— Mary Washington College in the 1930s

Research Log #4

“Alumni Association Scrapbook Cover.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

I was hoping to find more information this week from the final two scrapbooks I needed to look through in the Special Collections library but unfortunately neither of them came even close to the amount I found in Mary Louise Carter’s scrapbook. I thought that the Alumni Association Scrapbook would give me tons of great stuff since it covered from about 1927 to the 1950s. But there was one page from the 1920s then there was actually not a single thing from the 1930s as it jumped straight into the 1940s. That was a bit frustrating since it had all the Alumni Association’s journals and agendas.

So I moved on to the Cotillion Club scrapbook. I figured before I even began that I wouldn’t find too much on the classroom experience but I decided to look at it because there may be some references to important people around campus. Luckily, unlike the Alumni Association scrapbook, there was some stuff covering the 1930s, even though it was a limited amount.

“Cotillion Club Opening Page.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

And just as I thought, I was able to see in one of the programs from that one of the dances was held in honor of President Combs and his wife. It also indicates that this was his 11th year in office, as he became president of the State Teacher’s College in 1929 and remained well after it became Mary Washington College, which we can also see by this program it had already transitioned to the later.

“Cotillion Dance Program.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

In the same program, at the end there is an indication that the dance was held in Monroe Hall and that at midnight there was breakfast in Seacobeck. Seacobeck was built in 1931 so it was still a brand new facility. I thought of it as the Anderson Center of their day, since it wasn’t the sort of dining hall we know it as today. At first I was a little confused by having the dance in Monroe Hall, thinking of the building’s layout now, and even from my freshman year before the renovation; where was there space for a dance?

“Cotillion Club Program End.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

Turns out that Monroe Hall used to have a gymnasium! I found this newspaper clipping soon after the program which states, “The first cotillion of the season will be danced tomorrow night in the gymnasium of Monroe Hall…” Now, there is no indication where this newspaper article came from but it too mentions Dr. Combs.

“Cotillion Club Newspaper Clipping.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

Then came some photos to the dance actually in the gymnasium, basketball lines painted on the floor and everything. Dr. Combs and his wife attended the dance. The photo below is the two of them entering the gym for the dance.

“Combs Enters Cotillion Dance.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

Although this week I found out more about the social aspects of the Mary Washington experience, I still found some indications an important figure, President Combs, as well as the academic building we know of today as Monroe was used for a completely different purpose in the 1930s. As the final weeks before our project is due come to a close, I want to take another look at Mary Louise Carter’s scrapbook one last time as well as maybe scan some things from it. I also want to look at correspondence that a couple of students wrote as students and not alumni. This will definitely be an interesting couple of weeks as our website starts to come together.

“Cotillion Club in Monroe.” University of Mary Washington Special Collections Library. (accessed February 15, 2012).

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