Student Body: First Coeds at Princeton

In 1969 the old-boy network at America’s most stylish university was broken with the admission of female students. The fellow above is clearly pleased with the change. Not only in the student body (and what a body it is), but with campus fashion. Sartorially speaking, the pivotal year of change — 1967 — was two years before, and the up-to-date undergrad is now sporting double vents and sideburns. You decide which is the greater travesty. — CC

Images from the LIFE archives

13 Comments on "Student Body: First Coeds at Princeton"

  1. Ah, the trusty Dutch bicycle enters Mathey Courtyard

  2. Third picture rather looks current. The decline and fal…

  3. Good stuff … I featured these pics on my blog about a week ago (http://disaffectedprep.blogspot.com/2009/08/lets-hear-it-for-girls-princeton-in-69.html). Glad to see they’re getting a bit of a wider readership.

    Been a fan of Ivy Style for awhile. If you swing by my site (just started it a month ago) I have some pics of Bowdoin in the 80s and 50s that you might like in addition to other posts.

  4. Langdale, While that does resemble the archway in Cram’s Campbell Hall, the tigress is actually going west out of the Pyne Courtyard.

  5. mjjcs,

    Many thanks. I was just in Pton this weekend, and you are quite right. Alas, I was not fortunate enough to live in Mathey. Speaking of Cram, I have been reading his Walled Towns (1919). Great read, if a bit wacky in his historiography…

    P. Langdale Hough

  6. Glad to be of service, Langdale. Note the pin the second coed is wearing, “Bring back the old Princeton.” More than half the irony comes from the fact that she probably was being only half-ironic. Many of those whose arrival changed an institution felt no shortage of nostalgia for their daddy’s Princeton.

  7. Ezra Cornell | August 30, 2019 at 10:05 pm |

    Ivy Style is the 4-Chan of style blogs. It’s a shame.

    The woman wearing the button has a name: June Fletcher ’73. Here’s what she said about it: “Although some alums greeted us warmly, I was told some who were still unhappy about the decision were wearing these buttons in protest of our arrival. Someone — I don’t remember who — gave me one, and I instantly put it on as a cheeky ‘so-there’ statement. I proudly wore it the rest of the day.” So, no, she didn’t feel nostalgia for an institution that excluded her.

    For those interested in more than trolling, there’s some very interesting history about women enrolling at Princeton at the following sites:

    https://libguides.princeton.edu/c.php?g=84581&p=543232

    https://paw.princeton.edu/article/when-women-came-princeton

  8. Ezra Cornell | August 30, 2019 at 11:32 pm |

    Apologies for not including relevant parts of a very thoughtful essay written by Jane Leifer, ‘73, and published in the Princeton Alumni Weekly:

    It was hard to remain nonchalant when photographers, reporters and television crews insisted on portraying us as cute curios, laughably incongruous with the school’s history. The men resented the attention we were receiving. We resented the men’s resentment. In an effort to detach ourselves from a false image in the press which we had not created and had no intention of conforming to, we even avoided each other. Loneliness was as common as the empty kegs and crushed cans of Bud…..

    We wanted to be just people, but we were in a system which could see us only as coeds and freaks. We each wanted to be able to be ourselves, not the representatives of what our preceptors called on us to explain: “the woman’s point of view.’’

  9. All I know is the tall girl in the first picture seems to be smoaking hot. Interesting clothes for a college freshman.

    Just saying.

    Will

  10. Smoking hot, of course. Am I wrong?.

    Will

  11. During Princeton’s 2019 reunion this spring, I shared a shuttle bus with some of the women who comprised Princeton’s first coed class . They seemed to be in their late 60’s and early 70’s but as sharp as ever. They had the entire bus enraptured by the stories of their time on campus. From the small sample of women I met on the bus, it sounds like they all went on to have highly successful careers – perhaps even comparable to their male colleagues? Regardless, they were great people.

  12. Just googled June Fletcher’s bio: Princeton; Oxford; Miss Bikini USA. (not joking) Wow.

  13. Paul

    Just because one is incredibly intelligent doesn’t mean one cannot be incredibly good looking. I mean, look at me.

    Cheers

    Will

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