Singing and Yelling for the “Scrap” – West Lafayette, Indiana (circa 1920)

Ethel Bradshaw lived in Oxford, a small town in western Indiana, northwest of Indianapolis and southeast of Chicago.

Ethel received a postcard greeting from her friend, Carrie, who lived in West Layfayette – a city on the Wabash River about 20 miles east of Oxford.

The postcard features the photograph of a seated soldier whose shoulders are embraced by a girl friend.

The legend, “Shoulder Arms”, has the double meaning of armaments and human arms.

I cannot discern a publisher of the postcard; there are many examples of soldier-related postcards printed after the return of troops from World War I.

The postcard was mailed by Carrie, who addresses Ethel as “Sister”.

The two are probably family members, although “sister” could be used as a general term of affection or reflect membership in a sorority or other organization.

On the reverse! Carrie writes, “you should be here tonight if you want to hear some yelling”.

Carrie adds, “There (sic) all out singing and yelling…”

The reason for the outburst is “the scrap …this coming Friday night”.

West Lafayette is the home of Purdue University; I considered that the “scrap” may be an important sports event and that the “singing and yelling” was some kind of pep rally.

(A reader cited a publication of Perdue University describing the intramural contests known as “Scraps”.)

Carrie adds that she is “getting along fine” but she is “working hard”.

Perdue University had female students since 1876, so Carrie might be a college student.

She may also be one of the many girls who entered the workforce in the 1920’s.

We hope that Ethel was able to visit West Lafayette, that the “scrap” proved to be a spectacular and enjoyable event, and that the “singing and yelling” did not distract the students from their academic work.


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