From about the 1920s-’40s, freshmen at Saint Mary’s College were once required to wear beanies to distinguish their “lowly” stature. The feature photo above is titled “Beanies Snake Dance 1927” and is undoubtedly a photo of the annual freshman initiation. The photo looks like it was taken at Somsen Hall (then the Winona State Teachers College) in Winona, and it appears as though the guys had an audience of female onlookers through the windows.
In 1936, the sophomores wrote a task list for the “Freshman Initiation” that included the following tasks:
- “Guarding” Merchants Bank, making rounds and challenging any suspicious characters
- Lying flat on the back on the floor of the Candy Box and drinking from baby bottles
- Scrubbing the sidewalk in front of the State with a glass of water and a tooth brush
- Rolling a rotten egg around in a circle on the corner of Third and Main streets
- Pushing a pencil between Main and Center on Third Street
- Shaving on the corner of Third and Main
- Skiing through the main drag of Winona, and
- Dancing on the post office steps … just to name a few.
Traditionally the beanies were buried during the Homecoming football game festivities.
Anyone with more — or more accurate — information about this photo is welcome to comment on this blog post.