1936 to 1945
EARLY STUDENT LIFE
Early curricula permitted no electives whatsoever. A great iron bell, which once hung on the wall of "Old Main", sounded its daily call to compulsory chapel at 7:30 a.m. Following this were two hours of proctored study, then classes. Periods of study and classes alternated throughout the day until 5:00 p.m.
Dr. G. R. Bliss, our first professor, writes of classwork in "The College Herald", May, 1870. "The Academy (Taylor Hall) was finished in 1849. We were a little straitened for room until the West Wing of the College was completed, but this only made us the more sociable and family-like, where boys and girls all studied in a common room--the higher classes in the chapel occupying the entire third floor of our house--with President Taylor and one or more of the professors always present. Excellent work was done at studying those days, partly, no doubt, from the fact that both sexes shared in the same recitations." This broke up with establishment of the Insititute in 1852. The College met for prayer and recitation in the Academy until 1858.
In 1851 Acting-President Taylor resigned, and entertained the trustees, curators, faculty, and seniors at dinner in Kline's Hotel (now the Lewisburger). Our present Corporation dinner continues that tradition.
Eliza J. Martin, Bucknell librarian at the time, informally discusses with President Marts the creation of a group concerned with "scholarly books and items for the main library." On October 10, a meeting of influential friends of the University votes unanimously to form "Friends of the Library Group for Bucknell." A bulletin, Bibliotheca Bucnellensis, is first published in November. This ingenious group of Martin's flourishes until the Second World War. Among the group's accomplishments, it designs and publishes a bookplate, supplies the library with approximately 4,000 volumes and numerous unbound periodicals, donates over $1000 for the purchase of books, and purchases the Arhus Film reading machine for microfilm
Mary McLeod Bethune
By virtue of talent, determination, and absolute faith in her principles, one such daughter of slaves, Mary McLeod Bethune went on to become the most powerful black woman ever to serve in the American government. She also became an inspiration to thousands - female and male, black and white. Bethune attended Chicago's Moody Bible Institute. In 1904 she established the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute, a private school for African-American girls. In 1923 Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute merged with the Cookman Institute for Men becoming Bethune-Cookman College. In 1936, President Roosevelt appointed her director of Negro Affairs for the National Youth Administration. In this position, assembled 30 blacks from the alphabet-soup agencies of the New Deal into the Federal Council of Negro Affairs.
"With the retirement of Professor William G. Owens, the college arranged to take over the houses he had erected on the large block of land he owned . . . The Owens home itself was promptly turned into a dormitory for girls and called the Honor House. Only a limited number of women students with the highest standing and the best conduct would be allowed to occupy this house."
"The college acquires a 28-acre tract of land, with an old farm house and a barn, at Cowan, seven miles from campus. Here was a delightful picnic grove on the bank of Buffalo Creek, which was speedily equipped with stone fireplaces, sturdy tables, and benches. The house was improved and the barn altered so as to serve as a rough dormitory for men. The property was thus a delightful place where men and women students could enjoy brief or extended outings under proper supervision. "
On October 6, 1938, after modernization, the Tustin Gymnasium was turned over, with appropriate ceremonies and great fanfare, to the women of Bucknell. Originally an all-male gym, Tustin became the first official gym for women after the men were moved to Davis Gym. A feature of the program was transferring of the gymnasium keys from the men to the women. Martin Maloney, president of Student-Faculty Congress, presented keys to Miss Elizabeth Osborne, who accepted them as head of the Women's Athletic Association. "Trumpets that sounded from Tustin's second floor were answered by horns and drums from women leaders marching to the door to claim their prize. An honor guard even heralded the ceremony. With much pomp and circumstance the symbolic key changed hands and the honor guard watched solemnly over the women as they entered Tustin." Tustin Gymnasium, named after Rev. F.W. Tustin, an early graduate and teacher, was erected by alumni and friends on June 25, 1890.
Professor Eliza J. Martin, who had succeeded her father as college librarian dies. The University purchases her home on St. George Street, opposite Larison Hall. It is remodeled and opened as a dormitory to house 10-15 women in 1940. It later becomes known as German House, or Deutsches Haus, in 1961 and accommodates women students interested in the German language. In 1969, the Martin House name was re-established and the building continues as a women's dormitory although it is no longer German students. After serving as a special interest house for feminist students in the early seventies, Martin House becomes available as the Judaic Studies House from 1980 to 1983.
Theiss: Buildings and Areas Notebook, Bucknell University Archives
Two May Queens were selected this year. They are seated. Bernice Henry '39 (left) Maxine Askey '39 (right)
Bucknell University Archives
Elizabeth Dinsmore '39, a member of the student theater group Cap and Dagger, proposed the idea of a "forum" or "critic's forum" following the productions. Willard Smith, Professor of English, remembers some very well known women's comments during these forums: "The players cringed when Professor Mildred Martin told them that their presentation of Saint Joan (or it may have been Arms and the Man) 'simply wasn't Shavian,' or when Professor Gladys Cook insisted that, if they expected people to come to their plays, they would have to learn to speak their lines clearly and with some sense of style. Lois Stevenson Kalp (Mrs. Charles W. Kalp) innocently got into trouble when she pointed out that even a minor character in a play should learn to walk properly on the stage. Her remarks were directed to Mr. Leonard Sternberg '41 who had played the role of an Italian police officer in Idiot's Delight. Mr. Sternberg's immediate response was to declare, somewhat emotionally, 'Mine was not the walk of a minor character.' . . . The critics were severe, both those who were specially invited and others who came voluntarily because they wanted to make certain observations. But they were all interested, as Cap and Dagger was, in making the theatre an important part of the life of the college."
Bucknell Essays in Recollection, 1977
Dr. Mildred Martin, a graduate of the University of Illinois, becomes a member of the Department of English. She is well-loved by students during her 32 years of teaching and is credited with influencing numerous Bucknell alumni who have become writers, most notably Philip Roth author of 16 novels; Jesse Bier, a novelist, poet and scholar; and Jack Wheatcroft, poet, novelist, and retired professor of English at Bucknell. Miss Martin, as she is known, has a special interest in T.S. Eliot and in 1972 publishes Half a Century of Eliot Criticism.
Bucknell World, July 1995
Lewisburg, PA., -- Miss Pearl Lee came all the way from China to study Electrial Engineering at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA., where she is enrolled in the junior class. Miss Lee, who transferred to Bucknell this fall from Hong Kong University, will return to China after graduation to assist her father, K.S.Lee, in the operation of his radio stations. She is shown above with Professor M.L.Drum of the Department of Engineering. At present she is the only woman student studying engineering at Bucknell.
Press Release 1940
In the fall, Healy Cooperative House, named after Alice Healy '40, who formulated and completed the original plans, opens to house ten Bucknell women: Joy Bonn, Janet Bold, Jeanne Haynes, Marion Weinberger, Helen Greenleaf, Catherine McCauley, Betty Jackson, Marjorie Clayton, Josephine Bagg, and Anne Lowther. Located at 29 Taylor Street between George's and Pardoe's, "the house has been established on the Bucknell campus to aid girls who have not the necessary finances to live in a dormitory to go to Bucknell and have a good place to live." Dr. Mary Wolfe and Dean Dorothy Dyer head the fundraising committee in conjunction with the Bucknell Mother's Association. Miss Anna C. Lupert serves as the first housemother. "The ten girls have complete charge of their house, do all their own housework, cooking, and shopping. Each day the regular housework is divided among the girls on the basis of their free time. When possible, the work is rotated. Every girl has a turn in being responsible for all meal-planning for one week, and the purchasing is done by the house manager, newly elected each semester."
Bucknellian 5/23/40, 9/14/40; L'Agenda 1940, 1945
At a February business meeting, the Women's Student Government Association announces that the Student Senate has voted to lengthen the leeway for the Seminary girls' curfew, from ten to twenty minutes. The extra privilege is only to be used "in extreme cases" when it is "impossible for a girl to be in her dormitory exactly on time."
The Bucknellian, 2/8/40
Professor of English Emeritus Jack Wheatcroft remembers: As a result of the Great Depression, the trustees had adopted a rule that both husbands and wives could not have faculty positions. The reason for that was that appointments were so hard to get that it seemed unfair if one family had two appointments. And, that discriminated against the women, of course. If anyone was to go, it was the women.
Gladys Calkins Cook came to Bucknell in 1932. In 1940 Harold Cook came. They weren't married of course. Harold went into the service during World War II. They got married, and when Harold cmae back, Glady's was actually told that her appointment would have to be terminated because a husband and wife could not both teach on the faculty. She had been here eight years before Harold appeared at Bucknell! A number of us signed a petition pointing out the injustice of this. And so an exception was made, and not long after that, that rule was rescinded.
WRC Interview, 4/96
Some suggest that Gladys Cook pointed out that if one of the spoused was not allowed to continue teaching, it should be her husband Harold since she had seniority over him. Marilyn Mumford, Professor of English, recalls the story a little differently. She says that Gladys told the Dean she had no intention of leaving her position; she considered herslf a professional and wanted to continue teaching. According to Mumford, Gladys then told the Dean that if she were not allowed to be employed because of her marriage, then she and Harold would arrange to get a divorce at their earliest convenience. "However," Gladys supposedly warned, "I must tell you that Harold and I will continue to live together and I'm afraid that trustees of this Baptist school would not be very pleased." Gladys Cook and her husband, of course, remained on the faculty for quite a number of years.
Personal conversation 5/96
Mortar Board, a national honor society, is established at Bucknell. Membership is awarded to senior women who, in their college life, have consistently shown the highest qualities of leadership, scholarship, and service. Graduating members choose their successors from a group of junior women nominated by the junior class. It is a function of Mortar Board to sponsor projects that are not otherwise performed by the school. Members serve as couselors to women transfer students and raise money for the Student Aid Fund through such activities as calendar sales 1950, and a "Mr. Ugly Man" contest in 1954.
L'Agenda 1945, 1950, 1954
Although male civilian enrollement fell away sharply during World War II, the government sends a Naval Unit of 600 young men to Bucknell for instruction. Flying cadets also come to Bucknell and do their flight work at the Danville airport. By the time the last contingent leaves campus, 1,685 Marines and Navy lads have attended Bucknell courses. Many more women students could also be admitted during this time so that "the year the war blazed out in America, Bucknell had its largest student enrollment to date--1,344."
Theiss, University Archives
Tea in Honor of Miss Helen Hunt
Robert Morton (left) and Miss Rosalind Stevens, enjoy an informal chat with Miss Helen Hunt during a tea given in her honor Sunday at the President's House. Miss Hunt recently returned from Burma and told of her exciting experiences in the war areas at the affair.
During an interview Gale Duque, Writing and Teaching Consultant recalls, "I started my life and my association with Bucknell as a Stillman. I was born to Bucknell actually because my father [Donald Stillman] taught in the English department so I call myself a townie." "One of my earliest recollections is about the May Day celebration at Bucknell. Young children of staff and faculty were invited to be flower girls in the May Queens Court. Both my sister and I participated in the May Day celebrations in the 1940's. We wore pretty flowered dresses and little sandals. We carried baskets of rose petals, which were thrown in the path of the court as they made their way to the platform from which we watched the whole program. I vividly remember the May Pole Dance in particular, an image that has stayed with me over the years.
WRC Interview, June 1996
Jeanne Rockwell graduates from Bucknell University in 1942 and begins to work as a research writer at Black Star Publishing, Inc. While working she also takes evening meteorology classes with the Civil Air Patrol. During a time of emergency, she is assigned, as a sergeant, to "protect La Guardia Field, especially when high tides caused floods there." She goes on to become Second Lieutenant and Squadron Staff Officer with the Eastern Shore of Virginia CAP.
Personal Collection of Jeanne Rockwell
Brad Tufts, Assistant Director of Athletics, was hired as Sports Information Director and reported to Trennie Eisley, Director of Public Relations. He recalls:
"If I had a dollar for every letter that came in to the Public Relations Office addressed for Mr. Trennie Eisley I could go on a pretty nice vacation, even now." Not many Sports Information Directors worked for women at the time; but I wouldn't trade it for an instant. Trennie knew sports, too. During the war years, when Bucknell didn't have a sports information director, she had covered sports. She had been in press boxes; at Yale women were not allowed in the press box. There were other schools that way. I'm not sure but I feel certain that Trennie was the first woman in a number of football press boxes around the East when Bucknell played games.
WRC Interview, 12/15/95
The Institute, an 8-week intensive summer learning program, began in 1944 as the Bucknell English Language Institute dealing primarily with problems of English since the students, for the most part, were from Latin America. After 1950 more and more Europeans came to the campus, having a better grasp of the English language, hence more emphasis was put on introducing students to the American system of education and to American customs and manners. Thus, in 1951, the name was changed to Bucknell Institute for Foreign Students.
Dr. Williard C. Smith served as Director from 1944-1956 and Dr. Harvey Powers was Director from 1956 until 1970. The program ended in 1970 due to the loss of federal funding.
Bucknell University Archives
Bucknell's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa makes Dr. Mary Belle Harris an honorary member of the group on the fiftieth anniversary of her graduation from Bucknell. Daughter of Dr. John Howard Harris, president of the University for 30 years, Mary Belle Harris is the first woman to head a federal prison. She organized and was superintendent of the women's prison at Alderson, WV, for 15 years prior to her retirement. Her book, I Knew Them in Prison, is an autobiography in which she describes progressive rehabilitation methods. In 1941, at the golden jubilee celebration of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Dr. Harris was awarded the organization's golden scroll of honor as the most outstanding woman of the day int he science of penology.
Bucknell Alumnus, August 1944
Some of us are just freshmen. . . .
Captain Bill McKee, '40, is chosen to pick the L'Agenda beauty queens. A highly decorated war hero, Captain McKee is holder of five military decorations including the purple heart. Captain McKee was wounded in Belgium on April 12, 1944. "Those Jerries just shot hell out of me," he said, "shattering my arm, paralyzing one hand and wounding my thigh." While recuperating in a New York hospital, Captain McKee looked at pictures of contestants for the L'Agenda beauty queens and selected students to fit descriptions including "Refreshing," "Good-looking," and "Poised." Captain McKee commented, "The caliber of Bucknell co-eds hasn't depreciated a bit. After looking at these pictures, I wish I were at Bucknell again."
The trustees choose Mrs. Eleanor Reppert, assistant to the director of the home nursing service for the American Red Cross, of Washington DC, as Dean of Women. A 1919 graduate of Swarthmore College, Mrs. Reppert obtained a Master's degree in Education and Personnel Administration in 1942 and promptly became the Dean of Women in the high school at Plainfield, NJ, the home of President Marts. Active in church work there, she was elected president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women and was involved in the National Assn. of Deans of Women. She had served as the Assistant Dean of Women at Bucknell the summer prior to her appointment and was familiar with the campus. The very great increase in the number of women students made it necessary for her to have an assistant and Miss Harriet E. White, a graduate of Bates College, was selected as Assistant Dean of Women.