A Male President for Mount Holyoke College

The Failed Fight to Maintain Female Leadership, 1934–1937


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About the Book

A struggle arose over who would succeed Mary Emma Woolley as president of Mount Holyoke College in 1937. Over her 36-year tenure, Woolley had transformed Mount Holyoke into an elite women’s college in which leadership in the administration and faculty was almost exclusively female. Beginning in 1933, a group of male trustees determined to change the college. This book tells the story of how this group dominated the search process and ultimately convinced the majority of the trustees to offer the presidency to Roswell Gray Ham, an associate professor of English at Yale University.

About the Author(s)

The late Ann Karus Meeropol had a doctorate in the history of higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was a former Mount Holyoke College LITS Scholar-in-Residence. She lived in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Ann Karus Meeropol
Foreword by Joyce Avrech Berkman

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7133-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0585-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword (Joyce Avrech Berkman) 1
Prologue 11
Introduction 13
1. “Who Was the First Woman? … Miss Woolley!” 17
2. “Mount Holyoke Is Miss Woolley!” 37
3. The Seeds of Suspicion 66
4. “The Die Is Cast” 95
5. The Board Decides 112
6. The Question of Solidarity 139
7. The Last Word 166
Epilogue 183
Appendix: Cast of Characters 201
Chapter Notes 203
Bibliography 232
Index 241

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Remarkable”—Science & Society.