the aftermath of World War I there began a gradual relaxation of
the older and stricter standards of student behavior that generally
prevailed at DePauw up to the 1920s. University authorities, constrained
by a relatively conservative faculty and board of trustees, to say
nothing of still-potent ties to the Methodist Church, adjusted its
policies and practices in this regard only slowly. Though the absolute
ban on social dancing was lifted in 1926, coeds who wished to attend
campus dances were required as late as 1935 to secure written parental
permission, according to the official "Blue Book" defining
student rules and regulations. Closing hour at all women's living
units was 10 p.m., extended eventually to 11 p.m. on weekends and
occasionally to midnight for special events such as the Junior Prom.
After May Day senior women were permitted to stay out until 11 o'clock
on any night of the week.
Male students could call upon women in the front parlor of their
residence halls and also invite coeds to the public rooms of the
fraternity houses on Friday and Saturday evenings. Housemothers
and chaperones were a constant presence. No party which both men
and women were expected to attend could be held without a hostess
approved by the dean of women.
More informal dating took place on weekdays without university supervision,
including "meeting at the Boulder" to attend chapel together
and sharing a coke at the U-Shop or the Double Decker. Couples could
also find a measure of intimacy in one of the three movie theaters
in town-the Granada, the Chateau, and the Voncastle-or on a long
walk out to Forest Hill Cemetery or the glens behind Blackstock
Stadium. With sufficient funds in hand a young man might invite
a coed to a dinner date in one of the local restaurants, such as
the Cafe Royale, the Crawford Hotel, or the Elms, or even escort
her via the Interurban to the English Theatre in Indianapolis.
coming of the automobile brought few changes in dating patterns
because the university maintained a strict policy regarding its
use. Except for the first and last days of the academic year, students
were prohibited from having cars on campus without special permission.
Such permission was granted only to those needing transportation
to jobs or student teaching assignments and to commuters from nearby
communities. Later upperclassmen with outstanding academic records
were also allowed the use of cars upon application to the dean of
men. The rule forbidding women to ride in automobiles after seven
o'clock in the evening effectively limited their usefulness in dating.
favorite student haunt in the 1930s was the U Shop across College
Avenue from the Library. For most of its history this building
served as a confectionary, ice cream parlor, bookstore, the Barn and
eventually Faculty Office Building.
formerly banned along with social dancing, became a popular activity
among both men and women. Bridge games, and an occasional bridge
tourney, occupied a great deal of many students' free time. Most
fraternities and sorority houses and some residence halls had their
own card rooms as well as "bum rooms" for informal indoor
The university continued to enforce its prohibition of alcoholic
beverages. Information gathered from student polls in the Oxnam
administration seems to indicate the vast majority of undergraduates
observed this rule, at least while on campus. Those who were apprehended
in any infraction of the drinking code were punished summarily by
expulsion from the university. Smoking, also officially banned on
campus, proved more difficult to control. While a fair number of
men apparently took up the habit after the war, it was still considered
rather shocking for a coed to light up a cigarette at DePauw, according
to the recollections of alumni from the 1920s and 1930s.