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Digital History at Ursinus

Space for Women on Campus

Prospect Terrace

Prospect Terrace

As the population of women attending Ursinus College grew, so did the need for their housing. Unlike today, housing then was not coed, and women needed their own place to live. Complicating this were the financial insecurities that plagued Ursinus since its beginning and that still existed in the late nineteenth century when a dorm was needed.[1] Because of this, it was thought that a dorm could not justifiably be built under President Bomberger.[2] Instead, women were admitted to stay in the Prospect Terrace, a building located on what is today the front lawn of the Berman Museum of Art. Prospect Terrace was not built to be a dorm.[3] On top of that, the housing fee was $4.00 per week for women when, in contrast, men paid $3.50 a week to live in the college’s actual dormitories in Freeland Hall, Brodbeck Hall, and Curtis Halls.[4]

Shreiner Hall

Shreiner Hall 

As their numbers grew, Ursinus College women were then moved to the President’s House. This building was originally built by President Bomberger in 1876.[1] The building was then later converted to a women’s dorm in 1909.[2] It was named Shreiner Hall after Israel Shreiner who paid for the renovations.[3] With the college women housed in the President’s House, the women of Ursinus Academy were then moved to Olevian Hall.[4] The original Olevian Hall was destroyed in 1931 in order to build Pfahler Hall, a needed academic building.[5] Interestingly enough today, Ursinus once again has an Olevian Hall on Main Street.

 In terms of the actions of the institution in regard to housing these early women, we see that necessity was the primary force. The financial difficulties that marked this time in the College’s history were a major factor in the repurposing and purchasing of buildings, rather than the desire to build a space for these women. Financial issues also seem to have affected the prices charged to women. Principle took a back seat to necessity once again.

Paragraph 1:

[1] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 34.

[2] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 34.

[3] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 34.

[4] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 34. 

Paragraph 2:

[1] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 52.

[2] Ursinus College, Ursinus College Bulletin, 1954, (Collegeville, PA: Ursinus College Library), Ursinusiana Collection, Ursinus College Library, 8.

Paragraph 3 and 4:

[1] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 29-30.

[2] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 29-30.

[3] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 29-30.

[4] Ursinus College, Ursinus College Alumni Journal, 1954, (Collegeville, PA: Ursinus College Library), Ursinusiana Collection, Ursinus College Library, 8.                                                                      

[5] Calvin Yost, Ursinus College: A History of Its First Hundred Years, 53.