Dickinson Magazine reports the creation and opening of Hurrah for Coeducation!, an exhibit in Dickinson's Archives & Special Collections chronicling and celebrating the 125th anniversary of women studying at the college.Â In the summer of 2009 interns Allyson Glazier, Cassidy Dermott, Alli Schell - all of the class of 2011 - teamed up under the guidance of special collections librarian Malinda Triller to compile artifacts of many types relating to the history of women at Dickinson.Â The exhibit displayed photographs, letters, maps, and various other artifacts organized in cases
Coeducation (arguments for)
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 1888 January Dickinsonian starts off the New Year with a brief article about the "advantages" of co-education. Apparently, the president of the class of 1889 deviated from his speech because he had caught the eye of a particular co-ed that he was found of, in front of everyone. The Dickinsonian further comments upon the scene that if only the 1890 class president had glanced in the same direction, his speech might have been more inspired.
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.
In her essay "Woman and the Home," Ella P. Davis discussed the ways in which society limited women's opportunities based on their gender. She wrote, "In a country where public life is capable of so much further development, and where civil and political funcations, which in other lands have come to be regarded as the rights of common citizen, are so grudgingly bestowed upon men of even the lightest intelligence, it is no wonder that the position of women is not an ideal one." Throughout her essay, Davis cites the German women's movement's influence on women's education.
In his senior oration "Co-education in American Colleges," Frank Moore (class of 1891) argued in favor of co-education in America. He first contended that women's college's were not up to par with their male counterparts. Instead of improving the women's institutions, he believed that Americans should send women to coeducational institutions.Â This would allow for the further improvement of formerly male institutions.Â Secondly, Moore asserted that coeducation would better prepare women for living in a man's world.
In her report "Women at Dickinson College," Dean Meredith has a section titled "Women's Scholarship." In this section she discussed the ways in which women are strong students at Dickinson. However, it is difficult for female students. She explained that, "Co-education as we have it here is hardly fair to girls. There are not enough women teachers nor is there enough competition among the girls because girls are too few. Girls here are not â€œstudentsâ€ they are â€œCo-eds,â€ curiosities. A girl in a high school is just a student.
In her speech delivered during a 1937 Commencementt Week Dinner, Zatae Longsdorff Straw remembers her time at Dickinson College. In the beginning of the speech, Straw admits that this was her first time back to Dickinson since she graduated in 1887. Thus, her mind flooded with memories of Dickinson during her 1937 visit. As the first female graduate, Straw described the harassment she received from her male counterparts. She described many of the faculty including Dr. Rittenhouse whose "eyes filled with tears" when male students treated her unkindly. Dr.
In a letter to Dickinson College Historian Charles Coleman Sellers, Persis Longsdorff Sipple described the beginnings of coeducation. According to Persis, her father went to President McCauley and told him that he had "four daughters, who soon be ready to enter college somewhere. He finally prevailed upon him to make the decision to allow girls to be included in the student body." Thus, Persis and her sister Zatae entered the College in 1884.
In a letter to Dickinson College Historian Charles Coleman Sellers, Elizabeth Anna Low agrees to write her account of early coeducation at Dickinson College. However, she asked Sellers to be more clear on what he expected. In the letter, Low begins describing early coeducation at Dickinson. She explains that "there was undoubtedly some feeling about the admission of women, but much of it had disappeared by the time I reached there." Despite this statement, Low recalls an election in which her name was removed due to her gender and not being admitted to the literary societies.