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August 9, 2021

“We Are Judson Girls” – 45 Candid Photographs That Capture Everyday Life in Judson College, Alabama in the 1950s

Judson College was founded by members of Siloam Baptist Church in 1838, making it the fifth-oldest women’s college in the country. Judson was named after Ann Hasseltine Judson, the first female foreign missionary from the United States to Burma (now Myanmar). It has been affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention throughout its history and is funded by the convention.

The college has been committed to preparing young women for lives of purpose through the transmission of knowledge, the refinement of intellect, the nurturing of faith, the promotion of service, and the development of character. A private, four-year, Christian college with degree programs in liberal arts and the sciences, Judson College helps each student reach her full potential by providing her with opportunities to engage her mind, practice her faith, and live her purpose.

The principal building of the campus is Jewett Hall, the third of this name. The first Jewett Hall, built in 1840, was a four-story Greek revival building named after Dr. Milo P. Jewett, first president of the college. It was destroyed by fire in 1888. The rebuilding of Jewett Hall was begun that same year. In 1947 the dome was hit by a lightning strike and fire consumed the building. Rebuilding efforts began almost immediately, and funds were raised by the sale of bricks from the rubble. A third fire occurred in the attic of this building as mattresses were lit on fire, but the fire was put out without much damage to the building.

Here, some candid photographs by Alfred Eisenstaedt taken at Judson College in Marion, Alabama in the 1950s. They show typical women’s college activities–sketching architecture in the leaves, reading in the cemetery, tomb lounging, reading in groups of three and holding hands in black robes.

(Photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt, via Life Photo Archives)

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