Penny Loafers and Megaphones – a Look at Cheerleading in the Good Old Days!

At the end of the 1800s cheerleading was a male sport and was only found at the college level. It wasn’t until the 1920s that women were allowed to be college cheerleaders and it wouldn’t be until the 1940s, when most college-aged men were enlisted in the armed forces, that women would make up a majority of the athletes in this growing sport.

During the 1950s, when youth culture began to take on a life of its own, cheerleading became a popular activity in high schools. It wouldn’t be until the 1960s that sneakers and short skirts began to characterize the typical American cheerleader.

Miami University cheerleader in 1914. Via/ Flickr
North Carolina cheerleaders in 1949. Via/ Flickr
Marymount cheerleaders, 1957. Via/ Flickr
1966 Tallahassee cheerleader wearing sneakers and with a slightly shorter skirt. Via/ State Archives of Florida
Group of Tallahassee cheerleaders, 1964. Via/ State Archives of Florida

If you enjoyed this then click here to find out what dorm rooms looked like a century ago!