Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

The Early Formative Years: 1913-1934


Shortly after developers and real estate agents George (1855-1947) and Edward Amerige (1857-1915) laid out the Fullerton townsite in 1887, residents established the first school, a combination high school and grammar school, located at East Wilshire and Harvard (now Lemon) Avenues. Realizing that the fledgling town was going to need technical and professional workers, such as teachers, lawyers, and librarians, to flourish, residents began to push for a college. California was the first state in the nation to enact legislation creating public junior colleges. The 1907 law allowed the board of trustees of a high school district to provide post-high school courses in the high school, and Fullerton residents were eager to follow the cities of Fresno, Santa Barbara, and Bakersfield in establishing a junior college. On April 25, 1913, the “College Department” was launched by a unanimous resolution of the Fullerton Union High School District Board of Trustees. Admission requirements were a high school or secondary school transcript and “evidence as to good moral character”. The college opened for classes on September 15, 1913, with an enrollment of twenty-eight male and female students who registered for twelve classes, including English, Art, History, Logic, Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, German, Mechanical Drawing, and Manual Training. Fourteen of these students came back the next year and were joined by a new freshmen class of twenty six. During the school year 1915-1916, the enrollment reached a total of forty-four, and during 1916-1917, sixty students placed their names on the roll. Courses were scattered over the high school campus in rooms that were used during periods of the day for high school classes. Later, certain rooms and buildings were used exclusively for junior college classes. Early records indicate that a student fee (tuition) of $10 to $20 per course was seriously considered, but it was eventually decided that no fee would be charged. Later, a tuition fee of $200 was charged for those residing in another junior college district or outside Orange County. At the first commencement, June 23, 1915, a pioneer class of ten (five men and five women) was graduated.

In 1921, the California legislature enacted legislation which allowed the formation of separate junior college districts, and in 1922, the Fullerton Board of Trustees organized the Fullerton Junior College District as an independent entity. Fullerton Junior College (FJC) continued to operate on the high school campus for more than twenty years. Then in 1934, during the Great Depression, the Board of Trustees took a momentous step by purchasing a separate site for the college, sixteen acres of walnut grove, a short block east of the high school, for $30,000 (the former James C. Sheppard ranch). The location of the site, close to the high school, made it possible to gradually build the college. The Trustees launched a building program for the campus and the beginning of a gradual transfer of college classes from the high school to the college campus. The first structure, the Commerce Building (later the Business Education Building), was started in 1936 and was ready for occupancy in January 1937.


In 1919, the Board of Trustees hired the renowned California architect Carleton M. Winslow, Sr. (1876-1946) to design new buildings and bring unity to the campus design. His final vision for the campus is shown here. Four years earlier, Winslow had been appointed Architect-in-Residence for the Panama-California International Exposition in San Diego, where he designed many of the temporary buildings and supervised the construction of permanent buildings designed by Bertram Goodhue (1869-1924),including the California State Building and the Fine Arts Building. Winslow chose the Spanish Colonial Revival style, an innovation which brought him widespread recognition and ignited a love for Spanish Revival architecture that continues in California today. While in Fullerton, Winslow gave a series of talks with color slides on the Spanish style of architecture and recommended that Fullerton adopt the Spanish Colonial Revival type of architecture for buildings in the city. In July 1919, the Fullerton Board of Trade (later the Chamber of Commerce), which included all influential organizations in the city, passed a resolution declaring Spanish Colonial Revival the “uniform style” of architecture “for all public buildings that may be constructed, and also for any of the buildings that might be remodeled.” Thereafter, the high school and college buildings, as well as numerous public building in Fullerton—the city hall, the library, train depots, etc.—were all built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
The College Building, shown here in 1927, was the most visible building for college students. It contained a study hall, club room, locker rooms, the student body office, classrooms, and also served as the headquarters of Dean William T. Boyce. The College Building, constructed circa 1903, was moved to the high school campus for the specific purpose of serving new students. The building later briefly served as administrative offices for Orange County State College (later California State University, Fullerton) in 1959 as buildings were being constructed on the new campus. Severely earthquake damaged, the building was razed in 1962.
Featured in the 1919 high school and college yearbook, The Pleiades, this is a montage of the some of the campus locations for college students.
Featured in the 1922 class yearbook (The Torch Annual), this montage of college buildings on the campus was taken by Merton Harlow, who graduated the same year. The auditorium reportedly had poor acoustics and seating arrangements and was replaced by the Fullerton Union High School Auditorium, later Plummer Auditorium, in 1930. The new auditorium was designed by architect Carlton M. Winslow, and the construction supervised by architect Harry K. Vaughn, who would soon become the campus architect. After its construction, the new auditorium served as the location for graduation ceremonies until class sizes grew too large.
This 1927 photograph shows the large reading room adjoining the College Library that was devoted solely to the use of college students. The circulation or check-out desk is in the forefront. The reading room had a capacity of over 100. The college and high school libraries were not separated into separate collections and buildings until 1929. The first librarian to serve FJC students was Rebecca Burdof.
This is a 1923 shot of the Heating Plant and Power House that served both the high school and college.
This photograph shows a front view of the campus in 1927. The arched walkways on the façade, known by students and faculty as the Arcades, were a common meeting place. In 1927, enrollment had passed the 250 mark, representing forty high schools and fourteen states. Seventy-four courses were offered.
Taken in 1934, this aerial view of the campus shows the Fullerton Junior College and Fullerton Union High School buildings three years before the college moved to its new campus. Enrollment was now 866 students.
One year after Fullerton Junior College opened, John W. Hetebrink, son of Fullerton pioneer Henry T. Hetebrink, Jr., constructed this home at 515 East Chapman Avenue. At the time of construction, the dwelling was part of a 40-acre ranch north of Chapman Avenue. Over the years, the Hetebrink family sold off acreage around the home but still held on to this landmark home adjacent to the campus. Its location so close to the campus has given it an air of mystery and many incorrectly believe that it is actually part of the college. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home is the most outstanding example of Mission Revival architecture in Fullerton. For decades, Albert (Pete) Hetebrink, 1923 student body president, lived in the house before passing away in his 100s. During the 1970s, the Hetebrink family did offer the home to the college, but when asked what FJC intended to do with the property, and the response was build a parking lot, the offer was withdrawn. (Courtesy of Edgar Lara.)
In 1914, H. Harwood Tracy, the head of the Science Department of Fullerton Union High School and Fullerton Junior College, expressed interest in building a mountain cabin for student and faculty use. A site was selected near Lake Arrowhead, and a number of cabins, each successively larger in size, were constructed by students and faculty until finally settling upon a two-story structure shown here in 1927. The mountain cabin had space for a kitchen, dining room, and sleeping quarters for men and women and was intended to serve as headquarters for classes studying the plant and animal life of the region.
This is a photograph of faculty members enjoying the mountain cabin. The cabin was made available for student and faculty use for picnics and vacations at times when it was not used for class purposes. In 1934, members of the Board of Trustees decided to no longer maintain the cabin, and it was sold to an M. A. Peelor, father-in-law to James Tuffree, a member of the board, for $150.
Ten days after the first college class arrived on campus (September 25, 1913), it met to organize a student body, later to be known as the Associated Student Body. At the first meeting, a college motto—Thought, Action, Life—was also selected, but later changed to Wisdom, Truth, Service. From 1913/1914 to 1916/1917, a class president was elected each semester (September and February), with Earl Scott Dysinger (left) and Marjorie Bishop (right) serving as the first and second class presidents. Both were graduates of Fullerton Union High School. After completing his education, Dysinger (1893-1973) returned to FJC to teach social sciences, and later served in the United States Armed Services as a captain during World War II. Dysinger was also an amateur photographer and many of the photographs in the Fullerton College Library are from his collection. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
Twenty-eight students originally enrolled in 1913, but by 1914, fourteen students remained, and they were joined by a freshman class of twenty-six. Ten members of the first class went on to graduate in 1915. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
This is a photograph of the freshman class of 1921. During World War I, male attendance dropped dramatically, and there were only four men in attendance in 1917-1918. High school seniors and college sophomores who enlisted in the army were given credit toward graduation for their services. The students, faculty, and staff were strong supporters of the war effort. In April 1917, The Board of Trustees voted in favor of establishing military drills on the campus, and two hundred dummy or wooden rifles were purchased. Later, obsolete army rifles and target rifles were made available. By 1921, student enrollment had returned to normal levels.
This is a montage of some of the FJC students who served in World War I. All of the college servicemen returned safely, but three Fullerton residents lost their lives: George L. Dyckman, Fred C. C. Johnson, and Peter La Porte. The 1919 issue of The Annual Pleiades , the yearbook for both the high school and college, was dedicated to those who had rendered war service: “To those from our school who stood in ranks ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of freedom we, the 1919 annual staff of the Fullerton Union High School, loyally dedicate this book.”
Captain Delbert Brunton, then principal of the Orange Union High School, but until July 1916, principal of the Fullerton Union High School and Junior College, was one of the first to enlist. When it became known that Brunton was coming to Fullerton, on his way to Camp Lewis, the entire school went to the depot to cheer him. No faculty members from the college enlisted, but there were a handful from Fullerton Union High School.
Once America entered the war, campus sympathy was definitely with the Allies. Fullerton celebrated the Armistice with a grand parade down Pomona Avenue, but the war left a lot of bitterness, reflected in this November 10, 1938 Weekly Torch cartoon.
This is the freshman class of 1929. The male student on the far left in the second row is the most influential student to ever attend the college: guitar legend Clarence Leonidas (“Leo”) Fender (1909-1991). Contrary to popular opinion, Fender received no formal training in electrical engineering, studying instead bookkeeping and accounting. While at the college, he performed repair services for fellow students’ electrical equipment. It is difficult to overstate Fender’s impact on the music and recording industries. One of the greatest and most prolific industrial designers of the twentieth century, he helped to alter the look, the sound, and the personality of American music. He claims a spot not only in the history of technology and industrial design, but also popular culture in the twentieth century. Various racial, ethnic, and cultural groups have used Fender’s instruments to create and shape new musical sounds that influenced American society, culture, and politics.
This is a closer shot of Leo Fender from the Torch yearbook. Because of a childhood tumor, Fender lost his left eye at the age of eight, and he was very sensitive about having his photograph taken. After leaving FJC, Fender and his wife moved to San Luis Obispo in 1935, where he sought stable work as an accountant for the California Highway Department, then later was employed by the privately-owned U.S. Tire Company. After losing his job in 1938, Fender returned to Fullerton where he would establish businesses at eight different locations throughout the city. Using his Ford Model A as collateral, Fender opened his first business, a radio repair service, in 1938, renting shared space at the Golden Eagle Service Station located on the northwest corner of Spadra (now Harbor Boulevard) and Santa Fe Avenue in downtown Fullerton. Initially, he went house to house looking for work, but after building a reputation for reliable quality workmanship, his business soon picked up, and he moved a few doors away in 1940 to 112 South Harbor Boulevard, where he installed car radios and designed, repaired, and rebuilt radios, record changers, and public address systems. Following World War II, Fender moved across the street to 107 South Harbor Boulevard where he began manufacturing his first line of electric guitars, Hawaiian lap steel guitars, and electrified his first solid-body guitar.
Another notable student during this period was writer Jessamyn “Jessie” West (1902-1984), who attended classes in 1920-21. A master of the short story, and an accomplished novelist, she is best remembered for The Friendly Persuasion (1945), which gathered stories that reflected her Quaker heritage. While at FJC, West found a mentor in President William T. Boyce, and she returned to the college in 1957 as the keynote speaker at the dedication of the new library named in his honor. She also announced the creation of the William T. Boyce Creative Writing Award, an endowed scholarship. A cousin of President Richard M. Nixon, West spent her childhood and early adulthood in Yorba Linda. Pictured is Jessamyn West in the front row on the left with her freshmen class at FJC in 1920.
This is the senior year photo of Jessamyn West at Fullerton Union High School in 1919. She was active in high school as the Vice President of her class and as a member of the Girls' League Cabinet. She demonstrated an early interest in writing and communication as Editor in Chief of the Bi-Weekly Pleiades and as a student in the debate class. Her debate class decided to stage a play that mourned the death of the Southern California Debating League which was "killed" by influenza. The class had been looking forward to the Orange County Debating League competitions, but influenza hit the schools and the event was cancelled. At FJC, she retained her interest in forensics and joined the debate team.
Attending Fullerton College in 1931 was Ruby Berkeley Goodwin (1903-1961). She wrote her first book of poetry, From My Kitchen Window, in Fullerton, then went on to publish an acclaimed autobiography, It’s Good To Be Black. She wrote the first sketches for her autobiography in a Richard Warner Borst’s English class. She was the first accredited African American correspondent in Hollywood, writing a syndicated movie column for several years, while also serving as publicist for Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel (Gone with the Wind) and gospel singer Ethel Waters. The mother of five, she was named Mother of the Year for the State of California in 1955. She appeared in several movies, including Member of the Wedding and Male Animal, and had a speaking part in Elvis Presley’s Wild in the Country. She also appeared in television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library.)
Taken from the 1933 Torch Annual, this montage shows college students and faculty during FJC’s twentieth anniversary year. Enrollment had risen to 512. Before the Depression in 1929, work was plentiful and lucrative in Fullerton, but jobs became extremely scarce with the economic downturn, and attendance at FJC grew rapidly as competition for skilled jobs grew. By this time, three loan funds had been established for those who wanted to continue their education beyond the Fullerton Junior College: the Junior College Scholarship, the Kiwanis Loan Fund, and the Pan Hellenic Loan Fund. All funds except the Pan Hellenic were loaned without interest until the student had completed his/her education and started employment
In this early 1930s photo, FJC students pose on and around a now vintage automobile.
This small 5- by 7-inch, 16-page booklet served as the first formally printed Schedule of Classes, then known as the Announcement of Courses. The booklet’s brown and gold cover represents the school colors, which were later changed to blue and gold. Fifteen units constituted a full semester’s schedule for regular students, and sixty units were required for graduation. The first College Catalog, separate from the high school, was published for the 1918-1919 school year. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
This single page from the 1914-1915 Announcement of Courses lists all the classes available for students at FJC. Fullerton Junior College started with seven faculty members: Delbert Brunton (History), Anna Matilda Bille (English and Logic), Henry Winter Daniels (Mathematics and Science), Joseph Everett Donaldson (Latin), Henrietta White (Art), Elsie L. Whittemore (German and Spanish), and Rollin A. Marsden (Manual Training). Some of the professors continued to teach at the Fullerton Union High School (Brunton was also principal of the high school). By 1915-16, seven additional faculty members had been hired by the college to teach Domestic Science, Biology, Oral Expression, Athletics, and Economics. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
Taken in the early 1920s, this photograph shows students drawing in a college art class.
This 1927 photograph features Spanish Colonial Revival light fixtures created by students enrolled in Metal Crafts, a course taught in the Art Department. Other art courses included Freehand Drawing, Design and Color, Pottery, and Jewelry. FJC offered three types of curricula: Vocational Curriculum which provided specialized training in commerce, manual arts, and home economics; Junior College Curriculum designed for those who wished to transfer to a four-year institution; and the Junior College Diploma Curriculum open to high school graduates who desired further educational training but did not care to apply to a four-year university or college.
By the mid-1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival style was the most popular architectural style in Fullerton, and some of the FJC lights will still be found on older homes in the historic areas of the city.
The Typing Room at Fullerton Junior College, shown here in 1927, had forty typewriters to accommodate large classes in first and second year typing. The advanced course included instruction in the use of special machines, such as mimeographs, speedographs, and dictaphones.
This 1927 photograph features the Laboratory of Biological Sciences. The desks and equipment were arranged to take advantage of the natural light.
This is a photograph of the Physics Laboratory taken in the same year. The cost for the laboratory equipment was $11,000. At the time, men wore coats and ties to class.
Male and female students experiment in the Chemistry Laboratory. The then state-of-the-art laboratory featured “overhead lighting, forced ventilation systems, a separate balance room, and tables equipped with gas, water, individual hoods, vacuum, compressed air and electricity.”
The Domestic Science Laboratory was equipped with large modern sewing and cooking laboratories, a weaving room, and a practice cottage for residence work in homemaking.
Male students in a Mechanical Drawing class are featured in this 1933 photograph.
This 1920 photograph shows FJC students surveying the 35.6 acres that would eventually become Hillcrest Park. The land was originally known as Reservoir Hill, and the city reservoir can be seen on the top right. Fullerton’s first Park Superintendent Johann George Seupelt (1877-1961), a Bavarian-born horticulturist, forester, and landscape architect, developed the park’s landscaping plan in 1920, laying out the same roads that still exist within the park today. Hillcrest Park is now one of the few parks in the nation listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the Great Depression, the city of Fullerton used federal and state relief funds to hire hundreds of unemployed men to landscape and build stone and rockwork around the park. Many of the workers and the families were allowed to temporarily camp in the park.
Oil was discovered in Fullerton around 1890, and the revenues from the black gold sustained the city’s government for the next fifty years. More than half the revenue of the high school and college was derived from the assessment of oil lands within the school district. In May 1921, FJC announced that it would be starting an Oil Operations Program open “to any man or boy who had worked for at least a year in the fields or in a supply house.” This January 1922 photograph is a group shot of the first Oil Class. Alexander Anderson (seated on left) was in charge of the course. Anderson, a pioneer in the field of oil well surveying, invented in his home laboratory on Whiting Avenue a number of hole-surveying instruments that enhanced the ability to pull oil from wells. Some of the men in this photograph were employed by the Union Oil Company, the Columbia Oil Producing Company, and the General Petroleum Corporation.
This montage features some of the activities engaged in by students enrolled in the yearlong (36 weeks) Oil Class. The course of study involved nine to twelve weeks of classes on geology, mineralogy, and surveying, along with one week courses on Oil Testing, Applied Mechanics, Oxy-Acexylene Welding, and First Aid to the Injured.
This is the 1919 program for the fifth annual commencement exercises. Fifteen students (fourteen women and one man) were graduating. Because the graduating classes were so small in the early years, the baccalaureate service was first held at a nearby church, with the commencement exercises then held at the Fullerton Union High School auditorium. In 1928, Dean William T. Boyce suggested that the graduating class not hire an outside speaker for the commencement address, but instead select students to speak on different topics. That policy continued for twenty-two years. The distinguishing feature of graduates during this period was that many were the sons and daughters of Fullerton and Orange County pioneers: Virginia M. Knott; Albert Hetebrink; Joe, Elizabeth, and Ned Crooke; James Balcom; Lillian Hezmalhalch; Eleanor Grainger; James M. McFadden; Raymond Starbuck; Horace and Florence Ford; Lee, Ray, and Harold Hale; Augusta, Eleanor, Rebecca Burdorf; Alice Wilber; Helen Seulke; Mildred Yorba, etc. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
Louis E. Plummer (1883-1958) came to Fullerton in 1909 as head of the Commerce Department in the high school after teaching for five years in Ohio. He became vice-principal of the high school and junior college in 1915 and was advanced to superintendent four years later. During his years as superintendent (1919-1941), Plummer’s far-sighted leadership was instrumental in the development of the college. One of the foremost educators in Orange County, Plummer was also a nativist who, along with other prominent Fullerton residents, joined the Fullerton Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. After his forced retirement in 1941, Plummer took a post with the Ryan Aircraft Corporation in San Diego as an industrial training manager, a position he held during the remainder of World War II. Plummer spent his last year at FJC writing a history of the high school and college, Fullerton Union High School and Fullerton Junior College, 1893-1943.
One of Louis E. Plummer’s strengths was that he was a joiner of local organizations, networking with the movers and shakers in Fullerton and Orange County. This is an early 1930s photograph of Plummer (back row, second from left) with some of Fullerton’s most influential citizens. Albert Launer, Fullerton’s district attorney and Board of Trustees member, had voted, on April 25, 1913, to establish FJC. At that meeting, businessman William Wickett, then trustee-elect, was also present and expressed his approval of the action. Developer Harry J. Maxwell (1882-1962), seated on the far right, would serve as mayor of Fullerton from 1936 to 1938. Maxwell’s son, Harry Maxwell, Jr. (1918-1944), would later graduate from FJC and volunteer to serve in the armed forces during World War II. He died shortly afterwards in combat. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library.)
This 1923 photograph shows Louis E. Plummer (left) in a meeting with the members of the Board of Trustees: Frank M. Dowling, William J. Travers, Leland B. Stewart, Elwood Munger, and Samuel C. Hartranft (left to right). Leland B. Stewart was succeeded in 1924 by widow Lottie E. Morse, the first woman trustee. Travers, who owned a large local orchard, served from 1911 to 1932, the longest continuous period of service for any trustee.
Anna Matilda Bille was the first dean of the college from 1913-1916 while also teaching courses in English and Logic. She received a B.A. in 1907 and an M.A. in 1909 from Stanford University. Before coming to FJC, she was an English teacher, then vice-principal at Santa Maria Union High School. In the early years of the junior college movement, inspectors or examiners were sent from the University of California to make on-site inspections of junior college courses. In 1916, the head of the English Department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) made an unexpected visit to FJC. Bille, who had chaperoned a party of students at a dinner and hayride the evening before, was caught unprepared, and received a scathing report. She was so devastated and humiliated that she resigned despite the efforts of FJC faculty to stop her. After resigning her position at Fullerton, she moved to China where she taught English at the University of Tsing Hua in Peiping (now Beijing) for eleven years. While in Peiping, Bille printed a collection of her poems, Broken Tiles; Poems of China (1931). After a long illness, she passed away in Honolulu in 1942.
Dr. William T. Boyce (1885-1975) became the second administrative head of Fullerton Junior College in 1918, replacing Anna M. Bille. He remained in the position of dean until 1940, at which time he was relieved of his responsibilities by the trustees and reassigned to teaching. He was later reinstated as dean by a new Board of Trustees in 1942, and remained until 1950. Born in rural North Carolina, Boyce eventually worked his way up to principal of Sherwood High School in Sandy Springs, Maryland. He was invited to Whittier College to teach economics and political science for two years, after which he transferred to Fullerton in 1915 where he made $1400 a year. Dr. Boyce’s position title at FJC was first dean, then director, and finally president. Boyce held a master’s degree from Harvard University and a degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Southern California. A life-long Republican, Dr. Boyce served as the chairman of the “Hoover for President” campaign in 1934 in northern Orange County. In 1974, Dr. Boyce published his memoirs, My Years in the Fullerton Junior College, 1915-1950.
This 1920 photograph shows Dr. William T. Boyce (far right, seated) with students and faculty members from the college. Enrollment at the time was 83 students.
Taken in 1923, this photograph features Superintendent Louis E. Plummer and Dr. William T. Boyce (4th and 5th from left respectively, seated) with the entire FJC faculty.
The most influential faculty member from this period was Glen Lukens (1887-1967), a Missouri-born ceramist, jewelry designer, and glassmaker. He taught at both the high school and college before being enticed to teach at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1936. Lukens contributed to the development of the California School of fine art ceramics and mounted the first exhibit of California ceramic artists. His work was praised for its innovative use of glazing and forms and was actively exhibited during his lifetime and posthumously. At a time when American pottery production was dominated by design and decoration, he forged new rough clay designs and discovered and promoted new glazes and glaze techniques. His influential innovations were a boon to the California dinnerware industry of the 1930s.
In 1923, Dr. William Boyce and his wife Vera began construction of a new residence adjacent to the college at 1101 North Harvard (now Lemon) Avenue. His home quickly became a spot for college meetings, receptions, and parties. This 1927 photograph features members from the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) at a reception on the front lawn. The wrought iron light near the entrance, since replaced, was made by FJC students enrolled in metal crafts classes. The residence is now the home of the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority at California State University, Fullerton. Because of its convenient location, the area of Fullerton adjacent to Hillcrest Park became a favorite location for FJC administrators and faculty members, including Louis E. Plummer, Anita Shepardson, a mathematics instructor, and H. Harwood Tracy, head of the Science Department.
Dr. William T. Boyce believed that every college in the nation should have a student newspaper. He was instrumental in establishing the college’s student newspaper, The Weekly Torch, which later had a number of title changes (Jaysee Torch, The Hornet). The first issue of The Weekly Torch was printed on January 12, 1923. All of the articles were written by members of the journalism class, who automatically comprised the newspaper staff. Initially, The Weekly Torch carried purely student news, no advertisements, and was financed through the student body budget. Starting in 1928, the year of this photograph, The Weekly Torch became a charter member of the California Junior Press Association and was able to receive news from all over California, giving the paper a wider reading interest. Richard Warner Borst (second row, left), head of the English Department, was staff adviser to the newspaper staff.
Because the enrollment at FJC was so low, college students did not have their own yearbook but were included in the Fullerton Union High School yearbook, The Pleiades. FJC students did not have their own yearbook until 1922, called The Torch.
Over the decades, the art work in each Torch varied as styles changed. For the 1922 Torch, there was a heavy French art nouveau influence. These lovely drawings were done by Lillian Batchman. Later yearbooks from the 1920s favored black and gold art deco drawings.
The early 1930s Torch yearbooks included lovely color plates. In the early years, one artist from the senior class was usually selected to create all the art work for a yearbook. This is a plate from the Torch which states in its foreward, "As a motive for the 1932 'Torch,' we have selected the symbol of international sympathy and interest between all the nations of the Pacific coast, whether Oriental or Occidental. It is well for the educated classes of America to concentrate upon the problem of an intimate international and interracial perception, and if this book makes some slight contribution in the field of world friendship the staff has accomplished its purpose."
As there was no computer technology, members of the Torch staff would gather black and white photographs from students, cut out what they wanted, then glue the cutouts to a page that was then photographed.
In the 1922 Torch yearbook, graduating students would bequeath something, usually humorous, to a fellow classmate. The romance between Albert (Pete) Hetebrink and Ida Manter, mentioned in the third entry, was not to last. Told that he would not live long by a doctor, Hetebrink called off his engagement, then went on to live 80 more years. He never married.
When Dr. William T. Boyce arrived at the Fullerton campus, the college had no song or seal—two items he believed were a college’s “most prized elements”—and he worked hard to get both created. In 1921, a student committee selected “The Blue and the Gold” or “O Alma Mater” as the FJC song. The lyrics were written by freshman Betty Dickinson Frazee (later Mrs. Paul Moses) and the music by Harry Briscoe. Both the lyrics and music were published in the May 14, 1921 issue of the local newspaper, the Fullerton News Tribune, along with other poetry written by Frazee. The local newspaper praised the song, calling it a “work that would live.” Known as “Our Poet” by her classmates, Frazee was also Vice-President of the Dramatics Club (1921) and President of the Drama Club (1922). Briscoe appeared in a number of dramatic productions and served as Vice-President of the student body in 1921. Later, two instructors, Monroe Sharpless and Harold Walberg, re-set the Alma Mater to new music. The opening verse of “O Alma Mater” is: All hail to Alma Mater/Thy glories cannot die/So long as loyal hearts are true/So long as heroes vie/For honors in the field and hall/Thy name shall ever be/The challenge and the trumpet call/That leads to victory.
To celebrate the move to the new campus in 1936, the student body offered a cash prize to the person who created the best college seal. Sophomore Gertrude Paterson won the $5 prize for her design. The first designs submitted were modifications of well-known college seals, and Dr. William T. Boyce pushed for a unique seal that used a searchlight motif. At a meeting, he went to the blackboard, drew a circle, and sketched on it a searchlight with beams funneling out to space. Paterson used the searchlight to focus on the college motto, and the rectangles on the left to symbolize the pillars of the new buildings under construction. The school motto was later removed from the seal.
Starting in 1920, the college intermittently celebrated Blue and Gold Week, a week-long tribute to FJC and higher education. This is the program cover of the 1923 Blue and Gold Week May Festival. The four-part program included students from both the high school and college and featured interpretive dances, pantomimes, and the glee clubs singing a variety of tunes. The May Fete, open to the public, was attended by over 2,000 people that year. In the 1920s, Blue and Gold Week included a celebration of May Day, and the traditional dance around a maypole. Blue and Gold Week in March of 1936 was particularly eventful as it included a procession to the new campus led by the junior college band. The Weekly Torch staff was responsible for printing the annual program pamphlets, and starting in the early 1930s, issued a Blue and Gold anniversary issue of the student newspaper. These anniversary numbers were paid for by Gamma Delta Upsilon, the honorary journalism fraternity organized on campus on January 26, 1931. Gamma Delta Upsilon was a non-secret state journalism fraternity made up of members who had completed at least one semester of commendable work in journalism.
The highlight of the 1923 May Festival was the traditional winding of the maypole and the crowning of the May Day Queen and her court.
This is a closer photograph of the 1923 May Queen, Josephine M. Eseverri (later Josephine M. Lindaver). Eseverri later moved to Palm Desert and had three children, Marian, Lucy, and Lloyd.
The 1923 May Festival drew large crowds from the community.
Fullerton residents started having parades down Spadra Road (now Harbor Boulevard) and Commonwealth Avenue in the 1890s. Any major occasion—Armistice, Fourth of July, New Year’s Day—was cause for a parade. Over the years, FJC students participated in these parades, which were open to any group or organization. This 1934 “Death of the Old Stadium” parade float was created to celebrate the construction of the new campus stadium.
This photograph features the Delta Alpha Sigma float in a 1934 parade down East Commonwealth Avenue. A social club for men, Delta Alpha Sigma was organized in 1926. The float features the group’s trophy at the top with its motto (Truth, Loyalty, Fellowship, Scholarship) on the side. It was the custom of the organization to present a trophy to the junior college student having the highest scholarship rating at the end of two years at FJC.
While Americans have been characterized as a nation of joiners, this trait was particularly true in Fullerton, which had dozens of fraternity, charitable, and other voluntary organizations before the town was incorporated in 1904. This penchant for joining was reflected in the large number of student clubs and associations that were quickly established at the college. The first college club was established in 1914. Shown here in the first years of its operations are members of the Associated Women Students (AWS), formed in 1923 in response to the growing number of female students. The purpose of the AWS was to “further women’s activities and to develop a social life among the women students of the campus.” The Associated Men Students (AMS), whose purpose was “to promote a comradely spirit among the men of the school”, was organized in 1930/1931.
The Spanish Club (El Don Quixote), shown here in the late 1920s, was organized in 1924 with the aim of providing students with a chance to speak and hear the language under informal conditions, and to study the life and culture of the people who speak the language. The name of the club was chosen as a “symbol of the bravery of the famous Don Quixote.”
The French Club (Le Cercle Francais) was organized in the fall of 1922, the first club on campus. At that time, membership included high school and junior college students, but in the fall of 1923, the year of this photograph, the students of French in the college organized a separate club with a membership of twenty-five. The college also had a Latin Club, a Japanese Club, and a German Club (Der Deutsche Verein).
The men of FJC organized a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in 1920. The group is shown here in 1923. Dr. William T. Boyce was a life-long supporter of both the YMCA and YWCA and often conducted Bible study courses for members.
Also taken in 1923, this photograph shows the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), which was formed in 1922. In addition to the YMCA and YWCA, the college also had other religious clubs on campus: the Newman Club was established in 1932 for Catholic young men and women; the Lutheran Club was formed in 1939; and the Westminster Club, serving young Presbyterians, was started in 1939.
This photograph shows the 1928 FJC Debating Team led by Coach William H. Matlock (second row, far right). The subject for the league debates that year was: “Resolved that a Nation with an Advanced Civilization is Justified in Forcing Its Civilization Upon an Inferior Peoples.”
This is the 1933 debate club, then known as the Forensics Club. The national debate questions for 1933 were: “Resolved that the United States should Favor Cancellation of the Inter-Allied War Debts” and “Resolved that the Federal Government Should Pursue a Policy of Inflation Until the General Price Level Approximates that of 1926.” In 1916-17, Dr. William T. Boyce (seated, far right) taught a public speaking class and organized inter-collegiate debates and speech contests. Despite Dr. Boyce’s interest in debating, the college often had trouble maintaining a team.
In 1927, the City of Fullerton established the 86-acre Fullerton Municipal Airport, the oldest and largest general aviation airfield still on its original location in Orange County. The new airfield sparked local interest in aviation and aeronautics. In 1932, the FJC Aviator’s Club was formed. This 1933 photograph was most likely taken at the Fullerton airport. In 1940, The Flying Hornet Club was organized by students who wanted to become licensed airplane pilots. Club members maintained a light plane available to members at reduced rates.
The Verse Book, published by the English Club (later the Writers’ Club), made its appearance in 1926. An anthology of FJC student verse, it was replaced by an intercollegiate book of verse called First The Blade, which included poetry from college students around California. In 1930, the English Club also published for the first time a verse and prose book, El Conquistador. The English Club was open to any student interested in original writing. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
The FJC drama club, the Collegiate Players Club, was organized on September 30, 1927 with 39 members. In 1928, the group changed its name to the Nightwalkers, “due to the dramatic mysteries connected with the club.” The Nightwalkers, shown here in 1932, were very active and participated in the production of class plays, responsible for acting, directing, costuming, stage setting, lighting, and production work. Membership in the club was based on an interest in dramatics and the ability to pass a tryout consisting of a dramatic recitation. The most significant member of the Nightwalkers was Pat Ryan (second row, sixth from left), later Pat Nixon (1912-1993), the wife of Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994), the 37th President of the United States.
In this April 13,1932 production of Broken Dishes, a comedy by Martin Flavin, Pat Ryan (seated, second from left) played the female lead (Elaine Bumpsted). A New York success, the play presented “the life of a little weak husband who has heard so much from his wife about the man she might have married that he is convinced he is worthless.” Ryan worked at a bank to pay for her attendance at FJC in 1931-1932. She did not graduate from FJC, but went on to complete her studies at the University of Southern California.
Starting in the 1920s, the sophomores presented an annual play, one of the productions that the Nightwalkers participated in as club members. The cast of the 1920 play, Morton of the Movies, is featured in this group photograph. The play centers on Morton Gill, a young movie-struck country boy who has gone to Hollywood to become a star.
Members of the Kayak Club line up at Newport Beach in 1934. The kayaks used by club members were made in school shops, and it usually took about 100 hours to complete each craft. In the 1930s, members participated in races at Santa Monica Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and down the Santa Ana River. Rollin A. Marsden (standing, on left), head of the Manual Training Department, founded the Kayak Club. Marsden, a graduate of the Stout Institute at Menomonie, Wisconsin, was first employed by the high school in 1909 to introduce manual training courses. He served on the Fullerton City Council from 1920 to 1923.
The Seven Club was organized in 1930 by a group of “men who have gone to school on the Fullerton campus for seven years.” That same year, the group gave four student body dances in the Odd Fellows Temple (303 West Commonwealth), now known as the Williams Building.
The Prospectors’ Club, so named because of the growth of its members’ whiskers, was organized in 1931 “to give otherwise unoccupied males something to do.” Prizes were given for the best beards.
In addition to clubs, FJC students also joined and formed different sororities and fraternities on campus. Alpha Lambda, the FJC chapter of Delta Psi Omega, shown here in 1933, was the thirty-fifth chapter of this national junior college dramatics fraternity. Delta Psi Omega was organized for junior colleges by the Alpha Psi Omega, the national dramatics fraternity for four-year colleges. Membership in this fraternity required outstanding dramatic ability. The President of FJC’s Delta Psi Omega for 1933 was C. Robert McCormick (standing, second from right).
Also taken in 1933, this is a group shot of the members of Alpha Gamma Sigma, the Fullerton chapter of the California Junior College Honor Society. Membership required that a student earn a maximum of 32 grade points with no grade below a C, and that he/she be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units of work. The President that year was Winifred Barnett (seated, far right). It was Dr. William T. Boyce in 1925 who was chiefly responsible for the formation of the California Junior College Honor Society which eventually became Alpha Gamma Sigma. He formulated the plan for the scholarship society, and chapters were quickly established at Fullerton, Bakersfield, Chaffey, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Santa Maria, and San Bernardino.
Taken from the 1928 yearbook, this is the first college orchestra, organized by students Leo and Cleo Tanquary, with Harold E. Walberg as advisor.
By May 29, 1931, the orchestra had greatly expanded under the direction of Harold E. Walberg, head of the Music Department for both the college and high school. The orchestra is set to play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Harold E. Walberg arrived in Fullerton in 1919, and quickly became the head of the Music Departments for both the high school and college. In addition to his school work, Walberg also formed the Orange County Orchestra in 1920, fronted the Walberg String Trio (shown here in 1922), taught piano lessons in his Fullerton home, and composed music. Besides the music for FCJ’s Alma Mater, Walberg’s best-known tune is “Orange County Paradise”: Beside the blue Pacific Ocean/At the foot of the mountains so grand/Lives a county in all of its splendor/Truly made of the Master’s hand. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library)
Fullerton was a socially and politically conservative community, but residents loved to dance. Organizations and associations regularly scheduled formal and informal dances, stores and other retail openings often featured a dance on opening day, and even the new City Hall (1939-1942) on Commonwealth Avenue had a dance floor in the basement. Nevertheless, the Board of Trustees would not approve social dancing. Under great pressure, the board did finally allow social dancing in 1925, but only if the dances were not held on school property. It took a few more years for social dances to be allowed on campus. For this reason, student body dances were held in many places both in and outside of Fullerton, including the October 19, 1930 semi-formal Student Body Dance (shown here) held at the Belmont Beach Club in Long Beach. When social dances were finally allowed on campus, Dean William T. Boyce and his wife Vera took dance lessons so they could participate.
When the college opened in 1913, sports were an immediate and important part of the school. Initially, high school and college students played on the same teams, but the college quickly established separate teams for a variety of sports. By 1931, FJC had seven coaches for the men’s teams (left to right): Thornton H. Lodge, tennis and golf; E. Y. Johnson, boxing and general physical education; Glenn H. Lewis, head of the Physical Education Department; Arthur L. Nunn, football, basketball, and baseball; W. Harold Land, track and field; Matthew U. Weightman, cross-country; and Albert W. Dowden, swimming and diving. Lewis headed the department from 1920 to 1939. As enrollment in junior colleges increased, competition in men’s sports became sharper and led to vigorous recruiting of high school graduates. In May 1932, FJC students staged their first demonstration when administration proposed eliminating athletics to save money. The Los Angeles Times reported on May 19, 1932 (p.11) that the student body conducted an unauthorized parade as students left class without permission.
In the early years, football teams were formed intermittently based upon the availability of men and equipment funds. This photograph shows the 1926 football team, which had been reconstituted after a four year hiatus. There was a Junior College Football Conference, but the Fullerton football teams played against a wide variety of opponents, including Long Beach High School, Pomona and Whittier Colleges, the University of Southern California, and the U.S.S. Mississippi team. The college’s greatest rival was Santa Ana Junior College.
This is a 1933 photograph of tight end C. Robert McCormick. McCormick was an all around good student, who was also a member of the Glee Club, the track team, and the Nightwalkers dramatic club. He played football with Richard M. Nixon while both attended Fullerton Union High School in 1926, and briefly dated Pat Ryan (later Pat Nixon) while both were members of the Nightwalkers Club. After graduating from FJC in 1934, McCormick completed his higher education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), taught in a junior high school, then returned to FJC in 1946 as a faculty member teaching construction technology until his death of a sudden heart attack in February 1975. McCormick was instrumental in establishing in 1946 a building trades program that built homes on campus that were sold to the highest bidder.
This photograph shows the Yellow Jackets playing in Huntington Beach next to oil fields in 1930.
This is a shot of the 1931 football team in action.
Fullerton and Orange County residents were not initially supporters of President Franklin Roosevelt’s policies. During the 1932 election, President Herbert Hoover, who had made a brief visit to Fullerton, received an overwhelming number of votes, better than a four-to-one margin over Roosevelt. The November 2, 1932 issue of the Weekly Torch reported that in a straw vote FJC students and faculty favored Hoover over Roosevelt. He received a total of 148 votes of the 276 cast. Support for Herbert Hoover had actually started back in April 1920 when a Hoover for President Club was formed in Fullerton, with Dean William T. Boyce serving as president. Nonsupport of Roosevelt’s policies did not stop Fullerton administrators from asking for federal aid, and by the end of the Great Depression, the city had received more Depression-era funding than any city in Orange County. A significant amount of those funds were used to construct new buildings on the FJC campus in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Using Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds, the school district was able to complete construction of a new 4,000-seat stadium and athletic field in 1934. The federal government furnished $65,000 of the $98,000 needed for the project. In addition to providing seating space for spectators, the stadium also provided much-needed room for other purposes, including a general store for school equipment, a warehouse for school supplies, janitors’ storerooms, office space, and a doctor’s examination room and office. At the dedication of the stadium on November 23, 1934, Louis E. Plummer called the new facility “a monument to the New Deal.”
While football was a major sport on campus, it was the game of baseball that Fullerton residents really loved, and the sport played an important role in the social history of the city. Walter (“The Big Train”) Johnson had played for the high school in 1905, going on to become America’s greatest pitcher of all time. The ball field at Commonwealth (later Amerige) Park was a training site for farm and semi-professional teams and exhibition games that featured such Hall of Famers as Honus Wagner, Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, and Bob Lemon. This photograph shows the baseball team fielded in 1930.
This is the 1930 wrestling team. Clarence Iwao Nishizu (center) was particularly popular with Fullerton wrestling fans for his judo exhibitions. Nishizu (1911-2006) graduated from FJC in 1931, and then at the age of 21, took over his father’s debt-laden farm during the Great Depression. When World War II broke out, he was interned with his family at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming (his daughter was born in the camp). After his release, Nishizu worked on a farm in San Clemente, then turned to selling real estate. He later campaigned for redress for World War II internees. California State University, Fullerton awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1999 for his leadership activities in the Japanese American community.
Completion of a new 40- by 100-foot pool in 1925 led to formation of the first water polo team in 1926. A gymnasium was also added in 1925.
This is the small squad that made up the swimming and diving team in 1930. Ed Holston (left) was the eighth ranked American inter-scholastic diver in 1929.
Although the original plans for the pool included spectator seating, it took another ten years for the seating (on left) to be constructed. The federal government paid $710 out of the total cost of $1100 for the project.
This is a photograph of the 1930 track team, the same year that Coach W. Harold Lang, a former California track star, took over. Coached by the legendary Boyd Comstock, Lang competed for the Los Angeles Athletic Club track team.
By 1930, FJC had four women coaches (left to right): Florence Randall, head of the Women’s Physical Education Department of the high school and college; Edith Logan, tennis; Ruth Loescher, basketball; and Fiametta Rhead, hockey, swimming, baseball, and volleyball. Photographs from the 1920s and 1930s indicate that women regularly engaged in sports, but it was still not a fully accepted activity. Superintendent Louis E. Plummer noted in his history of the campus: “For girls there are play days in sports. The larger participation of girls in inter-school sports is discouraged as detrimental to their welfare. Play days are usually followed by social activities to help eliminate antagonism from rivalry” (p. 66).
This is the 1922 women’s basketball team. In the early years, the Board of Trustees objected to women rolling their stockings below their knees when playing sports, but the women’s uniforms gradually became smaller and more comfortable.
Formed in 1926, this is the first women’s hockey team.
This is the 1932 women’s volleyball team.
Taken the same year (1932), this is the women’s tennis team.
Tennis began with the building of two courts in 1908. Additional cement tennis courts, used by both high school and college students, were constructed, and by the early 1930s, there were twelve tennis courts. The courts were upgraded in 1936, the year of this photograph, with the use of federal relief funds obtained from the Works Progress Administration.
The 1933, Song and Yell Leaders (left to right) were Ed Esmay, Lois Coffman, Margaret Prizer, and Royal Staley. Even if a Hornet team was defeated, there was always a Fullerton yell at the end of each game. One of the commandments for incoming freshman (part of “The Law for Freshmen to Obey”) was “Thou shalt learn all school songs and yells and must be able to repeat them with gusto at any time.”
When the stock market crashed on October 29, 1929, The Weekly Torch made no mention of the economic collapse, and the event was barely covered by the local newspaper. For the first years of the Great Depression, Fullerton residents weathered the economic downturn, but in 1931, city workers started the first local relief program by donating one day’s pay each month to put the city’s unemployed to work. The first soup kitchen, operated by the American Legion, opened the same year, and was followed three years later by a government-sponsored food program at the Ford School, located between Chapman and Wilshire Avenues. Many residents also left the city, with Fullerton’s population declining from 10,860 in 1930 to 10,422 in 1940. Government-assisted employment also became available, with 71 FJC students receiving employment on campus with Federal Emergency Relief Administration funds. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library.)
At the dedication of the stadium on November 23, 1934, Louis E. Plummer called the new facility “a monument to the New Deal.” Fullerton and Orange County residents, however, were not supporters of President Franklin Roosevelt’s policies. During the 1932 election, President Herbert Hoover, who had made a brief visit to Fullerton, received an overwhelming number of votes, better than a four-to-one margin over Roosevelt. The November 2, 1932 issue of the Weekly Torch reported that in a straw vote FJC students and faculty favored Hoover over Roosevelt. He received a total of 148 votes of the 276 cast. Support for Herbert Hoover had actually started back in April 1920 when a Hoover for President Club was formed in Fullerton, with Dean William T. Boyce serving as president. Nonsupport of Roosevelt’s policies did not stop Fullerton administrators from asking for federal aid, and by the end of the Great Depression, the city had received more Depression-era funding than any city in Orange County. A significant amount of those funds were used to construct new buildings on the FJC campus in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Although the community surrounding FJC was conservative, students were aware of the many proposed plans, some considered radical at the time, to move the nation out of the Great Depression. An article published in the anniversary edition of the Weekly Torch on May 26, 1932 (“Industrial Planning: Three Proposals for Stabilizing Industry”) discussed a number of “master plans,” including those proposed by Robert M. La Follette, Jr. and Gerald Swope. The national planning proposals at the time contained such then novel ideas as life and disability insurance, old age pensions, and unemployment insurance.
In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, the Board of Trustees approved the purchase of land for the new FJC campus, the James C. Sheppard ranch. The purchase of the ranchland reflected the faith and optimism Fullerton residences had toward the continued success and growth of the college. This aerial photograph shows the ranch, covered with walnut and orange trees, around 1930. The residences along Harvard (now Lemon) Avenue were to remain for decades before finally being demolished. Following World War II, the Trustees purchased additional land, which extended north of the campus past Berkeley Avenue, from the Sheppard family.