by Robin Elliot
During the First World War the Drexel Institute was part of a nationwide patriotic movement to get women into the workforce. Drexel offered secretarial courses for women which were advertised as specifically for women and their desire to help their country. Drexel worked with the United States Civil Service Commission to train women for work as civil service secretaries. The training was designed to qualify employees as quickly as possible to help with the war effort. The publicity campaign depended on women’s desire to help their country and the men who were fighting, even if the women were living on the home front.
In 1900, Pauline Conway became the first woman to complete Drexel's architecture program.
The first student housing for women was built in 1918. Construction began on the Sarah Drexel Van Rensselaer Dormitory for Women in 1931.
In 1919, Drexel awarded its first degrees to women.
In 1938, Edith M. Rood became first woman editor of The Triangle.
In 1943, women first enrolled in the School of Engineering. The Drexel Society of Women Engineers was founded three years later.
Drexel University Archives will mark Women's History Month with a series of essays about women’s education in the early years of the Drexel Institute.
Processing Archivist Robin Elliot and iSchool graduate students Cheryl Klimaszewski and Katelyn Wolfrom are processing the papers of the early presidents of Drexel, from 1913-1963. Over the next month, this blog will feature their discoveries – the letters, photographs, publications that document the experiences of the women who studied at Drexel at the start of the 20th Century.
One of the interesting things about working in an archives is that you never know what you'll find when you open a box. We have two large boxes of photographs in the archives that have little or no information - no photographer, no names, no date. In order to find out more about the people, places and things featured in these images, we've scanned them and uploaded them to Flickr.com, one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the web.
Welcome to the Drexel University Archives blog. This blog will feature historical photographs and other interesting documents from the Archives' collections, as well as information about the Archives. We hope it will appeal to anyone with an interest in Drexel's history.