Gymnastics team, c. 1928

Carey Thomas' Success

Through a series of well-trained teachers and coaches, particularly Constance A1927 archery teampplebee, and with the support and energy of the students and the Athletic Association, the College's reputation in the area of physical education kept up with the development oConstance Applebeef its scholarly one. The results - obtained through requirements as well as voluntary participation - were used publicly to reinforce the idea that women could handle the rigors of a college education that was equal to that of men's schools.

In 1907, twenty-five years after the Association of Collegiate Alumnae presented its first report on the health of college women, Carey Thomas spoke words that have continued to resonate throughout the College's history:The "super athlete"

"We did not know when we began whether women's health could stand the strain of college education. We were haunted in those days by the clanging chains of that gloomy little specter, Dr. Edward H. Clarke's Sex in Education. With trepidation of spirit I made my mother read it, and was much cheered by her remark that, as neither she, nor any of the women she knew, had ever seen girls or women of the kind described in Dr. Clarke's book, we might as well act as if they did not exist. Still, we did not know whether colleges might not produce a crop of just such invalids. Doctors insisted that they would. We women could not be sure until we had tried the experiment. Now we have tried it, and tried for more than a generation, and we know that college women are not only not invalids, but that they are better physically than other women in their own class of life."

From "Women's College and University Education,"
An address delivered at the Quarter-Century Meeting of the
Association of Collegiate Alumnae, Boston, November 6, 1907

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The Beginning
Maintaining the Ideal

logo - Building Muscles While Building Minds
Web version by Margaret Fraser
Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections