1870-1890: Coeducation Begins

University Founding and the Beginning of Coeducation

When the University was founded in 1868, women were not mentioned explicitly; they were neither excluded nor included as eligible students. It isn’t clear, therefore, whether the 1870 Resolution represented a change of course on the part of the Regents or merely a clarification of the original intention. Were the Regents lifting an earlier bar or just issuing a special invitation to “young ladies”? As Catherine Gallagher argues below, we don’t know the exact motivations of the Regents in 1870, but we can infer some likely ones from the circumstances they faced and the goals they set. We can also better understand the many meanings of the 1870 resolution by asking how it affected young Californian women and how the idea of coeducation was understood at the time.

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