Zatae Longsdorff Proclaims: "All I wanted was a square deal"


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. Harman was also remembered in Straw's speech as one of the staunch opponents of coeducation.

Straw finished her speech with her personal "justification" of coeducation. She explained that "I simply wanted an education and that desire and to enter Dickinson were one and inseparable. Dickinson College is a family tradition with us. If we were to be educated of course it had to be there...The fact of being a girl was one which I could scarcely be blamed for, neither of course could the Trustees, so we just had to compromise. All I wanted was a square deal, I never asked for, nor wanted, nor got any special favors or courtesies because I was a girl."

Location of Document in Archives
Zatae Longsdorff Collection, MC 2002.02