Harman, Henry Martyn

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Float from College Anniversary Parade, 1948

Dickinson Magazine chronicles the birth of coeducation at the college.  In 1877 a committee considered "the advisability of admitting ladies," and the next year faculty voted almost unanimously that women should attend Dickinson - a single professor, Henry Harman, opposed the idea.  He was still opposed in 1883, when a faculty vote nonetheless approved admission of women to the college.  Although Harman may never have warmed to the idea of women at Dickinson, he did agree in 1896 to have his name ironically attached to a newly-formed women's literary society.

Date: Winter 2010
Historical Sketch of the Harman Literary Society

Shortly after college opened in the fall of '96, Dickinson women began to consider how they might obtain the training, which is best furnished by active work in a Literary Society.  After consulting with the President, they met October 21, to formally consider the question, with sixteen present.  After effecting a temporary organization, a committee on constitution was appointed.  It was then suggested that the society be named in honor of Dr. Harman.  On November 18, 1896, the constitution, together with the name was formally adopted.

Date: October 3, 1919
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
Faculty Discuss the Admission of Women, 1883

On May 24, 1883, the faculty discussed whether or not female students should be admitted to Dickinson College. Referencing the discussion regarding coeducation that took place two years earlier, the faculty decided that the conditions of the college grounds were now suitable for female students. Thus, the faculty decided to "recommend to the Board of Trustees that women be admitted to the classes of the college on the same conditions of men." Nearly all the faculty, with the exception of Professor Harman, voted in favor of coeducation.

Date: May 24, 1883