The University of Chicago experience was designed to prepare women to meet the challenges and opportunities of the wider world. Early women graduates pursued a variety of careers and lifestyles. While some went on to graduate study, others worked in offices, in educational institutions, and in hospitals. Still others became full-time homemakers. Many women graduates of the college remained in Hyde Park, working in University offices or furthering their education at Chicago despite informal quotas that often limited the number of women accepted each year to the professional schools.
Alumnae, women graduate students, and even faculty wives also engaged in woman-centered philanthropy and community service. As early as 1892, women's committees funded departmental fellowships for female graduate students and supported the first campus building projects, including men's and women's dormitories on campus.
Another channel for former students' energies was the Chicago Alumnae Club. The organization was founded by in 1898 by twenty-seven women residents of Nancy Foster Hall who wanted to remain connected to their house friends after graduation. Their Alumnae Club was an active organization, holding social and academic events, granting scholarships, and organizing community service programs. Typical gatherings celebrated women's careers and continuing education.
When Ida Noyes Hall opened, it contained an Alumnae Room for club meetings, teas and classes. The Chicago Alumnae Club provided a crucial outlet allowing University of Chicago women to maintain their ties to the University and each other.
|6. Air Hostess Applicants, 1942. Archival Photographic Files.
With their wartime graduation from the University of Chicago only a few months away, college seniors apply for airhostess jobs with TWA, which required at least one year of college education.
7. Typists, n.d. Archival Photographic Files.
Clerical employment was a typical form of paid employment for women students and graduates alike.
|8. Rush Medical College graduates, 1884. Archival Photographic Files.
Rush Medical College, originally affiliated with the University of Chicago, granted admission to a limited number of women students as early as the 1880s.
|9. Nursery School "Story Time," n.d. Archival Photographic Files.
Caring for children, both at home and as educators and childcare workers, was also a frequent occupation of women graduates.