New students at Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College, and the University of Massachusetts were issued handbooks when they arrived on campus containing general information on college traditions, buildings, work opportunities, the faculty, clubs, organizations, and publications, as well as social activities. Each handbook contained a small map of campus to help orient newcomers. The handbooks were produced by the Young Mens' Christian Association (YMCA) until 1923 and thereafter by the Christian Association, the Student Religious Council, the Student Senate, and the Women's Student Government Association respectively, before being delegated to a student handbook staff.
The Women's Student Government Association of Massachusetts Agricultural College was formed as the self-governing body for female students, with all female students ipso facto members of the Association. Its purpose was “to make each member feel her responsibility to herself, to the Association, and to the college; and to give each girl a conception of citizenship….” Issued annually by the WSGA to female students, the women's handbooks included the constitution and by-laws of the Association and regulations governing residential housing and general personal conduct; information about female students' clubs and organizations at the college, including sororities.
These handbooks were digitized through a grant from the Mellon Foundation to the Five College