Campus history – On Wisconsin For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Thu, 27 Jun 2019 17:02:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Rise of Women’s Studies Tue, 28 May 2019 14:48:05 +0000

Strength in numbers: a women-led UW faculty group meets in 1975 for the formation of what has become the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. UW Archives S17032

Before the 1970s, to study the history of the world was largely to learn of men fighting wars. Modern literature meant reading the best male authors. Insert any academic discipline, and a woman’s experience or perspective was scarcely to be found.

“Teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant, and the other half doesn’t exist,” said the late Gerda Lerner, a UW–Madison historian and women’s studies pioneer.

For nearly a half century, the UW–Madison Department of Gender and Women’s Studies has set out to shift that traditional paradigm in education and research. It’s grown into one of the most respected and robust programs in the nation, conferring an undergraduate major and certificate, an LGBTQ+ studies certificate, a master’s degree, and a doctoral minor.

Today, more than 400 undergraduates are enrolled in either the certificate or degree program. The department offers some 25 courses per semester, with 100 more cross-listed with other departments. Fifteen faculty members and nearly 50 affiliated instructors teach courses in a wide range of fields: from biology and psychology to law and politics; from literature and languages to history and religious studies. Increasingly, courses are exploring the intersections of gender identity, sexuality, race, and disability.

“We’ve always been strongly interdisciplinary across the humanities, the social sciences, and even the biological sciences,” says Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies, whose research has debunked myths of biological differences between men and women related to personality and cognitive ability.

The field of women’s studies rose alongside the larger women’s movement in the late ’60s and early ’70s. On the UW campus, groups of female faculty connected demands for fair pay and hiring with a desire for a centralized women’s studies program. Following an effort across the UW System, a UW–Madison committee appointed by Chancellor Edwin Young MA’42, PhD’50 established a framework for what would officially become the Women’s Studies Program in 1975.

The program began with less than a handful of courses and faculty members who held joint appointments on campus. In 2008, the program became a full academic department, with the ability to hire faculty of its own and independently offer tenure. It’s currently in the process of establishing a PhD program, which would finish rounding out its academic offerings and no doubt please the foremothers of women’s studies.

“I want women’s history to be legitimate,” Lerner once wrote. “To be part of every curriculum on every level.”

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Helen C. White Hall, with a View Tue, 28 May 2019 14:48:05 +0000 Helen C. White Hall opened in 1971 with “135,000 books, a view, and a chance to be alone,” the alumni magazine stated at the time. The three-story section used for undergraduate studying and the book collection is known today as College Library, which stays open 24 hours on weekdays. The building was named in honor of English professor Helen C. White PhD’24, who died in 1967 after 48 years of teaching at the UW. White was the first woman to earn a full professorship within the College of Letters & Science. In addition to College Library, the hall is home to classrooms and academic departments, including English, Afro-American studies, and philosophy. The English as a Second Language program (above) is also housed within the space. Located at 600 N. Park Street by Memorial Union, College Library lies near the shores of Lake Mendota. Finding an open table — let alone a scenic window seat — can be especially difficult during a crowded finals week.

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The Rise and Fall of Ladies Hall Tue, 28 May 2019 14:48:05 +0000

No men allowed: a group of 1960s female students relaxes in the Elizabeth Waters Residence Hall courtyard. The dorm would be the last on campus to remain segregated by gender. UW Archives 2018s00424

By 2005, Elizabeth Waters Residence Hall was the last standing gender-segregated dorm on campus. For many alumni of that time, it was a familiar arrangement. For many students, it was antiquated — weird, even. Wrote one in the Badger Herald: “The time has come for UW to end this wretched, backward invocation of sexism and mindless promotion of prudery.” A year later, it became a coed dorm, ending a long era.

The UW’s first-ever purpose-built dorm was also its first women’s dorm. Ladies Hall was constructed in 1871 and was later renamed Chadbourne Hall after former chancellor Paul Chadbourne, partly in retribution for his stubborn opposition to coeducation. The paradoxical naming streak continued for the second women’s dorm (and oldest functioning dorm on campus today), Barnard Hall — after former chancellor Henry Barnard, who opposed university housing entirely because of its high costs.

The earliest residents of Ladies Hall needed permission to leave the dorm outside of usual class hours, and they were only allowed to see visitors during scheduled receptions in common areas. The hall’s principal also advised the women on their habits and how to comport themselves in public.

Many strict housing rules continued into the latter half of the 20th century. Between the ’40s and ’70s, parents received a letter from the university before the start of each academic year informing them that female students under the age of 21 were required to live in university-approved housing or provide a guardian’s written permission to live unsupervised off campus.

Curfews were commonplace. According to a 1949 housing document, women who tried to return to their dorms after 10:30 p.m. on weeknights would be locked out. Only a housemother had access to the building’s keys, so residents needed permission to be gone overnight or to stay out past curfew. Late-night studying at the library? Too bad. Freshmen could request a key for curfew extension until 12:30 a.m. once per semester, while seniors earned the luxury of requesting a key twice per week. Exceptions were made for university-sanctioned events and for Daily Cardinal staffers.

For many years, men could only enter women’s dorms during certain evening hours and were never allowed to stay overnight. The board of regents approved coed housing, separated by floor (and later by wing), for select UW residence halls in 1972. All halls are now coed, and most floors and wings stopped being separated by gender in 2011. Students are free to come and go as they please. We suspect they wouldn’t accept anything less.

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UW Women at 150 Tue, 28 May 2019 14:48:04 +0000

Gloria Ladson-Billings is one of several prominent women featured on the UW Women at 150 website. School of Education

Throughout the academic year, campus celebrated the 150th anniversary of women receiving degrees from the university. The Class of 2019 gifted a statue to the university, a new giving fund called In Her Honor was established to support gender equity on campus, and the UW Women at 150 website featured stories on these UW trailblazers:

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Welcome to Our Women’s Issue Tue, 28 May 2019 14:48:04 +0000 “The University, in all its departments and colleges, shall be open alike to male and female students.” In Wisconsin’s reorganization act of 1866, the state legislature declared that the UW should serve all of its citizens, not merely the half who wore neckties. The UW, however, was not entirely keen to obey, particularly because the person it hoped would be its next president, Paul Chadbourne, felt that coeducation would “cause a great deal of trouble.” But after some wrangling, women were added to campus in 1867, and so was Chadbourne.

There had, in fact, been women at the UW prior to this. The Normal Department, which taught teachers, had female students since 1863. But this was not the same as full access to the university. In 1869 — 150 years ago — the UW graduated its first baccalaureate alumnae: Clara Bewick Colby, Anna Headen Erskine, Elizabeth Spencer Haseltine, Jane Nagle Henderson, Helen Noble Peck, and Ellen Turner Pierce. The next year, Chadbourne left, but women stayed.

This year, the UW is celebrating that 150th anniversary. In this special women’s issue, you’ll read about just a few of the amazing women (and one who’s less-than-admirable) who have passed through campus in the last century and a half. We know we’ve missed a lot of influential Badger women. Is there someone we should know about? Write to us.

On, alumnae!

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Dance, Dance Revolutionary Tue, 28 May 2019 14:47:34 +0000 “There are times when I believe ‘Bunny’ was born to dance,” said Cordelia Chew Hinkson of her daughter in a 1952 interview.

A year earlier, Bunny — as Mary Hinkson ’46, MS’47 was known to her family and close friends — had broken through the almost exclusively white world of modern dance when she earned a lead role with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

But if she was born to dance, she also learned — through her own effort and through her study at the UW. Between her youth and her debut with America’s leading modern dance troupe, Hinkson came to Madison, where she discovered the science of movement as well as some of the complicated realities of what it means to be black in America.

Hinkson was born to a storied African American family in Philadelphia on March 16, 1925. Her mother had been a public- school teacher, and her father, DeHaven Hinkson, was a prominent physician and the first African American to head a U.S. Army hospital. Hinkson’s aunt, Mary Saunders Patterson, was famed contralto Marian Anderson’s first music teacher.

A 17-year-old Hinkson arrived at the University of Wisconsin in February 1943. She chose the UW, in part, because it offered an extensive curriculum in physical education — the subject she aspired to teach. But Madison was far different from Philadelphia, and the transition wasn’t easy.

Although African Americans had matriculated at the UW since 1862, they were often excluded from white social events and faced ardent racism. An unwritten but widely acknowledged policy excluded African Americans from dormitories and most rooming houses. A 1942 survey conducted by the Daily Cardinal revealed that 95 percent of housemothers on the university’s list of approved rooming houses preferred not to rent rooms to black students. “Many Negro, and to a lesser degree Chinese and Jewish, students have been denied rooms that are vacant and have been forced into outlying districts or have been forced away from the university altogether,” the study noted.

Hinkson made arrangements to live off campus. Discriminatory housing policies coupled with the wartime economy — students were often displaced to accommodate military trainees — made securing campus housing nearly impossible. During her undergraduate years, Hinkson lived in the Groves Women’s Cooperative at 150 Langdon Street, where she shared a room with fellow dancer Matt Turney ’47. The interracial boarding house named for noted agricultural economics professor Harold Groves 1919, MA1920, PhD1927 brought together women from all over the world. Groves was Madison’s first women’s cooperative house, and it opened the year Hinkson arrived. Already well traveled, Hinkson likely thrived in the multicultural co-op, which provided vivid evidence that blacks could live with whites. Members worked together as part of a single household, cleaning floors and scrubbing toilets. Hinkson washed dishes and swept floors to defray the cost of lodging.

“World War II and its immediate aftermath led mid-century Americans to reconsider the nation’s democratic principles and the backdrop of unprecedented political, social, economic, and ideological changes,” Groves later recalled.

UW Dean of Women Louise Greeley wrote to President Clarence Dykstra in 1943: “We believe … that if a group of Negroes, Jews, and Gentiles such as this … can demonstrate ability to live successfully together, it will be worth trying.”

Hinkson dances in the Union Theater. Her experience with Margaret H’Doubler brought her to the attention of major dance troupes. UW Archives S16295

While at the university, Hinkson succeeded academically, earning mostly As and Bs, and she reveled in Madison’s robust dance scene, joining Orchesis, the UW’s modern dance troupe that had been founded in 1918. She studied English, French, history, zoology, and PE, and she impressed physical education professor Katherine Cronin with her “good mind and sincere attitude toward her work.” Hinkson soon changed her major to dance after taking a course with Margaret H’Doubler 1910, MA1924, and when she told her father of the change, he was reluctant but supportive. “If that’s what you want, go to it,” he said. And so she went: in 1945, she appeared in Orchesis’s production of Orpheus and Eurydice. The Baltimore Afro-American newspaper covered the performance, describing Hinkson and Turney as the group’s first “colored dancers.”

“[Mary] was in heaven,” her sister commented some years later.

Hinkson would long remember the remarkable teachers in the physical education department and courses with H’Doubler, a pioneer educator who had created the nation’s first academic program for the study of dance.

Though campus could be unwelcoming, Madison did attract African American artists and thinkers in the 1940s: anthropologist and choreographer Katherine Dunham and her dancers performed Tropical Revue at the Parkway Theater in 1944; Alain Locke was appointed visiting professor of philosophy in 1946; Pearl Primus and her “primitive modern dancers” appeared in 1948; and actor Paul Robeson was a regular feature at the Union Theater.

And Madison offered opportunities: it was at the UW that Hinkson was introduced to the Martha Graham Dance Company, which performed at the Union Theater in March 1946. H’Doubler had required her dance students to attend the show, and Hinkson said she was “completely blown away.”

Hinkson graduated in 1946 but continued with graduate courses. After a year of studies and writing a thesis, she earned a master’s degree and then became an instructor in the Department of Physical Education for Women — one of the first black women to teach at any majority-white university. Hinkson and three other students then formed the Wisconsin Dance Group, touring Toronto and across the Midwest in a 1933 Buick. The group included Turney, Miriam Cole ’46, and Sage Fuller Cowles ’47.

In 1951, Martha Graham asked Hinkson to perform a “demonstration” — a combination recital and audition. Graham then asked Hinkson to join her company, and by 1953, Hinkson held the title of principal dancer, starring in a production of Bluebeard’s Castle in New York. For 20 years, Hinkson was one of Graham’s leading dancers, and she also taught at the Juilliard School and at the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Hinkson may have found a challenging environment at the UW, but she left prepared for a key role in the world of dance. When she passed away on November 26, 2014, her obituary lauded her as “an influential teacher both in the United States and abroad,” “highly versatile,” and “one of Martha Graham’s most important leading dancers.”

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Women Lead the Way Tue, 28 May 2019 14:47:34 +0000 Calculation Pie Chart: 6 slices indicating that women have held the office of UW Chancellor for 14 or the last 31 years, or 45 percent of the time since 1988.

Women have served as UW chancellor for 14 of the last 31 years. Illustration by N. B. Rinehart; photos by Jeff Miller

Donna Shalala

When Donna Shalala entered Bascom Hall at 6 a.m. for her first day on the job in 1988, a security guard told her, “You must have a tough boss.” As it turned out, she was the boss — making history as the first woman to serve as UW–Madison’s chief executive and one of only a few to lead a major research university.

“I’m sure she’s going to shake the place up,” Robert Clodius, a former UW acting president, prophetically told the Wisconsin State Journal after she was hired.

Just as Shalala arrived on campus as chancellor, Mary Rouse became the first woman to hold the title of dean of students. A year later, Shalala created the position of vice chancellor for legal and executive affairs and selected Melany Newby, the UW’s first female vice chancellor and top lawyer. In 1991, Sue Riseling was hired as the director of police and security, becoming the first female campus police chief in the Big Ten and one of just a handful in the country. “I’m a manager who brings about change,” Riseling told the State Journal at the time. Now, a woman entering high office in Bascom Hall is a familiar sight. Between Shalala, Biddy Martin PhD’85, and Rebecca Blank, women have been in charge of the university for almost half of the past three decades. Many other central leadership positions — provost, top administrators for research and student affairs, deans of various schools and colleges — have also been held by women in recent years.

Progress, however, can feel slow. A year after Shalala arrived, students criticized her for hiring three men to fill dean and vice chancellor vacancies. (The only female dean at the time was the School of Nursing’s Vivian Littlefield.) Shalala defended the moves and insisted that the UW was still committed to diversifying leadership. “The proof is what the UW will look like in three years,” she told the Capital Times. “Come back and take a look then.”

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UW Basketball Begins with Women — and a Goat Tue, 28 May 2019 14:47:34 +0000 James Naismith, a physical education teacher looking for a winter sport to entertain his rambunctious students in December 1891, hung a pair of peach baskets at the level of 10 feet on opposite ends of an indoor court in a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He then organized the first game of what he called basket ball — a nine-on-nine affair in which players scored by tossing a soccer ball into the opposing team’s basket. Players didn’t dribble, and a jump ball was held after every goal.

Naismith tossed the ball in the air, and the game was on.

Just three years later, a group of young women at the University of Wisconsin joined a handful of other schools, including Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges, by playing an organized game of basketball. Their court was inside Ladies Hall, later to be renamed Chadbourne Hall.

By 1896, with enough women participating in the sport, an interclass league was formed, and a championship team emerged from four groups during a tournament held in winter 1897. That event would be scheduled at the university for the next four decades, although during the early years, the players were challenged by the expectations of the era: competing enthusiastically, yet maintaining a “ladylike” demeanor (which resulted in slower-paced, less- aggressive rules for many years to come).

The women’s sport became so popular that the tournament drew hundreds of spectators for the two or three weekends when it took place. After a foray into arranging games with area high schools and the Milwaukee State Normal School, a faculty committee put an end to outside competition around 1900.

At the UW, women’s basketball preceded the beginning of men’s basketball by four years. The men played their first game in Milwaukee in January 1899, and by 1902, they had an all-away-games schedule. But through its early years, the women’s team remained the most popular women’s spectator sport on campus.

When the cramped facilities of Chadbourne Hall were replaced by the spaciousness of the newly built Lathrop Hall in 1910, the game and the tournament gained even more fans. Lathrop was viewed as a luxurious and much-needed addition to campus when it first opened, and it quickly became a home away from home for many of the 1,059 women then enrolled. The facility featured a cafeteria, reading rooms, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a gymnasium.

Jump around! Basketball originally called for a jump ball after every made shot, as shown here at the UW in the 1930s. UW Archives 24/2/3

The formation of the UW Women’s Athletic Association in 1902 helped to further organize basketball. Other women’s sports teams emerged from the physical education programs, including hockey, tennis, bowling, and baseball. Letters and pins were offered to outstanding members, and points were given for both athletic endeavors and traits such as good posture, perfect attendance, and beneficial training habits.

A notice published in the Daily Cardinal prior to the naming of the 1916 women’s basketball squads suggests just how seriously training was viewed. Rules required “eight consecutive hours of sleep every night; only one dance a week; no eating between meals except for fruit, milk, soup, graham and white crackers, plain ice cream, and frozen ices; no pie crust … [and] only one piece of cake at a meal; no tea, coffee, or candy at any time.”

Blanche Trilling 1917 arrived from Chicago Normal School in 1912 to head the UW’s physical education department for women, a position she held until her retirement in 1946. Although men coached the first women’s basketball players, in 1911, a recent alumna who had played on a couple of the women’s championship squads took over as coach. Then came a Friday night at Lathrop Hall in winter 1913. The last game of a tournament was about to start, matching a surprisingly good — and confident — group of freshmen against the seniors. The gymnasium was packed with excited student and faculty spectators who were ringing the hardwood floor and hanging over the railings on the gallery level. Fans were seated in chairs placed at the very edge of the court, which was divided into three well-delineated sections: a midcourt stretching in equal distance on both sides of the center line and two areas beneath the closed-bottom baskets.

By this stage in the evolution of the game, women’s teams had been pared down to six — two forwards, two centers, and two guards. Positions were relegated to areas marked on the court. The soccer ball had long since been replaced by a larger leather ball. Players retrieved successful shots by yanking on chains attached to the baskets, which no longer were peach buckets, but still had closed bottoms. Dribbling still was not done.

A procession marked the opening of the final game. The three upper-class teams marched out onto the court outfitted in serge bloomers, black cotton stockings, white blouses, and neckerchiefs fashioned in class colors. Hair was typically pulled up, swirled, and piled in layers on top of the head. Shoes had recently become high-topped, with canvas uppers and rubber soles. (The Converse Rubber Shoe Company did not introduce the All-Star high-top until 1917, and it didn’t hire Chuck Taylor until 1921.)

As the first teams began a parade around the court, they were joined by the freshmen, who arrived at the game “leading an adorable goat,” according to a history that Trilling wrote 40 years later. She recalled her fears about what the goat might do to Lathrop’s hardwood floors, but noted, “We held our breath as he made the round of the gymnasium, but he was a well-behaved goat that evening.”

The goat’s appearance became an almost-instant campus legend. Ten years after its arrival, during the 1922–23 women’s interclass championship, a second goat appeared — this time as a stuffed animal constructed by one of the players using a bedsheet.

In Trilling’s history, Florence Hupprich ’23, MA’26 tells the story of what happened next: “As captain of the team, I became custodian of the goat. I left it in my closet at home to reside peacefully until the next championship game. Much to my surprise on the day of the game, no goat could be found. I accused my sister [Mabel Hupprich ’26, MS’30], but my words fell on deaf ears. All the freshman majors, however, looked mighty guilty. Later I learned that they had had the goat for weeks and wondered when I would miss it.”

Trilling warned in 1927 of the “evils of commercialization and exploitation of outstanding girl athletes,” believing, like most of her peers of that time, that women could not handle the emotional and physical tolls of intense competition. UW Archives ch05072202

During the game, the freshman team revealed that it had indeed swiped the goat. “A big scramble ensued, with the result that some of us came out of the heap with a leg or the tail or an ear,” Hupprich recalled. “I have often wondered why Miss Rice [the referee] did not foul us for leaving the court.”

As the winning captain, Hupprich took the bedraggled goat home and mended it.

The goat continued to be passed among triumphant captains well into the 1950s. Efforts to steal and hide the goat became energetic, wrote Trilling, with “daylong rides with the goat in taxi cabs when pursuers were hot on the trail; scrambles and hair-pulling matches when no holds were barred.” She and others in the department stepped in and ruled that all such foolishness be confined to Lathrop Hall.

While the men’s game had grown into a burgeoning national pastime, by midcentury, women’s basketball seemed more than a little archaic — confined, like the stuffed goat, to its Lathrop Hall roots. But a revolution in how women’s athletics was organized, played, and funded was brewing, and in March 1974, the campus’s athletic board approved a 12-sport women’s program with a budget of $118,000.

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So Long to Nails’ Tales Tue, 28 May 2019 14:47:33 +0000

Jeff Miller

Say farewell to Nails’ Tales, the sculpture that has stood outside Camp Randall since 2005. A new plan released in March indicates that the 50-foot-tall obelisk created by Donald Lipski will not remain at the stadium.

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Wisconsin History: The Video Game Tue, 28 May 2019 14:47:33 +0000

Wisconsin Public Television

History can be challenging, remembering so many names, dates, and places. But the video game Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case, created by UW–Madison’s Field Day Lab and Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), makes Wisconsin history “really cool” — at least according to fourth-graders like Camren Hokanson from Elmwood, Wisconsin.

The game commemorates the centennial of Wisconsin’s state capitol and is available for free on WPT’s website. The story line revolves around a young girl (Jo Wilder) and her adventures as she solves mysteries behind several historical state artifacts.

“Even kids who had a hard time reading loved interacting with [the game],” says David Gagnon ’04, MS’10 of Field Day Lab. “All the principles of the game — how you track down evidence, how you corroborate evidence, how you find experts to interview, how you find primary sources — we want those things to transfer into how kids interact with their own neighborhoods and communities.”

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