100 Years Ago

It’s 1920, and Pomona College is entering the Roaring Twenties—facing, among other things, the challenges of dancing and Hollywood.

Everybody Dance

With the close of World War I came a push to overturn the strict college rules against dancing on campus. As recently as 1918, an editorial in The Student Life had lamented that “The principle of non-dancing has become ingrained into the very fiber of the institution for reasons which the executives can best express, and it is worse than futile for us to oppose it.” The post-war culture shift, however, soon carried away that prohibition, and, as informal campus dances became common, the efforts of the administration turned to managing them. A floor committee of four men and four women supervisors were authorized “to reprimand any undesirable form of dancing or to request any person to leave the floor.” By 1922–23, four all-college formal dances were being conducted annually in the “Big Gym”—the Senior-Freshman Dance, the Christian Dance, the Military Ball and the Junior Prom.

Silence is Golden

As Hollywood became the movie capital of the world, the Pomona campus soon came into demand as a collegiate set. The Charm School, a silent feature starring Wallace Reid, was the first known movie to be shot on campus, with much of it filmed around Pomona’s Sumner Hall in 1920.

1,000 Strong

The 1921 Metate (published in 1920) notes that for the first time the number of Pomona alumni has topped 1,000.

For more tidbits of Pomona history, go to Pomona College Timeline.

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