Auburn Women

Gladys McCain Moncus ’23

By September 7, 2017 No Comments
McCain Bball

Gladys McCain ’23, front row center, was the Captain of the 1922 Women’s Basketball Team

Miss Gladys McCain

First Graduate in Home Demonstration Department of Auburn

from The Alabama Farmer 

Love for the common folks and those who toil brought to Auburn Miss Gladys McCain, who holds the unique distinction of being the first to receive a BS degree in Home Demonstration Department of Auburn. Miss McCain came to Auburn shortly after the establishment of the Department of Home Demonstration and has made an enviable record in class work and college activities, thereby setting an unusual mark for those ambitious girls who are so wise as to follow her course in the study of better homes and better home making.

No doubt many a fellow entranced by the charms of this fair lady has pondered long as to how he might become the fabled Lochinvar — the gallant knight only to find that he was dreaming idly. Gladys has a good word and a smile for all but she specializes in home demonstration and not in “hearts.”

Clay county, Alabama can claim with pride this talented young lady, as Clay is her home. Her childhood was spent on the farm largely. For high school work she went to the District Agricultural School at Lineville. For two years succeeding high school graduation she was a student at the State Normal at Jacksonville, Ala., receiving her diploma from that school in 1920. The year 1920-21 was spent in teaching economics in a county high school, winning for herself an excellent record as a teacher.

Gladys McCain '23

But she does not permit specialization to confine her to one thing alone for she is quite an athlete. At Jacksonville she was manager of the Girl’s Basketball team and captain of the Girl’s Basketball team at Auburn this year, earning the coveted honor — a letter in athletics.

She is a member of the Dramatic Club, Sigma Beta Delta Society and secretary of the Ag. Club.

When a department of Economics in The Alabama Farmer was established Miss McCain was the unanimous choice of the Board of Editor of the Department and The Alabama Farmer feels highly honored to have had her as the first editor of Home Economics and the first girl to be connected with our young publication, and we feel confident that great things are in store for this broad-visioned, kind hearted girl in her new field of service — the Home Demonstration work.

Gladys McCain '23

Senior Year, 1923

20 Pairs of Gloves Go To Washington With Her 

Twenty pairs of gloves went along in the suitcase of Mrs. Gladys McCain Moncus of Birmingham, on her way to Washington today. These gloves will help her to teach a new craft to rural girls from every section of the nation.

Mrs. Moncus, home demonstration agent for Jefferson County, was invited to tach glove-making to the girls at a two weeks’ national 4-H club camp in Washington. Two girls and two boys will represent each state’s clubs.

Since “teaching herself” to make gloves, Mrs. Moncus has fashioned them of pigskin, kid, suede, doeskin and fabric. She taught herself by ripping apart a pair of bought gloves and making a pattern from the pieces.

Now she has cut a pattern for every unusual size of glove. She makes them of soft leathers which will wash. Even now that she is an expert, it is slow patient work — requiring about a day to make one pair.

After the camp Mrs. Moncus will spend a week at the convention of the National Home Demonstration Agents Assn. in Bedford Springs, Pa., and another week in Pittsburgh at the meeting of the National Home Economics Assn. She is president of the Alabama branches of both groups.

Unusual Art of Glove-Making is Hobby of Mrs. Roy Moncus

the Shades Valley Sun Dec. 1, 1949

If an award was given for unusual hobbies, Mrs. J. Roy Moncus would be right in the “top drawer” bracket, and from that top drawer she would pull out a few hundred of the samples of her handiwork — handmade gloves.

Mrs. Moncus is known all over the country for her unusual hobby and has been associated with glove-making ever since she attended Columbia University. The most outstanding student in her graduating class at Auburn, Mrs. Moncus later went to Columbia University to obtain her masters degree in textiles and clothing.

As part of her field work at Columbia, Mrs. Moncus was a glove shopper for an exclusive New York shop, Mary Woll’s. Seeing and shopping for gloves Mrs. Moncus came to the conclusion that she could make them herself for one-tenth the price tagged on these imports from Australia and the Sudetenland.

And that’s how her interest first originated. Since that time Mrs. Moncus has made hundreds of pairs of gloves of all kinds of leather, all sizes, all shapes. She makes all her own patterns and a quick handshake will just about tell her what size gloves you wear. However, Mrs. Moncus is not interested in commercializing on her hobby.

“I enjoy making gloves,” Mrs. Moncus said, ” but only as a hobby.” She has had the opportunity many times to commercialize on her art, but she prefers to make gloves only for herself and the family and for friends at Christmas time. Year before last, in fact, she made 14 pairs of gloves for Christmas presents.

Although She is not interested in money for her hobby (she has never received money for any pair of gloves she has made) Mrs. Moncus likes to teach glove-making to interested persons. She is very interested in education and is never happier than when she is extending her knowledge of this fine art to students.

Several years ago, when she was in Washington D.C., Mrs. Moncus taught two pupils from each state in the nation glove-making. She still corresponds with many of them and gets her remuneration from their interest. She has sent exhibits on request to Puerto Rico, University of Alaska, Australia and Washington D.C. and while in Washington made a pair of white pigskin gloves for Eleanor Roosevelt, which she presented to her in front of a motion picture camera.

In Birmingham, Gladys McCain Moncus is well-known as a field research worker with the Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics, USDA. At home she is known as “mom” to three children, Jimmy, 8, Mac, 7, and Mary Tobye Lee, 3.

Mrs. Moncus, with all her teaching, including women all over Birmingham and Jeffrerson County, says she can’t put her gloved finger on more than two or three pepole who really know how to make gloves correctly. The first step in the process is cutting the glove pattern; the second the cutting of the animal skin with a razor-edge needle; the third step hand-stitching with linen-finish thread.

The hardest part of the process is the cutting. According to this hobbyist, animal skin stretches in one direction only, and the gloves have to be cut so that the stretching part goes around the hand.

Gladys McCain '23

The basic pattern is all all in one piece including the four fingers and the part which surrounds the hand. Two other parts to the pattern, the thumb and the gussets, are sewn separately. Gussets are the pieces which fit in between the fingers.

At present, Mrs. Moncus has extended her knowledge of leatherwork into the field of pocketbook-making. She is Den Mother of Cub Scout Pack 306 and is teaching the boys how to make leather pocketbooks for their mothers. They’re having a lot of fun with it too. Mrs. Moncus has also worked with girls camps doing leatherwork.

She can make a pair of gloves in one day, but with all her glove-making she has never made a pair of fancy gloves or cloth gloves. She sticks to leather, good leather, not imitation, and can produce a pair for about $1.25.

She feels that no one can be happy without a hobby. Hers is unusual but in the past years made money for her, as she has never had to buy a pair of gloves for her or her family.

Besides her glove-making Mrs. Moncus finds time for her work and her family, is a member of the Edgewood Garden Club, active in the State Home Economics Assn., the State Joint Legislative Council, AAUW, the PTA, the Birminghan Civic Club, Birmingham Home Economics and Business Club and the Methodist church.

So if an award is ever given for unusual hobbies, cast a vote for Mrs. Moncus, because the title would “fit her like a glove.”