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Delta Kappa Gamma Society International

Zeta State 

 Zeta State History

    The formation of Zeta State in Mississippi became a reality when Dr. Annie Webb Blanton, national founder and national president until May 1933, and Miss Norma Smith of Alabama contacted the Mississippi Department of Education asking for names of leading women educators worthy of membership in this new society, Delta Kappa Gamma.  Names were submitted, recommendations made, and invitations sent to teachers who wished to become Mississippi State founders. 

    On April 21, 1934, the national president of Delta Kappa Gamma, Miss Norma Smith, conducted the initiation of founders and organized Zeta State at a meeting at the Edwards Hotel in Jackson.

    Zeta State Founders

    Dr. Clytee Evans, President Miss Amanda Lowther
    Mrs. Edna Simmons Campbell Mrs. Laura T. Martin
    Miss Oline Coffee Miss Elaine Massey
    Miss Annie Mary Covington Dr. Belvidera Parkinson, Honorary
    Miss Ella May Cresswell Miss Hallie Mary Prather
    Dr. Georgia L. Tatum Hoskin Mrs. Lena M.A. Taggert
    Miss Laura Lester  

    Zeta State has usually held one or more meetings a year since its organization in 1934.  These meetings were held in different parts of the state usually one in the northern part, then central and southern parts. 

    In 1987 during the presidency of Jessie Everett, the state divided into three districts with district meetings held on even numbered years.  This all became a reality in 1988 during the presidency of Evelyn Barron.  District directors and assistant directors were appointed and plans for the first meetings were started in the spring of that year.  Since there was no state meeting that year, the Executive Board met in Jackson. 

    The first leadership workshop designed for chapter presidents, program chairmen, and membership chairmen was held during the presidency of Jessie Everett in 1987.  This continues today as a useful tool in the success of Delta Kappa Gamma in Mississippi. 

    Members are encouraged to attend all meetings.  Zeta State leaders have always provided some time for fellowship in all of these activities.  This gives members the opportunity to share ideas and develop friendships. 

Welcome / History / Officers / Committees / Calendar / Zeta Data / Photos

       Updated November 15, 2006


    The thirteen founders of Zeta State were outstanding women recognized for their continuing services to education in a variety of fields.  Two were prominent as music instructors -- one at the University of Mississippi and the other in Hinds County.  The four in elementary education served as teachers, supervisors or principals.  Two of the elementary supervisors soon began working in higher education -- one at Memphis State Teachers College and the other at Wilson Teachers College in Washington, D.C.

    The three founders in the field of home economics contributed appreciably to the building and constant growth of the Extension Service and the 4-HClubs in Mississippi.  One founder was a long-time successful teacher of English in the junior high schools of Jackson.  The final three attained eminence in particular areas of college teaching – biology at Mississippi State College for Women, history at Delta State, and psychology at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.  Although some of the founders moved to other states to pursue their careers, several remained in Mississippi and worked tirelessly to promote the growth of Zeta State.  Amanda Lowther is the one founder with the enviable record of active participation in all phases of the work for a half-century.  Each founder also contributed a vital part to the history of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.  A biographical sketch of each founder is proof of her value to educational progress in both the state and the nation.



    Mrs. Campbell, better known to Mississippians as Edna Simmons, a supervisor of elementary education in Hinds County and a president of the Mississippi Education Association (now Mississippi Association of Educators), was a native of Pike County.  The daughter of William E. and Elizabeth Covington Simmons of Simmonsville, she finished high school in Magnolia in 1914 and began her teaching career that same year.  For fourteen years she taught in the public schools of Mississippi, mostly in Pike and neighboring counties.  Many of the summers of those years she spent in study at Tulane, State Teachers College (later Mississippi Southern College and now University of Southern Mississippi) and Peabody.  She received her B.S. degree from Peabody in 1928 and her M.A. from there in 1932.  In 1928, Miss Simmons became the elementary supervisor for the Hinds County Department of Education.  The effectiveness of her work in this position was pointed out in a resolution passed by the Board of Trustees and sent to her by Superintendent F. M. Coleman.  The resolution stated in part:

    For seven years she has given her time and ability to the youth of Hinds County.  Her radiating personality and thorough-going knowledge of child psychology and modern educational procedure has materially affected the life and development of every child in Hinds County.  The Board recognizes in Miss Simmons rare qualities of leadership.  Every teacher in the county is a better teacher today because of her work with them.  The Board commends her to others with whom she may work as being a Christian woman of unquestioned character and of great possibilities for further growth and development.

    She was also a leader in professional organizations.  In 1933, she was elected vice-president of the Mississippi Education Association and elevated to its presidency for the 1934-1935 school year.  She moved to Virginia in 1935 to accept an appointment to the faculty of State Teachers College at Fredericksburg, where she taught for one year.  In December of 1936, she became Director of the Demonstration School, Wilson Teachers College, Washington, D.C.  While in Washington, she received a leave of absence to serve for a year as executive secretary of the department which later became the Department of Curriculum and Supervision of the National Education Association.

    When Miss Simmons left Mississippi the year following her initiation as a Zeta State founder, she transferred her Delta Kappa Gamma membership to Beta Chapter in Washington, D.C.  In 1939, she was named a member of the National Scholarship Committee by Dr. Maycie Southall, while Dr. Southall was national president of Delta Kappa Gamma.  In addition to her participation in professional organizations, she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, Business and Professional Women's Club, Eastern Star and several garden clubs.  She wrote for magazines, including Childhood Education and The Normal Instructor.  Further information, about her may be found in Who's Who Among American Women.  In February 1941, she resigned her position in Washington and married

    Dr. Doak Campbell, Dean of the Graduate School of Peabody College, who soon became the president of Florida State College for Women.  Capable, versatile and armed with her experiences from former positions of importance, the new Mrs. Campbell fulfilled her responsibilities as the wife of a college president with insight and vigor.  In addition to her duties, however, she found the time to pursue many of her major interests and to engage in projects in a wide variety of fields.  As a horticulturist, she worked diligently on the beautifying of the university campus.  As an avid athletic fan, especially for football and baseball, she was responsible for converting an old athletic field into one which could be used.  After the death of her husband in 1973, she continued her varied activities.  She did the research and authored several books on genealogy, mostly for family and friends. Her death occurred in Tallahassee on August 2, 1978.

    Several present-day members of Zeta State, including Mrs. Vivian Valentine of Meridian, remember this founder and speak very highly of her.  Mrs. L. O. Todd, Gamma Chapter, knew Edna Simmons as a president of the Mississippi Education Association.  In 1983, Mrs. Elise Curtis, Psi Chapter, made the following comments:

    In 1934, when I married and went back to Utica to live, Edna Simmons was Supervisor of Elementary Education in Hinds County.  I had been trained for a language --English, French, Latin -- teacher, but was offered a place in my home-town school to teach fourth grade.  When I met Miss Simmons and talked with her about my new assignment, she asked how she could best help me.  I answered "Would you teach some classes and let me observe?" She planned a complete schedule and taught an entire day. This was more beneficial to me than a year of college work.  I truly appreciated Edna Simmons Campbell, and I never failed to remind her and many others of the wonderful help she gave me in the teaching field. She was truly a great educator.

    Dr. Virginia Felder, a past president of Zeta State, recently described her meeting with this founder:

    I was attending an education dinner of some sort in Jackson where I had the good fortune to be seated next to Edna Simmons Campbell.  As we native Mississippians do, we introduced ourselves and on naming our native towns found we were neighbors.  She was from Tylertown and I from between Magnolia and Tylertown.  Then began a series of "Do you know. . . ." and we found we both knew many persons in common.  She was warm, friendly and attractive.  I was a young junior college teacher struggling to become like her -- knowledgeable, charming and successful.  The fact that Edna Simmons Campbell made such an impression on me is evidence of why she was chosen to be one of Zeta State's Delta Kappa Gamma Founders.



    Miss Oline Coffee was a founder who continued to be a motivating force in the growth of Delta Kappa Gamma in Mississippi throughout her life.  A regular attendant at state meetings, she served Zeta State as parliamentarian in 1938, initiation chairman in 1942 and second vice-president in 1944.  She was president of Eta Chapter for the 1945-47 biennium.  Born in Selma, Alabama, the daughter of Richard Freeman and Mamye Marshall Coffee, Oline moved to Tupelo when quite young and lived there most of her life. She received her degree from Mississippi Southern College and did graduate work at the University of Michigan.  She taught at  Mooreville, Columbus, Belzoni, and Okolona before returning to Tupelo to become the first elementary supervisor of Lee County, a position she held for two years.  She served for about thirty years as principal of Church Street Primary School in Tupelo.  Recognized as a capable professional educator, she was a member of local, state and national education associations.  Mrs. Arcadia H. Morgan, a member of Eta Chapter, made the following statement in 1983 about Miss Coffee:

    She was a dedicated educator.  At the time of her retirement patrons of the Church Street School paid tribute to her, expressing their appreciation for her long years of service and untiring efforts on behalf of the students who attended that school.  Among other gifts, she received a beautiful fur coat. 

    In Tupelo Miss Coffee was a member of the As You Like It Club, the Pilot Club International and the First Methodist Church.  She enjoyed several years of happy retirement in her home on Main Street in Tupelo before her death on June 16,1967.  As the last survivor of her immediate family, she made provisions and plans for a substantial portion of her estate to go to her church and to Traceway Manor, a home for the elderly, in which she was vitally interested.  An article in the July 12, 1968, edition of The Daily Journal, Tupelo, gives details:

    Miss Coffee became a member of First Methodist Church early in life and was an active member for some 60 years.  In later life she became increasingly interested in the church's ministry to older adults and particularly Traceway's contribution to this age group.  From her estate, she left $30,000 to be divided equally between First Methodist and Traceway.  The Rev. J. E. Long, as Traceway director, said a part of the money will go to purchase some of the needed furniture for the Manor apartments.  Rev. Garland Holloman, pastor, stated in the church publication, Tidings, September 22, 1968, that the church's share, $15,000,was applied toward the indebtedness on the Education Building.  He also reported that the administrative board had voted to name the church library The Oline Coffee Library "as an appropriate and permanent memorial in our Church to Miss Coffee who as teacher and principal influenced for good the lives of several generations of Tupelo children."



    Miss Mary Covington, the supervisor of elementary education in Lee County at the time of her initiation, was the first treasurer of Zeta State.  As she moved before Eta Chapter was formed, she remained a state member and was never a member of a Mississippi chapter.  A native of College Grove, Tennessee, Miss Covington received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Peabody College. After working for several years in Lee County, she returned to Tennessee in 1939.  Her address is listed in the 1940 Zeta State Directory as Teachers College, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Later she became a professor of elementary education at Memphis State College, but declining health forced early retirement for her.  Mrs. Arcadia H. Morgan, a charter member of Eta Chapter, who taught in the McGaughy and Mooreville schools in the county and then for twenty-five years in the Tupelo Public Schools, knew this founder personally and thought a great deal of her.  She recalls the very helpful materials which Miss Covington developed and gave to the elementary teachers in the county.  In 1983 Mrs. Morgan conferred with several of her co-workers who remember her and described Miss Covington in the following way:

    She was a conscientious, hard-working, very efficient elementary supervisor who was trying to bring all of the work in the elementary schools in the county up to standard.  In addition to the basics, she emphasized cultural and aesthetic values, particularly painting and literature.



    Miss May Cresswell, for twenty-six years state home demonstration agent with headquarters at Mississippi State College (now Mississippi State University), was an outstanding person who had an interesting career and received many honors.  In 1949, she was the third woman in the nation to be granted the United States Department of Agriculture "Superior Service Award."  She was the first woman in the state to be given a plaque from the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation for "Meritorious Service to Agriculture."  In 1953 she was named' 'Woman of the Year" by Progressive Farmer magazine.  A native of Washington County, Miss Cresswell was the daughter of Oliver May and Ella Meek Baker Cresswell, who lived on a farm near Belzoni.  She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1909 and did additional study there and at the University of Chicago.  After her sophomore year in college, she taught in a one-teacher country school in Lafayette County for thirty-five dollars a month for a five-month term.  Later she rejoiced when she was elected to teach in high school at Oxford at sixty dollars per month.  She taught three years in Meridian and one year in Hamilton, Alabama.  Miss Cresswell left the classroom and began pioneering in a new kind of voluntary, informal education when she entered agricultural extension work in her home county in 1917.  She served as county home demonstration agent in Washington, Sunflower and Leflore counties.  From 1924 until 1929, she was district agent in Northwest Mississippi. In 1929, she became state home demonstration agent and worked in this capacity until her retirement in 1955.  In October 1935, she began a one-year leave of absence

    to serve as regional chief in charge of home management for the Resettlement Administration, later named Farm Administration. During that year she traveled extensively in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, seeking to improve the living conditions of hundreds of farm families in deprived areas.  The April 1955 issue of Zeta Data contains some pertinent information about Miss Cresswell and her work in extension:

    Many difficulties faced her in her early work.  Not the least of these were the almost impassable country roads which she negotiated in her Model T Ford affectionately named "Boll Weevil."  But in the midst of the hysteria of World War I, she found the women eager to learn more about food production and preservation and to follow her leadership in all war drives.  She organized canning clubs within the first few weeks.  Later she was instrumental in organizing the first P.T.A. in Washington County, the purpose being to provide a hot dish at noon for students.  Highlights of her career have been helping large numbers of people in time of emergency.  After she was promoted to district agent for the Delta area in 1924, the great Mississippi River flood of 1927occurred.  Four counties under her supervision were completely inundated and seven were partially under water.  She helped organize food preparation and clothing repair and distribution at the Greenville Camp, inhabited by 10,000 refugees, and guided her home demonstration agents in serving other camps.  In recognition of her successful leadership, Miss Cresswell was named state home demonstration agent in 1929.  This was just in time to help people meet the problems of the depression of 1929.

    As a founder of Zeta State, Miss Cresswell was first vice-president, 1935-1938, and became a charter member of Alpha Chapter in 1938.  She contributed considerably to the growth of the Society.  Active in the Starkville Methodist Church, Business and Professional Women's Club, American Association of University Women, Miss Cresswell served a term as president of the Mississippi Home Economics Association.  Upon retirement in 1955, she moved to Belzoni and died there on October 19, 1962. Mississippi State University named a dormitory for Miss Cresswell in 1963.



    Dr. Clytee Evans of Columbus was chosen as the first president of Zeta State in April 1934, but resigned from the office in November 1935.  She became a charter member of Alpha Chapter when it was installed in 1938.  Dr. Evans was graduated from Industrial Institute and College, which subsequently became Mississippi State College for Women and more recently Mississippi University for Women.  She received her M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1921 and in 1930 respectively.  She became a member of the faculty of her Alma Mater in 1912, was named head of the biology department in 1932 and remained in this position until her retirement in the late 1950's.  She taught for a total of forty-nine years.  She was in a nursing home for several years before her death on September 20, 1981. The obituary which appeared in the Tupelo Journal at the time of her death gave her age as ninety-one and named her survivors as a sister, Mrs. Charles Justice of West Point, and a nephew, Felix Rutledge, of Tupelo.  She was buried in Houston. Additional information about Dr. Evans is in the section on state presidents in this history.



    Dr. Georgia Lee Tatum, for many years a professor of history at Delta State Teachers College, Cleveland (now Delta State University), was the founder who became a charter member of Iota Chapter when it was installed in 1946.  Born in Blue Springs, Missouri, the daughter of David Franklin and Elizabeth Ann Tatum, Miss Tatum received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University and taught history in her home town before joining the Delta State faculty in 1926.  Her record at Delta State was noteworthy.  The Tatum wing of the Cain-Tatum Dormitory was named for her.  The Fall 1973 issue of Zeta Data contained the following excerpt from the program of the dormitory dedication ceremony which praised her very highly:

    Dr. Tatum was a beloved teacher, a wise counselor to students and colleagues, a careful and thorough scholar, a successful author, a founder and loyal supporter of professional organizations, and a generous contributor of time and means to church and civic groups. Her petite size, soft speech, refined manner, ready wit, and warm smile accentuated her scholarly attainments.  As one who considered teaching a privilege, Dr. Tatum found joy in directing and challenging inquiring minds and establishing high ethical standards. Students and colleagues are legion who recognized Dr. Tatum as a truly great teacher and friend.

    In 1983, Mrs. Nell Thomas, president of Lambda Chapter, Greenville, recalled her days as a student under Dr. Tatum at Delta State in the late 1930's and wrote:

    Miss Tatum was a very unassuming, unpretentious person.  Though she held her doctorate at the time I was in her class -- an era when few women in Mississippi held that degree, she quietly made it clear to us that she preferred "Miss" Tatum when we addressed her.  As I reflect now upon her ability, I realize she did not have to rely upon a degree as a crutch; she was "tops," degree or no degree.  I suppose the pedagogical mannerism -- and we all have some, I guess -- she exhibited in asking questions was her most memorable trait. You know she hailed from the Midwest and never lost that Midwestern nasal twang.  And that twang was never more pronounced than when she asked, "And what else, Mrs. Thomas?"  For instance, in medieval history she never assigned more than four pages for one class session.  But she assigned those four pages expecting the student to know every word -- and I mean every word a, an, the -- as well as what the student could or should infer between the lines.  On more than one occasion, I tried to memorize every word in the lesson, hoping to hear her say at least once, "Yes, that's all."  Or not ask for once, "And what else?"  The most popular story, apocryphal, I'm sure, but eagerly welcomed by green underclassmen, was one about Dick Smith and an assignment.  As the story goes, Dick typed verbatim those four pages and read them verbatim when called upon.  (A classroom rule was that a student could use his notes in recitation but could not refer to the book -- "Books closed, class," she would begin.)  But in Dick's case, Miss Tatum's response was "And what else, Mr. Smith?"  Having taught some thirty-six years and having  matured slightly since then, I know now the rationale for, if not the answer to, her question.  Of course, we should have known more than just "what the book said"!   Miss Tatum was a grand lady, a true scholar, and a perceptive teacher. When Delta State University selected me as the outstanding alumnus of the year, I felt signally honored when Miss Tatum was selected to make the presentation! 

     In 1961, Dr. Tatum married Dr. E. J. Hoskin of Leland, after which they made their home in Blue Springs, Missouri. She died there on October 1, 1972.



    Miss Laura Lester was one of the two founders who became charter members of Beta Chapter in 1938.  The daughter of John Wallace and Willie Hunter Lester, she was born in Jackson August 5, 1889.  She attended Jackson schools, received a degree from Millsaps  College and did graduate work at the University of Chicago and Peabody College.  She began her thirty-eight-year teaching career in the Jackson Public Schools in 1906 and was principal of Poindexter School for twenty-one of those years.  Lois LaFollette, Beta Chapter, who was a student at Poindexter when Miss Lester was the principal and who later taught at Poindexter with her, emphasized her leadership qualities.  In 1983 she referred to Miss Lester as a principal who had the gift of teaching young teachers how to teach. She loved children and frequently took youngsters to her home for picnics. Lois remembers this founder as a truly unselfish, giving person who did not want others to give to her.  Dorothy Boyles, also of Beta Chapter, attended Poindexter when she was in the third grade. In the summer of 1983, she laughingly stated that she remembered being "scared to death" of Miss Lester at that time.  Active in community and church work, Miss Lester wrote a life of John Wesley for use in teaching in the Sunday School at the Capitol Street Methodist Church, where she was superintendent of the Intermediate Department for many years.  Her death came on May 12, 1944. The esteem in which she was held is evident in a resolution passed by the board of education of the city schools in tribute to her, which stated:

    Her faithful, energetic, and untiring service has had a far-reaching influence upon the lives of countless boys and girls who came under her tutelage and administration. The predominating motive of her life was to render the utmost service to both young and old, and the best energies of her life were given in selfless devotion to the realization of this ideal.  Her keen intellect and noteworthy skill as a teacher, reinforced by courage, patience, understanding, and willingness to serve her fellow men and her Divine Maker made her a towering leader in training boys and girls to assume the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  Her dynamic spirit radiated beyond the limits of the school, reaching with wholesome effects into the home and community life.

     In 1951 a newly-opened school in Jackson was named the Laura R. Lester Elementary School. 



    Miss Amanda Lowther has a longer record of continuing service to Delta Kappa Gamma than any of the other Zeta State founders.  A life-long resident of Jackson, she spent three years in the Preparatory School of Belhaven College, graduated from Central High School and received her B.S. degree from Millsaps College in 1927.  Her leadership abilities were evident in her participation in many activities as a college student.  She was president of her sorority, Kappa Delta, during her sophomore year and represented that group at a national meeting at Mackinac Island, Michigan, in the summer of 1925.  The next summer she represented the Millsaps Y.W.C.A. at the conference at Blue Ridge, North Carolina, and served as president of that organization the following year.  In the summer of 1929 she began graduate work at Peabody College, majoring in English, and received her M.A. degree from there in 1933.  While a student at Peabody she was initiated into Kappa Delta Pi, a national fraternity, based on scholarship.  Miss Edna Simmons was also initiated at this time, but she and Miss Lowther did not know each other.  Neither did they know that they would both soon be invited to become founders of Delta Kappa Gamma in Mississippi.  Miss Lowther began her teaching career in Bassfield.  From 1929, until her retirement in 1971, she was a junior high English teacher in the Jackson schools. She was chairman of the English Department of the Jackson Public Schools for three separate terms and chairman of the English Section of the Mississippi Education Association for two years.  She spent many of her summers doing additional graduate work at universities outside of the state.  Miss Lowther has held chapter and state offices in Delta Kappa Gamma, serving as the first president of Beta Chapter, as chapter treasurer for thirteen years, as state recording secretary for two years, and as president of Zeta State for the 1959-1961 biennium.

    The section on state presidents gives a full account of her many activities and services. 



    Noted for her vocal concerts and other contributions to music, Mrs. Laura T. Martin, the Zeta State second vice-president in 1938, was a native of Grenada and the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. E. B. Miller.  At the age of two, she moved with her family to West Point where her father was pastor of the Baptist church.  She attended Blue Mountain College for two years and received her B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi, her B.M. in voice from the Gunn School of Music and Dramatic Art in Chicago, and her M.M. with honors from the American Conservatory, Chicago.  She did additional study at Columbia University.  A lyric soprano, she gave numerous concerts in Mississippi, as well as two at the Century of Progress World's Fair and one at the Allerton Hotel in Chicago. Mrs. Martin taught voice and directed choruses at Clarksdale and at the University of Mississippi.  In 1930 she became the first head of the Department of Music at the University of Mississippi and spent seventeen years developing the work there.  For many years she directed a production of the "Messiah" on the campus.  She was also the director of the Men's Glee Club of the University of Mississippi and made a number of concert tours with this group.  In 1947, she gave up her position because of her husband's change of business and moved to Biloxi where he was a realtor.  In 1983, several Delta Kappa Gamma members in the Gulf Coast area contributed information about this founder.  Mrs. Eugene Van Hook Redding of Biloxi stated that she remembered Mrs. Martin quite well as a participant in Zeta Chapter functions.  Mrs. Inell Stevens, a former president of Zeta Chapter, showed several notes written by Mrs. Martin in the 1960's to thank the chapter for the many courtesies extended to her as a founder.  Mrs. Gloria Kelley, Psi Chapter, Gulfport, obtained a copy of the Gulf Coast newspaper, The Daily Herald, which contained a picture and a write-up of Mrs. Martin at her death on February 14, 1964. She died at a Biloxi hospital following a long illness. In addition to referring to her as a founder of Zeta State of Delta Kappa Gamma, the article states:

    Mrs. Martin is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, musical fraternity.  She joined the Biloxi Music Club after coming to the Coast.  She is a member of Chi Omega, National Society of Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution, Phi Eta Sigma, and Chapter D. Pea, Biloxi. Her husband, James A. Martin, Jr., and a brother, E. F. Miller, West Point survive.



    Miss Elaine Elizabeth Massey, as the second president of Zeta State, provided the dynamic leadership needed to help Delta Kappa Gamma in Mississippi progress from infancy to a strong, growing organization.  A native of Birmingham and the daughter of Charles Carter and Jessie Irene Pope Massey, Miss Massey moved to Meridian as a child.  After finishing high school in Meridian, she attended Brenau, Tulane, Mississippi State and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  She taught home economics in Camden, Mississippi, and Pelican, Louisiana, before becoming county home demonstration agent in Neshoba and Tallahatchie counties in Mississippi.  In 1923, she became the state 4-H Club leader for girls and held that position until 1946, when she was promoted to the position of district home demonstration agent of the South Mississippi District.  For her leadership and outstanding work in promoting the progress of 4-H Club work, she received honors at the state and national levels. In 1941 and in 1943, Mississippi had the most outstanding 4-H Club girl in the nation in the project achievement contest.  In 1945, Miss Massey was the Progressive Farmer's "Woman of the Year."  She was also a leader in professional organizations, serving as treasurer and president of the Mississippi Home Economics Association and state secretary-treasurer of Epsilon Sigma Phi, an Extension fraternity.  She was one of the five originators of the Mississippi Home Economics Scholarship Fund, being chairman of that scholarship committee three times.

    Her death came on March 9, 1957. 



    Dr. Belvidera Parkinson, born Belvidera Ashleigh Dry in Albemarle, North Carolina, the daughter of G. Martin and Laura Belvidera Dodge (Myers) Dry, received her B.A. degree from Flora McDonald College in 1906 and both the M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.  She did further graduate work at Peabody and Harvard University.  Dr. Parkinson taught in the public schools of North and South Carolina, at Chicora College (now Queen's College, Charlotte, North Carolina) and at Furman University. For two years she was director of research for the Alabama Education Association.  A member of Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Delta Pi, American Association of University Women, Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames and the Presbyterian Church, she is the author of numerous articles published in educational magazines. Listed in Who's Who in America, she has been teacher, lecturer, clubwoman, civic and religious leader, conductor of panels and forums, president of local groups -- religious, patriotic, civic, educational -- in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.  At the time of her initiation as the only honorary state founder of  Zeta State, Dr. "Dera" Parkinson was living in Columbus.  Her husband, Dr. Burney L. Parkinson, was president of Mississippi State College for Women for many years.  The date of her death was December 25, 1979.



    The second secretary of Zeta State, Miss Hallie Mary Prather, born in Franklin County on March 4, 1899, was one of the eleven children of James Clark and Ada Elizabeth Mullins Prather. After graduation from Meadville High School, she attended Mississippi State College for Women for two years and then transferred to Peabody College, where she earned her B.S. degree in 1928.  Later she studied at Mississippi State College and at the University of Alabama.  In the 1940's she completed requirements for vocational home economics, receiving her degree from Mississippi State College for Women.  At the time of her initiation as a founder of Zeta State, she was in home demonstration work in Tupelo.  She and her niece had a small building constructed in that city, in which they established a business known as the Ladies Curb Market, where fresh fruits and vegetables were sold. Her teaching activities and home demonstration work led her to posts in Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina and several high schools in Mississippi.  Dot Rieves and her husband taught with Miss Prather in Nettleton in the 1950's.

    Sarah Eykelboom knew her as a member of Epsilon Chapter.  At one meeting Mrs. Eykelboom recalls that Miss Prather presented every member present a copy of Streams in the Desert, a warm personal message being penned on each flyleaf.  Mrs. Christine Payne of Kosciusko, in writing the history of her chapter, stated that Miss Prather helped lay the foundation of Nu Chapter, became one of its charter members and served as second vice-president of the chapter.  This newly-organized chapter held its first regular meeting in Zama in April of 1954, with Miss Prather and Mrs. Gladys Mooney as hostesses.  Miss Prather is spending her retirement years in Brookhaven, where she is a member and regular attendant at Jackson Street United Methodist Church.  Mrs. Edna Cupit, president of Theta Chapter, visited her recently and invited her to attend chapter meetings.



    Mrs. Lena Mary Allison Taggart, daughter of J. T. and Ada Moore Allison, was born in El Reno, Oklahoma.  She attended Lindenwood College in Saint Charles, Missouri, before transferring to the University of Oklahoma, where she earned the degree of Bachelor of Music in Public School Music.  She did graduate work at Northwestern and at the University of California.  In Mississippi, Mrs. Taggart worked in the Hinds County Department of Education before leaving to become supervisor of music in Monrovia, California. After transferring her Delta Kappa Gamma membership, she was elected vice-president of Alpha Rho Chapter in California.  She moved back to her home state, Oklahoma, in 1967.  In 1983, Mrs. Elise Curtis, formerly of Beta but now of Psi Chapter, wrote about this founder:

    Lena Allison was Music Supervisor in Hinds County when I began teaching in Utica in 1934.  I asked her to let me observe her teach, but she insisted that I teach and let her observe.  I had no training in public school music and was very nervous and apprehensive when she first observed my work. However, she was most understanding and helpful. She encouraged and helped me in so many ways that (she said) I became a good public school music teacher! 

    She married Mr. Taggart after she left Hinds County.  Zeta State owes much to the thirteen founders, who were truly pioneers in education, as well as pioneers in organizing a unique society of key women teachers.  With pride in their heritage, present-day members of the Society in Mississippi often receive inspiration and encouragement as they review the accomplishments of the early leaders of Zeta State.