South Hadley’s first fire brigade was actually Mount Holyoke’s, formed by students of the college in 1895. It was arranged by the school’s Athletic Association, and headed by the Association’s captain. Girls were chosen “not because of muscle, but because of mind,” as the captain believed calmness was more important than strength in fire fighting. Members of the brigade were popular (even idolized).
In 1909 the gymnasium (now Blanchard) basement caught fire, and the students were quickly on the scene. The college watchman had been in the basement trying to stop the blaze. The students got him safely out of the building and put out the fire. Since there were no other people in the building, the life-saving students instead evacuated the gym equipment so it wouldn’t be damaged. Once the fire was out, the students didn’t linger but went straight back to bed for class in the morning.
A reporter for The New York Herald in 1911 asked the students if they wanted to petition for “a regular fire department of men,” to which the lieutenant replied “we would have the fire out before the men rubbed the sleep out of their eyes. A man’s fire department indeed! Men are all right, of course, when they just come to call or when they are needed to carry out the Prom programme. Then sometimes it is nice to have one take you to Amherst to a football game, but as for their being a necessity or more capable of fighting fires, the idea is ludicrous.”
The students would also help fight fires in the town. On one occasion the local school building caught fire and the Mount Holyoke fire brigade was the first to arrive. They immediately started removing furniture and wetting the flames with buckets and a hose. They had largely saved the building by the time another local department arrived.
As a reporter from the New York Journal wrote in 1895: “They could, doubtless, run a railroad if they wished; to operate a gold mine would probably not be beyond their abilities. No opportunities have arisen for such enterprises, to be sure, but young women who are capable of organizing a fire brigade, and in addition are capable of actually fighting fire after they have organized it, would scarcely stop at anything.”
Newspaper photos of the fire brigade :: Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections :: circa mid 1920s
Truthfully, I did not apply to Barnard because it’s a women’s college – I applied in spite of it. Luckily, the school had enough positive aspects to outweigh this negative. Surrounded by only women, 24/7? Ew, no thank you. I agreed with the sentiment that, in this day and age, women’s colleges are somewhat irrelevant. If women no longer need to attend female institutions to achieve higher education, then why would they? There are hundreds of perfectly good co-ed colleges in the world! Yet in only one year at Barnard, I’ve learned my lesson: women’s colleges are not only relevant, but necessary in today’s society. I could tell you the facts – that while only 2% of women graduate from women’s colleges, these graduates comprise over 20% of our congress; that women’s college alum include the likes of Emily Dickinson, Hilary Clinton, Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City, anyone?), Meryl Streep, Barbara Walters, Nancy Pelosi and hundreds of other household names – but instead I’ll explain my own experience at Barnard, and why attending a women’s college is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
One of the most overused, age-old arguments against schools like Barnard is one you’ve probably heard before (I certainly have): a community of only women is unrealistic – it’s nothing like the real world. (News flash: neither is regular college!) The logic is, “how can women successfully assimilate into the work force, where men are not just present, but dominant, if they’ve spent their days surrounded by other women?” Believe it or not, 81% of women’s college graduates reported that their college was extremely or very effective in helping prepare them for their first job, versus 65% of women who graduated from public universities. Yes, I’m surrounded by a lot of estrogen, a lot of the time. No, I don’t feel as though the lack of men is leaving me ill-prepared. Rather, I feel confident and ready to speak my mind, thanks to the simultaneously nurturing yet challenging environment. I never feel as though I’m in competition with my classmates, because I have the opportunity to speak in a free space, without feeling as though I’m being judged or criticized. Every class is an ongoing discussion between peers and professors alike. While this may be possible at co-ed universities, studies have shown that women are less likely to speak up when they are outnumbered by men. Women’s colleges teach leadership and confidence through active participation. (And believe it or not, “women’s studies” isn’t the main focus of every class – and when it is, we analyze gender roles from every side, including the male perspective!) After four years of this, you can imagine that graduates emerge empowered and ready to take their seat at the metaphorical table.
Graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Dance Ethnography on May 21st, 2017 | Wearing Adrianna Papell for Senior Ball 2017.
I want to send love and positive energy to everyone else who has sustained their blackness, their joy, honored the good and the bad, and maintained resilience. I know can be hard to see light and feel proud of yourself through struggle – but you did it! We did it!
“You’re full of drive and ambition now. That young girl will become an woman. You’re determined. Suddenly you realised that it is not necessary to conquer the world, but it is essential to satisfy yourself in some position of external or internal relevancy.
And then the interviewer asks if you take shorthand and how fast do you type?..”
Wendy Wasserstein, 1970-71.
Mount Holyoke archives.
So I was working as a transcriptionist for a while (sweet gig, but it was rough on my hands and back) when I got a call last month from Mount Holyoke College Library for a position I’d applied for back in February. After a few rounds of interviews, I got the job!
I started this week as the Mount Holyoke College Library’s new billing person (for overdue or lost items, stuff like that), and I’ll be the circulation evening associate when the school year regular hours kick in.
I love it so much, you guys! The people are great, and it’s so wonderful to be back in a library setting. I’m really going to enjoy the work, too, which I was unsure about because I didn’t know what to expect on the billing side of things.
I kind of feel like I’m home? Which is an amazing feeling, oh man. I’m so lucky.
Thanks to a lot of lovely people, Virtual College Visits can officially start!
What is this post?
This post is a way to connect students who are unable to visit a certain college with someone who has visited that college.
There are so many things about a college that can’t be learned by looking at their website, or comparing statistics. Yet, at the same time, it is impossible for most students to visit every college that they’re interested in. This is a tool that will hopefully help bridge that gap!
How do I use this?
Think of a school that you’re interested in that you probably won’t be able to visit. Then, scan this (alphabetical) list of schools to see if it’s listed. If it is, congrats! The url(s) listed next to it belong to a person/people who have visited that school. They have contacted me saying that they are willing to talk about their experience at that school with other potential students. Feel free to shoot them a message explaining that you saw their url on this post and want to learn about x school (You should probably specify what school because most of the contributors have visited more than one school).
This is cool! Can I contribute?
Absolutely! Send me (appblrgirl) a message with the schools you would be willing to talk about with others. I will continue to update this post periodically.
Unfortunately because of school and various life things, I won’t be making any more updates to this post for the foreseeable future.
The school I want to visit isn’t on this list!
That sucks. Keep checking back as the list gets updated, you never know when your potential school will show up!
You can also message me with additional questions if you have any.
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, and good luck to all of you!
P.S. To avoid a large number of schools in the ‘U’ section, any schools starting with ‘University of’ have been reformatted. e.g. Virginia, University of
American University - success mess, biochemstudy
Amherst College - stickynotestudies, successmess, mxifu, irblr, cornelldiary, thecollegecollage
Anna Maria University - sarahblogsaboutstuff
Arizona State University - cancerbiophd
Arizona, University of - cancerbiophd, justhitthosebooks
Arkansas, University of - arkansassy-girl
Assumption College - serendipityinboston
Auburn University - drivenstudy
Austin College - college-journey, nap-or-study
Baltimore Rowan University - biochemstudy
Barnard College - rightwingrepublican, firstyearviolet, momochrissy, graduationbound, thecollegecollage
Bath, University of - pigrescuer
Baylor University - college-journey
Binghamton University - cornelldiary
Boston College - gotocollegebutnevergrowup, serendipityinboston, betting-onyou, pensandtea, prepared4theworst
Boston University - rightwingrepublican, university miracles, stickynotestudies, gotocollegebutnevergrowup, serendipityinboston, morpheusorpheus
Bowdoin College - assof2016
Brandeis University - pensandtea
Brigham Young University at Provo - academicsandperformingarts
British Columbia, University of - perdurabimus
Brock University - thecanadianundergrad
Brown University - university miracles, stickynotestudies, chasingcollegedreams , studylikewillowrosenberg, skyclarke, cornelldiary, serendipityinboston, fiendishly-nerdy, graduationbound
Bryn Mawr College - thecollegesearch, success mess, blaizedzabini, doctortatertot
Bucknell University - bos-bound
California at Berkley, University of - future collegiate, chasingcollegedreams, claryjsimmons, collegeappadventure, resarciating, tyffanyblews, thecollegecollage, messin-w-the-message-man
California at Davis, University of - resarciating, thecollegecollage, superminino
California at Irvine, University of - thecollegecollage
California at Los Angeles, University of - chasingcollegedreams, acca-demic, tyffanyblews, thecollegecollage, study-blurry
California at Riverside, University of - booksmrts
California at San Diego, University of - last-constellation, cornelldiary, resarciating, pcrkjimin, tyffanyblews
California at Santa Barbara - embues, studyprn
California at Santa Cruz, University of - resarciating, tyffanyblews
California Institute of Technology - chasingcollegedreams, mocha-study
California Polytechnic State University - redlipstickpremed, classical scientist, coffeeforstudiers
California State University at Northridge - redlipstickpremed, spunkylittlebookworm
California State University at San Diego - redlipstickpremed
California State University at San Francisco - redlipstickpremed
California State University at Stanislaus - redlipstickpremed
Cambridge University - study crush
Canisius College - gallyd
Capital University - dontworryjuststudy
Carleton College - mraemb
Carleton University - pencilcandy, crimandcoffee
Case Western Reserve University - firstyearviolet
Carnegie Mellon University - drowninginmediocrity, privateschoolstudent, betting-onyou, mvths
Central Connecticut State University - czardex
Central Florida, University of - itscassielouwho
Centre College - theoryofbelle
Chicago, University of - future collegiate, the-college-quest, skyclarke, tyffanyblews
Clark University - sarahblogsaboutstuff
Clemson University - asaprocket
Colgate University - cornelldiary, darbysdiamonds
College of the Holy Cross - serendipityinboston
College of William & Mary - thecollegesearch, success mess, theoryofbelle, worldaccordingto
Colorado College - tumblr-illiterate
Columbia University - studylongandprosper, rightwingrepublican, stickynotestudies, chasingcollegedreams, appblrsandoranges, skyclarke, cornelldiary, momochrissy, thecollegecollage
Connecticut College - last-constellation
Connecticut, University of - london-elephant, foreverayoungblood
Cornell University - cornelldiary, bos-bound, alistaircriesduringsex
Curry College - sarahblogsaboutstuff
Dartmouth College - brinkerhadleyapologist, neildegrassetyson, collegemania
Davidson College - thecollegesearch, pensandtea
Denison University - ready-aim-study, dontworryjuststudy
DePaul University - pineappletroye
DePauw University - theoryofbelle
Dickinson College - thecollegesearch, darbysdiamonds
Drexel University - drowninginmediocrity, gotocollegebutnevergrowup, sleepswithtextbooks
Duke University - future collegiate, pensandtea
Elon University - iwhaleyouva
Emory University - mxifu, caffeinatedsuccess
Florida State University - collegedreamss, iwhaleyouva, studyingsamantha
Florida, University of - collegedreamss, fruity-tuna
Fordham University - rightwingrepublican, appblrsandoranges
Fort Lewis College - andstraight-on-tilmorning
Franklin & Marshall College - thecollegesearch
George Mason University - studyingsamantha
Georgetown University - success mess, privateschoolstudent, betting-onyou, pensandtea, thecollegecollage
George Washington University - successmess
Georgia Institute of Technology - mxifu, study hacked, iwhaleyouva
Georgia, University of - mxifu, polyglotdawg
Gettysburg College - thecollegesearch
Glasgow, University of - revolution-avec-un-grantaire
Grinnell College - strawberryshortcakemurder
Grove City College - yourguidetostudy
Hamilton College - cornelldiary
Harvard University - studylongandprosper, universitymiracles, stickynotestudies, chasingcollegedreams, mxifu, tyffanyblews, thecollegecollage
Hawaii, University of - memorizing-microbio
Hollins University - firstyearviolet
Ithaca College - cornelldiary, bos-bound
Illinois at Urbana-Champain, University of - the-college-quest, eashmere
Iowa, University of - university miracles, chasingcollegedreams, karalee-untersucht, 2016studies
Indiana University - pineappletroye
James Madison University - desperatesammy
Johns Hopkins University - collegeapps2016
Juniata College - theoryofbelle
Kent State University - studyinguntil5am
Kenyon College - starsfallover
King’s College - pigrescuer
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania - studysesh
Lake Superior State University - prepre-nursing
La Salle University - gotocollegebutnevergrowup
Lawrence University - mraemb
Lehigh University - london-elephant
Lock Haven University - bos-bound
Loyola Marymount University - thecollegecollage
Loyola University Chicago - acca-demic, biochemstudy
Lubbock Christian University - arkansassy-girl
Marist College - darbysdiamonds
Marquette University - imawhiteblankpage
Maryland Baltimore, University of - biochemstudy
Maryland, University of - sleepswithtextbooks
Mary Washington, University of - thecollegesearch
Massachusetts Amherst, University of - sarahblogsaboutstuff, universityofsassachusetts, the-man-and-the-mouse, eatsleepsciencerepeat, bos-bound
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - studylongandprosper, stickynotestudies, chasingcollegedreams, mxifu, skyclarke
Meredith College - firstyearviolet
Miami University - future collegiate, morganstudies
Miami, University of - music studying, hella–bella
McGill University - pencilcandy, theoryofbelle
Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of - the-college-quest, therunningfox, momochrissy, tyffanyblews, monochromeonsienna
Michigan State University - studying-with-bri, college mania, pineappletroye
Michigan, University of - study hacked, cardiolotea, sleepswithtextbooks, collegemania
Mills College - tyffanyblews
Minnesota, University of - 2016studies
Missouri at Columbia, University of - messin-w-the-message-man
Montclair State University - unafraid–eponine
Mount Holyoke College - rightwingrepublican, last-constellation
Mount Ida College - sarahblogsaboutstuff
Mount St. Mary’s University - biochemstudy
Muhlenberg College - thecollegesearch, studylikewillowrosenberg
New Jersey Institute of Technology - fire-on-the-girl, doctortatertot
New York, State University of - revolution-avec-un-grantaire
New York University - stickynotestudies, firstyearviolet, appblrsandoranges, momochrissy, sleepswithtextbooks, yungblkfem
New York University at Abu Dhabi - mraemb
North Carolina at Asheville, University of - firstyearviolet
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of - london-elephant, pensandtea
Northeastern University - rightwingrepublican, university miracles, success mess, applestoappblrs, gotocollegebutnevergrowup, espressoprep
Northwestern University - future collegiate, stickynotestudies, momochrissy, tyffanyblews, assof2016
Northern Arizona University - justhitthosebooks
Notre Dame, University of - appblrsandoranges
Ohio State University - messin-w-the-message-man, systemsandsewing
Ohio University - engineeringmyowninsanity
Oregon State University - chasingcollegedreams
Orgeon, University of - chasingcollegedreams
Ottowa, University of - pencil candy
Oxford Brookes University - thescienceofracing
Pacific Lutheran University - emucat95
Pennsylvania State University - pensandtea, prepared4theworst, bullshitsandbravery, borasayshi
Pennsylvania, University of - studylongandprosper, drowninginmediocrity, stickynotestudies, chasingcollegedreams, applestoappblrs, privateschoolstudent, the-college-quest, bos-bound
Pittsburgh Technical Institute - mvths
Pittsburgh, University of - drowninginmediocrity, studylikewillowrosenberg
Portland State University - gunplagirl
Princeton University - stickynotestudies, the-ivyprep, cardiolotea, cornelldiary, universitize-me, thecollegecollage
Providence College - serendipityinboston
Puget Sound, University of - last-constellation
Purdue University - cupcakehinch, pineappletroye
Queens University - freshstudythoughts
Ramapo College - unafraid–eponine
Reed College - fiendishly-nerdy
Regent University - iluthientinuvielfan
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - cupcakehinch
Rhode Island College - withloveandstrength
Rhode Island, University of - espressoprep
Rice University - appblrsandoranges, fiendishly-nerdy, thehenchmansociety
Richmond, University of - pensandtea
Rochester, University of - drowninginmediocrity, heartbeats-becoming-slow, darbysdiamonds, aestudyblr
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology - ahlltimelow
Rutgers University at Camden - doctortatertot, starkbannr
Rutgers University at New Brunswick - gotocollegebutnevergrowup, callmeglados, doctortatertot
Salve Regina University - serendipityinboston
Scranton, University of - gotocollegebutnevergrowup, pleasegivemealcoholanddiamonds
Scripps College - mraemb
Simmons College - stickynotestudies
Southeastern Louisiana University - studyingsamantha
Southern California, University of - study-blurry
Southern Oregon, University of - chasingcollegedreams
South Florida, University of - fruity-tuna
South Carolina, University of - jwuuuu
Smith College - rightwingrepublican, success mess, fiendishly-nerdy, cranberry geese, inkdrunk
Stanford University - future collegiate, chasingcollegedreams, collegeappadventure, graduation bound, messin-w-the-message-man
St. Andrews, University of - iwhaleyouva
State University of New York at Geneseo - half-neversure
St. Bonaventure University - briel
St. Edwards University - thehenchmansociety
Stephens College - studylittleliongirl
Stevens Institute of Technology - biochemstudy, doctortatertot
Stevenson University - biochemstudy
Stonehill College - sarahblogsaboutstuff
Swarthmore College - chasingcollegedreams, privateschoolstudent
Texas A&M at Corpus Christi - arkansassy-girl
Texas A&M University - universitymiracles, arkansassy-girl, college-journey, theoryofbelle
Texas at Arlington, University of - appblrsandoranges
Texas at Austin, University of - studylongandprosper, university miracles, appblrsandoranges, college-journey, asaprocket, thehenchmansociety
Texas at Dallas, University of - theoryofbelle, thehenchmansociety
Texas at San Antonio, University of - university miracles, thehenchmansociety
Texas at Tyler, University of - arkansassy-girl
Texas Christian University - asaprocket, thehenchmansociety, mighty-bull-discovers-universe
From our collection of miniature books: The Diamond Etiquette for Ladies, G. E. Petter (1850). This book includes chapters on social duties, ‘toilette,’ introductions, salutations, visiting, dining, and evening parties.
The second picture is of pages from the “Evening Parties” chapter. A quote from it reads: “At evening parties, the ladies appear to greatest advantage, indeed greater than on any other festive occasion; their musical abilities, conversational talents, fascinating address, flirting capabilities, as well as tact in arranging the amusements, forming the main attractions; indeed, eschewing all metaphorical language, those unions are the grand market places resorted to by eligible young gentlemen, in search of wives and the picturesque: the young ladies, therefore, from even selfish motives, find it necessary to appear in their most genial humor.”
This book was pocket sized so a lady would never find herself in a sticky situation without it!
Before Hillary Clinton or even Barack Obama, there was Shirley Chisholm. Fourty-five years ago, Chisholm became the first African-American woman to run for president. Although that’s a historic accomplishment, that’s only the beginning to her story.
It’s no secret that Mount Holyoke has a few skeletons in its closet (don’t believe me? check out Clapp), but most students choose to laugh off the school’s ghost stories. If nothing else, so we can sleep at night.
The most famous of our “spirited” stories is the Woman in White, or as current MHC students know her, the Wilder ghost. There are several different accounts of her backstory. Some say that while waiting for her date to escort her to a ball, she was informed that he had been killed in a car accident and that her heartbreak led her to hang herself. Others say that she discovered that she was pregnant (out of wedlock) and hung herself out of desperation. The one thing all stories agree on is that she hung herself in her room and that she remained on the fourth floor for years to come.
No one seems to know exactly when this mysterious student actually passed away, or even what her name was. Many past residents of the fourth floor of Wilder have reported paranormal experiences. Some spoke of flickering lights, faucets turning on by themselves, objects being moved and the occasional unexplainable chill.
The students who had the misfortune of living in “the ghost room” supposedly all endured frightening and painful experiences such as falling down the stairs (saying it felt as though someone had pushed them) and some even suffered broken limbs. Word of these mysterious accidents quickly spread and students began refusing to stay in the room. In response to these refusals, it has been rumored that Elizabeth Kennan, president of the college from 1978 to 1995, announced that if she could not make it through one night in the room, it would be officially sealed off. Legend has it that at some point during the night, Kennan emerged from the room and said: “seal it off, no one is living here.”
The room has not housed another student since and is the only room in Wilder that still has the original crystal doorknob. In 2008, there was a large storm that knocked down a tree and supposedly the only room that was damaged was the ghost room. Many believe that this “freed” the Wilder ghost.
The college has stated that the room was never used for residents and there is no record of any student committing suicide from 1898- 1955. But, what do you think?
Just remember, kids, the next time you see a ghostly woman roaming the halls of Wilder, who you gonna call?