By Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
Alma Mater: layout and event within the Women's schools from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the Thirties ASIN: 0870238698
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Additional resources for Alma mater: design and experience in the women's colleges from their nineteenth-century beginnings to the 1930s
As Bryn Mawr added buildings, they drew on the association of scholarship with the quadrangles of Oxford and Cambridge. Collegiate Gothic entered the lexicon of design for women's colleges. Bryn Mawr's landscape carried associations of ceremony and the dignity of scholarship. Barnard's origins as an annex to Columbia are much like those of Radcliffe. However, created a decade later, in 1889, Barnard needed to establish a clear presence in New York. Under its Bryn Mawr-trained dean, Barnard built monumental academic buildings compatible with the new Morningside Heights campus of Columbia.
We see how power shifts to other actors. We watch as new definitions of women and of their relation to higher education, their futures, men, and each other reshape the college campus. In all this there is perhaps a message for the present as well as for the future. Architecture is not just artifact, it is emblem. We live today not in an era of building but in one of restoration and adaptive reuse. Today on women's college campuses old buildings serve new purposes: a music building is transformed to a students' center; a dormitory becomes offices for the philosophy department; a society house supports an organization of African-American students.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women gathered in separate organizations that gave them a power base for social, economic, and political action. Women's clubs, women's professional organizations, reform groups, settlement houses, and women's colleges coexisted. These were not inward-looking bodies designed to satisfy individual women's private needs. These were groups that looked out to the society of women and men. To some degree they created and sustained a Page xix dynamic agenda that linked women's enfranchisement to social justice and peace.
Alma mater: design and experience in the women's colleges from their nineteenth-century beginnings to the 1930s by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz