Travel back in time with these vintage Summer Term photos

UW–Madison summer courses have existed almost as long as the university itself. Here’s a glimpse of Summer Term throughout the 20th century featuring photos from the UW–Madison Libraries’ Digital Collections. In addition to admiring fashions and hairstyles that have fallen by the wayside, see which summertime traditions have stood the test of time.

UW-Madison students walking

Walking to class with friends will never go out of style if you’re enjoying it as much as these students from 1968.

A student rides a unicycle to class

You don’t have to travel to your summer classes on foot. In this photo, a student from the ’60s takes a unicycle.

Professor Helen C. White

English professor Helen C. White (far right) poses with her summer creative writing class in 1954.

Archaological dig in Wisconsin Dells

Learning in the field is a Summer Term tradition. Here’s an archaeological dig that happened near the Wisconsin Dells in the summer of 1989.

ESL class, summer of 1953

Summer’s the perfect time to hone your language skills like these students in a summer ESL class in 1953. This continues today in programs such as UW–Madison’s summer language institutes and International Student Summer Institute.

Library School summer class, 1906

Meet the Library School’s 1906 class of summer students.

Rowboats near Terrace site

Students found ways to enjoy Lake Mendota before the Memorial Union Terrace came along. Here are a few rowboat enthusiasts in the summer of 1900, beside the future site of the Terrace.

Students studying on Memorial Union Terrace

The Terrace became a great summer meetup spot and a stellar study space, as these ’80s students demonstrate.

Summer concert, 1940s

If you went to see a summer concert on the Terrace in the ’40s, chances are it looked a lot like this one.

Memorial Union Terrace crowd in 1950s

Some things change, and some things stay the same. Here’s a nighttime view of the Terrace from the ’50s. Look familiar?

Diving into Lake Mendota, 1919

Lake Mendota used to be famous for its campus-area diving platform. Here are some students at a summer diving competition in 1919.

Summer at Babcock Dairy

Here’s what summer looked like at the Babcock Hall Dairy Store in the ’80s.

UW-Madison students at Rathskeller in summer

Summer Prom was a seasonal tradition back in the ’50s. Here students and their dates gather at the Rathskeller for burgers and sodas the night of the dance.

Students at farmers' market, 1970s

Students browse a summer farmers’ market on State Street in the 1970s.

UW Marching Band calisthenics

The UW Marching Band’s calisthenics routine is the stuff of legends. Here’s one of the band’s summer workouts from 1982.

Up arrow on blue background to indicate an automatic scroll to the top of the page