In Response to: When Women Came to Princeton [6]

The article on the origin and implementation of coeducation at Princeton (cover story, Oct. 5) omits The Daily Princetonian’s early role in that historic change. In her new book, former dean Nancy Weiss Malkiel recounts much of the story.

In its Jan. 8, 1965, issue, The Princetonian devoted roughly 5,000 words to an article titled “A Diagnosis of Princeton’s Social Illness.” That illness, wrote James M. Markham ’65 (later a distinguished foreign correspondent for The New York Times), was caused by the absence of females in undergraduate life. The Princetonian editorialized that “today there is good reason to believe that the development of a young man’s mind is not only not impeded, but is enhanced by normal contact with women.” The editorial also argued that with coeducation, “the University would be meeting a major responsibility toward a part of society which it has heretofore ignored.” The New Yorker and Time, among others, reported on the article.

Before The Princetonian published its story, President Goheen ’40 *48 said “Princeton does not have any social problems that coeducation would cure.” He also said, apparently tongue-in-cheek, that the University would accept $40 million to build facilities for women. At its annual banquet in early 1965, The Princetonian handed President Goheen a $500 check as an initial investment in coeducation. He accepted the check graciously but noncommittally.

We did not know then, but now have learned from Dean Malkiel, that Markham’s article contributed to the evolution in President Goheen’s thinking about the need for coeducation.