September 19, 2008

September 19, 1918: A New W. & M. Begins Two Hundred Twenty-Sixth Year

The Virginia Gazette for September 19 included two articles about the beginning of the new academic year and the first class of women to enter the College of William and Mary.

In a front page news story, the paper referred to a "new atmosphere" at the opening of the session. The paper went on to say that along with the usual atmosphere surrounding the new semester also came the "gentle women of Virginia to drink at the same fountainhead of learning from whose waters the famous of the land have quaffed. It is a momentous event in the history of this grand old institution, and a strange coincidence that the inception of the military should be smultaneous (sic) with the coming of the women of the land."

This blog has mentioned some effects of World War I here and here, and you will be able to find all future posts on the topic here.

A brief article on The Gazette's editorial page welcomed women to the College and noted that their success and integration was fully anticipated. The paper's words also struck a sympathetic tone noting that the new students would have the cooperation of the paper and town of Williamsburg during the year.

For additional information about the first women students at the College of William and Mary see: When Mary Entered with her Brother William: Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945 by Laura F. Parrish; "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William and Mary, 1918-1945; The Martha Barksdale Papers; and the Women at the College of William and Mary page on the Special Collections Research Center Wiki.

No comments: