Project Home List of Names Rollins Archives Olin Library Rollins College

Ida May Missildine (1869-1963):

First Graduate of Rollins


On November 14, 1869, near Iberia, Missouri, Reverend Alfred H. and Anna Stuart Missildine gave birth to Ida May Missildine.  Reverend Alfred’s occupation called for constant relocation, and by 1979, the family moved the Charleston, South Carolina, and soon after to Tryon, North Carolina.  Just a few years later, in 1887, the family relocated again, this time to Winter Park, Florida.

During this time, Ida May had hopes of attending Wellesley Preparatory School, but because of her early interest in music, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida seemed to be a better fit.  She enrolled in the College in 1887, where she took voice and piano lessons.[1] In 1890, just three years later, she completed her studies, and along with Clara Guild, became one of two members of the first graduating class of Rollins College.  Upon completion of her A.B. degree, Ida May remained at the College for another year, where she served as assistant teacher of piano. Following this, she studied for another year, from 1891-1892, at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.  She then taught music at Converse College in South Carolina for another two years, and later worked with private teachers in New York.  In 1894, Missildine continued her education in Berlin, where she studied under the tutelage of Professor Klindworth. 

At the turn of the century, Missildine made her home in Missouri, where she began to formally teach students how to play the organ.  Just six years later, in 1916, she served as organist for the First Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood, Missouri.  There she gained considerable repute as an organist, and forty years later, in 1957, retired with the title of “Organist Emeritus” and with a $100 a month pension for life.[2]  That same year, she also received the Rollins Decoration of Honor, marking the sixty-seventh anniversary from the College.  Just a few years before, on her fiftieth anniversary from the College, she received the honor scroll for the Rollins College Golden Circle.[3]                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Rollins Reunion Weekend, 1957

Rollins continued to request her presence at their reunions, but illness struck Missildine, confining her to her Edgewater home in Missouri.  Soon after, due to a stroke, Missildine was transferred to Rock Hill Resting Home, a nursing facility about 15 minutes from her residence.  On April 17, 1963, Ida May Missildine passed away.  Family members gathered two days later to lay her body to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery, Kirkwood, Missouri.  For those that knew her the best regarded her as the person who created, “harmonies of just those of music; they have also been harmonies emanating from the soul of an artist who have enriched the lives of her fellowmen.”[4]

Missildine pictured with Mrs. Thayer, 1954

- Alia Alli

[1] Grill Fontaine, “Missouri Visitor Sees Great Change In Rollins College Since the 1800s,” The Corner Cupboard, August 19, 1954, p. 11.

[2] Rollins Alumni Record, “1890’s Graduate Visits Campus,” October 1954, Department of Archives and Special Collections, Box 150E, Olin Library, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

[3] “Decoration of Honor Conferred on Ida May Missildine,” Charter Day Convocation, April 28, 1957.

[4] President McKean, “Ida May Missildile’s Sixty-Seventh Anniversary of Her Graduation,” April 28, 1957, Department of Archives and Special Collections, 150E, Olin Library, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

Project Home List of Names Rollins Archives Olin Library Rollins College