From the December 1942 issue of Carolina Magazine:
THE Carolina coed is going to war. Shoved into relative obscurity by the more immediate problem of expanding the Pre-Flight school, temporarily subordinated to the outcome of the 18-19-year-old draft legislation, the question of the coed’s status in Carolina’s war college, her ultimate fate in the university’s new educational system is at last coming into the limelight.
The accelerating tempo of the war has brought an unprecedented challenge to every woman in every college and university in the country, and women students here, as their sister students elsewhere, are demanding answers to their questions, “What is going to happen to us? Will we be allowed to remain at Carolina? Where will we go next year — or next quarter even?”
The actual truth of the matter is — nobody knows.
Rumors as to what the future holds for the coed have flown from Graham Memorial to Woollen gym, back across by the naval area and up through the quadrangle. The most famous of these came from a small campus group which divulged the confidential information that all coeds were to be packed in the proverbial lock, stock and barrel manner and sped to the fair city of Greensboro where they would be allowed to pursue their various studies beneath the quiet and pensive oaks on ye olde Woman’s College campus. Upon receipt of this choice bit of news the irate populace of Alderman, McKeever and Archer House promptly made frantic plans for revolution should execution of such a threat be attempted.
Next rumor on the hit parade, eventually squelched by the inhabitants of Kenan, Spencer and the sorority houses, had it that coeds would be kicked off the campus, bounced out of town, chased beyond the county limits, and there left to shift for themselves, preferably in the direction of an East Carolina tobacco patch or a New England airplane factory.
From the office of the dean of the War College comes the only official word on the subject of coeds and their place in the future of the university. The statement issued by Dean Bradshaw is brief almost to the point of disappearance. “We know nothing definite. Your officials are in constant touch with the proper authorities and as soon as we learn anything at all conclusive we will immediately pass it on to the student body. The main problem facing us at this time is where we can house eight bundled women when the Pre-Flight school takes over their dormitories.” He did not say if the Pre-Flight school takes over the dormitories.
In the meantime, the war goes on. What are the coeds, as an integral part of the student body, going to do?
In the first place, at the end of this quarter there must, of necessity, be a complete reconsideration of the academic program for women. In order to remain as students at Carolina, women will have to adapt their scholastic schedules to meet the demands of the speeded up war program. In place of excessive liberal art courses must come classes in mathematics, sciences, foreign languages, and social services. Training in fields branded as temporarily unnecessary will be slashed to a minimum; concentration will be on the nation’s needs in health fields, in diplomatic services and special investigations, in scientific research, in business and industry and in trained personnel for schools and colleges.
The increasing- urgency for preparing women now for what lies immediately ahead cannot be stressed too emphatically. Dr. Edward C. Elliott, Chief of the Division of Technical and Professional Personnel of the War Manpower Commission, recently stated, “All women college students are under obligation to participate directly either in very necessary community service, in war production or in service with the armed forces.”
By no means does this indicate that sight is being lost of the values of education, especially of the college education; it is held at a premium. There is no retraction of nor lessening of emphasis on the statement that the reservoir of educated leadership must be maintained. For those upon whose shoulders will fall the tremendous responsibility of solving the peace there must be a thorough understanding of the social, economic, political and intellectual forces which characterize this war period.
This essay by John Harvey Kellogg appeared in Association Men, the official publication for Y.M.C.A. leaders during World War I. The piece caught my eye because so many people I encounter have an almost unreasonably nostalgic view of the past that does not make sense when looking at the world through the words of people living at the time. “People are people” and that has always been true.
The Decay of American Manhood
By J.H. Kellogg, M.D.,
Battle Creek, Michigan
History records nothing so wonderful as the development and progress of this great nation in the last hundred years.
But a blight has struck us.
American manhood is decaying.
We are going morally at a terrifying rate.
We have foes at home more deadly and destructive than our European enemies.
Davenport has shown that one in every hundred men is mentally defective, insane, epileptic, habitually criminal, or feeble-minded.
Recent military examinations have brought out most appalling facts.
Major Orr, a medical officer of the regular army, tells us that two to three out of every four applicants for the army are rejected as physically unfit.
Draft examinations show more than half our young men unfit for military training.
The examinations of the Life Extension Institute show only one man in a hundred wholly free from disease and physically fit. (more…)
Margaret Sanger, birth control crusader, feminist and reformer, was one of the most controversial and compelling figures of the 20th century. The first volume of “The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger,” titled “The Woman Rebel, 1900-1928,” documents the critical phases and influences of an American feminist icon and offers rare glimpses into her working-class childhood, burgeoning feminism, spiritual and scientific interests, sexual explorations, and diverse roles as wife, mother, nurse, journalist, radical socialist and activist.
In spite of the some perceived negative aspects of her determination to be a martyr for the birth control movement, Sanger was a positive social force in testing and denouncing the Comstock law. The law, named for Anthony Comstock, a postal inspector who had lobbied Congress to forbid the distribution of obscene materials throughout the United States, equated birth control and sex education with obscenity. (more…)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
SOME THINGS A GIRL CAN DO TO WORK HER WAY THROUGH COLLEGE
–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.
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