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Coeducation at Bowdoin

In the spring of 1971, transfer student Susan Jacobsen became the first woman to be graduated from Bowdoin College.  The following fall, Bowdoin matriculated its first coeducational class, which included sixty-five first-year women. 

Coeducation at Bowdoin

Below are links to information about official College records in the Archives that deal with the subject of coeducation. Selecting the relevant collection guide or container list will provide general information about the office that created these records and detailed content listings, respectively.

For more on the history of coeducation at Bowdoin, visit the website “Forty Years: The History of Women at Bowdoin,” which was created as a class project by the students in Professor Jennifer Scanlon’s Fall 2011 class “Forty Years: The History of Women at Bowdoin” (GWS 280).

Note: Privacy laws and rules of confidentiality govern access to some of this material. Check the description below to find out if there are any restrictions on the records you wish to consult. The office that created the records may give permission to view closed records; contact Special Collections & Archives for more information about restricted files.



1.1.11 - Board of Trustees : votes and records, 1794- : Study Committee on the Underclass Campus Environment [Pierce Committee], 1966-1970. 0.75 linear feet.
Arranged chronologically.

Series Description:
More commonly known as the Pierce Committee, after its chair, William Pierce, this committee's 1969 report examined, among other things, the issue of co-education at Bowdoin, and set into motion events that led to the admission of the first women as regularly enrolled students in the fall of 1971. The records contain the official report as well as early drafts and some background research.

Access Restrictions: None
Last updated: 1997/01/16

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



1.2.10.1 - Roger Howell, administrative records, 1969-1978: Subject files, 1952-1979. 17 linear feet.
Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:
Includes general office correspondence regarding College affairs. Noteworthy are files relating to the Africana Studies Program, CBB educational television, the 175th Anniversary Capital Campaign, coeducation, ROTC, the Senior Center, and the May 1970 Student Strike.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 20 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 1996/05/10

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



1.15.2 -Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer : records, 1952- : Subject files, 1952-92. 4.5 linear feet.

Series Description:
Files cover such subjects as budgeting, student housing, insurance, travel, investments, audits, committees, executive committee, financial planning, funds, and physical plant. Records document committee activities, policy decisions, various financial reports, status of funds and gifts, and future plans, from 1952-92.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 20 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 1996/07/02

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



3.3.3 - Dean for Academic Affairs : records and publications, 1966- : Subject Files, 1966- . 3 linear feet.
Arranged alphabetically then chronologically.

Series Description:
Subject files relate to special programs, events and defunct committees. Included are memos, reports, guest lists, program plans, budget and cost files. The series contains all the general correspondence of the Deans of Faculty. The time frame varies for each file but is contained in the period 1966-1986.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 2009/09/21

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



4.1.4 - Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: records and publications, 1945- : Subject Files, 1970-1993. 6 linear feet.
Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:
Contains administrative, program, and committee files from the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Exchange programs and career counseling are included; and documentation on work of committees such as Status of Women, Strategic Planning, Civil Rights Compliance; also, correspondence on ongoing issues and special events, such as James Bowdoin Day.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 2009/09/21

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



4.1.5 - Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: records and publications, 1945- : Student Affairs Committee, 1979- . 1 linear foot.
Arranged chronologically.

Series Description:
The Student Affairs Committee of the Governing Boards was established in 1981. The bulk of the material is from 1986 and consists of meeting minutes and related documents. Materials from the late 1970's on the protracted discussion on the status of coeducation in the fraternities are also included.

This committee oversees and discusses issues such as student housing, sexual discrimination, alcohol policy, admissions policies, counseling service, student activities, budgets and financial priorities. Minutes indicate that the committee engaged in numerous discussions on the College policy regarding fraternity membership, with special emphasis on resolutions compelling them to be coeducational without qualification.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 2009/09/21

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



4.1.8 - Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: records and publications, 1945- : Committee on Curriculum and Educational Policy, 1966- . 3.5 linear feet.
Arranged chronologically.

Series Description:
Records on committee operations from 1966-1993. The C.E.P. committee is responsible for study (through various subcommittees) of developments and trends in the theory and practice of education; for conferring with the faculty, president and overseers; issues treated are: development of the curriculum, methods of instruction, requirements for admission and degrees; the relationship between the specific courses and the curriculum, and between the curriculum and the educational mission of the College as a whole. Records, minutes, and reports of the C.E.P. committee are also found in records of the faculty ; and in the records of the Dean for Academic Affairs.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 20 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 1996/04/23

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List



4.1.13 - Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: records and publications, 1945- : Fraternities, 1962- . 1.5 linear feet.
Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:
Series contains records and correspondence regarding fraternities at Bowdoin from 1962. Records include: College policy statements about fraternities, inspections and guidelines on standards of houses, financial and mortgage documents, dining service and housing arrangements with the College, incident reports, fraternity relations with neighbors, interfraternity council files, debates about the role that fraternities have or should have on campus and correspondence among college, fraternity leadership, alumni and others.

Much of the material relates to the matter of making fraternities fully coeducational. Allan Springer's 1984 paper, "The Status of Women in Fraternities: A Chronology" and Kimberly Hokanson's master's degree thesis entitled, "The Changing Status of Fraternities at Northeastern, Liberal Arts Colleges: Case Studies of Bowdoin and Colby Colleges" provide an historical context for these discussions. Some material also relates to full racial integration in the fraternities in the early 1960's.

Access Restrictions: Closed for 75 years from date of creation.
Last updated: 2009/09/21

See more general information in the Collection guide.
See more details in the Container List

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288