An Early Photo of Female Students Studying in a Drayer Hall Dorm Room. c. 1950


Drayer Hall was the first residence hall in Dickinson’s history built by the college solely for women. This photo depicts two women studying in a Drayer Hall dorm room,
c. 1950. The names of the women are not known. If you recognize someone
in the photo, feel free to post the information below.

"I was a Co-ed": Housing for Early Female Students


Upon her arrival at Dickinson College in 1886, Elizabeth Low was shocked to find that no housing arrangements had been made for female students. Unlike their male counterparts, early female Dickinsonians were not permitted to live in dorms on campus. Moreover, the school had not found housing in town for the young women.

Esther Popel Shaw, the First African American Woman to Graduate from Dickinson College


Esther Popel, the first known African American woman to graduate from Dickinson College, was listed in the 1919-1920 yearbook. Described as quiet and "a true scholar," Popel commuted from Harrisburg to Dickinson every day. The Microcosm wrote, "We see her but we seldom hear her." Popel went on to become a poet of the Harlem Renaissance movement.

President's Report to the Board of Trustees on the Implementation of Coeducation

June 26, 1883

On June 26th, 1883, President McCauley presented his report on the 1883 school year, announcing the faculty desicion to admit women to Dickinson College. He explained that it was, "Resolved that the faculty recommend to the Board of Trustees that ladies be admitted to the classes of the College upon the same conditions as gentlemen." The following year, women were admitted to the sophomore and freshman classes.

"First Alumna Lifer"

August 1926

Amy Fisher, class of 1895, won the "honor" of becoming the first alumna to take out a Life Membership in the General Alumni Association. The price of Life Membership was $40. The cost could be broken down into two installments paid six months apart.

First Female Offered Full Professorship

May 21, 1943

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.

Preparatory School Faculty Includes a Woman


Amy Fisher, an 1895 graduate of Dickinson College, was the first woman to teach at the Preparatory School. In 1896 she is included in the Preparatory School faculty, noted as "In Charge of Study Hall". While teaching at the school, she was also earning her Master of Arts degree in 1897. After obtaining her degree, she became the assistant principal of a high school in Doylestown, Pennsylvania until 1904. She resumed her employment at Dickinson College in 1932 as curator of the Dickinsoniana collection.