Mrs. Harold Jolley


Part One An Important Unknown

She has come to be known as Mrs. Harold D. Jolley, as her first name and maiden name have never been recorded in the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) archives; this is how she chose to be named during her short career at UNO.  There is very little about her in the University archives, and not much more can be found beyond them. Although much of her personal history has been obscured by time, Mrs. Harold D. Jolley’s contributions to UNO in its infancy cannot be ignored. She served as both an educator and a pioneer in the development of UNO’s School of Communication, a department that had yet to be fully developed in the 1920s. As a young female journalist, Jolley made her mark upon the University and has left a legacy that can be traced through the early annals of UNO.

Mrs. Jolley’s portrait as it appears on the School of Communication website

According to records from the NEGenWeb Project for Douglas County, Harold Dean Jolley, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, married a woman named Hazel O. Burch in 1917, which leads us to believe this is Mrs. Jolley’s birth name, although this cannot be confirmed. The U.S. Archives has a “Hazel O. Burch” recorded as an English and history teacher in St. Louis 1914–15, which may also indicate Mrs. Jolley was employed as a teacher before working at UNO. Harold attended Washington University in St. Louis in 1911, where he was in the Sigma Xi fraternity. He came to Omaha from St. Louis after securing a position as a chief engineer for Concrete Engineering Company of Omaha, a position he held from 1916 until 1923 (NEGenWeb Project). According to records, the couple was living in Douglas County in Nebraska in 1920; the NEGenWeb Project has Jolley’s address listed as 5649 Emile Street in Omaha, which may very well be where the Jolleys began their lives as a married couple.

During these years, UNO watched enrollment drop as students joined the war effort, either as soldiers or as workers in the war industry (Pollack and Valentine 16). After the World War I, the school was slowly recovering from low enrollment rates even as it suffered from financial shortfalls and a lack of space for an ever-increasing student body (Thompson 27).  The University of Omaha entered the 20s as the Municipal University of Omaha, a private institution (27).  In 1920, prohibition began, women could vote, and Mrs. Harold D. Jolley’s name first appeared at UNO, formerly Omaha University (OU). Before her arrival, however, OU’s journalism history had already begun with the emergence of several student-led publications.


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Part Two The YELLow Sheet

Although the true first student newspaper, The Boomerang, was published in 1910, it only survived one issue (Thompson 21). It was the YELLow Sheet, a student created underground newspaper first produced in 1911, which provided students with University news.The YELLow Sheet was published daily through 1922. It was named for the color of paper on which it was created and also because it “yelled” for football (“Our History”). It began as an anonymous publication that was usually typed but was also sometimes handwritten, with hand-drawn images. By 1912, the YELLow Sheet had gained administrative approval and became OU’s source for student news, but 1912 also brought out competition; in the fall, three new student publications were born: The White Hope, The Prep Star, and The Censor. However, none of these gained the popularity of the YELLow Sheet and soon