Eurodelphian Costume Meeting, 1889

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1889-06
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The note attached to this photo reads “Euro Costume Meeting June 1889 (?). Standing: Lena Powers, Mae Phelps, Mame Hopkins, Ida Cook, Waugh (W. Va.). [Middle row:] Ritta Smith, Birdsall, Potters (Alma), M. Cook, Elizabeth Tunison (Magill), Rena Richards. [Front row:] Waugh (W. Va), Julia Kellogg (Montana), Nene Patterson, Emma Chesney, Ongola Clough (Mrs. Arthur Curtis. These were Colonial Costumes – really very nice – Gola’s was green and white striped silk, Elizabeth Tunison’s – a vivid light purple – both costumes a century old. Julia Kellogg’s was pale blue silk gauze with satin stripe – Rena’s – handsome black flowered silk. Two were gentlemen. Hair powdered: I think this follows a New England Dinner spread in the stately old lower building – Mrs. Magill.”
Eugenia “Nene” Patterson, sitting in the center of the front row, wears blackface as part of her costume in a racist display which highlights America’s history of enslavement dating back to the colonial period. The meeting was held by the Eurodelphian Literary Society, the college’s only women’s organization at the time. Patterson studied in the Preparatory Department of the college (which offered high school level classes), as did most of the students in the photo.
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Kalamazoo College
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