Sooner or later Harvard will have its first female Overseer, David W. Bailey '21, secretary to the Overseers, said yesterday.
"There are certainly no legal obstacles which would prevent a woman from being elected an Overseer, and I doubt that there will long be any emotional obstacle," Bailey said. He added, however, the large majority of electors were men, who might hesitate to vote for a woman.
Since 1916, holders of any degree from Harvard University have been eligible to vote for Overseer. Holders of masters or honorary degrees may utilize their franchise immediately; other graduates may wait five years from the receipt of their earliest degree.
The founding of the School of Education in 1920 brought women into the University for the first time, allowing them to vote for Overseer. Feminine voters have grown since then as other graduate schools began to admit women. The last to do so was the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which accepted female students for the first time last year. 'Cliffies, who new receive Harvard degrees, may naturally vote in the election of Overseers.
Increasing numbers of woman graduates, as well as a large feminine faculty, will contribute to the probability of electing a woman Overseer, Bailey predicted. The large number of Harvard men who send their daughters to Radcliffe, as well as the alumni who marry them, will eventually assure a female position on the Board, he said.
Candidates for Overseer need not have graduated from Harvard or hold University degrees. Four of the present Overseers have been ineligible to vote because they did not receive degrees from the University