”Women Are Admitted
A step of far reaching importance—the most important event in the history of the school for the University women—was taken by the Board of Curators in the early seventies. As early as 1869 young women had been admitted to the Normal Department. The board, ‘seeing that the young women did no manner of harm in the Normal Department,’ took under consideration the question of throwing the doors of the entire University open to young women. This question ‘was approached with cautious and doubting steps, for it was considered a bold and hazardous undertaking,’ says Colonel Switzler, the University’s faithful chronicler.
However, the board, with fear and trembling, took this ‘bold and hazardous step’, and in 1872 women students were admitted to all departments of the University. It took some time for the caution and doubt of the authorities to wear off. At first the young women were closely watched. They were not permitted to use the library at the same hours the men did; and when they attended chapel exercises, they were marched in a line between two vigilant chaperons. No serious results following, the faculty and curators ceased worrying about their ‘hazardous experiment,’ and the women were gradually placed on the same basis as the men.
Miss Eliza Ann Gentry, now Mrs. C. A. Young of Kansas City, was the first woman to be graduated from the University. She received the degree of Normal Graduate in l871. The following commencement three other young women became alumnae of the University of Missouri, Miss Helen A. Packer, Miss Gertrude C. Seward and Miss Anna Ware, now Mrs. Anna Ware Taggert.”