Among the Corolla yearbooks digitized and available in Acumen are the first ten volumes, covering 1893-1902. This was an eventful decade at UA: the last ten years of the campus run under military order and the first ten years as a co-ed institution.
Looking through the pages of these early books tells one a lot about student culture at UA. In particular, the smaller enrollments in those days (175 in 1891 to 400 in 1901) meant the yearbooks were a lot more reflective of individual student experiences. They often included things like personal statements and group in-jokes, as well as local songs or cheers and student creative writing and drawings. Also included: pages for what appear to be joke organizations or clubs.
Perhaps they reflected actual groups of friends who decided to codify their clique by giving it a ridiculous name or gathering it around a silly concept. Often spoofing the ceremonial trappings of real-life fraternal organizations like the Freemasons or the Knights of Pythias, these “club” pages in the Corolla left a legacy of playfulness one doesn’t always expect from a turn-of-the-century military institution.
Of course, the military order at UA may be exactly why they needed an outlet for lighthearted creativity and individualism. They were college students, after all.
“Beware of Confidential Friends” — they might give you a silly title in a club with an even sillier name.