Gym Class for Girls, 1920s

I got a lot of emails and comments after the posts about girls gym classes in the early 1950s, many of them somewhat incredulous that it took so long for this to happen. Here’s another picture of the same vintage, this one taken inside the then-new gymnasium, although I think this was intramural activity rather than a class:

Softball EBLS gym

There were a couple of earlier, short-lived attempts to hold regular gym classes for the co-eds, the earliest in the mid-1920s. Although tumbling for girls did enjoy some popularity for a while, most of the young women had less than no interest at all in attending gym class. It became, in fact, the object of mild but sustained mockery, as in this Thresher cartoon from 1924, and did not last long:

Girl's gym class cartoon

Bonus: Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? Extra credit if you know where it is.


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15 Responses to Gym Class for Girls, 1920s

  1. BJ says:

    Trick question: it’s a shrub, the red bottlebrush. Not sure where, so the points go to whoever locates it.

  2. Barney L. McCoy says:

    We saw one yesterday at the San Antonio Arts museum. My wife ( the green thumb in the family) says the little bottlebrush is a shrub with a short bottlebrush and the one in the picture with the longer bottlebrush is a tree that gets fairly tall.
    Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

  3. almadenmike says:

    The several dozen species of bottle brush plants (genus: Callistemon) are native to Australia. Carefree and drought-tolerant.

  4. marmer01 says:

    Bottlebrush is correct. We have them in one of the courtyards at the Shepherd School. However, because of that gate in the corner of the picture, I think this one is at the student center, probably in the courtyard.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Right you are! That’s the gate at the corner of the courtyard right next to the loading dock. I’d walked past that tree hundreds of times and didn’t notice it until Friday. I think I must have assumed that the flashes of red were berries, as there are several trees with red berries in the vicinity.

  5. mjthannisch says:

    And bottle brushes are great for attracting humming birds.

  6. Dale Henry Jr says:

    The plant appears to be a Callistemon commonly called a bottle brush tree. It’s fairly common in Texas landscaping, preferring an area with full sun.

    In India, the plant is grown in residential gardens. It can be used to make tea and for seasoning. It contains flavanoids.

    No clue where on campus it’s located.

  7. LouAnn (Risseeuw) Holmes says:

    It is a bottle brush tree and it is located just outside of the F E & P Grounds building.

  8. marmer01 says:

    There are several in the Wintermann courtyard at APB. Come look next time you are passing through.

  9. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    I do girls — NOT flowers.
    So …
    I only see 5 girls sitting there, apparently resting. This might be a later picture of when only 5 girls played on a team, rather than six. When the rules had the ladies playing 6 to a side, only 3/side could cross the center court line. Those were the days of one (1) dribble per possession by a girl; also, they were allowed an “air-dribble”.
    In 1952-56, the girls played primarily behind the blue curtain. There was NO room back there for spectators to sit. Perhaps that’s why they moved into the large gym (but on one of the smaller 2 cross courts. The chairs were apparently brought in by the guys to kibbitz (?sp).

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