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Dean of Women and Dean of Students Office Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: WUA-01-wua00083

This collection includes early materials about McMillian Hall, the first women’s dormitory on campus; sororities; women’s honor societies, including Sophomore Commission, Chimes, and Mortar Board; and the administration of the Women’s Building. Primarily materials are paper office files, supplemented with a few photographs and a small number of audio recordings from the 1970s.

More recent additions include miscellaneous flyers, brochures, memos, and group rosters from women’s groups on campus, including the Women’s Leadership Training Institute and the Student Union’s Women’s Issues Commission. These folders are filed at the end of Box 3.


  • 1915-2003

Conditions Governing Access

Open.  Access to audio materials dependent on physical condition of materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


2.75 linear feet

4 boxes

Historical Information

These files originated with the Dean of Women, Adele Starbird, who served from 1931 until her retirement in 1959. The office of Dean of Women was started at Washington University in 1913, with primary responsibility for all female students (commonly referred to as “co-eds”) on campus. Duties included recruitment, advising, student conduct, dormitories, and all other non-academic areas. Starbird was the last person to hold the title Dean of Women. The duties of this position were absorbed by the Office of the Dean of Students, staffed in 1959 by Dean Arno Haack, and Assistant Dean of Students, Catherine M. Draper.

In 1962 Gertrude Knelleken, already an Associate Professor of physical education for women, joined the staff as Assistant Dean of Students. Knelleken, a member of the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, then assumed management of non-academic activities for women students. In 1965, with the first of many reorganizations, the department was renamed the Office of Student Affairs (also at times known as the Office of Student Activities). In 1967 Helen Trudi Spigel took Kenelleken’s place as Assistant Director in the Office of Student Affairs. Spiegel was promoted to Director of Student Affairs in 1970, and remained in this position until 1974 when she transferred to work on special projects for the University’s Public Affairs department. During this time Susan Wedemeyer was pointed as Assistant Director of Student Affairs and Counselor in Women's Affairs (circa 1971 – 1974). The position was revived by Shannon Collier-Tenison under the title of Women’s Programming Coordinator in 1995. She was succeeded by Stephanie N. Kurtzman in 1998 as Coordinator for Women’s Programs and Community Service (in the Office of Student Activities, which was part of the newly created Department of Campus Life).


This collection is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Method of Acquisition

This material was transferred to the archives by Trudi Spigel in 1974. Additional materials were transferred by Stephanie N. Kurtzman in 2008.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are added at the end of the existing files.

Related Materials

For related departmental files consult the Office of Student Affairs / Student Activities Records, Publications of Student Affairs, and Student Union Records, all located at University Archives.

For similar topics consult the Women’s Pan-Hellenic Records, Athletic Department Records (Series 02), Publications by Student Groups, Women’s Resource Center Records, and Women’s Studies Program Administrative Papers, all located at University Archives.

Processing Information

Inventory processed by Archives Staff in 1992. Top level information processed, and finding aid converted to DACS by Miranda Rectenwald in June 2011. Updated by Rebecca van Kniest in October 2011.

Dean of Women and Dean of Students Office Records
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 March 25: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the University Archives Collecting Area

Sonya Rooney
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495