by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator
Several years ago, a scrapbook kept by Leonette Lyon Hoffman while in high school at NHS (late 1920s-30s) was donated to HCHM. Included in the photos was a section on the “May Fete Queen.” Further research revealed that crowning a “May Fete Queen” was in connection with end of the school year festivities that included the May pole and playing bagpipes in Themian Park.
A clipping from May 21, 1917 gives the order of events.
“The First Brunette:” Frances Goerz
Leonette included the May celebrations in 1928 including the selection of a May Fete Queen. Young ladies were recognized for their involvement in various school and community activities. The Newton Kansan noted that to be chosen for the May Queen
“is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon any senior girl in the Newton High School for when the queen is voted upon many things are considered such as ranking well in school, popularity and beauty. . . Miss Goerz has taken part in nearly every school activity in her four years.”
These included “successful class parties”; officer in the Girl Reserve and Girls’ Athletic Association, and National Honor Society. Frances was in charge of all costuming for the Senior Class play, “Icebound” and notably, she was the first brunette queen to be chosen.
She was also the daughter of the prominent Rudolph A. & Martha (Krehbiel) Goerz family, granddaughter of Rev. David Goerz.
In addition, “Miss Margaret Jackson, a blonde, is chosen as maid of honor.”
The queen’s court consisted of eight attendants chosen from the Junior and Senior class.
May Fete events associated with the end of school seemed to be popular in Newton ca. 1917 through 1930.
- Scrapbook, Leonette Lyon Hoffman, HCHM Archives.
- Evening Kansan Republican: 21 May 1917, 23 May 1917, 24 May 1918, 25 May 1918, 24 May 1919.