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Turning Points Features

Ah, college life! Hard beds, bad food, and strict rules about members of the opposite sex

Like countless numbers of college students today, students in the 19th century had much to say to friends and family about teachers and classes, breaks from school, adventures with classmates, and most particularly, school food. "Tell grandma to please make some more cookies. Addie and I would starve if it was not for those," begged Fannie in letters written from her room at Wisconsin Female College in Fox Lake. Poor Fannie did praise the quality of the school cafeteria's bread and butter but that probably provided little comfort after a night spent on a bed stuffed with the occasional corn cob! The teachers also kept a close eye on their students, even keeping them from ice skating for fear of having them interact with the "town boys."

Opportunities for women to attend college increased throughout the United States in the 19th century. Wisconsin was home to several female colleges (as well as co-ed universities), including Fannie's school, the Wisconsin Female College, which opened its doors in 1855. In 1895, the Wisconsin Female College joined with Downer College and the Milwaukee Female College to become Milwaukee-Downer College.

Posted September 01, 2005
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