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Egstad, Herman M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 30, Number 4 (Jan. 1929)

Seger, Sarah Hardenberg
Looking back through the other gate,   pp. 119-120


Page 119


fanuary, 1929                      THE WISCONSIN ALUMNI MAGAZINE        
                                    Page rz9
Lookbzg Back Through the Other Gate
                      Alumna of '71 Does Not Envy Youth's Task of Living
                                in Bewildering, Complex Age of Today.
                              By SARAH HARDENBERG SEGER, '7I
"A    HUMAN interest history of the                                
             and to whom we went for counsel when
       University of Wisconsin, begin-                                  
        perplexed over the practical details or
ning with its earliest days."                                      
             problems of dormitory life.
  An intriguing title, is it not?And                                    
          We were permitted to receive gentle-
since I, being one of the earlier gradu-                                
        men callers on Friday evenings in the
ates, have been asked to contribute my                                  
        stiff little reception room across the hall
reminiscences, I must try; but nearing,                                 
        from Miss Ware's suite.
as I am, the gate through which we pass
"when all's over"; "beginning to look                    
                                 Relished Their Pie
on life as one who stands apart," I am                             
               Rising bell was at 6:30, breakfast at
wondering if I can, for the benefit of my                               
        7, lights out at IO.
readers, re-enter in imagination that                                   
          No doubt the restrictions imposed en-
other gate, the opposite gate, the Beauti-                              
        hanced our enjoyment of such liberty
ful Gate of the Temple of Life, and re-                                 
        as was permitted; even as we consumed
capture for them the burning ambitions,                                 
        the dessert, served only on alternate
the lofty aspirations, the great expecta-                               
        days, with a keener relish than if pie or
tions cherished by the youth who in the                                 
        pudding had been placed before us every
early days climbed the campus hill and                                  
        noon meal.
registered as students of the University                                
          Gentlemen were permitted to attend
of Wisconsin.                                                           
        the sessions of our Literary Society-
  For those were mid-Victorian days!                                    
        only one then-the Castalian-while
         they had two, but we could not go to
       Forced to Take Women!                                            
        theirs. Many availed themselves of the
  The Civil War took so many young                   One of Four.       
        privilege and we worked hard to gain
men from the State that the recently                                    
        their admiration. In the beginning we
formed University, which at first re-   President Chadbourne, who taught
   had simple, old fashioned programs, mu-
ceived only men, was obliged to open its  botany to a class of girls, when
touching  sic, readings, essays; later we added a
doors to women. President Chadbourne  on the subject of sex in plants, observed
 critic, debates and dramatizations which
was so opposed to co-education that he  that we could now see why it would
be  we arranged ourselves from books, as the
resigned his position and went to Wil-  improper to teach botany and certain
 movies do now.
liams College as president, so that my  other subjects to mixed classes.
                  .
class of '7I graduated under Vice-Presi-  What would have been his sensations,
       Scathing Critiques
dent Sterling, who served as acting   and-his comments, had "the Dora
Rus-    I find among my archives the follow-
president for one year, from '70 to '7I.  sell incident" occurred in
his instead of  ing critique which because of the light it
  However, nothing was omitted by the  the present administration!      
   throws on the co-eds of the period I
authorities to safeguard the young wo-  It is gratifying to record that the
clos-  quote in full:
men from the "dangers" of co-education;  ing of that incident proves
the sound-  - "We don't feel justified in criticizing
they went to the morning exercises in  ness at the core of the old standards.
 the matter of Miss McCoy's recitation
the chapel, to the class rooms, to church  Fundamentally, in essence, the
larger  as it was not audible, but judging from
and Sunday school, everywhere, in fact,  freedom leaves them unchanged. 
   the length of time she remained standing
where it could possibly be arranged, in  We lived, we girls, in the South
Dor-  she showed facility in memorizing. Had
strictly feminine groups. They gradu-  mitory, a living room  and two bed
  it been delivered in a little louder tone it
ated by themselves in the assembly    rooms for every four girls, house keeping
 would have probably been a success.
room of the Capitol the day before the  facilities provided for those who
wished  "Miss Adams' essay was read well,
men and had no share in the class day  to board themselves.             
   and though it was rather a rambling dis-
exercises. True, we of '71, sneaked out                                 
        course we agree with the general drift
the evening of class day and, partly in       Tiny Body, Big Brain      
   of it. The egotism of the nineteenth cen-
resentment, partly as a practical joke,  We had an admirable preceptress
with  tury is something remarkable.  Miss
planted a clinging ivy at the base of the  a tiny body, a big brain, a kind
heart  Byrne seemed quite exhausted as she
class tree, but as no one ever took any  and a New England conscience. She
 rose to speak and grew more so as she
notice of it and the vine died a natural  taught us morals, manners and points
of  proceeded.  A little more animation
death, that fell flat and afforded us no  etiquette; she said grace at the
table  would have been an improvement,
satisfaction.                            (one long one sufficed at that date),
  though, on the whole, her performance
                                         steered the conversation into profitable
 was far from bad. Upon hearing the
       Botany and Co-education          channels, conducted devotions in
the big  title of the paper we expected to be able
  We met men in the class rooms only  assembly room on the fourth floor and
 to make only disparaging remarks con-
when necessary to take notes from lec-  was always a model of deportment.
We  cerning it for "The Pearl Gatherer" is
tures by various professors on subjects  also had a matron, the widow of
an  a combination of conceit and sentimen-
taught by lectures, and men only were  Episcopal clergyman, who furnished
us  tality. The title of a book or paper is a
called on to recite.                    with excellent food for $3.50 per
week,  pretty sure indication of its character,


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