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Active BodiesA History of Women’s Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America$
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Martha H. Verbrugge

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195168792

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168792.001.0001

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“The joy of hard play”

“The joy of hard play”

Competitive Activities for College Women, 1920s–1950s

Chapter:
(p.102) 5 “The joy of hard play”
Source:
Active Bodies
Author(s):

Martha H. Verbrugge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168792.003.0005

Chapter 5 presents a comprehensive and innovative analysis of extracurricular sports for undergraduate women between the 1920s and 1950s. Why did some colleges and universities approve high-level female competition, while others opposed it? Why did like-minded physical educators at similar institutions reach different conclusions about women’s athletics? The chapter argues that both national and local factors played a role. As higher education and student populations changed, each institution’s mission and identity, demographic makeup, donor base, governance structure, and campus culture produced distinctive practices of “difference” along axes of gender, race, and class; these frameworks either facilitated or disallowed women’s athletics. The analysis includes case studies of diverse schools, including Agnes Scott, Milwaukee-Downer, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Stanford, Hampton, Tuskegee, and Spelman.

Keywords:   women’s sports, women’s athletics, Agnes Scott College, Milwaukee-Downer College, Smith College, Bryn Mawr College, Stanford University, Hampton Institute, Tuskegee Institute, Spelman College

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