During the Great Depression, the Appleblossom Club named for Michigan’s state flower, was a part of Central State Teachers College in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Department of Rural Education. It was composed of about one eighth of the total enrollment of Central, and had representatives from each department and class on campus. High scholastic achievement was a prerequisite for Club membership. The Club was affiliated with the American Country Life Association. It was also called the Appleblossom Corporation.
Dr. Smith came to Central from Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, Kansas. His spirit and enthusiasm were contagious and membership of the Club quickly grew. The Club was divided into those who wished to serve in various fields. The Appleblossom Players included an orchestra, a girls’ glee Club, a boys’ chorus, several plays, operettas, and individual numbers. These are combined into suitable programs, which are presented to rural audiences throughout the state of Michigan, the U.S., and Canada. In 1931 and 1932 it produced 50 programs in rural districts to approximately 6,000 people. Central furnished transportation for the head of the department, Dr. M.L. Smith, and his students as they toured Michigan from June to September. The club’s slogan on the side of the bus read, “Better schools for country children.”
The Club’s welfare department included two divisions, clothing and shoe repair. It remade clothes, prepared new clothes, and repaired shoes for needy children in Isabella County. Students studying journalism wrote the monthly newspaper, which reported Club news and opinions on a variety of topics. The paper was distributed to colleges and universities throughout the United States. Over 500 issues were mailed monthly.
In addition, Club members also helped welcome and orient freshman students at Central, tutoring them as needed. The Club also owned a summer activities camp on the Tittabawassee River.
The Club was dissolved in 1954. (Most of the above information taken from a ca.1933 Club history by Mary Burnell, Class of 1933, President of the Club, 1930-1931.)