Cultural Landscapes Bibliography
Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. New York: Knopf, 1984.
In this book Helen Horowitz traces the evolution of public opinion regarding women's education and the manifestation of those opinions in the built environment and physical space of various women's colleges. She divides her book into four parts and focuses upon one or two particular women's colleges at particular time period per chapter. The book discusses (obviously) the "Seven Sisters": Smith, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Vassar, Radcliffe and Barnard; along with their subsequent spin-offs Sarah Lawrence, Scripps, and Bennington. She starts with the various motivations behind the founding of the various colleges in the nineteenth century, and describes their changes over time until the 1930s. Her primary goal for this book is to illustrate how perceptions of women and femininity dictated the actual physical layout and design of the women's college campuses at particular time periods. Horowitz does a good job of showing the contrasts between the motives and desires of those founding/administering women's colleges and those of the women actually attending the colleges. She also provides a number of informative illustrations that greatly augment her descriptions and assertions about the design of the campus buildings. Clearly, this is a labor of love for Horowitz, as she herself is a graduate of Wellesley, and has taught at both Scripps and Smith. This book would be an invaluable resource for someone doing work on women's education or college campus design. [E. Benedict]