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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / They came to learn, they came to teach, they came to stay
(1980)

Langill, Ellen D.
Chapter 2: Women at Wisconsin: 1909-1939,   pp. 11-30


Page 12


strongly opposed coeducation at Madison. UW President Birge later described
the naming of Ladies Hall: "I thought it only fair that Dr. Chadbourne's
con-
tumacy regarding coeducation should be punished by attaching (his name) to
a
building which turned out [to be] one of the main supports of coeducation."3
Lathrop provided women students with their own version of a student union
nicknamed "Eve Hall" for ridicule; women were, of course, excluded
from the
all male union on Lake Mendota until 1928 when the present structure was
completed.4
At the dedication ceremonies, April 1, Anna Garlin Spencer, of the New
York School of Philanthropy, spoke on the "Personal Development and
Social
Responsibility of Women." Lathrop Hall, she said, like "the woman's
build-
ings of our great universities, should stand for this, more than anything
else
- for a place in which the new feminine ideal of the dignity of self-develop-
ment as an essential foundation for the highest social service shall be taught
and realized."5 The new hall contained numerous facilities to further
the goal
of self-development and the social service potential of women during Wiscon-
sin's progressive period. In addition to the dean of women's offices, Lathrop
held club rooms, social lounges and kitchens, girls' swimming pool, gym-
nasium and lockers, a dining hall and cafeteria, reading rooms and home eco-
nomics laboratories.6
Even with the addition of Lathrop to the campus, there was a shortage of
dormitory space for women students. Out of town girls had to live, well-
chaperoned, in approved rooming houses, with relatives or family friends,
or
in Chadbourne Hall. In 1911, Regent Florence Buckstaff (class of 1886)
publicized the pressing need for women's housing in an article for the
Wisconsin Alumni Magazine.7 But progress in enlarging space for women
was slow.
With the turn of the century prosperity and the growing professional
awareness of women, the number of female students at Wisconsin began a
steady climb. During the pre-war years from 1909 to 1917, the progressive
tide swept the campus, even though conservative "stalwart" Republicans
won
back the governorship in 1914. The resulting impetus for reform attracted
many young women in Wisconsin to the university where lay the center of ac-
tivity. President Van Hise, a leading proponent of governmental reforms,
won
acclaim for his concept of the role of.a university in building better state
government - the Wisconsin Idea. Van Hise included Wisconsin's women in
his outline of the Wisconsin Idea:
I shall never rest content until the beneficient influences of the university
are made
available to every home in the state... a university supported by the state
for all its
people, for all its sons and daughters.8
The Madison campus served as a springboard for many of Robert
LaFollette's state and national campaigns, and Belle Case LaFollette, one
of
the university's first women law graduates, inspired many young women to
see the campus as a training ground for later lives of service. From 1103
wo-
men undergraduate students enrolled in 1909-10, the number grew to 1589
by 1911-12.9 Supervision and guidance of the campus women was the pro-
vince of the dean of women's office. Wisconsin's first dean of women, Anne
Crosby Emery (1897-1903), began the Women's Self-Government Associ-
ation, patterned after the Bryn Mawr system. Her successor, Cora S. Wood-
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