Joshua Chamberlain’s Inaugural Address

Opportunities for higher education for women were very rare in the early 1800s. Oberlin College opened its doors to women in 1833 and is recognized as the first college to become coeducational. The situation changed rapidly, though, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Before 1870, only one in six women pursuing higher education […]

The Summer School of Science

Contrary to what many people believe, women actually studied on campus at Bowdoin about one hundred years before coeducation was instituted. The Summer School of Science began at Bowdoin in 1876, and this institute included eleven women among twenty-seven students. The goal of the summer school program was to give students interested in the field […]

Poem in the Bugle, “Bowdoin Coeds”

This poem (Document 3, GB) was published in 1890, in the Bowdoin College yearbook, which has been in continuous publication since 1847.  The mission of the yearbook states that it is “to document people, campus events, student organizations and athletics from a student’s perspective in a comprehensive volume to be published each academic year.”  By […]

Society of Bowdoin Women Constitution

The Society of Bowdoin Women was established in 1922 for two main purposes; first, to help with the endowment, and second, to offer a hospitable place for women while they waited on the campus. The Society offered a gathering place for women to wait for “their” Bowdoin men and to meet other women. Members had […]

Society of Bowdoin Women: Kate Douglas Wiggin Room in 1968 and 2011

The Kate Douglas Wiggin Room was home to the Society of Bowdoin Women. It was named after the first president of the Society, who received an honorary Bowdoin degree in 1904. The Society did not initially have a fixed space but instead moved around to various campus locations for its meetings. Eventually the group established […]

Bowdoin Wives Association

Although women were not admitted to Bowdoin until 1971, their presence on campus began much earlier. Wives of men at the College started an organization called the Bowdoin Wives Association. They had an office on the second floor of Moulton Union and were there from ten to noon every weekday. People were encouraged to stop […]

Letter from Associate Dean at Wheaton (Evelyn Banning) to Dean of Admissions at Bowdoin (Richard Moll)

This letter (Document SB, 7) regarding the 10-College Exchange program was sent shortly after discussion of the program began in October of 1968. In the beginning stages, this program would coordinate the exchange of students between ten private Northeast colleges. Bowdoin was strongly interested in this program because it “would lead to other things”, as […]

The Annual Report of the Student Life Committee 1968 (excerpt: coordinate colleges)

The Student Life Committee was a board of Bowdoin faculty members who observed campus life and recommended changes they believed would improve the student culture and environment. The annual recommendations would be drafted into The Annual Report of the Student Life Committee. The report from 1968 focuses on the freshman year and the admission of […]

Exchange Students at Bowdoin for Fall Semester 1969-1970

In the academic year of 1969-1970, Bowdoin College opened its doors to a program called the Twelve College Exchange.  Students from Bowdoin as well as Smith, Amherst, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Wheaton and Williams had the option to spend a semester or year at another institution within these twelve.  […]

Report To the President and Trustees and to the Overseers of Bowdoin College (The Pierce Report)

This document (Document SB, 10) is a report of the Study Committee on Underclass Campus Environment, presented in May of 1969. The committee consisted of members of the governing boards, faculty, alums and undergraduates. The document recommends the remodeling of fraternities, the growth of Bowdoin, and the admission of women undergraduates. Pages 26-50 of The […]

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