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Cornell in the Twenties

In Their Own Voice... student thoughts from the era

Helen Bullard

Helen Bullard, Class of 1919

The diary entries of Helen Bullard detail her academic difficulties and other trials, but she graduated from Cornell and became a landscape architect for the New York City Parks Department. From First-Person Cornell, Carol Kammen, Cornell University Library, 2006.

We had what I hope is out last out of door surveying lab this afternoon. In the way of clothes I wore a gauze combination, a woolen combination, a paper jacket, a corset, a muslin combination, and a petticoat and corset covering shirt waist, suit, winter coat, shoes & stocking, golashas, gloves, muff and hat. At 4 oclock we decided we were too cold to stay out any longer. [Helen Bullard, December 3, 1917, page 120.]

I studied all day today, very hard. Elsie Gutman returned my outline with a wonderful criticism. I worked in the library tonight marred by a great war between Mr. Bones & I on the subject of coeducation. [Helen Bullard, January 10, 1918, page 121.]

Today I was working in the drafting room except for a few minutes which I was obliged to devote to appear before the House Committee. They brought up numerous offenses and concluded to keep me in after eight o'clock for two weeks and after ten for a third. That will take me two weeks into next term. [Helen Bullard, January 18, 1918, page 121.]

Today I began classes… I went to a Landscape construction class. After waiting around for some time Prof. Curtis found out for us we were not to have a class. In the evening I went to choir. But by far the greatest event was a talk given privately to me by Prof. Davis. He said my work had not been up to standard. They had merely passed me in junior design because they were so short of pupils. Although I have had mentions and mention 1st on all my plates they gave me accepted in the last and P for my mark in the course. He said the best thing he could do would be to bust me out and then unless I was real serious I would give it up. I told him I thought if I were not so tired all the time I could do better work, and another thing against me was the fact that I had not seen a great deal of Landscape work. I said I loved the work. He said it was one thing to be in love with the idea, another to be fitted for the work. He however said he would consent to let me continue with the work next term and if I made a go of it I could major in planting and probably get through the course. [Helen Bullard, January 28, 1918, page 121.]