omen's College

During the first decade of the twentieth century, the Female Institute was a finishing school, a school to prepare women for college, and a junior college. The Institute Building and Bucknell Cottage were used by the Female Institute and college women until the Institute was discontinued in 1915/16, and the buildings, along with New Cottage, became the Women's College.

This photograph taken from South Sixth Street shows the Women's College as it existed in 1915. The back of the Institute Building and South Hall are at the left in the photograph. Bucknell Cottage is not visible but was at the far left. The building to the right is New Cottage, which was designed by Wilson Brothers And Company of Philadelphia. New Cottage, completed in 1905, was named Harris Hall in 1925. The women's tennis courts were situated in front of New Cottage. The post to which the net was attached is visible in the bottom-left quadrant of the photograph. The white rectangle at the left of the post is the court.

The former institute building was referred to as the Main Building. It contained an office for the Dean Of The Department For Women and for the Registrar, a reception room, a living room, the office of the Director of Music, music rooms, recitation rooms, and a dining hall. A schoolroom and a parlor were on the second floor; a library room, teachers' apartments, and students' rooms were on the third floor. In 1897, when Katharine B. Larison resigned as Principal, President Harris had recommended that her replacement be "appointed Dean of the College of Women."

Domestic Science and Art

In 1905, the Main Building had been enlarged by a first-story addition to the dining hall, which connected the central part of the building to the South Hall wing. South Hall contained students' rooms, except for the third story, which was now used as a laboratory for the department of Domestic Science. In 1914, stoves and other appliances had been placed in the former gymnasium in the Institute Building. The demand for instruction in cooking was so great that a teacher of Cooking and Domestic Science was hired. In 1915, there were two courses offered under "Domestic Science": the Course in Domestic Science and the Course in General Cookery. In 1915, twenty-eight young women were enrolled in the Course in Domestic Science which was "....intended to fit young women to teach Domestic Science in High Schools and for the duties of the household." In 1917, the two-year Domestic Science Course was integrated into the General Science Course. Bucknell Cottage contained rooms for forty students as well as The Studio, which was utilized for "the execution and display of art products."

Costs and Accommodations

In 1915, women in the Collegiate Department were charged $325.00 per annum for a furnished room, board, heating, lighting and tuition.Collegiate women who lived in Bucknell Cottage or New Cottage paid an extra charge for “choice rooms” from $5.00 to $10.00 per term. The charges for boarding students enrolled in the Classical Course or Scientific Course of the Institute, which granted diplomas and prepared the females for admission to the College, were $290.00 per year. The charges for students in the Fifth Year, General Course, and the Domestic Science Course were $325.00 per year. The five-year General Course led to a diploma, which admitted the young women to advanced standing in the College. Day students in the Classical and Scientific Courses were charged $85.00 per year while those in the Fifth Year, General Course, and in the Domestic Science Course were charged $140.00. There was an extra charge for “…. front corner rooms in the West Wing….”of the Female Institute building. Pupils in the School of Music resided in the Women’s College and the regular charges for them, which included one literary subject per term, were $235.00 per year, which did not include charges for instruction in music.

Religious Activities

Religion played an important role in the life of the Female Institute as indicated in the Catalogue 1914-1915:

The Institute is distinctly Christian in its influence. Morning and evening Chapel in the Hall of the Institute building is attended by all students in the Institute Courses, special students, and women pursuing studies in the School of Music. College women living in the Institute attend evening Chapel.

Attendance upon Sabbath school and church services in town is required. All students have weekly recitations in Inductive Bible Study. The students have organized several classes for Scripture Study.

Women who lived in the Female Institute but who were enrolled in the College had to attend the chapel services required for college students.

The Demise of the Female Institute

In 1915, seventeen teachers taught in the Institute; seventeen students were enrolled in the Institute, 114 students were receiving training in music, and eight students were receiving instruction in painting. In 1916, the Institute ceased to exist , but the School of Music continued as a separate part of the University. When the Institute was discontinued, all prizes that had been given to the young ladies in the Institute were awarded to female students in the College, and Institute graduates were "....considered and listed as Alumnae of the College."

"appointed Dean of..." BT '82-'20, p. 156 (6/22/1897)

"intended to fit..." CAT '14-'15, p. 25

"the execution and..." ib., p. 14.

"choice rooms"... ib., p. 97

"...front corner rooms... ib., p. 189

"The Institute is... ib., p. 180

"...considered and listed..." BT '82-'20, p. 312 (1/13/1916)

The major source for the information on this page is the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1882-1920 (BT '82-'20). Additional sources are records from the Bucknell Registrar's office; and the Bucknell University Bulletin (Fourteenth Series, January 1915, No. 4) Catalogue 1914-1915 (CAT '14-'15) and the Bucknell Uinversity Bulletin (Fifteenth Series, January1916, No. 4) Catalog 1915-1916 (CAT '15-'16).

This building in other years: 1865 | 1895 | 1945 | 1965 | 1985 | Current
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