You quote Nancy Malkiel making a seemingly indefensible statement about admissions: “All of this was shaken up during the 1960s. Conservative private, elite universities began to think about socioeconomic diversity, to consider the idea that maybe you would look for students in public schools, Catholic and Jewish students, African American students.” “Began to think”?
I was admitted in 1951 into the Class of 1955. We had boatloads of freshmen from public high schools. Well more than a mere handful of classmates were Jewish and Catholic, though we didn’t ask their religion or ethnic background. Granted, there were only three black students in our class. There was a notable percentage from private boarding and day schools that were feeders to Princeton. A few were even Catholic prep schools. Why, we even had Democrats!
I was the first in my family to attend college. I was on a partial scholarship grant with a job in the dining halls and a University loan, as were many classmates. That was not unusual in the early ’50s. Socioeconomic diversity appears to begin well before the 1960s — more likely even before I was admitted in 1951 after the World War II years — and I don’t see any 1960s timeline connection to gender admissions. That was a real leap from an all-male school for 224 years in 1970. Aside from all the in-depth, who-benefits-most internal discussions of admitting women to Princeton, the answer was simple. The educational climate was changing. Yale did it. Princeton had to compete.