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December 12, 2014

Fall Semester 1904

With the end of the 2014 fall semester rapidly approaching, here are a few aspects of the undergraduate experience at Case School of Applied Science and Western Reserve University’s Adelbert College and College for Women 110 years ago.

The most obvious difference is that the fall semester didn’t end in December in 1904, but in February 1905. Students did have a winter vacation, however. At both Case and Reserve the winter recess began the evening of Friday, December 23 and ended the evening of Tuesday, January 3 - an 11 day break. Case’s President Howe, in requesting Trustee approval of the holiday break explained it should be “long enough before Christmas to enable students to reach home on that day and ending at such a date as shall enable the students to return after New Years.”

Not surprisingly, both schools were smaller in 1904. Enrollment at all Western Reserve schools was 808 and at Case 422. That’s a little smaller than CWRU’s undergraduate first year class in 2014. Tuition, also, was less than today. Adelbert and College for Women students paid $85 for the year; Case students paid $100.

Degree programs were less varied then. Adelbert and College for Women students had three courses of study: Language and Literature, Mathematics and Natural Science, and Philosophy, History and Social Science. The Bachelor of Arts was the only degree the two colleges awarded. At Case, the courses of instruction were Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mining Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, and General Science. The undergraduate degree awarded was the Bachelor of Science.

In varsity sports the football seasons of both WRU and Case ended on the same day, November 24, with Case defeating Reserve 22-0 in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. At Reserve, the basketball season started on December 16 with a 36-23 defeat of Sandusky. Case’s intercollegiate basketball program didn’t start till 1912.

A sample of December student events included:
12/2: Case’s junior class held its first dance of the semester
12/9: Case held its end of season football banquet
12/17: College for Women Dramatic Club produced Trelawney of the Wells
12/17: Case Musical Association concert was performed at the Excelsior Club
At Adelbert and the College for Women daily chapel attendance was required.

In 1904 Reserve had around 20 buildings and Case fewer than 10.

On campus student residences were much more limited than today. There were no Case dorms until the 1950s. A dormitory for Adelbert students was one of the original WRU University Circle buildings. We don’t know when Adelbert Hall, laterPierce Hall, ceased being a dormitory, but as early as 1894 offices and classrooms occupied some of the building. So, there was very little on-campus housing for Adelbert students in 1904. The undergraduate men at both schools either lived at home or in rooming houses near campus. The situation for undergraduate women was quite different. College for Women students had two campus residences in 1904, Guilford and Haydn. Fees were between $225 and $330 per year.

Some aspects of student life don’t change very much. The WRU student yearbook described the holiday break as, “We all go home to get money to come back on.”

Best wishes from the CWRU Archives to all our students for a restful (and lucrative) semester break!

Posted by jmt3 at December 12, 2014 07:54 PM

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