The women were always welcome at Clark

Janice Monk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


In absolute and relative terms, since its founding in 1921, the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University has played a major role in educating women geographers. This article examines the period from the 1920s to the early 1970s, when Clark was most distinctive in its representation of women in comparison to other institutions. I examine patterns of enrollment, how the women came to choose Clark, their experiences of the institution and of the job market, and the regional, national, and international connections of Clark women. I pay attention to the women's perspectives and to their relationships with faculty and alumni, especially founding director Wallace Atwood, questioning whether Ellen Churchill Semple's presence on the Clark faculty in its first decade had any positive effect on women students' relations to Clark. The themes are analyzed in relation to currents in the institution, the discipline, American higher education, and gender roles in U.S. society. Key issues that emerge are the occupational segregation within the discipline before the 1960s, which led to women being associated primarily with teacher training institutions and, to some extent, women's colleges; Atwood's commitment to geographic education; the importance of Clark networks; and the women's valuing of a collaborative atmosphere and of field education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-30
Number of pages17
JournalEconomic Geography
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Clark University
  • Geography
  • Institutional climate
  • Women graduate students


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