Transcription of letter from Nathaniel Butler, Jr. to Louise Coburn, 4/3/1901

April 3, 1901

My dear Miss Coburn:
This is my first opportunity for
acknowledging your letter of March 29th. It
was full of interest, and I must thank you,
here, for your kind expressions for me.

I am wholly in accord with what
you say. My suggestion in regard to a
plan to make Colby a college for women
alone, was intended merely to outline what
the situation would seem to justify, from
the point of view of the “impartial spectator,”
who had no knowledge of the past, and
who should judge merely from the
conditions as they exist to-day in Maine.
And the only bearing of such an ideal
suggestion upon our situation would be
that it seems to furnish a strong
argument against any move to make the
college an institution for men alone, on the


ground that there is no call, in Maine,
for additional college facilities for men,
but that there is a demand for the
best and most generous provision for
the higher education of women.

I agree with you further that there is
no advantage in calling things by
misleading names. A step in the direction
you point out has been taken in dropping
the name College for the section of
the institution devoted either to men or
to women, and substituting the name
Division. We speak of the Women’s Division,
and the Men’s Division.

For my own part, I have no sort
of idea that the college will close
its doors to women. And much as I regret
that the question has been thrust upon


us just now, I am very hopeful that
much good will come out of the
agitation. Of course no one foresaw
what was coming. It was like a bolt
from the clear heavens. Had I suspected
it, I do not suppose I should have
taken the step I did, in sending my
resignation to the Chairman of the Board.
I do not like to seem to leave the
ship while a storm of any sort is in
progress. But that matter was con-
cluded before the storm arose.

Again let me thank you for the
personal kindness of your letter. Please
remember me with cordial regard
for all at your home.

Sincerely yours,
Nathaniel Butler
[President of Colby, 1896 – 1901]