Helen Davault Williams

Director of Hickman Verse Speaking Choir

November 14, 2003
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You might remember these?

 Cresset Picure from 1963
Helen D. Williams was the Director of  the Verse Speaking Choir, at Hickman High School, until she retired in 1963.  For years I had wanted to contact Mrs. William's daughter, Emily Peirce, just to let her know how much I thought of her mother.  I finally started a search and located her in Maryland in March of 2002.  Emily is now 81 and just lost her husband, Brooke.  Emily still teaches in a college there three days a week.  When Mrs. Williams passed away there was some confusion and Emily thought the school did not want a picture of her mother displayed.  I contacted the new principal, Dr. Wanda Brown and she said the school would very much like to have a picture of Mrs. Williams displayed.  I went to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, April 12, 2003 and got a picture from her great nephew, Clinton Summers.  The picture was presented to her by the Class of 1948 at their 40th reunion.  The picture was Mrs. William's 1948 Cresset picture.  Mrs. Helen D. Williams was 95 when she passed away January 17, 1991.  (This picture and another piece which Mrs. Williams made were dedicated to the memory of Helen D. Williams, November 14, 2003.)

April 15, 2003 by Charley Blackmore

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Biography of Helen D. Williams

Helen Davault Williams was the third child of Rev. William A. and Margaret Emma Williford Davault.  She lived in Columbia, Missouri where she taught at Columbia High School and David H. Hickman High School from 1924-1963.  There she was director of speech activities and was vice-principal for 15 years.  In 1917 she was married to Charles H. Williams.  Their daughter, Helen Emily, now Mrs. Brooke Peirce, was head of the English Department of Baltimore University and her husband was head of English at Gaucher College.  Mrs. Williams graduated from Will Mayfield College and Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, then received her A. B. degree from Missouri University and a Master's degree from Washington University at St. Louis.  She was elected to the honor organizations of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta and Delta Kappa Gamma.  Her social sorority is Gamma Phi Beta an she was active in P. E. O. and Quota Club.  She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Columbia where she wrote and helped present a pageant on the history of the church for its sesqui-centennial.  While at Hickman High School, Mrs. Williams directed the senior plays, the assemblies and, for several years, coached the debate team.  She was most dedicated to the speech choir work because of the influence of beautiful poetry on her students and the joy it brought to audiences.  The following paragraphs from a program folder, used when the choir performed for a Summer Arts Festival in 1960 at the State University in Brockport, New York, tells of that achievement.  It said, "A combination of dancing, dramatics and narration is the basic make-up of the 115-member nationally known Hickman Verse Speaking Choir.  It has performed at the National Convention of Oral Reading Arts in Chicago and appeared before the National Insurance Convention at the Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis.  In New York State they presented programs at three branches of the State University, the Nazareth College at Rochester and Cornell University at Ithaca.  Mrs. Helen D. Williams, a teacher by vocation, is the originator, producer and director of the choir.  One of the highlights of her career was when she was commissioned by the Missouri State Teachers Association to write and present a choric drama for their centennial before 16,000 people."

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Johnny Appleseed & The Lonesome Train


Exclusive for devoted students of Helen D. Williams


If you were a member of Verse Choir
at Hickman High School,
you might remember "Johnny Appleseed"
"The Lonesome Train" or "Nellie Was A Lady"

Both were verse choir readings that Mrs. Williams used.

If you have in your possessions,
from your high school days, a copy
of either of these poems
(as arranged by Mrs. Williams),
please let me know.

Charley Blackmore
2312 Deer Creek Ct
Columbia, MO  65201-3564

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