Tag Archives: apparel

Old-school Columbia freshman fashion

young white men in beanies on college campus

Freshmen students in beanies leaving a building on campus. Source: Historical Photograph Collection, Columbia University Archives.

“Never neglect to say ‘hello’ to a man who wears a Freshman cap, whether you know his name or not.” –¬†Columbia Blue Book, 1917-18

Proudly worn as symbols of a freshman’s distinctive but lowly position on campus, these caps helped the new classmates forge a close allegiance amongst themselves and against their greatest detractors: the sophomores. The wearing of the beanies was mandatory and a bareheaded freshman was an outrage to sophomores. The 1927-28 Columbia Blue Book (a handbook for first year students) contained freshman rules – including the requirement to wear your freshman cap at all times – and noted that rule-breakers would be “summarily dealt with.”

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