Freshman hazing was an accepted part of life at Furman University throughout most of the twentieth century. Freshmen, referred to as “rats,” were required to wear “rat caps” like the beanie pictured above. They were also sometimes required to wear rat ears and signs around their necks identifying themselves as rats. A ceremony called Rat Court was the culmination of the hazing, in which all freshmen were “sentenced” by sophomores to complete menial tasks such as scrubbing sidewalks with toothbrushes, or dressed up in ridiculous outfits and required to participate in a beauty pageant.
The Greenville Woman’s College had ratting ceremonies as well. The hat above, in the college’s blue and gold colors, was worn in 1936. It cost its owner $0.50.