Dickinson Magazine chronicles the birth of coeducation at the college.Â In 1877 a committee considered "the advisability of admitting ladies," and the next year faculty voted almost unanimously that women should attend Dickinson - a single professor, Henry Harman, opposed the idea.Â He was still opposed in 1883, when a faculty vote nonetheless approved admission of women to the college.Â Although Harman may never have warmed to the idea of women at Dickinson, he did agree in 1896 to have his name ironically attached to a newly-formed women's literary society.
The introductory part of her report is entitled "Historical." In it she briefly accounts for the reasons women had not been admitted into Dickinson College up until 1884 and outlines the various developments that arose from that year on. Developments addressed include: additions to faculty and trends in enrollment.
Trustees deemed admission of women prior to 1884 inadvisable due to the saturation of recitation rooms, but co-education for Dickinson had been discussed for some time before housing conditions allowed women to
This Progress Reports includes changes and plans to change College policy regarding female students. Most notably is the mention of the 1973 Spring semester and the success of the movements to "rescind the 'sex quota,' by action of the Board of Trustees, so that henceforth Dickinson College will strive for an approximate ratio of 1:1 in admissions of male and female students; and to omit singing at College functions the last verse of the Alma Mater, with its references to 'men' and 'sons.'"
This letter, dated September 5, 1945, was written by Esther Popel Shaw, the first African American female graduate of Dickinson College 1919, to Mr. Boyd Lee Spahr of the Board of Trustees. Writing from her post at the National Association of College Women, Esther Popel Shaw defends herself and her race against Spahr's "apparent lack of awareness of what constitutes acceptable designations when racial references are involved" as well as racial injustice when it comes to college housing for African American students.