Student conduct and dress codes during World War II

Fall 1990

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. Dean Meredith even published a paper instructing the women not to wear bifurcated garments, or slacks. Bachman says, "You were to look like girls..." Women dressed in long, evening gowns for formal dances and wore hats and gloves.

Alcohol use, espeically by female students, was strictly monitored. Dean Meredith stood at the door of Metzger Hall to observe the behavior of female students returning from a date. Nonetheless, fraternity dances often had spiked punch "in the back room" beyond the watchful eyes of chaperones. If an administrator or chaperone caught a student drinking, the student could be suspended or expelled from school.

Location of Document in Archives
World War II Oral History, Bachman, Helen Alexander