Timeline

1797

 Buckland, Massachusetts, birthplace of Mount Holyoke College founder, Mary Lyon

Buckland, Massachusetts, birthplace of Mount Holyoke College founder, Mary Lyon

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 Buckland, Massachusetts, birthplace of Mount Holyoke College founder, Mary Lyon

MHC

Mary Lyon was born February 28 on a remote farm in Buckland, Massachusetts.

1814

Mary Lyon ivory portrait

Mary Lyon ivory portrait

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MHC

Mary Lyon accepts her first teaching job in Shelburne Falls. At the time, teachers needed no formal training—young Mary Lyon's reputation as an excellent student years earlier was enough of a qualification.

Over the next 20 years, she taught at schools in western and eastern Massachusetts, and in southern New Hampshire. She became an authority on the education of women and worked hard to expand academic opportunities for young women to prepare them to become teachers, one of the few professions open to women at the time.

1834

"Mary Lyon collecting money 1830-40"

"Mary Lyon collecting money 1830-40"

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MHC

Mary Lyon leaves Ipswich Female Seminary, where she was assistant principal, to focus on founding an institution of higher education for women.

1837

Mary Lyon

Mary Lyon

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MHC

On November 8, Mount Holyoke opens with 80 students. Tuition, room and board, and fees are $60 per year.

Women in the World

Victoria becomes Queen of the British Empire.

World History

First major economic depression in the U.S.

1838

On August 23, Sarah Brigham, Abigail Moore, and Persis C. Woods become the first graduates.

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Round seal with stylized vignette in center

MHC

First Mountain Day celebrated on June 23.

Mount Holyoke seal designed.

Women in the World

Request of six young women for admission to Harvard College is denied.

World History

Underground Railroad organized by U.S. abolitionists to help slaves escape.

1842

Fidelia Fiske

Fidelia Fiske

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MHC

Mary Lyon writes a book called A Missionary Offering (a plea for support of missionary work).

Women in the World

Fidelia Fiske (1842) graduates and becomes one of the first unmarried women in the world to found a missionary, Fiske Seminary in Orumiyeh.

World History

More than 900 people follow Oregon Trail to settle in western U.S.

1849

Esther Howland (1847) establishes commercial valentine industry in U.S.

Esther Howland (1847) establishes commercial valentine industry in U.S.

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Cloth and lace Valentine card made by Esther Howland

MHC

March 5: Mary Lyon dies. Mary Whitman (1839) becomes principal.

Women in the World

Esther Howland (1847) establishes commercial valentine industry in U.S.

World History

Nearly 7,000 “Forty-Niners” migrate to California in search of gold.

1851

Cherokee National Female Seminary is established in Oklahoma by Sara Worcester (1850) and Ellen Whitmore (1851).

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Lydia W. Shattuck 1851, teacher 1851-1889 Mount Holyoke Seminary

MHC

Lydia W. Shattuck graduates. She served as a teacher for chemistry and botany until 1889 and became a leading botanist in the U.S.

World History

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe becomes a best-seller and draws attention to the brutality and injustice of slavery.

1852

Pump House

Pump House

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A photograph of the pump house and Prospect Hill in the background

MHC

Pump House built on Stony Brook to supply Seminary Building with running water.

Women in the World

Young Ladies’ Seminary (later Mills College) is founded in Benicia, California, by Susan Tolman Mills (1845) and her husband, Cyrus Mills.

1855

Elizabeth Cady Stanton founds the New York Suffrage Society and is the first woman to speak in the New York State Senate.

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MHC

Dr. Sophronia Fletcher appointed as the first resident physician.

Women in the World

Massachusetts legislature enacts the Married Women’s Property Act, giving women control of their property after marriage.

World History

Japan opens trade with Western countries for the first time in more than 100 years.

1860

Students hold mock presidential election and celebrate Lincoln’s victory with a torchlight parade through the Seminary Building.

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World History

Abraham Lincoln elected U.S. President; South Carolina secedes from the Union.

1861

Mount Holyoke Seminary teachers gathered around a table

Mount Holyoke Seminary teachers gathered around a table

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MHC

Course of study expanded from three to four years.

Students make 300 sewing kits to be distributed to Union soldiers.

Women in the World

British Parliament makes seeking or performing an abortion punishable by life imprisonment.

World History

U.S. Civil War begins.

French chemist Louis Pasteur publishes a paper describing the germ theory of disease.

1862

Mount Holyoke celebrates its 25th anniversary.

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MHC

Walking requirements for students are increased from one to two miles a day.

Women in the World

African American activist and NAACP cofounder Ida B. Wells born in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

World History

President Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves in the U.S. free as of January 1, 1863.

1864

U.S. Congress sets maximum salary to $600 per year for female government clerks, while male clerical workers earn $1,200-$1,800 per year.

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MHC

Class jewelry tradition begins when seniors decide to have a class pin.

World History

Yosemite Valley in California becomes first U.S. national scenic reserve by an Act of Congress.

1865

Vassar College for women opens.

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Calisthenics class in gymnasium

MHC

Gymnasium added to Seminary Building.

Women in the World

By the end of the year, 33 Mount Holyoke alumnae are serving as teachers of former slaves in Washington, D.C. and Southern states.

World History

Civil War ends with defeat of the South. President Lincoln assassinated.

1867

Cigar Maker’s International Union becomes first union in the U.S. to admit women as members.

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Helen M. French

MHC

Helen M. French (1857) becomes principal.

World History

African American men granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia.

1870

Students studying in Williston Library

Students studying in Williston Library

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MHC

First separate library building constructed—Williston Library.

Women in the World

Ada L. Howard (1853) named first principal of Wellesley Female Seminary (now Wellesley College).

World History

Georgia becomes last former Confederate to be readmitted to Union.

Transcontinental railroad service in U.S. begins.

1871

Class of 1871

Class of 1871

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MHC

Greek becomes part of the curriculum.

Women in the World

Susan B. Anthony arrested trying to vote in Rochester, New York.

World History

Great Chicago Fire leaves nearly one-third of the city’s residents homeless.

National Association of Professional Base Ball Players founded.

1872

Smith College and Wellesley College open.

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MHC

Julia Ward (1857) becomes principal.

Cornelia M. Clapp (1871) becomes teacher of zoology and serves until 1916.

Alumnae Association organized.

World History

First national black convention meets in New Orleans.

1876

First transmission of message over telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

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Williston Hall

MHC

Williston Hall opens as one of the first collegiate art museums in the U.S.

World History

Battle of Little Big Horn ends with Sioux massacre of 264 U.S. cavalrymen under command of George Armstrong Custer.

1881

Fundraising campaign for student scholarships

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John Payson Williston Observatory opens

MHC

John Payson Williston Observatory opens

Women in the World

Spelman College for African-American women opens as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary.

World History

U.S. President James Garfield shot; dies two months later.

Clara Barton establishes American Association of the Red Cross.

1883

Hortense Parker with other members of the Class of 1883

Hortense Parker with other members of the Class of 1883

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MHC

Elizabeth Blanchard (1858) becomes Principal.

First known African-American student, Hortense Parker, graduates.

First record of Deacon Porter’s Hat served as a dessert.

Women in the World

Voters in Oregon reject amendment to state constitution that would grant women right to vote.

World History

Brooklyn Bridge opens in New York City.

1884

MHC baseball team

MHC baseball team

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MHC

Sarah Williston becomes the first female member of the board of trustees.

Baseball becomes the first organized sports team on campus.

Pepper Box pavilion built on Prospect Hill.

Women in the World

Susan B. Anthony addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote.

World History

World’s first settlement house opens in London to aid residents of slums.

1885

Bryn Mawr College opens.

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Bridge across Stony Brook

MHC

Laboratories outfitted with new compound microscopes, dissecting microscopes, and other equipment.

First elective courses offered.

Bridge across Stony Brook to Prospect Hill completed.

World History

Washington Monument dedicated in Washington, D.C.

1887

Fiftieth anniversary celebration events include publication of the History of Mount Holyoke Seminary by Sarah D. Locke Stowe (1859).

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Bird’s-Eye View of Seminary

World History

U.S. Congress passes Dawes Act authorizing the president to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments.

1888

Massachusetts legislature approves charter change for “Mount Holyoke Seminary and College,” which enables school to award bachelor’s degrees.

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Cornelia Clapp (1871)

MHC

Title of chief administrative position changes from principal to president.

Women in the World

Cornelia Clapp (1871) becomes the first woman to do research at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory.

World History

Kodak hand camera perfected.

1889

Barnard College for Women opens.

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Mary A. Brigham

MHC

First bachelor’s degrees awarded.

First reference to Senior Mountain Day held before Commencement.

Students begin pursuing “major work” in specific disciplines.

Plans made to build a separate dormitory.

President-elect Mary A. Brigham (1849) killed in train wreck on her way to take office; Louise Cowles (1866) becomes acting president.

Women in the World

Martha Newton North (1875) and husband Hoyt North open the first public school for settlers in Oklahoma.

World History

I.M. Singer Company introduces first electric sewing machine.

1890

First collection of poems by Emily Dickinson (1849) published.

Emily Dickinson U.S. postage stamp

Emily Dickinson U.S. postage stamp

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MHC

Elizabeth Storrs Mead becomes first non-alumna president.

Teachers required to earn Ph.D. in their respective fields.

Names of classes changed to freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.

World History

Battle of Wounded Knee kills about 300 (of 350) Sioux men, women, and children.

1891

President Mead initiates annual Founder's Day tradition to honor Mary Lyon.

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MHC

Glee Club established.

First issue of Mount Holyoke, a monthly magazine written by students, is published.

Women in the World

Mary Emma Woolley (future president of Mount Holyoke) is the first woman admitted to Brown University.

World History

Forest Reserves Act authorizes withdrawal of public lands for national forest reserves.

First radio patent in U.S. granted to Thomas Edison.

1892

Students in Seminary Building, Room 127

Students in Seminary Building, Room 127

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MHC

Alumnae elected to board of trustees for the first time.

Seminary Building wired for electricity.

First Shattuck Hall opened to house facilities for the study of chemistry and physics.

World History

Ellis Island becomes reception center for new immigrants to the U.S.

1893

Toshi Miyagawa (1893)

Toshi Miyagawa (1893)

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MHC

Massachusetts legislature amends charter, changing name of school to Mount Holyoke College.

Toshi Miyagawa of Japan, the first international student from a country other than Canada, graduates.

Master of arts course of study introduced.

Spanish and Italian courses added to curriculum.

Women in the World

New Zealand becomes first country to adopt full suffrage for women.

World History

Worst economic depression to date in U.S begins; over 15,000 businesses fail and millions left unemployed.

Detroit machinist Henry Ford road tests his first motorcar.

1894

Debating Society organized to promote logical thinking and public speaking among students.

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MHC

First honorary degrees are awarded to Rebecca Corwin (1855), Alice Gordon Gulick (1867), and Ellen C. Parsons (1863).

Women in the World

Radcliffe College for women opens after 15 years of opposition from Harvard President Charles William Eliot.

World History

“Coxey’s Army” of about 500 jobless men led by social reformer Jacob Coxey marches to Washington, D. to petition Congress for measures to relieve unemployment.

1895

First Llamarada (senior yearbook) published.

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View of Lower Lake

MHC

Helen C. Flint (1891) awarded first master of arts degree.

Skating rink built near Lower Lake with funds from John D. Rockefeller.

Women in the World

Utah grants women the right to vote.

World History

First automobile manufactured for sale by Duryea Motor Wagon Company in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pocket-size camera produced by Eastman Kodak Company.

1896

Ruins of the Seminary Building

Ruins of the Seminary Building

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Black and white photograph depicting a view of ruins of Seminary Building from College Street, with onlookers, 1896

MHC

Seminary Building destroyed by fire; students and teachers lose most of their possessions and most board with South Hadley residents for the remainder of the academic year.

Women in the World

Idaho grants women the right to vote.

Women not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.

First use of radiation to treat breast cancer.

World History

U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may provide blacks with “separate but equal” facilities for education, transportation, and public accommodations.

First modern Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece.

1897

An architect's sketch of Porter Hall

An architect's sketch of Porter Hall

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Brigham and Safford Hall with the ruins of the Seminary Building in the foreground

MHC

With the support of alumnae and other generous donors, Brigham, Pearsons, Porter, Safford, and the first Rockefeller Hall dormitories, Mary Lyon Hall, and Mary Lyon Chapel are completed by the end of the year.

First house mothers hired to oversee students in dormitories.

Professor Anna May Soule requires students to visit and report on conditions in a factory or mill as part of political economy course work.

Women in the World

Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee (50th anniversary of her coronation).

World History

U.S. annexes Hawaiian Islands.

Cause of malaria discovered.

Jell-O introduced in New York City.

1898

First annual Field Day features contests in running, throwing, rowing, tennis, and basketball.

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MHC

Students’ League (predecessor of Student Government Association) established to allow students a measure of self-government.

Women in the World

Annie Oakley writes to President McKinley offering the services of 50 “lady sharpshooters” to the U.S. military.

World History

War begins between Spain and U.S. over control of Cuba.

Campbell’s condensed soups sold for first time.

1899

Blanchard Hall opens as a new gymnasium with facilities for promoting exercise and a stage for students’ “entertainments.”

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Basketball team, 1899

MHC

Talcott Arboretum, the botanical gardens, and the Clara Leigh Dwight Gardens completed to support botany curriculum.

Wilder Hall, dormitory opens.

First male faculty members hired—Asa Kinney in botany and William Churchill Hammond in music.

Women in the World

First International Women’s Congress held in London to promote world peace.

World History

War begins in South Africa between Boers (Afrikaners) and British over control of Boer territory.

1900

First Laurel Ceremony

First Laurel Ceremony

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Group of students in the class of 1900

MHC

Elizabeth Storrs Mead retires as president; Mary Emma Woolley is named as her successor.

Laurel Ceremony begins at Commencement when seniors place a wreath on Mary Lyon’s grave.

Seniors prepare a time capsule for members of the class of 2000 to open just before graduating.

First known May Day celebration; May Queen selected by students.

Women in the World

Carrie Nation begins her temperance campaign against the sale of alcohol by using a hatchet to smash a bar in Wichita, Kansas.

World History

Chinese revolutionaries known as the Boxers lead revolt to expel foreigners; 250 are killed, including alumnae missionaries Mary L. Partridge (1888) and Annie A. Gould (1892).

U.S. College Entrance Examination Board founded to screen applicants to colleges.

1901

Mary E. Woolley,with her mother and students, before her Presidential Inauguration

Mary E. Woolley,with her mother and students, before her Presidential Inauguration

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Procession at Mary Emma Woolley's inauguration as president of Mount Holyoke College on May 15th, 1901

MHC

Mary E. Woolley inaugurated as president.

Mead Hall dormitory opens.

Laboratory established to support the study of psychology.

First class color adopted (hunter green); the classes of 1902, 1903, and 1904 followed with their class colors.

Women in the World

First chapter of U.S. College Equal Suffrage League founded to encourage young women to work for voting rights.

Nurse Corps established by the U.S. Army.

Queen Victoria dies after almost 63 years as Great Britain’s monarch.

World History

President William McKinley shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York; he dies eight days later and Theodore Roosevelt becomes president.

1902

Class of 1902 President Frances Perkins leads seniors in Ivy Day ceremony

Class of 1902 President Frances Perkins leads seniors in Ivy Day ceremony

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MHC

Dwight Memorial Art Building opens to house galleries, lecture rooms, and studios for the study of art.

Mount Holyoke chapter of College Settlement Association founded to promote health care, vocational education, recreational opportunities, and other services among the poor at local, state, and national levels.

Women in the World

Simmons College for women opens.

World History

Immigration to U.S. reaches record levels.

Boer War ends in victory for Great Britain.

Barnum’s Animal Crackers, Crayola brand crayons, and Teddy Bears introduced in New York City.

1903

Marie Curie becomes the first woman Nobel Prize recipient for her work on radium.

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Students practice climbing out of a dormitory window during a fire drill

MHC

Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats gives a lecture on “The Theatre: What It Might Be.”

First Faculty Show.

Freshmen begin celebrating their own Mountain Day.

Women in the World

Oregon state legislature enacts a law prohibiting employment of women for more than ten hours a day in any factory or laundry.

World History

First successful airplane flight made by Wilbur and Orville Wright in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1904

Andrew Carnegie gives College $50,000 to help pay for construction of a new library.

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MHC

Existing library building torn down; bricks are donated to South Hadley for use in construction of Gaylord Memorial Library opposite the College.

World History

First major subway line opens in New York City.

First motion picture with sound developed by Thomas Edison.

Ice cream cone and ice tea introduced at World’s Fair in St. Louis.

1905

Mary Lyon is the first woman elected to Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

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The May Pole Dance in 1905

MHC

New Williston Library opens, named to honor trustee A. Lyman Williston.

College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa established.

World History

First use of Novocain as local anesthetic.

1906

Einstein introduces his theory of relativity.

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Traditional chafing dish party

MHC

For the first time, students are allowed to dance with men at the Junior Prom.

Women in the World

Sweet Briar College for women opens.

London Daily Mail invents the word “suffragettes” to describe those who campaign for women’s suffrage.

1908

Students organized by their home state holding signs preparing for political activity in Chapin Auditorium

Students organized by their home state holding signs preparing for political activity in Chapin Auditorium

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MHC

Mary Woolley moves from a suite of rooms in Brigham Hall into the new house built for College presidents.

Social reformer Jane Addams gives lecture on “Suffrage for Working Women.”

Women in the World

New York’s Sullivan Ordinance orders restaurant and hotel owners to forbid women to smoke in a public place.

World History

William Howard Taft (son of Louisa Torrey, 1845) elected U.S. president.

Henry Ford introduces Model T automobile to market.

1909

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) organized in New York City.

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MHC

Pratt Music Building opens; contains a recital hall, library, practice rooms, and other facilities to support the music program.

Class emblems (Sphinx, Pegasus, Griffin, and Lion) and colors adopted.

Women in the World

Vivian Small (1896) named principal of Lake Erie College.

1910

Halley’s Comet appears.

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Anne Hall, class of 1910, high jumping

MHC

Geology professor Mignon Talbot discovered fossil of a new dinosaur in South Hadley; names it Podokesaurus holyokensis.

Trustees vote to abolish secret societies (sororities) on campus.

Women in the World

Women in the state of Washington gain right to vote.

1912

Dedication of the Field Memorial Gateway

Dedication of the Field Memorial Gateway

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MHC

Celebration of 75th anniversary includes dedication of Field Memorial Gateway and “Festival Procession” with costumed students representing the history of liberal arts and sciences.

College Chapter of National College Equal Suffrage League established.

Women in the World

First minimum wage law for women and children enacted by Massachusetts legislature.

World History

RMS passenger liner Titanic sinks on maiden voyage; 1,503 of 2,224 passengers lost.

1913

Alma Mater first published in College songbook with words by Gertrude Brady and lyrics by Gladys F. Pratt, both class of 1914.

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World History

Sixteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to levy graduated tax on incomes above $3,000 per year.

1914

MHC domestic work system replaced by paid jobs for students with financial need.

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MHC

Big Sister/Little Sister tradition begins with seniors actively supporting and encouraging new students.

Women in the World

First national Mother’s Day in U.S. proclaimed by President Wilson.

World History

The assassination of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, at Sarajevo, Bosnia, precipitates World War I.

Panama Canal opens.

1915

25,000 women march in New York City demanding right to vote.

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Support of women’s suffrage on campus

MHC

“Suffrage Day” rally held on campus.

1916

Student Alumnae Hall (now Mary Woolley Hall) opens as a social center with an auditorium, reception rooms, dining rooms, and offices for student organizations.

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MHC

Opening of College delayed because of polio epidemic.

Women in the World

Margaret Sanger opens first birth control clinic in U.S.

World History

Worst outbreak of polio in U.S. history kills over 6,000 people.

1917

Two Mount Holyoke College students, farmerettes (WWI farming effort), with horse-drawn wagon delivering milk.

Two Mount Holyoke College students, farmerettes (WWI farming effort), with horse-drawn wagon delivering milk.

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Students in war garden spraying potatoes

MHC

Students support war effort by working on 28-acre College farm and helping local farmers plan, harvest, and market produce.

Mount Holyoke News and the Alumnae Quarterly begin publication.

Williston Hall (natural sciences building) destroyed by fire.

Women in the World

Jeannette Ranking is first woman member of U.S. Congress.

World History

U.S. declares war on Germany.

1918

Students march in Armistice Day Parade in Holyoke celebrating end of World War I.

Students march in Armistice Day Parade in Holyoke celebrating end of World War I.

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Women marching along the street in caps and gowns

MHC

Students march in Armistice Day Parade in Holyoke celebrating end of World War I.

World History

World War I ends on November 11.

Worldwide influenza epidemic begins.

German, Austrian, and Polish women and British women over 30 gain right to vote.

1920

Nineteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution ratified, giving women right to vote.

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Junior Prom

MHC

Three Million Dollar Fund Campaign launched to raise money for faculty salaries and buildings.

Students help raise money by holding rummage sales, organizing dances, and staging vaudeville performances.

World History

World’s first radio broadcasting station goes on air in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Video

Faery Queen Pageant

1921

Students outside the lodge in the winter

Students outside the lodge in the winter

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MHC

Outing Club established to encourage students’ participation in sports and recreation.

World History

Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages introduced.

1922

New Mount Holyoke College Community organization begins steady liberalization of rules governing student behavior.

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World History

First use of insulin to treat diabetes.

Discovery of antibacterial agent that will become known as penicillin

1923

Kathryn Irene Glascock poem

Kathryn Irene Glascock poem

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MHC

First annual poetry contest honors memory of Kathryn Irene Glascock.

Hillside (now Mandelle) dormitory opens.

Women in the World

Women's Christian College in Madras, India, becomes a “Sister College” of Mount Holyoke; begins participating in exchange programs for faculty and students.

1925

Video: This 1925 footage shows the Laurel Parade, a cherished commencement tradition; Mary E. Woolley (president, Mount Holyoke College, 1901--1937) arriving for the Baccalaureate Service; and an academic procession to Mary Lyon (now Abbey) Chapel.

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Video

Commencement Events

1927

Transatlantic telephone service begins between London and New York City.

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Students dressed for skiing

MHC

Mary Woolley elected president of the American Association of University Women.

W.E.B. DuBois gives lecture on “Negro Literature.”

Women in the World

Florence Read (1909) named president of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

World History

Charles Lindbergh becomes first person to fly nonstop from U.S. to Europe.

First demonstration of television in the U.S.

Video

Grove and Ivy Exercises

1928

New Junior Year Abroad program allows students to spend an academic year in France.

More »

Women in the World

Women participate in track and field events at the Olympic Games for the first time.

World History

First full-length film with sound and first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon premiere.

1929

Margaret Sanger gives lecture on birth control.

More »

Women in the World

Mary Ely Lyman (1911) becomes first woman to hold faculty chair at Union Theological Seminary.

World History

Stock market crash in U.S.

1932

Amelia Earhart completes the first trans-Atlantic flight by a woman.

More »

Mary E. Woolley at the Geneva  Conference

MHC

New physical science building opens (later named Shattuck Hall).

Women in the World

President Herbert Hoover appoints Mary Woolley as U.S. delegate to the Conference on Reduction and Limitation of Armaments in Geneva, Switzerland.

Video

Alumnae Parade and Baccalaureate Procession

1933

Students in anti-war demonstration

Students in anti-war demonstration

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MHC

Students participate in anti-war demonstration in Northampton, Massachusetts.

T.S. Eliot gives informal lectures to members of the Blackstick literary organization.

Women in the World

President Roosevelt appoints Frances Perkins (1902) U.S. Secretary of Labor—the first female member of a Presidential Cabinet.

World History

President Roosevelt launches New Deal to encourage national recovery from economic depression.

Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting sale of alcoholic beverages in U.S. repealed.

Adolph Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.

1935

Social Security Act championed by Frances Perkins signed into law.

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt Signs The Social Security Bill

MHC

New two-unit plan allows select students to pursue independent study in two subject areas in place of regular curriculum.

Faculty accepts 10 percent salary cut as economic depression deepens. 

Major addition to Williston Library completed.

Women in the World

National Council of Negro Women formed in New York City by Mary McLeod Bethune to advance opportunities and quality of life for Negro women, their families, and communities.

World History

Nuremberg Laws enacted by Nazi party deprive Jews of German citizenship.

1937

Events celebrating 100th anniversary include historical pantomime about opening of the College.

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Emma Perry Carr

MHC

Mary Woolley retires; Roswell Gray Ham becomes first male president.

Women in the World

Mount Holyoke professor Emma Perry Carr (1902) named first recipient of Frances P. Garvan Medal awarded by American Chemical Society for distinguished achievements by a woman in chemistry.

World History

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Lincoln Tunnel between New York and New Jersey open.

Xerography copying process pioneered.

Video

Centennial Performance

1938

First-year students wait in line for ice cream on Founder's Day 1938

First-year students wait in line for ice cream on Founder's Day 1938

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MHC

Mary Lyon Chapel enlarged; renamed Abbey Memorial Chapel after major donor, Emily Abbey Gill.

Women in the World

Pathologist Dorothy Anderson (1922) describes previously unnamed disease as cystic fibrosis.

World History

Germany invades and occupies Austria.

Video

May Day Pageant

1939

Abbey Hall dormitory opens.

Abbey Hall dormitory opens.

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MHC

American Civilization (later American Studies) interdisciplinary major added to curriculum.

Women in the World

Daughters of the American Revolution refuse African American opera singer Marian Anderson permission to perform for integrated audience; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and others arrange for Anderson to sings on steps of Lincoln Memorial for more than 75,000 people.

World History

World War II begins.

Video

Canoe Races, Swimming

1940

Video: This archival footage from 1940 shows alumnae wearing their class colors and graduating seniors marching in the Laurel Parade, a Commencement Weekend tradition at Mount Holyoke College.

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Video

Alumnae Parade and Laurel Chain

1941

U.S. enters World War II.

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MHC

Joseph A. Skinner transferred deed to the Orchards Golf Course to MHC for $25K.

Women in the World

Sadie Holloway Marston (1915) serves as an inspiration for comic book superhero Wonder Woman developed by her husband William Moulton Marston.

World History

Germany invades Soviet Union.

Japan attacks U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing 2,402 people.

1942

Navy WAVES (Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services)

Navy WAVES (Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services)

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Entretiens de Pontigny Conference at Mount Holyoke College

MHC

Summer program added to curriculum; students urged to accelerate studies, graduate early, and support war effort.

Training school established for WAVES who live in Rockefeller Hall.

First of three annual Entretiens de Pontigny summer programs for intellectuals, musicians, artists, and writers, many of them exiles from Europe.

Holyoke Victory 8s a cappella group performs for the first time (in the class of 1942 Junior Show).

Women in the World

U.S. government authorizes creation of SPARS (United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve), WACS (Women’s Army Corps), WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and Women Marines.

World History

President Roosevelt orders internment in War Relocation Camps of Japanese and Japanese Americans living on West Coast and in Hawaii.

Video

Junior Show

1943

Hattie Kawahara (1943) and Hiromi Matsumoto (1945) are admitted from Japanese Americans internment camps.

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Hattie Masuko Kawahara
Women Marines in training at Mount Holyoke College

MHC

Students vote to cancel formal dances in support of the war effort.

Women in the World

U.S. government authorizes creation of WASPS (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots).

World History

Government-ordered rationing program expands.

Video

WAVES at Mount Holyoke

1944

Video: Outdoor activities (field hockey, ice skating lessons) and the beauty of the Mount Holyoke College campus are the subjects of this 1944 film.

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Video

A Taste of the Seasons

1945

SGA President Ruth Gill (1946) with Eleanor Roosevelt

SGA President Ruth Gill (1946) with Eleanor Roosevelt

SGA President Ruth Gill (1946) with Eleanor Roosevelt

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MHC

New Student Government Association established.

Women in the World

Margaret K. McElderry (1933) joins Harcourt, Brace and Company; becomes leading editor of children’s books.

Women in France allowed to vote.

World History

U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

World War II ends; more than 60 million people died in the conflict.

United Nations charter ratified.

Video

Farm Work

1946

First U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship held.

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MHC

Russian language added to curriculum.

Skinner Museum property purchased.

Women in the World

Dr. Benjamin Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care becomes influential guidebook for mothers during postwar baby boom.

World History

Twenty-two Nazi leaders found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg, Germany.

War begins in Indochina between French forces (supported by U.S.) and Democratic Republic of Vietnam (supported by China and Soviet Union).

Video

Seasons at Mount Holyoke College

1947

Video: Guests leave Abbey Chapel after a memorial service for Mary E. Woolley, president of Mount Holyoke College from 1901 to 1937.

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Video

Memorial Service for Mary E. Woolley

1948

Five-year program combining liberal arts with professional training in nursing established in collaboration with Hartford Hospital School of Nursing.

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MHC

First of three summer Institutes on the United Nations brings scholars, diplomats, and politician together to discuss human rights, world conflicts, and other issues affecting international relations.

World History

U.S. Congress passes Marshall Aid Act to rehabilitate war-torn Europe.

Soviet Union troops block road and railway access to Berlin, Germany; U.S. and British forces respond with “Berlin Airlift” bringing in food and other supplies by air.

First mass marketing of television sets in U.S.

Video

Campaign Film

1949

Peter Viereck

Peter Viereck

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MHC

History professor Peter Viereck wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Lakeside (now Torrey) Hall dormitory opens.

Women in the World

Air Force Nurse Corps established.

First African American women join U.S. Marine Corps.

World History

U.S. and 11 other nations sign North Atlantic Treaty pledging mutual support in the event of an armed attack on any of them.

Chinese Communist leaders proclaim People's Republic of China.

Federal Republic of [West] Germany created.

1950

Rachel Brown (1920) and Elizabeth Lee Haven discover a powerful antifungal drug they name Nystatin, which is used to treat candida and other infections.

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On the way to Mt Holyoke, 1950

MHC

Kendall Hall opens, providing modern facilities (including a swimming pool) for sports, recreation, and dance.

First reference to “Gracious Living” tradition in freshman handbook.

Poet W. H. Auden is Visiting Professor of English.

World History

U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy begins campaign against suspected communists in the government, military, many industries, and higher education.

Korean War begins.

1951

Student-run radio station WMHC begins broadcasting.

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Women in the World

Florence Chadwick becomes first woman to swim English Channel from England to France.

World History

First long distance telephone call in U.S. without operator assistance.

First U.S. color television broadcast.

Video

Work and Play at Mount Holyoke

1952

Virginia Apgar receiving Mount Holyoke Alumnae Achievement Award

Virginia Apgar receiving Mount Holyoke Alumnae Achievement Award

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Virginia Apgar attending newborn baby

MHC

Gorse Child Study Center established to provide a nursery school/kindergarten for South Hadley and faculty children and support curriculum through study of child psychology.

Women in the World

Virginia Apgar (1929) devises Apgar Score System to diagnose health of newborns.

Phoebe Cox (1937) becomes first woman to receive Ph.D. in medicine from a Canadian University (McGill)

World History

Polio vaccine developed.

1954

Washington Internship Program initiated by political science professor Victoria Schuck allows students to gain practical experience by working in offices and agencies of the federal government; becomes model for similar programs at other colleges and universities.

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Women in the World

Member of U.S. House of Representatives Ruth Thompson introduces legislation to ban mailing “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” rock and roll records.

World History

U.S. Supreme Court rules that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. First Swanson frozen TV dinners go on sale.

1955

Frank Lloyd Wright gives a lecture on “An American Architecture.”

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MHC

Cleveland and Carr Laboratories open providing modern facilities for study of chemistry.

Women in the World

First national lesbian political and social organization in the U.S., Daughters of Bilitis, founded in San Francisco.

Marian Anderson becomes first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera.

World History

Vietnam War begins between South Vietnam (supported by U.S.) and North Vietnam (supported by its Communist allies).

African American seamstress Rosa Parks arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man; boycott of Montgomery bus system begins.

First microwave oven for home use introduced to market.

First McDonald’s fast food restaurant opens (in Illinois).

1957

Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts begin studying ways to enhance Four College Cooperation.

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The Mount Holyoke College V-8's

MHC

Richard Glenn Gettell becomes president; presents “A Plea for the Uncommon Woman” as inaugural address.

World History

Sputnik 1, first man-made satellite, launched by Soviet Union.

Video

Alumnae Parade

1958

Video: This Mount Holyoke College promotional film shows the new Buckland residence hall (built in 1956); buses departing campus for Mountain Day at Skinner State Park; students horseback riding and bicycling; and swimming instruction in the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex (built in 1950).

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Video

Promotional Film

1959

Prospect Hall

Prospect Hall

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Enjoying a game of cards in Prospect Hall

MHC

Prospect Hall constructed.

Jewish Student Union/Hillel (JSU) founded as Jewish Group.

Women in the World

In a privately-funded program, women pilots who become known as the Mercury 13 undergo and pass same physical and psychological tests as those administered to male Mercury 7 astronauts, but do not have opportunity to go on space flights.

World History

U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selects Mercury 7 astronauts to fly on orbital space flights.

Alaska and Hawaii become U.S. states.

Revolutionary government lead by Fidel Castro assumes power in Cuba.

First Barbie dolls go on sale.

1960

Students form MHC Committee on Civil Rights to raise money for African American students arrested for staging peaceful protests against segregation in southern states.

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Gracious Living

MHC

Frances M. Kerr becomes the College's first African American faculty member when she joins the Psychology and Education Department.

World History

John F. Kennedy elected first Catholic U.S. President.

U.S. Civil Rights Act establishing federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and setting penalties for interfering with the right to vote is signed into law.

Sit-ins by African American students at a “whites only” lunch counter in a Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth store receive widespread media attention and encourage similar protests throughout the south.

Video

Campaign Film

1961

According to the Student Handbook, “Although dressing up may be a nuisance at times, it is a quiet reminder that after all, we are still feminine—a fact far too often obscured by Bermudas, sneakers, and shirt-tails.”

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MHC

Gettell Amphitheater constructed for Commencement ceremonies and other events.

Blue Key honorary organization established, providing student guides for visitors; members selected “for personal and academic qualifications which will make them good representatives of the College.”

Women in the World

Presidential Commission on the Status of Women established to advise President Kennedy on issues concerning women’s rights and roles in the U.S.

First birth control pill goes on market.

World History

U.S. government establishes Peace Corps volunteer program to help people in other countries. Freedom Riders are beaten and arrested as they take bus trips through southern U.S. promoting civil rights.

German Democratic Republic builds wall dividing East and West Germany.

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes first person in outer space.

1962

1837 residence hall opens.

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Women in the World

President Kennedy appoints Mount Holyoke political science professor Victoria Schuck as member of Massachusetts Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

World History

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights created to investigate, report on, and make recommendations concerning issues such as racial discrimination in voter registration and segregation in housing. 

Federal troops enforce integration of University of Mississippi.

Cuban Missile Crisis between U.S. and Soviet Union occurs over Soviet construction of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

John Glenn becomes first American to orbit earth.

Video

Women Make Their Mark

1963

Martin Luther King, Jr. at MHC

Martin Luther King, Jr. at MHC

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Reverend Martin Luther talks with the community.

MHC

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gives sermon in Gettell Amphitheater on “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.”

Betty Friedan lectures about her controversial new book The Feminine Mystique (on the recommended reading list for freshmen), which examines the pervasive unhappiness of U.S. women in traditional roles.

Women in the World

Report by Presidential Commission on the Status of Women describes widespread discrimination against women in U.S.

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes first woman in space.

Emily Wick (1943) is first woman appointed to tenure-track position at MIT.

World History

Two hundred thousand people demonstrate for civil and economic rights of African American in March on Washington.

President Kennedy assassinated.

1964

Class of 1961 alumnae Rosemary Cox Masters, Barbara Margulies Rossotti, and Grace Weiner Wolf are among first 15 women to graduate from Harvard Law School.

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MHC

Anne M. Hazard (1965) arrested and jailed during civil rights protest in Saint Augustine, Florida.

Tradition of seniors planting ivy around buildings at commencement replaced by tree planting ceremony.

Women in the World

U.S. Civil Rights Act bans discrimination on basis of color, race, national origin, religion, and sex.

World History

U.S. increases military commitment to Vietnam War.

Students protest at University of California, Berkeley after administrators ban on-campus political activity.

U.S. Surgeon General issues report describing health hazards of tobacco use.

Introduction of compact audiocassette tapes.

Video

Ski Touring

1965

Students in ABC program

Students in ABC program

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MHC

MHC is first women’s college to participate in A Better Chance (ABC) summer program to improve educational opportunities for talented girls from disadvantaged environments.

Ham Hall opens.

Mount Holyoke Moppets rock and roll band travels to concerts in a 1957 Cadillac hearse and is featured in a in Look magazine article.

Women in the World

Marion West Higgins (1936) becomes first woman speaker of New Jersey Assembly (first woman in U.S. to be elected speaker of any legislature).

World History

U.S. begins aerial bombing of North Vietnam.

U.S. government establishes Medicare health insurance program for people over 65 and others who meet criteria for coverage.

1966

National Organization for Women (NOW) established “to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society.”

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MHC

Psychology and Education Building and Alice Worthington Rooke Laboratory Theatre open.

Men allowed to enroll in graduate program.

First time elfing tradition, in which sophomores give gifts and treats to new students, is mentioned in freshman handbook.

World History

Radical African American Black Panther Party established.

Twenty-five thousand anti-war demonstrators march in New York City.

1967

Free Four College transportation service begins.

More »

Students participate in "The Happening" Fall semester 1967.

MHC

Afro-American Society organizes to support increasing numbers of African American students.

MacGregor Hall opens.

New Hammond Wing provides improved facilities in Pratt Music Hall.

Classes no longer held on Saturdays.

Women in the World

Director of MHC Health Service Carol E. Craig becomes second woman to go to Vietnam under the American Medical Association Volunteer Physicians for Vietnam Program.

World History

First successful human-to-human heart transplant.

1968

Julie Donaldson (1970), Bernadette Weston (1971), and Joan Wiesen (1970) hold a 20-foot list of 1,200 fellow students who signed a petition protesting the "misrepresentation of life on our campus" which appeared in the latest edition of the Comparative Guide to American Colleges. One of the most disturbing comments to the students was the statement that at Mount Holyoke "short skirts are prohibited."

Julie Donaldson (1970), Bernadette Weston (1971), and Joan Wiesen (1970) hold a 20-foot list of 1,200 fellow students who signed a petition protesting the "misrepresentation of life on our campus" which appeared in the latest edition of the Comparative Guide to American Colleges. One of the most disturbing comments to the students was the statement that at Mount Holyoke "short skirts are prohibited."

More »

MHC

Board of Trustees change rules to allow male visitors in dorm rooms.

President Gettell resigns; history professor Meribeth Elliott Cameron named acting president.

Computer science added to curriculum.

First self-scheduled exams.

Major renovation of Williston Library provides more space for students, faculty, and stacks.

Women in the World

Shirley Chisholm becomes first African American woman elected to U.S. Congress.

World History

Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy assassinated.

First demonstration of computer system to use hypertext links and mouse.

1969

Black studies interdisciplinary program added to curriculum.

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MHC

David Bicknell Truman becomes president.

Afro-American Center (now Betty Shabazz House) provides African American students with place for meetings, parties, and other functions.

Exchange program allows students to spend a semester or year at Amherst, Bowdoin, Connecticut, Dartmouth, Smith, Vassar, Wesleyan, Wheaton, or Williams.

Women in the World

Golda Meir becomes first woman Prime Minister of Israel.

Vassar College begins admitting men.

World History

First manned lunar landing.

The Internet (originally known as ARPANET) brought online, initially connecting four major computers at universities in southwestern U.S.

1970

Student Strike

Student Strike

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Truman with students in Betty Shabazz House

MHC

Classes end early and final exams are canceled when students and faculty join nationwide strike to protest escalation of Vietnam War.

Hampshire College opens.

Five College African American students occupy buildings at MHC and Amherst demanding curricular, admissions, and financial aid changes.

Women in the World

Ella Tambussi Grasso (1940) elected to U.S. House of Representatives.

Fifty thousand people march in New York City in the Women’s Strike for Equality.

Williams College begins admitting women.

World History

President Richard Nixon announces U.S. troops will attack Cambodia.

Members of Ohio National Guard kill four students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University.

First Earth Day held to inspire appreciation and protection of natural environment.

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) established.

1972

Title IX of U.S. Education Amendments requires gender equity in every education program receiving federal funding.

More »

MHC

New Five College Winter Term (later January Program or January Term) allows students to pursue internships or independent study projects and take credit or noncredit courses outside of the usual curriculum.

Emily Wick (1943) appointed first dean of faculty.

World History

President Nixon implicated when five men are arrested for breaking into Democratic National Committee headquarters at Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

First use of electronic mail on Internet.

1973

Virginia Apgar (1929) is first woman to receive Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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Julia Miller Phillips (1965)

MHC

Biochemistry interdisciplinary program added to curriculum.

Women in the World

Paris Peace Accords provide cease-fire in Vietnam; last U.S. troops are withdrawn.

U.S. Rehabilitation Act guarantees civil rights for people with disabilities.

World History

Dulcy Singer (1955) becomes executive producer of Sesame Street television program.

Julia Miller Phillips (1965) is first woman to win Academy Award as a producer (for her work on The Sting starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford).

1974

Ella Tambussi Grasso (1940) elected governor of Connecticut, becoming the first woman governor of that state and the first woman governor elected in her own right.

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student on phone in Wilder

MHC

Mary Lyon Society launched.

Alternative vegetarian meals provided by Food Services.

Fathers’ Weekend tradition replaced by Parents’ Weekend.

Asian Student Association founded to celebrate and support people of Asian descent at MHC and in the wider community.

Women in the World

Ella Tambussi Grasso (1940) elected governor of Connecticut, becoming the first woman governor of that state and the first woman governor elected in her own right.

Former dean of Yale University Nursing School Florence Schorkse Wald (1938) brings together a group of doctors, nurses, and clergy who establish first U.S. hospice.

World History

President Nixon resigns after U.S. House Judiciary Committee begins impeachment proceedings against him.

1976

Sisterhood brochure

Sisterhood brochure

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MHC

Psychobiology interdisciplinary program added to curriculum.

La Unidad organization for Latina students is established.

Women in the World

Michiko Nishiura Weglyn (1948) receives acclaim for Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps based in part on her experiences at an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.

World History

Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs found Apple.

1978

Elizabeth Kennan at her inauguration

Elizabeth Kennan at her inauguration

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Kennan with David Truman at her inaugration

MHC

Elizabeth Topham Kennan (1960) becomes first woman president of MHC since 1937 and first alumna to serve in that office in 89 years.

Students and faculty stage anti-apartheid sit-in urging the College to divest of stock in U.S. companies doing business in South Africa.

Seniors begin tradition of singing “Bread and Roses” at conclusion of Laurel Parade as an expression of women’s solidarity.

Women in the World

MHC chemistry professor Anna J. Harrison is first woman elected president of American Chemical Society.

U.S. Pregnancy Discrimination Act outlaws employment discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

World History

First successful birth of baby conceived by means of in vitro fertilization.

Sony Walkman portable audiocassette player introduced.

1980

Frances Perkins Program established for women of nontraditional age who wish to complete requirements for B.A. degree.

More »

MHC

Lesbian Alliance organization formed to support lesbian, gay, and bisexual students.

First Pangynaskeia celebration features a campuswide picnic and other events.

Women in the World

Vigdis Finnbogadottir becomes first woman president of a European country when she is elected head of Iceland.

World History

U.S. boycotts Summer Olympic Games in Moscow to protest Soviet war in Afghanistan.

1982

Dean of faculty and history professor William McFeely wins Pulitzer Prize for biography of U.S. Grant.

More »

Susan Kare apple icon

MHC

Women’s studies interdisciplinary program added to curriculum.

Under new Third World Requirement students must take courses with non-Western perspective.

Writing Center (later Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Center) established to provide students with assistance in writing, reading, and speaking.

Women in the World

Artist and graphic designer Susan Kare (1975) joins Apple; creates many of the original icons used on Macintosh computers.

World History

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) first used as name of a new disease.

First compact discs marketed.

1983

Shirley Chisholm at MHC

Shirley Chisholm at MHC

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Shirley Chisholm and Elizabeth Turner

MHC

Civil rights activist and former senator Shirley Chisholm joins faculty as professor of politics and women’s studies.

Williston Library begins automating library catalogue.

Wa-Shin-An Japanese meditation garden and teahouse dedicated.

Women in the World

Maryanne Trump Barry (1958) is first MHC alumna to serve as judge of a federal U.S. district court.

Astronaut Sally Ride is first U.S. woman in space.

World History

U.S. Congress special commission releases report condemning internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

1984

Holly (Harriet) Metcalf (1981) is part of U.S. women’s eight-person coxswain team that wins gold medal at 1984 Summer Olympics.

More »

U.S. women’s eight-person coxswain team wins gold medal at 1984 Summer Olympics

MHC

UMMA organization for Muslim students founded as Islamic Cultural Alliance.

Women in the World

Geraldine Ferraro is first woman nominated for vice president of U.S. by a major political party.

World History

Macintosh computer introduced.

1985

MHC women protest apartheid.

MHC women protest apartheid.

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MHC

Board of trustees votes to divest MHC endowment portfolio of stock of companies doing business in South Africa.

Addition and renovation of Kendall creates new sports complex that includes an outdoor track, playing fields, and tennis and volleyball courts.

New campus master plan calls for expansion and renovation of library and language learning facilities and creation of campus center in Blanchard Hall.

Women in the World

President Ronald Reagan proclaims National Women’s History Week to recognize the many vital contributions of women to the history of the U.S.

World History

First Microsoft personal computer introduced.

First digital audio player patented.

1987

Mary Lyon stamp

Mary Lyon stamp

More »

MHC

Sesquicentennial anniversary celebration launched and with it the $100m campaign—the largest fundraising campaign ever mounted by a women’s college.

Two-cent Mary Lyon stamp issued.

History and Russian professor Joseph Brodsky wins Nobel Prize for literature.

First MHC computer network established for email and other functions.

Equestrian Center opens, offering fully equipped areas for instruction and observation as well as classroom facilities.

Women in the World

Janet Litster Rideout (1961) is one of five chemists who develop AZT drug.

Wilma Mankiller is first woman elected chief of a major Native American tribe (Cherokee).

World History

U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves sale of AZT, the first drug used to treat AIDS.

1988

Blanchard Campus Center interior

Blanchard Campus Center interior

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MHC

Blanchard Hall transformed into Campus Center with a cafeteria, offices for student organizations, and renovated campus post office and bookstore.

Women in the World

Benazir Bhutto elected first woman prime minister of Pakistan (first woman to head Islamic country).

World History

Terrorist bomb explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, killing 270.

1989

Wendy Wasserstein (1971) is first woman playwright to win Pulitzer Prize.

More »

Wendy Wasserstein, Playwright

MHC

Kosher-halal kitchen established for use by Jewish and Muslim students.

Members of entering class now referred to as “first years” instead of freshmen.

Village Commons opens featuring shops, restaurants, services, and rental housing.

World History

Berlin Wall opens leading to reunification of East and West Germany.

U.S. invades Panama, deposing dictator Manuel Noriega.

1991

History and Russian professor Joseph Brodsky named poet laureate of U.S.

More »

MHC

Five College Women’s Studies Research Center established at MHC (first multicampus facility of its kind in U.S).

Buffet service in dorms replaces waitressed meals.

Women in the World

Elaine Chao (1975) becomes first Asian-American director of Peace Corps.

World History

World Wide Web (system of interlinked hypertext documents accessible through the Internet) launched by Tim Berners-Lee.

1992

President Kennan and architect Graham Gund in new Williston Library courtyard

President Kennan and architect Graham Gund in new Williston Library courtyard

More »

Walkway Between Dwight Hall and Library

MHC

Miles-Smith Library completed; Williston Memorial Library renovated to increase space for resources, consolidate science collections, and provide facilities for state-of-the-art interactive multimedia teaching tools.

Smoking prohibited in all nonresidential buildings.

Women in the World

NASA astronaut Mae Jemison is first African American woman in space.

Record number of women elected to political office in U.S. including Carol Moseley Braun (first African American woman senator).

Mona Van Duyn named first woman U.S. poet laureate.

World History

Dissolution of Yugoslavia creates five independent states.

1993

Elizabeth Scheibel Boudreau (1977) becomes first woman Massachusetts district attorney.

More »

Elizabeth Scheibel Boudreau (1977)

MHC

In response to plea from African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, Mount Holyoke joins other colleges and universities in reinvesting in companies doing business in South Africa.

Women in the World

Mary Lyon and Ella Tambussi Grasso (1940) inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame.

World History

Terrorist bomb detonates under North Tower of World Trade Center in New York City, killing seven.

1995

Eliana Ortega Latina Cultural Center opens providing space for classes, lectures, receptions, and social events for students who identify as Latina or whose heritage is Latina; named after Professor Emeritus of Spanish and cofounder of La Unidad student organization.

More »

MHC

Native Spirit (later Zowie Banteah) Cultural Center opens for students who identify as Native American or have Native American ancestry.

Women in the World

First female cadet enrolls at Citadel Military Academy of South Carolina.

1996

Joanne V. Creighton on stairs at her inauguration

Joanne V. Creighton on stairs at her inauguration

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Joanne V. Creighton at her inaugration

MHC

Joanne V. Creighton inaugurated as Mount Holyoke’s 17th president.

1997

Students occupy Newhall Center calling for continuation of need-blind admissions policies, creation of more cultural houses, and other measures.

More »

Anti-Administration Flyer, 1997

MHC

New Community-Based Learning Program links students with local communities through courses, independent studies, and internships.

Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy established to promote educational activities which enhance students’ understanding of and capabilities for leadership and public responsibility.

Women in the World

Nancy J. Vickers (1967) named president of Bryn Mawr College.

Virginia Apgar (1929) inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame.

World History

President Bill Clinton bans federally funded human cloning research.

First DVD marketed in U.S.

1998

Barbara Cassani (1982) becomes first woman CEO of a commercial airline (British Airways).

Barbara Cassani (1982) becomes first woman CEO of a commercial airline (British Airways).

More »

MHC

Chemistry professor Sheila Browne receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering.

Women in the World

Florence Schorske Wald (1938) inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame.

1999

Linda Melconian (1970) becomes first woman majority leader of Massachusetts Senate.

More »

MHC

Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership (later Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts) established combining work of the Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program and Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy.

Jeannette Marks House opens as community center for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied students.

New Asian Center for Empowerment provides students of Asian descent with space for meetings, lectures, and social events.

2000

Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) eliminated as requirement for admission.

More »

MHC

New campus master plan calls for creation of integrated Science Center, renovation and expansion of Blanchard Campus Center, improvements to classrooms, and other measures.

Women in the World

Hillary Rodham Clinton elected to U. S. Senate (first former U.S. First Lady to win public office).

World History

U.S. Supreme Court decides outcome of presidential election in favor of George W. Bush.

2001

History professor Joseph J. Ellis wins Pulitzer Prize.

More »

MHC

Mount Holyoke is first among the Five Colleges to open a kosher-halal dining hall for Jewish and Muslim students.

Women in the World

Elaine Chao (1975) becomes U.S. Secretary of Labor.

U.S. Representative Nita Melnikoff Lowey (1959) is first woman leader of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

World History

September 11 attacks.

2002

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (1985) wins Pulitzer Prize.

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (1985) wins Pulitzer Prize.

More »

MHC

CAUSE (Creating Awareness and Unity for Social Equality) student organization established.

2003

Expansion and renovation of Blanchard Campus Center creates Great Room for dining and performances, new campus bookstore, and larger cafe and student art gallery.

Inside Blanchard Campus Center

Inside Blanchard Campus Center

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Blanchard Campus Center

MHC

Center for Global Initiatives established to promote, coordinate, and implement Mount Holyoke’s commitment “to educate all students for careers and citizenship in a global world.”

Architectural studies interdisciplinary major added to curriculum.

Women in the World

Barbara Cassani (1982) appointed to oversee London’s ultimately successful bid for 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

World History

War in Iraq begins when U.S. and British forces invade in search of suspected weapons of mass destruction.

2004

Kendade Hall

Kendade Hall

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MHC

The largest single gift in the College’s history, a $10 million donation, was made with the stipulation that Kendade Hall be a green building. The Science Center brought together the departments of astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth and environment, mathematics and statistics, and physics, and MHC’s programs in biochemistry and in neuroscience and behavior.

Women in the World

Massachusetts is first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

World History

Facebook launched.

2005

Psychology and Education professor Becky Wai-Ling Packard wins Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

More »

Women in the World

Condoleezza Rice is first African American woman appointed U.S. Secretary of State.

World History

Hurricane Katrina devastates much of U.S. Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,836 and causing more than $115 billion in damage.

YouTube launched.

2007

The Mount Holyoke College Student Garden Project

The Mount Holyoke College Student Garden Project

More »

MHC

Student Garden Project establishes campus garden.

Women in the World

Nancy Pelosi becomes first woman speaker of U.S. House of Representatives.

Drew Gilpin Faust named first woman president of Harvard University.

World History

iPhone multimedia smart phone developed.

2008

Joanne V. Creighton Hall, first new residence hall in 40 years and first MHC dormitory certified by U.S. Green Building Council, opens.

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Women in the World

Hillary Rodham Clinton is first woman to win U.S. presidential primary.

Ann Dunwoody becomes first woman four-star general in U.S. military.

World History

$700 billion bailout bill for U.S. financial system signed by President Bush.

2009

Mona Sutphen (1989)

Mona Sutphen (1989)

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MHC

New Nexus: Curriculum to Career program allows students to connect liberal arts studies with personal and professional goals through a combination of course work and research projects.

21st Century Scholars Program established to support new students of remarkable achievement through merit scholarships and funding for an internship or research project.

Women in the World

Mona Sutphen (1989) appointed President Obama’s deputy chief of staff.

Sonia Sotomayor becomes first Latina woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

World History

First African American president, Barack Obama, inaugurated.

2010

Lynn Pasquerella (1980) inaugurated as eighteenth president.

Lynn Pasquerella (1980) inauguration

Lynn Pasquerella (1980) inauguration

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New Boathouse

MHC

Miller Worley Center for the Environment dedicated.

New boathouse on Connecticut River opens.

Video

Lynn Pasquerella talks about her presidential inauguration

2012

175th Commencement

175th Commencement

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175th Commencement

MHC

The 175th commencement takes place in Gettell Amphitheater.

Mount Holyoke College

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