LOOSENING UP

The first classes of the decade began on September 29, 1920. By now, only the seniors were still
required to wear black convocation robes to class, and The Gateway and the yearbook both contained advertisements for fashionable clothes aimed at the well-dressed student.

Not all the changes were exterior; there were exterior; there were changes to the curriculum, too. Returning veterans balked at what they saw as outdated academic requirements and pushed for modernization. Latin was still required for matriculation, but by 1920, students working on a BA or BSc could take French and German to fulfill language requirements, thus avoiding Latin and Greet. And there were also more academic options.

The 1920’s was the decade when women were freed from having to wear long Edwardian tresses and could bob their hair. They shortened their skirts and on occasion even bared their arms. There was one notable, immovable exception to the trend for short hair. Nursing students were not allowed to cut their hair and “would be confined to their rooms for this offense.” In fact, they had to wear veils that covered their hair. Junior nursing “sisters,” as they were called, were required, when speaking to a superior, to stand military-style, “with their hands behind their back.” It would be decades before nursing students were free from such restrictive personal requirements.

I Was There - Ellen Schoeck | Page 168

Bowen, 9-7, quoting Ethel Fenwick Cooper. Miss Fenwick was Superintendent of Nursing. She did not make the rules about bobbed hair. In fact, she bobbed her own hair, making a wig from her cut tresses.