Woman's College records, 1928-1974

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Access restricted. In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure...
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Duke University. Woman's College
The Woman's College was established at Duke University in 1930, as a coordinate to Trinity College for men. As a coordinate college within Duke University, the Woman's College fostered a community that allowed for shared university faculty, curriculum, and educational facilities, while giving women an opportunity for leadership through their separate student government, social standards committees, and judicial board. It was merged with Trinity College in 1972. The collection includes university administrative records, correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, course schedules, statistics, handbooks, newsletters, calendars, financial information, photographs, audio recordings and other materials. Major topics include coordinate education at Duke University, especially administrative and curricular procedures; relationship between the Woman's College and its students (in loco parentis); social standards policies; women's student government; integration of the Woman's College; student health care; and student organizations.
60.4 Linear Feet (42,305 items)
Material in English, Spanish
Collection ID:
University Archives Record Group:
25 -- Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
25 -- Trinity College of Arts and Sciences > 05 -- Woman's College


Scope and content:

Materials in the collection include university administrative records, correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, course schedules, statistics, handbooks, newsletters, calendars, financial information, photographs, audio recordings, scrapbooks, and other materials from the tenures of Deans Baldwin, Brinkley, Ball, and Kreps. The university administrative records of other offices such as Dean of Women, Academic Dean, Assistant Dean of Women, and Dean of Freshmen are also present.

Biographical / historical:

The Woman's College was established in 1930, as coordinate college to Trinity College for men, with the appointment of Alice M. Baldwin as Dean of the Woman's College. Prior to that women had a long history of attending Trinity College (the antecedent of Duke University). Three Giles sisters were awarded degrees in 1878 on the basis of private instruction by faculty members before Trinity College moved to Durham in 1892. In 1892 the Board of Trinity College officially admitted women to the college, and the first women to attend regular classes graduated in 1896. These women had been permitted to attend classes but they were not given residence on the campus.

In 1896, Washington Duke made a gift of $100,000 to Trinity College urging that women be admitted "on equal footing with men." A small dormitory, the Mary Duke Building was subsequently built in 1898; however it was torn down in 1912. It was replaced by Southgate dormitory for women in 1921. In 1903, Washington Duke removed the proviso attached to his 1897 gift in order to support academic liberty by removing all strings attached to his gift. By 1904 Trinity College had fifty-four women enrolled. The enrollment of women increased during the years of World War I as undergraduate men became scarce. The increase in women students gave rise to the instatement of a Dean of Women, Martha Buchanan, as well as the formation of the Woman's Student Government in 1918. In 1924, Alice M. Baldwin was named Dean of Women.

The establishment of the Woman's College in 1930 coincided with the movement of the men to the newly opened West Campus. The Woman's College was geographically distinct in that its administration building and dormitories were on East Campus (the old Trinity College Campus); however as a coordinate college within Duke University the Woman's College shared university faculty, curricula, and in most instances educational facilities with the other residential undergraduate arts and sciences college, Trinity.

The original enrollment, in 1930, was 506. Classes for freshmen and sophomore women were separate from those of the men and the women for the most part were taught on East Campus. In the 1950s and 1960s student interest in coeducation grew, and gradually coeducation became a reality in freshman and sophomore classes, as well, increasing intercampus travel. Enrollment increases occurred over time: during Dean Baldwin's tenure (1930-1947) enrollment increased to 1,000 students, and during Dean Brinkley's tenure (1947-1967) the enrollment increased from 1,000 to 1,262. This last increase in enrollment brought fundamental changes within the college. The Woman's College Student Government had operated in a town-hall fashion, but with the increase in enrollment the student body became too large to assemble together in the Woman's College Auditorium (renamed Alice M. Baldwin Auditorium in 1964). According to a report to President Knight entitled, The Woman's College in Duke University (1930-1969) submitted February 1969 this enrollment increase was partially attributed to changing student-government procedures and altering other college customs thereby making the student body less cohesive.

The completion of the new administration building (Allen) on West Campus in 1954 allowed for the record keeping and admissions to become centralized services. Thus the recorder and director of admissions for the Woman's College moved to the West Campus facilities. Further consolidation of campus life occurred when the Student Union, an all-university organization, was organized in 1954 on West Campus. This organization subsidized by the University, became the center of student activities for both men and women. However, three Woman's College organizations, the Freshmen Advisory Council, the Y.W.C.A., and the student government remained strong and active during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Dean Margaret Ball began her tenure of the Woman's College in 1963. Her charge as dean was to strengthen the autonomy of the College and to serve, along with the dean of Trinity College, as assistant dean of arts and sciences. Dean Ball also focused upon the physical facilities of East Campus establishing seminar rooms in several buildings, installing fire escapes, remodeling the old Dean's House into a Campus Center for students, remodeling various academic buildings for departmental uses, and installing a language lab, and computer card-punch room.

During the 1960s a perpetual request from the student body was the liberalizing of social regulations, especially those that were traditionally imposed upon women and not on men. This issue became a driving-force in the creation of a university unified student government (Associated Students of Duke University, ASDU) an organization that increasingly pressed for the elimination of all parietal concerns of the University.

Citing more efficient administrative procedures, more efficient representation of undergraduate education concerns and changes in social regulations and admissions' policy, in 1972 the Board of Trustees approved the merger of the Woman's College and Trinity College.

Dean of Woman's College
  1. Alice M. Baldwin, 1930-1947
  2. R. Florence Brinkley, 1947-1962
  3. Ellen Huckabee, (acting), 1963
  4. Margaret M. Ball, 1964-1969
  5. Jane Philpott, (acting), 1969
  6. Juanita Kreps, 1970-1972
Dean of Women
  1. Martha Buchanan 1918-1919
  2. Elizabeth Fronde Kennedy, 1919-1923
  3. Alice M. Baldwin, 1924-1929
  4. Mary Grace Wilson, 1952-1970
  5. P. Philips, 1971-1972
Assistant Dean of Women
  1. Lillian A. Lee (1961-1972)
Dean of Undergraduate Instruction
  1. Ellen Huckabee, 1963-1967
Associate Dean of Instruction
  1. Smith, 1937-1946
  2. Ellen Huckabee, 1950-1951
  3. Jenkins, 1950-1963
  4. Jane Philpott, (acting) 1963
  5. Jane Philpott, 1964-1967
Assistant Dean of Instruction
  1. Ellen Huckabee, 1947-1949
  2. Virginia S. Bryan, 1966-1967; 1969
  3. Annie Leigh Broughton, (acting) 1967
  4. Annie Leigh Broughton, 1968-1971
  5. Josefina Tiryakin, (acting), 1968-1969
  6. Elizabeth Nathans, 1972
Dean of Freshmen
  1. Elizabeth Andrew Persons, 1943-1945
  2. Annie Leigh Broughton, 1968-1969
  3. Elizabeth Nathans
Dean of Residence
  1. Mary Grace Wilson, 1938-1952
Director of Admissions for Woman's College
  1. Elizabeth Anderson Persons, 1945-
Social Director of the Woman's College
  1. Mary Grace Wilson, 1931-1936
Acquisition information:
The Woman's College records were received by the University Archives as a transfer at various times from the Woman's College and then after its dissolution from Trinity College.
Processing information:

Processed by Sherrie Bowser, September 2006

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, October 2006

Updated by Kimberly Sims, May 2013

Various accessions were merged into one collection, and described in this finding aid.


The Woman's College records spans the years 1928-1974, although the bulk of the items in the collection span the years 1950-1972. The collection is arranged into the following series: Admissions, 1930-1971; Calendars, 1958-1965; Committees, 1945-1969; Freshmen, 1934-1973; Office of the Dean, 1928-1974; Statistical Reports, 1930-1960; Student Organization's Scrapbooks and Activities [Oversize], 1932-1969.

There is an index available for this collection onsite at the University Archives. Beside each series title in brackets is the reference number(s) for the index that are contained in that series. Reference numbers are also listed on each individual folder.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access restricted. In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are fragile audiovisual formats that may need to be reformatted before use. Use copies are noted when available. Contact Research Services for access.

Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Woman's College Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.