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Vintage photos show what it was like to live in US college dorms 110 years ago

It still looked like a lot of fun…

STUDENTS DOING THEIR Leaving Certificate in the last couple of weeks will have been thinking about this autumn, when they step inside their chosen college for the first time.

For many it will mean a move from home, and while we have had on-campus living for many years in Ireland, it’s not really like the dorm room culture of the US we see in TV shows and movies.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s archives department has put together a collection of photos showing how student housing in the US has changed over the past 110 years.

Our own students certainly won’t be living in rooms like the ones below, which, although elegantly decorated in many cases, have none of the modern conveniences they rely on. It does still look like it was good craic though…

Vintage photos show what it was like to live in US college dorms 110 years ago
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  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    This woman's dorm in 1898 isn't MUCH different from the modern day... Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Photos and momentos kept it homey in this room in 1899.Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Male students raise their glasses in a boarding hours or fraternity in 1909. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    By 1919, pin-up ladies were essential decor. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    As were displays of college pride...Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    An ad for a room in 1927 noted perks like running water. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    This single dorm from the 1930s appears to be filled with souvenirs from a student's travels. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Students studied on bunk bets in this barracks-style dorm in 1945. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    During this time, single men's housing was $13 per month with bunks and linens included. No one told this guy smoking was banned...Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    The university had separate housing for married students and their families in 1946.Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    That guy in the 1950s was doing a great day making his bed. Nice clean line. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    The lads. Hanging out, eating melon in the 1950s. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    The girls, listening to some solid tunes. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    That's an impressive perfume collection. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Students sing Christmas carols in this 1958 image. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Special housing for married couples remained in the 1960s. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    This 70s student lounge looks pretty fun. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    And dorm rooms were fairly groovy. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Fierce. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    And then there's this funky single complete with a hanging chair and dream catcher. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    Is that a parachute? Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    This triple room, also from the 70s, was pretty well co-ordinated. Love is blue, apparently. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    These legends got creative with the small space and opened a bar. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    In the earlu 1980s, TVs started appearing in dorm rooms. Look how small that bed is though. Source: UW-Madison Archives
  • Vintage photos of US dorms

    We like what they've done with this place in 1986. A fireplace AND a reclining chair. Source: UW-Madison Archives

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