34 vintage photos that show how university dorms have changed since the 1900s

Moving into your freshman dorm room can be totally nerve-wracking. But campus living is nothing new. Harvard’s oldest dorm is nearly 300 years old.

Of course, university dorms have changed with the times. Today, students have access to wireless Internet, air conditioning, and cheerful lounges. But some things haven’t changed much. A century ago, students slept in single beds, hung family photos on their walls, and chilled with friends in their dorm rooms. Sound familiar?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s archives department put together a fantastic collection of photos showing how student housing has changed over the past 110 years. They kindly shared their collection with us.

This woman's dorm room from 1898 isn't much different from modern day dorms: pennants, books, and a chair for studying.

Photographs and mementos kept things homey in this room, pictured in 1899.

Male students raise their glasses in a boarding house or fraternity in this 1909 photo.

Imagine pecking out your thesis on a typewriter like the one in this 1909 photo.

By 1912, pin-up ladies were essential decor.

So were displays of university pride, as seen in this image (1912 or 1913).

An ad for a room in 1927 noted perks like running water, a phone, and an iron.

This single dorm room from the 1930s appears to be filled with souvenirs from exotic adventures.

Students studied on bunk beds in this barracks-style dorm, circa 1945.

In 1945, single men's housing was $13 per month, with bunks and linens furnished. Smoking was banned, but no one told this guy.

The university had separate housing for married students and families, as seen in this 1946 photo.

In the 1950s, students studied around a communal table (and did a great job making their beds).

Just a bunch of guys hanging out, eating melon, in this 1950s image.

In a girls dorm at the same time, women jammed to a record player.

This 1950s photo features an impressive perfume collection.

Guitar-playing students are nothing new. Note the Russian mural, which reads 'Merry Christmas,' in this picture from 1958.

One student went minimalist in this 1960s snapshot.

Special housing for married couples remained through the 1960s.

This '70s student lounge looks pretty fun, with games like foosball and ping-pong.

This dorm room from the 1970s was pretty groovy.

But it was tame in comparison to this animal-filled lair.

And this funky single, complete with a lofted bed, hanging chair, and dream catcher.

That's a parachute hanging from the ceiling in this picture from the 1970s.

Two women catch up in a dorm room in this 1970s photo.

A well-coordinated triple, also from the '70s. We're guessing this was a freshman dorm.

These guys got creative with their small space and opened a bar (photo circa 1970-1980).

In the early 1980s, TVs started appearing in dorm rooms, distracting students everywhere.

Is that a hamster cage in the bottom right corner of this 1980s dorm photo?

This '80s dorm had lots of personal touches, from a poster of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to a Snoopy statuette.

We like what the guys in this 1986 photo did with the place. The fireplace is a rare luxury for a university dorm.

Image courtesy of the UW-Madison Archives.

Everything about this photo of a women's dorm screams '1987.'

Students gathered to study in a residence hall den in this 1996 picture.

A 2005 photo shows students taking a study break with a game of Cranium.

Students chat in this recent image. You could probably guess it was taken in 2008, thanks to the 'Hope' poster.

Now see some modern-day university.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
People ride bikes past Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on May 22, 2014.

The 50 best universities in America >

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.