February 7, 1947
Simone de Beauvoir, French novelist, playwright and essayist, lectured on "La Vie Litteraire en France: un Ecrivain dans la Société."
In America, Day by Day [L’Amérique au jour le jour] (1954), de Beauvoir recalled her visit to Vassar and particularly the students. “Whatever nature lovers might say,” she wrote, “this mixture of freshness and artifice, those heavy, painted lips half-open over dazzlingly youthful teeth, the smiling eyes of a sixteen-year-old beneath long mascaraed lashes, seems quite attractive to me. Many of them have kept on their ski clothes. Others wear that outfit…that is almost a uniform at Vassar—blue jeans rolled above the ankles and a man’s shirt, either white or checkered in vivid colors, which they leave outside their trousers and knot in front with studied carelessness…. Dressed like boys, made up like streetwalkers, many of these young girls are knitting as they listen to me. I’m told their taste for knitting was cultivated during the war…. I suppose that for many of these students, knitting is an anticipation of marriage and maternity.” Simone de Beauvoir, America, Day by Day, tr. Carol Cosman