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Alice Woods

Alice Woods


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Alice Woods, the daughter of a miner, was born in St Helens in 1899. Margaret Woods was 48 and this was her seventh child. Alice's father died in 1902.

Alice attended Sutton National School. It provided her with a good education and as Barbara Jacobs has pointed out in The Dick, Kerr's Ladies: "She wrote with a fine copperplate hand, and her reading had included the plays of Shakespeare, for which she developed a strong liking and a keen memory."

John Woods, her elder brother, was a fine sportsman and in 1913 began playing football for Stalybridge Celtic. She was an all-round athlete and friends described her as being as fast as a "miner's whippet."

On 4th August, 1914, England declared war on Germany. The role of women changed dramatically during the First World War. As men left jobs to fight overseas, they were replaced by women. Women filled many jobs brought into existence by wartime needs. The greatest increase of women workers was in engineering. Over 700,000 of these women worked in the highly dangerous munitions industry.

In 1917 Alice Woods became a munitions worker in St. Helens. As her biographer, Barbara Jacobs, points out: "Alice's intelligence was noted by the overseers drafted in from the Army to assess the women's skills, and instead of selecting her to work on the heavy lifting and welding in the forging shop, for which her strength would have made her eminently capable, or filling the shells, she was assigned to a more responsible role, numbering the completed shells."

Like many women in the munitions factories, Alice began playing football. She also took part in athletic meetings and in 1918 became the unofficial British 80-yard champion.

Alice lost her job in the St Helens munition factory at the end of the First World War. However, the women had enjoyed playing football and in 1919 joined with others in forming the St Helens Ladies football team. Alice's brother, John Woods, who was now playing for Halifax Town, helped coach the team.

St. Helens Ladies second game was against Dick Kerr Ladies. They lost 6-1 with Alice scoring the team's only goal. Alfred Frankland, the manager of the team from Preston, was very impressed with the performances of Alice and her fourteen year-old team-mate, Lily Parr. After the game Frankland asked the two women to join his team. He also offered to arrange for them to live in Preston. Lily agreed to live in the home of fellow player, Alice Norris. However, Alice's mother, refused permission for her daughter to move. Frankland therefore agreed that Alice could continue to live in St. Helens and he would pay all her travelling expenses. It was also agreed to pay Alice 10 shillings every time she played for the team. This worked out at about £100 in today's money.

Women's football games were extremely popular. For example, a game against Newcastle United Ladies played at St. James's Park, in September, 1919, attracted a crowd of 35,000 people and raised £1,200 (£250,000) for local war charities.

In 1920 Alfred Frankland arranged for the Federation des Societies Feminine Sportives de France to send a team to tour England. Frankland believed that his team was good enough to represent England against a French national team. Four matches were arranged to be played at Preston, Stockport, Manchester and London. The matches were played on behalf of the National Association of Discharged and Disabled Soldiers and Sailors.

A crowd of 25,000 people turned up to the home ground of Preston North End to see the first unofficial international between England and France. England won the game 2-0 with Florrie Redford and Jennie Harris scoring the goals.

The two teams travelled to Stockport by charabanc. This time England won 5-2. The third game was played at Hyde Road, Manchester. Over 12,000 spectators saw France obtain a 1-1 draw. Madame Milliat reported that the first three games had raised £2,766 for the ex-servicemens fund.

The final game took place at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club. A crowd of 10,000 saw the French Ladies win 2-1. However, the English Ladies had the excuse of playing most of the game with only ten players as Jennie Harris suffered a bad injury soon after the game started. This game caused a stir in the media when the two captains, Alice Kell and Madeline Bracquemond, kissed each other at the end of the match.

On 28th October, 1920. Alfred Frankland took his team to tour France. On Sunday 31st October, 22,000 people watched the two sides draw 1-1 in Paris. However, the game ended five minutes early when a large section of the crowd invaded the pitch after disputing the decision by the French referee to award a corner-kick to the English side. After the game Alice Kell said the French ladies were much better playing on their home ground.

The next game was played in Roubaix. England won 2-0 in front of 16,000 spectators, a record attendance for the ground. Florrie Redford scored both the goals. England won the next game at Havre, 6-0. As with all the games, the visitors placed a wreath in memory of allied soldiers who had been killed during the First World War.

The final game was in Rouen. The English team won 2-0 in front of a crowd of 14,000. When the team arrived back in Preston on 9th November, 1920, they had travelled over 2,000 miles. As captain of the team, Alice Kell made a speech where she said: "If the matches with the French Ladies serve no other purpose, I feel that they will have done more to cement the good feeling between the two nations than anything which has occurred during the last 50 years."

Soon after arriving back in Preston, Alfred Frankland was informed that the local charity for Unemployed Ex- Servicemen was in great need for money to buy food for former soldiers for Christmas. Frankland decided to arrange a game at between Dick Kerr Ladies and a team made up of the rest of England. Deepdale, the home of Preston North End was the venue. To maximize the crowd, it was decided to make it a night game. Permission was granted by the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, for two anti-aircraft searchlights, generation equipment and forty carbide flares, to be used to floodlight the game.

Over 12,000 people came to watch the match that took place on 16th December, 1920. It was also filmed by Pathe News. Bob Holmes, a member of the Preston team that won the first Football League title in 1888-89, had the responsibility of providing whitewashed balls at regular intervals. Although one of the searchlights went out briefly on two occasions, the players coped well with the conditions. Dick Kerr Ladies showed they were the best woman's team in England by winning 4-0. Jennie Harris scored twice in the first half and Florrie Redford and Minnie Lyons added further goals before the end of the game. A local newspaper described the ball control of Harris as "almost weird". He added "she controlled the ball like a veteran league forward, swerved, beat her opponents with the greatest of ease, and passed with judgment and discretion". As a result of this game, the Unemployed Ex Servicemens Distress Fund received over £600 to help the people of Preston. This was equivalent to £125,000 in today's money.

On 26th December, 1920, Dick Kerr Ladies played the second best women's team in England, St Helens Ladies, at Goodison Park, the home ground of Everton. The plan was to raise money for the Unemployed Ex Servicemens Distress Fund in Liverpool. Over 53,000 people watched the game with an estimated 14,000 disappointed fans locked outside. It was the largest crowd that had ever watched a woman's game in England.

Florrie Redford, Dick Kerr Ladies' star striker, missed her train to Liverpool and was unavailable for selection. In the first half, Jennie Harris gave Dick Keer Ladies a 1-0 lead. However, the team was missing Redford and so the captain and right back, Alice Kell, decided to play centre forward. It was a shrewd move and Kell scored a second-half hat trick which enabled her side to beat St Helens Ladies 4-0.

The game at Goodison Park raised £3,115 (£623,000 in today's money). Two weeks later the Dick Kerr Ladies played a game at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, in order to raise money for ex-servicemen in Manchester. Over 35,000 people watched the game and £1,962 (£392,000) was raised for charity.

In 1921 the Dick Kerr Ladies team was in such demand that Alfred Frankland had to refuse 120 invitations from all over Britain. The still played 67 games that year in front of 900,000 people. It has to be remembered that all the players had full-time jobs and the games had to be played on Saturday or weekday evenings. As Alice Norris pointed out: "It was sometimes hard work when we played a match during the week because we would have to work in the morning, travel to play the match, then travel home again and be up early for work the next day."

On 14th February, 1921, 25,000 people watched Dick Kerr Ladies beat the Best of Britain, 9-1. Lily Parr (5), Florrie Redford (2) and Jennie Harris (2) got the goals. Representing their country, the Preston team beat the French national side 5-1 in front of 15,000 people at Longton. Parr scored all five goals.

The Dick Kerr Ladies did not only raise money for Unemployed Ex Servicemens Distress Fund. They also helped local workers who were in financial difficulty. The mining industry in particular suffered a major recession after the war. In March, 1921, the mine-owners announced a further 50% reduction in miner's wages. When the miners refused to accept this pay-cut, they were locked out from their jobs. On April 1 and, immediately on the heels of this provocation, the government put into force its Emergency Powers Act, drafting soldiers into the coalfield.

The government and the mine-owners attempted to starve the miners into submission. Several members of the Dick Kerr team came from mining areas like St. Helens and held strong opinions on this issue and games were played to raise money for the families of those men locked out of employment. As Barbara Jacobs pointed out in The Dick, Kerr's Ladies: "Women's football had come to be associated with charity, and had its own credibility. Now it was used as a tool to help the Labour Movement and the trade unions. It had, it could be said, become a politically dangerous sport, to those who felt the trade unions to be their enemies.... Women went out to support their menfolk, a Lancashire tradition, was causing ripples in a society which wanted women to revert to their prewar roles as set down by their masters, of keeping their place, that place being in the home and kitchen. Lancashire lasses were upsetting the social order. It wasn't acceptable."

The 1921 Miners Lock-Out caused considerable suffering in mining areas in Wales and Scotland. This was reflected by games played in Cardiff (18,000), Swansea (25,000) and Kilmarnock (15,000). Dick Kerr Ladies represented England beat Wales on two successive Saturdays. They also beat Scotland on 16th April, 1921.

The Football Association was appalled by what they considered to be women's involvement in national politics. It now began a propaganda campaign against women's football. A new rule was introduced that stated no football club in the FA should allow their ground to be used for women's football unless it was prepared to handle all the cash transactions and do the full accounting. This was an attempt to smear Alfred Frankland with financial irregularities.

On 5th December 1921, the Football Association issued the following statement:

Complaints having been made as to football being played by women, the Council feel impelled to express their strong opinion that the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.

Complaints have been made as to the conditions under which some of these matches have been arranged and played, and the appropriation of the receipts to other than Charitable objects.

The Council are further of the opinion that an excessive proportion of the receipts are absorbed in expenses and an inadequate percentage devoted to Charitable objects.

For these reasons the Council requests the clubs belonging to the Association refuse the use of their grounds for such matches.

This measure removed the ability of women to raise significant sums of money for charity as they were now barred from playing at all the major venues. The Football Association also announced that members were not allowed to referee or act as linesman at any women's football match.

The Dick Kerr Ladies team were shocked by this decision. Alice Kell, the captain, spoke for the other women when she said: "We play for the love of the game and we are determined to carry on. It is impossible for the working girls to afford to leave work to play matches all over the country and be the losers. I see no reason why we should not be recompensated for loss of time at work. No one ever receives more than 10 shillings per day."

Alice Norris pointed out that the women were determined to resist attempts to stop them playing football: "We just took it all in our stride but it was a terrible shock when the FA stopped us from playing on their grounds. We were all very upset but we ignored them when they said that football wasn't a suitable game for ladies to play."

As Gail J. Newsham argued In a League of their Own: "So, that was that, the axe had fallen, and despite all the ladies denials and assurances regarding finances, and their willingness to play under any conditions that the FA laid down, the decision was irreversible. The chauvinists, the medical 'experts' and the anti women's football lobby had won - their threatened male bastion was now safe."

Alfred Frankland responded to the action taken by the Football Association with the claim: "The team will continue to play, if the organisers of charity matches will provide grounds, even if we have to play on ploughed fields."

Frankland now decided to take his team on a tour of Canada and the United States. The team included Alice Woods, Jennie Harris, Daisy Clayton, Alice Kell, Florrie Redford, Florrie Haslam, Jessie Walmsley, Lily Parr, Molly Walker, Carmen Pomies, Lily Lee, Alice Mills, Annie Crozier, May Graham, Lily Stanley and R. J. Garrier. Their regular goalkeeper, Peggy Mason, was unable to go due to the recent death of her mother.

When the Dick Kerr Ladies arrived in Quebec on 22nd December, 1922, they discovered that the Dominion Football Association had banned them from playing against Canadian teams. They were accepted in the United States, and even though they were sometimes forced to play against men, they lost only 3 out of 9 games. They visited Boston, Baltimore, St. Louis, Washington, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia during their tour of America.

Florrie Redford was the leading scorer on the tour but Lily Parr was considered the star player and American newspapers reported that she was the "most brilliant female player in the world". One member of the team, Alice Mills, met her future husband at one of the games, and would later return to marry him and become an American citizen.

In Philadelphia four members of the team, Jennie Harris, Florrie Haslam, Lily Parr, and Molly Walker, met the American Women's Olympic team in a relay race of about a quarter of a mile. Even though their fastest runner, Alice Woods, was unavailable through illness, the Preston ladies still won the race.

Dick Kerr Ladies continued to play charity games in England but denied access by the Football Association to the large venues, the money raised was disappointing when compared to the years immediately following the First World War. In 1923 the French Ladies came over for their annual tour of England. They played against Dick Kerr Ladies at Cardiff Arms Park. Part of the proceeds were for the Rheims Cathedral Fund in France.

Dick, Kerr Engineering was eventually taken over by English Electric. Although they allowed the team to play on Ashton Park, it refused to subsidize the football team. Alfred Frankland was also told that he would no longer be given time off to run the team that was now known as the Preston Ladies.

Frankland decided to leave English Electric and open a shop with his wife in Sharoe Green Lane in Preston where they sold fish and greengroceries. He continued to manage Preston Ladies with great success.

Some of the players also lost their jobs with English Electric. Over the years Frankland had raised considerable sums of money for Whittingham Hospital and Lunatic Asylum. The hospital was always willing to employ and provide accommodation for Frankland's players. This included Lily Parr, Florrie Redford, Jessie Walmsley, Lily Lee and Lily Martin. In 1923 Frankland persuaded Lizzy Ashcroft and Lydia Ackers, two of St Helens best players, to join Preston Ladies. Both women went to work for Whittingham Hospital.

In 1923 Alice Woods was taken ill with peritonitis and a strangulated hernia. She had an emerceny operation that involved having her appendicitis removed. Alice eventually made a full-recovery and returned to playing football.

Alice Woods stopped playing for Preston Ladies when she married Herbert Stanley in September, 1928. Over the next few years she had four children - Bert, Lynn, Edward and Claire.

In the 1980s Alice Stanley was a guest of honour at several women's FA Cup finals. She also appeared in a couple of television documentaries about her time playing for the Dick Kerr Ladies. Alice also obtained great pleasure from watching her grand-daughter, Gaynor Stanley, become an international breast-stroke swimmer.

Alice Stanley, aged 92, died at her home in Manchester in 1991.

I am indebted to the research carried out by Barbara Jacobs (The Dick, Kerr's Ladies) and Gail Newsham (In a League of their Own) for the information in this article.


Alice

Alice is a featured article , which means it has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Disney Wiki community. If you see a way this page can be updated or improved without compromising previous work, please feel free to contribute.

This article is about the 1951 animated character. For the 2010 live-action character, see Alice Kingsleigh.


The Mysterious Murder Case That Inspired Margaret Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace’

The lovers’ bodies were found in a cellar.

Thomas Kinnear, the owner of the home, had been shot in the left side of his chest. Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and paramour, was struck in the head with an axe and then strangled. Her body was discovered crammed beneath a tub. An autopsy would later reveal that Montgomery had been pregnant when her life came to an abrupt end.

It was July of 1843 in Upper Canada, a British colony located within what is now the province of Ontario. Kinnear, a gentleman of Scottish origin, owned property in a rural village some 16 miles outside of Toronto. Conspicuously absent from his house in the wake of the murders were his two domestic servants: 20-year-old James McDermott and 16-year-old Grace Marks. Both were Irish immigrants who had started working for Kinnear just weeks earlier. McDermott had previously served as a soldier in a Canadian regiment, while Marks had worked as a servant in a number of different households. The pair appeared to have fled Kinnear’s home with a hoard of stolen goods.

From the get go, investigators suspected that McDermott and Marks had been involved in the grisly crime. But whether both parties were equally culpable proved to be a more elusive question—one that remains shrouded in mystery to the present day.

Not long after the murders, McDermott and Marks were tracked down in Lewiston, New York and arrested. At their trial in Toronto, McDermott was convicted of first-degree murder and Marks as an accessory before and after the fact in the case of Kinnear. Both defendants were sentenced to death for their crimes, and it was deemed redundant to try them for Montgomery’s murder as well. McDermott was promptly hanged. But in Marks’ case, the jury recommended mercy—possibly because she was so young—and officials commuted her sentence to life imprisonment.

More than a century later, Marks’s story captured the attention of Canadian author Margaret Atwood. In the 1960s, before she became a well-known writer, Atwood read about Marks in the book Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush, a chronicle of 19th-century pioneer life by Susanna Moodie, an English emigrant to Canada.

Atwood would mull over the Kinnear-Montgomery murders for decades, writing a number of acclaimed novels —including The Handmaid’s Tale—in the meantime. Finally, in 1996, she published Alias Grace, a novel that blends the events of the double homicide with flourishes of liberal invention to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding the crime. The book is set more than ten years after Marks’ conviction and casts her as a somewhat impenetrable narrator, who tells her version of events to a psychiatrist interested in her case. On November 3, Netflix, in conjunction with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, will release a miniseries adaptation that delves into many of the same questions as its source material: What happened on the day of the killings? What role did Marks play in them? And when history is reflected through a prism of preconceptions and prejudices, can the truth ever be known?

The trial of Marks and McDermott caused a sensation in 19th-century Canada. The press gleefully covered the story, which sizzled with intrigue, gore and hints of illicit sexuality. The slain lovers, after all, were not married and belonged to opposite ends of the class hierarchy. On the day of McDermott’s trial, so many spectators packed into the courtroom that “some alarm was created by a report that the floor of the courtroom was giving away,” according to a summary of the trial proceedings that appeared in a special edition published by the Star and Transcript newspaper.

Marks, however, was a source of particular intrigue. She displayed little emotion during the trial proceedings, though is said to have fainted when her sentence was read. Bizarrely, according to newspaper reports, she showed up to court wearing clothes that she had stolen from the dead Nancy Montgomery. And as the Examiner newspaper observed at the time that there had been “considerable interest in the trial,” due in part to “some doubt whether the female prisoner had been a willing or reluctant participant in the murder.”

Even though the case was widely reported on, few hard facts emerged. Atwood once noted that in her research, she found that “the witnesses—even the eye-witnesses, even at the trial itself—could not agree” on what they had seen. The defendants, Marks and McDermott, gave multiple, incompatible accounts of the crime, though neither claimed to be completely innocent of it.

In Marks’ last confession, published in the Star and Transcript booklet, Marks said that after Montgomery had fired McDermott “for not doing his work properly,” he decided to kill her and Kinnear. “[H]e had made me promise to assist him,” she said, “and I agreed to do so.” Marks claimed that she tried to run away from the house after Kinnear was killed, prompting McDermott to shoot at her. Witnesses testified to finding a ball from the weapon lodged in a door near the kitchen.

McDermott, on the other hand, flipped the narrative in his testimony, insisting that Marks had goaded him until he agreed to help her commit the murders. And she had been fired by Montgomery, he claimed. “She said she had been warned to leave, and she supposed she should not get her wages,” McDermott testified. “She said … ‘I'll assist you, and you are a coward if you don't do it.’ I frequently refused to do as she wished, and she said I should never have an hour's luck if I did not do as she wished me.”

On the day he went to the gallows, McDermott added a statement to his confession. Marks, he said, followed him into the cellar after he had struck Montgomery with an axe, wounding but not killing her. Marks “brought a piece of white cloth with her,” the statement reads, “tied the cloth tight round [Montgomery’s] neck and strangled her.”

In the afterword to Alias Grace, Atwood notes that she “felt free to invent” details to fill in the gaps between irreconcilable versions of the murders. For modern-day researchers, who cannot take such liberties, it is impossible to figure out what exactly happened at the Kinnear homestead. But the case is nevertheless intriguing because it exemplifies “conflicting notions” of female killers in the 19th century, says Kathleen Kendall, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Southampton.

Marks proves so fascinating, Kendall theorized in an interview with Smithsonian.com, because the murder charge flouted Victorian-era conceptions of femininity, which deemed women gentler and more “morally pure” than their male counterparts.

Lizzie Seal, author of Women, Murder and Femininity: Gender Representations of Women Who Kill, agrees. “Women are seen as being masculine, if they've committed violent crimes,” she says. “In the 19th century, that portrayal did emerge, in relation to servants particularly . As working class women who were doing very manual labor, heavy labor as part of their duties, they did not meet a Victorian lady type of ideal.”

On top of that, Marks’ status as a domestic servant made her a doubly unnerving figure. Contemporary newspapers, which were largely published and read by a demographic that depended on servants, seized on the unthinkable subversion perpetrated by Marks and McDermott, who appeared to have killed their employer without much in the way of provocation. “A very dangerous neglect as to the requiring of ‘characters’ with servants prevails among us,” the Examiner wrote while covering the trials in November of 1843. As a female servant involved in the murders, Marks may have come across as an especially anomalous character.

But not all commenters cast Marks as the gender-subverting instigator of the crime. Other accounts emphasized her youth, her beauty, or her purported pliability to suggest that she was an unfortunate and vaguely stupid girl who had fallen victim to an overweening male villain. The Star and Transcript court summary, for instance, described McDermott as having “a swarthy complexion, and a sullen, downcast, and forbidding countenance.” Its portrayal of Marks was somewhat more generous. She was  “rather good-looking than otherwise,” the paper opined, and appeared “totally uneducated”—incapable, perhaps, of masterminding a double homicide.  

Deeply ingrained ideas about the fundamental nature of women may explain why Marks was given a commuted sentence, while McDermott was sent to the gallows. The jury recommended leniency for Marks because of her youth, but at 20 years old, McDermott was only a few years her senior. Susan E. Houston, professor emerita of history at York University in Toronto, suggests that in 19th-century Canada, the notion of a young woman being domineered by a more forceful man was a “much, much easier” story to swallow than the alternative.

“If you had to choose, then instinctively you would think because [McDermott] was the man that he was more in control,” Houston tells Smithsonian.com. “They played down the possibility that she could possibly have initiated this, or figured it out, or had any control over this young man . And so therefore, he's the one who is the more culpable.”

“Nobody had any sympathy for McDermott,” she says.

Marks spent a total of 29 years in prison. It is not entirely clear why she was sent to the Provincial Lunatic Asylum in 1852. “There were various investigations of abuses in the prison, and punishments, and just how terrible the conditions of imprisonment were,” says Kendall. “So there's a sense that the conditions themselves were a contributing factor [to Marks’ mental health].”  The Asylum superintendent, however, believed that Marks was faking her insanity.

After 15 months, Marks was sent back to the Kingston Penitentiary. During her incarceration, she impressed “many respectable persons” who petitioned for her release, Atwood writes in the afterword to Alias Grace. In 1872, Marks was finally granted a pardon. Records indicate that she subsequently went to New York. After that, all traces of her vanish.

To this day, Marks remains as enigmatic as she seemed in the mid-1800s. Was she a mastermind or a pawn? Cunning or simple-minded? An impressionable girl or a steely killer? The truth may lie at either end of these extremes or somewhere in between—in all likelihood, we will never know.

Before she disappeared from the historical record, Marks confirmed her version of events for a final time. Upon her release from the penitentiary, she was asked 27 “liberation questions” that were posed to all outgoing prisoners. “What has been the general cause of your misfortunes,” asked the 23 rd  question, “and what has been the immediate cause of the crime for which you have been sent to the Penitentiary?”

Marks was succinct in her reply: “Having been employed in the same house with a villain.”


Alice Woods: Bedford Park & Co-Education

It is an unusual 90-year-old who has the didactic urge combined with the organisational drive to write and self-publish a 10,000 word booklet of advice on How to Grow Old. In 1940, Alice Woods was one such. Earlier in her career, AW had been one of the group of liberal, reformist, 30 to 40 year-olds who had been attracted to Bedford Park in its heyday in the decade from about 1882. She was recruited in 1884 as the first headmistress of the Bedford Park School (Ltd), which was from the start intended to be fully co-educational and non-sectarian. In 1892, she was appointed as the Principal of the Maria Grey Training College which was close to where Brondesbury Park Station (1908) is today. During her 21 years there, and in her subsequent long retirement, her formative experiences in Bedford Park combined with her energy and enthusiasm made her into one of the country’s leading experts in, and advocates of, co-education.

Alice Woods 1849-1941, from the portrait by Annie Swynnerton ARA, (Courtesy of Brunel University London Archives)

Although she was recognised by inclusion in Who’s Who in 1907, her contributions were never adequately recorded after her death in early 1941, when the pressures and demands of the darkest period of World War 2 imposed higher priorities on the living than writing obituaries of those who had long retired. Belated recognition has, however, come in the form of an entry in the recently-published Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Family background
On her father’s side Alice Woods came from a Quaker family, a fact of which she was always conscious, although her parents were married in the Church of England. She herself has left little indication of her religious beliefs, if any, except for a stipulation in her will that her funeral should be as simple as possible and not according to the rites of the Church of England. She was a great-granddaughter of the Quaker diarist Margaret Woods (1748-1821).

AW was born into a prosperous family in 1849, the youngest of at least seven children, at Wood End, Walthamstow, a large house now demolished. Her older siblings had been born in the Liverpool area where her father Samuel had worked as a broker in the import-export business in the first part of his career. He had made a visit to the USA as early as 1831, before marriage, but a decline in the US trade and the widening opportunities provided by the expansion in the number of limited companies in the 1840s seem to have decided him to return to his native London to take up stockbroking.

Early career
There was no need for AW to work. She seems to have had adequate funds to live without working, as had the two sisters nearest to her in age, with whom she kept in close touch throughout their joint lives. The self-confidence and independence which contributed to her success in her chosen career probably stem to a significant degree from this comfortable background. Nevertheless, she had a great desire for work, and she first found it in 1875 as a teacher at Chelsea High School, whose headmistress was her cousin Mary Anne Woods. MAW was, in fact, a first cousin through their mothers, but she was also a second cousin through the Woods line. Although AW thus owed her start in her chosen profession to what would nowadays be regarded as nepotism, her eminent suitability for it cannot be denied.

After a couple of years at Chelsea, the 28-year old AW was in 1877 admitted to Girton College, Cambridge, then a comparatively new and very small foundation. Girton students took exactly the same courses and examinations as the male students, although they were not allowed to take degrees. AW studied Moral Sciences (philosophy, logic, psychology, ethics), taking a second class in the Tripos of 1880.

From Girton, AW returned to teaching, this time as an assistant mistress at a girls’ high school at St Andrew’s, whose headmistress was Miss (later Dame) Louisa Lumsden, who had been one of the ‘Girton pioneers’, the first five students of the College when it opened (in Hitchin) in 1869. In 1882, after two years in St Andrews, AW returned to the south as head of the junior department of the Girls’ High School, Clifton, where her cousin MAW was by this time headmistress.

Recruitment to Bedford Park
The idea of establishing a school in Bedford Park seems to have originated in 1883, fortunately during the brief period of publication of The Bedford Park Gazettee which contains much useful information about the genesis of the school. Many of the more prominent members of the Bedford Park community took part in the planning of the school, in which they had an acute interest as parents of school-age children. There were two unconventional aspects of the school as planned. First, it would be completely co-educational, an unusual although not unknown feature at the time and secondly it would be completely non-sectarian, on the grounds that belief in Bedford Park encompassed such a wide range that it would be impossible to satisfy all the parents’ requirements by a single provision. The directors did, however, express themselves as being willing to organise individual religious tuition to suit parents’ wishes.

The co-educational provision seems to have been uncontroversial, despite its relative novelty, perhaps at least partly because it was envisaged that the boys would leave at the age of 13 to go to public schools, and only the girls would stay beyond that age. The lack of religious content was, however, unacceptable to some members of the Bedford Park community, with the result that they organised a second, rival, school, the High School, Bedford Park, also as a limited company. There was really no room in Bedford Park for two schools, and both were starved of resources.

Sydney House, Acton Green, artist’s impression by Tim Shelbourne (courtesy of D W Budworth)

The Bedford Park School was always the more successful of the two, partly no doubt because it had the support of more of the prominent members of the community and because it opened some months before its rival. A greater share of the credit, however, properly belongs to Alice Woods, its headmistress. How she came to Bedford Park is not at all clear. There are guarded references in The Bedford Park Gazette to the directors being confident of being able to make a suitable appointment, and it seems likely that AW was what would nowadays be described as head hunted. The directors of the school had assembled a board of distinguished advisers, which included the legendary Miss Buss, the founder of the North London Collegiate School, and it was probably she or one of her fellow advisers who drew attention to AW, whose claims as a rising star of the educational scene, and whose Quaker background, with its tradition of equality between the sexes and hostility to organised religion, together made a formidable case for her appointment.

Alice Woods in Bedford Park
AW gave some account of her experiences at the Bedford Park School in her evidence to the Royal Commission on Secondary Education in 1894-5. She criticised the quality of the assistant mistresses whom she was able to recruit, and complained that the school was always short of money. It was also unsuitably housed. Although there had been ambitious plans for a purpose-built school right from the beginning, and a site and architect were eventually identified in 1898, the plans came to nothing, and the school started life in temporary accommodation at the Chiswick School of Art in Bath Road before moving in March 1886 to the original Georgian Sydney House, where it changed its name to the Chiswick High School. Sydney House was one of three built by John Bedford in 1793, around which Bedford Park was built from 1875. It was replaced by a block of flats 1904—6. Its its extensive garden could be used as a playground for the school, and extra land was rented to serve as a playing field.

One exception to AW’s criticisms of her assistants must have been made for her deputy and eventual successor, Esther Maria Case, who, although younger than AW, had preceded her at Girton, and had herself been educated at a co-educational school in Hampstead run by her parents. Nor was AW without success in Bedford Park: at least two of her pupils followed her to Girton, one of them Amy Lilian Lawrence, who made the journey daily from the family home in Hampstead to benefit from AW’s teaching.

AW had a wide range of contacts with leading personalities of the day, and a former colleague recalled that on two or three occasions she had persuaded her friend John Ruskin to address the children.

Nonetheless, whatever the limitations of the school, AW’s experiences there convinced her of the virtues of co-education, of which she became an articulate and well-respected advocate both in her time there and throughout her subsequent career. Her first known public discussion of the subject, at a time when it was still known as joint education, came in April 1890, when she published an article in Seed-Time, the journal of the high-minded and somewhat unworldly Fellowship of the New Life, whose most lasting contribution to public life was as the jumping-off base for the Fabian Society. Whether or not AW was formally a member of the Fellowship is not clear, but she certainly attended some of its meetings in her Bedford Park days and retained some friendships formed through it. On her first visit to the USA in 1907 she made contact with the former Secretary of the Fellowship, who had emigrated in 1889.

AW published a second article Joint-Education before leaving Bedford Park, this time a lecture delivered to the Manchester Branch of the Teachers’ Guild. The fact that AW was lecturing as far away as Manchester shows that she had become an established authority on co-education before leaving Bedford Park.

There is only one mention in The Bedford Park Gazette of AW contributing to the discussion at one of the Bedford Park lectures, but this journal ceased publication not long after AW came to Bedford Park, and it seems likely that she was a significant contributor to other local meetings.

An intriguing possibility about AW’s Bedford Park years is that she may have met the distinguished artist Annie Swynnerton, who lived for a few years at 18 Queen Anne’s Grove, during the period when AW was a boarder almost opposite at 21 Queen Anne’s Grove. In 1911 AS completed a portrait of AW which hung in the Maria Grey Training College thereafter, until it was in all probability destroyed in 1941 when the College was badly damaged in an air raid. Fortunately, a photograph of the portrait survives (above).

After Bedford Park
AW had been appointed in 1892 as both Principal of Maria Grey Training College and head of its associated school, but in 1898 she gave up the direct responsibility for the school and was therefore not able to practise co-education at first hand. Nevertheless, drawing on her Bedford Park experiences, supplemented by careful study of practice in co-educational schools in a series of study trips, including that to the USA in 1907, she continued as an ardent, although not uncritical, advocate of the practice. She edited and contributed to a book of essays, Co-Education, in 1903.

After retirement in 1913 she continued her study and travel, visiting the USA another three times, editing another compilation, Advance in Co-Education, in 1919, and publishing an original work, Educational Experiments in England, in 1920. She maintained contact with a large number of her former pupils and colleagues, some from her Bedford Park period, until her death in early 1941. Her constantly preached watchword, derived to some extent from Meredith, her favourite author, about whom she lectured and published, was ‘service’, a precept which she exemplified throughout her life.

Sources
Birth, marriage, death, census, and probate records. Archives of the Maria Grey Training College (now at Brunel). Who’s Who, The Bedford Park Gazette, Girton College, reports of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education 1894.

David W Budworth PhD, MBE is a former scientist who is spending his retirement on research on Sydney House (where he lives) in particular and Bedford Park in general.


Alice Woods: Bedford Park & Co-Education

It is an unusual 90-year-old who has the didactic urge combined with the organisational drive to write and self-publish a 10,000 word booklet of advice on How to Grow Old. In 1940, Alice Woods was one such. Earlier in her career, AW had been one of the group of liberal, reformist, 30 to 40 year-olds who had been attracted to Bedford Park in its heyday in the decade from about 1882. She was recruited in 1884 as the first headmistress of the Bedford Park School (Ltd), which was from the start intended to be fully co-educational and non-sectarian. In 1892, she was appointed as the Principal of the Maria Grey Training College which was close to where Brondesbury Park Station (1908) is today. During her 21 years there, and in her subsequent long retirement, her formative experiences in Bedford Park combined with her energy and enthusiasm made her into one of the country’s leading experts in, and advocates of, co-education.

Alice Woods 1849-1941, from the portrait by Annie Swynnerton ARA, (Courtesy of Brunel University London Archives)

Although she was recognised by inclusion in Who’s Who in 1907, her contributions were never adequately recorded after her death in early 1941, when the pressures and demands of the darkest period of World War 2 imposed higher priorities on the living than writing obituaries of those who had long retired. Belated recognition has, however, come in the form of an entry in the recently-published Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Family background
On her father’s side Alice Woods came from a Quaker family, a fact of which she was always conscious, although her parents were married in the Church of England. She herself has left little indication of her religious beliefs, if any, except for a stipulation in her will that her funeral should be as simple as possible and not according to the rites of the Church of England. She was a great-granddaughter of the Quaker diarist Margaret Woods (1748-1821).

AW was born into a prosperous family in 1849, the youngest of at least seven children, at Wood End, Walthamstow, a large house now demolished. Her older siblings had been born in the Liverpool area where her father Samuel had worked as a broker in the import-export business in the first part of his career. He had made a visit to the USA as early as 1831, before marriage, but a decline in the US trade and the widening opportunities provided by the expansion in the number of limited companies in the 1840s seem to have decided him to return to his native London to take up stockbroking.

Early career
There was no need for AW to work. She seems to have had adequate funds to live without working, as had the two sisters nearest to her in age, with whom she kept in close touch throughout their joint lives. The self-confidence and independence which contributed to her success in her chosen career probably stem to a significant degree from this comfortable background. Nevertheless, she had a great desire for work, and she first found it in 1875 as a teacher at Chelsea High School, whose headmistress was her cousin Mary Anne Woods. MAW was, in fact, a first cousin through their mothers, but she was also a second cousin through the Woods line. Although AW thus owed her start in her chosen profession to what would nowadays be regarded as nepotism, her eminent suitability for it cannot be denied.

After a couple of years at Chelsea, the 28-year old AW was in 1877 admitted to Girton College, Cambridge, then a comparatively new and very small foundation. Girton students took exactly the same courses and examinations as the male students, although they were not allowed to take degrees. AW studied Moral Sciences (philosophy, logic, psychology, ethics), taking a second class in the Tripos of 1880.

From Girton, AW returned to teaching, this time as an assistant mistress at a girls’ high school at St Andrew’s, whose headmistress was Miss (later Dame) Louisa Lumsden, who had been one of the ‘Girton pioneers’, the first five students of the College when it opened (in Hitchin) in 1869. In 1882, after two years in St Andrews, AW returned to the south as head of the junior department of the Girls’ High School, Clifton, where her cousin MAW was by this time headmistress.

Recruitment to Bedford Park
The idea of establishing a school in Bedford Park seems to have originated in 1883, fortunately during the brief period of publication of The Bedford Park Gazettee which contains much useful information about the genesis of the school. Many of the more prominent members of the Bedford Park community took part in the planning of the school, in which they had an acute interest as parents of school-age children. There were two unconventional aspects of the school as planned. First, it would be completely co-educational, an unusual although not unknown feature at the time and secondly it would be completely non-sectarian, on the grounds that belief in Bedford Park encompassed such a wide range that it would be impossible to satisfy all the parents’ requirements by a single provision. The directors did, however, express themselves as being willing to organise individual religious tuition to suit parents’ wishes.

The co-educational provision seems to have been uncontroversial, despite its relative novelty, perhaps at least partly because it was envisaged that the boys would leave at the age of 13 to go to public schools, and only the girls would stay beyond that age. The lack of religious content was, however, unacceptable to some members of the Bedford Park community, with the result that they organised a second, rival, school, the High School, Bedford Park, also as a limited company. There was really no room in Bedford Park for two schools, and both were starved of resources.

Sydney House, Acton Green, artist’s impression by Tim Shelbourne (courtesy of D W Budworth)

The Bedford Park School was always the more successful of the two, partly no doubt because it had the support of more of the prominent members of the community and because it opened some months before its rival. A greater share of the credit, however, properly belongs to Alice Woods, its headmistress. How she came to Bedford Park is not at all clear. There are guarded references in The Bedford Park Gazette to the directors being confident of being able to make a suitable appointment, and it seems likely that AW was what would nowadays be described as head hunted. The directors of the school had assembled a board of distinguished advisers, which included the legendary Miss Buss, the founder of the North London Collegiate School, and it was probably she or one of her fellow advisers who drew attention to AW, whose claims as a rising star of the educational scene, and whose Quaker background, with its tradition of equality between the sexes and hostility to organised religion, together made a formidable case for her appointment.

Alice Woods in Bedford Park
AW gave some account of her experiences at the Bedford Park School in her evidence to the Royal Commission on Secondary Education in 1894-5. She criticised the quality of the assistant mistresses whom she was able to recruit, and complained that the school was always short of money. It was also unsuitably housed. Although there had been ambitious plans for a purpose-built school right from the beginning, and a site and architect were eventually identified in 1898, the plans came to nothing, and the school started life in temporary accommodation at the Chiswick School of Art in Bath Road before moving in March 1886 to the original Georgian Sydney House, where it changed its name to the Chiswick High School. Sydney House was one of three built by John Bedford in 1793, around which Bedford Park was built from 1875. It was replaced by a block of flats 1904—6. Its its extensive garden could be used as a playground for the school, and extra land was rented to serve as a playing field.

One exception to AW’s criticisms of her assistants must have been made for her deputy and eventual successor, Esther Maria Case, who, although younger than AW, had preceded her at Girton, and had herself been educated at a co-educational school in Hampstead run by her parents. Nor was AW without success in Bedford Park: at least two of her pupils followed her to Girton, one of them Amy Lilian Lawrence, who made the journey daily from the family home in Hampstead to benefit from AW’s teaching.

AW had a wide range of contacts with leading personalities of the day, and a former colleague recalled that on two or three occasions she had persuaded her friend John Ruskin to address the children.

Nonetheless, whatever the limitations of the school, AW’s experiences there convinced her of the virtues of co-education, of which she became an articulate and well-respected advocate both in her time there and throughout her subsequent career. Her first known public discussion of the subject, at a time when it was still known as joint education, came in April 1890, when she published an article in Seed-Time, the journal of the high-minded and somewhat unworldly Fellowship of the New Life, whose most lasting contribution to public life was as the jumping-off base for the Fabian Society. Whether or not AW was formally a member of the Fellowship is not clear, but she certainly attended some of its meetings in her Bedford Park days and retained some friendships formed through it. On her first visit to the USA in 1907 she made contact with the former Secretary of the Fellowship, who had emigrated in 1889.

AW published a second article Joint-Education before leaving Bedford Park, this time a lecture delivered to the Manchester Branch of the Teachers’ Guild. The fact that AW was lecturing as far away as Manchester shows that she had become an established authority on co-education before leaving Bedford Park.

There is only one mention in The Bedford Park Gazette of AW contributing to the discussion at one of the Bedford Park lectures, but this journal ceased publication not long after AW came to Bedford Park, and it seems likely that she was a significant contributor to other local meetings.

An intriguing possibility about AW’s Bedford Park years is that she may have met the distinguished artist Annie Swynnerton, who lived for a few years at 18 Queen Anne’s Grove, during the period when AW was a boarder almost opposite at 21 Queen Anne’s Grove. In 1911 AS completed a portrait of AW which hung in the Maria Grey Training College thereafter, until it was in all probability destroyed in 1941 when the College was badly damaged in an air raid. Fortunately, a photograph of the portrait survives (above).

After Bedford Park
AW had been appointed in 1892 as both Principal of Maria Grey Training College and head of its associated school, but in 1898 she gave up the direct responsibility for the school and was therefore not able to practise co-education at first hand. Nevertheless, drawing on her Bedford Park experiences, supplemented by careful study of practice in co-educational schools in a series of study trips, including that to the USA in 1907, she continued as an ardent, although not uncritical, advocate of the practice. She edited and contributed to a book of essays, Co-Education, in 1903.

After retirement in 1913 she continued her study and travel, visiting the USA another three times, editing another compilation, Advance in Co-Education, in 1919, and publishing an original work, Educational Experiments in England, in 1920. She maintained contact with a large number of her former pupils and colleagues, some from her Bedford Park period, until her death in early 1941. Her constantly preached watchword, derived to some extent from Meredith, her favourite author, about whom she lectured and published, was ‘service’, a precept which she exemplified throughout her life.

Sources
Birth, marriage, death, census, and probate records. Archives of the Maria Grey Training College (now at Brunel). Who’s Who, The Bedford Park Gazette, Girton College, reports of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education 1894.

David W Budworth PhD, MBE is a former scientist who is spending his retirement on research on Sydney House (where he lives) in particular and Bedford Park in general.


Alice in Wonderland Summary

Alice is sitting with her sister outdoors when she spies a White Rabbit with a pocket watch. Fascinated by the sight, she follows the rabbit down the hole. She falls for a long time, and finds herself in a long hallway full of doors. There is also a key on the table, which unlocks a tiny door through this door, she spies a beautiful garden. She longs to get there, but the door is too small. Soon, she finds a drink with a note that asks her to drink it. There is later a cake with a note that tells her to eat Alice uses both, but she cannot seem to get a handle on things, and is always either too large to get through the door or too small to reach the key.

While she is tiny, she slips and falls into a pool of water. She realizes that this little sea is made of tears she cried while a giant. She swims to shore with a number of animals, most notably a sensitive mouse, but manages to offend everyone by talking about her cat's ability to catch birds and mice. Left alone, she goes on through the wood and runs into the White Rabbit. He mistakes her for his maid and sends her to fetch some things from his house. While in the White Rabbit's home, she drinks another potion and becomes too huge to get out through the door. She eventually finds a little cake which, when eaten, makes her small again.

In the wood again, she comes across a Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom. He gives her some valuable advice, as well as a valuable tool: the two sides of the mushroom, which can make Alice grow larger and smaller as she wishes. The first time she uses them, she stretches her body out tremendously. While stretched out, she pokes her head into the branches of a tree and meets a Pigeon. The Pigeon is convinced that Alice is a serpent, and though Alice tries to reason with her the Pigeon tells her to be off.

Alice gets herself down to normal proportions and continues her trek through the woods. In a clearing she comes across a little house and shrinks herself down enough to get inside. It is the house of the Duchess the Duchess and the Cook are battling fiercely, and they seem unconcerned about the safety of the baby that the Duchess is nursing. Alice takes the baby with her, but the child turns into a pig and trots off into the woods. Alice next meets the Cheshire cat (who was sitting in the Duchess's house, but said nothing). The Cheshire cat helps her to find her way through the woods, but he warns her that everyone she meets will be mad.

Alice goes to the March Hare's house, where she is treated to a Mad Tea Party. Present are the March Hare, the Hatter, and the Dormouse. Ever since Time stopped working for the Hatter, it has always been six o'clock it is therefore always teatime. The creatures of the Mad Tea Party are some of the must argumentative in all of Wonderland. Alice leaves them and finds a tree with a door in it: when she looks through the door, she spies the door-lined hallway from the beginning of her adventures. This time, she is prepared, and she manages to get to the lovely garden that she saw earlier. She walks on through, and finds herself in the garden of the Queen of Hearts. There, three gardeners (with bodies shaped like playing cards) are painting the roses red. If the Queen finds out that they planted white roses, she'll have them beheaded. The Queen herself soon arrives, and she does order their execution Alice helps to hide them in a large flowerpot.

The Queen invites Alice to play croquet, which is a very difficult game in Wonderland, as the balls and mallets are live animals. The game is interrupted by the appearance of the Cheshire cat, whom the King of Hearts immediately dislikes.

The Queen takes Alice to the Gryphon, who in turn takes Alice to the Mock Turtle. The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle tell Alice bizarre stories about their school under the sea. The Mock Turtles sings a melancholy song about turtle soup, and soon afterward the Gryphon drags Alice off to see the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

The Knave of Hearts has been accused of stealing the tarts of the Queen of Hearts, but the evidence against him is very bad. Alice is appalled by the ridiculous proceedings. She also begins to grow larger. She is soon called to the witness stand by this time she has grown to giant size. She refuses to be intimidated by the bad logic of the court and the bluster of the King and Queen of Hearts. Suddenly, the cards all rise up and attack her, at which point she wakes up. Her adventures in Wonderland have all been a fantastic dream.


Our History

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, the oldest Catholic College in Indiana, expanded its mission to include men in all programs in 2015, yet continues to embrace its rich history as a women’s college. Before women fought for equal pay, before women secured the right to vote, before the women’s rights movement even began, there was Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

For generations, SMWC has been empowering students to make a difference in their lives and in their world. It all started with a holy woman’s faith in divine providence.

Founding Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

SMWC has helped shape the fabric of both women’s education and early Catholic education in America. A closer look at its early days — during a period of limited opportunities for women and widespread discrimination against Catholics — shows that its founding was precipitated by a commitment to helping students “Aspire Higher.”

In 1840, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and five other Sisters of Providence journeyed from their convent in Ruille-sur-Loir, France, to the wilderness of Indiana, to establish an academy for women. It was a response to a request from the bishop of Vincennes, who asked the Sisters for help in educating Catholic immigrants growing in numbers in the area. Through many obstacles along the way, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and her companions persisted in each step of the journey.

During the 40 days of the stormy ocean crossing, they were robbed of a good portion of the money meant to finance the rest of their trip. They arrived in New York and traveled half a continent by train, canal, stagecoach and ferry in a foreign land where they could barely speak the language. Finally, on Oct. 22, 1840, more than three months after leaving France, the women crossed the Wabash River. They settled on the woods northwest of Terre Haute.

In the spirit of true adventurers, Saint Mother Theodore’s journal indicates that the source of their initial disappointment upon arrival was not that they had no home but that they did not know where they would find students. Despite this uncertainty, students came to them seeking an education even before the College’s first buildings were erected. Saint Mary’s Female Institute (the former name of SMWC), informally known as the Academy, opened on July 4, 1841, 29 years before 4 th of July became a national holiday in the U.S.

In 1846, the College was granted the first charter for the higher education of women in the state of Indiana It conferred the first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899. In 1928, the Academy was incorporated as Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Creating Opportunities for Women

In the tradition of seeking to “Aspire Higher” by creating groundbreaking opportunities in women’s education, SMWC was the first women’s college to offer journalism courses and the first to offer degree work in secondary education, home economics and secretarial science. These programs are evidence of an early commitment to preparing women for professional roles.

As an early leader in distance education, the College introduced one of the first independent study programs in the nation, the Women’s External Degree Program, in 1973. This program served adult women who needed flexible schedules to balance earning a degree, important family responsibilities and career obligations.

Profit by the experience of the past for the future. -Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

Educating Women and Men

In 2005, the College expanded access to its undergraduate distance program to men. Today, through the renamed Woods Online program, both women and men earn college degrees in a wide variety of majors, at a pace that works for their lifestyles.

SMWC’s bold vision to educate students of all ages with an appetite for knowledge is evident in the delivery of its other distance programs. Since 1984, SMWC has offered coed graduate programs. Current graduate programs accepting new students are Master of Arts in Art Therapy, Master of Arts in Music Therapy and Master of Leadership Development.

In the fall of 2015, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College expanded its mission and opened its doors to women and men in all of its programs including the traditional, undergraduate, campus-based programs in Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana.

Achieving Success and Innovation

SMWC has continued to reach beyond expectations and provide innovative and unique programs based on liberal arts tradition — to students. It boasts the only equine program in Indiana, and one of approximately 20 in the U.S., to offer a Bachelor of Science in equine studies. Additionally, it is the first in the nation to offer a Music Therapy Equivalency Distance program.

SMWC is consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest. The College was also ranked in the top programs nationally by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Undergraduate Programs, as well as best online graduate business programs for the Master of Leadership Development (MLD) program. In 2017, the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Historic District, home of SMWC and the Sisters of Providence, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Continuing to Grow

SMWC strives to constantly evaluate student needs and evolve to meet those needs. It remains rooted in the past but always focused on the future. There have been multiple exciting additions to the College in recent years.

In December 2013, it announced the new RN to BSN completion program for current registered nurses who are seeking a bachelor of science in nursing, a degree program also offered at the College. Today, nursing is the fastest growing academic major at SMWC and already accounting for 12 percent of undergraduate students. Two years later, the Master of Healthcare Administration was launched, followed by other additions to academic offerings.

Also in December 2013, the College broke ground on the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center. The ribbon cutting for the building took place one year from the ground breaking, on December 3, 2014. The Knoerle Center is the first new building on campus since Hulman Hall was built in 1969. The 45,000 square-foot facility includes an NCAA regulation-sized gym seating approximately 1,000 spectators, a practice gym for auxiliary revenue and intramural sports, a 2,000-square foot lobby, locker rooms, a training room, a fitness room, offices and storage space.

More recently, in 2017, work began on the construction of a walking trail, an environmental habitat and outdoor classroom at Lake Le Fer. The goal of the Lake Le Fer restoration project is to encourage student learning about science and math, part of SMWC’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

As the student population grew, so did SMWC Athletics. The College currently has 10 intercollegiate programs at the varsity level in women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, women’s equestrian (Hunt Seat), women’s equestrian (Western), volleyball, men’s cross country and men’s golf. Men’s soccer will be available for the 2018-19 season.

Although much has changed since 1840, SMWC remains dedicated to empowering young women and men to emerge as strong leaders prepared for life’s opportunities. Here, students choose to “Aspire Higher.”


History of the Ellis Walker Woods Memorial

Here at the Ellis Walker Woods Memorial, we are driven by a single goal to do our part in making the world a better place for all. Our long pursuit to honor Principal Woods is reflected beyond the granite pillars of the memorial to all the lives honorably led that were influenced by this amazing man. We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits.

Here's what we started with: ​

"Mr. Woods would say, `You're as good as 90 percent of the people around here and better than the remaining the 10 percent."

Black students hearing messages of self-worth at Booker T. Washington High School learned to believe in themselves, Al Dunn said. About twenty years ago, Dunn, a 1948 Washington graduate, started serving as chairman of a committee to establish a memorial in Ellis Walker Woods' honor. The school Woods built, Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is today recognized as one of the best high schools in the country. ​

Woods' expectations of students and teachers at Washington were high, ". and it shows in the way they talk and carry themselves today," according to Omer Gillham, a Tulsa World Writer who interviewed Dunn and others on the committee in 2001. Al Dunn passed away a few years ago, but the memorial committee has continued to function with Mrs. Captola Dunn as ​chairperson. Taking up the cause hasn't always been easy, but "Cap," as she is known to her dear friends, is indomitable. One of the truly remarkable things about Cap and her fellow alumni is that they are now the elder statesmen and women of Tulsa--they sit on committees and boards of organizations that once wouldn't have let them in the (front) door because of their color. The historian John Hope Franklin is another notable graduate whose son, John W. Franklin, is now a senior manager at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC.


History

Records of the National Council show that the Corpus Christi Council started In 1919, with seven troops made up of 161 scouts. The population of the council’s area was given as 10,789. R. R. Witt was the Scout Executive and the budget was $2,106.00.

In 1920, the National report lists representatives of the three councils as follows:

A 1920 national report listed Laredo, Corpus Christi, and Kingsville councils. Kingsville was a second class council through 1924. A second class council utilized volunteers or part-timers while first class councils had a full-time Scout Executive. A first class council had to serve a population of about 25,000 and raise $5,000 to cover its first year of operation. The name of the Corpus Christi Council was changed in 1924 to the Nueces Valley Council. During 1928, it was expanded to include Nueces and seven other counties.

The Laredo Council was formed in 1920. The name was changed to Webb County Council in 1922. In 1926 the council was enlarged to 5 counties and renamed the Aztec Council. The depression took its toll as the council ceased operations in 1933. It became a direct service council for a short time before merging with the Nueces Valley Council.

Our region’s first Eagle Scout was Dr. McIver Furman, who earned that rank in 1920. Dr. Furman later went on to found the Driscoll Children’s Hospital in 1953. The hospital is dedicated to providing the very best in quality care to all children. Having Dr. Furman as our region’s first Eagle Scout was an excellent beginning for the character education efforts of the Boy Scouts of America in South Texas.

The Guadalupe Council was established in Victoria in late 1924. The council office was later moved to Cuero. In 1926, the name was changed to ,and the office moved to Yoakum. During 1933, 1934 and 1935 the council was divided up among neighboring councils with Victoria and Calhoun counties going to the Gulf Coast Council.

The Nueces Valley Council had become the Gulf Coast Council in 1929. Refugio county joined the council in 1934. Besides Victoria and Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Hogg and Zapata counties were added in 1935. Zapata was transferred to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Council in 1940. In 1941, Jackson County was transferred from the Sam Houston Council.

A new headquarters building was built on Baldwin Street in Corpus Christi in 1954. It served the Council well for 44 years.

Camp Karankawa was built in 1944 on land just north of the State Park at Lake Corpus Christi, just outside of Mathis, Texas. In 1958 and 1959, Camp Karankawa was moved as Lake Corpus Christi was enlarged with the completion of the Wesley E. Seale Dam in 1958. The swimming pool which was a gift of the Earl Sams Foundation, was built at Camp Karankawa in 1970, and in August of of the same year the camp sustained damages of over $6,000 as a result of Hurricane Celia. The past decade has been one of refurbishing and renewal of the historic camp.

Additional land for camping came in July of 1969 when Marcus Mauritz and Mrs. Adair Nelson, of Ganado, gave the council 145 acres of land located 5 miles north of Gandao. The camp was named the Mauritz Scout Reservation and was outfitted as a patrol-cooking camp and operated as a summer camp until 1979, when it was converted to a week-end camping facility.

Bee and Live Oak Counties were transferred from the Alamo Area Council to the Gulf Coast Council in March of 1972. This brought the total counties to 17.

Camp Huisache near Laredo was fully developed beginning in 1997 when the Lamar Bruni Vergara Youth Center was completed. The trustees of Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust, J. C. Martin Jr. and Solomon Casseb, provided a grant of $750,000.00 for a multi-purpose building that combines several of the projects in the original master plan. The Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust was established by the trustees to honor the memory of the late Lamar Bruni Vergara, a generous benefactor and a sterling example of true caring for the community of Laredo.

The beautiful multi-use facility combines the caretaker residence, training and program center and a camp office that would also serve as a district office for the Aztec District in Laredo. The structure includes plenty of secure storage for program equipment. The innovative design and architectural work was contributed by Robert Sepulveda and had been recognized by the National Engineering Service as an outstanding example of a multi-use facility. It has been included in several exhibits at national meetings of the BSA. We someday hope to add a modest size scout shop to serve the Scouts and Scouters of Webb County and surrounding communities.

We completed the construction of the main facility on the property, the youth center, in May of 1997. Also completed a year prior was the first permanent program shelter. We have recently completed a new co-ed shower and bathroom facility. We have nearly completed the development of five additional campsites. Other program facilities will be developed as quickly as capitol funds are raised for these projects.

A new service center was finished in 1999, complete with a well-stocked National Scout Shop named for the property donor. We are especially grateful to Mr. Lucien Flournoy of Alice, Texas, for his visionary gift which made our new Service Center possible. Our new Service Center has been named in his honor. For the gift of our building site, we are truly grateful to Jeannette Holloway. Our Scout Shop has been named in her honor. A landmark for our new facility is the original statue created by Laredo artisan Armando Hinojosa. The Beautiful Statue depicts a Scout’s love of country, family traditions and values. “On My Honor” is a gift of the J. Jorge Verduzco Family and the Aztec District Scouting community.

The council changed its name to the South Texas Council at its annual business meeting in December of 2002.


James Woods, alleged perv and confirmed shitbag, has a long history of behaving badly online

Amber Tamblyn of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fame,shared a story via Twitter on Monday about being propositioned by a pair of grown men when she was 16 years old. Gross at face value, right?

But Tamblyn's disclosure was prompted by one of the men who propositioned her, James Woods, who was criticizing actor Armie Hammer for his role in Call Me By Your Name in which Hammer plays a 24-year-old-man who becomes romantically involved with a 17 year old boy.

As they quietly chip away the last barriers of decency. #NAMBLA https://t.co/WqAnYxB604

&mdash James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 11, 2017

James Woods tried to pick me and my friend up at a restaurant once. He wanted to take us to Vegas. "I'm 16" I said. "Even better" he said.

&mdash Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) September 11, 2017

James Woods is an actor, apparently most famous for his roles in dystopian sci-fi movie Videodrome and biopic Nixon, although the only thing in his filmography that really caught my eye was the fact that he voiced Hades in Disney's Hercules.

He also dabbles in conservative commentary, retweeting articles from Steve Bannon mouthpiece Breitbart and comments from alt-right luminaries like Jack Posobiec of "Rape Melania" fame.

For what it's worth, Woods denied Tamblyn's account, but other stories quickly surfaced about Woods behaving like a certified creep, especially towards younger women.

This isn't the first time that the internet has piled on Woods. He caught fire in August for highlighting his fundamental misunderstanding of why people want statues honoring Confederate soldiers remove with this tweet about the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia:

Before the #liberals find a reason to deface, destroy or degrade this one, I thought some of you might like to see it one more time… pic.twitter.com/juArhCpiXl

&mdash James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 14, 2017

Copycat tweets quickly popped up in favor of protecting other "monuments" that #liberals were eager to destroy.

Before the #liberals find a reason to deface, destroy or degrade this one, I thought some of you might like to see it one more time… pic.twitter.com/3IBKH9fC53

&mdash Kevin Budnik SPX W12 (@knittedsweater) August 16, 2017

Before the #liberals find a reason to deface, destroy or degrade this one, I thought some of you might like to see it one more time… pic.twitter.com/f1Urwx19Oh

&mdash billy eichner (@billyeichner) August 15, 2017

before the #liberals find a reason to deface, destroy or degrade this one, I thought some of you might like to see it one more time pic.twitter.com/TyVc49ygoL

&mdash Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 15, 2017

Woods also received flack for sharing his hateful views about a family expressing pride in their gender-creative son, implying that the son would grow up and murder his parents for… some reason?

This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you've done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage pic.twitter.com/1k3ITApFsF

&mdash James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2017

Neil Patrick Harris responded to Woods's vitriol by shaming him, a move which might work on a normal person but probably didn't do a lot to dissuade the man who regularly tweets material implying Hillary Clinton is an alcoholic.

Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods. I'm friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself. https://t.co/ZrbtZH49sp

&mdash Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) July 11, 2017

Will Woods learn his lesson after his latest internet snafu? The answer is likely a no, given the fact that Woods has already tweeted 40 times today as of the time of writing this article.

But on the bright side, people who oppose Woods's bigoted comments and pervy actions don't have to worry about boycotting his work. Woods hasn't appeared in a film since 2016, when he leant his voice to Korean animated movie Bling.

I have a deplorable excess of unstructured leisure time. https://t.co/sL2Cx7G9NP

&mdash James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 6, 2017

By his own admission, Woods has so much free time to spew hate because he doesn't really have anything else going on.



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