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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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As the author of Coordinate Colleges for American Women, I am indebted to many people who made this book possible. First, I want to thank the staff of the Lovejoy Library at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. They helped me locate primary and secondary sources and enrollment data—as did several individuals at the three liberal arts colleges in my study. Included in this group are Jennifer Duplaga, Hanover College Archivist; Miranda Maxwell, Senior Director of Development at Hanover College; Abigail Miller, College and Digital Collections Archivist at Kenyon; Ellen Harbourt, Kenyon College Registrar; and Katherine Collett, Hamilton College Archivist.

As I gathered data, five alumnae of Long College for Women of Hanover College shared their recollections and/or assisted me in document retrieval. They are Betty Bernardoni McDowell, Sally Snowden Downey, Barbara Barnett Sheffield, Marcia Knox Ritter, and Susan R. Thompson. Some were able to locate diplomas of women graduates that differed from those awarded to men. In addition, Hanover alumnus George Durnell found a 1960s handbook that spelled out campus restrictions for female (but not male) students. Princeton alumnus Frank Hamsher furnished a 1968 report from his alma mater that compared the merits of coordination and full coeducation. ← xiii | xiv →

In writing my book, I was fortunate to benefit from my ongoing participation in a group of professors from universities in the St. Louis metropolitan region. We meet regularly to critique each other’s work. Within this group, Laurel Puchner (Professor and Chair of the...

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