Residence halls


"Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College For the Improvement of the College," labelled the "Atrocity Sheet Circulated by Dickinson Students" in Marion Bell's 1941-1946 Scrapbook lists many student complaints including those against Dickinson's food, service, and need for a President, but most notable are those against the Women's Dean, Dean Josephine Meredith.

Date: December 9, 1945

Included in Marion Bell's scrapbook is a song composed by the Metzger Girls about their Dean, Josephine Meredith:
"We are the girls from old Metzger Hall,
We might as well be within prison walls,
For the "Creep" is always there,
Lurking behind each door and chair,
She never laughs and she never smiles,
She disapproves of us and our styles,
As we girls go screaming by
She utters with a sigh:
"Nice girls don't scream."
In Metzger Hall we ain't got no mice,

Date: 1944

Found in Marion Bell's personal scrapbook from her years at Dickinson College (1941-46), this document of six pages outlines female regulations in dress and socialization in games, bars, dancing, and dining, with a special section regarding social possibilities on Sundays. It also includes rules regarding curfews, tardiness, noise disturbances, and distinctions between freshman women and upperclassmen not "on rules- those having a 75 average." It even provides a section for transfer students.

Date: c. 1943

Circa 1942, The Metzger Council divided itself into three new councils in addition to a fire drill committee to better provide for Dickinson's female students. A fire drill committee was created of Helen Kretschmar, Arline Mills, Nancy Tatnall, and Nancy Person in which regular drills would be planned.

Date: c. 1942
Esther Popel Shaw Discusses Racial Issues on Campus

This letter, dated September 5, 1945, was written by Esther Popel Shaw, the first African American female graduate of Dickinson College 1919, to Mr. Boyd Lee Spahr of the Board of Trustees. Writing from her post at the National Association of College Women, Esther Popel Shaw defends herself and her race against Spahr's "apparent lack of awareness of what constitutes acceptable designations when racial references are involved" as well as racial injustice when it comes to college housing for African American students.

Date: September 5, 1945
Lynn Voss's Comments on Women's Facilities

In her "Women as Leaders" survey, a female member of the class of 1961 describes the living conditions for the women while she studied at Dickinson. She felt they were "excellent, with variety available." The women had meals served to them, along with tablecloths, proper "dressing" for meals, etc. She called mealtime "an oasis with close friends twice a day."

Date: March, 1979
WIC Extends Curfew for Freshmen Women

According to an article in The Dickinsonian entitled "WIC Revises Dorm Rules for Freshmen," the Women's Interdormitory Council voted to extended freshmen women's curfew to 11:30pm Sunday through Thursday. Freshmen women, reports the article, had complained that it was difficult--nay, nearly impossible--to return from Mermaid Players rehearsal, see a late movie, or go to the snack bar if they needed to return to their dorms by 11pm.

Date: January 12, 1968
Women vote to accept the honor code

An article by Diane Voneida in The Dickinsonian, "Women Dormitory Residents Vote to Accept Honor Code," explains that over 89 percent of freshman, sophomore, and junior women voted in favor of adopting the honor code at dormitory meetings. The dean of women, Barbara Wishmeyer, approved of the students' decisions, thinking that it would create a more healthy attitude and atmosphere on campus. Under this code, women could appeal rules they thought unfair rather than disobeying them outright. The code also required personal responsibility from each woman for her own behavior.

Date: May 1, 1964
College Announces Opening of New Women's Dorm

Dickinson College planned to replace Metzger Hall, former home of the co-eds, with the new women's dormitory at the start of the Fall quarter. The building could house 168 women and would have 77 double rooms, 8 single rooms, and two triples. The dormitory had a center core of bathrooms and laundry facilities; rooms were equipped with built-in desks and bulletin boards along the side wall.

Date: February 15, 1963
The Coloring Book

The Dickinsonian began a series of illustrations meant to function as a coloring book. In one of these illustrations, a woman in a tight skirt leans against a wall and appears to be either bored or asleep. The caption beneath this illustration indicates how Dickinson students may have felt about the rules and regulations governing female students: "This is a Dickinson Coed. The college protects her virtue with many rules and regulations. Color her bored."

Date: February 15, 1963