Hello, My Name is….

09 Apr

(Quick Bio of my new 1950’s persona)…


Hello my name is Ruth Louise Wright, from Alexandria, Virginia. This is my senior year and I am a Home Economic Major.  I live in Virginia Hall and am part of the Home Economics Club and the Young Women’s Christian Association.

“Dorm Life” Photos

09 Apr

The photo-recreation group has decided to post several pictures from a particular category and from there we will choose which picture to use for our project. I have chosen three photos for the category “Dorm Life”.

1. This is a photo from the Battlefield yearbook from 1950. I chose it because it won’t be hard to recreate. All we need is a dorm room to use and a small bed, two women dressed from 1958. It also won’t be hard to modernize this photo either.


Dorm Life 1958

Dorm Life 1958

2. The top, left photo shows a student writing to a soldier. Once again I chose a photo that would be easy enough to recreate and modernize but also holds some significance. With Quantico being so close I thought this represented our connection to the area.

Dorm Life 1959

Dorm Life1959

3. This final photo is a student studying in her room. Once again how hard would this be to recreate?

Dorm Life 1950

Photo Recreation Update

05 Apr

Today in class we divide up individual tasks for the photo recreation aspect of our recreation project. By Tuesday (April 10th) each member of the group will have explored the archives and will have selected two possible choices for photos from their particular asinment to recreate. Each member will then post their photo ideas and will list materials needed and location sites for the photos. Each member of the group will also give an explanation as to how each picture can be modernized. By Thursday we will chose the five pitures that will be used for our portion of the overall project, each member of the class is welcome to add their comments and help vote for the pictures we choose to recreate. We also divided up individual assignments…

Sarah L: will search for pictures pertaining to Dorm Life and will Write Up Summaries for the photos that will be used in the scrapbook.

Stephanie: will search for photos pertaining to the Campus itself and will be the Liasion between our group and the clothing/ material group

Hannah: will search for photos pertaining to Academics and will be Taking the Photos and Processing them with Sara M

Sara M: will search for photos the pertain to Student Life on campus and will also be Taking Pictures and Processing them with Hannah

Sam: will search for photos pertaing to Student Activities and Clubs and will Put Together our Final Scrapbook


Photo recreation Group summary

04 Apr

Our goal for this project is to recreate a scrapbook that will display our photo recreations using film media and processing. Two of our group members posses cameras that we will use to take our pictures. They are also able to use black and white film and are able to process the pictures. We will be choosing about five separate pictures from the UMW archive to recreate. These photos will cover academics, students activities/ clubs, student life, dorm life and the campus itself. We will also do a small write up about each picture and how things have changed in the past 60 years. In order to accomplish our goal we will need the assistance of the ‘clothing/ Material’ group and will also need the assistance of the entire class as participants for the photos themselves. We will be meeting again to go over what pictures we can reasonably recreate and how we can recreate those pictures.

1950’s Recreation of the Classroom

26 Mar
 The hardest part about this project has been in researching what went on in the classroom. The 1950’s group was one of the groups that was able to really put the details of the classroom together well. One of their best sources was with their interviews and their photos. I would like to try and recreate the photos that have been collected from the 1950’s. That way we wouldn’t be limiting ourselves to one specific discipline, classroom and it would help us access the non-academic portion of our research. It would also be to our advantage to try and incorporate some of the Alumni from that period. The individuals that were interviewed are a great asset to our recreation and we should try to involve than as much as possible. Maybe we can use them as Professors or advisers. It would be best to incorporate the Theater department in on all that we are trying to do. I’m not sure how much we can do with all the ideas we have. Many times our ideas are bigger than what is actually attainable. When it comes to delving out roles they should really be passed out on a volunteer basis. I would like to see our entire class somehow incorporated into the photos and I know there will be plenty of opportunities for that. They are merely suggestions for what could happen next in our project.

The Extended Classroom

21 Feb

While students (in any era) mainly seek education confined to a classroom setting opportunities arise on campus to aid them in furthering their education or to allow them to apply the knowledge they have gained thus far. Such opportunities existed in the 1930’s.

One such opportunity arose on January 11, 1932. The Bullet reported this story on January 28, 1932 under the headline “Conduct Classes In First Aid: Under the Auspices of American Red Cross”. Dr. Otis Marshall, a representative of the American Red Cross, came to F.S.T.C to lecture for an hour and a half for two weeks straight. A total of 75 students attended the lectures and would receive their Red Cross certificate upon completion. While the article focuses mainly on Mr. Marshall himself, the un-named student reporter did note “…that a man who could hold the interest of so large a group, who were not to receive college credit for the course, must have a most pleasing personality, and the students must have felt that it was very much worthwhile”. This is just one example on how educational opportunities existed outside the credit classes offered by the school.

Students were also given opportunities to apply knowledge gained inside the classroom to outside the classroom. The Bullet reported on October 23, 1935, that a “Class Holds Clinics“. A ‘Foot Clinic’ was offered for free to the entire student body after it was learned that “…seventy-five percent of the students here have foot defects…”. The clinic was operated twice a week where alternating students in the Individual Gymnastics and Massage class would advise and treat any ailing student under the constant supervision of Mildred Scott, the college physician.

Opportunities exist all over campus where students can continue their education or even apply their knowledge to the good of all on campus. Take note Mary Washington and look for such opportunities all around!

Why Are You Here?

14 Feb

In order to “recreate the classroom”, we need to explore the dynamics occurring in the classroom. Who better to describe the classroom than the students themselves. In the 1930’s, especially in 1935, there is a reoccurring article titled ‘We Asked Why’ featured in the Bullet. These articles feature a variety of students who are asked, ‘What is your major’ and ‘Why did you choose that major’.

These two simple questions open the door so that we can see not only what majors were available for students but also the motivation behind choosing their major and also choosing F.S.T.C . In the Bullet, dated October 23, 1935, ‘We Asked Why’ features eight students. One student, Miss Mildred Ware, was asked  why she chose Home Economics as her major. Her answer is simple, “…her family, in one of their optimistic moments, thought it appropriate training for married life”. Though this may be one of the factors in deciding her major she also mentions that she would like to work as a dietitian after graduation. Miss Ware shows us her personal motivation but also gives us a glimpse into how her family, as many families do, influenced her life.

Every printing of ‘We Asked Why’ features a different and separate major and highlights the motivation of several students. In the Bullet printed on November 13, 1935, the chosen major was Business. In the article a junior named, “Buff” Haley gives us insight as to why she chose her major and her response is interesting to say the least. The interviewer says, “[Buff] thinks it is a good idea for us Fredericksburg girls to be trained in taking orders from the opposite sex”. Today a comment such as this would solicit numerous letters to the editor condemning such an idea.

If the role of woman in the 1930’s hasn’t been made clear yet the article features yet another student majoring in business who is ambitious in her goals. Mary Ellen Mitchell, also featured in the November 13th article never mentions her family influencing her decision or demotes the role of women but instead seeks out a career. “Mary Ellen is seeking out a superior office position as stenographer or secretary”. The word ‘superior’ stands out to me. By today’s standard the role of stenographer or secretary would be seen as anything but superior.

Through these articles we can explore not only the motivation each of the students had when choosing their particular major but we are also given insights into the social world that shape the roles women in the 1930’s.

On Readings….

09 Feb

Here is a quick opinion on the reading for the week of February 9, 2012. I  really enjoyed reading the selection contained in the Modern American Women text. The stories were personal and taken directly from the women who experienced the problems women faced. There were several phrase that struck out to me…

“…no one but a man can do this” – from “Girl Reporter Derring- Do”,  Nellie Bly

“…the sphere of women is her home…” -from Bertha Palmer’s speech at the World’s Columbian Exhibition

“…no girl can live without a father or a husband to look out for her…” -from Anzia Yezierska, “An Immigrant Daughter Awakens to the Possibilities of the New World”

While the readings in Unequal Sister is more report style and fact based information. These reading show the inequality women faced not only as women but women as ‘other’…that is other than white. These woman face discrimination from the American society but also on a cultural level. For example the women featured in “The Social Awakening of Chinese American Women” faced discrimination from the American government and society but because they kept ties with their country of heritage they still had to comply with their limitations and cultural norms.

Biting the ‘Bullet’

09 Feb

“A Standard A-class senior college, member of the American Association of Teachers Colleges, ideally and strategically located in an atmosphere of culture and refinement, easily accessible to Washington, Richmond, University of Virginia, and other places of importance and note. Special emphasis on Commercial Education, Physical Education, and Music. All courses open to men on equal terms with women. Full information upon request.”  –M.L Combs, President (March 10, 1930)

At first glance the Bullet seems to be a great source of information when it comes to exploring the past, but in truth when the intent is to ‘recreate the classroom experience’ the Bullet misses the target. From 1930-1935 there are only twenty issues of the Bullet in the Mary Washington archives. While each issue is several pages long, most of the information contains articles on club/social events, and student written opinions, jokes and stories.

It is easy to look at the past and point out the flaws. It is not so easy, however, to receive criticism and grow from it. In an article printed on April 18, 1930 titled “Bullet Wins Fourth Place”, the school newspaper receieved an evaluation on the newspaper itself. The paper was awarded fourth place in a contest hosted by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. While the article does not mention how many schools were competing in the contest it does hint at the fact that there were larger schools included who receive more funds that help improve the other schools newspapers. The article continues by listing the positive and negative criticisms received.

       “Good Points: good poetry, good opinions department,attractive placement of feature articles, and clear cuts. Bad Points:   too literary for a newspaper, too much opinion and not enough facts in leading stories, nothing worthwhile about athletics, no features or human interest stories, humor, old material and poorly adapted.” (April 18, 1930, Front page)

The criticisms received about the paper were seen as educational and the writer petitions the student body, and Bullet staff to learn from the experience and to “get to work and do something about it”.

On February 26, 1932 the Bullet printed another article about criticisms received, titled “Student Opinion Requested By Bullet” . This time the Bullet staff requested constructive criticisms from the Extra-Curricular Activities class, (yes, there was an extra-curricular activities class!). The results from the request were perplexing. While some students asked for more humor and jokes others asked for less. Some students wanted more “serious” articles while others wanted less. The contradictions were numerous and overall unhelpful in aiding to the contents of the paper overall.

The Bullet is a work in progress and is only as good as the students who contribute to it. Every year the school dynamic change with the flow of students entering and leaving. This shift is seen in the Bullet and its changes over the years. While Bullet articles from the 1930’s focus mostly on social news, humor and club activities it is an accurate portrayal of the overall student life and experiences at Fredericksburg State Teachers College, aka our beloved Mary Washington.

Reasearch Underway…

30 Jan

“The Bullet is published semi-monthly during the college year. It’s purpose is to chronicle the chief events of the college life and to create a greater and finer school spirit.” -The Bullet Mission Statement 1930

… and so it begins. I began by searching the microfilm of the available Bullets from the 1930’s. This will be a little bit of a harder task for the 1930’s group because there are only 51 Bullets archived at the University over ten year span. Whether these are the only ones to have survived from the decade or if they were the only published papers remains to be researched.

The articles, advertisements and pictures printed in the Bullet offer us a vast array of research. The hardest part will be to determine which information helps us in our overall mission to “recreate the Mary Washington classroom”. Articles included discuss current events on campus and off, Club Activities, student written stories and poems, student opinion, Advertisements (both from large companies such as Camel cigarettes and local venues), Personal/Society/Gossip, and News of the World. There is also a vast collection of pictures from campus and from around the Nation.

There is some lacking information as well within this one source. Some of the papers that remain have missing sections, (as if cut out for a scrapbook) and then there are holes and tears in some of the surviving papers. There are also various years that have no Bullets contributed to that particular year. For example the materials begin with February 13, 1930 and then moves off into March 10th 1930, April 18th 1930 and then picks up again on November 2, 1931, a year and a half later.  This is just one example of the inconsistencies of the Bullet archived for the 1930’s.

The Bullet will help the group examine some of the gender stereotypes, the technology avalible and fashion of the 1930’s. As the decade moves further on there are shifts in what is published, discussed and photographed for the paper. It will be interesting to see how these shifts reflect feelings of the country. For example there are several articles from the early 1930’s that mention the depression.

I can see that we all have a lot of work to do.





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