Firsts

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Chambers Named Editor of Dickinsonian

This article in the Dickinsonian names Esther Chambers '32 as the new editor of the student newspaper.  Although the article describes her as the "first woman to hold the editorship for many years," earlier female editors have yet to be identified.  The other woman on the newspaper staff at the time was Marie Formad '34.  According to this article, Chambers was to hold a meeting on February 19, 1931 at which she would announce who she had chosen to serve as sports editor, associate editor, and desk editor.  A banquet for the members of the staff was also planned for March 6 at the

Date: February 19, 1931
Article

This article, published in the March 31, 1988 Dickinsonian, documents the first meeting of Gays and Lesbians at Dickinson College (GLAD). Headed by Karen Ruocco, the organization held its first meeting at the Women's Center on March 30th. The group provided "support for gays and lesbians" at Dickinson College. The organization also worked to educate the campus on issues effecting the gay/lesbian community.

Date: March 31, 1988
Unfamous First Page

In her 1984 research paper "The Presence of the Black American at Dickinson College from 1773 to the Present," Elaine Vivian Watson researched the influence of "Black America" upon Dickinson College. Her paper includes information on "unfamous firsts" at Dickinson as well as information on the Black Alumni Questionaire.
 
Some "Unfamous Firsts" Include:
 
1901: John Robert Paul Brock is the first black male student to graduate from Dickinson College.
 

Date: May 10, 1984
Article

According to the April 9th, 1976 Dickinsonian, 21 female students would be moving into the fraternity quad in the fall of 1976. The women are independent, having no greek connection. The women hoped to change the college's current "social scene."

Date: April 9, 1976
Newspaper

This article from the Dickinsonian announces the hiring of the first female athletic trainer at Dickinson, Shelley Wright. According to the author of the article, Dickinson had been looking for a female athletic trainer for quite some time and was pleased that there was such a smooth transition.

Date: October 12, 1973
Photo

This series of five photographs depicts early female Dickinsonians in a physical education class. The women use various forms of equipment in the photos. The photo pictured on this page lists the names of the women and it appears that the same women are in each image.

Date: circa 1888
Letter

Fifty years following her graduation from Dickinson College as the first female student, Zatae Longsdorff Straw received an honorary degree from her alma mater. The award was bestowed upon Zatae due to her position as "the first woman graduate of Dickinson College, a pioneer among women in the field of medicine, combining with a professional career the duties of motherhood and the demands of public service..."
 
 

Date: June 7, 1937
Speech

In her speech delivered during a 1937 Commencementt Week Dinner, Zatae Longsdorff Straw remembers her time at Dickinson College. In the beginning of the speech, Straw admits that this was her first time back to Dickinson since she graduated in 1887. Thus, her mind flooded with memories of Dickinson during her 1937 visit. As the first female graduate, Straw described the harassment she received from her male counterparts. She described many of the faculty including Dr. Rittenhouse whose "eyes filled with tears" when male students treated her unkindly. Dr.

Date: 1937
Letter

In a letter to Zatae Longsdorff, Dean Clara Marshall M.D. informs Zatae that she sucessfully passed her examinations and was recommended for a Degree of Doctor of Medicine. Longsdorff, the first female graduate of Dickinson College, graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania and practiced medicine throughout her life.

Date: March 8, 1892
Frances Lois Willoughby Naval Reserve Commission

The December 1949 Dickinson Alumnus documents a fellow alumna, Frances L. Willoughby '27, who was awarded a commission. However, Willoughby was not awarded just any kind of commission, but she received the honor of being the first woman doctor to receive a Navy Commission. She entered the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant in 1944, and appointed to permanent staff only 4 months after and in 1946 she achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After graduating from Dickinson, Willoughby went on to receive a medical degree from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine.

Date: December, 1949