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1870-1920: The Changing Moral vision for Educating the Sexes at the University of Michigan

1870-1920: The Changing Moral vision for Educating the Sexes at the University of Michigan


– Good evening, everybody. Welcome to tonight’s lecture,
which is part of this series sponsored by the Bentley
Historical Library. My name is Gary Krenz,
and I thank you all, for coming out on this
frigid, slippery evening. I appreciate your being here. And we are all about to be
warmed by the light of learning. So hang on. We’re here tonight particularly in recognition of the admission of women to the University of Michigan, in 1870. And more specifically, even we might note to the arrival of Madelon
Stockwell on campus in the first week of February, so almost exactly 150 years ago now. And tonight’s talk is gonna help us put that particular moment
and others into into context. Before introducing our speaker, I wanna encourage you
to join us next month when on March 19th, Mark Clague from the school
of music, theater and dance will give a talk titled
“Hail, Harmony and Dissonance “in the U of M Campus Songs.” That’ll be complete with
some musical demonstrations. Those of you who have
attended a talk by Mark, know that we’re in for an evening that’s both entertaining and
really thought provoking. So I hope you can join us. Now for tonight’s talk, we
are delighted to have with us all the way from the
warmth of Central Texas, Baylor University, Andrea L. Turpin. She is associate professor
of history at Baylor. Her first book, “A New Moral Vision” explores how the entrance of women into US colleges and universities shaped changing ideas about the
moral and religious purposes of higher education in unexpected ways, and in turn, profoundly
shaped American culture. She conducted some of the
research for that book, of course at the Bentley
Historical Library. The book has won three awards: the 2018 biennial Linda Eisenmann Prize from the history of education society for the best first book on the
history of higher education, the 2017 Lily Fellows
Program biennial book award for scholarship from any field related to religion in higher education, and the Baylor University’s
2016 Guittard Book Award for historical scholarship. It’s really a great read. It’s really fascinating and
really a thoughtful analysis, that’s why I highly recommend it. Her current project, which
is tentatively called “A Debate of Their Own: Educated Women “in the Fundamentalist-Modernist
Controversy” looks at college educated
women as key players in the fundamentalist-modernist debate that took place in American Protestantism in the early 20th century
and examines the split between theological and social
liberals and conservatives which many credit with giving birth to the modern culture wars. And if there’s a U of M connection there, we’ll have you back when that’s done. So Andrea is co-chair of the
higher education affinity group of the history of education society and serves on the Council of the American Society of church history. She contributes to the group
blog, “The Anxious Bench” and tweets under @andrealturpin. Please join me in welcoming
her for tonight’s lecture. (clapping) – Good evening. Can everybody hear me okay
if I just talk like this? Okay, wonderful. Like Madelon Stockwell, I first came to the
University of Michigan campus the first week of February. It was 2009 and that is the month that I conducted my research
here for this project all those years ago. So this is very symbolic for
me as well to come back now. And I thank you for
granting me a genuine winter that I can take back to Texas. I think I’m good now. So I want to start out
by putting up the picture on the front of the book
cover I have up here. It’s a coeducational class
in early Cornell University. But there’s a Michigan connection. The founding president of
Cornell, Andrew Dixon White, was a former U of M professor. And he came to U of M right
after the debates in 1858 that I’ll talk about, about
whether to admit women that took place earlier and brought a perspective
favor in coeducation to Cornell and fought for it there. So there is a Michigan connection
even on the cover here. Just as a little bit of background about the larger project before I zoom in, you heard Gary talk about
what it is that I’m doing. In order to do that I looked at pairs of
schools after the Civil War, that sort of every
conceivable type of response to women’s desire for higher education. So state universities
that went coeducational. I looked at Michigan and California, and private women’s colleges
that were independent and founded after the Civil War. I looked at Wellesley and Bryn Mawr. Men’s colleges that got
out of admitting women ’cause they didn’t want to by establishing a separate coordinate, it was called women’s
college right next door. Harvard and it’s coordinate
college Radcliffe and Princeton had a coordinate
college for 10 years that nobody’s ever heard of named Evelyn that was present from 1886 to 1896. So Michigan is situated
in that wider world of varying possible
responses to women’s desire for higher education. So on that note, I will start to zoom in. This is Alice Freeman Palmer, some of you may know who she is. In 1872 as Alice Freeman, she enrolled at the University of Michigan only two years after it open to women. Freeman loved learning and she
sought out higher education at coeducational Michigan because she wanted to attend
an affordable institution that she knew would be
of the highest quality rather than an untried and more expensive young women’s college such as New York’s Vassar,
recently founded in 1865. The oldest of four children, Freeman convinced her parents
to let her attend college by arguing that it would best prepare her for teaching positions, one of the few occupations
widely open to women. She could then earn the money needed to provide good
educations for her siblings. Freeman did indeed become a teacher, just not the kind she or her
parents had originally planned. The new Massachusetts women’s
college Wellesley hired her to be its history professor in 1879. So she’s a fellow historian, so I feel this affinity with her. Both her intellect and her personal piety, impressed Wellesley’s evangelical founder, an ex lawyer named Henry Fowle Durant. At Michigan for example, she belonged to the voluntary
student Christian Association about which more later. Therefore, in 1981 Durant put her forward to be the institution’s second president at the age of only 26. And it’s like what have I
done with my life, right? Freeman served this position
until 1887 when she resigned to marry noted Harvard
philosophy professor George Herbert Palmer, an early case of the two
body problem in academia. At their residence in Cambridge, Alice Freeman Palmer hosted
and mentored many students from Radcliffe, Harvard’s
coordinate women’s college. The Palmers even took in one
such student Lucy Sprague, later, Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Sprague later advanced to
be the first dean of women at the University of
California from 1906 to 1912. She cited Alice Freeman Palmer as the chief inspiration for her program to create a female community
among California’s women. From 1892 to 1895, Palmer herself with her husband’s blessing,
had briefly left Cambridge to serve a similar role as dean of women at the recently established
University of Chicago, a different solution to
the two body problem. Alice Freeman Palmer’s influence thus winds through the
development of three of the most prominent American
Universities of that era, Michigan, Chicago and California, and two of the most
prominent women’s colleges Wellesley and Radcliffe. Through her husband it arguably extended to Harvard as well. In other words, the advent of coeducation
at Michigan mattered. It mattered a lot. And not only for American higher education but also for American society. This is the era when college graduates were gaining increasing social influence. In 1870, less than 2% of Americans between the ages of 18
and 21 attended college. By 1900, that fraction had doubled to 4%. And it would double
again to 8% by the 1920s. Yet even this rapid growth
does not tell the whole story. College graduates held
national leadership positions in business, government, education and progressive reform movements
quite out of proportion to their numbers in the wider population. That women went to college and what messages they received there about how they ought
to use their education, therefore had a tremendous impact on the nature of American
society during the years, the United States became the
leading industrialized nation and stepped out into the world stage. Let’s back up for a moment to explain what was going on here. We love to celebrate women’s
admission to higher education, but on one level, these events don’t
totally make sense to us, because it’s not clear to us why you wouldn’t admit
women to higher education. So it’s not clear to us therefore, what began to make people
change their minds. So here’s the quick and dirty version. College in colonial America,
and the early republic was for the elite leaders of society. Only 1% of Americans went to
college and they were all men. The curriculum was set and
mostly the same everywhere. It consisted of a lot of
ancient Greek and Latin and mathematics and
philosophy with some history and science and literature as well. This is incidentally, why so
many of the American founders were going around quoting
ancient Romans all the time. They all had the same education. College existed to give
students the concrete knowledge and the mental discipline necessary to be one of four things, a
minister, a doctor, a lawyer, or just an educated gentleman, who would often be the leader
in local politics or business. It never occurred to anybody
to admit women to college ’cause they weren’t gonna
do any of those things. Women were confined to
the home during that era, and they did a variety of
types of work outside the home, but they did dominantly
work at home making and child raising for both ideological
and pragmatic reasons, like there was not
widespread birth control. But college wasn’t only supposed
to give students knowledge and train their minds. It was also supposed to aid in their moral and spiritual development. Students were younger then,
in their teens mostly. And their families wanted
colleges to act in loco parentis. But also colleges, were assumed to train
the community’s leaders. Everybody wanted the
communities leaders to be moral. And most everybody assumed that religion was essential for morality. And by religion, most educational leaders
meant Protestant Christianity. So in addition to classes, colleges had required chapel services, and even courses presenting
the evidence for Christianity. Stay with me here because
this will be relevant to why different colleges did or did not end up admitting women. More early American colleges were founded by Christian denominations. Sorry most early American colleges were founded by Christian denominations that wanted to make sure
that their future ministers had a good intellectual foundation. In keeping with the historic intertwining of church and state in medieval Europe where colleges first arose,
denominational colleges also had the public spirited
intention of providing training for the other secular professions as well. In other words, they served
both church and state. This sounds weird to us now. What sounds even weirder to us is that when public universities arose in the new nation of the United States, they also saw themselves as
serving both church and state. After all, that’s what
colleges and universities had historically done. They just broadened their
understanding of both. They trained students not just in one denomination’s
way of thinking, and for more life occupations
than the original four. Here we need to understand
that in the early republic, the disestablishment of religion
meant that the government could not favor any one
particular religious denomination. It did not mean that a
state-sponsored institution should have no religious component. Leaders of public universities therefore believe that their obligation was to provide non-sectarian
religion for their students. And you’re like, what’s that? Can you even do that? What state university
administrators meant by that was a sort of generic
Protestant Christianity, as distinct from say
Methodism or Presbyterianism. Over time with increasing immigration of Catholics and Jews
to the United States, the religious component
of a state university would be a form of Protestant Christianity that downplayed the distinctive
aspects of Protestantism, and played up the theism and the ethics that Catholics and Jews could agree on to. You can see this is a different solution than either total secularism
or our more modern approach of genuine religious pluralism. Sort of an attempt at a giant umbrella. Now, you may be thinking,
that’s all well and good, but what does this have
to do with coeducation? It all comes down to what Americans thought
colleges were for. How much should they serve the church? How much should they serve the state? And what does serving the
church or the state even mean? Because the answer to that question determines who you educate
and how you educate them. If serving the church meant
only training ministers, and most churches didn’t
allow female ministers, it wouldn’t make sense to
admit women to college. If serving the meant training voters and women couldn’t vote,
it wouldn’t make sense to admit women to college. But if serving the church meant preparing as many people as possible to communicate the Christian message as intelligently as possible, then it would make sense
to admit women to college. And if serving the state meant educating as many people as possible to use their gifts as well as
possible for the public good, then it would make sense
to admit women to college. In other words, it made sense
to admit women to college if you believed positive,
spiritual and social change came from the bottom up, from a lot of people communicating
their religious beliefs, and doing better work in a wide variety of useful occupations. It did not make sense to admit women if you believed positive
spiritual and social change came from the top down from ministers and leaders
of government, or minimally from people eligible to participate in the political process directly. To be fair, by the middle of the 1800s, most Americans believed in some amount of higher education for women just not truly collegiate education. Think upper high school to lower college in an era when high
school was not required. They were known as
academies or seminaries. This type of women’s
education really picked up between the American
Revolution and the Civil War. One reason was what historians
call republican motherhood. The idea that you need all hands on deck to make this new American experiment work and so women should
help the nation succeed by teaching voting sons
and brothers and husbands both virtue and civics. To do this, women in turn
needed better education. Similarly, the expansion of public schools to further train new citizens
to be intelligent voters was more cheaply staffed by women who could be paid less
than men until 1963. And their teaching was seen
as an extension of mothering so it was okay socially. Finally, many Protestant women experienced evangelical
conversion to faith in Christ in the revivals of the early 1800s, known as the Second Great Awakening. In most of their denominations, they couldn’t pastor or preach. So these women sought an education that would enable them to instead serve as a sort of
missionary-minded teacher of children and youth in their hometowns, or in the American West or abroad, sort of a form of ministry to them. The next question was whether to admit
women to true colleges. It was like many things
a question of money. You either had to raise the money to found entirely new colleges for them, or you had to build more
dormitories and classrooms for them at existing colleges, whose
funds were originally intended to educate society’s
most influential leaders. Was it worth it? As we’ve seen, private and public colleges had similar but slightly distinct beliefs about what college was for. These differences, meant that the very first
colleges to admit women were private but so we’re the very last. Public universities in the Midwest got on the train pretty quickly but they were not the first car. The very first institution to offer a bachelor’s degree to women, not only in the United States, but as far as I know in the entire world, was Oberlin College down the road in Ohio, which admitted women to its bachelor’s degree course in 1837. Not only did Oberlin
admit both men and women, it admitted both black and white students. In an era when a lot of
white people were paranoid about interracial
marriage, what in the world would make them push two
boundaries at once like that? The founders of Oberlin, were what I call evangelical pragmatists. They envisioned Oberlin
serving primarily the church, although secondarily the state, and they thought the church best served by training as many people as possible to get the message out intelligently. Critically, they were
the type of Protestants who believe that for someone
to have eternal life in heaven, they had to hear the gospel. By which they meant people had to know to repent of their sin and put faith in Christ’s
atonement for it, in order to be reconciled to God. When eternal souls were
literally at stake like that, gender norms were less important. They wanted men and women both
best equipped for evangelism wherever God might lead them, whether into traditional
roles or new ones. I flagged this because it’s the opposite of what we associate with
conservative churches today. Many of them embrace
more defined gender roles in their surrounding culture, not less. Now just to be clear, not all
conservative churches today embrace traditional gender roles, and not all conservative
churches in the 1800s pushed against them. In fact, most believed
their era’s gender roles were God ordained. But the sense of revival urgency among some evangelical
Protestants of the early 1800s made a portion of them pioneers
in women’s higher education and it wasn’t just Oberlin. Also in 1837 the first
permanent single sex institution of women’s higher education,
Mount Holyoke was also founded by an evangelical
pragmatist named Mary Lyon. Mount Holyoke wasn’t
quite college level yet, but it was the best
education available to women in a single sex setting. Then in 1844 the second
ever coeducational college was also founded by
evangelical pragmatists here in Michigan, Michigan Central College,
later known as Hillsdale. In other words, revivalism was the ultimate
bottom-up movement. Lay people were encouraged
to get the message out in as many ways as possible
and that included women. Believing that eternal souls
literally hung in the balance was the push that made these
private Christian institutions the first to provide women with collegiate or close to collegiate education. But state universities
were not far behind. The first to admit women was
the University of Iowa in 1855. It was building on a
history of local support for coeducational academies and seminaries run by various pragmatically-oriented Protestant denominations. The State University just followed suit in order to attract sufficient students by appearing populist. This is what you already do, rather than elitist, we
just train the leaders. But the first national level conversation on the merits of public
university coeducation awaited the deliberations of
the University of Michigan in 1858. The University of Michigan was the state’s only public university, the capstone of its
public educational system, when it was founded. We had Michigan State in there eventually. And it was provided free
of charge to all men who can meet its entrance requirements. U of M have and was rapidly
gaining national standing thanks to reforms instituted
under President Henry Tappan, he’s well known around here, who wanted to transform the university into a German-style institution that not only provided
basic liberal arts training, but also conducted advanced research. Before the 20th century, the Germans had more
advanced higher education than we Americans and it would eventually
flip thanks to Hitler. We took all of their good people who left. Because of these reforms, what happened at Michigan
increasingly influenced colleges and universities nationwide. In 1855, right the same year
the University of Iowa opened, the Michigan State Teachers Association met here in Ann Arbor,
and published a report calling for coeducation throughout the Michigan
Public School System, including U of M. The association believed this system of education, coeducation, to be “The most natural method,
the most just to both sexes, “and the most economical, it’s cheaper, “the most conservative of morals “and best calculated to
develop symmetrical character “in both males and females.” The report advocated that coeducation be tried as an experiment and ended if it proves detrimental. Makes sense. Acting on this
encouragement, in March 1858, Sarah Burger approached the regents at the University of
Michigan with the news that she and 12 other young women planned to apply in June for admission. Tappan opposed the move. But the regents quickly
convened a committee to consider the issue. Like he’s not the ultimate boss here. The committee’s deliberations produced the report on
the admission of females submitted to the board in September 1858. The report reveals the
three pronged approach the committee took to their investigation. One, they solicited opinions
from the administrators of prominent colleges and universities, as well as eminent professors,
politicians and ministers. Y’all are in education. What do you guys think? (mumbles) Two, they solicited
opinions from administrators at two of the four colleges that had actually tried
coeducation by then. And three, they thought about it. The regents were all men, and so were all the people they consulted. Most educators at all male
institutions opposed coeducation but all educators at the few
coeducational institutions supported it. However, some cautioned
that coeducation only worked if institutions carefully
supervised students to guard against sexual immorality. Committee members
embraced some of the logic of evangelical pragmatism and the report made an
explicitly religious argument for coeducation. They said that women should
be able to enter any sphere that “Will enable them more perfectly “to fulfill the object of their creation” which we will define to be the promotion of
the glory of their creator and the advancement of
the welfare of their kind. In the end however, the
committee dismissed coeducation as inexpedient at the
University of Michigan, in light of the perceived costs, logistical and hence also financial, of creating the system of supervision, they thought necessary to
integrating women responsibly, especially when educators
remained so divided in opinion. But the university had no problem asking the state for additional funds to expand its faculty and facilities to make the institution more
in line with the German model. Why women’s education did not
merit similar consideration is probably best understood from one of the committee’s axioms stated early in the report. They began with the assumption that even though the law required the admission of all “persons” who made the entrance requirement, the regents may “Exclude any person “whose presence would detract “from the character of the institution “or from accomplishing the work “of such an institution of learning.” In the committee’s mind, Michigan’s flagship
university existed primarily to train the men able to serve
as leaders of civic life. Money spent on women
detracted from this purpose. The regents might have been religious, but the University of Michigan was supposed to serve the
state more than the church. In the end, they tried to have
it both ways by recommending that the state do right
by its female citizens by opening a parallel women’s college. But as the committee might have realized, that was even more expensive, and the state could not afford that. Just two years after
the debate at Michigan, the Civil War drew the attempts of… I’m leaving it up there ’cause (mumbles) Just two years after the debate
of Michigan, the Civil War drew the attention of
educational administrators away from reform. But in 1862, Congress
passed the moral Act, which granted federal land to each state that would use the proceeds
to establish a university whose program included Agricultural
and Mechanical training. In Michigan, that’s Michigan State. The new universities
that formed as a result provided multiple degree tracks to cater to diverse educational
needs of their citizens. They saw themselves as more populist. Excluding women from these
now other institutions seemed less feasible now. Besides, Western universities needed to attract sufficient
numbers of students to remain viable. It’s not heavily populated area yet. And Westerners preferred to
educate all their children, girls as well as boys, as
close to home as possible, as cheaply as possible. Dams holding back the growing support for
women’s collegiate education burst all across the west. Kansas State went coeducational in 1863. Indiana University in 1867, Ohio University and
University of Kansas in 1869. Tappan’s replacement as
president Erastus O. Haven, who was president from 1863 to 1869 had proved friendlier to the
idea of incorporating women into the institution. He changed his mind partway through. And several prominent faculty members, some newly converted to the idea, had publicly championed coeducation. In 1867, the state legislature
adopted a resolution spelling out what the electorate thought about how women related to
the university’s purpose. It read this, “The high objects “for which the University
of Michigan was organized “will never be fully attained “until women are admitted to
all its rights and privileges.” Remember, the state
legislature is all male. In January 1870, a new mix of regents then voted to defer to
the will of the voters. Thus 12 years after
declining to admit women, for fear of not providing them an adequate social environment, the University solved this problem by just admitting them anyway. The university’s leaders had long believed Christian nations should support
women’s higher education, but that its own commitment
lay first and foremost to the body politic, interpreted to mean
the state’s voting men. Once enough of that body demanded that the university
also educate its daughters, the University simply complied without bothering to spend
money on additional oversight. The social organization at
the University of Michigan was therefore the opposite of
the carefully constructed one at pioneering Oberlin, which
had to be extremely careful to avoid any appearance of impropriety. At Michigan, no dormitories
were provided for students, and no rules governed the
interactions with one another. Male and female students, both had to find room
and board in the town. They were left entirely
to their own devices as to how they would choose
to associate with one another. That’s way more radical than in the 1950s in the United States. Yet coeducation at Michigan appeared to raise the
level of Student conduct just as it had at Oberlin. Things got better when you admitted women. No sexual scandal rocked the school and a janitor reported a
dramatic positive change in student behavior as they
passed from class to class. Right after women were admitted, Michigan was fortunate to
have back to back presidents. Sorry, this is the original class as you can see integrated
here, the class of 1872. And you heard about Madelon Stockwell. Is this a pointer? Not a pointer. She’s right here in (faintly speaking) So, right after this
happened, right after 1872, Michigan had back to back presidents who strongly supported coeducation. The first James Angell,
served from 1871 to 1909. The second Harry Hutchins
served from 1909 to 1920. The year of the 19th amendment passing, guaranteeing American
women the right to vote. Not only did these men
support coeducation, they also publicly advanced
a relatively sexless view of how college graduates
could benefit society, and that was unusual. Angell was an evangelical Protestant and his thinking had a lot of affinity with the evangelical
pragmatist, who founded Oberlin, Mount Holyoke and
Michigan Central College. But Angell embraced a
version of this outlook suited to a specifically
public university. Rather than argue that it was
important to educate women to increase the number of people prepared to communicate
Christianity of a particular type, he argued that extending
college education to women served God by equipping
as many people as possible for excellence in variant
types of useful work. Together educated men and women would bring about a more
righteous and flourishing society. Angell further argued that coeducation was
simultaneously the most Christian and the most democratic
form of higher education, the best way to serve both
the church and the state. And he believed that what was good for one was good for the other. Coeducation was good, because it provided women immediate access to the higher education that would best equip them for service. Otherwise, they’d have
to wait many decades until sufficient funds could be raised to duplicate all the
current facilities for men. Angell asserted that U of M flourished because it provided education in keeping with divine
principles of justice. The institution was popular
with American students because it was truly
democratic, by which he meant it made provision for
both women and the poor. You had to pay expenses
but tuition was free if you could get in. In Angell’s words, “The
power of public sentiment “naturally looks with
favor on universities “that offer the best
type of higher education “in arts, in technology,
and in the professions “almost without money and without price “to every young man
and every young woman.” Compare this statement to the
words of the prophet Isaiah, promising unearned blessings to all who place their faith in God. This is KJV, King James Version, what Angell would have been reading. “Every one that thirsteth
come yee to the waters “and he that hath no
money come by and eat, “yee come by wine and milk
without money and without price.” By quoting this passage, Angell portrayed the low cost
coeducational state university as a divine agent. Angell was a man of his time, and he assumed that most
graduates would go into fields more traditional for their sex. But like the evangelical pragmatist, he believed God might do a new thing and lead graduates to use their education in non traditional ways. Therefore, although Angell highlighted how the university
prepared women for service in their more traditional
female caregiving fields, of teaching, medicine,
missions and homemaking, he explicitly approved of
departures from that path as well. Likewise, Angell continued to embrace the university’s
traditional role of forming students morally
as well as intellectually. But he didn’t believe that men and women needed
different types of moral formation for their respective futures ’cause their futures were similar ish. Rather, he urged the
same sort of spiritual and moral development
on both women and men. I say urged, because Angell believed a university ought to treat
students as young adults rather than as wards of the state. Consequently, I don’t
know what keeps buzzing. Consequently, shortly after his arrival, he ended required chapel and also made most senior
year courses elective, thereby abolishing the requirement that all students take a class in evidences for Christianity. This is really interesting, because Angell himself
hoped students would convert but he honored the mission
of a state university that included students who are
not evangelical Protestants or Protestants at all. And he also believed that
honestly, evangelism works better when you use a light touch. So Angell simply commented to students, the voluntary chapel services,
which he often preached at, and he was popular and so people came, and voluntary student
religious organizations in which students might
hear the Christian message. God could be trusted to
use this and other means to direct newly trained
graduates, whether men or women to serve according to divine purposes. Angell’s successor, Harry Hutchins was a different kind of Protestant. Evangelical Angell, believed that getting right
with God through conversion should be the top religious goal because that’s how God
gave a person a new heart, better able to love others. Hutchins, by contrast, was
a modernist Protestant, who believed that inner
personal and social ethics should be the primary focus of religion, because that was what God
ultimately wanted from humans, and doing it would automatically
make you right with God. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, the time when women
entered higher education in large numbers, the
majority of university leaders believed more like
Hutchins than like Angell. And this fact had a surprising impact on their vision for how
to educate men and women. When, like Angell and the
evangelical pragmatists, university leaders articulated
personal identity of students primarily in relationship to God, a set of divine priorities
for human behavior believed to be revealed
accurately in the Bible, could override some cultural assumptions about the proper roles of men and women. When, however, later leaders
articulated personal identity primarily in relationship
to the human community, which they believed God was
providentially directing toward an increasing perfection only faintly perceived in the Bible, the gender ideology of
the surrounding cultures seemed divine and loomed larger in determining the ethical
life they laid out. In the decades around 1900
that surrounding culture placed a significant emphasis
on gender difference. That’s contrary to what
contemporary Americans would expect. Theological liberals at that time generally emphasized training students for specific gender roles more than theological conservatives did. Now, liberal Protestants didn’t have to come to that conclusion. A few envisioned the ideal society that God was progressing us to
in relatively sexless terms. Harry Hutchins was one of these. So he continued Michigan in
the direction that Angell set and that makes Michigan somewhat unique for this time period. Like Angell, Hutchins
advocated women’s full entry into traditionally male professions. Hutchins did believe, however, that if a woman chose to marry, she would find in the home
“Duties and responsibilities “that cannot properly be delegated” in a different way from a man who married. Still he resisted adding any courses such as domestic economy that was specifically
directed toward women’s work. From Hutchins perspective, a college education bequeathed
the same moral responsibility on both sexes. That responsibility was, “Voluntary and conscientious
public service of some sort.” Men and women who worked outside the home and women whose primary
occupation was homemaker could all through careful
schedule management, make the time to “Help in
some way the ever present work “of improving public conditions
and uplifting humanity.” Hutchins believed the public
rightly expected this service of all people who had
received higher education from a state-funded institution. The only way in which
Hutchins saw female graduates as having a different
set of moral obligations from male graduates was practical
rather than ideological. They ought to contribute to the civic education of other women in preparation for women
likely receiving the vote, which they did. Contrast to this outlook with that of fellow Protestant modernist Benjamin Ide Wheeler, president of the University of California, from 1899 to 1919. California had admitted women
the same year as Michigan. But Wheeler believed
that a college education ought to shape the
character of the two sexes in different ways. He basically envisioned the
university as a men’s college and a women’s college mashed together, rather than as a place where men and women mixed freely together and trained for joint work in the future. This is California again. Women he claimed, ought to consciously direct
their college experience along specifically womanly lines, Wheeler told them college women, “This college is yours just
as much as it is the men’s. “You’re not here to imitate
men, but to be yourselves. “You’re not like men, and
you must recognize the fact.” He goes on to explain that women should not try
to make their sororities exactly like men’s fraternities. Women should also put the same
curriculum to different use. They should not pursue
the same careers as men. In fact they should not even
make teacher preparation, the career most widely
acceptable for women their primary ambition. Rather, women students
should use their education, “For the preparation of
marriage and motherhood.” In this way women ought to be “The Great conservative “at establishing influence in society, “the ones who brought to
the world beauty and order.” Men in contrast, were to prepare
themselves “To take risks “and to pursue the irregular
and the extraordinary, “to drive at the shifting
goals of the day.” A college education should enable men to
fulfill this unique call without becoming boorish. They should learn to be athletic without becoming averse to
music, art and literature. Simultaneously, they
should learn to be refined without becoming “Feminine.” Now, in the hands of less
black and white thinkers than Wheeler, the belief that
college prepared women and men for different types of
service to the nation was not entirely oppressive. There were pros and cons. Many female educators believed women ought to
direct their education toward different ends than men. For example, Vida Dutton Scudder, also a Protestant modernist, spoke for the progressive era faculty of prominent all female Wellesley College, when she embraced the
pioneering work of Jane Adams, and others in the
settlement house movement where college graduates, often women, lived among the urban
poor to learn from them and to help them address their problems. Scudder argued that college educated women ought to pursue these sorts
of careers in social service, because educated women were uniquely suited for work
combining head and heart. Their education, refined the
“Emotional” intuition of women by causing it to be
“balanced and restrained “by greater executive power.” In other words, female college graduates had a special role to play
in the progressive era drama of addressing the social problems arising from America’s
rapid industrialization and immigration. This perspective also proved popular at coeducational institutions. Like the Wellesley professor, and in slight distinction
from President Wheeler, California’s Dean of women, Lucy Sprague who learned from Alice Freeman Palmer sought to channel her charges
into professional social work. The specificity with which
many women’s colleges and coeducational universities envisioned female graduates work, helped these women in turn, envision and pursue new possibilities for a meaningful life of service beyond the traditional areas
of teaching and mothering. Women were now urged to
prepare their hearts and minds especially for settlement
work, social work, nursing and other service professions. Still, the fact that moral
formation of this type grounded women’s identities in their sex simultaneously limited their sense of their future possibilities. The association of these fields with women likewise deterred men from
exploring full-time employment in a new service field,
and steered them instead toward working in established professions and just volunteering on the side. Even having two presidents
in a row at Michigan who were strong advocates
for the alternate philosophy of preparing women and men to cooperate across all the professions, and to serve for a total
of 50 years together, was not enough to prevent
the university’s culture from drifting in this other direction that was so prevalent
at other institutions. The main reason was the power of student
extracurricular life, and I’ll explain this photo in a minute. Like Angell, Hutchins
believed religious formation to be the best way to
instill the moral imperative of public service in
students of both sexes, but that a public university should not require religious instruction. He thus continued Angell’s support for extracurricular student religious and service organizations. It is to that story that we now turn. Over the course of the 1870s and 1880s women freely entered into
the life of the university. Rather than forming separate
extracurricular activities, female students just integrated existing
student organizations. In fact, the percentage of women who served as class officers
was comparable to men per their proportion in
the university population. As an overall proportion of
students at the University, they rose from 9% women
in 1875 to 16% in 1888, the literary department which
is to say arts and sciences, felt their presence even more strongly. Beginning in the late 1870s, women constituted around
a third of its graduates and they would be 47% nearly
half of its graduates by 1900. The university as a whole grew during this time period as well. Excuse me. Enrollment more than doubled,
resident faculty tripled, the budget quadrupled and the
course offerings increased by a factor of seven. At the beginning of the 1890s, women’s and men’s extracurricular lives at the University of Michigan
rapidly began to separate into different spheres. The impetus came from both sexes. On the male side, the power
of fraternities rose sharply in the late 1880s and early 1890s. In 1879, the university
had seven fraternities with few members and
no residential houses. By 1895, it had 21 fraternities and several sported
large residential houses located just on the outskirts of campus. For comparison, in 1890, there
were only five sororities with a total of 55 members. By the 1890s fraternities
were powerful enough to control most extracurricular
campus activities. As a result, women were
increasingly shut out of leadership and student
groups and in class government that they had had previously. Additionally, in the 1890s, intercollegiate athletics
skyrocketed in popularity, and this was before Title Nine, thus creating a major
arena of student culture from which women were excluded
from the field of play. For their part, women students were developing
a new sense of community, partly by necessity and partly by choice. In 1890, Michigan alumna
Alice Freeman Palmer came back to campus and spoke about the need for
women to organize as a group. This was the time when many college alumni such as Palmer and her
successors at Wellesley were beginning to articulate the belief in a special world mission
for college educated women. Many undergraduate women
embraced this vision and welcomed the opportunity to take charge of their
own extracurricular life. They viewed it as training
for an increased role in the public life of the
nation one unique to them. The women students at the
university thus responded promptly forming the Michigan Women’s League. This group fostered a democratic culture welcoming both sorority
members and independents to active membership,
with its executive board consisting of an equal number of each and with the presidency
alternating between the two groups know the difference with men. The league’s purpose was
“The promotion of social life “among the college women “and the furtherance of
the aims of the university “as far as possible, “and the encouragement
of philanthropic work.” The league ultimately
ended up being grounded in the physical building
of Barbara gymnasium which served not just as a
gym, but as a meeting house for all of the university
women’s activities as they started to form
the separate culture. But which really came about because the university
refused to give women good hours at the men’s gym, and so like they couldn’t
use the gym functionally. So they had to have their own gym. That’s what’s going on here. It physically embodies
the separate culture of university women that
arises in the 1890s. Angell also appointed a
dean of women in the 1890s. As women reached nearly 50%
of the literary department in Michigan and elsewhere,
it proved too easy to imagine interaction between
the sexes running amok. The special shame surrounding
pregnancy out of wedlock should it occur, meant that public opinion increasingly demanded women’s supervision to ensure that it did not. That affected women more
than it affected men. But Angell also had other motivations. He wanted to appoint a
woman to the senior faculty, but a dean of woman was the only position the faculty and regents would agree to. Also a dean would give women students who had recently been shut
out of mainstream campus life a focal point for their
own separate campus life. None of these factors applied to men so Angell didn’t appoint a dean of men. The appointment of a
dean of women therefore, effectively reasserted central control over the character
formation of women students. While the character
formation for men students continued to be outsourced
solely to campus organizations, particularly religious ones. Women and men students
would thus experience both different types and different degrees of moral direction during
their time at Michigan. Dr. Eliza Mosher, served as
Michigan’s first dean of women from 1896 to 1902. The doctor, as you can see in her title refers to medical doctor, she had an MD. Dr. Mosher taught health classes to both women and men students. Angell made sure of that. But her appointment was in
the literary department, not the medical school because presidents don’t
have all the control and the medical school would not accept a female faculty member. The administration hoped
that she would serve as a “moral and intellectual
guide, advisor and friend” for the women at the university who unlike male students, had no other same sex senior
faculty member to turn to. Dr. Mosher embraced this role. Her moral vision for her
students was deeply connected with her beliefs about
their nature as women. Mosher advocated and embodied
an understanding of femininity that was simultaneously gender
essentialist and expansive. She asserted that “woman’s
high mission on earth “is to minister to others and
is demonstrated by the place “which nature gives her
by the cradle side.” And that “the maternal sense, “that which makes woman
want to help the weak “is the quality that
distinguishes them from men. “The eternal feminine is the maternal.” Mosher was single. Mosher’s vision of the range of women’s
service opportunities, fitting the eternal
feminine was quite broad. She believed a good marriage to be the highest earthly happiness, and she believed herself to
be dispassionate on this point as a single woman. Nevertheless, she also believed that economic and social circumstances pushed many women into the professions, and even that many women could expand their range of usefulness by maintaining a profession while also serving as a wife and mother. Professions she thought fitting
to the essence of womanhood included teaching medicine,
writing and music, among others. These professions brought forth “spiritual and intellectual children.” A second group of professions fit women because they render service to homes. Physical education,
sanitation, charity work, Christian girls clubs,
kindergartens, orphan asylums, houses for the crippled. Yet Mosher are also defended
women’s work in business, which would be hard pressed to fit into any of these categories. She said it “cultivated
a judicial mind in women “and provided them valuable
experience managing money “that would be of use
for running a household.” Ultimately, in fact, Mosher believed that “men and women have equal abilities “for all sorts of work “and should have equal
opportunities in all fields” provided women who work outside the home, “retain the maternal sense.” Mosher was an active
Protestant church member, but it’s hard to pin down the specifics of her religious beliefs. But her writings indicate
she believed women and men would both find true satisfaction only in orienting their
lives towards serving God, and that there was considerable overlap in the service each sex could offer. The sexes worked best together, when both were well educated,
used to socializing together, so she favored coeducation and able to appreciate
the work of the other. In 1902, Myra Jordan succeeded
Mosher as dean of women, and would remain in the position through the end of World War I. Jordan’s job description
differed from Mosher’s. Because of the growing sex
segregation of campus life, the new dean’s responsibilities
were purely administrative rather than professorial. Thus Jordan concerned herself primarily with students
immediate well being and as a result, she would move women’s
moral formation even further in the sex-specific direction
of helping educated women find their unique place on
campus and in the wider society. She also embraced the warden
role that Mosher had rejected. For the first time, women students were
required to contact the dean before securing housing, as it was also for the first
time deemed inappropriate for men and women students to live in the same boarding houses. They had co-ed dorms like
the 1870s functionally, and then not by the
time you hit the 1900s. Like Mosher, dean Jordan’s moral vision for the university’s women drew on gender essentialist ideals, but sought to expand women’s
future opportunities. Jordan believed women had
a unique moral contribution to make to society. But unlike Mosher, she
advocated technical courses to prepare women for the more feminized service
vocations like nursing. She hoped this would lift
women’s vocational gaze beyond teaching, and to give them a broader
influence in the world. Jordan also suggested that
part of women’s influence would be that they better embodied the social ideals of
the time than did men. And a possible dig at men’s more hierarchical
fraternity culture, Jordan noted that “self-government, “always the Michigan tradition, “but sometimes only a form,
had been realized in fact, “in undergraduate women’s residences.” The devotion of the
residents had “done much “to make the dormitory
centers of real democracy.” After graduation then,
women in professions oriented towards serving the public good could lead the country to
greater social morality by the power of example. But the real question is, what did students make of all this? As a window into the answer, I’d like to conclude by telling
a few of my favorite stories about the University of Michigan. They involved how students themselves both embraced and rejected the culture of coeducation
at Michigan in complex ways. They happened as students navigated its extracurricular life, particularly at student religious
and service organizations. Note that this was the part
of their college experience that administrators hoped
would do the lion’s share of forming both women and men
into public-minded citizens. Here we need a little bit of background. When I say YMCA, you probably think either
the Village People song like YMCA or a gym, and rightly so. But in the late 1880s and early 1900s, the Young Men’s Christian Association was a major presence on college
campuses across the nation. So was its sister organization, the Young Women’s
Christian Association, YWCA that no one’s ever heard of. They were originally founded
to provide a good influence through safe housing and Bible studies to self supporting young workers in cities who were away from home
for the first time. They soon expanded to doing the same thing for college students. The Ys, as they were known,
provided students socialization, Bible study and worship and opportunities for organized service to the community. They were trying to get students to embrace Protestant Christianity of a type they believed would be good for both students and
the nation as a whole. To give them campus influence,
both these organizations sought to make themselves
indispensable to college life by offering services such
as freshman orientation, and housing and employment
bureaus, none of which were as yet provided by the
university administration. So administrators let them. The Ys succeeded in their goal. When I say they were a big
deal, this is what I mean. At state universities, 20%
of men and 50% of women belonged to the YMCA and
the YWCA respectively. Even more, benefited from their services and participated in their activities. At private colleges, the
percentages were often even higher. Given the widespread and
sometimes competing allure of Greek life and athletic events, these numbers are astounding. Now Michigan, as always
has a unique story here. In 1857, university students formed a voluntary religious organization patterned and named after
the recently founded YMCA. The next year, as you all recall, was when the regents did the committee to study coeducation
and decided against it. But the student religious group, all men, supported coeducation
and changed their name to the Students Christian Association that’s gender neutral, SCA, to make room for the
future admission of women. Like many student groups
across the nation, they later formally affiliated
with the National YMCA in the late 1860s. Then when the university
admitted women in 1870, the student group let them in. Then, like student
religious groups elsewhere that did likewise, the SCAs just kept
retaining its association with the National YMCA,
which was all male. When YMCA leadership
concluded in the early 1880s, that the best work on campus could really be done by
splitting these coed groups into a separate YMCA, and
YWCA, most co-ed schools, which unlike Michigan already had very separate
campus life for men and women just said sure whatever
and they towed the line, Michigan did not. During 1885 to 1886
students published articles in the SCAs monthly journal advocating remaining coeducational. They argued that a focus on a single sex was appropriate in a city context, where men and women workers inhabited different social
realms during the work day and thus formed different cultures. But U of M had no rules regulating the socialization
of men and women outside class so breaking them into separate
groups would be artificial. Doing so would make
Christianity seem divisive and retrogressive, and unattractive to the very students they
were trying to reach. The SCA should do what best
served the interest of Christ in their university, even if
it meant losing affiliation with the national organization. A few voices dissented. They noted that not all
university activities were coeducational, and coeducation could be useful in the classroom and separation useful
outside the classroom. Furthermore, creating a separate YWCA would actually provide more
leadership opportunities for university women and that was true. Women did serve in leadership
in the current SCA, but always at the level
of secretary or treasurer or committee chairperson, never president. At first, coeducationalists
carried the day. The SCA’s decision resulted in the YMCA
kicking them out in 1886. Through a series of
complicated events, however, in 1984, the SCA gave up on this plan and separated into a
separate YMCA and YWCA. In part, this was to regain the benefits of affiliating with the
national organizations that had a lot of money and
offered these national retreats for college students
that were really popular. And in part this was because by 1904, there really were separate
men’s and women’s cultures on campus and it made more sense. The separation of the sexes in religious and service activities was now literally inscribed in stone. Men left the SCA building to the YWCA. So the SCA had been
meeting at Newberry Hall since the early 1890s and
then the men moved out, transferred this into a YWCA building, had temporary quarters pending building a new
separate YMCA building, so they would like literally be inscribed in stone separately. Though the sexes no longer
worked as closely together under the restructured SCA, which was now an umbrella organization for the YMCA, the YWCA, men and women continued to participate in similar activities. At first, the YMCA had fewer
social service opportunities than the previous SCA that was coed or the current YWCA that the women did, but by the 1910s, both Ys
offered similar social, worship, and service opportunities. In other words, the newly
separate YMCA and YWCA did not constitute discernibly different
religious environments. Yet, as if to justify the
existence of separate groups, both Ys and honestly
especially the men’s group began to talk about what they were doing in really sex-specific language. Listen to this, the purpose statement of
the old SCA, the co-ed one, had been “to unite the Christian
students at the University “in order to strengthen
their own Christian life “and extend the cause of
Christ among their classmates.” Now the YMCA claimed that
“the object of the association “is to promote growth
and Christian fellowship “among its members and
aggressive Christian work, “especially by and for college men, “to train them for Christian service, “and to lead them to devote
their lives to Jesus Christ, “not only in distinctly
religious callings, “but also in secular pursuits.” Belying stereotypes about
which sex is more verbose, the YWCA simply sought “to develop strong Christian womanhood “among the women students
of the university.’ Yet work especially by
and for college men, as compared to work designed to develop
strong Christian womanhood remained remarkably similar. And yet, the rhetoric got
even more extreme over time, as the groups got even more similar. The YMCA boasted of its
weekly Sunday night meetings that “the peculiar attraction
of these gatherings “is that they are for men only “and speakers are secured
with this in view.” Its 1914, 1915 report likewise asserted “It’s a non coeducational organization. “Its appeal is solely to
men, hence always masculine.” Meanwhile, the YWCA spelled
out its purpose in more detail the organization sought,
“in every way possible “to develop the strongest
Christian womanhood “in the girls of the university “and to give them the
highest ideals of service.” You can hear that women
separate culture there. The leaders of both Ys effectively claimed that the same ideals of service produced entirely different results when instilled in different
sexes in different contexts. While dean Myra Jordan
worked with the YWCA to carve out a vocational specialty for women in the service professions, the Michigan YMCA argued that
the significance of its work lay in forming the
moral outlook of the men who would be the nation’s future leaders in government and the
traditional professions. Indeed, as a men’s association
and a coeducational context, the Michigan YMCA made
this claim even more boldly than did those in men’s colleges. The first page of its 1914, 1915 report listed the statistics
for college graduates disproportionate service
in the national government. You may have heard this about Michigan. And then added that with
respect to its own campus, “the University of Michigan
had more of its graduates “in Congress in Washington “than any other American University.” Notably, something women couldn’t do across the nation for another five years. The report closed with the reminder that supporting the YMCA meant
influencing the college men who would soon make the nation’s laws, instruct the next generation and enter the nation’s home as physicians. If these facts were not
enough to sell supporters on the importance of the
association single sex work, it assured all parties concerned that it’s work “is commanding increasingly “the enthusiastic support
of the most virile “and influential men on campus “because the tasks suggested are so real, “as to appeal mightily
to every red blooded man “who has even the beginning of
brotherly love in his heart.” Actual quote from the archives. Specifically, at a brochure
geared toward the men of the senior class, the
YMCA urged upcoming graduates to devote their free time to serving their local social service and religious organizations as they were already doing in college. Although the women’s dean and
the YWCA often urged women to take up social service
work as a profession, the YMCA urged men to enter and influence
the more prestigious and powerful professions and do social service work on the side. Final story, the tensions between all these competing
coeducational and single sex, local and national moral
ideals on Michigan’s campus are exemplified by a temporary furor over the campus YMCA in late 1911. A local minister charged that the YMCA was usurping
the place of the churches by scheduling its
meetings at the same time as local church meetings
for college students. This set off a snowball of
criticism by faculty, students, and other local pastors gleefully published by
the student newspaper. The two main additional
charges aired were: one, that the national
YMCA had intruded itself and its foreign single sex methods on the native coeducational student group that had more organically
reflected Michigan campus culture. And two, that the new building, the YMCA was proposing to build remember they’d vacated Newberry Hall, would be in competition with the proposed new
Michigan Union Building. National YMCA policy encouraged
constructing a building to serve as the hub of
students social life in order to increase the
Ys influence on campus. The Michigan Union Building however, proposed to do much the same thing. The Union was to be a
uniting force on the campus. A meeting place for
students, faculty and alumni where they could dine together
and engage in recreation. It was to be the physical embodiment of the spirit of local
community loyalty to alma mater. It was to be limited to men. No one noticed the irony of
pairing these two complaints. When the campus newspaper solicited student opinion on the YMCA, it interviewed what were known at the time as representative men,
leaders in campus life. It’s uncertain how
representative they were, it’s certain they were men. These men appreciated the fact that the YMCA had
provided student services that the administration had not, but they argued that the
YMCA should not continue to involve itself in these
non religious functions now that the Michigan Union
could serve them better. These same men also waxed eloquent in their preference for
the old coeducational SCA, but made it clear that their main concern was the all male Union Building. The conflicting priorities
evident in this controversy mirror the conflicting moral messages Michigan students
received during this era. Both men and women heard from
the university’s presidents that their education fitted
them for all vocations. Both men and women embraced the message that a state university education obligated them to give
back to their community. Through the cooperation at the
Dean of women with the YWCA, women had a clear message about the sorts of civic participation for which educated women
were especially suited. The YWCA and YMCA also gave
competing interpretations of social service, that it was inherently feminine profession or an inherently masculine
volunteer obligation. The combination of these
different moral visions for what to do with the
university education and the disparate opportunities available to women and
men after graduation meant that after graduation, women and men would not continue
to serve their communities in the same parallel ways
that they did as undergrads. Many women would track into
the service professions such as teaching or
social service careers, while many men would track
into leadership positions in government or the more
established professions. Nevertheless, the University
of Michigan was large enough and complex enough and its
president’s progressive enough that women and men there received more than average encouragement that maybe, just maybe, their
joint university education might serve as a model
to continue to cooperate across all kinds of useful professions, so as to make American
society a little bit more just and a little bit more flourishing. Thank you. (audience clapping) – Thank you. We’re gonna take some questions. There’s a mic there. (faintly speaking) – And you can ask about U of M or any of those other institutions that we had at the time in general. – Thank you, this is very,
very rich, obviously. I went to (faintly
speaking) as an undergrad and taught here for my career. Grew up in (faintly speaking) and eventually came here to
train as (faintly speaking) So again in Ann Arbor since 1963 and 64, and by that time I was here when Kennedy had to speak
on the outside of the Union to give his speech to help people because women weren’t allowed inside. So, in middle of the night, he’s out there and we’re all gathered around
interestingly listening to him urge us to serve our country and so on. You did mention that the League was formed because there was no place for women. So the league was the
women’s response to that. – Thank you for reminding
me to bring that back in. So the the Women’s League
preceded the Union. It was formed first. – The Union went up first. – Oh, the building. Yes, I’m sorry. The organization of the
Women’s League proceeded and then the building was a response, much like Barbara gymnasium was a response to Waterman gymnasium. And you’re right that pattern
continues in many places where women are forced to be separate, but also embrace the
leadership opportunities of being separate. – And was when I was at NASA there still was a required chapel but they had turned it by the
time I got there in the 1950s, into a place which had (faintly speaking) So they sort of stretched
the possibilities. And I gather from talking to people who knew Michigan at that time there were similar stretching
of things in all directions. – From what I have researched, a number of different
universities did that. So Bryn Mawr even earlier led
by a progressive Carey Thomas would give chapel talks on women’s role in the world in education that had absolutely nothing
to do with God whatsoever. And it was seen as an assembly that the moral component
of chapel that remained was the value of bringing
the community together around a common goal of some sort. Some institutions had true
sort of broad Protestant chapel but you’re right, many took the form and expanded it into a different. – Poetry was considered in inspiring– – Yes, yes. (faintly speaking) Thank you. You are like Alice Freeman Palmer with connections and all
these different places. That’s wonderful, I love that, thank you. – Others? – I was thinking, this
is way out of my zone, but reflecting on the New England primer that (faintly speaking) was so fundamental to primary
education of students. There’s nothing in my recollection of that that points to a different
sense of moral preparation for men and women, that it’s all the same. At what point does it become important to think about it in
sexually different terms (faintly speaking) – So, the Puritans, who were the dominant users
of the New England primer, had a pretty realistic
take on human nature. They stood between the medieval
time period and the 1800s. And I think they got this part right. In the medieval period, it was assumed that in medieval Europe,
the dominant belief was that women are more
naturally sinful than men. Interestingly enough, along with that the dominant assumption was that women had a
higher sex drive than men. I know, everyone’s jaw drops. The Puritans believed that
women and men were equally evil, they really thought everyone
was evil (mumbles) redemption and had equal sex drives. They thought women were a bit weaker, like subject to temptation because they’re physically weaker. That’s an interesting
thinking along these lines. I mean, they didn’t think
they were exactly equal, but they were pretty much like human nature is human nature, man. And so everybody just needs to repent. So you’re getting that from
the New England primer. By the 1800s, and there are
socio economic reasons for this in large part, the ideology
in the United States shifts to where women are now believed
to be more moral than men, and have lower sex drives. I tell this students
and it blows their mind, like how is it possible that
these three different cultures had different opinions on this? And things that we assume are natural, are very much culturally
bound or constructed. – Thank you for this talk,
it’s really interesting. I guess I have all those connections too ’cause I was an undergrad
Cornell grad student at Chicago and taught here. – Wonderful, yes. – The whole circuit of
coeducational institutions that all have very complicated histories where they’re very much (faintly speaking) But that’s not my question. My question is, actually,
if you could say anything about the local prentice, and when it arises, when it comes in to start shaping the way
that women are treated as… What role it plays in this separation. ‘Cause I do know on the other end, the breakdown of the local prentice. – In 60s, yeah. – Yeah, that breaks down
the separate (mumbles) within coeducational institutions. But I don’t know where it
started and how it grew. – So it started the longue
duree version of this is that all colleges did it, starting in the colonial period ’cause you had teenage boys away from home that were entrusted to the college tutors for their formation
mentally and spiritually. So there’s a lot of trying
to regulate the boys and the boys go around doing
campus pranks often violently. It was quite a thing
in the colonial period and in the early republic. Oberlin is the single most
progressive institution of the 19th century. That said, I got irritated reading about the rules for
men and women leaving campus. They look a lot like rules for those of you who are
familiar from the 1950s, where women have to be
back earlier than men, they can’t leave their
dorms in the same hours. Like they’re restricting women far more than they’re restricting men. They both have rules, women have more. This is straight up because
women can get pregnant and men cannot. And so a woman in this culture who gets pregnant outside of wedlock, it has these massive
implications for her life that just don’t happen if a man happens to have
sex outside of marriage. but then and to a certain extent– – If you locked up the men
that would solve the problem. – I agree. (laughing) The 19th century did not. That said, this is what
was radical about Michigan, they were just like, “Oh,
they always wanted it.” And then they didn’t do
any of that for 20 years. And then they did a little
bit when Eliza Mosher came that was part of what
she was supposed to do, and particularly when
Mara Jordan took over in the early 1900s. And that was because at that time, women were up to about 50%
of the literary department. And at that point, it’s not a small okay, well, we can sort of see what
they’re doing kind of thing. It’s like giant coed chaos
and the public gets paranoid. The public wanted coeducation,
Michigan gave it to ’em. The public wanted oversight,
Michigan gave it to ’em. And of course, not last,
as you’re familiar with… There’s a really good book, Beth Bailey called “Sex in the Heartland” that’s about, I think it
uses Kansas if I recall, but male and female undergraduate
life before the 60s. And what that was like in a college campus in the different hype of regulation that was true of that era before
it was removed in the 60s. So Michigan had this little moment when there were fewer women of being radically
known in local prentice. And Angell was doing that across campus. He was removing those rules for men too. So no required chapel,
fewer required courses. He would just appeal to the men to like, act like adults,
stop doing pranks. And they did because they had their
honor appealed to as adults. That’s a great question. – You touched on this briefly
in your (faintly speaking) can you speak a little bit more about where race and ethnicity intersect with this changing world vision for educated women at U of M. – Okay, that’s a great question. So U of M had a few black students before women were admitted. The earliest one was half black half white and passed as white, in the 1850s. So it’s unclear how
welcoming the campus was, would have been the first
female student Marian Graham, black woman matriculated in 1876. So there was a delay of six
years after women were admitted before we had even one
black woman come to campus. So Michigan was officially
truly open to all there was even longer delay there before it admitted
Asian American students. Admittedly there was
immigration restrictions starting in the early 1880s,
which exacerbated that. So officially open but actually happening
in much smaller numbers than a place like Oberlin, which made it their thing. Oberlin was known for being biracial. And so it attracted… I mean, black students were
still a smaller proportion, but it was known for it. Michigan was truly open to all students. And something I should add that I was reviewing my
notes from the archives just didn’t make it into the book, but President Angell early
on in his presidency, made the point repeatedly that Michigan had no Native
students and he wished it did and wanted to make sure
that the university because it was on formerly
owned native land, its very progressive like Canada where they have this sort of thing and they acknowledged
first people’s (mumbles) when they were doing things on the land. And he said, in gifting the land, they would want their children
to be able to be educated. And so we wanna make sure to
remain open to Native students. So it was something
present in the philosophy, but it wasn’t emphasized as
much as coeducation and class. So race was there, but not
as much a sex and class in emphasis and not as well represented as at some other institutions. Because of that I didn’t
focus in on that story. And there’s a lot more to be told there. There are probably some
other people in this room who actually might be
more experts on that. (faintly speaking) – So it was a very welcoming community (faintly speaking) – Oh, that’s so cool. (faintly speaking) Thank you, that’s great. – Anybody else? Okay, well thank you all. And thank you so much Andrea. – Thank you all. (clapping)

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