Dating Life

<em>Advance</em> Editorial

Many OSTC coeds believed that the cadets were standoffish. But due to Army regulations, the soldiers were not allowed to talk to the female students during the day. This editorial, written to the OSTC campus newspaper, The Advance, attempts to explain the cadets' predicament.

The Advance, 4/16/43.

The weekend brought the cadets a welcome break from Army life. From noon on Saturday until 8:00 pm Sunday, the soldiers were granted “open post,” allowing them to explore Oshkosh and the surrounding area.  For a community that hosted its last official military unit in 1862, the sight of so many soldiers at downtown establishments may have been quite thrilling, although the fathers of young women might have disagreed.   


Cadets had no trouble finding dates. In 1943, OSTC enrollment was only 260 students, and all but 12 were female. The city of Oshkosh itself was also lacking in young men.  The addition of 400 uniformed men arriving in regular rotation certainly provided a boost to the local dating scene. Both the cadets and coeds on campus set up a date bureau, so if they did have trouble finding a date, they could go to their respective date bureau and a date would be arranged for them.  Students and cadets met in the OSTC gymnasium and played games, listened to music either on the radio or played by some of the cadets, and danced.  The cadets and OSTC coeds also organized formal dances on campus, such as the 1943 Halloween Military Dance.  Since it was a formal, the dance had a queen and seven princesses, which were selected by the cadets.

Date Bureau Article

Looking for a way to circumvent Army regulations, the coeds suggested establishing a date bureau between them and the cadets.

The Advance, 10/15/43

Date Bureau Article

The cadets were happy to oblige the OSTC girls, so they formed their own date bureau and coordinated events with the girls’ bureau.  Most of their dates took place at the OSTC gym.

UWO Series 19. UW Oshkosh Archives and Area Research Center.

Cadet Dance

Many dances at the college or sponsored by various civic organizations were held for the cadets. The Army, however, had to approve of their dates. Only those who were registered hostesses or those who were in the school's "date bureau" could attend dances with the cadets.

P2005.24.113. Courtesy of Oshkosh Public Museum.

Wedding Article

With all the dates set up by the "date bureau" and dances organized in the community, it is not a surprise that some romances took flight.

Oshkosh Northwestern, 9-23-44.