It's 1920.

WHY are these two women kissing?

This clipping is on the opening page of a scrapbook kept by Frances Dreyfuss, Newcomb Class of 1922, during her student days. Its origin in some newspaper or magazine of the day (one which catered to college women?) is quite hopelessly obscured by time, and Frances didn't leave us with any clues about that either.

While we presume nothing about Frances' sexuality, those of us involved in the production of this mini-exhibit have many theories about what this cartoon may or may not imply about the nature of the relationship between the two women in the illustration. Even Frances had her own questions about this drawing. You can see what SHE wrote above this newspaper clipping simply by clicking on the image.

In her book Wolf Girls at Vassar: Lesbian and Gay Experiences, 1930-1990 (NYC: St. Martins, 1993), Anne Mackay reminds us that romantic friendships between women college students were so commonplace as to enter schoolgirl slang: "if you felt excessive admiration for someone, usually a beautiful or talented younger student, it was called a SMASH."

Does this cartoon depict a smash reunion after a long summer separation? Does it hint at something still more thrillingly illicit? Is it disapprovingly lesbo-phobic? An ironic commentary on the mythic and "scandalous" lack of sexual discrimination practiced by the young woman in question (and allegedly by all "college girls")? Is is simply a rendering of a young woman being seen off at the train station by her mother and father? Who *is* that other woman? Is Jim the girl's father, or a relative or boyfriend? What?

We want to know what you imagine is going on. Is it a smash, just an innocent mother-daughter farewell, or something else? Who the devil IS this Jim?

Please, email the Newcomb Archives with your interpretations. We will post them here.