The article “Kansas Girls: It’s Fun for Them At State University” was published in the Life Magazine in the December 1939 issue.
The girls who go to the University of Kansas are as different in their looks and backgrounds as the buildings in which they live. The buildings are sometimes classic, sometimes Tudor, sometimes Georgian. Some of the girls are dull and some bright, some pretty and some plain, some grinds and some “jivers.” In a typical freshman class of 700, about 110 will be farmers’ daughters, 75 merchants’ daughters, 40 teachers’ daughters, 25 bankers’ daughters.
Their State University is at Lawrence, perched on the highest hill in eastern Kansas. It is a surprising town to find in the most middle of the Midwestern States. Settled by New Englanders, it is very much like New England except that the wind blows all the time. The streets are lined with spreading elms and some of the houses have captain’s walks.
In regular session, 1,500 girls attend the University, which is co-educational. For the most part they have a very good time at college, often living better than they do at home. A fourth of them occupy sorority houses; less than a third, dormitories. The rest board out around town. Their college life is heartier, more social and much more frankly concerned with boys than it is at an Eastern women’s college. Almost all the girls are Kansans who settle down in Kansas after graduation. As alumnae, they are the most closely knit group of people in the State, binding all Kansas together from town to town to town by friendships made in Lawrence. The way they learn to live, to dress, to behave, to look at life and culture, affects their future and the future of their State in a hundred small and subtle ways.
Most people in these photos are in their 90’s now, but if you recognize someone you know, please don’t hesitate to comment or write to me. One of my previous postings turned into a real life story and helped some family members reunite.
The last photo wasn’t available so I copied it from the magazine directly together with the caption.