LSU Press Book Explores the History of the Nation’s First Degree-Granting Coordinate College for Women
BATON ROUGE – For more than a century, Newcomb College educated thousands of young women in the liberal arts and sciences, preparing them for positions in the civic and economic world of New Orleans and the South. “Newcomb College, 1886–2006,” to be released in May by LSU Press, explores the rich history and tradition of the college for women through a diverse and multidisciplinary collection of essays.
Early chapters focus on the life of founder Josephine Louise Newcomb and her desire to memorialize her daughter Sophie, as well as the development of student culture in the Progressive Era. Several essays explore the staples of a Newcomb education, from its acclaimed pottery and junior year abroad programs to lesser-known but trailblazing work in physical education and chemistry. Concluding biographical and autobiographical chapters recount the lives of distinguished alumnae and the personal memories of Newcomb’s influence on New Orleans.
The essays offer insight into the work of artists Caroline Wogan Durieux and Ida Kohlmeyer, education reformer Sarah Towles Reed, U.S. Representative Lindy Boggs and other Newcomb leaders in various fields. Throughout the book, contributors reflect on the curriculum, pedagogy and alliances that created paths for students, not only for advanced studies, but also for their roles as friends, wives, mothers, reformers and professionals.
Touching on three centuries, the book concludes in 2006 when Tulane University closed Newcomb College and Paul Tulane College, the arts and sciences college for men, and united the two as Newcomb-Tulane College. This absorbing collection offers both a scholarly history and an affectionate tribute to a Newcomb education.
Editor Susan Tucker is curator of books and records for the Newcomb Archives and Vorhoff Library at Tulane University. She is the author of “Telling Memories among Southern Women” and other works on material and archival cultures.
Editor Beth Willinger, a sociologist and feminist scholar, is former executive director of the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, and founding director of the women’s studies program at Tulane University. She served a term as interim dean of Newcomb College.