Transcription of letter from Louise Coburn to Mary Low, 7/31/1890

Skowhegan, July 31, 1890

Dear Mrs. Carver,

You are right in sup-
posing that I disapprove of the
late new departure at Colby.
It seems to me a step backward,
and far backward. It was very
suddenly put carried through, and comes
I suppose as an entire surprise
to many. I don’t believe there
has been anything in the
way of friction in the College
which a proper attitude on the
part of the faculty would not
soon have put right. I have felt
very badly indeed about it the matter,
how badly I need not try to
describe.

Before Commencement I would

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gladly have signed any remonstrance protest
in regard to the matter, and
even thought seriously of getting
starting one, but was not certain
of the wisdom of it. Now
however I feel differently. I
have several friends on the
Board of Trustees among those
who so bravely opposed the change, and
I have heard from them
quite particularly how the about the
inside history of the movement.
[whole matter was carried
through]
. I am sure that no
remonstrance from any source would have made
any difference with the result.
Of course It is still more
certain that no remonstrance
would now make any difference
or produce any effect on the
Board. All that we would
accomplish would be to put on

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record our own opinion conviction and
feeling. Of course there is
great satisfaction in that, but
we don’t want to overlook the
practical results.

I thought at Commencement
time that I wished the alumnae
might have a meeting to consider
a ways and means. I think
we ought to act together, and
attempt to make our influence
felt in the direction of the
best good of Colby and her
woman students. Now what I
question is – is it best to put
ourselves in recorded opposition
to the Trustees when nothing
but the relief of our feelings
can possibly be effected by it.
Would it not impair the influence
of any words we expression might want
to express make in the future

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in regard to some measure
which still lay within the
region of the unsettled possible debatable? undecided.
I have heard it hinted that
among future measures might
be changes in the curriculum,
or in markings or degrees,
about which the expression
of our opinion to the Trustees
might have weight, especially
if we had taken no stand
in opposition to them.

I see one and only one
possible advantage in the
business movement – that is that it may lead
the Faculty to treat the girls more
decently than they have done
of late. That certainly is something. It is nothing but the
position of the Faculty that has
kept down the number of girls,
and if they should change front, +
should make efforts
some [illegible] are back to

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encourage the [?] of it would [illegible] strange?
[bring] girls there, strong efforts
may would be successful. The
faculty are pledged to support
the new movement, and this
must mean involve a radical change
of base on their part in regard to the girls.
If a large number of our
bright young girls never should come
there to Colby, I think they would
settle some questions better
than any one could for them,
+ differently from what they
have ever been settled before.

I think the education of
women at Colby has a future.
I can’t see just now very clearly
what it is. But I think it is may be a different
one and a larger one than the
trustees can at present grasp or [plan].
Wisdom has certainly not come into
the world with Pres. Small + it
will probably not go out with him.

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This new movement may work itself
into something altogether different
from what they he thinks, or from what
we think. There may come a time
when the friends of Colby can
say [aloud?] with some hope of being
listened to, Let us go back ?
I do I am sure feel now that all
we can do is to submit, and
that any remonstrance is as idle
as the wind.

Please excuse this long
letter. It is a matter on which I have
felt very strongly deeply. My thought now
is quite strong that I am afraid
the effect of a remonstrance protest will
be to cause the Trustees to feel
that we have put ourselves in
opposition to them, + this to sully
the influence which we ought to
have +exert in the future.
I hope [illegible] no strike will be [lasting?] [illegible] taken.
I am sure you and I think

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entirely alike on this question,
even if we should not agree
on regard to ways + means.

With sincere regards
yours Very truly yours
Louise H. Coburn