Apocrypha: Traditions, Myths, & Legends

Desperately Seeking “Reed Girls”

Classic Reed poster was handed down from one generation of students to the next.

By Annie Lionni ’79

In August 1975, I moved into Kerr for my freshman year at Reed. My eyes were wide and anything was possible. The first person I met was my dorm mom, Teri Reis ’76. She was a senior, an anthropology major, who would be there should we lose our room key, have a meltdown for whatever reason, or just want to hang out. Dorm moms and dads were different than the current resident advisers, I think. They were our friends and our mentors and a loose connection to the dean’s office. Mostly, they were students who were a couple of years older than the incoming freshmen who could help support kids who were away from home for the first time.

I adored Teri. She was smart and tough and brassy. She was loud and full of humor. She took her studies very seriously. She worked hard and played hard and was a wonderful mentor for me.

Teri had a poster on her wall that she had inherited from her dorm mom, Joan Roxanne Russell ’74, known as “JR.” The poster had been an advertisement for a temp employment agency in London in the early ’60s. The employment agency was called “Reed Girls,” so, little wonder that a copy made its way to Woodstock Blvd. The life cycle of the poster was simple. When its first owner graduated, she gave it to one of her dormies. When that recipient graduated, she did the same. In the spring of ’76, Teri gave me the Reed Girls poster.

It was a privilege to be the guardian of that poster. As a dorm mom during my junior and senior years, I had an open-door policy. My dormies spent a lot of time in my room; someone always asked about the Reed Girls poster. I graduated in 1979 and gave the poster to one of my dormies, Elizabeth Jerison ’82, who, in turn, did the same.

About a year ago, my husband, Peter Guss ’78, and I were interviewed for the oral history project. I thought to include a story about the poster and sent a photograph of it to Reed. Sometime later I was contacted by Gay Walker ’69, Reed’s archivist—it turned out that Caroline Mason Holmes ’69, one of her dormmates in Kerr, had also been a guardian of the poster.

My mission is to locate the poster and bring it back to Reed. Its last confirmed sighting was in 1995, when it was in the Women’s Center on the first floor of McNaughton. My hope is that by reaching out to Reed alumni, we can track down more leads and bring the Reed Girls back to campus for Reed’s 100th birthday.

If you have more stories or information about the Reed Girls poster, please contact annie@lionni.org.