Our Bailey Museum at the Portland Public Library was recently given three record/ledger books from Nancy Donoho Hodges. The first book has records of the School Improvement Association for the Sumner County Grammar and High School of Portland, TN. for the years 1923-1930.

This organization later became the Parent Teacher Association. The first record in this book is dated Jan. 5, 1923, however, I’m sure this was organized before that time. The mission of the club was to raise money and provide help for the local schools.

We would never dream of having to pay for or do the work ourselves that this group did back in the day. Some of these things were setting out trees on the school campus and paying for the wiring of the school.

 The organization met in different homes and had hostesses.   At this time the president was Mrs. Paul Moore and Mrs. Clarence Kerley was secretary. Each meeting they would read and approve minutes and report on the balance of the treasury.

They set up committees to plan plays, tacky parties and spelling bees, ice cream suppers, and sell candy. All was done to raise money to pay for the improvements to the school. Most of the time the club did not meet in the summers but otherwise met monthly. Usually after the business was done they would have a social hour. It usually consisted of piano, violin, vocal solos or duets by club members or their children.

Also, many times readings were given. Many times, contests were conducted and a nominal prize given to the winner. Refreshments were always served by the hostesses. Sometimes it was punch and wafers, Frappe, a salad course, and what they called an “ice course.”

In 1923 ice would be hard to come by. At first I thought they were talking about ice cream but I found out that the dessert was more like an ice drink. Many times, a theme, such as St. Patrick’s Day or Valentines was used for the refreshments and decorations.

At the Nov. 8 meeting the president, Mrs. Paul Moore resigned as did the secretary Mrs. Kerley. Guess that didn’t last long as they were elected back in December.

The Dec. 6 meeting that was held at Mrs. S. H. Roark’s and beautiful holiday decorations were everywhere. The meeting was completely social except for election of officers. It says that the officers were re-elected except for the treasurer and Mrs. Val Lovell was elected. Then in January 1924, Mrs. Lovell resigned and Mrs. Jim Bailey was elected.

Even though I transcribed all the minutes it will be too long to include them in this article soI will include only the Sept. 6, 1923 minutes here: 

The SIA met at the home of Mrs. Paul Moore. The officers and teachers formed a receiving line and welcomed the guests as they arrived. They were served delicious punch and wafers in the dining room by Garnett and Mary Edwards Moore.

Vocal solos were given by Mrs. Mitchell Moore and Mrs. George Moore and piano music was by Miss Morris. Each person was given a paper and a pencil and asked to write down the names of writers. Mrs. Mitchell Moore won the contest with 80 names listed. She was presented with a prize of correspondence cards.

It was voted to have an ice cream supper on Sept. 14 and committees were appointed as follows: advertising, Mrs. C. W. Kerley, Mrs. James Bailey; attraction committee was Mrs. Walter Tally, Mr. H. G. Banks; kitchen committee, Mrs. T. W. Wright, Mrs. J. W. Morris, Mrs. J. E. McNeill, Mrs. S. H. Roark, and Mrs. George Brizendine.

Table committee was Mrs. Polk Moore, and Miss Mary Fred Morris. cake committee, Mrs. Fred Perdue, Mrs. George Moore, Mrs.? Donoho, Mrs. W. T. Hardison, Mrs. Oscar Barry, Mrs. Clarence Kerley.

Arrangement committee, same as the attraction committee with Mr. Cummings and Ray added. Lemonade was to be made by Miss Cage and Mrs. G. D. Moore and sold by Jimmie Bailey and John W. Williams. Miss Paris, Mrs. Brown West, and Miss Nannie Jones were to receive cakes and slice them. A motion was approved to have “bills” (advertising) printed.

Paula Shannon is a member of the Highland Rim Historical Society.

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