Students at Bryn Mawr have extraordinary opportunities to work with rich collections of original artwork, artifacts, manuscripts and texts, thanks to the generosity of a remarkable group of alumnae, faculty and friends who collected and donated to the College. In September 2010, the library will open a year-long exhibition featuring some of the stellar pieces from our collections, many of which have not been seen in public for many years. As a preview of the exhibition, the Alumnae Bulletin will feature an object and its donor in each issue over the next year.
Ethelinda Schaefer Castle, Class of 1908, was one of the most accomplished book collectors of the 20th century, and at her death left more than 1,500 books to Bryn Mawr. In addition to three Books of Hours, her donation included important collections of the works of Dickens, Conrad, and other 19th- and 20th-century writers, and more than 400 illustrated natural history works, including such classics as Redouté's Les Roses and Edward Lear's Parrots. Thanks to support from the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, the library has been able to catalogue the collection and create an online collection of illustrations from the natural history books: http://triptych. brynmawr.edu/cdm4/castle.php.
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By Elliott Shore, Chief Information Officer,
Constance A. Jones Director of Libraries, and Professor of History
In the fall of 1885, Bryn Mawr opened its doors to its first students. Many of you have seen the picture of the intrepid first class, its leaders and its faculty, who all fit without too much crowding on and in front of what are now known as the senior steps of Taylor Hall. The way towards founding this College was a fascinating and intriguing journey, one that had its roots in many strands in the history of the country, of women, of Quakerism, of Philadelphia and Baltimore and the history of education.
The College's history has been told many times precisely because of all of the roots that led to its inception and its establishment as well as the role it has played in the continuing questions of what education means and can do, the role of single-sex institutions in general, and all of the serious debates through the century and a quarter in which Bryn Mawr has figured prominently and sometimes preeminently.
With the generous support of the Friends of the Library, the College is mounting a series of conferences, publications and exhibitions to mark this anniversary and to leave a legacy that we hope will provide pathways for the future of women's education. We begin in this article to map out for you what we are planning for the academic year 2010–2011. We hope that as you read this article, and subsequent articles on the preparations for the year of celebration, you will find something that you wish to support through a contribution of your time, talent and treasure. Hearing from you now will help us to conceive of a year that will elicit the widest response and the largest impact.
Due to the great generosity of Joanna Semel Rose '52, we will bring together leaders and scholars from around the world for a conference on the past, present and future of women's education, to be held at Bryn Mawr September 23–25, 2010, and a scholarly publication of its findings that we believe might set out a blueprint for future directions.
Planning for the conference is moving into its implementation stages—we have garnered enthusiastic support from an international advisory committee, still in formation, headed by Bryn Mawr President Jane Dammen McAuliffe and Masako Iino, president of Tsuda College in Japan. Members include Mary Patterson McPherson, Ph.D. '69, executive officer of the American Philosophical Society; Carol T. Christ, president of Smith College; Judith Shapiro, president emerita of Barnard College; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor of History, Smith College; Catharine R. Stimpson '58, dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York University; Susan Lennon, president of the Women's College Coalition; and Sister Andrea Lee, president of the College of St. Catherine. Three faculty members are leading the planning efforts at the College: Maria Luisa Crawford '60, professor of research and professor emeritus of geology, and MacArthur Fellow; Carola Hein, associate professor of Growth and Structure of Cities and Guggenheim fellow; and Jennifer Spohrer, assistant professor of history.
The 2010 academic year will begin with the opening of a major exhibit highlighting the extraordinary treasures that the College has collected since its founding—from rare books to rare minerals, important art to exquisite manuscripts, and ancient archaeological objects to precious anthropological artifacts. We hope to develop an electronic tour of all of the treasures that adorn the historic buildings on the campus to use in the future for prospective students and visitors. This electronic version of the exhibit will, we hope, include voices from several generations of Bryn Mawr students and faculty.
We are also planning a history of the College in words and pictures. Work on the book has already begun in a course on Bryn Mawr's history within the contexts of women's higher education and the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Seventeen juniors and seniors are doing primary research in the College archives that will help to form the basis for essays on aspects that are of interest to current students. (The course will be repeated next year.) With the support of Friends of the Library Chair Teresa Wallace '79, who conceived of the idea for the class as a precursor for the publication, the students are hearing from speakers from various eras, visiting Baltimore to get at some of its extant roots, and taking part in events that will further their understanding of the full range of the College's history. The current presidents of both Haverford and Bryn Mawr have taken part in the class, as will former President Pat McPherson and a host of alumnae/i and faculty.
Still to be planned are alumnae/i and student events, which will probably revolve around the reunions of 2010 and 2011 and May Day in 2010 and 2011. The celebratory year will conclude with Bryn Mawr's hosting the Friends Association of Higher Education Annual Conference, set for June 2011. Appropriately, the theme of that conference will be Quaker Colleges and women's education.
We have engaged a Council of Library and Information Services (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow in scholarly information resources for a two-year period to coordinate and carry out the work necessary to this ambitious program. Anne L. Bruder is completing her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in English, on the history of the education of women. She will be based primarily in the special collections department of the library and will be affiliated as well with the English department at the College. We look forward to Anne joining us in June.
We will need your help in carrying through on all of these plans. Funding for the exhibition—both for the preservation of the materials to go on display and for the mounting of the exhibition—is not yet completely in hand. We hope that the book on the history of the College will be in great demand and will find a ready market, but the upfront costs for its production would also be a way to support the College's efforts.
Please contact me, Elliott Shore, at email@example.com to discuss any of these projects. For ways to support the Friends of the Library, the book on the history of the College or the treasures exhibition, contact Teresa Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Director of Library Collections and Seymour Adelman Head of Special Collections Eric Pumroy at email@example.com.
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"The Very Best Thing in a Girl's Life”: Early Women's Colleges in Fiction and Fact, an exhibition in Canaday Rare Book Room, draws on the library's large collection of turn-of-the-century fiction about college girls and on scrapbooks, diaries, and correspondence from some of Bryn Mawr's earliest graduates. It explores what people thought about college girls when women's colleges were a new idea—and whether what they thought was true.
To mark the opening of the exhibition, the Friends of the Library sponsored a panel discussion, "Student Life at Bryn Mawr Since World War II: Reflections of Alumnae from the '40s to the '90s.”
Many college women kept scrapbooks and albums into which they pasted photos, playbills, exam papers, invitations to teas, letters from home, dance cards, newspaper clippings, valentines, and the 101 other pieces of paper they valued. The Library's collection includes several dozen photo albums and scrapbooks from the early years of Bryn Mawr, and these are highlighted in the exhibition to illustrate and illuminate the fictional events and to help visitors compare the published stories to students' own accounts.
Sponsored by the Friends of the library, the show is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Rare Book Room in Canaday Library, through June 1.
Special Collections would love to receive additional scrapbooks, correspondence or photographs of Bryn Mawr memories from alumnae/i.
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In response to students' desire for more opportunities to make art at Bryn Mawr, the Art Club opened Arnecliffe Art Studio on March 27 as a space for all members of the campus community.
Haverford Printmaking recently vacated the studio for a new center on its campus. Funded by SGA, the studio is equipped with paper, pencils, paints, linoleum block printing materials, bookmaking materials, embroidery materials, paper making supplies, silkscreens and inks, matte board and frames, a sewing machine, beads and beading thread, and a small art-making book library. Tutorials are offered for fun new projects, most recently on making tote bags and on Japanese stab book binding. Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to take or teach a workshop with the club.
Art Club members worked with Director of Student Activities Mary Beth Horvath and Facilities Services' Environmental Health and Safety Officer Don Abramowitz to secure the space.
Club publicist Adrienne Webb '11 co-planned the opening night party with Julia Brady '11, and harpist Gillian Grassie '09 performed with a band. At a silk screening demonstration led by Anne George-Hallgren '11, students could make their own prints. There were party-hat making and mask-making stations, a display of handmade books, and a table stacked with prints made by students to purchase in return for a donation.
The student Mural Club has been painting scenes and designs on walls around campus—most recently in Cartref, Erdman Dining Hall, and the Science Building.
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The Center for Science and Society, the President's Office, and the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center co-hosted the last two lectures of "Celebrating Women Scientists as University Presidents” series this semester. "This College has had a long tradition of success in educating women scientists and mathematicians,” said President Jane McAuliffe. "Currently our undergraduates earn degrees in these fields at four times the national average. Despite expansion in recent years, women remain underrepresented among both senior science faculty and university and college presidents. Our speakers are superb examples of the benefits to be gained from equality of opportunity and access.”
Psychologist Nancy Cantor, the 11th chancellor and president of Syracuse University, said that women scientists are uniquely positioned for leadership positions and institutional activism because they "have a heightened sense of the odds that…gives us an appreciation for how marked we are by our group experience and expectations,” she said.
Cantor urged insiders to "retain the spirit and courage of outsiders.”
"We must,” she said, "be comfortable with our group identity, recognizing that we are ideally situated for the kinds of change that truly can be described as transformative.”
University of Iowa President Sally Mason, a biologist, did not plan to go into administration: it "just happened” with a temporary position as a dean. Most female presidents she knows also arrived at their jobs by chance. As for being a scientist, "Biologists are trained to think in systems, and to solve problems analytically,” she said. "It's in our nature to see how the parts fit with the whole and that's exactly the job of a university president.” Her recent experiences at Iowa have driven this home. Last June, the Iowa River, which runs through the heart of the campus, overflowed and damaged many buildings, including the entire arts campus, resulting in $740 million worth of damages. "We were part of one of the 10 worst natural disasters in recorded U.S. history,” Mason said. "I never intended my presidency to involve massive flood recovery, but that will no doubt define much of my tenure at Iowa and will be my legacy. When you are handed lemons, you make lemonade, and we have survived remarkably with the response of our community. We have one of the best hydrolics groups in the country; they thought they had the best living lab in the country last year.”
Mason's advice to prospective presidents: "You have to ask yourself if you're at the point in your career where you get a lot more satisfaction helping somebody else than in your own work and students. With these jobs come enormous responsibilities and enormous opportunities to mess up big time. When you do, you mess up a lot of people.”
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The current financial downturn has had a significant impact on virtually all colleges and universities in the U.S., experienced variously through endowment declines, reduced state subsidies, drops in philanthropic support and/or increased student demand for financial aid. Bryn Mawr has responded to the resulting budget challenge by launching a multi-phase process to cut expenditures and to identify additional sources of revenue. This effort will reduce annual operating expenses by an estimated $5–6 million and realize new efficiencies in College operations while providing support for increased demands for financial aid, competitive salaries, and academic programs.
The College moved quickly this winter to institute changes that will yield $3.8 million in annual savings and revenues. These included cuts in department operating budgets, new initiatives to increase summer revenues, and reduction of staff and teaching positions. The latter were achieved largely by attrition, the elimination of a number of vacant positions, and reduction in the number of adjunct faculty.
A second phase of budget review began in the spring and has involved campus constituencies in consideration of more difficult decisions. To create as collaborative, participatory and transparent process as possible, the President's and Treasurer's Offices created firstname.lastname@example.org to solicit suggestions and held three community workshops open to all community members. In these workshops, students, faculty and staff worked together in small groups to review proposed changes and make recommendations on the best way to achieve an additional $1.6 million in savings and new income. The process provided valuable advice to the Campus Budget Committee and opportunities for all to participate in the difficult decisions forced by lean economic times and to learn about the priorities and challenges faced by different members of the College community.
Over the summer and the coming academic year, the College will broaden its concern from responses to immediate budget challenges to a strategic review of academic and administrative operations. Two of these efforts are already underway—work with Haverford to explore new opportunities to improve student services through additional administrative collaboration and a comprehensive review of the undergraduate curriculum that will provide crucial guidance in shaping the College's future academic commitment. Both efforts aim to direct our resources to our highest institutional priorities and to move Bryn Mawr forward in the competitive world of highly selective colleges and universities.
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This residential-appropriate windmill powers the Multi-Cultural Center on Cambrian Row. Although this source of renewable energy provides a tiny fraction of Bryn Mawr's total energy consumption, the windmill's purpose is a demonstration for students. This spring, facilities will also install solar panels on Cambrian Row.
President Jane McAuliffe has renewed Bryn Mawr's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. President Nancy J. Vickers originally signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to assess the campus's energy consumption and eliminate or neutralize its greenhouse-gas emissions over time.
The ACUPCC has more than 600 signatories. Participating colleges must complete an emissions inventory, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate-neutral, take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and make sustainability part of the educational experience. The President's Sustainability Committee, a group of Bryn Mawr administrators, faculty, and staff, and students, has been charged with overseeing progress.
In other efforts to its reduce environmental impact, the College has revitalized its recycling program, "with new containers that take a long list of items,” said Energy Sustainability Initiative Coordinator Don Abramowitz. "Our housekeepers are very involved in a push to raise consciousness in the dorms, and Dining Services is exploring a number of measures. Lighting systems in major buildings have been upgraded to high efficiency fluorescents and has swapped out incandescent bulbs in favor of compact fluorescents wherever possible. Student laundry rooms already have front loading washers for water savings. Free for some years, they may be made coin operated again to encourage water saving. One of the big blue buses and one shuttle can run on natural gas; the College has its own natural gas fueling station. Biodiesel is used in other buses, vehicles and diesel-powered equipment. The College also has a computerized energy and temperature management system to monitor buildings, with more than 500 temperature sensors located in rooms across the campus.
The campus is already used as an academic laboratory, with studies of water quality and fish in Vickers Pond, and of bees and vegetation, for example. Students in a Praxis course have been working for two years with local municipalities on switching their fleet vehicles to natural gas.
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"Ordinary people are the backstory to the recent election."
Angela Davis, scholar, political activist and philosopher, captivated a standing-room-only audience in Thomas Great Hall for this year's Black History Month keynote address, "Democracy, Social Change and Civil Engagement.”
Davis first made headlines in 1969 after being removed from her teaching position in the philosophy department at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party, USA.
She achieved nationwide notoriety in 1970. She was placed on the FBI's 10-most-wanted list when a shotgun registered in her name was used during a courthouse escape attempt that left a California judge dead and a state prosecutor paralyzed. Davis fled California after being charged as an accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide. She was eventually captured in New York and in 1972 was tried and acquitted of all charges.
Davis' 18 months in jail and on trial left an indelible mark on her. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She is one of the primary founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison-industrial complex.
Before beginning her address, Davis received a standing ovation from the audience. "I was told I would be talking to about 150 students,” she said. At least three times that many, old and young alike, greeted her with genuine enthusiasm. Taking a departure from her originally planned address, she reminded them that civil rights and the election of Barak Obama are not to be equated with "freedom,” and that although "we have a Black man as Head of State, the problems of racism, the problems of all Black people do not just magically disappear.”
Davis pointed out that we all have dreams but what distinguishes those who have really left their mark on history is their ability to envision a different kind of world from the one they live in. She said she looks to the promise that Obama brings to undo some of the damage done to the country over the past eight years. She was quick to point out, however, that no matter how wonderful some perceive Obama to be, he is not the "messiah.” Any administration, any government needs the people to stay engaged and to "push back” to keep democracy in action. She called attention to the agency of "ordinary people” in making history, noting that we tend to credit single heroic individuals instead. It was the working-class Black women who were riding busses to work as domestic servants who asked Dr. Martin Luther King to represent them, she said, and ordinary people are the backstory to the recent election.
Davis recalled times of the Movement with some rue: "We really believed the revolution was going to happen soon, that capitalism would be overthrown.” Davis said she had come to realize that individuals working for change need to examine and change their own behaviors as well, giving the example of men protesting police brutality who then abused their female partners, unable to make the connection of patriarchal violence. What she tries to retain from that time is the feeling of connectedness to other people.
After she concluded her talk to yet another standing ovation, Davis answered questions from the audience and stayed to take pictures with those attending, to give autographs and to sign copies of her eight books in print.
Davis is professor of history of consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and professor of feminist studies at U.C. Santa Cruz.
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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, President of the College Jane McAuliffe, and a host of luminaries were on hand to honor Jane Golden, executive director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, with the 2009 Katharine Hepburn Medal in recognition of her tireless efforts to build community through public art, engage at-risk youth, beautify the city, and work toward social justice.
"Jane exemplifies the type of purposeful life that shapes the Hepburn Center's mission,” McAuliffe said in presenting the award. "Where others see walls, graffiti, scribbled words of violence, and the marks of crime, she sees pure potential.”
The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College is the only organization authorized by the Hepburn estate to commemorate the lives and achievements of iconic screen legend Katharine Hepburn '28, and her mother, Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Class of 1899, an activist for reproductive rights and women's suffrage.
The Hepburn Medal honors women whose lives and work embody the intelligence, drive, and independence of the four-time Oscar winner. Award recipients are chosen for their commitment and contributions to the Hepburn women's greatest passions—film and theater, civic engagement ,and women's health. The award was first given in 2006, in the area of film and theater, to renowned actresses Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner.
"I am deeply honored to have my work and the work of the Mural Arts Program recognized in the spirit of the great Katharine Hepburn—because Ms. Hepburn was not only a great actor. She was a remarkable woman—years ahead of her time,” said Golden in accepting the award.
Lynn Yeakel, director of Drexel University College of Medicine's Institute for Women's Health and Leadership and the Betty A. Cohen Chair in Women's Health, served as master of ceremonies for the event.
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Twelve Bryn Mawr students joined President of the College Jane McAuliffe in March for a special invitation-only panel discussion at New York University featuring British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and two-time Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, who chairs President Barrack Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
The invitation to attend the event on multilateralism in the 21st century came about as a result of McAuliffe's participation in the U.K./U.S. Study Group on Higher Education in a Globalized World, a small group of higher-education leaders from the United States and the United Kingdom formed at the request of Brown, who is deeply interested in the current state and future potential of U.S./U.K. college and university collaboration.
After the forum, McAuliffe, Princeton President Shirley Tilghman, NYU President John Sexton, and the two other U.S. members of the U.S./U.K. Study Group—Association of American Universities President Bob Berdhal and American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad— met privately with their U.K. colleagues and Brown, to whom the group had given a final report in January.
"At this point the dissemination and further discussion of our report is in the Prime Minister's hands. I don't know if he will convene the study group again, but I am very grateful for the experience that this endeavor provided,” said McAuliffe. "It's been absolutely fascinating to participate in a think tank with colleagues who have given so much thought to the globalization of higher education.”
Earlier this year, McAuliffe was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations, the nation's preeminent nongovernmental, nonpartisan, think tank on foreign affairs.
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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will give this year's convocation address on Saturday, May 16.
"Mayor Nutter has been an important advocate for the many institutions of higher education in the Philadelphia region,” said President of the College Jane McAuliffe. "He has made increasing the college-degree attainment rate and reducing the high-school drop-out rate of city residents a top priority. His efforts to create a transparent and participatory government have given residents the chance to become more involved with city governance and to make meaningful contributions to their community.”
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Alumnae from different generations have been telling stories about their experiences at Bryn Mawr and its influence on their lives for a video oral history project that began last year at Reunion 2008. "Bryn Mawr Stories” was produced by Laci Hutto '07. Mariel Wenk '10 filmed and edited each interview, creating a collection of thematic vignettes for use on the Alumnae Association website
(www.brynmawr.edu/alumnae/reunion). Three videos have been produced, on advice to current students, feelings about coming back to campus, and memories of the political climate and opportunities for women. (One alumna recalled that her father told her she could do whatever she wanted for a career, but that "she would always have to have lunch with the secretaries.”)
Interviews were also filmed during last year's Black Alumnae Reunion. Half-hour interviews will be conducted again during this year's Reunion on May 29 and 30. Alumnae may sign up for individual interviews or invite a friend to join them and interview one another.
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