In the spring of 1916, Mr. Collins, illustrator for the Iowa State Student, drew a 13-part series titled “Inconsistencies of College Life” for the newspaper. It covered various contradictions within the typical student life, such as dating, academics, and coursework. Despite being more than 100 years old, not that much is too far removed from the modern era.
“No girl can cut a date with me and get by with it. Why I’ll never speak to Mabel again.”
But in two weeks
“‘Lo Mabel, whatta you going to do a week from Friday evening”
“Father, I want you to send me to college so I can learn to make a living for myself.”
And yet here’s what we found on his study (?) table at college.
Note that the student has an issue of Cosmopolitan and the sheet in the lower left is from Twin Star Theater, which was one of the popular downtown movie theaters.
We call this work
We call this play
“Yessir Dad. Elliott’s right. He sure made me realize the difference between right and wrong.
“Why I’m sorry Mr. Jones, but I’m going to be busy next Friday evening.”
30 minutes later
“I’d be glad to have you come over next Friday evening, Mr. Smith.”
“No I can’t see it myself. Some fellows do it but I never make a date over a week ahead.”
1 hour later
“Why I have a date for next Sunday George.”
“Well! Can I come over two weeks from this evening.”
We hear this all thru our college courses
“Sanitation, young men and women, is one of the essentials that must be considered in caring for the welfare of any great body of people”
And yet at the all college dance tonight a great percentage of us drink from the same drinking glass
Basics such as water treatment and sewage were still new things to the neighborhoods adjacent to the Iowa State campus in 1916. After years of waiting and slow growth, most houses were finally being put onto a grid approved by the city – and the sewage was no longer being dumped into College Creek. On the other hand, Iowa State was far ahead of the city, having established treatment plants years earlier.
“Young women, remember that modesty is the one essential which must be observed in modern dress”
-On the campus
-In the ballroom
FYI: A women’s clothing store was still not located in Campustown in 1916. A men’s clothing store, Jameson’s, opened earlier in the year. The first women’s clothing store wouldn’t arrive for a few more years. By the 1960s and ‘70s there four could usually be found in Campustown.
“Yes Parson, I certainly agree with you, Sunday is a day of rest and should be kept as such.”
But he’s as inconsistent as the rest of us.
“Now the assignment for Monday is to study over and outline the next three hundred and five pages.”
“Nope no girl will ever wear my fraternity pin. I don’t believe in such things”
“Come on Bob. Quit kidding”
“I see Mary’s wearing Bob’s pin”
“Yep, the moonlight got him night fore last”
“Goodnight Mr. Jones[.] I certainly have enjoyed myself this evening”
“Have a good time this evening?
“Well I should say NOT, the most miserable I’ve ever spent”
“Well It’s 8:30. I gotta go up stairs and write a million work theme on ‘a liberal education’”
“I gotta study too”
“Come on, let’s go down and see Theda Bara.”
“Wait till I get my smokin’”
Theda Bara was one of cinema’s first sex symbols. The guys were going to go downtown to a movie theater and see one of her films. In 1916, movie theaters were banned from operating from near campus.
“No more of this school for mine. I’m goin’ to some other school next year.”
“Why I thot school didn’t start until the 18th”
“I know dad but I just can’t wait till then to go back”