Armstrong Helps Lead Radcliffe From the First Female Crew to the Final Merger

Charlotte Horwood Armstrong '49 manned the first Radcliffe crew and received her law degree as part of the first Harvard Law School class containing women.

And during the 1998-99 academic year, Armstrong capped her Harvard career with a yearlong stint as president of the University's Board of Overseers, where she was involved in negotiating Radcliffe College's transition into the new Institute for Higher Learning.

Armstrong has always been on Radcliffe's leading edge, and now she is helping her alma mater move into a new era.

"[The Institute] is absolutely the best. It is a splendid initiative. It's great for Harvard and it's great for Radcliffe. I think it is really wonderful for the college," she says.


Armstrong, who currently practices law in New York City, grew up in Cambridge and attended the Winsor School in Boston before matriculating at Radcliffe.

In 1949, however, a career in law was hardly a possibility.

"I thought I was headed for medical school," said Armstrong. "I was a major in biology and I did all the pre-med requirements but felt no comfort level with physics." She decided to give up medicine and move towards the humanities.

Armstrong decided she was " more literate than numerate" and declared a concentration in government with focuses in economics and history. Her specialty, however, was political theory.

Armstrong was involved in many activities at Radcliffe besides her academic pursuits. She was the editorial chair of the Radcliffe News while 11 years before, her future husband was editorial chair of the Harvard Crimson.

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