Message from W. Urban concerning women faculty with PhD's
Hurried Oracle readers (May 1994) might miss the nuances in Prof. [name omitted]'s carefully worded statement that she was the first woman professor with a doctoral degree and WITHOUT SOME FORM OF CONNECTION TO MONMOUTH COLLEGE. This seems to disparage, unintentionally, the achievements of the women who earned the highest degree in their field at a time when most male faculty (Haldeman, for example) found it impossible (and unnecessary) to go beyond the master's degree. Also, I am not absolutely certain it is correct. Certainly, Jean Liedman, a Monmouth graduate (1927), did earn her Ph.D. in speech at the University of Wisconsin after becoming employed at the college during World War II. Dr. Dorothy Donald, who earned her Ph.D. in Language from the University of Wisconsin, brought a large number of female Ph.D's into the MFL department: Ruth Garwood in Spanish, Erica Wolfskell, Eleanor Moll, Edina Guillermo; there was also a young German teacher with a doctorate who married Larry Romano in French, and Dr. Emma Gibson in Latin.
What may be missed by concentrating on doctoral degrees is the importance of female faculty in years past. The first historian here was a woman, but I cannot compare the salaries as easily as I can when two decades later Florabel Patterson (paid $1000) was hired; this was one year before Luther Emerson Robinson, perhaps Monmouth College's most productive scholar (paid $1100), came to head the English department. The pay slipped in subsequent decades, so that not so long ago outstanding women such as Bernice Fox (ABD) and Jean Liedman (PhD) ended their careers with embarrassingly small salaries. Doug Spitz and I, however, saw to it that Mary Crow (MA) achieved a salary equal to ours before she retired; she subsequently received a well-earned honorary degree from Monmouth College.
What also may be missed is the respect and moral authority that female faculty enjoyed in previous generations. Several were powers on the faculty, intimidated by no one. [Prof above] was the successor of Dr. Madge Sanmann, a highly competent, independent‑thinking scholar I was fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with while I was learning this business.
To sum up, the tone of the Oracle article and the quotes in it reflect accurately our current intellectual climate, but could be read as belittling the significant role that women have played in the College's history.