1913-1930: The Echo: ahead of its time - The Echo News
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1913-1930: The Echo: ahead of its time

Part 1 in our "100 Years" series

By Kyla Martin (’14) | Echo

From its birth in 1913 to 1930, Taylor’s semi-monthly pamphlet called “The Echo” devoted the majority of its time and space to reporting tidbits of news the staff accumulated around campus. Chapel speakers were announced and club meetings thoroughly explained.

In the middle of each 10 by 17 pamphlet, the “Taylor Echoes” section shared campus happenings: who went where, why and for how long. Essentially, The Echo was printing old-time Facebook statuses.

The Echo even featured its own version of the StuffNoTaylorKidsSay Twitter account called “Things that never happen” in the “Simplicissimus” section, poking fun at the number of announcements made during chapel and even the habits of individual students.

Littered with inside jokes, The Echo reflected Taylor’s small population, and the staff saw fit to feature and retell Taylor traditions, as it does today. The Echo was also a place to publish contest-winning speeches and research articles from the Taylor community, serving as a mouthpiece for anyone with a reasoned opinion.

Although it gave others a chance to speak, the paper also took its own stances on national topics. The Echo stood firm in biblical truth amid the imminent reality of World War I, prohibition and women’s rights. A hot topic of the time was women’s right to vote. The Echo’s stance: unabashedly pro.

In the 1916-17 school year, an annual “co-ed” edition of The Echo began, an issue produced solely by female students.

In 1920, the co-ed editors used chapel to encourage students to buy three extra copies of the issue to cover the added cost it ensued. They dressed all in white and sang.

The student body responded by wearing badges that day that said “I’m for the Co-Eds.” The co-ed edition lasted through 1926, before The Echo increased in size.

The male staff members warned the co-ed issues would be the best issues yet, criticizing anyone who thought differently, writing: “Those who have always harbored the erroneous idea that ‘woman’s place is in the home,’ will no doubt receive the surprise of their lives when they see their fair classmates editing a paper that would do credit to men of much experience. The man who is a student of Taylor and is still prejudiced against the advancement of women into the public life, should be shown he is out of date.”

The Echo also regularly argued for women’s suffrage. As a bold cheerleader for prohibition, The Echo reasoned its female classmates should be given the right to vote because they would vote for the prohibition candidate.

“The man who will not trade his pet theory against woman suffrage for the destruction of the liquor traffic ought – well examine his head,” an unidentified Echo writer said in an article called “The Women Triumph.”

The Echo published a lecture by Professor Smith in 1920, called “Woman’s place in politics.” Smith wanted to prove women have a place in the world beyond the home, referencing Joan of Arc and Marie Curie, the scientist who discovered radium.

“Wherever she has an opportunity to exert an influence for right it is her duty as an individual and a human being to exert that influence in the most effective way. If that method is with the ballot in her hand — let her stamp it wisely and well, clearly knowing what she is about,” Smith said.

The Echo sought to prove that working outside the home would not affect women’s femininity or household duties. In a 1923 article called “It can be done,” Iva Durham Vennard, who received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Taylor, is said to have upstanding children and no complaints from her husband, despite her life as a public speaker and promoting women in ministry. Her husband gave up his work as an architect to support her.

In Professor Southard’s report from the 1916-17 school year called “The root of the double standard,” she logically argued men and women are fully equals, writing: “Man gets all his first morals from women and then goes out into the world to be told that the mind who gave him these morals is not the equal of his.”

Southard’s article echoes the paper’s cry for women’s suffrage.

“When the men of Indiana really believe that the women by their sides are really human beings they will give them the ballot,” Southard wrote. “Men select life companions who will heighten their efficiency, and there will be no approaching efficiency in government till women are heartily requested to help.”

The articles from the first editions of The Echo were bold. The staff took stands on important issues of the time – and held nothing back. Today’s papers strive for unbiased news, but The Echo staff from 1913-1930 saw it their duty to echo Taylor’s biblical stances to campus and the surrounding world.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our “100 Years” series, which was originally published during Homecoming on October 19, 2012. View the other parts by clicking the links below.

Part 2 — 1930s-1950: Taylor’s accreditation—a Rediger accomplishment

Part 3 — 1950s-1970: Taylor and the Vietnam War

Part 4 — 1970s-1990: Honoring a trustworthy voice

Part 5 — 1990s-Now: Taylor enters the Information Age

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