Past and Future of the Undergraduate Woman

  • Joseph Katz


If one looks only 20 years into the past, the changes in the aspirations of women undergraduates are substantial. Prof. Mabel Newcomer (1959), on the occasion of Vassar’s Centennial, quotes the following from applications to Vassar College indicating that many students viewed college as preparation for serving one’s future husband. “When I marry, I would like to converse with my husband’s friends and business acquaintances with a mature and confident manner that can only come from a thorough education” (p. 67). Looking at Radcliffe, Newcomer (1959) reports that “The first Radcliffe students had to obtain books from the library by messenger after the library closed in the evening, and the books were returned by messenger when the library opened in the morning. Whether the students stayed up all night to read them is not recorded. Library facilities have improved over the years, but the Radcliffe women are still excluded from the Harvard undergraduate men’s library. The explanation offered by the librarian, as late as the 1940s, was that the building had many alcoves and policing would be too expensive” (p. 198).


College Woman Premarital Sexual Activity Occupational Aspiration Undergraduate Woman Woman Student 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Katz
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Development DepartmentState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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