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Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr College, 1885-1929

Introduction

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in many parts of the Western world, the debate about higher education for white, middle-class women was deeply entwined with concerns about their health and what kind and level of physical activity was suitable for them. One obstacle in the development of higher education for women was the fear that the mental strain would be ruinous to their health.

This exhibit provides an overview of how Bryn Mawr College's administration responded to these fears during the College's first few decades. Also described is the athletic culture of the students, which arose parallel to, but not always in sync with, the administration's policies.