March is Women’s History Month in the United States, and I’ve been thinking about which photographs might best fit the theme. Any consideration of Women’s History has to encompass a wide variety of fields, including domestic and family life, education, work outside the home, intellectual and creative achievement, and the social reform movements. All of these areas of endeavor have been documented photographically in various ways, and it’s fun to think about how a particular photograph might represent a particular endeavor.
The postcard above was likely taken at a college or university, or possibly a high school. Calliope was a Greek muse associated with epic poetry and eloquence. There was a Calliopean literary society at Oxford College for Women in Oxford, Ohio (merged with Miami University in 1928), and you can see photos of Society members in 1913 here and in 1917 here. However, the spelling of Caliopian on the pennant above is different, suggesting it was taken at a different school.
You can see pinholes near the top of the postcard. The young woman in the middle row at far left is marked with an X. I think it likely she gave the photo to a friend, who pinned it to a dorm room wall.