February 23, 2009

February 23, 1919: From the Diary of Martha Barksdale

One of the first women students to enroll at the College of William and Mary, Martha Barksdale kept a journal during the first year of co-education. Her earlier entries for the school year were dated November 26, 1918, and February 20, 1919. Below is her entry from February 23, 1919.

"Up with the times at last! Last night we went to Janet's party. I had a splendid time. I borrowed Edna Reid's pink evening dress and bought myself some high heeled black pumps. Guess I was dressed up once in my life. Margaret, Ruth, and I were the only Hall girls. The other girls were Lucile Brown, Elizabeth Lee, and Miss Mard[?]. The boys were "Smitty", Ware, Rieves, Terrell, Edward Lee, "Pete" James, Bert Loraine Bennet, Tom Peyton, Armisted, and "Rat" Parish.

We danced most of the time. Rieves didn't dance as I sat out a few and fretted over his pleasure for several others. This was my first attempt to dance in public, naturally some of it was not very pleasant.

"Pete" James is a grand dancer. He took pains to instruct me in the proper steps etc. I learned something about dancing not to mention the enjoyment I got out of it. I had a very pleasant dance with Tom Peyton and we talked over Ch'ville. Loraine Bennet was very nice also tho' he can't dance much more than I can.

The refreshments were splendid.
Chicken Salad
Hot chocolate

Cokes etc. They tasted good to a hungry school girl.

We danced until twelve o'clock, and got home at 12:30, tired but happy and wonder of wonders I didn't do anything to spoil that dress.

I thought I would never find the secret of Rieves['] safety matches to get a light.

--From the diary of Martha Barksdale available in the Special Collections Research Center.

For additional information about the first women students at the College of William and Mary see: When Mary Entered with her Brother William: Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945 by Laura F. Parrish; "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945; The Martha Barksdale Papers; and the Women at the College of William and Mary page on the Special Collections Research Center Wiki.

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