1886 to 1895
September 15, Beta Delta Pi Sorority is formed by charter members Mame Custer, Clara Fairchilds, Jessie Jones, Sue Loudon, Carrie Lovell, and Luella Peck. Its colors are nile green and pink.
Seeking to increase enrollment, President Harris "rearranges the Institute curricula so that girls graduating from that school had really completed the work of the freshmen year in the College. Without knowing it, in effect, they already were college women when they received their Institute diplomas. Naturally many of them wanted to go right on with college work. This simple and happy arrangement thus made it very easy for a girl to slip from the Institute into the College ranks. Also, it called little attention to the transformation that was taking place, and so stirred up slight opposition among the hardshelled conservatives."
Katherine Larison is given an honorary Master of Arts Degree in recognition for her scholarly achievements, becoming the first woman to whom Bucknell gives an honorary degree.
Bucknell Alumni Monthly , February 1926
Pennsylvania Beta Chapter
Top Row: Left to Right: Mary M. Kremer, Maze A. Pellman, Mary L. Bartol, Mary M. Wolfe, Bertha M. Shirley, Bessie H. Mershon, Anna L. Kerstetter.
Front Row: Emma T. Hyman, Mary R. Rogers, Mabel Schreiner, Carrie C. Wittenmyer, Blanche Schreiner, Perie M. Miller, Anna L. Austin.
Bucknell University Archives
The Female Institute, besides its work in music and art, began that academic year to offer three five-year programs: Literary, Classical, and Latin Scientific. Those who complete the latter two programs can be admitted to the College as sophomores. "The Institute, at the opening of the new century, . . . becomes a finishing school for women, a school to prepare women for college, and, to some extent, a junior college for women."
Bucknell University Archives
Charlotte Perkins Gilman publishes "The Yellow Wall-paper," a stark first person portrayal of a woman's mental breakdown, in the January issue of The New England Magazine. She becomes a noted lecturer on social topics such as labor and woman's place. In 1898 she publishes Women and Economics, a radical call for economic independence for women. Bucknell History Professor Mary Hill will research and write several books about this early feminist.
Mary Church Terrell helps form the Colored Women's League in Washington D.C. In 1896-97, the League merged with the Federation of Afro-American Women and Terrell becomes the president of the new group, the National Association of Colored Women. She lectures extensively on racial injustice, lynching, women's suffrage and African American history. She becomes a charter member of the National Association of Colored People. In 1949 she sues the American Assn. of University Women for refusing to readmit her to the Washington branch.
Bucknell hosts an extensive tennis tourament and five women are entered in the mixed doubles - Miss Wilhemina Darlington, Miss Mary Wolfe, Miss Mary Harris, Miss Mary Bartol, and Miss M.A. Peck, - for by this time there were sixteen women in the college.
III. Bucknell Institute--For Ladies
The Institute for Ladies was opened as a separate school in 1852. The Institute has its own corps of instructors, its separate buildings and campus though sharing in the use of the two courses of study--a graduating course and a course of preparatory to college. The former course includes Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Astromony, Chemistry, Botany, Geology, Physiology, Latin, French, German, Psychology, and Ethics, English Literature a specialty. Special attention to the health of pupils. Personal oversight in habits, manners, care of person. Comforts not stinted.
1893 Bucknell Catologue
The Young Women's Christian Association of the Institute is active and progressive. It has at present fifty-five members, and these, under the efficient leadership of Miss Annie Carlisle, are constant and zealous in the religious work of the school. Besides the regular monthly program and business meetings of the Association, it has in charge the Tuesday evening prayer meetings, missionary and temperance work.
Mary Belle Harris, daughter of University President John Harris, graduates from Bucknell. As a student, Mary is active in tennis, an original member of the women's basketball team, and a charter member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She later goes on to receive a Ph.D. and has a successful career as an administrator for women's prisons.
PI PHI CHRONICLE
1. In the beginning six girls created Pi Phi.
Mary Bartol, an alumna of the Female Institute, graduates with honors in classical languages from Bucknell. She is the daughter of Professor William Cyrus Bartol, Ph.D., an 1872 graduate, who for nearly half a century was Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy. Mary goes on to earn a masters degree in 1895. She then does graduate work at the University of Michigan and eventually obtains a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1899. She will also head the Classic Department of Rockford College in Illinois. In 1903 she marries Lewis Edwin Theiss, a Bucknell graduate, who becomes a member of the Bucknell English Department after working at the New York Sun. Mary and her husband continue to write for various magazines and document local history as well as the University's past. (Much of the documentation for this exhibit is contained in Centennial History of Bucknell University written by Theiss.)
Married Men's Organization
Motto: "Of all the words of tongue or pen,
Chief Weeper. . . . . . . . . LEWIS THE PREACHER.
The following names have been proposed for membership, and will be voted upon at the next irregular meeting, to be held under the sorrowing pines of Weeping Willow Hollow:
J. READY WOULD.
Eveline J. Stanton, an 1890 graduate of Bucknell, is sought out by President Harris to fill the position of Dean of College Women. This new post separates responsibilities for the girls of the Female Institute and those for the women enrolled in the College. "Dr. Harris told Miss Stanton that he saw a big field among women. He said he wanted to build the women's enrollment up to 600; but that he planned to have two men to every woman. . . . He had it in mind to make at Bucknell a college for women that should be, in his own words, 'the Bryn Mawr of Central Pennsylvania' . . . " Miss Stanton leaves her position as teacher at Edinboro State Normal School to assume the position at Bucknell.
"It was still a day of strict regulations. Study hours were enforced with a teacher on each floor to keep order. There were prayers each evening, then another study hour, and lights had to be extinguished at ten o'clock."
*This image was scanned from the 1894 L'Agenda.
The institution was illumnated by kersoene lamps at this time and girls would clandestinely use the lamps to cook fudge in their rooms although it was highly dangerous. Once, when a fire started in the Institute, "Miss Stanton rushed into the blazing room and found flames everywhere. The curtains, the rug, the pillows -- all were burning fiercely. Without a moment's hesitation she ripped down the curtains, tossed the blazing pillows on the rug, rolled the whole into a fiery cylinder, and heaved it straight through the window sash, with the lamp following hard after. A moment later one of the girls was heard to remark, 'It's all right now girls.' 'How do you know?' another girl demanded. 'Why Miss Stanton's here,' was the reply." The resident of the room was slightly burned and Dr. Charles Gundy, '93, one of the physicians who helped to establish pre-medical courses at Bucknell, came to treat her injuries. Miss Stanton and Dr. Gundy would later marry in 1904.
sketch by Anju Mulchandani
A one-mile bicycle race among girls of the Institute is held and Miss Mabelle Wells wins in two minutes and forty-two seconds.
Faculty of the Female Institute Miss Gould - Vocal Teacher Miss Eddleman - (Mrs. Heine) Dr. Averagnet - Music & French Miss Juliet Aiken - Piano Mrs. Larison Miss Armitage - Gym Leida Bell - Wood
Bucknell University Archives
A Women's Congress is held at Bucknell on May 4, and featured guest speakers include Clara Barton discussing the Red Cross Movement and former First Lady Frances Fulsome Cleveland speaking about Life at Washington. The event is sponsored by the Bucknell Institute Class of 1896.