Wheel and Chain

"The Presence of the Black American at Dickinson College from 1773 to the Present," a Research Paper by Elaine Vivian Watson

May 10, 1984

In her 1984 research paper "The Presence of the Black American at Dickinson College from 1773 to the Present," Elaine Vivian Watson researched the influence of "Black America" upon Dickinson College. Her paper includes information on "unfamous firsts" at Dickinson as well as information on the Black Alumni Questionaire.


Some "Unfamous Firsts" Include:


1901: John Robert Paul Brock is the first black male student to graduate from Dickinson College.


A Female Student Recalls Restrictions Still on Campus in '61

March 27, 1979

From her time here at Dickinson, a female student of the class of 1961, recalls the restrictions women still faced on campus in the "Women as Leaders" survey. Women's social life was restrictive in that "Freshmen girls had to be in by 9:00 p.m. on weeknights, etc." The women's Freshmen dorms were also "terribly far away" from campus. Women's sports were also downplayed, which she experienced firsthand.

Wheel and Chain


Wheel and Chain is a local honor society established in 1924. Membership includes up to nine senior women that exhibit excellence in "scholarship, outstanding leadership and activities, and service to the college." According to the 1957 student handbook, the purpose of Wheel and Chain was to promote fellowship among senior women.

Women's Rules 1956-57


The list of "women's rules" included in the 1956-57 student handbook was modified from a list of nine rules to seven that freshman students were required to adhere to.

"A History of Women at Dickinson"

March 16, 1979

The pivotal events of the Vietnam War, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as that of Robert Kennedy, was the foreground to the world events that welcomed the lives of Dickinson students during the decade of the 1960's. Having been an era of social, sexual and civil revolution, did not hinder the development and the rise of women as leaders on this campus. On the contrary the grand majority of women surveyed by Martha C.

1960 Microcosm: Wheel and Chain Members


Seven senior women were tapped to become members of the Wheel and Chain, a local society honoring women with outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service to the college.  The "blue hats" tapped for membership for 1959-1960 include Sandra Deichler, president; Nancy Cross, Marjorie Crowley, Dottie Lee Gayner, Elizabeth Griffith, Merle Tegtmeier, and Carolyn Wherly.   "Blue Hats" serve the college by maintaining a freshman orientation program, mediating between the administration and women students, and promoting an Honor Code on campus.