ERIC Number: ED185929
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr-9
Reference Count: 0
Divergent Realities: The Wells College Experience, 1876-1905.
Russ, Anne J.
Organizational change at Wells College, New York, is traced from 1876-1905 in relation to women's role in higher education. This excerpt of a larger study indicates how women worked within a female college that had male authority figures at a time in which there were strong notions about proper feminine behavior. The college was intended to train women to be wives for college-educated men and to fulfill social prescriptions of the nineteenth century. Gradually by the late nineteenth century women no longer felt fitted only for moral leadership roles in the home but began to enter the new fields of social work, nursing, and library science. Courses such as sociology, economics, government, and anthropology were gradually added. Internal changes at Wells College also occurred, most important of which was a gradual shift from male to female dominance in the governance of the school. The first woman principal, hired in 1876, employed self-abnegation and passive-agressive strategies as covert attempts to gain power. Although temporary failures sometimes resulted, Wells College evolved a female subculture whose members involved themselves in the affairs of the school as policy-makers, faculty, and concerned alumnae. Conflicts with the male presidency of the school, whose perceptions of women's roles were restrictive, are considered. (SW)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Wells College NY
Note: Condensed version of paper presented at a symposium ("Collegiate Women and Institutional Change, 1975-1925") at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 9, 1980)