When Mattie Crump retired in 1967, one hundred of her former students and colleagues—some coming from as far as Florida and California—turned out to honor her at a gala recognition dinner.
Mattie Gay Crump was born on July 26, 1897, in Centralia, Missouri, the only daughter of Robert and Wilmoth Crump. She was graduated from the Brown Business School and Illinois Wesleyan University. Later, she earned her M.A. from the School of Journalism of Missouri University.
In 1926, she came to Saginaw to teach journalism and English at Arthur Hill and she taught there for 41 years. She also supervised the Arthur Hill News and the yearbook, the Legenda. She started and sponsored the Treanor Chapter of Quill and Scroll which won the prestigious George H. Gallup Award, an international honor in scholastic journalism. She created the Arthur Hill Honor Alumnus program and supervised its selections and ceremonies over the years.
Her most famous student, Edmund C. Arnold, known as “the father of modern newspaper design,” and responsible for designing more than 250 newspapers on several continents, said of her, “I learned more from her in journalism than in any other class I ever took…She taught the kids more than just the nuts and bolts of journalism, she taught responsibility. That was the best part of the curriculum.”
He also told an interviewer that his influence would never stretch as far as Mattie, “the woman who ran Room 117 at Saginaw’s old Arthur Hill School where she held down the Arthur Hill News through the Depression, World War II and well into the Vietnam era.”
C. Marshall Matlock, Associate Professor of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University said, “When you talk about the innovations in scholastic journalism, she is at the very head of the list. For Michigan, she was ‘it.’” Jane L. Briggs-Hunting, Director of the Michigan State University School of Journalism said, “She was truly one of the mothers of scholastic journalism…and she pushed for equality for women in journalism.”
Mattie Crump was on the staff of the University of Michigan School of Journalism summer school programs in 1956, 1957, 1963 and 1964 and conducted seminars and workshops for high school students and advisors at Saginaw Valley State College, Central Michigan University, Northwood Institute and several out-state colleges.
Her major honors included the Golden Pen Award as the outstanding journalism teacher in Michigan, the Journalism Education Association Medal of Merit, and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Golden Crown Award as one who shaped scholastic journalism from 1925 to 1975.
She was recognized as a pioneer in scholastic journalism by the National Scholastic Press Association. Active in Saginaw civic affairs, Mattie Crump was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, the Saginaw Historical Society, Michigan Intercollegiate Press Association, the Saginaw Genealogical Society, and the American Association of University Women.
A founding member of Pit and Balcony, she spent years of backstage work and an occasional appearance on stage. In addition, she carefully saved newspaper accounts and every program from 1932 to 1982. Her foresight made it possible for P & B to publish a complete record of its plays and people for its 50th anniversary. The publication was dedicated to her.
She died on November 7, 1983. After her death, Mattie Crump was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
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