After slavery was abolished, Hollins employed many formerly enslaved people, mostly women whose names were not recorded.Students were encouraged to ignore these workers in the college handbook during this era, and employees were forbidden from developing friendly relationships with women studying at Hollins.
This was not unusual for the time; as of 1916, only seven southern women's college were certified by professional organizations as "standard," while both Hollins and Sweet Briar were designated as "approximate". As of 2011, Hollins offers a graduate-level certificate in Children's Book Illustration.
Its remote location far from the better respected and funded men's institutions put Hollins in contrast with the Seven Sisters in the Northeast.
Despite its academic rigor, Hollins and other southern women's colleges were smaller and poorer than women's college such as Smith College and Mount Holyoke in the north.
Estes Cocke, handle the school's financial dealings entirely.
Miss Cocke shared the opinion of president John Mc Bryde of Sweet Briar Women's College, who in 1907 decried the "independence" sought by Vassar and other members of the Seven Sisters and suggested instead that women's education focus on "grace [and] refinement".