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Recent Acquisition: Amy Moore’s Scrapbook from the Years 1917 to 1921

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
April 7th, 2014

Amy Moore in the 1921 Monticola, the yearbook of West Virginia University

Scrapbooks are compelling snapshots of the past.  Their contents, consisting of the tangible ephemera of daily life such as photos, invitations, movie tickets, etc., can bring to life the experience of past times, even for those with only a modest interest in history.  The recently acquired scrapbook of Amy Moore, a WVU student in the period 1918-1921, affords just such a backward look, and the following highlights some of its contents.

A major difference in student life at that time compared to ours is sheer numbers:  student enrollment was around 2500, dipping to 1600 during World War I (1918), compared to today’s 29,000!

Another major difference is the extent to which the lives of female students were constrained and supervised.  The published regulations and “sign out” card Amy Moore included in her scrapbook illustrate this:

Restrictions on Female Students at WVU

Her scrapbook also includes mementos of the many social events she attended such as this page of dance cards:

Dance Cards

Like today, motion pictures in the teens and 1920s were a major source of diversion and entertainment, so it isn’t surprising to find film memorabilia in her scrapbook, like this advertisement for a 1917 picture she apparently saw at the Strand Theatre in Morgantown:

Madame Petrova ad

Unlike today, many students traveled to and from WVU by train in the teens and 20s, though automobiles and improved highways were making headway at the time.  Amy Moore traveled to and from her parent’s home in Ravenswood, West Virginia, as evidenced by this Baltimore and Ohio train pass dated January 6, 1918:

Railway Ticket

“Back to School”

Upon her arrival at the Morgantown train depot, the scene she would have encountered would be similar to the one in the following photograph:

In addition to collecting records regarding the big events in history, the West Virginia and Regional History Center also collects material about everyday life, as documented by Amy Moore’s scrapbook, and the many other scrapbooks in our collection.

Blog post by Michael Ridderbusch, Associate Curator.

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