The Evansville Courier and Journal, June 30, 1935

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

Hundreds Are Expected to Attend First Annual M’Guffey Club Picnic

Southern Indiana Members to Relive Happy School Days of Years Gone By; Program of Tribute to Noted Educator Arranged for Rockport Meeting

McGuffey Club Speakers

Hundreds are singing the praises of J. Roy Strickland, author of Paragraphy, daily feature of The Courier, for the happy thought that resulted in formation of the Southern Indiana McGuffey club. Strickland is shown at the upper left.

Upper center is Joseph R. Haines of Rockport, who will deliver the address of welcome to McGuffeyites who gather at Rockport July 4 for the club's first annual picnic. Mrs Kate Salm, also of Rockport, pictured at the upper right, will provide one of the features of the McGuffey club's program. She will sing old McGuffey songs.

Mrs. Alidore Cassidy Huffman of Tell City is shown at the lower left. She will speak on The Life of William Holmes McGuffey.

The Rev. J. F. Rake of Evansville is shown at the lower center. He will speak on McGuffey's Influence in Indiana.

Dr. Claude Lomax of Dale, temporary secretary of the McGuffey club, is shown at the lower right. He will have a prominent place on the program.

FOR HUNDREDS of Hoosiers who have celebrated Independence day for half a century and longer, July Fourth, 1935, bids fair to be the outstanding holiday since the days of their childhood.

They are the McGuffeyites, members of the McGuffey club originated by J. Roy Strickland through his column, Paragraphy, which appears daily in The Courier.

As in the days gone by, when many of these hundreds wore clothes of homespun and copper-toed, red-topped boots, the Fourth this year means a picnic—a picnic that will mean as much to them as the first Fourth of July outing they remember.

From far and near, the McGuffeyites will march on Rockort, not only to join in a unique tribute to Abraham Lincoln, but to honor one of the foremost educators of an earlier day—William Holmes McGuffey.


They will hear familiar songs sung.

Those of their school days—conduct classes as they were conducted in the log schoolhouses of many years ago. They will hear speeches of tribute to a man whose fame has grown with the years—the man who imbued them with the spirit of righteousness and who influenced their lives possibly as much as their parents by the simple but forceful lessons contained in his "readers."

Special dispatches to The Courier this week-end indicate that the McGuffey picnic will be attended by every McGuffeyian who finds it possible to be present.

From Indianapolis comes the word that the Indianapolis McGuffey society will have several representatives at the first annual meeting of the Southern Indiana McGuffey club. S. B. Prater, president of the society, is expected to head the Indianapolis delegation. Andrew Hepburn, of Indianapolis, a decendant of William Holmes McGuffey, will accompany the delegation.


The Perry County McGuffey club, headed by Mrs. Nora C. Carr of Cannelton, will attend the picnic in a body.

Cynthiana and Owensville McGuffeyites also have made plans to be present in a body. They will travel to the picnic in a chartered bus, which arrives in Owensville at 9 o’clock the morning of July 4 and will be in Rockport in plenty of time for the McGuffey program, which starts at 1 o’clock.

The program follows:

Singing of "America" by members of the club assembled, followed by the invocation.

Address of welcome by Joseph R. Haines of Rockport. A response by "Paragraphy," (J. Roy Strickland). An address on "The Life of William Holmes McGuffey," by Alidore Cassidy Huffman of Tell City. A vocal solo, "Long, Long Ago" by Mrs. Kate Salm of Rockport. An address, "McGuffey’s Influence in Indiana," the Rev. J. F. Rake of Evansville.


The Rev. Mr. Rake’s address will be followed by the permanent organization of the McGuffey club, the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" by those attending, and adjournment. Dr. Claude Lomax of Dale will be in charge of the latter part of the program. Dr. Lomax is temporary chairman of the club.

Regarding the unique celebration of the Fourth by hundreds of Hoosier members of the McGuffey club, Strickland writes:

"The McGuffey club picnic idea, born during the formation of the club in Paragraphy back in January, will become a reality next Thursday, July 4, at Rockport, where the dedication of the Lincoln Pioneer Village will take place. The McGuffey club, one of the several sponsored by Paragraphy, is perhaps the most popular if membership is a comparison. It has around 600 bona fide members, whose applications came voluntarily from over a wide area including several states.

"Naturally, the heaviest regstration came from counties embracing southern Indiana. The roll call started January 1, and continued uninterrupted for 13 weeks. Somewhere near 80 columns of McGuffey letters appeared during that time, to say nothing of the various feature articles about the club that appeared in metropolitan newspapers.


"The McGuffey club, during the inception, was the talk of the state. Paragraphy has clippings from the editorial pages of some 60 Hoosier newspapers touching on some angle of McGuffey days in Indiana.

"The club was responsible for many spelling bees, the words given out at these events being taken from the McGuffey blue back speller. Church societies, lodges and literary clubs, becoming McGuffey minded, staged old-fashioned spelling matches. Among aged readers of The Courier the topic of conversation for many days was McGuffey’s school readers and the happy and glorious days they recalled.

"A reunion of all McGuffeyites in southern Indiana became imperative, and requests for such a conclave rolled in from all directions. And by common consent a McGuffey picnic, minus the date and place, became a universally accepted understanding.

"Happily, at that moment, Mrs. Bess V. Ehrmann, president of the Spencer County Historical Society, invited the McGuffy club to hold its first annual gathering in the Lincoln Pioneer Village in Rockport, July 4. The acceptance of the invitation met the unanimous approval of McGuffeyites everywhere. In the village is a log schoolhouse, and here it is that the McGuffey club will meet and do honors to William Holmes McGuffey, the great schoolmaster of early days.


All McGuffeyites attending the first annual picnic of the club will be greeted by a reception committee which is composed of U. S. Lindsey, chairman; Charles Halbruge, Mrs. Hilbert Bennett, Prof. A. H. Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph R. Haines, Mrs. Matilda Weil, Prof. and Mrs. Morganthaler, Mrs. Molly Payne, Miss Hettie White, Mrs. Lizzie Gentry, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Strassel, Mrs. Eugenia Ehrmann and Grant Johnson.