Who Built Bryn Mawr?

Who Built Bryn Mawr? is an ongoing project that supports research and curatorial opportunities for students interested in changing the way the College understands its history.

Over its 135+ years, the College has been sustained by countless individuals — not just the presidents, trustees, and donors memorialized on campus. Who are the people whose contributions have been forgotten, or too long overlooked? How can we tell their stories? How can we commemorate them? 

Launched in 2021, this collective research project aims to recognize the wide range of alumnae/i, faculty, and staff who have made important contributions to building Bryn Mawr. This is only the beginning of a much larger project. The College is committed to this collective effort to change the way we understand our history.


Why Build Bryn Mawr? A Rough Draft in Stone: Founding Bryn Mawr College, 1872-1894

September 16, 2022 - December 16, 2022
Canaday Library, Class of 1912 Rare Book Room
Weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

This student-organized exhibition explores the earliest years of the College from its conception in 1872 and the laying of its foundations in 1879 to its opening in 1885 and through its first decade of operation. It was organized by Tessa Famatigan (Class of 2024), Marion Hamilton (Class of 2023), Rhian Muschett (Class of 2023), Madison Wyttenbach (Class of 2023) with academic co-advisors Alicia Walker (Professor of History of Art) and Alexis White (M.A. Candidate, Department of History of Art).

who built bryn mawr 1960s display

Who Built Bryn Mawr? Students of the 1960s Confronting Race

November 5, 2021-June 3, 2022
Canaday Library and locations around campus

This exhibition highlights the ways in which Bryn Mawr students in the 1960s used ideas and experiences influenced by the national Civil Rights movement to shift the culture of the College. It was organized by Keyla Benitez (Class of 2024), Emma Burns (Class of 2021), Bankston Creech (Class of 2022), Elliot Fleming (Class of 2022), Carolina Molina (Class of 2023), and Katy Rosenthal (MA Candidate) with faculty advisors Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor of History) and Monique Scott (Director of Museum Studies and Associate Professor of History of Art.

who built bryn mawr presentation

A Beginning

January 2021-December 2021
Canaday Library, Lobby

- Sally Brown
- Uméko Tsuda
- Hilda Worthington Smith
- Enid Cook

This exhibit names and celebrates four individuals who helped shape the College’s first 50 years. Some of these names may be familiar, but their contributions to the College may not be. By their work and their conviction, they expanded educational opportunity for women at Bryn Mawr and beyond, even if that opportunity had been denied or made more difficult for them. They changed the lives of students, the nature of the College, and higher education and scholarship. They helped to build Bryn Mawr.

History in Progress

Learn about student work, College projects and programs, exhibitions and more on the Bryn Mawr History Projects page.

The Bryn Mawr History Opportunities page includes information on student jobs, related courses, grants for students, faculty and staff, and other avenues of support.

Learn more about a New Digital Tool for Exploring College History (blogpost Feb 5, 2021).