Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Owl – June, 1908 – Organizations

I took a detour for a bit (again) but am now back to documenting The Owl, Fresno High School’s yearbook.  I last wrote about The Commencement Number from June, 1908 here and here.  There are so many photos from this edition that I’ll break it down into small pieces. 

Next up – Organizations


The Student Body was an important organization at Fresno High School.

Student Body
Top (L to R): Rainey La Rue, Carl Lisenby, John Kenney
Middle:  Victoria Cutten, Lynette Morgan
Bottom: Bertrand W. Gearhart, Robert Collins, John Morgan

First term officers were:  Robert Collins (President), Carl Lisenby (Vice President), Lynette Morgan (Secretary), Bertrand W. Gearhart (Treasurer)

Second term officers:  John Kenney (President), Rainey La Rue (Vice President), Victoria Cutten (Secretary), John Morgan (Treasurer)

And then the Senate.  I’ve read a lot about the Senate at Fresno High School as two generations of Levy men were involved in this organization.  And here is proof that my grandfather’s younger brother, Ben Levy (third row, far right), carried on the tradition from his older brothers and nearly 40 years later, my Dad followed in his footsteps.

Top (L to R):  Everett Hickman, Ben Johnson, Ernest Haggerty, Rex Carter, Robert Collins, Shirley Summers
2nd row:  Floyd Laning, Nelson Daniel, Ray Ingels, Henry Hopkins, Floyd Harkness, Lee Duncan
3rd row:  Carl Lisenby, James Moore, Hon. Geo. W. Cartwright, Joseph Reiss, Benj. Levy
4th row:  John Drenth, Wm. McFarland, Lester Brownell, Edwin Stiles, Joseph Bracker, Fred Reiss
5th row:  Charles Adair, Wm. Hunter, James Lochead, Geo. Hume, John Kenney, Arthur Douglas

Each member represented a state (Ben Levy represented Michigan) and the President of the United States was Senator Geo. W. Cartwright.

And the House of Representatives was all women.  The Owl described this organization: 

“Talk of your Twentieth Century Girl!  The Fresno High School girls are coming to the front and have organized a debating society under the name of House of Representatives.  The organization is fashioned after the lower house in Congress, and its purposed is to give the girls a chance to become acquainted with the general law making of our country, and to gain a better knowledge of the parliamentary rules and usages in debate. 

The girls do not intend that the boys shall in the 20th century be the wise and mighty ones, and there is not a doubt but that the Senate boys will have to do their work exceedingly well to keep ahead of the girls.

The House of Representatives was organized November 19th, 1907, by eight of the girls under the direction of Mr. Olney.”


House of Representatives
Left column:  Elmina Gardner, Esther Jorgenson, Bertha Douglas, Harriet Tuft, Ruby Reyes
2nd column:  Rinnie Connor, Pearl Edgerly, Lucy McGarry, Lottie Grounds
3rd column:  Ada Shirley, Ora Traves, Louise Alder, Daisy Wheeler
4th column:  Inez Turner, Christina
Ellithorpe, Edith Keyes, Vida Heitzig, Eva Dougherty

Mr. Olney served as President of the United States and each of the women represented a state.  I sure hope it wasn’t long before a woman could serve as President!

And there was an Orchestra and Girls’ Glee Club, too!


I’m not exactly sure who is who as the caption underneath just goes left to right:  Charles Shaw, Mattie Ronsel, Albert Becker, Lewella Swift, Ray Duncan, Harold McCourt, Alfred Becker, Robert Prather, Gertrude Swift.  I just love how they are dressed – what a difference from the high schoolers of today.

There is no picture for the Girls’ Glee Club but the members were:  Mayme Hodge, Mila Cearley, Allien Doyle, Olive De Yo, Ruth Cason, Nell Summers, Estelle Gray, Susie Cooper, Ruth Shelton, Gladys Carmichael, Geneva LaRue, Dorothea Burdick, Elsie Peterson, Lucy Walker, Hazel Lyons, Dolly Vogel.

It sure sounds Fresno High School was filled with talented and energetic young adults in 1908. 

If any of these individuals are your ancestor, please let me know and I will send you more information about the club and activities they participated in.


  1. I'm not too sure how long the House of Representatives continued, but I don't remember any mention of it. The Senate, though is still in full force, and it now allows women. Women were allowed to join during the 1970s. When the school was recently rebuilt, a room in the administration building was set aside for Senate and decorated much like a boardroom. The weekly meetings are held in the room. Pretty impressive for a high school club.

    1. I agree - sounds like a very important organization at the school.

  2. I agree. This sounds like a college organization.

  3. I love seeing a group of high schoolers back then and realizing that although fads certainly have changed, the kids worked just as hard to dress like their fellow classmates. It does sound a lot like college.

    1. You're right. Peer pressure was alive and well then, too.

  4. What incredible photos! There is a HUGE difference between how the teens of today dressed versus 100 years ago. And, I love that the "House of Representatives" was all women!