Women’s History Month at BU: Five unknown facts

Celebrating Women’s History Month can mean many different things—whether you’re reading a book about the wonderful contributions women have made through history or participating in events that celebrate women today. We’re honoring this holiday by sharing five unknown facts about women in the BU community.

1. Helen Magill earns a PhD in Greek

In 1877, Helen Magill earns her PhD in Greek through Boston University’s College of Arts and Science. She was the first woman to earn a doctorate in the United States, making BU the first university in the U.S. to grant a PhD to a woman.

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2. Alumnae Marion Talbot creates the Association of Collegiate Alumnae

In 1881 BU alumnae Marion Talbot organizes a meeting with 17 women representing eight institutions (Boston University, University of Wisconsin, Vassar College, Smith College, Wellesley College, Oberlin College, Cornell University, and University of Michigan) for the purpose of organizing an association of women college graduates with headquarters in Boston. After the preliminary meeting, the women reached out to alumnae of the eight associated colleges then living in New England and New York. It was then that the Association of Collegiate Alumnae was created.

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3. The first on-campus organization by women opens at BU

The first on campus organization created by women dates back to 1912. The goal was to support and advance the women of Boston University. The efforts of the organization eventually resulted in the appointment of the first Dean of Women at BU, Lucy Jenkins Franklin.

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4. Lucy Jenkins Franklin creates the oldest all-female collegiate cooperative house

In 1928, Lucy Jenkins Franklin founded what is regarded as the oldest all-female collegiate cooperative house in the country. The house provided a safe place to live for BU women who could not afford room and board in addition to the cost of a university education. The house is now known as the HER House.

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5. Lucy Wheelock forms Wheelock Kindergarten Training School

Lucy Wheelock was an American early childhood education pioneer within the American kindergarten movement. Wheelock was the founder and head of Wheelock Kindergarten Training School, which later became Wheelock College. In June of 2018, Wheelock College merged with Boston University’s School of Education to become the Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development.

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