Bachman, Helen Alexander
Female Students Write to Boyfriends during World War II
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.
Role of Sororities during World War II
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.
Changes on campus when men leave for World War II
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.
Social Events 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.
Student conduct and dress codes during World War II
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.