In order to answer our question, we decided to focus on reconstruction. To create the most comprehensive view of daily life for a female student, we decided to focus on reconstructing the schedule of a specific Carleton alum: Alice Belle Stratton. Our primary source for information was the Carleton College Archives, home to the scrapbook of Alice. Though the archives have scrapbooks from both her time at the Academy attached at Carleton (which she graduated from in 1896) and from her time at the College (which she graduated from in 1900) but did a more in-depth analysis of her Academy scrapbook. While flipping through the scrapbook, we looked at it as a form of documentary archaeology, using the documents that Alice specifically curated and left behind as a window into this part of the past. While critically examining the scrapbook, these are some of the questions we kept in mind:
Why would Alice record and keep this specific document/artifact in her scrapbook? What does this show about what she valued? Why would this be something she would want to track and remember? What does this show about the general lives of female students at Carleton around 1900? Alice specifically? Which other sources can we look at to cross-reference or confirm the items she left behind? What did she not document and leave behind, and how to we interpret these missing pieces?
Other important sources we looked at in the Carleton Archives included letters written by Alice’s father (who worked as a professor at the Academy) to her, also found in the book Letters to Alice: Carleton Life from Strong to Sallmon, transcripts from the time she attended the college, the 1901 yearbook The Noughty Ones, and digitized photos through the Carleton Archives website.
Then, with a wide understanding of Alice Stratton’s life, we created a blog post (see below) modelled after current Carls’ posts on the college admissions page, detailing her schedule and what we thought she would have felt about her daily life.