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.
Coeducation (arguments against)
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.
Sent to President Morgan by Mary Evans Rosa in 1920, this brochure outlines the mission of the Assocaition of Collegiate Alumnae. According to the literature "the organization is a national organization composed of women graduates from some seventy-five American colleges and univerisites whose Bachelor's degree, and the eight American universities who higher degree, entitle them to membership." Moreoever, the ACA explained that the association was founded in 1882. The primary purpose of the organization was to unite alumnae from different institutions for "practical educational work."
In a letter dated January 20, 1920, Mary Evans Rosa, an early female graduate of Dickinson College, sent literature regarding the Association of Collegiate Alumnae to President Morgan. The organization was for college women who graduated from coed and single sex institutions. Evans Rosa encouraged President Morgan to advocate for Dickinson College's membership into the organization.
In a letter to F. Louise Nardin of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, President Morgan recounts the early history of women at Dickinson College. He wrote that "Perhaps in truth I ought to say that they are better treated. They are better cared for than men, and there is no disposition to have this changed."