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Photo Flashback: Coed Life, Circa 1942

For the last week or so, freshmen (and women) from all around the country have been arriving at Washington-area colleges. These photos--taken at American University--are from a Post picture spread in 1942, the first school year after the United States entered World War II. Read the introduction: "The coeds who returned to the campus this autumn are more serious, a lot more aware of their responsibilities to the Nation at war. Mary Bean, 18, and Gunesh Guran, 16, of American University, are typical of the coeds of 1942. They're learning how to get along on less and how to do more. Mary is a graduate of Roosevelt High School. Gunesh hails from Boston. Both are freshmen."

What was an American University dorm room like in 1942? Like this:


The caption here read: "STUDY IS VITAL and the girls show a keen interest in the war's progress. Mary (left) and Gunesh go to their room early. Romance continues to thrive, however and dates are more serious."

It wasn't all studying, however:


The original caption: "KEEPING FIT is necessary in a more intense and accelerated college program. Mary and Gunesh spend may a session in the gym. Here they work out on stall bars with Elaine Beale (left) and Mary King (right)."

Reminders of the war were never far away:


The caption: "WAR BONDS AND STAMPS are sold on American's campus and Gunesh Guran bought hers from Celeste Kenney and Gloria Engle. Coeds are buying less clothing, making what they have last longer."

Welcome to all the freshmen of 2009. Enjoy the school year.

By John Kelly  |  September 7, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Photos of Washington  
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Nice pictures of America before the obesity epidemic.

Posted by: DupontJay | September 7, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Nice pictures of America before the obesity epidemic.
They were just coming off the Great Depression. Many people had been on short rations for years. Also, many lacked cars, so they had to walk everywhere. A significant portion of men who volunteered or were drafted into the Army were rejected for malnutrition or for malnutrition-related conditions.

Posted by: swmuva | September 7, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

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