Let no man enter here

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Shevlin Hall let no man enter.jpg

Gopher, vol. 21, 1908, 321, Courtesy of University Archives, University of Minnesota

     
     Shevlin Hall gave women students at the university autonomy over their lives, but it also served to monitor their behavior. During the early twentieth century expectations for how a young woman should behave differed greatly from how a young man was expected to behave. Shevlin Hall gave women a space where they could socialize without jeopardizing their reputations. Yet, it also it meant that there was more oversight regarding how they used their time.[1] Young women were observed by the Dean of Women, the House Matron Mrs. Ladd (who later became Dean of Women from 1919-1923), and by one another.[2] They also were a source of curiosity to the men attending the university who wondered what occupied the women in their shared space.[3]


Shevlin cross section.jpg
Gopher vol. 23, 1910, 458 Courtesy of University Archives, University of Minnesota
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    While much of the discourse around Shevlin Hall spoke of how important a women's building was, there were some jokes about Shevlin Hall written from the perspective of men who were not allowed to enter the hallowed halls without permission. For example, the 1908 Gopher includes a satiric play depicting the fate of a young man who dares to enter the building without prior approval. The young women, having organized themselves into a union, have become rather militant and instituted very strict rules.[4] However, in reality, each woman was allowed to use the building to entertain men a limited number of times throughout the year, so men were allowed to enter under certain circumstances. Women also were allowed to invite men to parties with more than twenty women present, as long as at least one woman had not already entertained men three times that year. In addition, various events were held in Shevlin Hall that were open to both women and men.[5] Presumably, however, men were only allowed in certain areas of the building.

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[1] Ada Comstock. "What the Building Means," Minnesota Alumni Weekly, March 21 1910, 4. https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/53313/1/umaaMag-009_4.pdf
[2] See: Ada Comstock. "What the Building Means," Minnesota Alumni Weekly, March 21 1910, 4. https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/53313/1/umaaMag-009_4.pdf
[3] Ibid., See, Also: "Matron of Alice Shevlin Hall," Minnesota Alumni Weekly, September 17, 1906.
[4] See, for example: "Cross Section of Alice Shevlin Hall," Gopher, no. 23 (1910), 468. "The Only Man: A Drama," Gopher, no. 21 (1908), 349-351.
http://umedia.lib.umn.edu/node/567830/575508?mode=basic
 [5] "The Year in S. G. A.," Minnesota Alumni Weekly, May 9, 1910, 7.
https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/53314/1/umaaMag-009_5.pdf

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This page contains a single entry by Caitlin Cohn published on November 5, 2012 9:49 AM.

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