Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yearbook 1937-1938

Ethel's pasted her articles into her scrapbook during her senior year at Rice Institute. It was the academic year of 1939-1940. While most of her classmates at Rice were twenty-one years old or so, Ethel, had just turned seventeen. She was young, and female. The first three clippings hinted at the difficulties of women on campus. The discrimination felt by women was not unique to Rice. Since, this is Women's History Month, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the statistics regarding women at Rice during my grandmother's stay and see how far women have come in a span of three generations!

Rice, founded in 1912, was unusual amongst institutions of higher learning, as it accepted women from the get-go.  The class of 1912, made up of 48 young men and 29 young women, was taught by twelve member faculty (Rice University). Today, there are more than six thousands students, close to four thousand undergraduates, 48% of whom are female, according to US News college ranking.

The 1938 Rice Yearbook, the Campanile, is available on as part of their US School Yearbooks online database. Ethel was a member of the sophomore class.

Ethel's yearbook picture. (First from the left). She was 15 years old.
The Campanile 1937-1938. 
Statistics gathered from the 1938 Yearbook:
  • Board of trustees members: 7 members. All men
  • Administration Offices: President, Dean, Registrar, Bursar and Advisor to Women. All male, except the Advisor to Women, Sarah L. Lane.
  • Professors: 13, all men.
  • Assistant professors: 8, all men.
  • Instructors: 22,  all men.
  • Assistance and Fellows: 23, (22 men, 1 woman).
  • Graduate Students: 6, all men.
  • Student Council: 6, (4, men, 2 women).
  • Class Representatives 9 (5, men, 4 women).
  • Women's Council: 12 women.
  • Honor Council: 9 (4 men, 5 women).
  • Sophomore Class: 362 students,  (98 women about 27%)
  • Pre-Med and Pre-Law and Engineering Societies. All male. 
  • Band: All male.
The faculty, was just about all male, but the university, sensitive to the women students, established an administrative position, the Advisor to Women to help the female students. The picture in the student body was quite different, and the women were well represented in the Student Council. They also advocated for themselves with the Women's Council. Careers like Medicine, Law and Engineering were completely male dominated. It would be interesting to see how many women compared to men, reached graduation. I bet, many, like Miss Whatley mentioned in the August 31st, 1939 article: Psychology Teacher And Rice Student Wed in New Mexico. The article only mentions that her husband, Professor Pattie, continued his professorship. It's unlikely the new Mrs. Pattie, continued her studies. For those of you curious to see what Miss Whatley looked like, I finally was  discovered her photograph in the yearbook (I was looking in the wrong year).
Billie Bess Whatley, Freshman 1937-1938
Source: U.S. School Yearbooks [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.


Thank you for visiting Ethel's Scrapbook! Your comments are greatly appreciated!