Oral history

  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
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  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
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  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 0.
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  • warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options(&$options) should be compatible with views_object::options() in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate($form, &$form_state) should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/www/coeducation/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
Censored Letters

According the Helen Alexander Bachman (Class of 1946) in a 1990 interview, Dickinson students informed themselves about the war and the world situation via radios and newspapers. Female students with boyfriends in the service received news through letters. Although the military censored correspondence between soldiers and the home front, recipients were often able to determine whether servicemen were in the Euroepan theater or in the Pacific.

Date: Fall 1990
Everyone Belongs to Something

In an interview, Helen Alexander Bachman (Class of 1946) claims that a majority of the students belonged to a sorority, fraternity, or other organization on campus. Bachman estimates that 99 percent of female students belonged to one of the four sororities. The fraternities owned houses while sorority women had apartments in Carlisle. Fraternities "dried up" during the war due to the absence of men. Sororities, however, had meetings, social functions, bridge parties, suppers, and community service events.

Date: Fall 1990
A Woman's College?

Helen Alexander Bachman (Class of 1946) describes in an interview the changes that occurred at Dickinson when World War II began. Among these changes were the reduction in class size and the shift in academic calendar. Before men began leaving the college for the war, courses were divided into two parts, one during the first semester and one during the second semester. During the war period, students took semester-long courses in order to cater to students who might be drafted into the military.

Date: Fall 1990
Leisure activities during World War II

Helen Alexander Bachman (Class of 1946) describes social events during World War II in a 1990 interview. Dickinson College had sororities and fraternities, which planned pledge dances and parties. As a Zeta Tau alpha, Bachman remembers using the fraternity houses for sorority pledge dances. Professors and their wives would chaperone dances and other student activities. When male students were drafted into the army, it affected the social life on campus. Female students went to the movies, played bridge, or went to dinner.

Date: Fall 1990
hadley0211.jpg

In an interview with Helen Alexander Bachman (Class of 1946), the Dickinson alumnus describes the rules for student conduct and dress codes during the World War II period. Dean Josephine Meredith supervised the women, requiring them to sign in and out of their dorms, to act in a lady-like manner, and to avoid drinking. Moreover, female students needed to receive signed permission from parents if they wanted to visit home for the weekend. Bachman explains that these rules "existed to protect the girls...." Dress codes for the female students were strict; they coudl not wear slacks.

Date: Fall 1990
hadley0211.jpg

In a 1990 interview, Christine Crist (Class of 1946) explains the presence of Varga Girls in a yearbook from the World War II period. Artists drew pin-up girls, and Varga girls were "a little bit more classy than Petty Girls." According to Crist, some servicement might hang a calendar of Varga Girls in their tents. The section for Varga Girls in the yearbook probably referred to campus beauties, perhaps selected by the Varga artist himself. The female students were then photographed in evening gowns for the yearbook.

Date: Fall 1990
50th Anniversary of Chi Omega

Christine Crist (Class of 1946) tells about the rivalry among sororities during the World War II period. As a pledge mistress and, later, president of Chi Omega, she spent a lot of her free time planning sorority events. She organized an alumni event for the 50th anniversary of the founding of Chi Omega.

Date: Fall 1990
Student Rebellion

In an interview, Christine Crist (Class of 1946) recalls the "big revolution" the students organized in December 1945. Although Dean Josephine Meredith had appointed Crist as a student government representative when she arrived on campus, Crist eventually became dissatisfied with the rules that the Dean of Women imposed on the female students and the "ridiculous authoritarianism that crept in" to the administration.

Date: Fall 1990
Sex discrimination at the newspaper

In an interview, Christine Crist (Class of 1946) recounts her experience working for The Patriot News after she graduated from Dickinson College. She worked for the morning paper of The Patriot News during the summer of her junior year and, after she graduated, became the only general assignment woman on the staff not assigned to the social department. During this period, protective laws for women prevented Crist from getting reporting assignments after 10 o' clock because she could not work overtime like the men on the staff.

Date: Fall 1990
Nylons Scarce during World War II

Christine Crist (Class of 1946) shares about female student life during World War II in a 1990 interview. Rations affected everything from food to clothing. She remembers collecting tin cans and having ration books for food and other supplies. In the Crist family, Christine's father did not acquire a new pair of shoes for the entire duration of the war, getting shoes instead for Christine's "two younger sisters with fast-growing feet." Nylons, just introduced in 1940, went off the market during World War II since the material was used in parachutes.

Date: Fall 1990