Coeducation versus Coordination: Thoughts from Professor J.H. Turner

In this letter (Document EN, 19), Professor of physics James H. Turner makes an argument for coeducation at Bowdoin. Written approximately two and a half years before the College made the decision to become coeducational, and three and a half years before the first class with women arrived at Bowdoin, Turner reflects on the possible […]

First applicants with Dick Moll and First Proctor Belinda Bothwick

Early Applicants and Bowdoin’s First Female Proctor These two images depict watershed moments in the history of coeducation at Bowdoin. First, Director of Admissions Richard Moll is shown with two young women who are identified as the first two to apply to Bowdoin in 1970 (Document AK, 20.1). Certainly these two were among the first, […]

Susan Jacobson Orient Article

Susan Jacobson: Bowdoin’s First Woman Graduate The article “Bowdoin Graduates Its First Woman Student” in Bowdoin’s student newspaper, the Orient, from June 4, 1971 (Document EN, 21), highlights an important milestone in Bowdoin’s history. Susan Jacobson studied at Bowdoin as an exchange student from Connecticut College through the Twelve College Exchange Program during her junior […]

Susan Jacobson’s Commencement Address

First Female Graduate Delivers Commencement Address In her bold and eloquent 1971 commencement address, Bowdoin’s first female graduate, Susan Jacobson, assuages some common concerns about coeducation at Bowdoin and proposes insightful recommendations for the future of the college as a successfully coeducational institution (Document AK, 22). Making a point to contextualize Bowdoin’s efforts not only […]

Orient: Men’s College with Women

The Newly Coeducational Bowdoin: A ‘Men’s College With Women?’ In the fall of 1971, 134 women arrived at Bowdoin as first year, transfer, and exchange students. This series of three documents explores the very early experiences of women at the newly coeducational Bowdoin. The September 17, 1971 article, “‘Men’s College with Women’” (Document EN, 23.1) […]

Coeducational Housing Arrives at Bowdoin

Shortly after the arrival of women at Bowdoin, the question of coed housing arose, and this collection of reports and an Orient (Bowdoin’s student newspaper) article documents the process of addressing the issue. In the book Going Coed, Susan L. Poulson notes that sexual segregation “on the eve of coeducation” was extremely prevalent on college […]

Orient Poll on Coeducation

At the beginning of the second semester of the first academic year of official coeducation at Bowdoin, the college newspaper ran a poll to find out what students and professors were thinking about the new student body at Bowdoin. The poll results (Document EN 25.1), published in the Orient on February 4, 1972, paint a […]

Women’s Healthcare and Birth Control

Represented here are four interesting documents that all have to do with the issue of women’s health, in particular access to birth control and gynecological exams. First, a memorandum from the Ad Hoc Committee of Coeducation in 1972 addressed the fact that Bowdoin’s infirmary and counseling facilities were not equipped to deal with women’s issues […]

Getting Women Involved In Student Government

Following the 1972 Bowdoin College Student Council elections, Dean Paul L. felt compelled to bring to the attention of the council a major concern of his – the underrepresentation of women in student government. In this letter exchange, Dean Nyhus lamented the fact that no women had been elected in this crucial election, and recommended […]

Addressing Women’s Security Needs

In the “Security” section of a 1973 Student Life Committee Report (Document AK, 28), the issue of campus security “as it affected women students in particular” came to the fore. Due to a number of reported “incidents,” and the fact that, with the increase in the size of the student body size, student housing was […]

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