During the peak years of the Second World War it was a common trend that women did not apply to graduate schools even though the majority of the women attended school because they wanted to obtain a career. As explained by Ruth Murphy in her interview, "back then girls didn't apply like now", despite the fact that she, like other women on the Dickinson campus, eagerly wanted to attend gradute or law school after graduation.
World War II
As explained in her interview, Kathleen Briner Meals class of '44 became the second editor-in-chief of the Dickinsonian. At the time this position which carried the title "Co-ed", partly because of theÂ lack of men around, was a title that was appointed by the school's administration.
Dean Ernest A. Vuilleumier reports to the Board of Trustees that the college was operating four separate buildings--Metzger Hall, the Gibbs House, the Parker House, and the Phi Delta Theta House--as women's dormitories. The dean viewed this situation as unsatisfactory and argued for "the very great need for a new dormitory for women." He urged the Board to make plans for the construction of a women's dormitory as soon as possible.
In response to President Prettyman's call for coeducation "in the true sense of the term," the Board of Trustees did not take any action. They considered the recommendation to change the ratio of male and female students but chose to do nothing because "action had already been taken sufficient to cover the case." The minutes do not explain to which action this statement refers.
President Cornelius William Prettyman argues in a letter to the Board of Trustees that Dickinson College should become "a coeducational college in the true sense of the term." He points out that 163 of the 253 students at the college were women and that, in the future, this number would only continue to grow. He adds that women "are entering college in ever greater numbers." Thus, he recommends that Dickinson College educate both male and female students in equal numbers and wishes to enforce a 50-50 ratio of female to male students.
In President Boyd Lee Spahr's report to the Board of Trustees, he discusses the possible acquisition of the Shearer Property on the "northwest corner of College and Louther Streets" for the construction of a women's dormitory. A local real estate agent had tipped the college off to the sale of the property for an estimated $18,000. When the college offered the sum to the seller, however, it was declined, and the president explains that the property might not even be desirable as a location for a new women's dormitory.
President Fred Pierce Corson reported to the Board of Trustees that the college would have a full enrollment of female students. However, he cautioned that increasing the number of women students would also increase costs for the college due to the need for new facilities and other additions. The college would lose money in the process unless it changed the quota policy for women. There is no indication in the minutes that this suggestion was accepted by the Board.
President Corson recommended to the Board of Trustees that the college give Josephine Brunyate Meredith "the honor of being the first woman elected to a full professorship at Dickinson College" in the English Department. Meredith had served as Dean of Women and an Associate Professor of English since 1922. The president added that offering the dean this position would not entail raising her salary or giving her a permament appointment as the head of this department.
The Faculty Minutes for the meeting of January 6, 1942 detailed the requirements and standards set for girls who wanted to enter into the Nurses Aides course on a voluntary basis. They had to prove, among other requirements, that they had the grade point average, leisure time, and permission necessary to complete the course. They also needed to complete the entire course.