Education: Breaking the Daisy Chain

Mount Holyoke, Smith, Vassar, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Barnard, Radcliffe. When the first was founded by a Massachusetts teacher named Mary Lyon in 1837, she called it a "peculiar institution"; it was designed solely for the post-secondary education of women. In the 1920s the colleges banded together as the Seven Sisters, partly to present a united front for fund raising. Elaine Kendall (Mt. Holyoke '49) sees all of them as Peculiar Institutions (Putnam, $8.95). Her "informal history" of the Seven, both affectionate and critical, scans their strange beginnings, early growth and difficult future.

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