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Author Nelson, Lawrence J., 1944-

Title Rumors of indiscretion : the University of Missouri "sex questionnaire" scandal in the Jazz Age / Lawrence J. Nelson
Published Columbia, Mo. : University of Missouri Press, [2003]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xv, 323 pages) : illustrations
Contents "A filthy questionnaire" -- Rumors of sex -- "Jellying" at Mizzou -- Inquisition -- "Tallow candles" -- Up in smoke -- What really happened -- "Facts are stubborn things" -- Denouement
Summary Annotation In March 1929 a questionnaire was distributed among University of Missouri students to measure their attitudes toward marriage. Students were instructed to answer the questions as best they could, then drop their responses into any campus mailbox for delivery to the Bureau of Personnel Research. Rumors of Indiscretion explores how a college senior's psychology class project, a seemingly innocuous questionnaire, could cause a statewide uproar that attracted national attention. The questionnaire, quickly brought to the notice of the University of Missouri's dean of women, soon found its way into the university president's office, the local media, and even the Missouri legislature. Many people, never having read the questionnaire, were forced to rely on rumors or excerpts in the newspapers about what it actually contained. Yet, a cry arose for the expulsion of the students and professors responsible for this, as one headline labeled it, "filthy questionnaire." The controversy surrounding the questionnaire drew, lines between young and old, with the rising generation challenging the Victorian ideas of those who were frightened by this coming of age of America during the Jazz Age. Nelson brings out the historical significance of this episode by placing it into two contexts: the history of the University of Missouri and the "culture war" in America during the 1920s. He argues that the 1920s were a time of continuity as well as change in Missouri and the United States. What was actually lost was Victorianism and its mandate for an orderly culture in which each member had a sharply defined role, violations of which carried societal consequences. The youth of this time rebelled against theconstraints of such a society. Many sought change, but few were what would later be called radicals. Nelson uses the University of Missouri episode to demonstrate that while Victorianism's unrealistic notions were lost, tradition
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
digitized 2011 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Print version record
Subject University of Missouri -- History.
College students -- Missouri -- Social conditions.
Questionnaires -- Missouri.
Scandals -- Missouri -- History.
Sex -- Missouri.
Sexual ethics -- Missouri.
Missouri -- Social life and customs.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0826262902 (electronic bk.)
9780826262905 (electronic bk.)
(alk. paper)
(alk. paper)