Courtesy UVA Special Collections

Student rooms in the late 1800s were not so different from today’s dorms (page 25)—once you get past the technology. Students of that era still sought to create a home away from home—the student pictured here decorated his dormitory walls with fans and tennis rackets.

The earliest students, however, faced some rather strict regulations. According to “Enactments Relating to the Constitution and Government of the University of Virginia,” published in 1847:

Book from the collection of Paul Mott (Col ’82)

  • “No student shall make any festive entertainment within the precincts of the University, or elsewhere, nor contribute to, or be present at them, without the leave of the Chairman [of the Faculty] … as such entertainments are, for the most part, unfriendly to collegiate duties, they should be allowed with caution, and unlicensed indulgence in them should be vigilantly restrained.” • “When a Professor knocks at the door of a student’s room, any person being within, and announces himself, it shall be opened … and the Professor may, if refused, have the door broken open; and the expenses of the repair shall be levied on the students within.”
  • “The use of musical instruments is interdicted, before dinner, after ten o’clock at night, and on Sundays.”
  • “The bell should be rung every morning, throughout the session, at dawn. The students shall rise as to be ready for breakfast at their respective hotels. Their rooms shall be cleaned and set in order at sunrise. … The Proctor shall, at least once a week, inspect the dormitories and see that they are all in proper order.”
  • “Habits of expense, of dissoluteness, of dissipation, of profane swearing, or of playing at games of chance, in which description is included the game of backgammon, being obstructive to the acquisition of science by the student himself, and injurious, by example, to others, shall be subject to any of the punishments prescribed by the laws of the University, at the discretion of the faculty; and every student who shall, within the precincts, introduce, keep, or use, any spirituous or vinous liquors, or any cards, dice, or other implements of gaming, shall be subject to like punishment.”