|Date(s):||January 1, 1926|
|Location(s):||Furman University | Greenville Womans College|
|Tag(s):||Greenville, SC, Furman, Student, Gender, GWC, Yearbook|
|Course:||“Urban and Suburban America,” Furman University|
One of the main resources for information related to the history of Furman University and Greenville Woman's College and its student body are the yearbooks. There are no surviving yearbooks of the periods of their founding (1851–1854), but catalogs of the 1920s are still mainly intact. These almanacs grant a peek into the lives of students, highlight extracurricular activities, and illustrate how adolescents perceived their urban environment.
For a long period of time, male and female students were strictly divided in two different colleges. It took until 1962 for ''Furman men and women [to be] united on one campus.'' This separation also meant that there were two different yearbooks: Furman's Bonhomie of 1926, and the College's Entre Nous. While these almanacs followed the same outline, there were some important differences that shine a light on the gender relations of the time.
Both yearbooks began with a set of photos of campus and a list of professors. All the teachers at Furman were male; the only female staff member was librarian Mrs. Eva Wrigley. The next section gave an impression of the student body. The descriptions were set around a theme and featured a photo of the student and a short description. The next chapters focused on organizations and athletics. Both male and female students played various sports, such as baseball and tennis. Furman even had an official male cheerleading team. More for women than for men, clubs seemed to play an important role in their lives. At the College, there were ''more than a dozen imaginatively named student groups [such as] The Two-Lips [and] The Beelzububians of Red Devil's Alley.''
For the men, Bonhomie included a section called ''to the ladies,'' which consisted of photographs of female presidents of the College's clubs. Entre Nous did not have such a section devoted to men. Moreover, the female yearbook included a poem called ''The Perfect Girl,'' which outlined how women should present themselves. Advertisements underlined the (presumed) differences between men and women: ads in Bonhomie were mostly of related to business, while ads in Entre Nous promised mainly ''discipline, social, and spiritual advantages.'' These sections are a result of the time period: social relations were rigorously gendered, and there were implicit codes of conduct to which the students had to adhere.
Even though the University would become a coeducational institution around thirty years later, some aspects of college life remained strictly gendered. For example, as a response to the influx of women into previously the all-male campus, some ''organized male students moved to exclude women completely from their organizations'' and retained differences based on gender.