top: 1915 photograph of artist Georgia
OKeeffe, who taught summer school at U.Va. from 1913
to 1916. With the advent of coeducation in the fall of 1970,
undergraduate women showed up for move-in day. Elizabeth N.
Tompkins, the first woman to graduate from the School of Law,
finished near the top of her class in 1923. A "certificate
of proficiency" was given to Caroline Preston Davis in
lieu of a degree in 1892.
From Georgia OKeeffe to majority
Library exhibits history of women at U.Va.
A plan of female education has never been a subject
of systematic contemplation with me.
Thomas Jefferson, 1818
Charlotte Morford Scott
history of women at the University of Virginia is usually told
as a recent one, beginning with the admission of undergraduate
women in 1970.
new exhibition at U.Vas Alderman
Library shows how the long, rich history of women at U.Va.
actually began in the 1800s, long before the milestone of coeducation.
and Making Tradition: Women at the University of Virginia
presents rare letters, photographs and other documents that tell
the stories of female faculty, staff and students at the traditionally
male University. And it makes clear how women of earlier
generations carved their own paths at the male-dominated institution.
exhibition draws on historic materials from the University archives
and artifacts borrowed from around the University, including the
Alumni Association, the Nursing School and the Law School. Some
of the rare items on view are:
The non-diploma awarded U.Va.s first female
graduate, Caroline Preston Davis, who in 1892 met the requirements
for a mathematics B.A. but received a certificate of proficiency
(a U.Va. diploma with word graduate scratched out)
A 1915 photograph of a young eorgia OKeeffe, who taught
at U.Va.s summer school from 1913 to 1916.
A 1922 letter from Elizabeth Tompkins, the School of Laws
first female graduate (and also the first woman admitted to the
Virginia State Bar), to her father, in which she describes her
dismay over the mob of men at the school who are more
repulsive than snakes that crawl in the grass.
with other members of the Board of Visitors in 1933, Mary
Cooke-Branch Munford served on the board for 12 years and
was a tireless advocate for women and their inclusion in the
University. Alice Jackson was denied admission to the University
in 1935 because she was African American, a decision that
drew national attention to U.Va.s discriminatory practices.
1909 photograph of summer school students.
The 1935 correspondence between Alice Jackson, the first African
American to apply to the University, and the Board of Visitors.
The rejection of Jacksons application on the basis of race
paved the way for a state policy of providing African-American
students with scholarships to attend out-of-state schools.
people think that the history of women at U.Va. began with full
coeducation in 1970, says Mercy Quintos, the librarys
exhibitions coordinator. Breaking and Making Tradition
shows that women have always been a force here, and in some creative
and surprising ways.
exhibition is open in Aldermans McGregor Room Monday through
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For directions or information,
call Special Collections at 924-3025.
from the exhibition are also online at http://www.lib.virginia.edu/
of Women at U.Va.