A Brief History Of Radcliffe

For 74 years Radcliffe has been a spinster--now she has finally gotten up enough nerve to ask the boy next door to tie the knot.

Even as far back as 1879 there was such a thing as a "Harvard Girl," but only Mrs. Aggasiz, Radcliffe's founder, used the term. Radcliffe at that time was formally called "The Society for Intercollegiate Instruction of Women," nicknamed the "X College" or the "Harvard Annex"--the popular epithat today. In 1894, however, the Annex incorporated as Radcliffe College, and Cliffies became real.

Yesterday's merger recommendation follows a trend toward total coeducation that really began only out of necessity during World War II. Even then, it was a man--Radcliffe President Wilbur K. Jordan--who had to make the first moves. In 1943, coeducational classes began when Harvard agreed to assume responsibility for all instruction and Radcliffe agreed to split its tuition with Harvard.

After the change, one Radcliffe dean beamed, "Now Harvard and Radcliffe education are the same except for the name on the diploma," In 1962, the name on the diploma did become the same, though. Harvard clung to the dignity of separate commencements.

The Cliffies of the sixties put on their most productive crusade for coeducation in 1966 when the opening of Hilles Library to men that Fall saw the social barriers between Harvard and its sister begin to creak. In September separate registration was abolished, in the Spring Lamont fell, and two years later--all is undone.