Meredith, Josephine B.

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Eavesdropping and Other Grievances

"Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College," distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945, documents the reasons for the appointment of a new dean of women.

Date: December 15, 1945
Defamation

Distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945, "Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College" calls for the appointment of a new dean of women. The document cites the numerous occasions on which the dean "defamed the character of the women students" by ridiculing them and calling into question their moral judgement.

Date: December 15, 1945
Threats and Inducement

"Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College," a document distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945, claims that the Dean of Women dealt with female students "in bad faith" by breaking promises. The document cites two cases in which the Dean of Women broke promises: in one case, the dean tried to discover who had disobeyed a ruling by promising to revoke disciplinary action for those who confessed.

Date: December 15, 1945
Incompetent Personal Advisor

In "Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College" distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945, students explain the need for the appointment of a new Dean of Women, calling the Dean of Women Josephine B. Meredith "incompetent as a personal advisor." According to the document, she does not give women students sympathy in personal matters and places them on probation without adequate grounds.

Date: December 15, 1945
Grievances

A document entitled "Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College" was distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945. The first "suggestion" was the appointment of a "recognized educator" as president to replace the committee of three ruling the college at the time. According to the document, the "lack of individual authority prevents decisions." The second and longest suggestion asks for the appointment of a new dean of women. The document calls Dean Josephine B.

Date: December 15, 1945
Torch Light Parade

Winona Mensch Gray (Class of 1948) admits in an interview that she helped to instigate Dean of Women Josephine B. Meredith's resignation. Gray recalls that Meredith resigned during her sophomore year (1946). According to Gray, Dean Meredith was strict--her father and husband had both been Methodist ministers--and forbade female students from activities on Sunday.

Date: September 19, 1989
dg.jpg

The Male:Female ratio within the Dickinson Faculty was very disproportionate. In this picture you see Josephine B. Meredith - Dean of Women and English; Sophie Louise de Vilaine - French faculty; and Hazel Jane Bullock - French faculty as the only women amongst an otherwise entirely male faculty.

Date: May 1924
Scarlet Fever!

Joyce Rinehart Anderson (Class of 1945) reports in an interview that the dean of women, Josephine Brunyate Meredith, locked her in the infirmary when she was sick. The dean feared that Joyce had scarlet fever, but Joyce claims that, in locking her in the infirmary without care, they "practically killed me." According to Anderson, not only did this quarantine cost her a semester in college, but it also led to other problems later in her life.

Date: October 5, 1989
Bifurcationedict.jpg

Once again the infamous iron fist of Dean of Women, Mrs. Meredith was mentioned by Margaret MacGregor in her interview as she touched upon the strict regulations implemented at the college. There was no smoking, drinking, curfew was very strict, the essence of anything coeducational was nonexistent, as well as the women were not allowed to wear slacks or shorts. To consolidate this rule of conduct, Dean Meredith instituted a Bifurcation Edict which established that "no female could wear trousers", a judgement that was opposed by a group of individualist women.

Date: November 18, 1989
She didn't care for the steak

While interviewee Mary Synder Hertzler did not mind the quality of the food at Dickinson's dining hall during the World War II period, not every student agreed with her. Other students "objected" to the food, and one female student took her steak and put it on a spindle on Dean Josephine Brunyate Meredith's desk. Hertzler claims that she "would have no more done that than fly to the moon." This student "evidently didn't care for the steak."

Date: April 12, 1990