Simmons in the 1920s
Simmons' Charter dates to 1899, and its doors first opened in 1902. Its initial curriculum included only Bachelor of Science degrees and certificates in household economics, library studies, secretarial studies, and general science. In 1904, it opened its school for social workers in cooperation with Harvard, and in 1905 it built its first dorm and dining hall. The school's "May Day" tradition began in 1912, and included strawberry shortcake breakfasts, a maypole dance, and the crowning of a May Queen. Other traditions, such as step singing and an Olde English dinner, served in December, also began around this time. The first physical therapy program began in 1917, and in 1918 the school established its public nursing program. By the 1920s the College also featured general science, the Prince School of store service education, and landscape architecture.2
In Ruth's time at Simmons, the College was engaged in a series of endowment campaigns, which first began in 1920, concluded in 1924, and which raised $1 million. One group of students selling pencils on street corners raised $4,500 in one afternoon. Alumnae sold used goods from the Simmons Salvage Shop at 79 Newbury Street, and sandwiches and soda from a wagon in Post Office Square. A new school newspaper began operations in 1923, titled "The Simmons News." It included news on freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes, as well as the endowment campaigns, and even world events in addition to general goings-on about the college itself. An earlier newspaper was already in circulation, titled "Persimmons," created in 1910, and primarily included short stories, an editorial section, and submitted creative fiction.3
1“MCB,” Featured Exhibit: The Buildings of Simmons College: The Main Building and Academic Campus, Simmons Library: Simmons College Archive, (Boston:MA). Retrieved from http://www2.simmons.edu/library/archives/i/MCB.jpg on March 23, 2017.
2"A Brief History of Simmons College." The Simmons College Archive. Simmons College (Boston, MA); "A Brief History of Simmons College: The Early Years: 1899-1919." The Simmons College Archive. Simmons College. (Boston, MA); "Simmons College Academic Organization: A Historical Overview." The Simmons College Archive. Simmons College. (Boston, MA)
3"A Brief History of Simmons College"; "A Brief History of Simmons College: The Early Years: 1899-1919" ; "Simmons College Academic Organization: A Historical Overview" ; Hatch, Mary, Farley, Frank Edgar, et al., Persimmons, Vol. IV, no. 1 (Boston, MA), November, 1917; Hyde, Dorothy M., Middleton, Prudence L., et al., Simmons News, Vol. 1, no. 14 (Boston, MA), January 28, 1924.
4Hyde, Dorothy M., Middleton, Prudence L., et al., Simmons News, Vol. 1, no. 23 (Boston, MA), April 14, 1924.
5Hatch, Mary, Farley, Frank Edgar, et al., Persimmons, Vol. IV, no. 1 (Boston, MA), November, 1917.