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Early 1900s dorm parties are sure to deliver some com­pelling stories. On May 18, 1916, The Col­legian printed this headline: “East Hall Girls’ Party is Novel Affair: Gen­tlemen leave at 11:30.” 

I think they empha­sized that the boys left exactly at 11:30 a little too strongly. Nobody thought twice about it until they put it in large print. 

The article began, “The East Hall Girls’ Party proved to be a big time. It was the kind of a big time that comes when the girls decide to give the boys a real party that over­throws the stilted, tame affairs which some folks have thought East Hall parties to be.” 

I cannot tell if that is a good or bad thing. Who wants to have a stilted, tame affair? That being said, I can’t imagine a party that takes place in a dorm and where the opposite sex must leave before mid­night to be any­thing but. 

However, the more I read the more I realized how wrong I was. 

The author wrote, “It began with the novel enter­tainment that had been pre­pared… Miss Car­oline Stearns and Loinal Wallace brought down heaps of laughter with their special folk dances.” 

He con­tinued, “A ‘movie’ was put on by the dra­matic club in which Harriet Von Ehren­stein had five dates all in the same evening and which resulted in dis­aster to the irate callers.” 

This party sounds incredible. 

The East Hall party even had a little com­pe­tition. 

The Col­legian reads, “In a contest held fol­lowing the above events it was tactile agreed that Edna Stoke was the most popular, Vivian Smith the pret­tiest, Pauline Werner the smallest, Kathry Heckman, the cutest.” 

What were these cat­e­gories? In what world did these party animals think they could take a break from the folk dances to take a tally of who was the pret­tiest at the party, and think no one would get hurt? 

Intrigued by the trend to publish descrip­tions of parties in the college news­paper, I looked at another article. 

Pub­lished on Jan. 6, 1909, this article’s headline was redacted and I gen­uinely cannot imagine why. 

The Col­legian pub­lished, “The stu­dents who remained in town through vacation have to resort to many devices to ward off lone­someness. Those seeking amusement had to rely on sleeping all day and skating all night.”

It con­tinued, “The one social event of the hol­idays was a Christmas party given by the Misses Leah Stock and Joy Mauck at the home of the former. About thirty attended and report a glo­rious time.” 

Well I am cer­tainly happy to hear that. 

The Col­legian even used to report on fra­ternity parties.

On May 31, 1911, an article in the news­paper printed, “The Alpha Tau Omega fra­ternity made an inter­esting inno­vation in Hillsdale College social diver­sions in the way of a house party at Baw Beese Lake where they royally enter­tained their lady friends from Sat­urday till Tuesday evening.” 

I have so many ques­tions, none of which are answered in the article. 

The author con­tinued, “The boys rented Tally-Ho-Inn sit­uated on West Lake front, which they beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated with college pen­nants and banners.”

At first, I thought the line referring to the length of the party was a bit of a joke, a little Col­legian sarcasm. 

It was not. 

The article printed the entire schedule of events, starting with supper on Sat­urday night and ending with a beef­steak roast Monday night. 

Some high­lights of the party include, but are not limited to, an opening sing, a hare and hound chase, and dancing at the pavilion. 

I think we can all be glad The Col­legian no longer reports on parties, despite how much fun it is to look back at the social events of years past.