Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Baby Parties, 1915-1954
Baby parties were an annual tradition at Jackson College from the early part of the twentieth century through the late fifties.
Jackson freshmen, as part of the many hazing rituals common on college campuses, were required to forgo makeup, put their hair in braids, and dress as babies for a day. In the evening, the freshmen "babies" gathered for a baby party run by the sophomore class. Early in the century, the parties included elaborate, and sometimes cruel, hazing rituals. In the early 1920s, for example, sophomores dressed in Ku Klux Klan - like outfits, and paddled, drenched, and generally frightened the freshman, who were led through the gymnasium hallways blindfolded. After the initial hazing, both classes gathered together for an evening of skits and dancing. The more cruel aspects of the parties, however, had disappeared by the mid-1920s. Instead, sophomores dressed as nurses for the babies, seniors dressed as old women, and juniors appeared dressed as uninvited guests or poor relations. These parties featured stunts performed by the freshman class, followed by short skits from both sophomores and freshmen alike. Prizes were awarded for the cutest "baby" and her runner-up in the 1950s.
Baby parties gradually disappeared as large-scale hazing went out of fashion as the 1950s came to a close, but the tradition of making Jackson freshmen dress as babies continued into the early 1960s.
Source: TW, 4/29/25, 10/2/29, 9/30/31, 10/2/52, JB1925
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.