Scholar in Residence Talk, 2007-2008
"A Cold Wind: The Making of the Decision to Overthrow Female Leadership at Mount Holyoke College, 1934-1936"
A Presentation by Ann Karus Meeropol, LITS 2007-2008 Scholar-in Residence
In 1936, the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, in a sharply-divided 16-8 vote, appointed Roswell Gray Ham to succeed Mary Emma Woolley as President, ending 100 years of female leadership at the college. This appointment was vigorously opposed by a majority of the faculty, a significant percentage of the alumnae and by Woolley herself. A group of alumnae who were opposed to the appointment published a Broadside in early 1937 accusing the trustee search committee of railroading the appointment through the full Board. The Broadside specifically accused the committee of offering the position to three women before turning to Ham because these Board members knew that the women would not accept. The Broadside asserted that these offers were only made so that the real goal, the hiring of a man, could be realized.
As part of a book-length project on the succession to the presidency, Ann Karus Meeropol has investigated the activities of the trustee search committee in order to ascertain the truth, partial truth or falsity of these charges. Last year, Meeropol was able to utilize a wealth of archival material on the presidential search which had been closed to scholars until 1999.
In her presentation on Ann will use the evidence found within this material to trace the decision-making process of the trustee search committee and present her findings as to whether the charges in the Broadside hold up.
Thursday, December 4 at 4:00 p.m.
Williston Library Stimson Room
Event free and open to the public.