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Coordinate Colleges for American Women

A Convergence of Interests, 1947-78


Linda C. Morice

Coordinate Colleges for American Women: A Convergence of Interests, 1947–78 explores the history of the coordinate college—a separate school of higher learning for women connected to an older, all-male institution. This book places special emphasis on three (previously all-male) liberal arts colleges located in the Midwest and upstate New York. They established women’s coordinate colleges in the years following World War II, but ended them by 1980, becoming fully coeducational. The author draws on new primary sources to show that, in each case, a coordinate college was created to meet the converging interests of the founding institution—not to improve the education of women. The work is set in the context of four major social movements during the mid-to-late twentieth century involving civil rights, student rights, antiwar protest, and women’s liberation.

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Appendix B: The Numbers


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In the United States, no educational statistics were collected on a national level before 1869–70. The U.S. Department of Educational Research and Improvement maintains the statistical information compiled since then. Table 1 below shows significant growth in U.S. higher education in the first 30 years of the twentieth century—with slower growth in the Great Depression, and a drop in male enrollment during World War II. By the end of the war, overall college enrollments surged, largely due to the GI Bill. However, during the postwar era, the proportion of women on campus dropped. During the 1950s and 60s enrollment in higher education increased dramatically, followed by slower growth during the 1970s.

These national trends in Table 1 below can be compared against the enrollment Tables 2, 3, and 4 for Hanover, Kenyon, and Hamilton Colleges.

Table 1. U.S. Higher Education Enrollment (in thousands), Fall 1869–Fall 1991.

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Source: Thomas D. Snyder, ed. 120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 1993. ← 227 | 228 →

Table 2. Hanover and Long College Enrollments, 1930 through Present.

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