Finding Their Proper Place: Three '74 Alumnae Lead RCAA's Transition

In the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association (RCAA) house, a pleasant wood-frame building off of Radcliffe Yard, people chuckle that the Class of 1974 might as well move in.

"There's a lot of jokes about '74 being a power--that we're going to take over Radcliffe," says RCAA President Jane E. Tewksbury '74. "Every time you turn around there's a '74 getting involved."

Just ask RCAA Executive Director Mary M. Carty '74. Or RCAA First Vice President A'Lelia P. Bundles '74, who will take over Tewksbury's position in June.

"We talk about it almost sheepishly," Carty says. "As if it doesn't seem right to take up more than one's proper place."

Today, these members of the Class of 1974 fill the three most important positions in RCAA as the alumnae association starts to chart a course without Radcliffe College at its side. But if you'd asked these women when they were undergraduates, none of them would have said the "proper place" for them would be at Radcliffe--let alone in the middle of the most wrenching change in the institution's history.


Worlds Apart

Though they are close friends today, Bundles, Carty and Tewksbury never met as students. They all lived in the Radcliffe Quad--Bundles and Carty in Currier House, Tewksbury in North House (now Pforzheimer)--but their social circles did not overlap.

For Bundles, who grew up in Indianapolis, coming to Radcliffe fulfilled a dream that began with her mother, who was rejected from Wellesley College because, as she puts it, "they had admitted one or two black women already."

"Radcliffe had a sort of romanticism about women being comfortable being smart," Bundles says. "Every college didn't really emphasize the importance of women's brains...There was a sense that you were kind of special because you had been admitted to Radcliffe."

In college, Bundles hosted an early morning jazz show on WHRB, the campus radio station; she eventually became director of the jazz department, and much of her daily routine revolved around music.

"My fun activities were going to the jazz workshop," she says.

But other than dorm life, Radcliffe was far from Bundles' mind.

"I enjoyed the Strawberry Tea, but I can't say I did much else with Radcliffe," she says.

Like Bundles, Tewksbury plunged into extracurricular activities after coming to Radcliffe from Saugus. A dabbler in various activities, she did community service through the Phillips Brooks House Association, managed Harvard Student Agencies' ring agency and was the head of intramural sports in North House.

Tewksbury affectionately recalls her days as a member of the fledgling--and struggling--Radcliffe basketball team.

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