uwarchives

From the Vaults & Back: Cat jokes were a thing 100 years ago

By Megan Costello

As part of our project ‘From the Vaults & Back’, today I’m cruising through The 1909 Badger which was the class yearbook in the late 19th and up to the mid-20th century at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As it turns out, cat jokes are – and have been – a thing for 104 years. I have proof.

I’ve spent many hours digging through the student scrapbooks of Ava Cochrane (BA'1909) and Lucy Rogers (BA'1919). To complement my archival search, I’ve turned to yearbooks which have some surprisingly amazing things.

For example, there’s an entire 100+ page section at the end of The Badger yearbooks just for ads. It’s like the university classifieds in which advertisers from Milwaukee, Chicago and other places around the state bought ads in the student yearbook.

Not surprisingly, these ads are quite hilarious for a modern reader.

Let’s take a gander:

Are you in the market for a gangster suit?

“Not freakish – though distinctly different from the average garment …”

Source:  The 1909 Badger (student yearbook)

So, imagine when my surprise when I found this:

“‘Cat'chy Photo by Ford” (The 1909 Badger yearbook)

Source: The 1909 Badger (yearbook)

There’s cat jokes for all your student photography needs!

So, cat jokes were a thing. In 1909. And they still are today.

Need I say more? Please, let Buzzfeed:

At the very least, it appears I can make the slight connection that cats + technology (photography in this case) are perhaps timeless soul mates.

Thank you, Internet. Thank you, yearbooks.

This project is part of a practicum conducted by School of Library & Information Studies master’s candidate Megan Costello. (You can follow her along as she documents some of the more candid snapshots at Megan in (UW)-Madison or on Twitter at @meggo_costello.)

From the Vaults & Back: Hot time summer in the city

By Megan Costello

As part of our project ‘From the Vaults & Back’, today I’m reviewing Ava Cochrane’s (BA'1909) scrapbook to find out what students did to stay cool at UW-Madison.

On hot summer days in Madison, Wis., UW-Madison students can be found along the Lakeshore Path or taking a dip in Lake Mendota. And if they can, students – like other Wisconsin residents – will travel up north to stay cool at lakehouses and cabins.

As it turns out, some things stay the same even more than 105 years later.

Ava Cochrane, who attended the university from 1905-1909, did quite the same as UW students today.

Her scrapbook at the UW Archives tells us she spent hot days on Lake Mendota or at Esther Beach on Lake Monona. She also traveled to Fox Lake, Wis., and spent her summer at the Portage Country Club where her family had a cabin aptly named…

“The House of Mirth”

From a page in Ava’s scrapbook, likely 1908.

Ava and her friends knew how to have fun during those hot days in the city. Many of her summertime activities involve the lakes.

They swam.

Ava with friends, likely at the Portage County Club in 1907.

And even before Hoofers, they sailed on Lake Mendota. 

“This has been a lovely, lovely day hasn’t it Char? Oh shush!" 

Ava with friends (second from left) on Lake Mendota in 1909.

They taught swimming lessons?

Ava demonstrating proper dive form (?) 

Likely in 1909.

They went boating.

"Floating”

And got into trouble.

“The canoe – sh….!”

“How I sailed a boat under the

supervision of BJ Ms. Inahram [sic] and 

almost tipped it over.

The drowning of Mary Fowler.

The canoe – sh–!”

As Vicki Tobias, the UW Archives Image & Media Specialist reminds us, for many young women at this time boating on the lakes was one of the few activities they could participate in without a chaperone.

It certainly seems that Ava and her friends were up to certain mischief on the lake, but not without a good deal of fun during those hot summer days in the city.

This project is part of a practicum conducted by School of Library & Information Studies master’s candidate Megan Costello. (You can follow her along as she documents some of the more candid snapshots at Megan in (UW)-Madison or on Twitter at @meggo_costello.)

From the Vaults & Back: Introducing Lucy Rogers

By Megan Costello

As part of our project ‘From the Vaults & Back’, today we are exploring UW-Madison student Lucy Rogers who attended the university from 1914-1918.

Lucy’s codename is “The Joiner”

Lucy pictured in her “W” Wisconsin sweater in 1917.

A few things we know about Lucy:

  • She was born Lucy Ella Rogers in 1896 in Kimball, Wisconsin and graduated from Hurley High School in 1914 having studied German and Latin.
  • She enrolled in the College of Letters & Science and graduated in 1919 with a degree in Journalism. Her senior thesis was entitled “Rudyard Kipling as a Modern Ballad Writer.”
  • She was involved with numerous activities and student organizations including Castalia, women’s field hockey where she played fullback, the Women’s Athletic Association, the University Press Club, and Theta Sigma Phi sorority.
  • She lived in the original Chadbourne Hall for all four years at UW-Madison.
  • After graduating in 1918, Lucy’s career in journalism and publicity took off: She worked for the University of Wisconsin Madison journalism department under Professor Grant M. Hyde, and as the assistant editor of the University Press Bureau. 
  • She was also very involved with UW Alumni activities, including serving as editor, secretary, and director for the alumni magazine. 

Ms. Lucy Rogers

Lucy’s portrait found in a one of four folders in her scrapbook box entitled “Loose Photographs.” This is likely a graduation portrait circa 1918-19.

In comparison to the decade before – one in which women students like Ava Cochrane attended UW-Madison – Lucy’s scrapbook highlights a distinctly more modern tone. 

For example, Lucy was very involved in events and organizations that were, perhaps, unusual for women at this time.

She played fullback on the 1918 Women’s Field Hockey team which won the championship.

The 1918 Women’s Hockey Team; Lucy played fullback.

(We do not think she is pictured despite playing on the championship team. As the Images & Media Archivist, Vicki Tobias, reminds us, “Archives research is sometimes a bit of guessing.”)

As an athlete, Lucy was very active in the Women’s Athletic Association.

The WAA Conference in March 1917 drew women athletes from other universities to Madison, WI for events.

We found Lucy at the Wisconsin table. Here’s a closer look:

A close-up of the WAA conference image in 1917. Lucy is located on the bottom far right. 

She attended a lot of sporting events, particularly football and basketball.

A program from the Chicago-Wisconsin football game in 1914 as well as a photograph of the stadium. Ava’s ticket stub shows she sat in the North Stand. 

Her scrapbook is also full of fight and spirit songs.

Here’s a preview of some of the songs in her scrapbook:

The 1915 “Songs for the Varsity Welcome” in particular, “The Freshman Welcome”

To the tune of a French melody:

Now listen little freshmen to this our sons of cheer:

Without the little freshmen there’d be no var'sty here!

A-las! A-lack! It is a wondrous fact.

Yep, yep! Yep, Yep! By ginger it is!

Yep, yep! Yep, yep! By ginger it is!

A-las! A-lack! It is a wondrous fact! 

A-las! A lack! It is a wondrous fact!

Given her numerous involvements on campus, we can’t help but give Lucy the codename of The Joiner.

We also can’t help but note the way her scrapbook – like Ava’s – gives us a sense of who she was as a student and what our campus was like for women in mid-1910s.

Some things change, but some things stay the same.

For example…

It was still cold on campus

Lucy pictured in her winter clothes on “Ag Hill” which we assume is the back of Observatory Hill at the UW-Madison campus. Date likely 1914-15.

And students were still up to their antics.

“I stood on the bridge at midnight.”

Lucy and a friend (Deb or Ruth – we can’t tell) enjoyed walks to Tenney Park in Madison on Sunday afternoons. Pictured in 1914.

What were they doing up on that bridge?

We are excited to share Lucy’s UW-Madison experiences and peek into the university life for women at this time.

Be sure to follow along! We have photos of fight songs, wintertime fun  and even Lucy’s report card, grades and final exams! 

This project is part of a practicum conducted by School of Library & Information Studies master’s candidate Megan Costello. (You can follow her along as she documents some of the more candid snapshots at Megan in (UW)-Madison or on Twitter at @meggo_costello.)