These days, it’s not uncommon to take surveys about things like our use of campus spaces, our views regarding fossil fuel divestment, the quality of our academic courses, and other exciting and important topics.
In 1959, The Wesleyan Argus gave some Wesleyan students a very different kind of survey.
On Friday, October 23rd, 1959, the Argus’ front page shared the results of a questionnaire asking Wesleyan students (“Wesmen”) to rank women from other New England colleges on the basis of their beauty, personality, intelligence, desirability for blind dates, and potential to be wives. In their article, the writers explained their bizarre experiment:
With its usual interest in the cause of public enlightenment, the Argus recently offered Wesmen the opportunity to pass judgment on girls from five of the major New England colleges. The young lovelies were assessed via questionnaires on their looks, personality, intelligence, and desirability by 200 coldly calculating Wesleyan students.
And so, these students filled out the survey, sharing their “cold, calculating” judgments of the women of Connecticut College, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley. The results became front-page Argus news.
More after the jump:
As the article continues, the authors reveal the results:
Conn College was judged to have the most attractive collective countenance, with Wellesley trailing only one vote behind.
Mount Holyoke won the personality contest by a large margin, but Wellesley bounced back strongly to take the intelligence honors, with Smith following closely behind.
Conn College rejoined the race on the blind date rating, taking top honors away from Wellesley, with 50 Wesmen willing to trust their one night destinies to the New London sweeties.
On the crucial test of the choice of wife, however, Wellesley triumphed, with Conn and Holyoke tied close behind.
The results are by no means conclusive in any of the categories, as the statistics show that the results were usually fairly well spread out.
The article continues to lay out the results of the survey by sharing survey participants’ written comments, which included descriptions of some New England college women as “fond of buying ice cream cones in a blizzard,” “Capitalistic warmongers,” and “like-my-sister types.” One confused (or perhaps very condescending?) survey participant even asked, “What’s Vassar?”
To me, the weirdest part of this article is this quantitative tally ranking the women of these five colleges, based on Wes students’ survey answers:
To read the full article – and the rest of the Argus front page from October 23rd, 1959 – click on the photos below: