The Early Years: An Uphill Climb
1874: Two years before Hopkins officially opens,
university trustees ask other university presidents their
opinions on coeducation. Harvard's president, Charles William
Eliot, responds that coeducation is "a thoroughly wrong idea
which is rapidly disappearing." Hopkins's first president, Daniel
Coit Gilman (pictured at right), concurs;
he declares that he favors the higher
education of women--but at separate institutions.
1877: Martha Carey Thomas, daughter of trustee James Carey
Thomas, applies to take graduate studies in Greek. Emily Nunn
applies for admission to biology lectures. The trustees refuse
these requests, although women are permitted to attend public and
special lectures. Thomas persists, and is eventually enrolled as
a candidate for the AM degree, allowed to take exams and receive
guidance from faculty but barred from attending classes. She
withdraws after a year and later completes her PhD (summa cum
laude) at the University of Zurich. She helps to found Bryn Mawr
College in 1885 and later becomes its second president.
1878: The trustees permit Christine Ladd to attend
lectures without being enrolled. Ladd earns her doctorate in
mathematics in 1882, but Hopkins refuses to award it to her. She
becomes the first woman in the Faculty of Philosophy (Arts &
Sciences), and is a lecturer from 1904 to 1909. In subsequent
years, Ladd-Franklin (her married name) contributes significant
theories to the field of logic and color vision. Hopkins finally
awards her a doctorate in 1926.
1893: The first class of medical students, which includes
three women, enters the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The
school's benefactors, the Women's Fund Committee, had arranged to
raise funds to establish the school, provided women were
admitted under the same terms as men.
1897-1902: Gertrude Stein studies at the School of Medicine.
April 1, 1907: The trustees vote to allow the admission of
female graduate students.|
March 4, 1924: Florence E. Bamberger becomes the first woman in the Faculty of Philosophy (Arts and Sciences) to be appointed full professor.
1930: Maria Goeppert Mayer, who would later share the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics, arrives at Hopkins with her husband, Joseph Mayer, who is appointed to the chemistry department. Nepotism rules forbid Maria Mayer from attaining a faculty position. She is granted an assistantship.
1932: Rachel Carson (pictured at right) earns a master's degree in biology. Her later books, The Sea Around Us (1951) and Silent Spring (1962), help start the environmental movement.
November 10, 1969: The board of trustees resolves to admit women undergraduates.
1970: A few local women enter Hopkins in the spring. In September, 90 women enroll.
Source for photos and text: Includes Women at the Johns Hopkins University: A History, by Julia B. Morgan '76 (JHU Press, 1986).
RETURN TO NOVEMBER 1999 TABLE OF CONTENTS.