The Woman’s Page of New Ideas in The Saint Paul Globe for July 24, 1904 contained an extensive list of ways a “girl” can earn money while in college.

Some Things a Girl Can Do to Work Her Way Through College

She can:

  • Do stenography and typewriting, report lectures, etc., etc.
  • Give dancing lessons in the college or to women and children in the vicinity.
  • Take charge of the college telephone at certain stated times, or attend in the library.
  • Frame pictures.
  • Make shirtwaists.
  • Play the gymnasium piano.
  • Help to take care of the laboratory apparatus.
  • Clerical work for the professors.
  • Tutoring – If she is strong in any special branch, such as mathematics or language.
  • Hairdressing and shampooing.
  • Expert manicuring.
  • Trim hats.
  • Make neckwear.
  • Take orders for negliges and kimonos.
  • Sell letter paper, soap, tooth powder or face cream as an agent.
  • Make curtains, draperies and couch covers.
  • Make sofa pillows.
  • Clean gloves and freshen faded millinery.
  • Take an agency for visiting cards engraved cards of different kinds and invitations.
  • Make tissue paper trifles for college festivities, and run “a line” of novelties in general.
  • Make gymnasium suits and other athletic garments.
  • Make pincushions, bureau covers, table covers, etc., for girls’ rooms.
  • Make a specialty of novel lamp shades and work them out in tissue paper, silk, beads, silk gauze, and the like. Candle shades, too, are sometimes In demand
  • Darn stockings and mending in general.
  • Brush and press clothes.
  • Design book plates’ for book enthusiasts.
  • Decorate rooms.
  • Cater for dormitory receptions.
  • Prepare end sell “souvenirs” made up of photographs representing interesting phases of the college year.
  • Do shopping on commission in town.



–The Saint Paul Globe, July 24, 1904

To give you some idea of what it took to gain admission and graduate from a respectable women’s college back then, take a look at the Admission and graduation requirements from the Pennsylvania College for Women Catalogue for 1900.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants for admission to the Freshman Class, must be at least sixteen years of age. Registration blanks will be provided by the College on application. These blanks, properly filled and signed, must be received by the President before September 1st. A registration fee of five dollars will be charged. This will be credited on the first payment for tuition, or speedily refunded if notification of withdrawal is sent before August 15th. No student will be entered for examination or accepted on certificate before the payment of this fee.

All applicants for admission, whether to the Freshman Class, to advanced standing, or to partial courses, must present satisfactory testimonials of good moral character. Those who come from other colleges must also bring certificates of honorable dismission. Admission to the Freshman Class may be gained either by examination or by presentation of certificate from an approved High School or Academy.

Requirements for Admission and for Graduation


Pennsylvania College for Women Catalog 1900

Pennsylvania College for Women Catalog 1900

Top image: Labor summer school for women workers, Bryn Mawr College – 1916.

%d bloggers like this: