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Remembrance of dorm life past

These stories of Olde Reed dorm life are excerpted and edited from alumni interviews conducted for the Reed Oral History Project. Transcripts of the complete collection of interviews (160 and counting) are held by Special Collections at Hauser Memorial Library.

archived photo of Quills club 1920s

Members of The Quills, a literary club, gather in Anna Mann in the 1920s.

[My father] brought me home on Thursday nights for choir practice, then took me back [to campus]. And I remember one night it was so foggy we couldn’t see a thing. I had to hold my head out the window and look down so we wouldn’t hit the curb as we were going along. And he stayed all night in my dormitory room. He had to, because he just couldn’t go out alone and go back to Vancouver in that dense fog. But nobody knew about it, and he got up early in the morning and went off.

—Martha Powell Wilson ’25

archived photo old Dorm block 1940

Old Dorm Block around 1940

[Campus Day] was a day that they used to take all the mens’ dorms out—all their beds and dressers and everything—and put them on the lawn, out in front of the dormitory. It was a prank that they played on the men.

—Margaret McGowan Mahan ’24

I’ll tell you a little bit about Anna Mann. After we got through hashing, we’d get through with dinner by 6:30 or so, and clean up and so forth, and go back to the dorm. Then a lot of times there would be a student who could play jazz on the piano, and we’d have a little time and we would dance until 7. . . . Those are the songs that I remember now. If I hear somebody play “Bye, Bye, Blackbird,” and stuff like that, I remember it. There will be a band up here that comes and plays for all us old folks once a month. We thoroughly enjoy it. They’re almost as old as we are, and they come and play the songs we used to like. I know we did that in Anna Mann.

—Vera Smith Jackets ’28

archived photo of dance committe in Anna Mann, 1935

The Central Dance Committee meets in Anna Mann in 1935.

Archival research by Lisa Silverman
Historic photos courtesy of Special Collections,
Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library

There really wasn’t [adult supervision in the dorms]. It was all sort of an honor system. You could stay out as late as you wanted to. . . . if a man or a boy came to the house for something people shouted out, “Man in the house!” . . . We had a terrible snowstorm and they had to close the school, because the buses couldn’t run. So they declared open house in the dorms. The fellows could come visit or vice versa. That was when Monopoly was a brand-new game, and you could have the boys over, and we played Monopoly until doomsday and had so much fun.

—Jane Wilson Falkenhagen ’37