Final Thoughts

In comparing Alice’s experiences at Carleton to our own, we found, naturally, that there were simultaneously large differences and many similarities.

Some Differences

Differences Between Alice’s and Our Experience As Women At Carleton

What’s Different?
Alice B. StrattonARCN 246
Time Period1896-19002022-2027
Chapel RequirementYesNo
Days OffSunday, MondaySunday, Saturday
DormitoryGridley Hall — all womenVarious locations — co/ed
Dining HallGridley Dining RoomBurton or LDC
Literary SocietyAlpha Delta PhiN/A

Some Similarities

  • Women’s involvement in sports
    • Alice was not a member of the women’s basketball team during her time at Carleton College, but she is pictured in a photo with the women’s basketball team at the school she taught at after graduating from Carleton and Wellesley. However, these players wore conservative ankle-length dresses whereas modern women’s basketball teams wear shorts and jerseys. They also played without running, instead just passing around the ball. 
    • Carleton continued to see a rise in women’s sports over the years. Now, many women’s sports teams at Carleton College compete at the national level, like the Carleton College women’s cross country program winning the 2023 NCAA Division III Championships for the first time in school history.
Women smile in their basketball uniforms
Check out those ankle-length skirts! (Alice is in the top left corner.)
  • Club/extracurricular memberships
    • While Carleton College no longer has literary societies, Alice’s involvement in her literary society can be compared to joining a club on campus, such as Mock Trial or CANOE (Carleton Association for Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts). Part of the early college requirements in education was to create students who excelled in rhetoric, debating, and speaking as a whole. The literary societies were an important part of furthering this ideal. Today, though Carleton focuses on producing well rounded students, especially in terms of writing and communicating ideas, rhetoric is no longer a core requirement. This, we think, reflects the movement to a more digital society, with much of academia being published and communicated online. We question however, whether Carleton should still require or uphold rhetorical skills as well as writing skills, and what role public speaking continues to have post college. 
  • Behavior
    • They seem serious in photographs/on paper (like the handbook/guidebook), but the mention of the 2nd cad party and pranks and candy pulling tells us that they weren’t as uptight as we might have thought. Today, tomfoolery is widely publicized. In the algols published by the college, we still see clever joking around about the students and professors. This is similar to today, with college publications like Cow Print or The Clap. This seems to remain important to Carleton students. However, the records of the actual fooling around of students from Alice’s time at college is largely hidden. Is this because it didn’t happen, or because it is simply undocumented? With social media and email records today, evidence of college students and their not so perfect behavior is easily documented for years to come. How will this change future perceptions of college students from today? 
  • Attendance of campus events
    • Alice’s scrapbook contained many program booklets and performance playbills from music performances and other events on campus. It is likely that Alice attended these events regularly assuming many of these booklets were handed out during the event (these booklets even contained a repertoire of pieces that we still listen to today).


This project also emphasized for us the importance of archival documentation and the preservation of archival records. It was only through the generous donation of one of Alice’s descendents that we were able to reconstruct so much of Alice’s life. Archivists David Bliss and Tom Lamb were instrumental in this reconstruction process: David was even the first person to suggest we take a look at the scrapbook! They guided us through some of the language we were not familiar with, and that made all the difference in this project.

Archaeologists joke that they love trash because it tells a story about a community’s daily life. In our case, we have greatly benefited from the precious mementos that Alice decided to keep. Her treasure is also our treasure! On this level, it is highly personal and intimate. We would not have been able to know about her relationship with her father, how much her friends valued her, and what was so important to her that it deserved personal preservation. We often felt like we had become close friends with Alice, and we hope that you feel the same way now too.

Alice B. Stratton (Carleton Alumna 1900)