Interview with Mary Lou Sprague, Society of Bowdoin Women, by Samantha Copland ’14

Women’s Role on Campus before Coeducation: A Discussion with Mary Lou Sprague

Mary Lou Sprague described her experiences at Bowdoin before coeducation as a time of war, marriage, and children. She has a long history with the College, starting when she was a child since her father and grandfather were alums. Later, married to a Bowdoin man, she became a member of the Society of Bowdoin Women. Sprague, like her mother, served two years as president of the Society. To hear about her experiences at the College before coeducation and her account of the Society, listen to the audio.

Audio: click title below to begin listening


Intriguing Pieces:

Time: 00:03:35

Society of Bowdoin Women Constitution - sc4-1

Society of Bowdoin Women Constitution - sc4-1

Quotation: [In reference to recounting her family’s presence at Bowdoin] “My own grandfather was presented with an honorary degree […] My mother had been President of the Bowdoin Women when I was a little girl. And then later on when I was married to Phin, I was the President of Bowdoin Women. We did nice little things for the College that seem pretty small and insignificant now, but at the time we thought they were important…”

Time: 00:14:04

Quotation: [In reference to Bowdoin’s enrollment declining during the war] “I was in school in Portland [and the professors at Bowdoin’s] workload had diminished so dramatically it was pathetic. What would happen was that Waynfleet school engaged those professors and they would take the train from Brunswick to Portland and they were our teachers in high school…”

Time: 00:44:32

Quotation: [In reference to her memory of Bowdoin over the years and ability to recount information] “I sort of get my generations confused because you see, not only was my grandfather there, my father there, my husband there, but I had two sons there and I have two grandchildren there. …”

Citation: I, Samantha Copland, interviewed Mary Lou Sprague on Friday, October 28, 2011, at her house in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We discussed her experience at Bowdoin as a member of the Society of Bowdoin Women.


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