Physical Education Requirement

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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

In a letter to President Morgan while on the S. S. Arabic in 1927, Dean Meredith explains her plans for the new female physical training program. She and Miss Frances Janney, instructor in physical culture, discussed the equipment needed as well as the text books required for the program. Dean Meredith ends the letter and proclaims that "physical education will progress next semester."
 
 

Date: June 24, 1927
Letter

In a letter to Dean Meredith dated April 6, 1920, President Morgan informed the Dean of Women that many female students have been absent from gym class. He wrote that "many of the young women are evading physical exercise. Professor Sellers, for the Absence Committee, says that he gets altogether too many excuses for sickness, but in most cases he feels some hesitation about probing too closely." Thus, President Morgan decided that excuses for gym class must be approved by Dean Meredith before being accepted.

Date: April 6, 1920
AlumniGymnasium.jpg

The "New Gym", as it was referred to at that time, was the locale of which all soon to be graduating women of Dickinson rushed to, weeks before graduation in order to complete their physical education requirement. As reminisced by Margaret McAdoo in her interview, this regulation implemented by the college required that all women learn how to swim in order to graduate. (Ironically it is important to note that Dickinson did not have a womens swim team at the time).

Date: April 26, 1991