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Dec. 18, 1911: U co-eds bristle at mustache trend

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History Updated: December 20, 2011 - 4:42 PM

 

The Minneapolis Tribune describes a phenomenon that is probably familiar to many engineering students today: a charming and misguided strategy to attract the opposite sex.

Notoriety Won By a Hair

Sophomore Engineers at Univer-
sity Seek to Earn Popularity
by Growing Mustaches


The co-eds of the university are taking issue with some of the men on the campus as to what constitutes popularity in the feminine sense of the word. The Shovel society, composed of men from the Mechanic Arts college, have felt for some time that they were not as prominent socially as they should be and so a few of the sophomore civil engineers have instituted a new idea, guaranteed to arrest the attention of the illusive co-ed.

Signs of this impending change, which is to herald the coming of the new social lions on the campus, were noticed a few days ago when some of the engineers appeared in class with a phantom growth of bristles on their upper lips, which were displayed by their proud owners as "mustaches." In speaking of this new "shadow display," as the venture is commonly called, one of its adherents said: "At the last meeting of the society it was resolved that we grow mustaches, as we have always tried to be original. We proved our originality by the hats we wore the first of the year, and we hope this will prove as great a delight to the campus as it has to us."

The co-ed idea of popularity does not encourage such demonstrations and one girl said the man who courted popularity by such a route was on the wrong road. "A bald head is a dispensation of Providence, but a mustache is a man's own fault," one of the co-eds said. "The men are running their heads into a noose if they think we like mustaches, but I guess they will soon find out what our attitude in the matter really is."

 
Facial hair was unknown among members of the University of Minnesota's Engineers Society in 1905-06. (Image courtesy mnhs.org)
 
 
The women of Sanford Hall broke out the good china and tiny teapots and for a party in about 1910. (Image courtesy mnhs.org)
 

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