Masque and Gown Photos – 1920 – 1924 – 1960 – 1976

A visual documentation of Bowdoin’s progression from an all-male college to a coeducational one can be found in the archives of Masque and Gown. Masque and Gown is a student run theater organization founded in 1903, sixty eight years before the arrival of women students on campus.  The photos featured here illustrate Masque and Gown […]

Orient: Rah Rah Black and White

Bowdoin Cheerleading Orient Article: November 17, 1972 The first classes of female students at Bowdoin in the early 1970’s were made up of a fairly diverse group of women. Women’s athletic teams, like field hockey and tennis, were taking shape and creating distinctly female spaces for women on campus. The need for such spaces had […]

Orient: Trials and Tribs in Tights

Bowdoin Dance Orient Article: October 22, 1971 Is it any surprise that the origin of Dance at Bowdoin coincides with the presence of female students on campus? Prior to 1970, Bowdoin College did not provide male students (or the few female exchange students from the 12-College Exchange) the opportunity to pursue Dance on campus. In […]

1975 Funding Request and Constitution for the Bowdoin Women’s Association

“Co-education remained controversial and while less hostile with the senior class gone, there was still an atmosphere that we were guests at a male college.” –        Patricia Geller ‘75 The Bowdoin Women’s Association (BWA), a student led campus organization, began informally in the fall of 1972. Patricia “Barney” Geller ‘75 and Liza Graves ‘76, two […]

Voluntary Services Program March 1972 Newsletter

  An early perceived benefit of bringing women students to an all-male campus and becoming a coeducational institution was that women would have a “calming influence” on men. Whether this proved true or not is a matter of opinion but women students on Bowdoin’s campus did have an “organizational influence,” at least for the Voluntary […]

Bowdoin Film Society Flyer, Awards and Kaster’s Film History Class

The implementation of coeducation at Bowdoin College undoubtedly changed the social scene at the time, challenging long held fraternity traditions and practices. Coeducation also changed Bowdoin academically. The presence of women faculty at Bowdoin created new possibilities for academic pursuits. Professor Barbara Kaster came to Bowdoin with a position in the English Department. She accepted […]

Interview with Saddie Smith ’75, by Stephanie Bond ’13

 An African American Female Student Perspective on Coeducation at Bowdoin: A Discussion with Saddie Smith  As a member of Bowdoin’s first class of admitted women, Saddie Smith had to balance being both a female and an African American student. Failure at Bowdoin was not an option for Smith, a first-generation college student, so she put […]

Women’s Resource Center Focus Group

This discussion brought together four Bowdoin women who all played important roles in establishing Bowdoin’s still vibrant and active Women’s Resource Center. Jan Brackett  and Bridget Spaeth ’86 each served as directors for the WRC, and Linda Nelson ’83 and Laura Barnard ’83 were early members of the Women’s Resource Center Collective that founded the WRC […]

Interview with Lisa McElaney ’77, Trustee, by Emma Nathaniel ’12

Improving over Time: Lisa McElaney’s Thoughts about Bowdoin since Coeducation A graduate of the third fully coeducational class at Bowdoin, in 1977, Lisa McElaney is not afraid to admit that her relationship with the College has not always been exclusively positive. However, Lisa returned as a visiting faculty member for a year in the 1980s, […]

Interview with Linda Nelson ’83, by Coral Sandler ’12

  Claiming Space for Bowdoin Women: A Discussion with a founding member of the Women’s Resource Center, Linda Nelson ‘83   As one of the founding members of the Women’s Resource Center and the Gay Straight Alliance, Linda Nelson helped claim new spaces for Bowdoin women in the early 1980s. To hear about how she […]

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