Transcription of letter from Mary Low to Louise Coburn, 8/7/1890

Squirrel Island, Aug. 7. 1890.

My dear Miss Coburn,

Many thanks for your
beautiful letter. You cannot know how gratifying it
is to me to find that we agree so well in re-
gard to this matter. Indeed, as far as I have
been able to ascertain, the Alumnae are a unit
in their feelings and opinions although they may
perhaps, differ as to ways and means.

I intended to go up to Skowhegan to see you
but Prof. Taylor and sister gave me so pressing
an invitation to come down here that I came
Wednesday with my little girl. My husband came
down for the Sabbath.

I wish I might see you. I think we could
arrange something that we could agree on. Today I
had a call from Alice Sawtelle, Mary Farr, Bessie

Mortimer and Mary Pray and we met afterwards and
talked over matters and I read them what I had
written. I find we all agree and is as to their suggestion
that I write to you. Our idea is this. We see
of course that it would be useless to expect to change
anything now. The thing is done. We couldn’t have done
anything to prevent it, because we didn’t know
that it was to be done. We couldn’t act, of course,
till the trustees had acted. It looks as if the
result had been precipitated, sprung on us, as you might
say in such a way that neither we nor our friends
could do anything to prevent it.

We can’t change anything, but is it right and best
for us to remain silent? Is it right for us to re-
main silent and thus really assent to this change?
I understand Pres. Small invites criticism and asks
the girls to express their opinion about it. His ref-
erences to our modesty or want of it are of the na-
ture of an insult. Although he may not have intended
them to be so, yet we all feel that they are of that nature.
And then is it right for us to remain silent and

let the impression go abroad that everybody favors this new plan?
Shouldn’t we do what we can to have matters understood
as they are? He has given the impression that everybody and
even the girls themselves desire this change when we know
it is not so. It seems to me that there are many reasons
why it is right for us to speak. Another thing. Is it best
for us to be silent? What shall we gain by silence? Will
our influence have any effect-by-and-by if we don’t try
to use it now? Won’t these contemplated changes by “sprung
on” us again as this has been? And if we seem not to
care now, will it be expected that we shall care by-and-
by? Shall we be given any chance to use our influence
if we don’t attempt to do it now.

I don’t mean and we don’t any of us mean that
we will place ourselves in opposition to the trustees. But
can’t we by the right kind of a protest place ourselves
in such an attitude that they will see that we love our

college and have her best interests and the interests of her
women students at heart? We know we have many friends
among the trustees and we think they all respect us and
would respect our opinions. We are educated women and
are supposed to have an opinion in this matter that so
nearly concerns ourselves. Why shouldn’t we express it?

Now, perhaps, the protest I have written may not be the
right kind. It is written from my own point of view.

I find, however, that these girls here and Miss Parmenter
all agree that it is just the thing. Alice Sawtelle says she
would sign it three times over. I think we could easily get
20 signatures and perhaps more. There are 33 Alumnae
in all and 1/3 of them live in W-. What we propose to do
is this, to have it printed first without signatures and
sent around for the girls to sign. Then have another
set printed with the names printed underneath by
classes and send these copies to the trustees and faculty.
I did wish that you might see the Ms. before it should
be printed so that you might suggest any desirable changes.
I don’t care anything, of course, about being the author
of it, but somebody had to start and I should be glad to re-

ceive any suggestions. If it weren’t so long I would
send the Ms to you. I will do so rather than have
you say that you can’t help us. I thought you might
possibly be coming down here before long so we could
arrange a meeting. It would be just the thing if you could
meet us all here. Can’t it be brought about in some way?

We do want you to help us. It seems as if we can’t
have it otherwise. Your name and influence would have
the weight of a dozen of the other names. I think and
we all think that we ought to act together. We can’t
afford to split up into factions. Now, can’t you act with
us? We seem to be waiting for you, for I think there
is little doubt about the other girls, the majority of them.

Please let me hear from you as soon as possible in
regard to it. I shall probably be here till the middle of
next week; how much longer, I cannot say.

Dr. Pepper talked the matter over with Mr. Carver

when he was in W-, and he says that the new plan
cannot be carried out without considerable money and so will,
he thinks be a failure, will work itself clear after a
while. What I am afraid of most is that the public will get
this false impression to such an extent that some-
body will be giving them money. Pres. Small will
leave no stone unturned to carry out this pet scheme
of his. I think he wants to signalize his administra-
tion by something new and marvelous.

Well, let me hear from you very soon.

With love
Mary L. Carver.

Excuse pencil for my pen won’t work well.