A Swim in the Archives

Summer has most definitely arrived.

Here in the library, it’s chilly all the time and I’m honestly sitting at my desk in a sweater with a space heater at my feet. But outside, the heat and humidity of Fredericksburg in July can make me feel like I live inside a wet sock crammed in an oven.

So for today’s post, I searched through our digital collections for some inspiration on how to beat the heat at Mary Washington. Happily, I found documentation of our friends from the past keeping cool at the various campus pools that students have enjoyed over the years. Sadly, they don’t exist any more, but that won’t stop me from living vicariously through these images.

Down in the basement of Monroe Hall, in the earliest days of the State Normal and Industrial School, you could find students having a swim in their bathing caps and full-coverage suits. It’s not quite poolside in the summertime the way we might think of it today, but it still looks like fun!

This outdoor pool among the trees looks particularly refreshing. These images are circa 1940s-50s, and I think capture a classic, summery vibe.

The chic pool below used to be part of the grounds outside of Framar House. Check out the post from University of Mary Washington: Then and Now for more information and side-by-side images of what the spot looks like today (hint: it probably will not provide this much relief when the heat index is above 100 degrees).

Our students have always been very cool (literally and figuratively).


Happy summer, everyone!

All images retrieved from the Centennial Image Collection, Special Collections and University Archives.

July 14, 2017