The Way Back: All That Jazz

The Roaring ’20s permeated campus in a variety of ways, one of which was through Tex-ette, the state’s first coed jazz orchestra. Thanks to Tex-ette, one could dance the Charleston as easily in Austin as one could in, well … Charleston.

The band grew out of the Scottish Rite dormitory in 1922—in fact, all members were the daughters of freemasons. Led by pianist Bernice Milburn, these bob-sporting dapper flappers regularly played at the cafeteria but were also  hired for gigs around town. On one occasion, they provided musical accompaniment for a touring play. On another, they “proved a knockout” at a 1923 benefit for veterans of the First World War, which doubled as a fundraiser for the planned football stadium. It was organized by American Legion Post Commander Harry Moore, who was also publicity manager for the stadium fund drive.

Apparently, it wasn’t just the music that proved a knockout at the benefit: within a year Moore and Milburn were married. Their wedding took place the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day, 1924, which, as it turns out, was the first home game that UT held at the finished Texas Memorial Stadium.

After graduation, the duo moved to North Carolina to get their PhDs. When the Moores became the first couple on UNC campus to be awarded PhDs simultaneously, the two were affectionately called “a pair-o-docs” by their peers.

Photo courtesy the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.




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