The Class of 1935

Hi, everyone! My name is Ceci Cholst and I am researching a 1935 Class Day dress donated to the collection by Mrs. Sarah Sillcocks Graham.
1935 Class Day Dress

Before I get into the dress itself, I want to talk about the class of ’35.


They seem like they were an especially exuberant class. The yearbook theme was “Children’s Books” in an effort to “record not only the actualities of Vassar…but want also to express…the spirit we have felt towards it.” (1935 Vassarion, forward.)  In a poem on their senior page, they proudly boast that they fought for the New Curriculum and the defeat of the Nuna Bill. They also discuss how they chose their Class Day dresses in the winter, anticipating a happy spring where, uncertain about the future but surrounded by loving parents, they would graduate.

According to The Great Experiment: A Chronicle of Vassar, a timeline issued during the college’s centennial celebrations, the New Curriculum abolished what remained of any sort of required courses–Hygiene–and required that freshmen only take four courses, instead of five. According to the 1935 yearbook, Vassar students had a range of subjects to choose from–from Bibliography and Botany to Zoology–so, presumably, the individual student could meet “the intellectual and social needs of young women students in the new world of today.” (Bulletin of Vassar College Vol. 25, No. 1 1934-35, 13.)

The 1935 girls were also active outside of the classroom: on February 19, 1935 80 Vassar girls reportedly went to Albany to protest two separate bills that required students and professors to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States. In addition, the yearbook itself amply attests to the involvement the class of ’35 had in student life: many girls were involved in dramatic productions and singing groups, which probably came in handy for the outdoor ceremony on Class Day.


From what I’ve been able to gather so far, Class Day traditionally consisted of an outdoor show where all of the seniors sang a song or somehow performed while wearing matching dresses. The Daisy Chain–a group of sophomores who wore their own matching white dresses–would come to decorate the set. There was a play. Class Day was usually two days before the actual graduation ceremony. My main questions right now are: Who planned the events? Were the Daisy Chain dresses and the Class Day dresses always so closely related? When did the tradition start of all of the girls wearing the same dress? And what did they do with those dresses after graduation?

2 Replies to “The Class of 1935”

  1. My mother was a member of the Vassar class of 1935. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the dress, but I remember seeing the pictures you’ve posted from her yearbook and would love to find out how I could get a copy of that class picture as she died in 1968 and her yearbook was lost. Is there any way you could help me?

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This work by Vassar College Costume Collection is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.