Tidbits from the Archives: “Eldri’s Scrapbook,” Part 1

JULY 2003

By Jeff Sauve, Associate Archivist

The tradition of creating memory books and scrapbooks isn’t just a recent craze — it’s been around a long time. The Center for College History has many scrapbooks of students from the early 1900s to the late 1940s. I decided it would be fun to simply walk to into the vault and randomly choose a scrapbook and see what it bears.

The scrapbook I pulled belonged to 1927 alumna Eldri Dieson. The book itself is 15 by 12 inches. Its sturdy dark brown cardboard cover has a raised picture of Old Main in soft yellow and green. Autograph pages are in front, organized in grid format with columns heading of “name,” “date,” “home,” “birthday anniversary,” “nickname,” “society,” “first met you,” “thoughts” and “photo here.” One student wrote to Eldri, “I am sorry I don’t know you any better…but I know you just enough to want to know you more.”

Eldri, like so many students, was motivated to fill her scrapbook with everything the first year (1923). But as the college years rolled by, the motivation must have waned — there is less and less of each year’s experiences. One can find concert programs, photos of Hoyme chapel burning, a spoon from her first student body party and a Hershey wrapper.

But what caught my eye was the St. Olaf College Women’s Self-Government Association handbook, which states, “…all women students are members of this association. The one dollar dues are paid in the fall at the time of registration. The purpose of the W.S.G.A. is to direct matters of student life pertaining to women of the college. It aims to further in every way a spirit of unity among all women; to be a medium by which the social standards of our institution can be made and kept high.” Some of these standards are outlined below:

“Do’s” for Freshmen:

  • Work from the beginning. A good beginning means a satisfactory ending.
  • Expect to “wait in line” the first week. Make it a line of smiles.
  • Get acquainted with the college newspaper.
  • Take an interest in the non-academic activities of the school.
  • Be democratic; seek the acquaintance of your fellow-students.
  • For school wear, a few simple dresses are all you need.
  • Remember the dean appreciated meeting your guests.
  • The standards and ideals of St. Olaf have always been high. Do your utmost to keep them high.

Social Regulations for women’s self-government:

  • Young men and women are forbidden to go to each other’s rooms for any purpose.
  • Young women may receive calls until 7:15 p.m. any evening and on Saturday and Sunday between 1:30 and 10:00 p.m.. Young men will call at other times only as escorts or on business.
  • Driving together is allowed only in chaperoned groups with special permission.
    Young men and women may not go to ice cream parlors or lunchrooms after 7:15 p.m., except by special permission.
  • Young men and women may not go out of town without the approval of the Dean of Women.
  • Elaborate dressing for school wear is absolutely discouraged and any girl doing may be reprimanded by the president of the organization.

House Rules:

  • Every girl is expected to be in her room by 7:15 p.m.
  • Clapping shall be the only response to serenade.
  • Anyone leaving the hall or rooming places after 7:15 p.m. must sign up in the books furnished for that purpose.

This is just one part of Eldri’s scrapbook; next month’s I’ll highlight another — and explain why a girl’s scrapbook was filled with items about football!