— Mary Washington College in the 1930s

Research Log #1

I have taken on the responsibilities of looking at the photographs and scrapbooks throughout the 1930s. This week I decided to go through the Digital Archives that the Special Collections Department of the library have posted online. To be completely honest, there weren’t many photos posted for our decade, especially with the lack of pictures at all for 1933, but I still need to check the Special Collections room for any photos that haven’t been uploaded, as well as the scrapbooks.

I did notice many trends throughout the photos though. Many of them had to do with student activities such as May Day and the Daisy Chain. With that we can really see just how important these activities were for the women attending Mary Washington College. It was interesting that the 1937 image of the May Day Court was the first image with the markings “M.W.C.” written upon it. The transition from the “State Normal and Industrial School for Women” to “Mary Washington College” was occurring during this time.

“May Day, 1937.” University of Mary Washington Digital Archives. http://archive.umw.edu:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/umw:569 (accessed January 30, 2012).

There were a few pictures of faculty and staff, as well as pictures of the academic buildings and other spots on campus. I think one of the most interesting pictures I found was of the 1930 commencement, which seemed to be held on Ball Circle, just as it still is today.

“Commencement during the 1930s.” University of Mary Washington Digital Archives. http://archive.umw.edu:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/umw:599 (accessed January 30, 2012).

Judging from other pictures, many students were also involved in music, as there are a number of orchestra images, as well as others with faculty members of the music department.

There was also another image of a 1936 senior class member, Frances Josephine Liebenow, which under the image from the Battlefield, our university’s yearbook, is a description stating, “FRANCES JOSEPHINE LIEBENOW 606 Littlepage Street Fredericksburg, Virginia Major: Science Minors: Elementary Education, Social ScienceTown Girls Club, Alpha Tau Pi, Science Club.” With this description we can see that this student came to Mary Washington to be an elementary teacher and what other organizations she belonged to on campus.

So far, I believe that with just a brief look through these pictures we can get more of a sense of campus activities and experiences with only a bit of classroom experiences. Though we are able to see some academic buildings and professors, there isn’t too much including students and their classwork. And while some captions written on the photographs themselves prove to be useful, as is evident in the description of Frances Liebenow, there doesn’t seem to be enough classroom activity in my initial search of 1930s photographs. With 37 photos in the Digital Archives, I am hoping there are more in the Special Collections room, and more photographs pertaining to the classroom in the scrapbooks for our decade.

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