Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tarleton Thursday: Edna Wolfe's 1925 "Purple Book"

        On February 8, 2016, Shawn Blue of Waco kindly donated his grandmother's 1926 Grassburr, a leather book strap with a "Tarleton" buckle, and a 1925 "Purple Book." It was very fitting that he donated these precious items during Library Lovers Month. In last week's Tarleton Thursday blog post, Amanda discussed Edna Wolfe's (1906-2001) academic record, as it was an interest of her grandson. Today, we are going to take a look at the 55-page September 1, 1925 "Purple Book."

The"Purple Book" was established in 1917 as a student handbook and was in publication for 25 years. The book let students know what was expected of them while they were on Tarleton's campus: boys and girls dormitory regulations; academic regulations; and rules concerning discipline. 

Edna lived in the only girls dorm on campus called "The Dump." She and her roommates were called the "Dumplings" (JTAC 1925 Vol. 6, No. 4). Girls Dormitory Regulations were so important that in the back of Edna's "Purple Book" were two loose pages from another "Purple Book." These were the two pages on Girls Dormitory Regulations with a handwritten note at the top "To have and to hold." 

Of particular interest are the library regulations. Library rules/regulations can be found on page 13 through page 14. You'll notice that the first point made (44. a.) is that "the Library shall be open in accordance with a schedule approved by the Dean." In 1925, the library was "open from 7:40 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. every week day except Saturday, when it closes at 3:00 p.m. It was closed on Sundays and holidays" (1924-25 John Tarleton Agricultural College Catalogue, p. 23). I'd say being open until 2:00 a.m. is a huge difference from then to now. 

Another interesting rule is 44. e. In 1925, students could only checkout "one book of fiction and one other book" for a two week period. Today, students can checkout 20 items at a time, most for 28 days. You'll notice that there is a "five cents per day fine for all books kept over time." Today, it's a mere ten cents per day fine for all items kept over time. To put that into perspective, five cents then would be the equivalent of 68 cents today. You could also purchase a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents in 1925, as opposed to a $1 a can today.

At that time, the library was located in two rooms of the Administration Building and there was only one librarian. Today, we have a three floor building all to ourselves on the Stephenville campus, plus Texan Hall at the Fort Worth campus, and a total of 14 librarians. One of the most important rules then still applies today: YOU MUST PAY ALL FINES PROMPTLY IF YOU WISH TO MAINTAIN GOOD STANDING IN THE COLLEGE. 

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