Monday, February 25, 2013

Exhibit: Business Education for Women at Harvard

"Radcliffe College Announcement of Fellowship for Training in Personnel Administration, April 1, 1937. Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration Records. Radcliffe College Archives, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University."
Baker Library Historical Collections has mounted a new exhibit, “Building the Foundation: Business Education for Women at Harvard University, 1937–1970.” The exhibition will run until September 22, 2013, at Baker Library, Harvard Business School. Illustrating the evolution of this formative period are photographs, interviews, reports, and correspondence from Baker Library Historical Collections at Harvard Business School and from the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute.
    “Building the Foundation” traces the early history of business education for women at Harvard University from the founding of the one-year certificate program at Radcliffe College in 1937 (which HBS Professor Fritz Roethlisberger called “the first daring experiment in ‘practical education’ for women”) to the HBS faculty vote to admit women into the two-year MBA program, and finally to the complete integration of women into HBS campus life by 1970. The physical exhibit at Baker is accompanied by an on-line exhibit, which provides views of some of the items featured in the exhibition (illustrations and texts), as well as information about additional materials in support of further research. The site also contains oral histories from women who participated in the early business education programs.
    As the foreword to the exhibit explains,
The telling documents reveal how program directors, administrators, and faculty shaped business education for women at the University, preparing students to take their places in the business world. The pioneering graduates of these programs would go on to help open doors to formerly unattainable opportunities for generations of women who followed. 
The exhibit represents a contribution by Baker Library Historical Collections and the Bloomberg Center to the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of women’s admission into the full MBA program at Harvard Business School. To learn more about the HBS celebration of "50 Years of Women in the MBA Program,” see the celebration website.
    Please contact Baker Library Historical Collections at to request a copy of the exhibition catalog. For those in the Boston area, the schedule and directions to the exhibit are available here.
    Readers will also find of interest an earlier Historical Collections on-line exhibit on the subject, “A Daring Experiment.”