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December 13, 2010

Stunt Night at Mather College

At Mather College, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break were not wholly devoted to term papers and final exams. Preparation for Stunt Night - writing skits, learning dances, making costumes and scenery - competed for student time and energy.

One night, just before Christmas vacation, each class performed an original skit and song, competing for class honor and the silver Stunt Night cup. Judging was done by a panel of faculty, alumnae, and students. Parody and satire were the prevailing modes of expression. Current events, University mores, and, not surprisingly, the men of Adelbert College provided rich topics.

Below, the Flora Stone Mather junior class performs at 1948 Stunt Night. 00366D1.jpg

From its 1914 origins in the College’s gymnasium, by the 1920s Stunt Night’s popularity required a larger venue. For decades the annual performance was held in the Masonic Auditorium. Over the years, additional traditions accumulated. By the late 1930s a dance following the performance was held at local hotels such as the Statler Hilton, the Hotel Cleveland, and the Tudor Arms. The Champagne Circle featured the winning class passing the Stunt Night cup around the circle, each girl taking a celebratory sip of champagne. By the early 1940s a post-dance breakfast in Haydn Hall ended the festivities in the early morning.

In 1945, Stunt Night attracted the attention of Life Magazine, which published a 4-page article, Life Goes to a College Stunt Night in the January 21, 1946 issue.

Stunt Night’s status as the most important student event in the Mather calendar is clear from its extensive treatment in the yearbooks, some of which can be seen in the University Archives Student Yearbook collection in Digital Case.

It also seems to be fondly remembered by Mather alumnae. Some of their recollections have been recorded as audio interviews done by students in the Flora Stone Mather Oral History Project also available in Digital Case.

Posted by jmt3 at December 13, 2010 07:54 PM

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