Over the course of summer 2018, three A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted research into the University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society to expand the archival holdings of the Race & Racism Project. At the end of the summer fellowship, each student was tasked with doing a deep-dive research on one topic in order to create a digital exhibit or podcast on the subject.
After going through decades of University of Richmond yearbooks, rising junior Catherine Franceski focused her digital exhibit on Westhampton College traditions and their contribution to forming an image of white, upper class womanhood on campus. In her own words:
Traditions, such as Ring Dance, help connect generations, and highlight values that the group considers to be important. Through time, many of Westhampton College’s traditions have slowly faded away. These traditions, although relics of the past, provide a glimpse into the college’s past, forming the white, upper class definition of womanhood on campus. This exhibit features four Westhampton College traditions or organizations: The Women’s Lifestyle Committee, the annual Panty Raids, May Day, and Rat Week. It will examine aspects of each that contributed to a campus culture of racism, classism, and sexism.