One interesting thing that has popped up in my research, which I mention in my last post, is the issue of coeducation at Dickinson. This problem was not relegated to the nineteenth century and the confines of my research paper. In one of the numerous searches I have conducted I stumbled upon some sources enumerating the issue during the 1920s. Upon first glance I assumed these sources referred back to the 1880s. Apparently during this decade the college board of trustees debated whether or not it should remain coeducational or not.
The debate continued long after women gained the right to vote and almost forty years after women were first admitted into the college. According to the archive blurb on the fight to abolish coeducation at Dickinson in 1923, one Boyd Lee Spahr wrote to the President of the college about his opposition to women attending the college. Spahr and a few other trustees decided to remove female students from the college. As we know the college remained co-ed. It was just interesting to see names that have been assigned to buildings like the library (Spahr) and a dormitory (Morgan) attached to such a contentious debate.
This is not the first example of the board of trustees debating about coeducation. In 1909, the meeting held by the board of trustees debated the cause of the prizes and awards given predominantly to the female students over male students. After deciding the “co-eds” were a distraction, and not actually that much superior to their male counterparts, the board limited the admission of female students to limit such distractions.
While not conducive in particular to my research due to the time period, this information offered up one interesting part of Dickinson College history. Out of pure curiosity I wonder what the original female students like the Longsdorff sisters viewed this continual debate about coeducation? While writing this blog I am reminded of one of the many problems pertaining to research. Not everything you find interesting can be included in the final paper and maintain the necessary focus for that paper. If only I had all the time and space in the world…