Title

The Diversity of Social Life at Ursinus College

Submission Date

7-21-2017

Document Type

Paper

Department

History

Second Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Susanna Throop

Second Faculty Mentor

Kara McShane

Comments

Presented during the 19th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2017 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

What is social life, who has it involved, and how have these social interactions changed over time at Ursinus College? This project specifically explores the reasons for the shift to coeducation, how and why women carved out their own spaces on campus, and finally the ways in which both men and women did and did not coexist in their social lives between 1880 and 1907. Materials from the Ursinusiana Collection and the Ursinus Archives, especially yearbooks, newspapers, and photographs, reveal the early years of social life at Ursinus for women. In particular, this project shows that women joining a newly coeducational school not only had to prove their academic worth, but also navigated the difficulties of social life by joining established spaces or creating their own through clubs, organizations, sports, housing, and other interactions. Hopefully, this project is not an end in itself, but rather, the beginning of further dialogue about our students’ diverse backgrounds and the ways that these backgrounds manifest in social experiences at Ursinus College.