You are on page 1of 30

Pilmer 1

The Rebels Involvement in WWII

Nicole Pilmer

His 400

Fall 2015

Dr. Payne

Pilmer 2
World War II, a major world event, began in 1939, not too long after the
devastation of the Great Depression and the political instability following WWI. Due to
the lasting effects from these events, many countries previously politically and
economically unstable, still felt the damages from years earlier. Germany in particular,
wanted nothing more than to increase their land mass and spread their ideologies. After
Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, with the hope of spreading his Nazi Party beliefs and total
world domination, Great Britain and France had no other choice but to declare war on
Germany. As one Ole Miss student said best, Hitler, You have thrown half the world
into an uproar; you have spilled the blood of thousands and you have killed, and are
killing bloodlessly.1 In 1940, the United States started a Selective Service Draft, which
required all men aged between twenty-one and thirty-six to register for the draft, and if
need be, they served for twelve months. While many Americans opposed this draft, they
had no choice but to register. This draft did not begin until October of 1940, and by
December of the following year, thousands voluntarily registered and even more
drafted. The United States stayed out of this war until December 7, 1941, when the
Japanese sent an attack on Pearl Harbor. This led the US to declare war on Japan, which
then led Germany and the other Axis Powers to also declare war on the United States.
This war lasted until 1945 when the Potsdam Conference took place, breaking up
Germany, and forcing Japan to surrender.
This nuclear war became the most devastating event in world history, not only for the
soldiers that fought, but also for those who stayed at home and worked to help the US
with the war time efforts. During these war time years, the US lost members of society

1 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, November 6, 1943

Pilmer 3
when they entered into the war, which left the women at home to take over their roles.
While the men were away fighting, the women were entering the workforce and
furthering their education at college. Women, previously only allowed to be mothers and
do housework, took up a bigger role in society, and kept the families afloat while the
men took their leave of absence. Buildings and institutions all over the nation made an
effort to help out their country in any way possible, whether that meant making room
for soldier, training soldiers, or just raising funds for the war, the nation helped out
however they could. The University of Mississippi, one university that helped with the
war efforts, not only helped the country, but also the men.
The University of Mississippi became home to many amazing people during its
tougher times. World War II and the conclusion of the Great Depression did not prevent
the university from remaining a campus filled with social and academic opportunities.
This beloved campus faced these challenges with pride and multiple efforts to better
support their country during this war. All of these improvements happening during this
period, thanks to Chancellor Butts and his faculty, created lasting impacts. The faculty
also made a continued effort to push through the hardships that the war brought, and
the students on campus also played a major role in the improvements and success of the
university. This dilemma was nothing new to Ole Miss, Having lived through three
wars, living through its fourth war, the University will remain a monument to those
seeking higher education.2

2The Ole Miss, 1943. (University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital Collections,
Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi, Oxford,
MS) 26, http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web. November 9, 2015.

Pilmer 4
Alfred Benjamin Butts, the best educated and most visionary chancellor since Frederick
Barnard3 worked with the university from 1935-1946. With the end of the Great
Depression, and the country headed towards WWII, hardships and money problems
became evident everywhere. Upon becoming chancellor, his main interest focused on
the modernization of the University, and the reformation of the University back to not
only its glory days before the Great Depression, but to become something much better.
Some of his first actions as chancellor included the improvements of the library, reopening the Medical School, and the new PhD rule required for all professors. Not only
did the structuring of the Ole Miss campus change, but the physical appearance of the
campus itself did.
Many changes occurred on campus during Butts years as chancellor, most significantly
with the construction of new buildings and the improvements to other buildings. His
goal for the campus focused mainly on the modernization of the library. The campus
library held 48,8344 volumes of books upon Chancellors Butts arrival. With a new
development plan drawn from inspiration of A. F. Kuhlman and his library in Nashville,
along with the grant from Rockefeller Foundation in 1939, modernizing the university
library became a reality. In 1946, the library had doubled its holdings to 101,264
volumes, following Butts tenure.5 The chancellor had help with these improvements

3 David Sansing, The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History (The University of


Mississippi, 1999) 247.

4 Ibid, 248

5 Ibid, 249

Pilmer 5
thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal. This plan insured the
success of our beloved university with its multiple financial aid programs.
These New Deal programs assisted in the recovery of the decline of student enrollment.
Another successful feature that Butts had instilled in the university came in the form of
fund raising. With all of the money the university brought in from federal funding, the
construction of multiple new building occurred to better support the increase in bodies
on campus. In order to better accommodate the massive number of students now on
campus, Chancellor Butts made it possible for the sororities and fraternities to be able to
build their own houses on campus, and by the end of 1940 the university had nineteen
new facilities to house members of the different Greek societies. 6 The improvements in
housing and academic buildings were not the only accomplishments completed under
Butts tenure, the athletic program also witnessed changes.
Sports in general changed drastically with help from the New Deal. The baseball field
saw improvements with the field as well as a new grandstand added for the fans. The
golf course also saw improvements during this time period. In July of 1936, the olympic
size swimming pool finished construction. The largest of all changes came in 1937 when
the construction of Hemingway Stadium began, and in four years it would be completed
and continues to be home to the football team today. In 1935, Ole Miss beat Mississippi
State in the Egg Bowl game, and from that point, good things emerged. Following their
1936 first bowl game appearance, four months later in May, the University of
Mississippis athletic team became the Rebels. The following year Colonel Rebel made
his first appearance. In 1937 the Rebels gained national recognition with the first

6 Ibid, 253.

Pilmer 6
collegiate team to travel by air, and with the joining of the universitys first All-American
Frank Kinard to the lineup. In 1938, football became an even bigger event with the
appointment of a new head coach. Coach Mehre, responsible for the Golden Era of Ole
Miss Football7 during his first four years as head coach from 1938-1941. However, with
the 1942 season suspended due to WWII, the athletic program, along with other parts of
campus felt the changes of WWII.
The end of the Great Depression left many families poor, and therefore the prices for
education decreased. During the 1937 school year, the cost per semester for a female
student living on campus equaled $90.758 while for men, it cost only $80.759 per
semester. The graduation in May 1937 had over 200 students, which would see a
decrease later on due to the effects of the war. The 1943 school year was $112.25 10 for
female students living on campus per semester while for men it was $102.25. 11 The rise
in prices resulted from the rise in economy once the effects of the Depression had begun
to disappear. However, the graduating students in May 1944 numbered just over 100
students because so many students had gone to fight in the war. The decrease in

7 Ibid, 255.

8 1937 The M Bulletin, (University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Archives and Special
Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS)

9 Ibid

10 1943 The M Bulletin, (University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Archives and Special
Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS)

11 Ibid

Pilmer 7
students correlates to the WWII, especially the decline in men on campus due to those
joining the military forces. Even though for women, the cost of an education exceeded
that of men, women still enrolled at Ole Miss to obtain a higher education. While the
cost for an education differed only ten dollars between the genders, this shows the
inequality women faced during this time period.
With the war already under way and multiple professors in the officers reserve, there
was no telling who would be liable to be called to duty. 12 During this time, while
Chancellor Butts, a major in the judge advocate generals division; nobody thought that
this chancellor would need a leave of absence. Professor Hugh L. Quarrels, the assistant
professor of mathematics, went into active duty as a captain in the reserve army and
taught in the military department. Other faculty members in the reserve include Dr. A.
W. Green, Coach Vernon Smith, Dr. J. R. Simms, Dr. Eugene Bramlett, and Professor
W. D. Dickinson. The Mississippian, the weekly university newspaper, dedicated a
section of the paper to this topic to inform the students about the professors and other
faculty members that could possibly be called away for war. Even with the war
beginning, Ole Miss continued to educate.
With the war going on, enrollment continued at Ole Miss. In 1940, the student
registration reached 137413 and this number expected to grow. The female population on
campus continued to increase, making up thirty percent compared to about twenty-

12 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, Several Professors In
Officers Reserve, September 27, 1940.

13 Ibid, Total of 1374 Reached With Many More to Register, September 27, 1940

Pilmer 8
seven percent the previous year.14 This increase in numbers is due in part to the speedier
system now used. Now that all students enroll in the library, it improves registration
time since the students are no longer registering in different buildings across campus,
but in one building. Even with the student population growing, Approximately 360 Ole
Miss students will registerunder the provisions of the 1940 Selective Draft Act. 15
Another change on campus with the war happening came in the form of a new
fraternity, Scabbard and Blade. This national honorary military fraternity 16 hosted a
dinner-dance and invited not only Chancellor Butts and his wife, but also other faculty
and staff members of the university. More than the student body witnessed changes due
to the war time on campus.
The focus of national defense continued for the country, and the university. As of
November 1940, Chancellor Butts applied for an armory to be built on campus for the
Military Department with help from the WPA and the National Defense Fund. In March
1941, the campus had its first Military Day Celebration. March 22, to be exact, fits into
the present emphasis on national defense.17 With the Department of Military Science
and tactics installed in 1936, this student organization consists of a battalion of infantry
and is rated as one of the best units in the South.18 These new actions proved necessity

14 Ibid

15 Ibid, Boys Register For Draft At Library on Wednesday, September 27, 1940

16 Microfilm The Mississippian, Military Fraternity Has Dance, November 1, 1940

17 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, March 14, 1941.

Pilmer 9
because the country wanted to make sure that preparedness was priority. During this
time, one could never be sure when the war would strike on home land.
On December 8, 1941, the day following the attack on Pearl Harbor, all of the students
and faculty came together in the Fulton Chapel to listen to President Roosevelt call the
nation to arms and prepare them to join the world in the war. During 1944 the
university saw multiple changes and some major stepping stones for the student body.
The suspension of the athletic teams during these war years, and the fact that many
people did not return to the University because of the war, played an important factor in
the decreasing enrollment. Students and faculty alike, joined their nation in coming to
arms by joining the war. With the university facing enrollment and faculty declines, the
women stepped up and became not only leaders on campus but also made the necessary
efforts in supporting their country during its time of need. The University of Mississippi
made multiple contributions to the war ranging from programs on campus to stationing
military personnel on campus for training. While the war continued, the student
enrollment at Ole Miss fell to 104819 for the new school year in 1942 with a decrease of
about ten percent from the fall semester. This decrease in spring semester is usual, and
even with the war going on, the enrollment stayed steady. However, summer
registration is expected to increase due to the amount of students wanting to obtain
their diplomas before joining the war.
The process of speeding up graduation factored into the minds of students because that
meant students could enlist sooner. New military courses, established with the purpose
18 Ibid, Ole Miss First Military Day Celebration, March 14, 1941

19 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, February 6, 1942.

Pilmer 10
of obtaining a diploma sooner would also increase the amount of officers by one-third
that Ole Miss places in the service.20 With this program, more students now have the
opportunity to graduate sooner, making it possible for them to enlist in the services. By
joining the services after graduation, former students enter the service as an officer, a
high ranking title than other, non-degree holding servicemen. Another effort made by
the university to help with the war came from an accelerated academic program. New
programs offered on campus included military training courses as part of the academic
lifestyle on this new war driven campus. The STAR unit, Specialized Training and Reassignment, focused on the screening and classifying of military personnel. When this
program closed in March 1944, only 564 military personnel were enrolled on campus . 21
The influx of the military men on campus helped keep the university afloat, and the
fifty-eight enrolled in the medical school made it possible for the medical school to stay
open.22 The United States men and women wanted to help out their country in any
possible way, whether enlisting, raising funds, or war bonds.
War funds and collections served as another way for students to help their country
during the war. For instance, the World Student Service Fund, or WSSF, promoted
students in sending food, clothing, books, recreation equipment, and money. This fund
focused on sending the necessary items to students in other parts of the world. Ole
Miss set up a fund with this purpose in mind, and half of the fund goes to Europe for

20 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, March 6, 1942.

21 Sansing, 257

22 Ibid, 257

Pilmer 11
needy students and for students in internment camps and half goes for students in
China who have been driven from their universities and colleges by the Japanese
invasion.23 Students at the university constantly focused on helping others in need, and
the committee set $30024 for their minimum fundraiser goal.
Six months following the decision for the United States to join the war, thousands of
students, alumni, and faculty had joined the military. Chancellor Butts served with the
judge advocate generals office, and his duty consisted of developing the new code of
military justice. Dr. A. W. Green, dean of the Graduate School, also served in the Judge
Advocate Generals Department beginning in 1942 and returned to his position at the
university in September of 1944.25 Dr. Butts was the eleventh26 member of the university
to leave for the war. Dr. R. M. Guess, Dean of Men from 1937 to 1956, also served as
General Secretary of the YMCA and heads the religious activities on campus. 27 The Dean
of Men, also held great importance for the students, and Maralyn Bullion refers to him

23 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, April 10, 1942.

24 Ibid

25 1945 Ole Miss Yearbook, 1945 (University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of
Mississippi, Oxford, MS) 25, http://archive.org/search.php?
query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=-publicdate Web. November 9, 2015

26 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, June 19, 1942

27 1937 Ole Miss Yearbook, 1937 (University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of
Mississippi, Oxford, MS) 25, http://archive.org/search.php?
query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=-publicdate Web. November 23, 2015

Pilmer 12
as the glue during the war years.28 With Chancellor Butts away on a leave of absence,
Chancellor Hume took over as acting chancellor. Alfred Hume, previously the eleventh
chancellor from 1924-1930, then again in 1932-1935, returned to campus to help out.
When he returned as acting chancellor, not everything stayed the same. During his time
as acting chancellor, the campus experienced a growth of soldiers coming to Ole Miss to
study engineering.
The Army Administration School on campus began seeing enrollment in September of
1942, and Dr. Hume assured students that, The presence of the soldiers will not
intervene in any way with regular class schedules or with the usual activities of the Ole
Miss student body.29 This five week training program assured by the acting chancellor,
would not affect the students at all. Lt. Col. William Coleman is to head this new army
school with his experience dating back to World War I, while also working in
Washington D.C. as special assistant to the director of the US Treasury. 30 The students
and faculty began disappearing on campus due to the increase in vacancies following the
US involvement in the war. With all of these army men coming to campus, it equaled out
the student body because many students joined the armed services during the summer.
The summer months saw many young men enlist in the armed services, and while there
is no accurate way of determining the total number of ex-Rebels who now wear the

28 Maralyn Bullion, email message to author, October 31, 2015.

29 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, September 25, 1942

30 Ibid

Pilmer 13
uniform of their country, but the percentage is high.31 For instance, Thomas S. Rhoden,
former editor of the Ole Miss was promoted to First Lieutenant in the army. Rhoden
previously obtained his masters from the university in 1935. Other Ole Miss alumni in
the service include Huron N. Hutcherson, Toxey H. Mcbryde, Joseph C. Reynold, Alvin
L. Smith Jr., John Gurak, and William P. Graves. All of these Rebels are mentioned in
the school newspaper for their accomplishments in the armed services. Even with the
doom of war among our nation, the campus newspaper made it possible for students to
stay informed with their fellow students while they served in the war.
Men; however, only included part of the student body focused on the war effort. Women
also made contributions to their school and country. Rowena Musselwhite became the
first girl from Ole Miss to enlist in that branch of the armed forced of the United States
and is now a WAAC. With orders to report to Camp Shelby, Rowena found herself
among two other girls with the same orders. The testing involved in joining the armed
services was the same for women and men; including a physical exam, personal
interview, and mental exam. Rowena, now joining her brothers in war, wanted to have
a real part in the wining of this war," along side her brother in England who pilots a
bomber, and another in Navigation school.32 Options for women during this time did not
usually involve fighting; however, Rowena proved that women can serve in the service
along fellow men. With a limited number of jobs made available for women, those
available to men greatly differed.

31 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, September 25, 1942

32 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, October 9, 1942

Pilmer 14
One option for men during the war included deferred enlistment. This program
designed to permit as many students as possible to remain in school 33 allowed them to
enlist, but labeled as deferred. This plan gave opportunities for college students while
also backing the constitution. Or, for those students in engineering and science that did
not expect to enter the armed forces are urged by the U.S. Civil Service Commission to
apply for war jobs.34 Of the males graduating in 1943, majority are destined for the
armed forces, The Commission anticipates a strong demand for college women who
have majored in the physical and technical science35 and suggests they start training
now for these fields.
Another notable Rebel in the armed forces is Junie Hovious. Hovious recently
completed his eight week training program consisting of gunnery, steamship, and
navigation at the Naval Reserve Officers Training School.36 Previously a football player
for the Ole Miss Rebels, he graduated in 1942 and entered the service in July. With all of
his training complete, he will soon head out to sea with the rest of the fleet. More than
former Rebels made the newspaper, it also focused on all aspects of the war. A special
focus included the members of the university involved in the war effort. For instance,
Chancellor Butts, currently on military leave since July, was promoted from Captain to

33 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, October 9, 1942

34 Ibid, For War Work, October 9, 1942

35 Ibid, For War Work, October 9, 1942

36 Ibid, Hovious Completes Training In Navy, October 9, 1942

Pilmer 15
Major while on duty with the army.37 Even though A. B. Butts, not currently present on
campus, still managed to make his students proud. Those not enlisted in the armed
services found other ways to benefit their country.
Student officials started a meatless day, in which they would forego meat in order to aid
the war effort. This first gesture of voluntary student aid to the Citizens Civilian Defense
Corps in cooperation with the Student Executive Council is already in affect throughout
Oxford. With multiple substitutions available instead of meat, the student body
president, Hermon Baxter, stated It is hoped that students will realize the necessity for
this program and that they will cooperate with us in observing it. 38 By saving food,
these students hoped that it would aid the war effort. Another effort included Women
students of the university now have the opportunity to help national defense by saving
stamps, conserving vital materials, and working for the Red Cross. 39 After collection,
the stamps are sold and then the money is donated to a hospital, and the sweaters knit
by students are donated to Red Cross. Organizations created throughout the war,
focused mainly on the war itself, and how to better assist the soldiers in combat.
The Student War Council, created by Ole Miss students in December of 1942, with the
focus of a War Week drive that, will consist primarily of bond and scrap drives. 40 The
main gaol for this organization included making the campus more war conscious and
37 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, October 30, 1942

38 Ibid, Meatless Days Begin On Campus Next Tuesday, October 30, 1942

39 Ibid, Women Students May Aid War By Serving and Saving, October 30, 1942

40 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, December 4, 1942

Pilmer 16
conserving the necessary war materials. This week of emphasis on the war, plans to take
course in January, with the main feature of selling war bonds. In January, the total sales
of war bonds and stamps equalled $683641 after the six day program came to an end.
The focus of this program consisted of raising money to support the soldiers not only
fighting overseas, but those in training.
Contributions made on campus gained recognition when the University Greys became
approved as a new campus organization. The original organization, part of the
Confederate Army, inspired the name. However, now made up of the battalion cadet
officers of the ROTC unit wrote up a new constitution that, intends to perpetuate the
ideals and honor of the former group.42 Composed entirely of university students, this
organization hopes to live up to the previous groups name. War originally formed this
group, but with effort made by the students, it formed again. Many organizations with
the contributions made by the university students, saw light in the time of war.
While students study at the university and focus on their classes, the rest of the world is
at war. However; students can stay up to date with the current information by picking
up the campus newspaper. War, mentioned everywhere, became inescapable. Two new
courses offered on campus following the start of the war by the school of commerce and
business administration include studies of topics as the economic causes of war, the
economic conditions making for war, manpower requirements for total war, how to pay
for the war, wartime control of production and consumption, and post war planning. 43
Another change in courses kept the thought of women in mind. This new first aid class,
41 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, January 15, 1943

42 Ibid, University Greys Approved As New Campus Organization, October 30, 1942

Pilmer 17
organized by the Student War Council, Taught the finer points of making bandages and
dressing wounds.44 The constant thought of war, observed in all aspects of the
university, changed life for the students currently enrolled.
Student enrollment continued to decrease during the war years. The 1942 fall semester
enrolled only 1138 students, with a decrease of 146 students. 45 While some schools,
engineering, saw an increase of thirty students, the largest enrollment ever attained by
that school.46 Students enrolled in these engineering classes to better support the
country in war. With the new classes and programs offered in this field, it made sense
for students to join this field. Another difference in enrollment focused on the gender of
students. The female enrollment for this school year increase by 37 students, while the
male enrollment decreased by 154 students. The decrease happened because men joined
the war, while more women enrolled to further their education.
In one particular school newspaper, there is an open letter to Adolf Hitler, written by an
Ole Miss student. This student, C.B. Spicer Jr, gives his opinion not only the war, but on
Hitler himself. Spicer claims that Hitler has disputed life quite generally 47 and even
though the war does not take place on our home land, it still affects us. He mentions the

43 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, February 3, 1943

44 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, February 26, 1943

45 Ibid, Final Enrollment Shows Decrease, October 30, 1942

46 Ibid

47 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, November 6, 1943

Pilmer 18
point that we now have soldiers being trained on campus for war, and even though it
took some time to become acquaintances with these Damyankees 48 we managed to do
it, because We are all Americans.49 Due to Hitler, his tyrannical rulings, and his
obsession with world power, the world is at war. The consequences of the war cost
thousands of lives, whether in combat or not.
Three Ole Miss alumni; Nathaniel D. Duberstein, Orville S. Jaquith, and Lewis C.
Transou, entered into the armed service. Duberstein, finished his training at the Naval
Air Station in Pensacola. Jaquith, completed training at Camp Perry in Virginia, and
awarded the title of Carpenters mate, 2nd class. Transou, graduated from Ole Miss in
1941, will complete his training in basic flight at Goodfellow Field and receive A.A.F.
wings upon completion.50 Alumni from the university constantly enrolled in the war
following graduation, and the campus newspaper kept the student body up to date on all
things pertaining to the war.
During the war years, the campus had many differences, even though the students had
all intentions of keeping things the same, this task proposed some difficulties. In order
to show their support for the war, the students participated in book drives and also
bought war bonds. In order to keep things the same during the war, some activities
continued. The weekly campus newspaper continued to run; however, the news focused
almost exclusively on the war and war efforts. Dances in the old gym continued on with

48 Ibid

49 Ibid

50 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, March 12, 1943

Pilmer 19
a band provided by the soldiers and the few men who could not participate in the
combat aspect of war.51 The war years on campus involved multiple changes, epically for
the women.
The 1943 school year was a surprising one, as women began to take more of an interest
in their roles on campus, they also took up leadership positions for the first time.
Maralyn Howell became not only the first female student body president to win the
election, but also, the first female to be nominated for this title. This new position
opened up on campus because of the lack of qualified men in the Democratic party. 52
The lack of men in this political party had nothing to do with their qualities, but
correlated to the draft. Men constantly had to worry about this, and therefore, it seemed
a waste to become involved. Time could only tell how much longer a student would last
on campus before the nation called them to war.
Maralyn enrolled at Ole Miss for the fall semester of 1940, a year before the chaos
erupted throughout the country. A simple reason for going to college consisted of
money. The effects of the depression continued and money was scarce. 53 Her
enrollment at the university meant that a job would soon occur. During her time at Ole
Miss, one of the challenges she faced as president came in the early form of the influx of
soldiers who came to campus for training as engineers and if their acceptance on
campus mattered. Maralyn remembers that the only other men on campus during the

51 Maralyn Bullion, email message to author, October 31, 2015

52 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, March 12, 1943

53 Maralyn Bullion, email message to author, October 29, 2015

Pilmer 20
war consisted of the medical students for they were exempt from military services. For
this reason, the best interest of the student body called for the acceptance of the soldiers
and invite them to participate in activities throughout campus with the goal to keep Ole
Miss as normal as possible.54 The soldiers on campus proved only temporarily
enrollment, but by accepting them as regular students, it made the activities on campus
more interesting. With all of the men away fighting for their country, the best interest
for the students, meant acceptance of the soldiers.
The soldiers brought new relationships and made it possible for the students to enjoy
their time on campus during this stressful and worrisome period in their lives. Soldiers
throughout campus became involved in an all army show, Khaki on the Campus. 55
First Lieutenant Jacob F. Nieuwenhuyse, supervisor of the production, has invited all
faculty and campus to come witness their show. Original songs presented by a fourteen
piece band and a twenty-four voice chorus will make up the musical selections for the
this production. The soldiers did their best to not only fit in with the other students on
campus, but to also become friends with the civilian students. College is supposed to be
a time of enjoyment and making friends, but when the enrollment decreased due to the
War, this time in their lives became harder and harder to enjoy.
With the school year coming to a close, more students received the call for their
enlistment. In April of 1943, fifty-four students and elven men earlier in the week,
brought the total to sixty-five, Only four short of the entire number of sixty-nine

54 Ibid.

55 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, April 23, 1943

Pilmer 21
awaiting immediate duty.56 The university expected this due to the War Department
declaring on January 27, that members of the enlisted reserve would be subject to call
anytime during the current semester.57 The effects of the war continue to cause
enrollment at the university to decrease. With all of the men called to duty, this left a
greater chance for them to earn promotions. Theodore G. Huffman, alumni class of
1939, received his wings as an Air Corps bombardier for showing outstanding ability in
operating the U.S. Army bombsights.58 Marshall R. Morphis, also commissioned as a
second lieutenant, but in the Medical Administrative Corps. Former Ole Miss students
that earned promotions in their area of service, became acknowledged in the school
newspaper for all former students to see. The newspapers involvement in the war made
it possible for the students to stay informed with not only the war, but also their former
classmates.
More former Rebels entered into the Army Air Forces; James E. Lewis and Harold
Gotthelf Jr, became aviation cadets, and Lee Castle became a second lieutenant earning
the silver wings. Gotthelf, received his bachelor degree from Ole Miss in 1938, then his
masters in 1941, before finally stationed at Maxwell Field for his pre-flight training.
Gotthelf, known across Ole Miss for his many accomplishments including; a member of
the Hall of Fame; the YMCA; Omicron Delta Kappa, honorary leadership fraternity; and

56 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, April 9, 1943

57 Ibid

58 Ibid, To Win Military Commissions, April 9, 1943

Pilmer 22
Phi Sigma Literary Society59 made a lasting impression during his time at Ole Miss and
in the military. Lewis, attended the university from 1939 until 1942 and was a member
of the Glee Club and affiliated with Pi Kappa Pi.60 Castle, a member of the Rebel
gridiron squad before he received his commission as second lieutenant in the Army Air
Forces. All of the former Ole Miss students that joined the services, whether after
graduation, or upon draft, succeeded not only academically, but also physically in their
branch of service. While students left campus upon graduation and enlistment,
additional staff and trainee members arrived for the new Army Specialized Training
Program Unit arrived on campus sooner than expected at the request of Army
officials.61
According to Maralyn, It was apparent that women had to take over while the men were
away at war.62 Others females also took action and held leadership roles on campus;
Miriam Horne, the editor of the Mississippian from 1944-1945 and Lorane Lowry,
editor of the Ole Miss in 1944. All three of these women made an accomplishment for
the university by becoming the first women to hold these titles. This meant a giant step
for women everywhere because it proved women had the ability to hold these influential
positions and did not need men to do everything. The 1944 school year held even more
surprises, At the opening of this year, the enrollment of women reached the highest
59 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, May 7, 1943

60 Ibid

61 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, May 21, 1943

62 Maralyn Bullion email message to author, October 29, 2015.

Pilmer 23
peak yet attained.63 With the enrollment number skyrocketing, it made sense for
women to obtain new roles. Taking over the campus and leadership roles, easy to do
with the men gone, showed everyone the women could pull their weight and also
contribute. As of September 24, 1943, the percentage of girls has increased, since last
year, form 39 to 79 percent of the student body64 and women now outnumber men
students by a ratio of three to one. This extraordinary change in numbers on campus
had everything to do with the current situation the country found itself in.
Many Ole Miss students became accomplished individuals while fighting overseas for
their country. For instance, Yandell S. Pete Warren received the Air Medal for
exceptionally meritorious achievement during five separate combat bombing missions
over Germany and occupied Europe65 in 1943, after graduating from Ole Miss in May
1942, he entered the Army Air Force. Warren held the position of co-pilot of the 8th Air
Force Flying Fortress Hard Luck as a second lieutenant. Other Rebels in the service
include Phillip Davis whom graduated in 1942, and Buddy Bowen, Outstanding
freshman football star of 194166 However, not all of the soldiers were this lucky, five
former Rebels were prisoners of war after being capturing by the enemy. These unlucky
rebels include Philip T. Cascio, class of 1942, Lloyd A. Coleman, class of 1942, Henry W.
Haynes, class of 1940, Jack K. Mann, class of 1942, and James Howard White, class of
63 The Ole Miss, 1945, 25

64 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, September 24, 1943

65 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, November 26, 1943.

66 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, November 26, 1943.

Pilmer 24
1943. While all five former graduates of Ole Miss have been interned in prisoner of war
stations in enemy nations has been received, according to an announcement this week
by Mr. J. K. Hamm.67 The former students and their involvement with the war did not
go unnoticed.
After the war, Maralyn remembered that Miss Estella Hefley, the Dean of Women,
promoted the planting of a magnolia tree for each student who had lost his life during
the war, over on Magnolia Drive near the tennis courts. 68 If one happens to walk down
Magnolia Drive on campus, they will see a great deal of beautiful trees that serve as a
reminder toward the former Ole Miss students who served their country during its time
of need. Walking past this path every day to make my way toward the School of
Education, I never put any thought into the trees. However, after Mrs. Bullion shared
this tidbit of information with me, I made an effort to look at the place marker that
states why these trees were planted back in 1943, and am truly honored to be on a this
campus. The Magnolia Tree Memorial, as it is called, is a reminder of the students that
put their lives on the line to support their country, and Ole Miss is forever grateful to
them.
In the year 1944, nearing the end of the war, people just want the war to end. The United
States already put an end to one enemy, and focused on the next. War bonds and other
war efforts fill the minds of many as the new year approaches. These are the thoughts
that Americans are thinking todaythoughts that will finally lead the Americans to and

67 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, December 3, 1943.

68 Maralyn Bullion, email message to author, October 31, 2015

Pilmer 25
then over the inevitable road to victory,69 their new years resolutions focus on war
efforts, and less on minuscule items like diets and dates. People throughout the country
constantly thought of war, whether they knew one someone in the war, or not, the
evidence of war everywhere. Students and faculty became involved in the war, and the
campus changed as a consequence.
The student body changed with more women on campus than ever before, and the roles
of these women on campus were extraordinary for the time. The architecture on campus
changed also, as new buildings went up before the war, and modernization paved way
for the future school years. Not only did the physical features of the campus change, but
the student body saw its own changes; the enrollment following the war, steadily
increased. The war did not stop the campus nor the students from getting their
education and the Ole Miss yearbook states it best;
For the fourth consecutive year, war is, on the Ole Miss campus as it is
everywhere, the dominating factor. Constant change, continued disruption
and yet through it all, the steadfast determination toward the traditional,
the usual, the old way of life. Actives which at first were cast aside to make
place for changes, are gradually creeping back into their original places
indicative of the endeavor to fight a total war and at the same time to cling
to the way of the past.70
Students enrolled at Ole Miss during this hard time, still had school dances and parties,
but they also made an effort to support their country in the war by raising contributions
69 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, December 17, 1943.

70 The Ole Miss, 1945, 24

Pilmer 26
like the War Bonds Drive. In 1945, the war ended, and the campus worked on getting
back to normal, An attempt toward prewar status was made when football and band
activities, excluded during the past year, were reinstated. 71 Football in the South is like
nothing else, so when their favorite pastime returned, things started to look up again,
not just for the students involved but for the university as a whole.
The United States saw changes throughout the war years, because of the number of men
enlisted in the armed forces. This war took the lives of thousands because one man,
Adolf Hitler, wanted to expand his territorial range and spread his idealism. Due to this
one person, many colleges faced changes. Collegiate students in general were thrilled
with the impeding excitement and adventure that was clearly inevitable. Hundreds of
collegians were alarmed at the result that would be produced by their nation being
engaged in an international, world-wide conflict.72 While the students at Ole Miss
witnessed President Roosevelt call the nation to arms the day after the attack on Pearl
Harbor in Fulton Chapel, the campus, and the nation would not be safe until this war
ended. With more and more men joining the forces, the university saw a decrease in
student enrollment, but also in faculty and staff members. Men, aged twenty-one to
thirty-five had to sign up for the draft, and when their ticket was called they joined the
war. For those men that were not of age yet, they continued their education, and after
graduation they would enlist and become officers. The university saw physical changes
in the form of construction on campus, but also with the number of servicemen on
campus. Ole Miss had special programs designed to better equip soldiers in training,
71 Ibid, 24

72 Microfilm, "Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946, December 10, 1943

Pilmer 27
and also programs set up to support the war effort. Students on campus constantly
wanted to support the war, and did this in a number of ways ranging from selling war
bonds and stamps, to knitting shirts for the Red Cross. The university helped with the
war, any way they could.
Another change brought to campus came as a result of the war, yet had no correlation to
fighting; resulted in the increase of women. As the men of the nation went to war, the
women proved their strength and ability. They now could show off their skills in the
workforce, and improve their education. Maralyn Howell, became the first ever student
body president at the University of Mississippi, and during her term three other women
also held political titles. Lorane Lowry, editor of the Ole Miss in 1944, and Miriam
Horne, editor of the Mississippian from 1944-1945, also held top positions in their line
of work on campus. All three of these women made an impact not only the university,
but also for women in general. While none of these women had the intentions of starting
a wave for women, they drastically improved the job industry and set the bar higher for
what women were capable of doing and the skill set they possessed. During the war
years, the university tried to stay normal, but this became a difficult task when the war
was all around. The weekly newspaper continued to run; however, it focused almost
entirely on the war, and all that it entailed. The main topics focused on war efforts,
rebels in the war, and soldiers coming to campus. The men of the university, students
and faculty, contributed to the war in whatever way they could. For most of the men,
this meant enlisting, while for others, that were already enrolled in the reserve, it meant
waiting for their time to come before they were needed. Ole Miss saw many changes
during the war, and all of the changes can be attributed to as the aftermath of the start

Pilmer 28
of the war . Ole Miss lived through its fourth war and would continue to thrive as a
university.

Pilmer 29
Bibliography
Primary Sources
Email correspondence between Marilyn Bullion and author
Microfilm, Mississippian: Vols 30-35, Sep 20, 1940 - May 10, 1946
The Ole Miss, 1937, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS,
http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web.
The Bulletin, 1937, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Archives and
Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library,The University of Mississippi
Oxford,

MS

The Bulletin, 1943, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Archives and


Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library,The University of Mississippi
Oxford,

MS Butts

The Ole Miss, 1942, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital


Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS,
http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web.
The Ole Miss, 1943, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS,

Pilmer 30
http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web.
The Ole Miss, 1944, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS,
http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web.
The Ole Miss, 1945, University of Mississippi Publications Collection, Digital
Collections, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS,
http://archive.org/search.php?query=collection:universityofmississippi&sort=publicdate Web.

Secondary Sources
Sansing, David. The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History, The
University of Mississippi, 1999