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

Holmes, Elisabeth
Chapter 16: Women in the extension center in Milwaukee,   pp. 89-94

Page 94

cerned, were ideal. Since the institution had no prestige beyond its reputation
for high standards, it attracted no students who could afford to go elsewhere;
hence there were only those who had ambition. Where the always inadequate
physical facilities were concerned, conditions required the same kind of
tability that was characteristic of the whole staff. Women had the satisfaction
of helping to meet the frequent crises and at all ranks were encouraged to
offer new courses wherever there was a demand. In short, the women were
part of an organic faculty.
In the student body, the women tended to be even more earnest than the
men. They were consciously fighting the ethnic cultures of European countries
in which women's place was in the fields and in the home, the idea of sisters
competing with brothers being abhorrent to their families. As they fought
their individual battles with poverty and prejudice, they brought to the
room an ambition that made teaching them a delight. Quite unconsciously
they anticipated the women's-liberation movement.
Notes to Chapter 16
1. Since the author of this essay has just published a history of the UW
Extension Center, much
of the material, of necessity, covers the same ground and is, in parts, taken
from The Urban
Mission Anticipated (1976).
2. Alice V. Kroc's brother-in-law, Ray A. Kroc, is president and her husband
is vice president of
the foundation dedicated to research on basic sciences relating to human
diseases, particularly
arthritis, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
3. Esther Ihlenfeld's title gives no impression of the multiplicity of her
duties. She attended com-
mittee meetings which frequently lasted until 1:00 A.M., occasionally until
3:30. The next
morning she would be writing up the discussions and actions of the committee
to be sent to
board members. This routine was repeated after board meetings. There was
no time-clock
punching nor over-time pay. She hired and supervised the secretaries, handled
the bills in her
capacity as office manager as well as all routine correspondence. In her
words, she "did what
the job called for." In her retirement she is still doing the onerous
work of indexing the board
proceedings since no one qualified has yet been found.

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