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Women's athletics at the University of Kansas during the Progressive Era, 1890--1920

Posted on:2009-09-20Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:University of KansasCandidate:Pilon, Nancy NygardFull Text:PDF
While the basic outline of the educational history of women at the University of Kansas is known, their athletic history is a bit more difficult to trace (Griffin, 1974). Very few records have been kept that reveal the true beginning of female participation in sports. Mable Lee includes the University of Kansas with several other institutions where physical education programs (called Physical Culture at the time) were set up for women (1893) before men (1894) (Lee, 1983). Further research shows that in 1884, ten years earlier, the women of the University were already benefiting from exercise and participation in the form of the Ladies Senior Boating Club (Cicala, 1884). Just two years later, the university yearbook featured a women's tennis team.;The purpose of this study is to trace the origin and the development of women's intercollegiate athletics at the University of Kansas during the Progressive Era; to identify and record the significant events and achievements that comprised the historic growth of the women's sports program during the selected period; and to identify the leaders and coaches who contributed significantly to the women's sports program (Hooker, 1988).;Sparhawk, Leslie, Turbow and Rose (1989) point out that, "the modern history of American women's participation in athletic competition can be divided into four periods: the Pre-Organizational Era (1887--1916), the Organizational Years (1917--1956), the Competitive Period (1957--1971), and the Title IX era (1972--1987)" (Sparhawk, 1989). The focus of this paper will be the Pre-Organizational Era which coincides with the Progressive Era. Chapter 1 is the introduction to the study. Chapter 2 will describe higher education and educational opportunities for women during this time period. Chapter 3 will introduce leisure, sports and college athletics for women. Chapter 4 will in detail give the history of women's athletic participation at the University of Kansas from 1890--1920. Finally, Chapter 5 is a brief overview from 1950 through today. Chapter 6 serves as the conclusion.;The athletic lives of the women at the University of Kansas during the Progressive Era paralleled the lives of other women at major universities throughout the mid-west. The "athletic girl" embodied in the image of the 'New Woman' is a direct outgrowth of these women. While not always accepted by fellow students, the administration or society, the first female athletes at the university confronted and overcame the contradiction inherent in being both 'woman' and 'athlete'.
Keywords/Search Tags:University, Kansas during the progressive era, Women, Athletic, History
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