What Dorm Rooms Looked Like 100 Years Ago

Do you remember the first time you lived on your own, away from your parents? Do you remember the freedom you felt, not having to worry about what your parents might think of the posters on your wall or whether your room was clean? For many of us, that moment came when we packed up our things and headed to school. College has long-been a time of great adventure and growing up, and this freedom and independence can be seen through how college kids decorate their dorm rooms. Living on campus at a college is usually the first time away from home for many students, and the dorm room provides a great opportunity to express oneself. The way a student chooses to decorate their dorm room tells a lot about that person, and that got us thinking: what did dorm rooms look like in the 1800s and early 1900s? These photos give you a rare look inside…

Four young students enjoy some time together at Lindenwood at the turn of the century. Isn’t the room lovely? They certainly made a home away from home here!


A group of girls pose during a sleep over at Peace College, Raleigh, NC, c.1910’s.


The ladies of Vassar get together for a dorm-room study session in 1905. Lovely photo.


Here we see two young women enjoying some studying over tea at Brown University in 1912. We love the banners hanging and also the fact that it doesn’t appear as though they’ve done their dishes recently!


A proper lady’s dorm room at UW-Madison in 1898. She kept everything prim and proper!


Here is a single room in Chadbourne Hall in 1899. We love the details here: the father and mother’s portraits, the oversized books, and the amazing mirror. Simply lovely.


Here is a view inside a Cornell upperclassmen’s room around 1902. What a space – there’s even a fireplace!


Here we see a young H. S. Coulter in 1905 while studying at Trinity. He even donned his hat and pipe for this shot!


A young man poses with his pipe in his room in the barracks at Maryland in 1904. It’s interesting to think what life awaited him after he graduated.


Two young men of Sigma Theta pose with a thoroughly decorated room at Baylor University. There’s a lot going on here, but our favorite part is the dog portrait in the top right.


Another view of a Baylor dorm room, this one a bit more organized and elegant of course!


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