20 Vintage College Photographs

June 02, 2014

College has changed a lot over the past 150 years…

Harvard, Yale and Brown used to make all freshmen pose for nude photographs. There are thousands of these photos collected “for scientific research” from the 1940s to the 1970s, including nude photos of George Bush, Hilary Clinton, Meryl Streep, etc. (via)

Cell phones were non-existent. Here, a Hunter College student listens to a wireless operator in 1917 (via)

Instagram wasn’t around, but that didn’t stop students from taking ridiculous photos. Here’s JFK (on the right) with his college roommates; they sent this out as a Christmas card in 1935! (via)

Modern day dorm furniture is the worst. Don’t you wish you could have real furniture and tea sets like these students at Trinity? Also, note the tennis racquet… (via)

Everyone seems to have tennis racquets on their wall, like this student at Dickenson in the 1890s (via)
Seriously it’s like every dorm room before 1950 had a racquet on the wall! (via)
Also, athletic teams looked very different. Here’s UPenn’s football team in 1878. Love the top hat! (via)

Football players didn’t used to huddle. It was started at Gallaudet University for the deaf to keep their plays secret! (via)

Push ball was a thing. Here are students at Columbia University taking part in a push ball scrimmage (via)

Snowball fights were fierce! These mugs are the result of Princeton’s freshman-sophomore snowball fight in 1893 (via)

 

 

Premed classes were really creepy (via), and body snatching / grave robbery was a lucrative trade—people used to dig up bodies and sell them to medical schools!

This is what Vanderbilt’s Medical School looked like in 1929… seems at least one didn’t make it out alive! (via)

 

You could take classes in archery, like these women at WashU, 1925 (via)

You also got credit for tap dancing—here are girls at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa (via)

In the 1940s, you didn’t show up to class in yoga pants and a sweatshirt… (via)

This was the closest thing your grandparents had to sweatpants: Wellesley 1938 (via)

The libraries wreaked of cigarette smoke. Here’s a Dartmouth student in 1962. (via)

Colleges weren’t so built up. Even Columbia University used to be surrounded by empty fields. (via)

A lot of universities had outdoor pools and they were awesome! Here is LSU’s pool built in 1932. (via)

Movies about college life were very different. Here, Dorothy Gulliver poses for a publicity shot for 1928 film The Collegians. (via



Browse Successful Application Files

jackmac401
USC ‘19


Accepted to USC, UMich, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Swarthmore, CMU, NYU, Vassar, Reed, Kenyon, UC Davis, Syracuse, CU, Fordham, Santa Clara, CSU Chico, CSUF, UC Riverside , UCSB, UCSC, Bard

Theater/business double major from classic and online highschool background. Here to help navigate audition and business interview processes! On full tuition scholarship
jpm13
Rochester ‘20


Accepted to Rochester, Rutgers, Fordham, College of NJ, Drexel

Hey! I'm a freshman at University of Rochester Class of 2020 interested in double majoring in Biology and Spanish, eventually applying to med school. I'm passionate about studying science, doing research and learning new languages.
ClaireL
UCLA ‘20


Accepted to UCLA, Cornell, CMU, USC, UCSD, UC Davis

UCLA Class of 2020. Orange County native. I like math and music.
vicamit
Vanderbilt ‘20


Accepted to Florida, Vanderbilt, Duke, Emory, UPenn, Miami, Northeastern, UVA, UNC, Georgetown, Rice

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar at Vanderbilt and art enthusiast

New Posts

USC Merit-Based Scholarships You Should Know About
USC Merit-Based Scholarships You Should Know About
October 16, 2017

Worried about how you can afford to attend a private university? If you’re applying to the University of Southern California, there are a few merit-based scholarships you should know to alleviate the cost. As...

Student Insight: What to Expect from College Interviews
Student Insight: What to Expect from College Interviews
October 13, 2017

Not sure what to expect from a college interview? We asked 5 students to share their college interview experiences with you. First thing you should know about college interviews is that they are not required. More...

Load More Posts