We return to Abercrombie Week with a classic Rice tangent: a couple of folks in the comments and a few more in my email asked about the story that Abercrombie was built without any women’s bathrooms. I’ve actually heard this one myself more than once. It resembles the story about the steps into the Chemistry Building being intentionally high enough to keep the early women students out, as they could not make it up the step without raising their skirts above their ankles. It turned out, though, that Chemistry had been built with a large, comfortable women’s room, throwing cold water on the anti-woman theory.
There is not now, though, and there never was any similarly palatial women’s room in Abercrombie. But there always was one. Click on this original Staub and Rather drawing of the original second floor layout. (I’ll come back to this document later, by the way. Trying to figure out the history of a building that’s been repurposed as much as this one would be impossible without the great architectural drawings that have survived.) Immediately to the left of the large drafting room we find a small women’s toilet and a larger men’s room:
A lot has changed in Abercrombie since 1947 but that bathroom is still there. It’s tiny and not very nice but there is no question that it exists:
Bonus: Fashion advice courtesy of the Undergraduate Lab.