Saturday, May 30, 2009

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 1

SMU Adopts Kidd-Key Alumnae June 4, 1938

One of the most interesting Texas Methodist educational institutions was Kidd-Key College and Music Conservatory located in Sherman. The institution, which began as the Sherman Male and Female High School, became the North Texas Female College in 1874. It failed in 1886. The North Texas Conference did not give up. Bishop C. B. Galloway recommended Lucy Ann Thornton Kidd as a proven educational leader who could revive the school. At the time Kidd was widowed and was directing Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Kidd was successful in breathing new life into the institution. Soon it was being advertised as North Texas Female College and Music Conservatory. In 1892 Kidd married Bishop Joseph S. Key.

The NTFC&MC’s heyday was the first decade of the 20th century. Its peak enrollment was 521. The curriculum was not the general classical liberal arts and sciences of the other Texas Methodist colleges. It was designed to educate young women to become genteel Southern ladies, in other words a Methodist finishing school. Music dominated the curriculum. The school boasted 120 high quality pianos and some of the best music educators of the era. Kidd-Key travelled extensively in Europe to recruit her conservatory faculty.

As demand for such education declined, so did the enrollment. President Kidd-Key died in 1916. In 1919 there was another name change, this time to Kidd-Key College and Conservatory. The college continued to decline during the 1920s and 1930s. During the 1930s Methodist support ceased, and the school closed. The property was sold to the city of Sherman for a municipal center in 1937. The college buildings no longer exist.

At a ceremony on June 4, 1938, the alumnae of Kidd-Key and its predecessor institutions were adopted by SMU. Alumnae were given new diplomas and membership in a special Alumnae and Ex Students Association. The archives of both the college and that association are deposited at DeGoyler Library at SMU.


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