"Metzger .... in Detail" in " Women at Dickinson College" - by Josephine Brunyate Meredith

circa 1935

The subsection entitled "Metzger Hall," in Dean Meredith's historical account of women at Dickinson,  gives a general overview of the physical layout of the building. This subsection is followed by  another, more detailed account of specific rooms, their inadecuacies, shortcomings and some scattered suggestions for improvement.


  • Street Floor - included school rooms, a library, a chapel, a laboratory, an office, a parlour, a recreation room, the housekeepers' room, an infirmary and some dorm rooms.
  • Second Floor - dormitory rooms (this floor formerly housed things like: teachers' apartments and a large reception room).
  • Third Floor - dormitory rooms



According to Meredith, apart from being "old fashioned" and "inconvenient," the worst feature at Metzger was housekeeping. The following is an account of concerns addressed in this section:

The kitchen, she complains, was much too small to contain 'modern' appliances such as proper refrigeration and electric heating. A room across the hall from the kitchen, she elaborates, had to be used for: servants dining, storage for dishes, as a pantry, to wash dishes and to keep the small refrigerator. For icing water, they would resort to open tubs (what does that mean???)

Before food could reach the dining room from the kitchen, she says, it had to be carried some distance. The dining room was small and offered no room for guests.

The 30 year old furnace they had was used to heat the entire house, something which it was not designed to do. It was very unreliable, and would break down constantly. Fired to its maximum potential the heater would manage to heat up some rooms to about 50 degrees.

They struggled for hot water due to old plumbing and a small amount of storage for it (they had two tanks/water heaters: one supplied the kitchen and the other the rest of the house).

Furthermore, she explains how the construction of the building would make it difficult to evacuate in an emergency. Use of the fire escape would be unrealistic and the fire extinguishers they had along the halls were too old and small to be of any help.

When she describes the girls dorm rooms however, she is more sympathetic. The rooms were in good condition and well furnished, though perhaps a bit crowded.

Location of Document in Archives
vault AAUW papers