Mary Caroline Crawford.

The college girl of America and the institutions which make her what she is online

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the other or both, or some other girl or man out-
side, must suffer keenly as a result. Of course a
girl may take as emotional growing pains whatever
comes to her in this line while she is at college.
But surely it is much better for her to put her
mind upon her lessons, her girl friends, and her
college frolics during her undergraduate years than
upon affairs and experiences which have to do with
sentiment. The proportion of marriages which
result from ' coeducational colleges seems, on the
whole, to be small. If it were otherwise, if the
young men and young women who have studied
together in these institutions waited for each other
and married — later — coeducation would, in my
opinion, have a very strong argument for its main-
tenance. But the results in marriages appear to
be far too small to balance the obvious objections
to the system. In one coeducational university
where statistics were carefully kept for thirty years,
only twenty-one couples are recorded among many

278 The College Girl of America

hundreds of young men and young women grad-
uated in the Hberal arts school. " Matrimony and
education are not so closely allied in coeducational
institutions as the public imagines," the dean of
this particular college asserted. But he did not
say — he probably could not say — that flirtation
and coeducation are not common running-mates.




" The East is so much more conservative than
the West," the secretary of a coeducational Eastern
college said, evasively, when I asked him about
the success of the comparatively recent experiment
of welcoming girls to his institution ; *' you can't
change easily in this part of the country the trend
of public opinion, you know; and I really am not
at all sure — though, of course, I say this un-
officially — that to admit girls to our courses has
been good either for the girls or for the men. You
see, there were plenty of colleges hereabouts espe-
cially for women long before we threw open our
doors to them."

At Syracuse University they are very proud of
the fact that there has never needed to be any
throwing open of doors to women, inasmuch as
since the day when the corner-stone of the first
building was laid on the campus, nay, even back
in the days of the old Genesee College at Lima,
New York (of which institution this university


28o The College Girl of America

is the successor), women have been admitted on
exactly the same conditions as men to every lecture
and every department of the university.

The dormitory system here is of recent establish-
ment, but this separates the girls only in their way
of life, not at all in their intellectual privileges or
interests. There are two of these dormitories,
Winchell Hall, an imposing four-story building of
red brick and Indiana limestone, and Haven Hall,
of brick and Ohio sandstone. The cost of living
at Syracuse is very low considering the mode of
life, it being possible to get through for two hundred
and fifty dollars a year. Those who have visited
many of the American colleges, and studied the
position of women in foreign universities, usually
agree in saying that they have seen no other in-
stitution where coeducation works more successfully
than here. The men recognize the fact that women
have just as good a right here as they (since they
have been here just as long), and they treat them
with such respect and consideration as would be
found in any cultivated society outside. The women
are admitted to all the departments, but they are
found chiefly in the two devoted to liberal arts and
fine arts, none being registered in the engineering
course, not more than one or two In law, and less
than fifty in medicine.

Coeducational Colleges of the East 281

For their social life, women at Syracuse have
the intercollegiate sororities, all occupying chapter-
houses that supply a pleasant home life to their

Boston University, founded some thirty years
ago, has offered coeducation from the start. Its
departments are arranged largely on the German
system, and it has no dormitories whatever. But
in its liberal arts department there are almost three
hundred and fifty young women who study side
by side with the young men. And there are very
many clubs and societies to which both girls and
men belong. The tuition-fee at Boston University
is one hundred dollars a year; the lowest possible
living expense for a girl is reported to be about
one hundred and fifty dollars. The proportion of
women to men here, it is worth noting, is three to
one. The endeavour to keep the sexes balanced
has been quite unsuccessful.

So far as the casual student of the matter may
judge, the most attractive coeducational college in
the East is Cornell. As soon as it became plain
that there was a demand on the part of women for
the privileges of education here, provision was made
for their accommodation. Sage College, as the
woman's building is called, has now for almost
thirty years held its honoured place in Cornell's

282 The College Girl of America

plant. The gift of Henry W. Sage, who had long
been interested in the university, it has splendidly
realized the prophecy made at the laying of its
corner-stone : " The efficient force of the human
race will be multiplied in proportion as women,
by culture and education, are fitted for new and
broader spheres of action." Even before the first
official announcement that Cornell would open its
doors to women, a girl came from Vassar College
to ask admittance. What to do with her was a
puzzle to the authorities — but finally the simple
expedient of allowing her to stay was adopted.
The question thus fairly faced, seventeen other
women were admitted. And from that time on
— since 1872 — Cornell has had its good share of
women students. At the opening of Sage College
in the autumn of 1875, forty-nine women were in
the university. The latest report gives the present
undergraduate body of girl students as three hun-
dred and twenty-six.

Cornell, it should be said, has figures quite differ-
ent from those quoted in a preceding chapter con-
cerning the effect of coeducation upon marriage.
When the last statistics in regard to this matter
were collected (in 1895), it was shown that fifty-
five per cent, of the marriages made by Cornell
women graduates have been with students or in-

Coeducational Colleges of the East 283

structors of the university, and that the number
of those who had received degrees from Cornell
and who were married was fifty per cent. The
mass of information went to show, too, that these
Cornell women made very good wives, most of them
being enthusiastic as well as economical household
managers. "Among all of the women graduates
of Cornell, none known to us," reported the com-
mittee who investigated this matter, " have resorted
to boarding-house life, except as a matter of tem-
porary expediency ! "

There is a very fine spirit of comradeship among
girls who have graduated from this college, so much
so that — in a small town, at least — a Cornell
woman immediately looks up any other Cornell
woman who may happen to come to the place. This
is undoubtedly a result of the necessarily intimate
way in which Sage College women all know each
other. Though in the past few years the university
has more than doubled its dormitory accommodation
for women, the girls are thrown constantly together,
and have a very fine college spirit. Some of the
women's fraternities, too, have purchased substan-
tial homes of its own; and the college life has
been further enriched by providing ample gym-
nasium facilities and a good swimming-tank for
women students. While Cornell has been doubling

284 The College (jirl of America

its dormitory accommodations, it h'as also been
doubling its library, with the result that it has now
one of the best general collections, as well as the
most adequate special library in its part of the
country. The expense at this college is one hundred
dollars for tuition fee, and, at the cheapest, five
dollars a week for girl students.

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, enjoys the
distinction of being the first educational institution
on the Atlantic seaboard to receive young women
on the same terms with men collegians. The dean
of women here looks carefully after the comfort
of girl students, finding them pleasant places to
board in private families, for the very reasonable
sum of five dollars or less per week. As tuition
at this college is only fifty dollars, a girl can get
through quite comfortably for two hundred a year.
The faculty realize one of their highest pleasures
in helping young men and young women to solve
the problem of ways and means. Bates alone, of
New England colleges, still encourages needy stu-
dents to teach during a part of each year. And
that a girl does not find such teaching, under proper
restrictions, to be at all harmful to her scholarship,
may be gathered from the fact that for two succes-
sive seasons Bates College girls have won the prize
offered by the Colonial Dames of the State of

Coeducational Colleges of the East 285

Maine for the best paper on colonial history. The
registration at Bates shows about one hundred and
thirty girls.

There is a common saying about Boston that any
point from which one can see Tufts College is
properly enough a part of that very desirable resi-
dential city. And inasmuch as Tufts, on its lofty
height, is clearly discernible for a radius of many
miles, the greater Boston is quite a big place. Dur-
ing recent years Tufts College women, like the hill
of their Alma Mater, stand out fine and strong in
the big busy world. Women were first admitted
to this college in 1892, as a result of strong peti-
tions sent in by Mrs. Mary A. Livermore and by
alumni with daughters to educate. All departments
are now open to girls, and they attend classes and
study side by side with men. In numbers they are
something over one hundred against twice as many
men students. The relations between the boys and
girls here are very cordial, a good deal of their
social life being enjoyed together. Girls are re-
quired to live in Metcalf Hall, or in some other of
the supervised homes. The former building is a
very imposing edifice, and bears on a tablet in the
hall this fine inscription : " In honour of women,
and as a help to her higher education. Albert

286 The College Girl of America

The social activities at Tufts are under the con-
trol of a women's committee consisting of three
wives of professors. For a night upon which they
wish to give an entertainment, the girls, having
consulted this committee, register three weeks in
advance. Of sororities there are two or three here.
The college was Universalist in its origin, and
girls as well as men students are expected to attend
the fifteen-minute chapel service at half-past eight
every morning. The Sunday choir at the chapel
is made up of girls and men students, who wear
academic gowns and contribute in a marked degree
to the attractiveness of the service. Although there
are no outdoor athletics at Tufts, girls have the
privilege of the beautiful golf-links on the brow of
their hill, and are provided besides with tennis-
courts of their own. Two hours gymnasium work
a week is required. Four hundred dollars a year
is about the lowest sum for which a girl can com-
fortably go through Tufts.

Swarthmore College, in the town of the same
name near Philadelphia, has an almost equal number
(about one hundred) of men and women students.
The foundation of this institution is of the Friends
persuasion, though Christian character and a high
standard of scholarship are chiefly regarded. The
college buildings and the campus, which comprises

. Coeducational Colleges of the East 287

over two hundred acres of land, occupy a command-
ing position with a view of the Delaware River for
several miles. Swarthmore undertakes to provide
college life in a home setting; to supply an atmos-
phere in which manly and womanly character may
develop naturally and completely. The students
meet in the dining-hall as in their homes; and a
social hour in the reception-parlour precedes each
evening's work. The intercourse of the men and
women is, however, under the care of the dean and
her assistants, and it is the aim of the college to
make it a means of social culture. Parrish Hall
supplies dormitory accommodation for women
students in its east wing. Board and tuition here
cost four hundred and fifty dollars a year. Students
are expected to attend Friends' meeting, " held every
First Day morning, in the meeting-house on the
college grounds, as well as the daily assemblage of
students and instructors for the reading of the Bible,
or other suitable exercises, which are preceded and
followed by a period of silence." The spirit at this
college is admirable, the constant effort (which is
successfully realized) being to mould the characters
of the undergraduates, and bring their life into
conformity with the highest Christian standards.

Women were first admitted to Colby College,
Maine, in 187 1. In the beginning they were re-

288 The College Girl of America

ceived on precisely the same terms as men, but in
1880, upon the suggestion of President Small, who,
it is interesting to note, is now professor of sociol-
ogy at Chicago University, and was one of the most
ardent advocates of the recent " segregation " move-
ment there, a coordinate division for young women
was here organized. Since this step was taken,
there have been three times as many girls at Colby
as ever before, i. e., about seventy-five as against
the twenty-five previously there. Which may possi-
bly be interpreted as woman's approval of coor-
dination as opposed to coeducation. The men's and
women's division still use the same chapel and the
same lecture-halls, but they recite together only in
elective courses where the classes are small. At
present there are three residence halls especially for
women at Colby, all three being in charge of a
resident matron under a dean of women. Board in
these halls costs three dollars each week. Thus al-
most the lowest living expense possible here is one
hundred and thirty dollars a year, to which should
be added sixty dollars for tuition fee. The number
of men students is only slightly in excess of the

At the University of Vermont the tuition costs
precisely the same as at Colby. But the living
expense is higher. Young women are admitted to


290 The College Girl of America

boys. I like the social life of a college where there
are a lot oi men to have a good time with." Which
confession had certainly the recommendation of


Our colleges will have graduated this year, as
for several years past, thousands of alert, healthy,
mentally well-equipped girls, a large proportion of
whom must enter the world's life and become self-
supporting. The great and pressing problem is,

No longer in these days is it a foregone conclu-
sion that because a girl has received a good educa-
tion she will support herself as a teacher. Happily
for our children, the teaching profession has now
attained a dignity which places it beyond the hit-or-
miss services of any college graduate. Moreover,
girls themselves are branching out in this twen-
tieth century into trades and professions which
offer more opportunity for individual resource and
individual enterprise than does the profession of
the pedagogue. The girl of the period wishes to get
into touch with the larger life of the world, to feel,
through her occupations, some pulsations of our
own Time Spirit. For this reason she seeks new

fields of labour. But, rather paradoxically, many


292 The College Girl of America

of the new activities in which educated women are
engaging with signal success prove, when closely
examined, to be reversions tO' the primitive occupa-
tions of their grandmothers. Only the aspect of
them has changed.

A notable example of this is afforded by the highly
successful bakery recently started in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, by two clear-eyed, level-headed, well-
born, and well-bred college girls. The furniture
in the salesroom of this unique establishment was
after the most approved William Morris standards ;
on the walls were quotations from Tolstoian books
on the dignity of labour; beautiful pictures, taste-
fully framed, decorative palms, and a handsome
rug completed the equipment of this highly inter-
esting bake-shop. And here, in the artistic setting
they had created for their excellent wares, the two
college girls themselves were kept busy all the time
disposing of their bread and breadsticks for just
twice the sum charged by other bakers.

" Without a vision," remarked wise old Solomon,
" the people perish." The young brains behind this
Laboratory Kitchen (so successful that it now has
enlarged quarters in Boston) have caught the vision
of better things in the industrial order, and they
are inspiringly working it out. That their efforts
are meeting with appreciation is a tribute to the

After College — What? 293

public's receptivity as well as to the value of their
idea. To this idea there are, of course, two dis-
tinct sides — that of the worker and that of the
product. Of the former too much can scarcely be
said. But on the latter it is not our purpose here
to dwell. Suffice it, then, to remark on this point
that bread for which people are glad to pay twice
the ordinary price must possess a merit not to be
had in the wares of the corner shop. That is plain
on the surface.

Now for the workers themselves, and the idea
for which their Laboratory Kitchen stands — an
idea very well worth publishing tO' intelligent young
women the country over. Miss Stevenson, the man-
ager, is a South Carolinian, and when she lectures,
as she sometimes does, on her trade, she begins by
remarking : " My grandfather was a judge, but I
am a baker." She firmly believes, as one very soon
discovers from a talk with her, that there is not
really, and so should never have been socially, that
great gulf we have honoured for years between
people who work with their brains and those who
work with their hands ; and she feels strongly that
there is a place commercially for the college-bred
in the improvement of the quality of the necessaries
of life. Hence the text engraved on every package

294 The College Girl of America

that leaves the shop : " There is nothing finer than
common bread, unless it be bread of a finer kind."

The way in which this original young woman
came into the profession of bread-making is most
interesting, for naturally something akin to " con-
version " had to be experienced by a Southerner of
aristocratic training before the point of view that
bread is worthy of a life's devotion should be at-
tained. While a student at Converse College in
her native State, Miss Stevenson became greatly
interested in chemistry, specializing for three years
on the subject. Later she spent several terms at
Radcliffe College, Cambridge, studying English, that
she might be able to express clearly and well what
she had to say about chemistry. All this time her
intention was to follow the beaten track, and teach
chemistry. At about this stage of her student ca-
reer, however, she fell under the influence of a large-
brained woman whose breadth of scholarship and
sane philosophy of life communicated to her such
a grasp upon the underlying principles of things
as was calculated to work a veritable revolution in
the girl's point of view. There began to be borne
in upon Miss Stevenson the truth that bread, because
it is one of the necessities of life, is a thing needed
in perfection. Whether there would be a demand
for a bread made in perfection she did not know.

After College — What? 295

But the accident of meeting then Miss Frances EUi-
ott, the daughter of a Toronto physician, who had
likewise speciahzed in chemistry, and was wilHng
to make with her the hazard of a bakery such as
she had thought out, decided her course. Miss
ElHott had also been a pupil of the inspiring teacher,
and she was a graduate of the University of To-
ronto. Further, she, too, had studied in Boston,
and knew its ways. Cambridge was accordingly
chosen as the place in which to make the experiment
of the Laboratory Kitchen.

The girls had been told that the city on the Charles
was hospitable to ideals, but at first they did not find
this to be altogether true. For some time, indeed,
the college folk, with whom they had previously
maintained pleasant social relations, looked upon
their venture askance. Then one day the much-
lamented and universally beloved Mrs. Alice Free-
man Palmer, hearing that two college girls had
started a Laboratory Kitchen there in her neighbour-
hood, went down to their pretty salesroom, and over
the purchase of some bread for her own lunch-table
made their acquaintance, and asked permission to
call upon them in the little home they had set up
a block or two away from the bakeshop. After
that there was no question in the minds of Canta-

296 The College Girl of America

At the beginning, while they were perfecting their
recipes, these two young enthusiasts did all the bak-
ing themselves. Within three months they paid
expenses. The demand proved to be much greater
than they had expected. '' I find people appreciate
a good thing in any line when it is made with an
eye on the article, and not on the cash register,"
commented Miss Stevenson, in speaking of her im-
mediate success.

" Personally," she continued, " I am immensely
interested in the economic side of this business. I
myself so firmly believe that people need workers
more than talkers that I am very glad indeed to have
proved that a girl can earn a living in labour of this

Miss Stevenson defends, whenever she has oppor-
tunity, her firm conviction that the process of bread-
making is very interesting to the educated woman
because of the intelligence required to- perfect it.
And bread-making appeals, for far-reaching reasons,
she holds, to the college woman. First, because of
its fundamental relation to daily living — right
nourishment of the body being the first step toward
right behaviour of the mind ; second, because of its
possibilities in what the modern mind realizes to be
the elementary and very significant field of life, the
business field, this occupation, she says, should claim

After College—- What? 297

a high place. Business is to-day the great field in
which all classes are included. And yet it is the
only field which has no controlling ideal. There
is but one way, she and her partner believe, to save
the nation from the present warfare between master
and slave, and that is for the educated people to
come down from their vantage-ground as onlookers,
and enter the workaday arena, matching trickery
with truth, selfishness with service. Then, too, there
is room for the college-bred woman here — which
is much.

Something like these same ideals — though per-
haps not so clearly defined — were the compelling
motives which led two Wellesley girls to undertake
the management, at Wellesley, Massachusetts, of a
tea-room, which has now grown to be a College Inn.
The students of the college subscribed for the stock
in this inn, and thus the clever young " promoters,"
themselves Wellesley graduates, secured the funds
necessary to the erection of a fine new building.
And it is in this building that the restaurant which
had already become a feature of student life at
Wellesley is now carried on. Further, the house
affords ample accommodation for alumnae returning
to their Alma Mater for a few days' visit, the prefer-
ence being given at crowded times to graduates who
are also stockholders. In connection with the inn

298 The College Girl of America

and its excellent restaurant, these enterprising girls
started a successful weekly paper, the first ever made
to pay in a girls' college. Business ability, social
gifts, and a devoted love for the college with which
their enterprise is unofficially connected, may be held
to be the qualities responsible for their decided suc-
cess. Certainly they had had absolutely no expe-
rience in hotel or restaurant work when they opened
their tea-room. They only knew that college girls
are eternally hungry, and that a pleasant, well-con-
ducted little tea-shop would receive plenty of patron-

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Online LibraryMary Caroline CrawfordThe college girl of America and the institutions which make her what she is → online text (page 16 of 18)