Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 14, Number 1, Spring, 2002 Page: 23
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cation for productive citizenship and education
for the world of work. Physical education was
considered vital to the learning process.2 Leaving
Bonham to continue her education at North
Texas Normal College in Denton, Miss Hockaday
earned a B.A. in 1897. Perhaps equally
important, she encountered Menter B. Terrill,
the college's president. Fifteen years later he
would encourage her to start a school for girls in
Dallas. At age twenty-two, Miss Hockaday
returned to Bonham to teach at the Sunshine
School.3 Her nephew recalled "auntie" standing
in the doorway of the school ringing the school
bell to call the children inside.4 Teaching gave
women "power over their own life as well as the
lives of others. It provided women an opportunity
to lead and excel."5
In 1902 Miss Hockaday became principal
of Giles Academy, which her father had started
in I859. His curriculum emphasized "arithmetic,
reading the classics, and use of the English
language."6 Two years later, she became principal
of the Jefferson Ward School in Sherman. It
was here that she first tried out her progressive
ideas. She instituted a manual training class for
a group of unruly boys and started music classes
for both music appreciation and daily singing.
It would later be a requirement at Hockaday
to begin each day with singing and a chapel
service. One alumna from the Class of I946
recalled that "Throw out the life-line, Someone
is sinking today" was a favorite hymn of Miss
After her experience at the Jefferson Ward
School, Miss Hockaday was invited to head the
Biological Sciences department at Oklahoma
State Normal School at Durant, Oklahoma.
Here she met Sarah Bassima Trent, head of the
English department, who became her life-long
friend. Their first adventure together was to go to
the Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha,
Oklahoma, where they both taught until
they decided the Oklahoma State Legislature
was meddling too much in education. They left
teaching to become "farmerettes" in Falfurrias,
Texas, where they purchased forty acres and ran
a fruit farm. It was here that Miss Hockaday
received that life-changing telephone call from
Menter B. Terrill.8
In I9I3 Dallas was a young city whose enthusiasm
and idealism were attractive to a dedicated
woman of thirty-eight. It was a good place for
her to initiate her own ideas about how girls
should be educated. Boasting a population of
I31,276, Dallas was a "City of Splendid Possibilities."9
But opportunities for women were still
limited. Menter Terrill, who was running a
school for boys, reported to Miss Hockaday that
several parents had asked if he knew anyone who
could start a college preparatory school for girls.
He replied that he knew just the woman. Ela
Hockaday came by train to talk to him.1
The Hockaday School was organized in the
home of Dr. and Mrs. J. O. Reynolds at 4I05 Live
Oak.1 Those present included H. H. Adams,
president of the First National Bank; Ruth Bower
Lindsley, whose husband, Henry D. Lindsley, was
president of Southwestern Life Insurance Co.
(and soon to be Mayor of Dallas); Simon Linz of
Linz Jewelers; and a few other prominent citizens.12
Miss Hockaday's questions were soon
answered, and Mr. Adams drove her to several
suitable houses in East Dallas. She selected I206
N. Haskell Avenue as her first location.
Miss Hockaday immediately phoned Sarah
Trent and said, "Come to Dallas. I'm starting my
school on Monday." After a weekend of frantic
painting and papering, Miss Hockaday's School
for Girls opened with ten students and five
faculty members in a big, grey house. Their
teaching supplies were two maps, one globe, and
books belonging to Miss Hockaday and Miss
Trent.'3 The Daily Times Heraldreported that the
day the school opened, there was "a heavy general
rain accompanied by a sharp drop in temperature."
Always an optimist, Miss Hockaday
announced to those around her that the rain was
a blessing of sorts. Frances Kramer Denning,
Class of I93I, later observed, "The starting of
Hockaday was a fortuitous combination of
An advertisement appeared in The Dallas
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 14, Number 1, Spring, 2002, periodical, 2002; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35096/m1/25/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.