“My mother, who is 90, would say, ‘That’s not the way we used to do things back in the ’30s.’ And I would say, ‘That’s not the way we used to do things back in the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s, either.’ So I thought it would be fun to historicize dating—to take something the students are involved in as part of their life and have them explore its history.” This is the second time Drachman has offered her seminar on 20th-century romantic rituals in the U. The course draws heavily on primary materials from the Tufts archives.Ads and articles from campus newspapers, scrapbooks and dance cards from Jackson College co-eds and minutes from dorm meetings offer a snapshot of the evolving relationships between college-age men and women.Luckily, people of yesteryear didn't have as much technology available to them, which automatically lowered the stakes of their demonstrations of love.But that doesn't mean their low-tech gestures were any less ridiculous.By 1951, a young couple might be “going steady.” In 1971, they might be living together. American courtship, with its accompanying rituals, delights and heartaches, has changed considerably over the last century.
“I watched my two daughters go through their 20s,” says Drachman, whose research focus as a historian is on American women. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. COURTSHIP WAS THE PROCESS BY WHICH individuals paired up — formed that all-important, exclusive, intimate relationship — and separated themselves off from others in constructing a new family unit.