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Women at Duke University

University Archives materials and collections documenting the history of women at Duke University

Historical Overview

Trinity College moved to Durham in 1892, due in part to a donation from Washington Duke. In the fall of that year, the College's Board of Trustees committed the school to co-education by formally voting to admit women to classes.

With the support and encouragement of Duke and John C. Kilgo, president from 1894 to 1910, enrollment of women became the norm. By 1902, thirty-five female students were in attendance.

The first sorority was Sigma Delta, a local group founded in 1904. The first national sorority to be chartered here was Alpha Delta Pi in 1911. By 1912, there were a sufficient number of women graduates to form an active Alumnae Association.

In 1918, the College appointed its first Dean of Women, Martha Buchanan. She was succeeded the following year by Fronde Kennedy, who served as Dean until 1923. In that year, there were 235 women graduate and undergraduate students enrolled out of a total regular enrollment of 1058.

Secondary Sources: Books, Research Papers, etc.

The following secondary source materials contain information about women at Trinity College in Durham. Clicking on the links will take you to the catalog record for each item.

Many of these sources are the products of research using Duke University Archives collections. As you read them, take careful note of their footnotes; they will point you to University Archives collections that may be helpful to your own research.

Manuscript Collections

The links below will take you to the collection guide or catalog record for each collection. See the "Introduction" tab of this guide for guidance on accessing these collections.