The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library sent us quite a few yearbooks from the early 20th century. The majority come from Presbyterian College for Women (later Queens College and Queens University), Elizabeth College, and Mecklenburg Female College. These yearbooks highlight the friendships built among the young women, as well as their concerns and interests.
These 21 yearbooks, dating from 1904-1934, come to us from Queens University of Charlotte and its several precursor schools. According to NCpedia, the women’s school in Charlotte was founded in 1857 and known in sequence as: Charlotte Female Institute, Seminary for Girls, Presbyterian College for Women, and Queens College. It merged with the South Carolina school Chicora College in 1930 and was known as Queens-Chicora College for almost a decade. The school began accepting both genders in 1946, and in 2002 became Queens University of Charlotte.
The yearbooks are full of personality, with delightful drawings and quirky clubs. Some favorites: Git-More Chafing Dish Club, Gitchimanito Club (i.e. “get ye a man or two”), The Suffragettes, Old Maids’ Club, Babes in the Wood, Tom Thumb Crowd (for students who measured five feet or less), the Red-Headed Stepchildren, and Witches’ Club. Many volumes also include delightful drawings.
Elizabeth College, founded in 1897, was another early women’s college in the Queen City. The school merged with Roanoke College for Women in 1915 and moved to Salem, Virginia until 1921, when it burned and was never re-established. The Elizabeth College buildings in Charlotte endured, housing Presbyterian Hospital and the School of Nursing until it was torn down in 1980. Two yearbooks, 1914 and 1915, add to the existing eight yearbooks on DigitalNC dating from 1901. These two most recent The Elizabethan yearbooks are as charming as they are informative. Like The Edelweiss volumes from Presbyterian College for Women/Queen’s College, the club descriptions and photographs show the women both playfully and earnestly asserting their personalities, friendships, and interests. Some favorite clubs are Anti-Fat Club, Do As You Please, and Mustard Pickles. For close analysis of how the women of the class of 1914 conformed (or not) to Victorian standards, read the Elizabeth College Photo Gallery page from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
- Mecklenburg Female College
This 1868 volume is part yearbook, part literary magazine, as is characteristic of many early campus publications. This 1868 volume is both the first and penultimate volume; the school for women was only in existence for two years. The buildings were rented from the North Carolina Military Institute (later the Carolina Military Institute, also called the Charlotte Military Institute). For more information on the former Mecklenburg Female College, a broadside distributed by the college and digitized by DocSouth is particularly useful.
The final item from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is a program from the 16th Women’s History Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony by the Charlotte Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Incorporated. The four inductees were Carolyn A. Flowers, Shirley L. Fulton, Vi A. Lyles, and Joyce D. Waddell. The program also includes a list of all members of the the Women’s History Hall of Fame.
You can view all of the items digitized for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library on DigitalNC here.