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A Brief History: The Early Years


1905: At the request of the faculty, the College Board of Directors voted to allow young women to attend classes at the College, but they could not earn credit for their work. Alice Behre Woods, daughter of professor Neander M. Woods, was the first women to take a class at the College.


1916: The Southwestern Presbyterian University Board of Directors voted on October 26 to admit women to the College on the same terms as men. The College was located in Clarksville, Tennessee at this time. Women did not have living space provided for them on campus. They either lived at home or if they did not reside near Clarksville, the President’s Office would provide a list of suitable boarding places. A rest room was provided on campus in the Stewart Building.

1921: Margaret Trahern (left) became the first woman to receive a degree from the College.  She was a member of the Honor Society and a charter member of Chi Omega.


Freshmen women were required to wear baby bonnets from the first day of their freshmen year until the football team won a game.  This tradition ended in the late 1960’s.


1925-1947: Between the time when the College opened in Memphis (1925) and the time when Voohries Residence Hall was completed (1947), women either lived at home or in Evergreen Hall, across from the College.

The following pages contain images of women at the college from 1929 through 1998.
Note how their wardrobes and hairstyles change over the decades.

A Brief History: The Early Years