The Full Wiki

H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tulane University

Seal of Tulane University
Motto Non Sibi Sed Suis (Latin)
Motto in English "Not for oneself, but for one's own"
Established 1834
Type Private
Endowment US $ 807 million (as of June 30, 2009)[1]
President Scott Cowen
Faculty 1,132[2]
Undergraduates 6,749
Postgraduates 4,408
Location New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
29°56′07″N 90°07′22″W / 29.935344°N 90.122687°W / 29.935344; -90.122687Coordinates: 29°56′07″N 90°07′22″W / 29.935344°N 90.122687°W / 29.935344; -90.122687
Campus Urban
Former names Medical College of Louisiana (1834-1847),[2] University of Louisiana (1847-1884)
Sports Baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, tennis, volleyball
Colors Olive Green and Sky Blue          
Nickname Green Wave
Mascot Riptide the Pelican
Athletics NCAA Division I Conference USA
Affiliations AAU
Tulane Shield and wordmark

H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, or Newcomb College, was the coordinate women's college of Tulane University located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was founded by Josephine Louise Newcomb in 1886 in memory of her daughter.

Newcomb was the first women's coordinate college in the nation, and the first degree-granting college for women established within a United States university. This model was later used in partnerships such as Pembroke College at Brown University and Barnard College at Columbia University.

Tulane University dissolved Newcomb College in 2006, as part of its Renewal Plan following the major losses and damage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Heirs of Mrs. Newcomb sued in Howard v. Tulane, challenging Tulane on the issue of donor intent and seeking to preserve Newcomb as a degree-granting coordinate college within the university.



Josephine Louise Newcomb, (1816–1901) (born Josephine Louise Le Monnier), established the college as a memorial to her daughter Sophie, who died in 1870 at the age of 15. Following an initial donation of $100,000, she made gifts totaling $3 million dollars. She wanted to support a liberal academic education for young white women. Newcomb was influenced by Ida Richardson and the college was associated with the Progressive Movement from its earliest years.

Until its move in 1918 to its Broadway campus, Newcomb College was made up mostly of day students. Its move to its current site adjacent to the uptown campus of Tulane was also the occasion of development of dormitories and more campus life. Students at Newcomb College became increasingly sophisticated and the school's reputation grew.

The university had recruited Brandt V.B. Dixon as the first president of Newcomb College. To ensure girls and young women were academically prepared for college, Dixon established the Newcomb High School, which operated from 1888 to 1920. The preparatory school ensured that girls were ready to study at the college level, as some parents tried to send girls to Newcomb who were as young as 13 or 14, with little academic preparation. Dixon worked with faculty and students to continue to raise academic standards. By 1916, Newcomb had achieved a strong regional reputation and become "one of seven Southern schools which held a standard college designation within the Southern Association of College Women." [3]

Out of its art school, the college created the business of what became the renowned Newcomb Pottery. This reflected both a progressive interest in craft and parents' desire for their daughters to learn a practical, "industrial" skill in the economically difficult postwar years. It was first headed by Mary Given Sheerer, previously associated with the Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati. While the pottery did not employ that many women, some did find work there. Angela Gregory was artist-in-residence at Newcomb College. It produced more than 70,000 pieces before the pottery program closed in 1939. During these years, the college's art program expanded to include other arts and crafts, such as illustrated bookplates, jewelry, embroidery, and hand-bound books, the latter often given embossed leather covers and elaborate clasps.[3]

Newcomb contributed greatly to the early development of basketball and other sports for women, which added to its reputation. The college was one of the first women's colleges to compete in national basketball games, along with northern women's colleges such as Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Vassar.

In 1895, Newcomb's physical education instructor Clara Gregory Baer published the handbook Basketball Rules for Women and Girls. The book described both the one-handed shot and the jump shot, which would not be adopted by men's basketball until 1936. The college had the first women's team to wear bloomers, a better solution for sports. On March 13, 1895, Newcomb students played the first public basketball game in the South before 560 other women at the Southern Athletic Club.[4][5]

Newcomb ball, a game played as an alternative to volleyball, originated at Newcomb College and bears its name. The sport was very popular in the 1920s.[6] The game is still played in various forms across the world.

As it grew, the college reflected many social changes, such as the wider roles of women during and after World War II. Married women were included in admissions. The college began to offer more coeducational classes with Tulane University. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), in the early 1960s both the university and college integrated to adjust to a new moral imperative. The focus of the curriculum changed over the years, and women were offered more science and business classes.[3]


In December 2005 the Tulane University board of directors announced that the university would be reorganized on July 1, 2006, to accommodate needed changes due to losses following Hurricane Katrina.[7] The board also approved the recommendation of a special Tulane Renewal task force to name a revised, co-educational, single undergraduate college Newcomb-Tulane College. The new college within the university is not strictly a successor to Newcomb College.

This followed years of talk about restructuring. Some of the faculty had believed that Newcomb's separate status had adversely affected promotions, for instance, as well as other academic opportunities and had long encouraged a realignment within Tulane University. Since social changes of the 1970s, college and university discussions had centered on a different arrangement within the university.[3]

Arguing the "renewal" plan violated the donor's original intention of the gift, Newcomb's heirs filed suit against the university to invoke the restrictions of Newcomb's lifetime gifts and bequest in her will. The university stated that by naming Tulane her universal legatee in her will, Josephine Louise Newcomb placed no conditions on the use of her donations, but entrusted her gifts to the discretion of the Administrators of Tulane University.[8]

After working its way through the Louisiana courts, the case, Howard v. Tulane, was heard by the Louisiana Supreme Court.[9] It ruled on July 1, 2008, that the "successors" of a testator have standing to enforce the terms of a predecessor's will, though it did not rule specifically on the merits of the interpretation of Mrs. Newcomb's will. Instead the court returned the case to the trial court to require the plaintiffs to prove they are heirs. The plaintiffs dismissed their case.

Based on the Supreme Court's definition of "successor", a subsequent action, Montgomery v. Tulane, was filed in 2008 and is now pending in New Orleans Civil District Court. Another great niece of Mrs. Newcomb, Susan Henderson Montgomery, is the plaintiff claiming to be a successor.


H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute

This institute is an umbrella organization that runs programs (for women) that were formerly operated by the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College. In its first year (2006-07), the non-academic Newcomb College Institute hosted 104 speakers and 110 different programs for women, men and guests at Tulane.

In May 2007, the institute's first graduation awards ceremony was held. It maintained some traditions, such as the Daisy Chain, in which rising female seniors dress in white and carry a rope of greenery and fresh-cut daisies. [10]

See also


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address