Goodbye, Corolla, Goodbye: 1890s-1900s

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Last week, the Crimson White broke the news to campus that a longstanding publication, the school’s yearbook, is being discontinued. The decision makes sense, financially, but with the loss of the Corolla, we will cease to have an amazing ongoing record of our campus and our world.

For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be highlighting Corollas of the past. Some of these have been digitized and are online in Acumen; others have not been digitized (just photographed informally for these posts) but can be found in the reading room at Hoole Special Collections Library.


These late 19th century yearbooks were limited in technology, from our viewpoint, but that didn’t stop the staff from sharing their sense of humor. Check out the raison d’être (reason for being) in the middle of the page:


But, apparently, this image isn’t one of those funny things:


According to our resident art major, this kind of iconography on the fraternities section page was relatively normal, as wacky as eyeballs and dragons might seem to us now.

Also normal: poetry!


Lots of sports were already a part of campus life. Football was still pretty new, and the game was apparently a different animal back then. Check out the body types of these early football players:


(For reference, they’d fit in pretty well with the stars of the most recent X-Men movie: the two Professor Xs, James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart, are 5’7″ and 5’10” respectively; Magnetos Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender are 5’11” and 6′.)

The team average here is 5’8 1/2″ at 155 lbs. (X-Men‘s Jennifer Lawrence, who is 5’9″, is the right height but on the small side, weight-wise.) They would’ve been a little taller than the general population at the time.

The current average for an NCAA Division I player is 6’1″ at 231 lbs.

We also learn that football was an uncommon enough sport that UA had to play whatever teams were available:


Finally, even back then, advertisements were an important part of yearbook sales.



The students at the turn of the century were clearly of a different social class from modern students:


But the face of the typical UA student was changing with the recent (1897) addition of women to the campus:

Corolla1902_01 Corolla1902_04 Corolla1902_03

As the image above shows, UA was also still a military school.


But even that was changing. 1902 marked the last year UA would be considered a military institution.

Though photographs were used to depict students, perhaps they were expensive enough to reproduce that the rest of the book featured drawings, including this one, playfully illustrating the track team:


Stay tuned for upcoming posts that feature volumes from the 1920s and 1930s, from the 1950s and 1960s, and from the 1980s and 1990s. You’ll see how new printing options and changing culture shifted both the look and the purpose of the college yearbook, including the Corolla.

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