University of Guelph History

Macdonald Institute

MacDonald Institute 1911When she enrolled at Macdonald Institute in 1911, Bess Philip began a photo album of her college experience. She took this picture of five classmates in a Macdonald Hall residence room, where they were obviously preparing for the mandatory "lights out" at 10:30 p.m.

The schedule for female students in the early days of the college was tightly controlled. The residence itself was built on the edge of the campus and was largely self-contained, with a dining room, gymnasium, medical office and library right in the building.

Women were allowed out only one night a week and had to be in by 7:00 p.m. unless they were accompanied by a suitable chaperone, who was required to see them to the door by 10:15 p.m.

In Bess Philip's day, a promenade was a favorite social event. A gentleman from OAC would offer his arm to a Mac Institute lady, and they would keep time to the music of an orchestra as they marched through the halls of one of the administration buildings. Dancing wasn't allowed until 1913.