“Unwritten Laws at Smith”

In 1900, an article in an unidentified Smith publication outlined several “unwritten laws” of the college.  Several of these laws concerned crushes and crushing etiquette:

Woe to the freshman who calls on a senior before the upper class girl visits her.  She may adore the senior at a distance or even become her “crush” but she must not take the initiative in calling.

While the seniors make a pretense of frowning upon the “crush habit” it is a well-known fact that they really approve of it and even enjoy it.  To be a senior’s “crush” is to be her steadfast admirer, extolling her virtues and singing her praises constantly; running her errands whenever possible; sending her flowers when she is going to some social function, and in short, being her willing slave.

-“Unwritten Laws at Smith,” Social Regulations subject file, Smith College Archives.

This public acknowledgement and explanation of “the crush habit” demonstrates just how thoroughly it was ingrained into Smith culture at the turn of the century. The concept of the crush appears alongside paragraphs about class year rivalries, classroom etiquette, and formal and informal guidelines for inviting men to the college.

1900 article about etiquette at Smith College. Social Regulations subject file, Smith College Archives.