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Encyclopedia of Baldwin Wallace University History: 1920s

An Index of Historical Content and Their Sources

1920: First May Day and Homecoming Day

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


“A good many people on this campus have expressed the desire of beginning a new custom or two so that we may have more interests as a united body than the present allowance of customs gives us.” From these auspicious origins sprang the annual traditions generations of faculty, student, and staff would come to know as May Day and Homecoming. The first celebration of spring (May Day) was held on May 22. The day opened with the women’s base-ball team playing against the “local high school” girls’ team. Foot races were then held, followed by a parade, complete with floats from the various classes. A May pole dance and a traditional Norwegian folk dance took place. Female students twined the pole with ribbons as they danced around. A crown was given to the first May Queen, Marie Speelman, as she was escorted by her court of flower girls, attendants, guards, and train bearers.


The first Homecoming festivities were held as a day to visit with alumni, old friends, and nurturing goodwill between the college and the community. On this inaugural Homecoming, spectators in the bleachers saw two rivals go head-to-head on the gridiron. Muskingum and Baldwin-Wallace would end with BW sweeping our rival 17-0. A rally followed the game, culminating in raucous revelry.

1921: Genevieve Cline Graduates

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


Cline was born in 1877 and raised in Warren, Ohio. She had an endless passion for learning.  After graduating from high school and business college, she would attend Oberlin College, then Baldwin Wallace College. She would graduate with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1921, at the age 43. Over the course of her career, Cline held numerous titles and positions. She was President of the Cleveland Federation of Women's Clubs, Chairman of the Ohio Federation of Women's Clubs, and had a private law practice. President Calvin Coolidge nominated Ms. Cline to be an Associate Justice on the United States Customs Court in 1928. She passed away in 1959.

1924: Lillian Orloff Graduates

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


Lillian received a degree from the Cleveland Law School, the law department of Baldwin-Wallace College. Classes were held in the evening to give working professionals an opportunity to advance their educations without having to quit their day jobs. According to sources, Lillian quit her job as an “Assistant Prosecutor for the more creative experience of the world of painting.” She would become a part of the “Indian Space Painter” movement.

1925: Jane Edna Hunter Graduates

Citation: Kieth A. Peppers, 2020.


Jane Edna Hunter graduated from Baldwin-Wallace in 1925 as part of the Cleveland Law School (then associated with Baldwin-Wallace). She founded the Working Girls Association and The Phillis Wheatley Association, which began as a residence for young women, became a neighborhood center, and later evolved into a center addressing community needs. Her autobiography was titled, A Nickel and a Prayer.