With a song in her heart: Mary Unger Holloway ’28
Mary wrote the lyrics of the song for Bradley’s first original musical comedy, Come Across, and someone in the music department wrote the melody. It all began the day that Charles Lindbergh landed his solo flight. Mary vividly recalls, “We were sitting on the bleachers, when Nadine Cragg, the women’s athletic coach, tried to convince me to clean her apartment for a party she had planned.
I told her I didn’t come to college to learn how to clean apartments, but I would referee a team for her instead, even freshman hockey. I liked Nadine a lot. She made me do things I didn’t know I could do. And that’s what I still try to do around here.”
Mary never did clean Coach Cragg’s apartment, but at Cragg’s request, Mary contributed to the Women’s Athletic Association in a manner more suitable to her talents. She wrote an all-female-cast musical comedy that benefited the athletic fund. Adds Mary, “When she asked me in May to have the first act finished by September, I thought she was kidding. But in September, she called and asked for the first act.” Since Mary was an English major and wrote the humor column, “In Sane Moments” for the student newspaper, the Bradley Tech, it wasn’t too hard for her to write the play, but she admits to finishing it the day before it was performed.
“What made the play such a success was that so many students and faculty from a variety of departments contributed to it and wanted it to succeed. Everyone, including the manual training students who created some special effects that involved a magic moon, enjoyed the experience. We got everybody in on it, everybody contributed, and everybody wanted it to succeed. Parents wanted to see it. The best way to get full cooperation is to get everyone into the picture. Most people have talent they don’t know they have,” says Mary.
According to the April 19, 1928 issue of The Bradley Tech, “Mary Unger is the author, general manager, and leading light of the show.” The article also touted that well-known Chicago costumer, Lester, provided the extravagant costuming in the play.
Georgetown University. She worked for five years during the 1930s at the Washington Times Herald for “the experience and to learn,” before going to work for the federal government for 30 years in the General Accounting Office, an arm of Congress. Unger received a framed award from the Civil Service for a major project she developed before her retirement. The award hangs next to one of many intricate needlepoint designs she has stitched over the years.
Find out how to help support the Cullom-Davis Library. Go>
Write to the Editor
Send us your thoughts on all topics in Hilltopics Online, including ideas for future articles, news or a University–related issue.
Get Update Notices
Subscribe to receive e-mail notices when the online magazine is updated.