For the 1944-45 school year, the Student Union published these handy HELPS AND HINTS as part of a clothing guide (for women). For example, “No Rubber Boots are to be worn to the dining-rooms, or to lectures and concerts unless the weather is very severe and there is no opportunity to change.” And don’t get us started on shorts. “Shorts are never to be worn in the dining rooms…they are never to be worn downtown unless one is going through town on a bicycle. Then don’t stop to shop or have a coke. Plan those shopping or coking expeditions for sometime when you don’t have shorts on.” Unless, of course, you remembered your leg make-up.
Our own Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College Barbara Hofer writes about the modern day iConnected Parent, constantly in contact with their College-bound kids through cell phones and Skype…well, the archives recently exposed something of a connected parent, but from over 80 years ago.
Here’s a letter from October 18, 1932. The mother of Charles Edward Stevenson, Jr., Class of 1936, writes to the Director of Admissions (scroll down for the full transcription):
I am writing you to find out if Charlie Stevenson is alright and if he is I want to know why he does not write his mother it will be to [sic] weeks Friday since I had any word from him I sent him his laundry and a little pocket money post office money order I am trailing that now to see if he cashed it. I know that boys are dilatory about writing sometimes but I never knew Charley Stevenson to do that before that is why I am worried about him if I do not get a letter from you I am going up there to find out what is going on.
Please answer write away
Very truly yours
Mrs C.E. Stevenson
One day later, Mrs. Stevenson received a typescript reply (again, transcribed below to help with the faded ink):
Dear Mrs. Stevenson,
Your letter of October 18th is at hand and I have seen your son this morning and sent you the following telegram: “Your son is well and says has written you today”. I trust that you received the wire promptly so that you have not had to worry longer as to your son’s welfare. He seemed to be in perfect health when I saw him this morning but said that he had been very busy for the last few days. As you know, the fraternity rushing has been going on for the last two weeks and the boys have little spare time, as a rule, during that period. I presume that your son had not realized how long a time has elapsed since he wrote you, but you will doubtless receive his letter right away, if it has not already reached you.
Very truly yours,
To mark Founder’s Day, the original Middlebury College Charter, signed by the Governor of Vermont on November 1st, 1800, will be on view in Special Collections & Archives in the Davis Family Library from 1-5 p.m. on Friday, November 1st, 2013.
Until June 25th, you can investigate these databases, focusing on 19th and early 20th century American History:
The American West (archives drawn from the Western Americana collections at the Newberry Library, Chicago)
Everyday Life and Women in America, c.1800-1920 (archives from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture, Duke University and the New York Public Library)
Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice (drawn from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Duke University, U.S. Supreme Court, British Library, and others)
- Please check these out and send comments to Rebekah Irwin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your library liaison.
Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) is a full-text, searchable research collection of 19th century monographs, newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, maps, ephemera, and statistical data.
Currently, Middlebury College has access to two collections: British Politics and Society and European Literature, 1790-1840: The Curvey Collection.
Ultimately, this research collections will grow as the following groups of archives are added:
- Asia and the West: diplomacy and cultural exchange (ministerial and consular papers; foreign missions) (spring 2012)
- British Theatre, Music and Literature: High and Popular Culture (spring 2012)
- South Asia (spring 2013)
- History of science (spring 2013)
- History of photography (spring 2013)
- 19th-century Americana (spring 2013)
Please send comments to Rebekah Irwin (email@example.com) or your library liaison.