Why Girls Go to College

pretty as well as stunningJust got back from a jaunt to Southern Ohio to visit some relatives and learn more about our Moore and Patterson ancestors. We visited the old family farms, saw the house where Grandma Bailey was born, and tried to remember who was who on the family tree. Not easy! One favorite ancestor: Mae Patterson, who never married but went to Smith College, was a world traveler and member of the League of Women Voters, among other things. She left behind a scrapbook, filled with unidentified newspaper clippings ca. 1920s. Most are quite charming, describing Mae’s incredible social life, for example:

“Miss Mae Patterson attended a meeting of the D.A.R. at the home of Mrs. Albert Keim at Chillicothe on Wednesday afternoon. Miss Patterson read a very interesting paper on ‘Some Garden Spots of the World.'”

The following is also from her scrapbook. I think we would have gotten along grandly!

1920s: Why Girls Go to College

A census of the college girls in America, undertaken at the instance of a wealthy young student at Smith college in Northampton, Mass., shows that a majority of the girls in attendance at the different institutions throughout the country are the children of parents who are or who have been in one or another of the learned professions.

These girls, it is plain from their answers to the queries submitted, go to college because their mothers or their fathers went to college before them. They were born, so to speak, to go to college, not for any particular reason in many cases, but simply because their families have acquired the college habit.

The statistics prove further that the average girl begins to prepare for college when she is 14 or 15 years old ~ long before she has begun to balance her chances for matrimony against the question of her good looks.

It is interesting to note, as bearing on the matrimonial chances of the average college girl, that the Granddaughters society of Smith college has twenty-two members, although it is only thirty-two years since the first class was graduated. And the early classes were very small, too. Twenty-two daughters of Smith graduates in Smith college today would seem to answer the question as to whether the average college girl is too homely to marry. She certainly is not from these figures.

Though there are many pretty girls at Smith college the college type is ~ “stunning.” The Smith girls pride themselves on being stunning. As a rule, they are well set up, and particularly well dressed. But the ivy day procession at the house dances in the students’ building will convince any doubting ones of the fact that the Smith girl is pretty as well as stunning. The number of engaged girls in college increases each year, and every number of the Monthly, and also the Alumnae Quarterly, contains a list of marriages of graduates.

The ‘running around the table’ of engaged girls is always the best part at class suppers.

Source: Mae Patterson’s Scrapbook, unidentified clipping ca. 1920s.
~ n.p. ~