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Best Loved Collection

Identifier: LU-RG00-006
This collection is comprised of the records documenting the Lawrence tradition of naming four senior women as “Best Loved,” an annual tradition from the early 1920s through the mid-1960s. Photographs, programs, and articles make up the bulk of the collection.


  • 1922-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


0.40 Linear Feet (1 box)

Biographical or Historical Information

A tradition unique to Lawrence that lasted for over four decades was the annual election by freshman, sophomore, and junior women of four senior women as "Best Loved." In its fully developed form, the tradition called for the young women so chosen to appear at the Best Loved Banquet, held on or near Washington's birthday. Dressed in colonial costumes and powdered wigs as George and Martha Washington and James and Dolly Madison, they danced a minuet before the assembled guests. Exactly when and how this custom developed is not entirely clear though it seems to have combined some features of the May Queen election (which continued) with a Colonial Banquet held annually at Sage Hall. The first account of an event at which the four women elected were known as "best loved" was held on February 22, 1924. In this form, the tradition continued through World War II into the 1960s. The last such banquet seems to have been held in 1966 [note: actually 1967]. Excerpted from Charles Breunig's Great and Good Work, p. 131

Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

Method of Acquisition

The donor and date the collection was transferred to the University Archives are unknown. It was donated to the University Archives prior to July 2005.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing done prior to 2005, date and processor unknown. Processed by Julia Stringfellow, 2010.  Files were removed from the vertical file collection and turned into an artificial collection. Final processing completed by Erin Dix, 2011.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753