauline attended the first state meeting held in Topeka in 1940 and was elected the second President of the Kansas State Council in 1948. During WWII (1941-1945) state meetings were suspended. At the time of her presidency there were 40 ESA chapters in Kansas. Several major actions and trends were begun during her term of office:
In 1979, Omicron chapter was the only chapter in the world of ESA to maintain fifty years of continuous active status. This honor was recognized during the 1979 IC convention in Denver with the presentation of a gold crested plate to Pauline as she also represented the Omicron Chapter. From the beginning of her ESA service to the end, Pauline was a member of the Omicron chapter.
"Finding Ourselves: Education - Sisterhood - Achievement"
“A person has to pay for the space they occupy in this world. That is the reason I joined these clubs – to contribute. I’m interested in their purposes and policies. The things we are doing will be the records for future generations."
Fay Jordan 1953-1954
"Cooperation the 7th Pearl"
She also was editor of the News & Views but adds that during her year it was determined that the News & Views job requried too much time of the President and so that task was passed on to a Junior Past President - so she got to do it twice! At the time she presided over the Kansas State council, there were no elaborate installation ceremonies and no banners. Robert Palmer, the Executive Director of ESA from 1941, attending Fay's convention in Hutchinson. Because of Mr. Palmer's important role in the growth of ESA, he is recognized as our international founder.The ESA chapters in Wichita Kansas hosted the 1955 International Convention at the Broadview Hotel. Convention chairmen was Faye Jordan and co-chairman was Lucille Harr-Crossno. Jessie McAdoo-Little, a member of the Alpha Alpha chapter in Dodge City was installed as the International Council president at this convention
"Friendship - Our Anchor"
March 1, 1989 - Thank you for the excellent samples of past presidents resumes. Their achievements do sound great! After 34 years my memories are of mainly personal delights and the advancements of the state council in my year do not compare to the extra projects of the last few years.
I was state president of ESA the year of 1954-55 after being treasurer, second vice and first vice president. I chose Friendliness as my theme to stress during the year. Living the full meaning of friendliness will bring inner happiness as you forget self in thinking of others.
Eight new chapters were formed. I attended zone meetings in 8 of the 10 active zones. All active zones held four meetings. Revisions to the state constitution were studied and approved. It was a special thrill to have a song, written by Geneva Brown, and a cookbook - Chairman Irene Spangler - dedicated to me.
The happy memories were the fun of traveling with ESA sisters to meetings, parties and conventions. Time cannot erase these happy memories. Everything accomplished during the year was only possible due to the love and cooperation of every ESA sister, especially my own Alpha Lambda chapter of Hutchinson.
The saddest happening of my term was the tragic death midsummer of the elected state treasurer.
After years of inflation the budget of that time seems quite unreal – News & Views $1100, Delegate to IC Convention $125.00, Postage and stationery $100.00, Flowers, phone, gifts $100.
Being president of the Kansas State Council was the highlight of my life until that point, and it made me so proud I felt ten feet tall. I am still proud of our sorority and offer my congratulations for all we have done the past sixty years. I know we will continue to make forward progress with kindness and love. P.S. I was a member of Alpha Lambda, Hutchinson, when I held the state offices.
"Somewhere over the Rainbow in the land of ESA"
Looking back through my scrapbook when I served as Kansas State President in 1955-56 was a cherished memory. I was installed on April 16, 1955, at the Kansas Hotel, Topeka, and chose as my theme "Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the Land of ESA".
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, There's a land I know A land of happiness for you and I. Down five highways we follow the shining light, For Friendship's golden chain we seek today. As your works, so your reward is In this beautiful land of ESA."
The symbolic highways represented virtue, honor, truthfulness, friendliness and loveliness, and as each ESA member strolled and explored each lovely land, they gave their best and the experience was most rewarding.
I appointed the first State Chaplain, Carol Steeples of Zurich, who did an outstanding performance of her duties. The first ESA Sunday was held October 13, 1955 and the members attended the church of their choice. During the year I visited all zones, and each Zone Chairman did a beautiful job to promote ESA. I installed two sister chapters in Arkansas City. During the year ten new chapters were organized for a grand total of 96. I was indeed proud of all chapters for we had 100% participation in our State Project, The Institute of Logopedics. My convention was held at the Wareham Hotel, Manhattan, April 13-15, 1956 with 278 members attending. Zone 4 members were hostesses with Lee Curtis and Norma Knowles as convention chairmen. To them I owe many thanks and also to Grace Acker for compiling my lovely scrapbook.
I was honored to be the delegate representing the Kansas State Council to the IC Convention held in Wichita, June 17-19, 1955, and had the pleasure of seeing our own Kansas ESA Sister, Jessie McAdoo, Little, installed as the new IC President. Kansas ESAers were indeed proud of her. The Kansas State Council won the philanthropic Trophy which was quite an honor. Delta Delta chapter of Ulysses placed first in the Song Contest which was sung by Jerry Phillips, past state president, and the Gamma Chi Chapter of Wichita placed first in the Yearbook Contest.
It is always a pleasure to visit another State Convention, which I did along with our IC President, Jessie, at Lincoln, Nebraska.
My chapter, Gamma Sigma of Wichita, was most supportive during my year as well as the Wichita City Council. My corresponding secretary, Lucille Harr Crossno, was my "right hand", and to her I owe my sincere thanks.
At the close of my year, I was married to Ralph Ramsey, following the IC Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico with many ESAers attending. Ralph was known as "Mr. Irene" to many Sorority Sisters. He was a member of "Men of ESA" and always enjoyed going to the IC Conventions. As you can see, Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority has always been my hobby, and I'm proud to be a member.
Irene became the 1966-1967 IC President with the theme
"ESA Hands in Many Lands".
I had to take some time to think back to my days of being a Kansas State Officer and State President. I did not get a history book that year so I will go a lot by memory. I enjoyed my years of serving the Kansas Council, I made so many nice friends, and the friendship has continued through the years.
I was installed in Manhattan in 1956. My theme for the year was "Happiness". Several years later the song "Happiness Is . . ." was very popular, and I always thought of the many ways Happiness was given to others through all the members of ESA.
I attended the IC Convention Albuquerque, New Mexico. That was the year the Jessie McAdoo Little was IC President. I felt it was a privilege to attend the year she was president.
As I went from 2nd Vice President to President, because Freda Philip was unable to continue in working up to President, I made special effort to visit all the Zones that year, going from the extreme heat of summer to the Zone Meeting in Holton to the ice and snow of a meeting in Colby. I certainly appreciated the work of the members of the Zones and their Chairmen in all the courtesies extended to me.
In January, I attended the Kansas Council of Women meeting in Topeka. That was the first year that ESA became a member of the Council.
In April, 1957, our convention was held in Garden City. Because of my work and the distance involved in traveling to Garden City, I only met with the convention committee twice before the convention. The first was in the summer of 1956 to start our plans, and the other time was in March at their Zone Meeting. I had very capable workers from the Zone, and the convention was a success. At that time, it was not possible to hold all meetings in a hotel, our meetings, means, and dance were at different locations but everything worked like a clock. At this convention, the first outstanding girl of ESA was chosen. If my memory is correct, she was Joan Ault of Iota Mu, Wichita. (You might check with Fay about this name, but I am almost positive that I am right).
I notice you are going to put these memories in a book form to be sold at the convention in May. I am not going to get to the convention this year, but I would like a book. Let me know the cost so I can send you the money. Love Hazel
From an interview with Jerry. Jerry, formerly a charter member of Delta Delta #1101, Ulysses, was elected as first vice-president in Manhattan in 1956, and served as Kansas State President in 1957-58. She was installed as President at the state convention in Garden City in 1957 and presided at the state convention in Pratt on 18-20 April 1958.
Jerry was very involved in all phases of sorority, at all levels. She was responsible for copyrighting and adoption of the ESA Jewel Pin Song, as the official song of ESA. Rozanne Cechman of Ulysses wrote the words and illustrated the cover of the sheet music and Jerry went to Chicago to obtain the copyright. The song was sung by Jerry and officially adopted as the Kansas State song in Wichita. She repeated her solo in Memphis at the International Convention, and it was adopted as the ESA International song.
Jerry served as editor of the News and Views the year following her state president's term as that was the policy at that time. Due to other obligations and burn out, she went inactive in 1968-69.
Jerry had many positive things to say about ESA and has some fond memories of her years of fun and service in ESA. She first and foremost enjoyed the sisterhood that ESA afforded and the opportunity to become acquainted with women from all walks of life who fit many descriptions. . . "a cosmopolitan group". The philanthropic projects were important to her – Delta Delta sponsored a child's total expenses at the Institute of Logopedics for two or three years. She felt ESA was good for fellowship because the group usually tried to nip gossip in the bud. She had many treasured friendships and contacts state wide. Her philosophy was "dig deep to find the good in everyone".
This interview was conducted by Delores Currier - Zone 11 Roadrunner 1988-1989
"A Gay & Gallant Heart"
"Around the World With ESA"
Oh Yes!! Memories – After 30 years it takes a bit of concentration. There wasn't a president's scrapbook made during my years, so I looked through my notebook used to conduct my meetings and visitations.
I represented Kansas at the IC Convention held at Denver. Kansas and I experienced a disappointment when Beryle Elliott lost her bid for IC Treasurer.
During my year as President, there were 13 zones and I was able to attend at least one meeting of all 13 zones. Kansas had 106 chapters and ix new ones were organized during my year. I attended the chartering and also jewel pin ceremony of the Frankfort chapter. I was a guest at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Epsilon Upsilon chapter, for a Hawaii party.
While visiting my brother and family at Alva, Oklahoma, I attended a North West district meeting. Their district meetings were the same as our zone meetings.
I represented Kansas at the Kansas Council of Women meeting held at Topeka. Pauline Cowger was president and Hazel Hayes was corresponding Secretary. Both are past state presidents of ESA.
My state convention was held 10-12 April at the Broadview Hotel in Wichita. The girls of Zone 5 did a super job for my trip "Around the World with ESA". 387 members attended convention with eight past state presidents. Beryle Elliott, International Director, was our official IC representative.
Myre Starr, IC Second Vice President, of Ponca City, Oklahoma, was a special guest at our convention. Many special "Thanks" to the Wichita girls and all members of Kansas ESA for making my year a very special one.
I have many happy memories of my year as president. But then the memories started before that year and still linger thru later years. "ESA is Special."
One of the most significant technological developments for the ESA membership and America in the 50s was the introduction of commercial jet liners which will make air travel both faster and more affordable. ESA will make its ways through the friendly skies from the mid 50s on. And Boeing 707s will revolutionize air travel not to mention put a lot of ESA members to work in Wichita, Kansas. And remember those telephones? You had to switch between letters and numbers that turned on a rotary dial with your finger.
Hey fellas! Remember those nasty haircuts? Butch wax and Brylcream made men’s haircuts rather disgusting. Haircuts were cheap at the barbershop but you got what you paid for. Brylcream - “A little dab will do Ya.”
The great ladies who will lead the Kansas State Council in the 1 950s were Grace Stoner, Mildred Keller, Jessie Little, Beryle Elliott, Faye Jordan, Kay Lavelle, Irene Ramsey, Hazel Hayes, Jerry Phillips, and Mary Booe. I am sure that they would be the first to tell you that petticoats were almost as great as an inhibition to sex as pantyhose were in the 60s. They also dealt with harsh, smelly, frizzy, permanents which made hair styling a nightmare.
In 1955 Faye Jordan and Lucille Harr Crossno will co-chair the International Convention at the Broadview Hotel in Wichita where Jessie McAdoo Little, a Kansas member form Alpha Alpha, Dodge City will be elected International President. Jessie was instrumental in the establishment of the Disaster Fund which aids ESA members in time of needs. The fund was begun with a request for 25 cent per ESA member. It has grown to become one of the most important aspects to the membership of ESA today. Philanthropic activities will reach an all time high in the 5Os with chapter’s donation close to a million dollars to various philanthropic projects.
In 1957 the Kansas State Council joined the Kansas Council of Women. This council was made up of 29 other women organizations in Kansas and has national affiliations.
ESA dynamics and focus will be impacted by the times we live in. The SOs will see higher education change it social and educational patterns. Married student housing makes education a family affair on campuses and curriculum demands were for more math and science. If you were a kid in the 5Os and wanted to do something you had to get permission from both of your parents since both of them lived with you. And what about those bomb drills? They were really stupid in school because huddling under a Formica table wouldn’t save you from incineration or radiation poisoning.
Thurgood Marshall will argue the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. And Rosa Parks will refuse to accept a place at the back of the bus ushering in a period of civil unrest across America.
I feel sure that it had to be an ESA member (although I can’t find her name) that developed the design concept of the first shopping centers as suburban living takes over our lives. Many of our dream homes will be built with “bomb shelters” as a part of the basement and Dr. Jonas Salk develop the Salk polio vaccine in 1955. There were no videos so you had to go to a movie theater to see a movie, which had one screen and one movie for a month.
Television begins to replace the radio as the important source of information and entertainment such as “Father Knows Best” is the best known and most popular program. Lawrence Welk, Pat Boone and Ralph Edwards will become honorary members of ESA as Bob Hope and Howdy Doody fill the airways. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Georgery Peck, Dick Clark and the wonderful Elvis Presley will revolutionize our teenagers and the sexual revolution. But don’t forget Ernest Borginine won an academy award and “Fats” Domino will combine rock en roll and rhythm and blues. Jackie Robinson will be the first African American to play major league baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers as ESA begins to rim like a “well oiled” machine. ESA Week is designated as May 1 through May 7 in 1959 when Buddy Holly was putting Texas on the rock-en roll map when he decided to try to fly through an Iowa snowstorm.
IC PRESIDENTS OF ESA