A Question About The Ivy League and The Seven Sisters

The full list of Ivy League schools includes Yale UniversityHarvard UniversityUniversity of PennsylvaniaBrown UniversityPrinceton UniversityColumbia UniversityDartmouth College, and Cornell University

Founded in the mid to late 19th century,  seven women's colleges in the Northeast of the United States have been called the Seven Sisters. Like the Ivy League (originally men's colleges), to which they were considered a parallel, the Seven Sisters have had a reputation of being top-notch and elite.

The colleges were founded to promote education for women that would be at an equal level to the education offered to men.

All seven schools were founded between 1837 and 1889. Four are in Massachusetts, two are in New York, and one is in Pennsylvania.

The name "Seven Sisters" came into use officially with the 1926 Seven College Conference, which was aimed at organizing common fund-raising for the colleges.

The title "Seven Sisters" also alludes to the Pleiades, seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the nymph Pleione in Greek myth. A cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus is also called the Pleiades or Seven Sisters.

Of the seven colleges, four still function as independent, private women's colleges. Radcliffe College no longer exists as a separate institution admitting students, dissolving in 1999 after a slow integration with Harvard beginning formally in 1963 with joint diplomas. Barnard College still exists as a separate legal entity, but is closely affiliated with Columbia. Yale and Vassar did not merge, though Yale extended an offer to do so, and Vassar became a coeducational college in 1969, remaining independent. Each of the other colleges remains a private women's college, after considering coeducation.

The Seven Sisters was a name given to seven liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States that are historically women's colleges. Five of the seven institutions continue to offer all-female undergraduate programs: Barnard CollegeBryn Mawr CollegeMount Holyoke CollegeSmith College, and Wellesley CollegeVassar College has been co-educational since 1969. Radcliffe College shared common and overlapping history with Harvard College from the time it was founded as "the Harvard Annex" in 1879. Harvard and Radcliffe effectively merged in 1977, but Radcliffe continued to be the sponsoring college for women at Harvard until its dissolution in 1999. Barnard College was Columbia University's women's liberal arts undergraduate college until its all-male coordinate school Columbia College went co-ed in 1983; to this day, Barnard continues to be an all-women's undergraduate college affiliated with Columbia.

Barnard, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley, and Radcliffe were given the name "the Seven Sisters" in 1927, because of their relative affiliations with the Ivy League men's colleges. The schools are sometimes referred to as "the Daisy Chain" or "the Heavenly Seven."

So here's a question:

As stated above, the colleges were ostensiblyfounded to promote education for women that would be at an equal level to the education offered to men.

What additional underlying reasons, other than academics, might there have been for "The Seven Sisters" schools to have been brought into existence?

The materials for this post were gleaned from entries in Wikipedia and  related sources....


Views: 392

Comment by Ben Sen on October 9, 2018 at 11:01am

My daughter went to Sarah Lawrence, which is usually considered one of the "seven" sisters.  It had a faculty/student ration of 1to13.  Her largest class was 17.  All the classes were seminars.  At first, I was suspicious mistakenly thinking it was a preparatory school for the wives of the "great" men from the Ivies, which to me is a pile of shit, especially since it was costing a mint.  Then I learned Joseph Campbell taught there his entire career.  She had to write a paper a week that was then scrutinized in class.  It taught her to think.  She got jobs she wouldn't have gotten otherwise.  When she went to one of the top graduate schools in her field she said it was like being on a holiday.  That made it worth it.


Comment by Ron Powell on October 9, 2018 at 11:31am

You would do well to keep in mind that the administrations, faculties, and boards of trustees of these 'all female institutions were dominated and controlled by white men.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on October 9, 2018 at 12:04pm

"What additional underlying reasons, other than academics, might there have been for "The Seven Sisters" schools to have been brought into existence?"

Pick out the one (out of the ones who were hand picked for this photo) who isn't a Seven Sisters grad.  I dare you!  (Hint:  It is the same one who has enjoyed sex in the last 20 years).

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, indoor

Comment by Ron Powell on October 9, 2018 at 12:31pm

@Amy; I'm stumped...

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on October 9, 2018 at 1:02pm

Amy; I'm stumped...

Oh come on, Ron!  Just pick the Trump supporter who doesn't have the inane, adoring look pasted on their Bondo makeup'ed faces.

I'm betting on the lady in red because here dye job isn't up to Barnard / Wellesley / Vassar / Bryn Mawr standards and that "tacky" red dress would have gotten her shunned at Mount Holyoke, Smith and or Radcliffe.  Don't even get me started on the absence of the de rigueur insipid "Stepford Wife look that is missing.  She is letting her true hate filled feelings show and that is the biggest tell.

Comment by Ron Powell on October 9, 2018 at 2:47pm

"It is the same one who has enjoyed sex in the last 20 years."

Your 'hint' the me off....

I would agree with your assessment....

Comment by Ben Sen on October 9, 2018 at 3:23pm

Oh come on.  You have no idea what you're talking about.  If you're going to live in a world of stereotypes, shame on you.  These schools are mostly bastions of liberalism.  They all have "legacy" programs to be sure, but most get there by merit.  Hotheads are the problem, and I don't care what side of the spectrum they come from, or pretend to come from.  Mostly they're just fools, and the mistake is taking them seriously. 

Comment by Ron Powell on October 9, 2018 at 4:19pm

@Ben Sen; All of the 'Seven Sister' schools began as liberal arts colleges. The idea of providing women with top quality higher educations was considered radical, progressive, or at the very least, liberal during the 50 year period in which all of those institutions were founded and brought into being...

All seven schools were founded between 1837 and 1889. 

BTW Sarah Lawrence College does not appear on any official listing of the schools that comprise the group known as 'The Seven Sisters'.

 If anything, these schools were created to preserve, and pass on, the most conservative of political and social values and mores. Not the least of which was the notion of a 'woman's place' in white male dominated, 'polite', American society..

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on October 9, 2018 at 4:37pm

You ALMOST got it right Ben Sen.  These schools are mostly bastions of neo-liberalism.   I'd dare say their most popular class is "Let Them Eat Cake" 101.

BTW, it's not surprising that you are defending the Seven Sisters.  Your dream girl Hillary was a Wellesley grad where she served as president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. ::roll eyes::

Comment by Ben Sen on October 9, 2018 at 5:47pm

Ron:  It's all a crock of shit anyway.  How people can pay anywhere near what they pay to go to a school where they're part of herd is beyond my comprehension.  If all you're buying is the prestige of the school, or a way to get a degree without every being tested, and by learning to think for yourself is what creates Kavanaughs and more Kavanaughs.  I think this is obvious to anyone who pays attention.  Their motivation is not learning, its ambition.  And the fact so few recognize this is the problem.  The only true knowledge is self-knowledge, not how many text books you can memorize.  This is not, however, by definition, something that can be measured, but only seen as the temperament and character of the person emerges during the course of their life. Some of the greatest people I've known have had the least education, and some of the greatest frauds the most prestigious educations. 



You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!


Revelations and the Question

Posted by Ron Powell on February 21, 2019 at 5:30am 0 Comments

Clam Crimes Charged

Posted by Robert B. James on February 19, 2019 at 4:41pm 2 Comments

The True Definition of Treason

Posted by Doc Vega on February 19, 2019 at 2:01pm 10 Comments

The Vanity Ring - 4 - Sun on the Rocks

Posted by Workstudio on February 19, 2019 at 10:00am 0 Comments

Enemy of the Good

Posted by Tom Cordle on February 18, 2019 at 3:06pm 31 Comments

© 2019   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service