"Keep the Damned Women Out": The Struggle for Coeducation
By: Nancy Weiss Malkiel (author)Hardback
As the tumultuous decade of the 1960s ended, a number of very traditional, very conservative, highly prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and the United Kingdom decided to go coed, seemingly all at once, in a remarkably brief span of time. Coeducation met with fierce resistance. As one alumnus put it in a letter to his alma mater, "Keep the damned women out." Focusing on the complexities of institutional decision making, this book tells the story of this momentous era in higher education--revealing how coeducation was achieved not by organized efforts of women activists, but through strategic decisions made by powerful men. In America, Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth began to admit women; in Britain, several of the men's colleges at Cambridge and Oxford did the same. What prompted such fundamental change? How was coeducation accomplished in the face of such strong opposition? How well was it implemented? Nancy Weiss Malkiel explains that elite institutions embarked on coeducation not as a moral imperative but as a self-interested means of maintaining a first-rate applicant pool.
She explores the challenges of planning for the academic and non-academic lives of newly admitted women, and shows how, with the exception of Mary Ingraham Bunting at Radcliffe, every decision maker leading the charge for coeducation was male. Drawing on unprecedented archival research, "Keep the Damned Women Out" is a breathtaking work of scholarship that is certain to be the definitive book on the subject.
Nancy Weiss Malkiel is professor emeritus of history at Princeton University, where she was the longest-serving dean of the college, overseeing the university's undergraduate academic program for twenty-four years. Her books include Whitney M. Young, Jr., and the Struggle for Civil Rights and Farewell to the Party of Lincoln: Black Politics in the Age of FDR (both Princeton).
List of Illustrations xi Preface xv Acknowledgments xxiii Introduction 1 Setting the Stage: The Turbulent 1960s 3 Part I The Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton 2 Harvard-Radcliffe:"To Be Accepted by the Old and Beloved University" 31 3 Yale: "Girls Are People, Just Like You and Me" 54 4 Princeton: "Coeducation Is Inevitable" 81 5 Princeton: "A Penetrating Analysis of Far-Reaching Significance" 110 6 Yale: "Treat Yale as You Would a Good Woman" 136 7 Princeton: "The Admission of Women Will Make Princeton a Better University" 166 8 Harvard-Radcliffe: Negotiating the "Non-Merger Merger" 195 9 Princeton: "I Felt I Was in a Foreign Country" 214 10 Harvard-Radcliffe: Playing in the "Big Yard" with the Boys 245 11 Yale: Yale Is "Not Yet Coeducational" 268 12 Princeton: "We're All Coeds Now" 288 Part II The Seven Sisters: Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley 13 Vassar: "Separate Education for Women Has No Future" 309 14 Vassar: "Vassar for Men?" 328 15 Smith: "A Looming Problem Which Is Going to Have to Be Faced" 351 16 Smith: "Recommitting to Its Original, Pioneering Purpose" 371 17 Wellesley: "Should Wellesley Jump on the Bandwagon?" 390 18 Wellesley: "Having the Courage to Remain a Women's College" 412 Part III Revisiting the Ivies: Dartmouth 19 Dartmouth: "For God's Sake, for Everyone's Sake, Keep the Damned Women Out" 441 20 Dartmouth: "Our Cohogs" 464 Part IV The United Kingdom: Cambridge and Oxford 21 Cambridge: "Like Dropping a Hydrogen Bomb in the Middle of the University" 491 22 Cambridge: "A Tragic Break with Centuries of Tradition" 517 23 Oxford: "Our Crenellations Crumble, We Cannot Keep Them Out" 540 24 Oxford: As Revolutionary as "the Abolition of Celibacy among the Dons" 570 Part V Taking Stock 25 Epilogue 595 Manuscript Collections and Oral History Transcripts: Abbreviations 611 Interviews 622 Index 623
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