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Hanover 1947: Plus Ca Change

Bruce Wood at the Big Green Alert blog has spotted an engaging film about Dartmouth in 1947, about 30 years before my time on campus. (Note: the video takes about 20 seconds to get rolling.)

The piece contains a great many scenes of daily life in Hanover that will be familiar to alumni of different eras and quite unfamiliar to present-day students:

— Students played intramural touch football and softball on the Green (without the need for a secure perimeter);

— 10% of undergrads (300 out of 3,000) were married in the post-war period;

— The College had a summer session from 1942 until 1947 or so, a precursor to year-round operation that began with the Dartmouth Plan in 1972;

— ROTC students often wore their uniforms on campus;

— Freshmen wore beanies for the first several weeks of their fall term (until they could win a huge tug of war on the Green). During this time they were at the mercy of upperclassmen, and they had to perform any menial task that was asked of them. Most survived the experience;

— Webster Hall, now the Rauner Rare Book Library, was the main auditorium for the College;

— Plans for the yet-to-be-built Hopkins Center included a 3,000-seat hall — a size chosen to accommodate the entire student body.

That said, navigating Dartmouth ca. 1947 would be easy for today’s students. Most buildings from that time are still on the campus today.


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