Women have always contributed to the life and history of Yale University. This exhibition honors these women — the named and unnamed, the seen and unseen, to applaud their heroic efforts that have contributed to and enriched Yale University immensely. From the efforts of Abigail Pierson, wife of the first rector Abraham Pierson, to feed and shelter the first Collegiate School students in her home in Killingworth (now Clinton), Connecticut, traces of women’s contributions to Yale can be found in the treasurer’s papers, payroll records, directories, diaries, travel photos, and other people’s memoirs.
Moving forward through Yale’s history, buildings were funded by women, sometimes honoring their deceased husbands and children. Women formed organizations for the betterment of Yale University, bringing in speakers, creating events, and becoming fellows. In 1905, pathologist Florence Bingham Kinne became Yale’s first woman instructor, and then, in 1923, Annie Goodrich became the university’s first female dean of the Yale School of Nursing. As technology advanced, women became telephone operators, laboratory technicians, secretaries, and programmers.
This exhibition was organized in collaboration with “50WomenAtYale150,” a yearlong commemoration in 2020 of the 50th anniversary of coeducation in Yale College and the 150th anniversary of women students at the university.
Curated by Gwyneth Crowley, Librarian for Economics, Psychology and Statistics and Data Science at the Marx Science and Social Science Library and Judith A. Schiff, Chief Research Archivist for Manuscripts & Archives.