In 1917, gateposts were erected at the entrance
of the Main Building of the Women's College, as the Institute Building
(slightly visible to the far right in the photograph) of the discontinued
Female Institute was now called. These gateposts were a gift of the
Class of 1917.
In June, 1927, the building was named Larison Hall in honor of Katherine B. Larison, Institute Class of 1864, who was Principal of the Female Institute from 1882 to 1897. Upon her death in 1926, her entire estate of $32,450.00 was given to Bucknell.
The Women's Dinning Hall
The Women's Infirmary
In 1930, a part of Bucknell Cottage (not visible in the photograph) was set aside as an infirmary for women at a cost of $6,000.00, which included equipment and furnishings. Two nurses provided medical services under the supervision of the college physician. Bucknell Cottage, connected to Larison Hall by an enclosed passageway, served as a dormito ry for about forty women.
The Education of Women During The Interwar Years
Between 1919 and 1931, the number of female students increased from 235 to 407 and “the staff responsible for the women students” increased from two (“the dean of women and the matron”) to eleven (“the dean of women and her full-time secretary, two physical education instructors, a house director, a dietitian, two trained nurses, and three hostesses.”)
On Thursday June 4, 1920, members of the Freshman class lit a bonfire around the public fountain at the intersection of Third and Market Streets in downtown Lewisburg. The "collection of boxes, barrels and store goods cases" produced " a fire of such magnitute" that the fire company responded to a fire alarm "to check the blaze and protect the property." In response, the college boys "interferred with the firemen and proceeded to prevent thse Borough officials from doing their duty." On June 15, at the same meeting during which the they called upon the faculty “...to conduct a thorough-going investigation of the recent attack upon certain of the townspeople of Lewisburg, and disturbance upon the public thoroughfares of that Borough, and interference with the firemen thereof in the performance of [their] duties...”, the Trustees adopted a resolution that had been offered by Roy Grier Bostwick.
By 1931, however, “the activities and responsibilities of the Women’s Student Government Association [had] greatly increased.”
The increase in the number of female students resulted in an expansion of the athletic program for women, which “...included inter-[sorority] hockey and basketball contests during the fall and winter.” By 1931, “the major sports event of the spring season” had become “...an inter-collegiate play day, sponsored and managed in cooperation with the Department of Physical Education”, during which representatives from different colleges “...played together in mixed groups rather than competitively as colleges in athletic events of the day.”
The Effect of World War II on the Women's College, 1939-1945
In the mid-1930's, there was a “ratio of two men to one woman” By 1938, “...there were...two applications for each woman student who could be admitted.” so the college could become more selective in the admission of females. In June, 1939, “...all places in the Women’s College Dormitory [had] been filled and a considerable waiting list [had] been made...” and “...it was expected that there would be at least three times as many applications for admission from women as there were vacancies in the Women’s College Dormitories.” In December, 1941, anticipating the probable effect of the war on male enrollment, the Trustees authorized “...an increase in the number of girls [to be] accepted...” the “school year” beginning in 1942. The number of females attending the college increased dramatically during the war. For example, for the November 1943 term “...562 Navy and Marines were enrolled, 205 civilian men and 582 women, making a total of 787 civilian students and 562 service men, a total enrollment of 1,349 students. By the November 1944 term, however, the “...total enrollment [was] 1,144 students, composed of 617 women, 139 civilian men and 353 trainees.” Thus, in this term, the number of women enrolled was greater than the number of men. By December, 1944, the Board of Trustees was anticipating the return of males to college.
In May, 1945, the Trustees debated whether to house women “in Old Main on the Hill in an effort to reduce or eliminate an operating deficit for next year.”
Later that year in December, the President presented to the trustees a recommendation by the Dean of Women “that an announcement should be made immediately to the effect that there would be no vacancies for women students for the Fall of 1946.”
In 1945, Larison Hall was a dormitory for about sixty freshman women. It also contained an office for the Dean of Women, a living room and a reception room. That same year, tuition was $400.00 per year and the charge for "boarding service" was $250.00 per year. Room costs were additional depending upon accommodations.
"the dean of women..." and "the dean of women..." MBU, p. 134
"collection of boxes..." and "interferred with the firemen..." "Freshmen Nuts", Lewisburg Journal 6/4/1920
"...to conduct a ..." BT '82-'20, p. 380
"RESOVLVED, That the..." ib., p. 381; a slightly different version is in BT '20-'50, 6/15,/920, pp. 10-11
"the activites and..." MBU, p. 133
"Sorority reprensentation...", ib.
"...included inter-[sorority]..." and other quotations in this paragraph, ib.
""ratio of two men to one woman" BT '20-'50, 6/5/1937, p. 1
"...there were..." ib., 6/11/1938, p. 4
"...all places in..." ib., 6/10/1939, p. 3
"...an increase in the..." ib., 12/20/1941, p. 6
"...562 Navy and..." ib., 6/24/1944, p. 1
"...total enrollment was...", ib., 12/16/1944. p. 2
"More women were..." ib. p. 4
"in Old Main..." mib., 5/12/1945, p. 1
"Chairman [Roy Grier]..." ib., p. 2
"that an announcement..." ib., 12/15/1945, p. 2
The major source for the information on this page is the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1920-1950 (BT '20-'50). Additional sources are the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1882-1920 (BT '82-'20; Memorials of Bucknell University, 1919-1931 (MBU '19-'31); "Freshmen Nuts Escape Squirrels", Lewisburg Journal, June 4, 1920; and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, Ninety-Ninth Year, 1944-1945 (CAT '44-'45) and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, One Hundredth Year, January, 1946 (CAT '45-'46).
This building in other years: 1865
| 1895 | 1915
| 1965 | 1985
Back to the Bucknell History Page | Back to the 1945 Page