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yesterdaysprint:

The Daily Republican, Rushville, Indiana, June 21, 1916

A hall-room girl was a bachelor working girl in a big city, usually an ambitious one coming from a smaller country town or even another country altogether, who lived in a tiny apartment or more commonly a boardinghouse, most likely sharing a room with another girl, but sometimes alone. There were also hall-room boys, but they usually had a lot more freedom.

Who were these girls? Sometimes she was a typist, a Hello Girl, factory worker, an aspiring chorus girl, or a student – independent girls looking to make it on their own. 

The room the girl lived in was sparsely furnished and small – sometimes only permitting a folding couch bed or table bed, usually without even a closet. She either ate at the communal table furnished by the landlady

(if it were a boarding house that offered room and board), in a cheap restaurant if they could afford it, or cooked her meals over a small gas jet – which wasn’t strictly allowed most of the time. If she was using a couch bed and didn’t have room for a table, she’d place a board over the radiator and use that as a table. She couldn’t afford to have her laundry sent out and she had no sink of her own so her clothing would be washed in the communal bathroom and dried out her window or hung in her room. Because she was usually not from the city, she didn’t know many people or have many friends there.

People were beginning to wake up to the need of a social support network. There were (misguided and poorly executed, but probably well intentioned) homes for ‘fallen women’ and the ‘intemperate men’ and they were beginning to create shelters for animals, but there was nothing for the ‘honest working woman’ where she wasn’t treated like a child or a charity case.

Because they weren’t allowed to bring their beaus home, the girls had to meet them somewhere like a park bench or at a movie, or a dance hall (shocking), or their boyfriend’s apartment (scandalous!). There were also strict rules for when they had to be home. 

For this reason, Mary Irvin conceived the idea of the Hotel Irvin, which would have an in-house laundry, dance/assembly room, a rooftop garden, a gymnasium, a sewing room, a restaurant and a nurses room, as well as the aforementioned ‘spooning rooms’ where girls could have privacy while entertaining. It was somewhere women’s actions weren’t policed – they could see their friends, they could come and go without feeling constantly scrutinized.

Hall-room boys meet hall-room girls!

The Hallroom Boys by

H. A. MacGill, Oakland Tribune, California, October 13, 1916

yesterdaysprint:

The Daily Republican, Rushville, Indiana, June 21, 1916

A hall-room girl was a bachelor working girl in a big city, usually an ambitious one coming from a smaller country town or even another country altogether, who lived in a tiny apartment or more commonly a boardinghouse, most likely sharing a room with another girl, but sometimes alone. There were also hall-room boys, but they usually had a lot more freedom.

Who were these girls? Sometimes she was a typist, a Hello Girl, factory worker, an aspiring chorus girl, or a student – independent girls looking to make it on their own. 

The room the girl lived in was sparsely furnished and small – sometimes only permitting a folding couch bed or table bed, usually without even a closet. She either ate at the communal table furnished by the landlady

(if it were a boarding house that offered room and board), in a cheap restaurant if they could afford it, or cooked her meals over a small gas jet – which wasn’t strictly allowed most of the time. If she was using a couch bed and didn’t have room for a table, she’d place a board over the radiator and use that as a table. She couldn’t afford to have her laundry sent out and she had no sink of her own so her clothing would be washed in the communal bathroom and dried out her window or hung in her room. Because she was usually not from the city, she didn’t know many people or have many friends there.

People were beginning to wake up to the need of a social support network. There were (misguided and poorly executed, but probably well intentioned) homes for ‘fallen women’ and the ‘intemperate men’ and they were beginning to create shelters for animals, but there was nothing for the ‘honest working woman’ where she wasn’t treated like a child or a charity case.

Because they weren’t allowed to bring their beaus home, the girls had to meet them somewhere like a park bench or at a movie, or a dance hall (shocking), or their boyfriend’s apartment (scandalous!). There were also strict rules for when they had to be home. 

For this reason, Mary Irvin conceived the idea of the Hotel Irvin, which would have an in-house laundry, dance/assembly room, a rooftop garden, a gymnasium, a sewing room, a restaurant and a nurses room, as well as the aforementioned ‘spooning rooms’ where girls could have privacy while entertaining. It was somewhere women’s actions weren’t policed – they could see their friends, they could come and go without feeling constantly scrutinized.

Barton County Democrat, Great Bend, Kansas, January 31, 1889

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