A Female Graduate of the Class of 1923 Described Herself as an Activist While Attending Dickinson College

March 1979

In her 1979 Women as Leaders Survey sent out by Dickinson College, a graduate of 1923 remembers her days at Dickinson. When asked about the issues of the day, the alum remembers, "our topic of debate was the Equal Rights Amendment."

She goes on to recall the anger at there being two senates: a women's and a school senate run by men. To protest the issue, a group of women attended the men's senate.

S. Margaret Gruber's 1909 Essay "The Education of Woman in America"


In her 1909 essay "The Education of Woman in America", S. Margaret Gruber traced the history of women's education and argued that women's higher education was essential. She began her essay by discussing the history of women's education from "household drudgery" to women's higher education. She argued that women's higher education did not impare women's health but made them more vigorous. Moreover, she asserted that women who attended institutions of higher education did still marry and bear children.

Alice M. Clarkson's Essay "The Civic Movement Among Women," 1908


In her essay titled "The Civic Movement Among Women," Alice M. Clarkson analyzed women's influence in civic and reform movements of the early twentieth century. She argued that women's position as mothers in the home made them ideal candidates for social reform. She wrote, "They are the natural domestic housekeepers, and what more proper than that they should become civic housekeepers? they abate nuisances in the household. Why not in the city?" Clarkson contended that women's patience and persitence made them ideal reformers.

Samuel W. MacDowell's Essay "American Motherhood"


In his essay "American Motherhood," Samuel W. MacDowell argued that motherhood is one of the most important position a woman can hold. He contended that it was through motherhood, not the vote, that women were able to assert their influence within American society. He referenced Washington's, Adams', Lincoln's and McKinley's mothers to illustrate his point.

"Should Women Vote?" by H. M. Showalter, class of 1904


In his essay "Should Women Vote?", H. M. Showalter argues for women's suffrage in 1904. He acknowledges that women are not given the right to vote because they are often the dependents of men like "minors and paupers." Due to their dependence, their vote could be swayed. However, Showalter does not see this as a legitimate reason for denying women the vote. He lists six premises for his conclusion. They are:

1. God created man and woman equal.

2. The Constitution gives equal rights to all.

Carolyn Baer Eppley's Essay "The Educated Woman in Domestic Life"


In her essay "The Educated Woman in Domestic Life," Carolyn Baer Eppley argued that women must be college educated so as to better fulfill their roles as wives, mothers, and citizens. She contended that women need to be educated in order to better instruct their children, encourage their husband's thinking, contribute to society, and maintain strong relationships with their spouses.

President Morgan Discusses Marriage and Motherhood among Female Graduates of Dickinson College

April 13, 1922

In a previous letter dated April 7, 1922, Eleanore Robinson, a reporter from Chicago, wrote President Morgan in reference to the marriage and divorce rates of female Dickinson Graduates. Robinson argued that college-educated women make better wives and mothers than women who do not attend college. On April 13, 1922, President Morgan responded to Robinson's letter. He agreed that educated women make better wives and mothers.

Marriage Rates and Motherhood Among Female Graduates of Dickinson College

April 7, 1922

In a letter dated April 7, 1922, Eleanor Robinson (Illinois Women's Press Association) wrote to President James H. Morgan in reference to the marriage and divorce rates of female graduates of Dickinson College. Robinson explained that she knew many college women who were married and did not know a single college woman who was a divorcee. She argued, "Judging then from my own acquaintance, it seems to me that college women make more successful wives and mothers than less educated women."She then went on to explain her argument.