The article about women critical-language students at Princeton reminded me of an earlier instance of a female foreign-language student at the University before it went coeducational.

Katherine W. Bracken was a mid-career Foreign Service officer (FSO) who studied Turkish at Princeton in the mid-1950s. I recall seeing her at a social event that I attended at the Graduate School in early 1956.

As a new FSO in the fall of 1956, I was assigned as a staff aide to the dean of languages at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Going through some office files,  I discovered correspondence between FSI and T. Cuyler Young, chairman of the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature (OLL), regarding the proposed assignment of Ms. Bracken to study Turkish at Princeton. Professor Young initially explained that Princeton did not accept women students. The FSI dean countered that if she were not accepted, the Department of State might not send any FSOs to study there. 

Eventually, the OLL department agreed to accept Ms. Bracken as a student of Turkish. However, she would not be provided with University housing or other campus facilities and would not be granted an academic degree.

Ms. Bracken later served as U.S. consul general in Istanbul.

Brooks Wrampelmeier ’56
Washington, D.C.