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May Day: 1927

May Day: 1927

Circa 1927. "Sweet Briar College, May Day exercises." In 2015 it's Mayday in more ways than one at the women's college near Lynchburg, set to close this summer due to a financial crisis. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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What will the W&L guys do?

Sweet Briar was the traditional source of dates for the young men at nearby Washington & Lee University, but W&L went coed in 1985 and that all changed, leaving Sweet Briar and Hampden-Sydney as the two non-coed institutions in central Virginia. How long, I wonder, can H-S remain a place where the unofficial motto is "Where men are men and women are guests"? Or will it go the way of Sweet Briar rather than admit members of the other gender?

Quantum Entanglement 1.0

Given the preparations being conducted in the background and the absence of doting parents and bored siblings on folding chairs, I'd say this is a rehearsal for the Maypole Dance.

In a reversal of the traditions of Elizabethan theatre, half of these Blossoms of Southern Womanhood appear to be impersonating boys. Perhaps that tradition was later responsible for Sweet Briar's failure to yield to the pressure to admit male students and, ultimately, to its financial failure.

"Rosam quae meruit ferat!" ["She who has the rose earned may wear it!"]

We had a maypole when I was in the third grade.

Our teacher was an old, crabby spinster. She had us do the maypole dance, or at least tried to have us do it. Most of us had no idea of what a maypole was or what we were supposed to do. As we floundered around, the teacher's directions got more and more shrill. In the end old Miss Crabby just gave up. Served her right...she was a really nasty woman.

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