Exhibit – Holidays At Winthrop

Christmas Tree Lighting- ca1958

Holidays At Winthrop

Continuing our celebration of Winthrop’s 125th academic year, the Dacus Library’s December exhibit is Holidays at Winthrop.

From 1895 to 1907, Winthrop students were required to stay on campus through Christmas and did not receive a Christmas Break as they enjoy today. Winthrop President David Bancroft Johnson explained the policy as an arrangement made to “save parents extra railroad fare, and to prevent serious demoralization of College work always consequent upon the breaking up of the school within three months after the opening of the sessions.” Winthrop campus was decorated for the holidays and offered the students Christmas programs and social gatherings as well as a lavish dinner, however it was not until 1907, when Winthrop students appealed directly to the State Legislature for a Christmas break, that a law was passed requiring at least a ten day holiday for all state colleges. The holiday break has since been a welcome respite for Winthrop students from the drudgeries of school work and most are unaware that they have their Winthrop forebears to thank.

The December exhibit explores the Holiday seasons as Winthrop Students experienced them from the late 1800s to the 1980s through photographs, holiday greeting cards, and brief anecdotes portraying the history of the holiday season at Winthrop.

Visitors may view the exhibit during library hours from December 4 to January 5. For more information or questions, please contact the Archives at archives@winthrop.edu or (803) 323-2334

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