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Exploring the Private Past of Passmore

Life at the Mawr: Yearbook Contributions

Orals, part one, from the Bryn Mawr College Yearbook, Class of 1908

Frances Passmore also submitted two written pieces, which are extremely witty and entertaining. Her poem, “Orals” truly speaks to the academic pressure and rigor that women faced at Bryn Mawr until today. This poem is easily relatable for present day classes of Mawrters especially her concluding line:

“…And now I propose before I sit down in drink, the Orals deep to drown,” (73).  


There are a multitude of Step Sing songs that reference drinking after finishing a large load of work that are still sung by current students and at reunion weekends every year. Through the her cleverness, Passmore really gets at how difficult college was for early 20th century women and how much they needed to prove to the world. They had so much to gain from higher education and so much to lose if they could not prove themselves worthy. Many women today have the privilege of expecting access to education whereas women of the past really had to fight past the negative stigmas surrounding education. This poem is one of the few submissions of its kind in the yearbook and matches Passmore’s amusing personality as described by one of her classmates later on in the yearbook. Sarah Goldsmith wrote about Senior Receptions” and mentioned that Frances was always able to make Miss Thomas laugh. Judging by Fanny’s choice to use Thomas’ portrait, as her first image in her yearbook seemed to have a certain affinity with the President. 

Orals, part two, from the Bryn Mawr College Yearbook, Class of 1908