Residence halls


Upon her arrival at Dickinson College in 1886, Elizabeth Low was shocked to find that no housing arrangements had been made for female students. Unlike their male counterparts, early female Dickinsonians were not permitted to live in dorms on campus. Moreover, the school had not found housing in town for the young women.

Date: 1951
Not in the Mainstream

Paul E. Kaylor reported his meeting with Dean Mary Carson regarding the Women's Group Social Opinion Survey in a memorandum to President Howard L. Rubendall. Kaylor gives the background of the Women's Group, stating that students "not normally in the 'mainstream' of campus life" formed it the previous year. As a student organization, the group does not fall under rigid administrative control, though, according to Kaylor, the administration had been working to channel the group's efforts.

Date: August 21, 1972
Bringing down all Dickinson women

In his response to Dean of Women Mary Watson Carson, Alumni Trustee Vincent Schafmeister says of the Social Opinion Survey of the Women's Group, "sort of shakes up an old, stuffy conservative such as I." He declines the dean's offer to put him into contact with members of the group in order to determine their objectives, saying he is more interested in the role of the Office of Student Services in encouraging this organization. He references the "frightful negatives" and the suffering of the college as consequences of this kind of encouragement.

Date: March 23, 1972
Not the type of questionnaire I would prepare

Dean of Women Mary Watson Carson sends a memo to Dr. Rubendall regarding the "Social Opinion Survey" of the Women's Group. She explains that she did not give permission for them to attach her name to the survey. According to the dean, the Women's Group distributed the questionnaire in residence halls and mail boxes. Dean Carson reports that the group formed early in the fall and invited some faculty women to meet with them. The same week that Carson wrote this letter, Student Senate officially recognized the group as an organization.

Date: March 9, 1972
The Longsdorff Hall? Or the Mary Dickinson Hall?

President William W. Edel suggested possible names for the new Women's Dormitory to the Board of Trustees. He presented one of the suggestions that the buildng be named Longsdorff Hall "in honor of the Longsdorf Family [sic] which suppied four women students to enter Dickinson College, among whom was Dr. Zatae Longsdorf Straw [sic]." He recommended, however, that the board select a name out of the college's historical past and that the hall be named Mary Dickinson Hall for the wife of John Dickinson.

Date: June 1, 1951
What shall we call it?

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees decided to defer naming the new Women's Dormitory until the Mid-Winter meeting fo the Board in December 1951.

Date: June 1, 1951
Finally! Construction begun on the women's dormitory

President William W. Edel reported to the Board of Trustees that the Building Committee had secured bids for the new Women's Dormitory and had signed a contract with the Potteiger Company for $642,955. The college held ground-breaking activities at Homecoming Day on November 4, 1950.

Date: December 10, 1950
Time to build the women's dormitory

"It seems to me that the time has now arrived for us to face the question of the actual construction of the Women's Dormitory," writes President William W. Edel in his report to the Board of Trustees. He recommends that the board not delay any longer in the creation of detailed construction plans. He outlines areas in the budget from which the college can draw funds to pay for the construction. He suggests that the college begin building by June and that a Building Committee acquire plans, specifications and bids before the construction of the first unit of the women's dorm.

Date: December 10, 1949
Women Take Back Gibbs House

President William W. Edel reported the inadequate housing situation to the Board of Trustees. The president explained that the lack of housing in Carlisle made it difficult to attract prospective professors. Due to the fact that male students would not occupy the Gibbs House during the next academic year, the college planned to use it to house 20 female students. This change would mean that women students would reside in Metzger Hall, East College, and the Gibbs House.

Date: June 6, 1947
Renovated for women students

Chairman S. Walter Stauffer of the Committee on Grounds and Buildings presented his report on women's housing. He confirmed that East College would be renovated for female residents for the Fall Session as soon as the male students departed in June. The building would house approximately 100 women.

Date: June 7, 1946