Women's Dwindling Share of the Faculty

What caused the decline in women's share of the faculty?

In 1942, when the university was mobilizing its undergraduate women for war work by encouraging them to enter "every field of endeavor", a pair of student writers had some doubts about the sincerity of the institution's commitment to women's professional careers. If the university really thought their abilities were equal to men's, they wondered, "Why have there been relatively so few women professors?" (Leimbach and Einstein, 4). They put this question to six department chairmen and published the answers in the campus magazine Folio. The chairmen generally avoided attributing the small number of women faculty to innate mental differences: only the chair of Physics speculated that women might lack a conceptual aptitude for truly abstract thought, but even he immediately qualified his generalization, "and spoke of Dr. Wu, a Chinese girl, whom he said Dr. Lawrence considers the most brilliant student he has ever had, either male or female" (Leimbach and Einstein, 5).  

Most blamed the low numbers of female faculty on the inconstancy of women's professional commitments. After declaring that he'd always advocated hiring women in his department, for example, the chair of Zoology complained, "the trouble is that after three or four years of training a fine woman student, she'll go off and get married, and usually that will be the end of her work with us" (6). Without ever citing any specific examples of women being given full-time faculty positions and then quitting to get married, the chairmen repeatedly assert that if they were hired, they'd probably quit or (just as bad) devote too much time to their families: "women too often are apt to obtain positions which are of a permanent nature, only to use them as temporary occupations before marrying" (5). Thus, they implied, women's low faculty numbers resulted from their own ambivalence about academic careers.  

These 1942 interviews remind us how easy it was for the faculty to assert both that women were men's intellectual equals and that it wouldn't be wise to hire them. Previous rationales for limiting women's academic participation on the grounds of natural inferiority were mainly gone, but they also weren't necessary. If anyone asked (and they seldom did) the preference for male faculty could be defended just as easily using these social and psychological arguments, which did not seem to contradict the university's current drive toward attracting women students into traditionally male fields. After all, the mobilization would only be temporary, and when the war was over, the women would happily cede their places. These presuppositions also made it unnecessary to spend time looking closely at the quality of women applicants' work; if they seemed likely to start a familysomeday, they could be generally overlooked. And finally, if a woman was obviously not the marrying kind, then an exception could be made. 

 chart by Zachary Beemer showing females as a percentage of UCB faculty with pronounced decline after 1945
The 1942 article points to one of the primary factors causing the continuous decline of women's proportion of the faculty over the next three decades: the reluctance of most academic departments to hire them during the decades of rapid overall postwar faculty growth. The reluctance was no doubt also reinforced by the trend among women college graduates that we examined in the last essay: they were opting to start families instead of careers at an unprecedented rate. This chart, adapted from Zachary Bleemer's research, shows the result: whereas women had made slow but steady progress during the decades leading up to WWII, the postwar decades erased their modest gains.

In a time of slower overall growth, the reluctance to hire women might have been less ruinous, but the size of the faculty more than doubled by the end of the 1960s while the number of women faculty remained approximately the same as it had been before the war. By 1969, the first Academic Senate committee to examine the issue of faculty gender ratios reported that the women's share had fallen since 1939 from a high of just under 10% to only 3.6% of the total (Report of the Subcommittee, 28). 

The resistance to hiring women and the corresponding pressures that drew them into domesticity earlier in their lives, though, are only part of the story. To understand specifically how women fared on the postwar Berkeley faculty, we'll look at a few other local factors. First, we'll tell the postwar stories of the academic fields where women had been predominant. The rise in the percentage of women through WWII was mainly owing to a small number of women-centered programs, and the postwar dwindling followed their later transformations into male-majority units. Second, we'll examine the impact of the campus's personnel policy barring many women, who were both qualified and willing,from being hired. While the older cohort of faculty women was retiring, the university's anti-nepotism rule rendered many in the next generation ineligible for faculty status. 

 These developments will be viewed in the context of the Loyalty Oath crisis and its aftermath. The controversy damaged the institution's academic reputation, and a vigorous effort at recovery was made throughout the 1950s. The AAUP had officially censured the university, famous faculty members had resigned in protest, and many educators predicted that Berkeley would be unable to recruit comparable replacements (Kerr, 23-38). Chancellor Clark Kerr's response was to create a quick turnover of faculty in many parts of campus, to jettison or move vocationally-oriented units, split "applied" from "basic" science, and cordon off degrees stressing practice in separate professional schools. Although these initiatives were not intentionally directed at women faculty, they had a disproportionate effect on their employment. 

Women-led programs in the postwar university

 photo of Agnes Faye Morgan in graduate gown and hood receiving honorary LLD from Chancellor Kerr; behind her is another students with a similar gown and tassel

In 1959, over a third of the faculty women were concentrated in just three units: Nutrition, Design, and Social Welfare. These were the inheritors of the three women-led programs whose origins were outlined in previous essays: Nutrition was the gender-neutral offspring of Agnes Fay Morgan's Household Science in Home Economics; Design was the latest version of what began as Home Economics' Household Arts; andSocial Welfare continued the tasks of Jessica Peixotto's Social Economics branch of the Economics Department Report, 28). Each of these programs had carefully balanced three tasks in previous decades: vocational training, primarily for women students; the development of serious graduate curricula in new fields; and the pursuit of basic research by the faculties. The balance among these elements, which was always delicate, became harder to maintain in the postwar period. Paradoxically, moreover, the programs' attempts at adaptation often prepared the way for their eventual dismemberment, transformation, or absorption into adjacent fields. Looking back from the 1960s, it would seem that the original women's programs had simply grown irrelevant and disappeared, but in fact they had changed their names, grown larger, and started hiring men almost exclusively. The retirement of the women gradually obliterated the histories of the programs and the extent of the earlier faculties' contributions to their fields.

Household Science

The postwar transformation of the largest of these programs, Nutrition, formerly Household Science, has been insightfully analyzed by Maresi Nerad. She explains that after decades of stinting the faculty's research and implying that the department should concentrate on training teachers, the UC administration reversed course and abolished the Home Economics/Household Science program altogether, saving only the research component of Nutrition in a separate unit (Nerad, 127-141).  To be sure, by the early sixties Home Economics was disappearing at most universities, but Berkeley's elimination of the subject was especially early and abrupt. Suddenly gone were the days when the department's home-economics mission secured its place in the curriculum as a public service; now its raison d'être was to be its research. Consequently, more men were added to the faculty. 

The irony of the situation was that the department's female leadership had long been attempting to minimize their vocational assignment and prioritize their research. Agnes Fay Morgan, who chaired the unit from its founding in the mid-1910s until 1954, and her fellow scientists Ruth Okey and Helen Gillum had gone so far as to ask in 1924 that the program be allowed to change its name to Human Nutrition, arguing that the change would make it easier to win competitive grants and give a more accurate impression of the department's main academic emphasis (Nerad, 121-22). After the request was denied, they helped to create an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Nutritional Sciences, which Morgan directed in the postwar WWII years, from 1946 to her retirement in 1954 (Nerad, 107-111). The interdisciplinary program partly protected the unit's PhD students from the disadvantages of a Home Economics degree. 

 grayscale photo of 4 women wearing aprons in the lab of the new home economics building, which resembles an industrial kitchen; the foremost woman is mixing a large pot
By these programmatic ambitions and their own well-received research, Morgan and her colleagues had constantly stressed the scientific professionalism of their unit, but they were faced with a paradox: the program existed because special curricula for women had once seemed appropriate. If that assumption were removed, could the unit survive? At Berkeley, the answer to that question turned out to be no. The program's campaign to establish a different rationale, resting on scientific excellence instead of women's vocational needs, anticipated the direction that the administration would ultimately take on the issue. Their leadership had already loosened the commitment to the Home Economics project, making it easier to replace the earlier unit with a Department of Nutritional Sciences after Agnes Fay Morgan stepped down as chair.

Thus began the unit's "transfiguration", as Clark Kerr called it, into Nutritional Sciences. The timing and manner of the change, though, were entirely unanticipated. It was presented not as an upgrading of Household Science but as its abolition. The department had been expanding in the postwar years; in 1954 a new building had just been completed to house it. Moreover, none of the department's faculty, including Morgan, were consulted about the plans that were announced in 1955. Home Economics was to be folded at UCB and moved to Davis, which was becoming an independent university (Nerad, 127-130). Both Nerad and Kerr explain the abrupt decision as part of the attempt to restore Berkeley's academic reputation after the humiliation of the Loyalty Oath controversy. Kerr, the newly appointed Chancellor, sought the opinion of Academic Senate committees, but not the unit itself, when he determined to "drop" Home Economics. It was a while before the additional plan to keep the unit's "best part", Nutrition, was announced (Nerad, 131-133; Kerr, 85-7). As Kerr acknowledges in his memoir, the "reconfiguration" was actually "a very bitter series of battles" which ended in the appointment of a male chairman, George Briggs, in 1960. After the gender balance began to shift and Briggs complained to Chancellor Strong that "Home Economics" was an "embarrassing" name, the program's decades-old request for rebranding was finally granted (Nerad, 123). 

The subsequent decline of the proportion of women on the faculty was swift: in 1960, the unit had ten female faculty and two male; by 1964, Nutritional Sciences, had nine men and four women (Nerad, 97). Under women's leadership, nutritional science had become a significant research field; the women scientists had struggled to raise its status and partially overcame its gendered association with the kitchen. Their efforts made it a respectable academic field that could then attract a higher-prestige male faculty. When Nutrition took over the new building from which Home Economics had been recently removed, the faculty at least had the good manners to memorialize their origins by naming it Agnes Fay Morgan Hall (Nerad, 127-141). 

Household Art

 grayscale portrait of Lila O'Neale with slight smile and short wavy hair, wearing a collared shirtFaculty women in Household Art, the second branch of the original Home Economics Department, made similar efforts to improve their academic standing, and had considerable, if only temporary, success. Through a development that was in many ways the inverse of Household Science's, the unit went through a series of changes that resulted in a postwar male-majority faculty. Household Art specialized in the study of textiles in the 1930s and 40s. In the earlier years of its existence, the program had very little academic standing: its two Senate faculty appointments were trained in the fine arts and lacked post-graduate credentials. In 1932, though, the unit was transformed by the appointment of a recent PhD from the Anthropology Department, Lila O'Neale, who gave the program a new specialty in the study of weaving generally, both textiles and basketry (Jaknis, 184). O'Neale was forty when she arrived in Berkeley in 1926 for post-graduate work with the university's premier anthropologist, A. L. Kroeber. She already had wide experience in teaching the textile side of Home Economicsfibers,weaving, processes for manufacture, and dye analysis—at various high schools and colleges. Kroeber, who had just returned from fieldwork in Peru with a large collection of woven works, needed a textile expert, and found O'Neale to be "outstandingly superior" to all others he had worked with, partly because she was herself a highly skilled weaver. 

When she set out to do fieldwork for her own dissertation, O'Neale adopted Franz Boas's "ethno-aesthetic" approach, investigating "the subjective attitudes of the weaver" and "determining individual reactions to craft aspects" (O'Neale 1932, 5). She wanted especially to know what individual makers were striving for by asking other weavers how they reacted to the works. O'Neale showed her basket-weaver informants—Yarok and Karok women living in the Klamath River region—photographs of older baskets from the university's Museum of Anthropology, asking them to tell her what was salient about the objects and to discuss singular variations in their use of materials and motifs. Her emphasis on individual expressiveness was part of a larger movement in Anthropology to view ethnographic objects as artworks by specific creators. 

 photo of Lila O'Neale in long white dress sitting next to Klamath River Weaver in white gown amongst rocks by a riverbed

O'Neale was then hired in Household Art, and her appointment was followed by those of two other Anthropology PhDs, Anna Gayton and Ruth Boyer. Together they brought a new academic bona fides to the program. The students were held to a higher level of technical, ethnographic, and historical knowledge, and at the same time, they needed to keep aesthetic issues in mind. By 1939, the academic emphasis had changed so much that the department's names—"Home   Economics, Household Art"—seemed outdated and misleading. O'Neale and her colleagues wanted to recruit students of both sexes with large ambitions and training in architecture, anthropology, art practice, and art history, so they asked that the name be changed. Unlike Household Science's request for a name change, though, theirs was successful: Household Art became Decorative Arts in 1939. The name change also helped recruit male faculty: Winfield Scott Wellington (1897–1979), the director of the University Art Museum, was the first man to join the department (Jacknis, 184-88).

The change also, though, opened the door wider to art practice, and in 1948, O'Neale's untimely death weakened the ethnographic emphasis. New male faculty members from the modern art world joined the department in the 1950s. Partly inspired by the aesthetic turn in Anthropology, they began using what had previously been considered craft materials to make non-utilitarian artworks, and the department's emphasis shifted further from scholarship to art practice with the invention of a new category: fiber art. Anxious to dispel any suggestion of femininity or dilettantism still lingering in the phrase "Decorative Arts", in 1964 they again changed the program's name, to Design. 

Household Art's transformation appears in many ways to have been the inverse of Household Science's: whereas the transition to Nutrition had marked the triumph of scientific rigor over vocationalism, the conversion to Design spelled the victory of art practice over academic scholarship. The consequences for the gender balance in the two departments, however, were similar. Before the war, Decorative Arts had a faculty of five women and no men; even though most of the Design department's students remained female, by 1969 the unit's faculty had four women and ten men (Jaknis, 187-89). The women's push for academic respectability via Anthropology had led by a circuitous path to a new a new art form but had not kept up the numbers of women faculty. 

Social Economics

The earliest program at Berkeley to be led by a woman was Social Economics, started by Berkeley's first female professor, Jessica Peixotto. She developed it into a highly productive program inside the Economics Department. The program never had more than a few fulltime Senate faculty, but the story of its decline gives us another angle on the programmatic changes that shrank the number of faculty women. Social economics focused on issues of poverty, labor, and family and child welfare, and it was viewed in the early decades of the 20th century as a means of professionalizing the charitable and philanthropic work that women had long undertaken voluntarily. President Benjamin Ide Wheeler, who supported the program, described it to the Regents as “the field of constructive and preventive philanthropy” (Annual Report, 1912, 35).  As historian Mary Ann Dzuback has shown, the program helped give the state's welfare system a grounding in empirical studies of poverty while also training social workers and future policy makers. Women students flocked to the program, and Peixotto sought out and appointed women as teaching assistants and lecturers who had worked in social welfare agencies, giving them the opportunity to finish master’s degrees and doctorates. The program also supported women post-doctoral scholars from other universities, who wanted to collaborate on larger research projects. It was thus a women-centered program even while Peixotto was the sole professor (Dzuback, 157-160). 

 grayscale headshot of Martha Chickering looking into the distance with a determined expression

Despite its popularity with students, Social Economics had only a small fraction of the Senate faculty in Economics. The women who did join its ranks in the interwar period showed a remarkable ability to move fluidly between academia and public service. Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong, as we noted in a previous profile, served the state and federal governments in planning social insurance programs. The increasing need for social services during the Great Depression both caused the program to grow and turned its attention more toward training for social work, ultimately revealing some of the vulnerabilities of a program situated between academia and government service.  The Social Economics group had started a Social Services Certificate program, accredited by the state in 1928; as Jeffrey Edleson notes, it was the earliest professional training for social workers on the West Coast (Edleson, 10). After first directing the certificate program, Martha Chickering completed her PhD and was appointed to the faculty in 1936. However, she served only three years before leaving the university in 1939 to become the Director of the California State Department of Social Welfare. Chickering's career veered away from academia and into fulltime government work partly because the certificate program she had led was no longer needed at Berkeley. A new Department of Social Welfare had come into being, led by a male faculty member, Harry Cassidy. In 1944 that department was upgraded to the School of Social Welfare. We can certainly see this as a success for the programmatic goals of Peixotto and her colleagues. But it was also another one of those postwar programmatic shifts that diminished the number of women faculty on campus: by 1948-9, the School of Social Welfare had seven male faculty and one woman. 

 grayscale portrait of Emily Huntington looking into the distance at 45 degree angle, wearing a blazer, against a background of books

Meanwhile, Social Economy was also fading from the Economics Department's curriculum. Another former student of the program, Emily Huntington, had received her PhD from Radcliffe and returned to her alma mater as a faculty member shortly after the start of the Great Depression. Throughout the 1930s the California State Relief Administration drew heavily on her research into the consumer spending of the poor when it estimated its unemployment budgets, administered relief, and gave other forms of public assistance. During the war years, Huntington became the senior economist with the United States Department of Labor; she later took the directorship of Wage Stabilization for the National War Labor Board on the West Coast, which played a key role in controlling wartime inflation (UC In Memoriam, "Huntington"; Huntington, 75-76). 

When Huntington returned to academic life in the postwar period, though, she found changes in both the Economics department and the general university environment.  As she explained in her oral history, one reason for her early retirement in 1961 was her sense of methodological distaste for the mathematical formalism that was making great strides in Economics during the 1950s. Although she had always used statistical mathematics in her empirical work, she nevertheless felt "distressed" at the need to explain everything in terms of mathematical formulae. The development, she thought, led to the "neglect of other types of methodology and analysis" that were more appropriate to the economic questions she found compelling. Moreover, she feared that the level of mathematical knowledge required for understanding the analyses would limit the audience for the new work, an understandable fear for an economist whose career stressed the dissemination of economic research in the public sphere (Huntington, 89). 

For Huntington a sense of dissatisfaction with the institution's direction may also have lingered from the Loyalty Oath controversy of 1949-52, in which she was a passionately committed participant. The requirement to sign a Loyalty Oath caused a crises of conscience in the minds of many UC faculty. As a matter of course in those days, university employees signed an oath of allegiance to the constitutions of the U.S. and the State of California along with annual appointment agreements, but in 1949, they were told that they must sign an additional oath before their appointment letters would go into effect (Stadtman, 324-25). The new oath specified "that I am not a member of the Communist Party or under any oath or a party to any agreement or under any commitment that is in conflict with my obligations under this oath". Like many other members of the faculty, Huntington believed that the requirement cast aspersions on the loyalty of university employees in particular, set a bad precedent of monitoring political beliefs, violated the right of the Academic Senate to oversee its members' activities, and posed a general threat to academic freedom. She refused to sign it and became one of the leaders of the "nonsigners", who eventually went to court to stop the Board of Regents from requiring it as a condition of employment. 

Despite the fact that the oath had originated as an attempt by President Sproul to preempt the California legislature from imposing even greater political control over the university, the controversy played out as a confrontation between the Regents and the faculty (Stadtman, 335-7). The Regents precipitated a crisis by announcing in 1950 that all faculty who were attempting to have the oath requirement rescinded must either sign it or be fired. The ultimatum posed a direct challenge to normal university procedures and the right of tenure, since it would allow for the dismissal of tenured professors without due process. Huntington was among those who argued that the Academic Senate's Committee on Privilege and Tenure was the proper place to investigate if a faculty member had "violated the principles of integrity and objectivity in his teaching" (Huntington, 78). When that committee did actually step in and hold hearings, she appeared before them and testified on her research, public service, and political connections. However, no evidence of any subversion was found (Huntington, 81).

The Regents nevertheless ignored the faculty committee's conclusions and voted to dismiss the thirty-one faculty members, including Huntington, who still refused to sign the oath, giving them a few weeks before the dismissal became effective. At that point, the group of thirty-one shrank to eighteen, as individuals confronted the total upheaval in their personal and professional lives that would immediately ensue. "I simply could not face this prospect," Huntington explained in her oral history, "so I signed two days before the deadline. This was a very sad day in my life. . . . . Many had been non-signers for some time and had finally signed for reasons similar to mine" (82). The California Supreme Court eventually reversed the firings and found that the university could not require a separate oath of its employees, which allowed for some reconciliation between the parties. But the damage to the morale of individuals like Huntington seems to have been lasting: "I have always regretted my decision to sign . . . I would now be a much prouder person had I stayed to the end with the faculty members who I think saved our University from the disaster proposed by the Regents" (83). She stayed on the Economics faculty for another eight years, but with a diminished sense of belonging. 

 grayscale photo of abstract artwork by Margaret O'Hagen featuring circular figure with boxy bodyAlthough it is tangential to our narrative about postwar attrition specifically in women-led departments, we name here the three faculty women among the final eighteen Loyalty Oath nonsigners who "stayed to the end" and lost their jobs. Margaret Hodgen (BA, '13; PhD, '25) was also a product of the Social Economics program, who taught for twenty-five years in the small Department of Social Institutions, a precursor to Sociology. A prolific author of books on the history of technological change, she took early retirement when she was reinstated after the Supreme Court decision and continued her research at the Huntington Library (UC In Memoriam, "Hodgen"). Pauline Sperry (profiled in an earlier essay) taught in the Mathematics Department for thirty-three years. Since she was older than the mandatory retirement age when the Supreme Court handed down its decision, she was reinstated as Emerita. In retirement she continued to campaign for the expansion of civil liberties through the ACLU ("Faculty Member Non-Signers"; "Sperry"). Margaret Peterson (O'Hagen) (BA '26; MA '31)was a Professor of Art, with twenty-two years' service at Berkeley, who decided not to return after the Court's decision. She moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she had a long career in painting that was influenced by the Native American artists of Vancouver Island. UC's Townsend Center for the Humanities held a retrospective of her works in 1999, shortly after her death ("Faculty Member Non-Signers").   

The Anti-Nepotism Rule

Tracing the demise of the women's programs has given us insights into the trajectories of individual careers as well as the overall contexts of institutional change, but to understand the steep decline in the female share of the faculty, we must look more closely at the failure to hire women in the departments that were growing. We noted at the outset that the university-wide gender disproportion in hiring stemmed from the mutually reinforcing reluctance on the part of departments and the pressures on women to marry early, have more children, and stay at home while their children were young. No doubt the pool of job applicants for university faculty positions was lopsidedly male in all fields. 

Nevertheless, there was also a particular university policy in place during those years that heightened the opposition between family and career and discouraged departments from hiring women.The anti-nepotism rule forbade the employment of more than one "close relation" in any academic unit or overlapping field. The rule was partly a hold-over from attempts to ration jobs during the depression (like the bars to married women's employment discussed in the last essay), and the justification for maintaining it in the boom times of the fifties and sixties was that it served as a safeguard against introducing academically extrinsic issues in personnel cases. Already accused of imposing a political test for employment, UC might have been especially loath in the fifties to revoke a rule ostensibly designed to protect impartiality.  Berkeley's rule did not forbid all employment of a close relation, just faculty membership, and it did not specify which member of a married couple should leave. But it was assumed that women would make the sacrifice, accepting lectureships or research appointments, or leaving for faculties elsewhere, often at less prestigious schools. The first attempt to assess the rule's impact on women at Berkeley was made by the same Academic Senate Sub-Committee in 1969 that discovered the shrinkage in women's fraction of the faculty. They polled male faculty members on the question of whether their wives' employment had been adversely affected by the rule, and fifty-eight said yes. Twenty-three, whose wives had doctorates, complained that they were kept well below their deserved level in the academic hierarchy. And others whose wives had lesser degrees were also said to be under-employed because of the rule or employed only as unpaid research labor for their husbands. 

Of course, we can't know how many of the women whose husbands complained about the anti-nepotism rule might have ended up on the faculty if it hadn't existed. Nevertheless, it is remarkable how many eminent women scholars at Berkeley who were finally appointed to faculty had been rendered ineligible in the postwar decades by the rule. We'll conclude this essay by profiling a few of them.  

 grayscale headshot of Else Frenkel-Brunswik smiling into the camera
Else Frenkel-Brunswick was an Austrian Jewish academic psychologist, who received her doctorate in Vienna in 1930. She and her husband, who also had a doctorate in Psychology, were among the many intellectuals who emigrated from Austria to America to escape the Nazis in the late 1930s. Her husband, Egon Brunswick, was offered a faculty position in the Berkeley Psychology Department, and the couple arrived in 1940. Unable to join the faculty because of his employment, she took a research post at the Institute of Child Welfare, where she shaped an interdisciplinary approach to personality studies. Frenkel-Brunswik is best known for her contributions to
The Authoritarian Personality (1950), a work she co-authored with, among others, the critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno. The book is considered a milestone work in personality theory and social psychology, and it raised her profile as a researcher and writer. In the mid-1950s, her husband became incurably ill and took his own life. It was only then, with her husband's death, that the members of the Psychology faculty felt free to offer Frenkel-Brunswik a professorship; they voted on her appointment December 1957. Gained at such a cost, though, the offer could hardly have seemed an unalloyed boon. She remained disconsolate over the loss of her husband and took her own life in 1958 (Marasco, 804; Freidenreich).


 grayscale photo of Catherine Bauer Wurster looking over her shoulder in neutral expression, wearing a striped collared long-sleeved shirt in an office setting

Catherine Bauer also arrived in Berkeley in 1940, invited to be a Visiting Lecturer in the new Department of Social Welfare on the strength her 1934 book, Modern Housing, a classic in the field which had led her to become the primary author of the U. S. Housing Act of 1937. She was both immensely knowledgeable about public housing and a passionate advocate for it. At Berkeley she met and married William Wurster, the San Francisco architect who designed U.C.'s first women's dormitory, Stern Hall. Bauer later became a Lecturer in the department of Architecture and convinced her husband that Berkeley would benefit from an interdisciplinary program similar to one then being formed in a joint MIT-Harvard initiative, where city planning, public housing policy studies, and architecture were combined. She encouraged her husband to take an advanced degree in Cambridge, and when the couple returned to Berkeley they worked together to create the College of Environmental Design. However, only William was given a regular faculty appointment. Catherine Bauer Wurster continued as a part-time Lecturer, mainly in City and Regional Planning, until her husband retired due to illness in 1963. In 1963-4, she was voted a full professor but held the appointment for only one year, dying in a fall while hiking on Mt. Tamalpais in 1964 (Oberlander and Newbrun, 183-89, 247-254, 302-7).  

The brilliant mathematician Julia Robinson (BA '40, MA '41, PhD '48) was ineligible for a professorial position in Mathematics at Berkeley in the postwar years because she was married to Professor Raphael Robinson. As we pointed out in an earlier essay, she did research in Berkeley's Statistical Laboratory under Jerzy Neyman during the war and for some years thereafter. In the postwar years, she was occasionally invited to teach in the Math department, holding the title of Lecturer, and she taught part-time in other programs as well. Despite the institutional neglect, she spent the postwar years seeking answers to some of the most difficult questions in mathematicsconcerning "algorithmic solvability and unsolvability of mathematical problems". In particular she was noted "for her part in the negative solution of Hilbert’s 'Tenth Problem'" (Feferman, 3, 20-22). Despite her important breakthroughs and the university's abandonment of the nepotism rule, the Math department showed no immediate sign of any interest in hiring her even after her husband retired in 1973. Indeed, they identified her simply as “Professor Robinson’s wife” in 1976 when the university press office called them for information after her election to the National Academy of Sciences (Reid, 1490). Once they realized that they had a famous person in their midst—the first female mathematician to be elected to the NAS—the department finally offered Julia Robinson a professorship. In 1982 she was elected the first female president of the American Mathematical Society.


 grayscale photo of Marian Koshland in thick framed glasses, waring a chain necklace and dark collared shirt, smiling into the cameraThe renowned immunologist Marian Koshland also experienced spousal exclusion during a crucial stage of her career prior to arriving at Berkeley, and yet (she later explained) she turned it into a research opportunity. Marian and her husband Daniel Koshland received their doctorates at the University of Chicago, did post-doctoral work at Harvard, and then went on to research positions at Brookhaven National Laboratory (Long Island). However, when they arrived at Brookhaven, the department head balked at employing Marian, stating flatly “We are not going to have the wife of anybody” (Guyer, 9). Since the couple had four young children at the time, Marian Koshland considered quitting science altogether. Her husband, though, convinced her that she could make a creative adaptation to her joblessness by "undertaking high-risk projects that a tenure-track scientist could less afford to do” (1996). She traded lab space and a technician for editing Brookhaven's biology symposia papers, and was able to do groundbreaking work in immunology as a part-time researcher. By the time the Koshlands came to Berkeley in 1965, Marian as researcher and Daniel as a professor, the importance of her work was widely acknowledged. In 1970, when her children were grown and the anti-nepotism rule was set aside, she accepted a professorial appointment and went on to serve as Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 1982 to 1989 ("Marian Elliott Koshland"). Koshland often said that even if she had not been excluded, she might have preferred a research position without professorial responsibilities while her children were young, and she used her experience to advocate for greater flexibility in academic work (Koshland, xiii). 

These examples—and many more that could be adduced—suggest that the decline in the percentage of women on the faculty had many causes: male skepticism, a cultural atmosphere that weakened women's will to succeed, and the dismantling of separate women's programs were all to blame. There was as well, though, systematic discrimination that kept women in jobs for which they were clearly overqualified. The wonder is that so many women achieved so much for academic institutions that seem to have been intent on undervaluing them.  

Works Cited 

Bleemer, Zachary, "Gender and Ethnic Equity at the University of California: A Historical Accounting". Unpublished presentation. Cited with permission of the author. 

Colson, Elizabeth, et. al. "Report of the Subcommittee on the Status of Academic Women on the Berkeley Campus". Report of the Committee on Senate Policy. Academic Senate, Berkeley Division, University of California. 19 May 1970. 

"Faculty Member Non-Signers (partial list)". Loyalty Oath Controversy, University of California, 1949-51. University of California Historical Digital Archive. https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/uchistory/archives_exhibits/loyaltyoath/non...(link is external) 

Feferman, Solomon. "Julia Bowman Robinson, 1919-1985". Biographical Memoirs. Vol 63 (1994) Pp. 1-28. National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy Press. 

 Freidenreich, Harriet.  "Else Frenkel-Brunswik, 1908–1958".  Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 30, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/frenkel-brunswik-else>(link is external).  

Guyer, Ruth Levy. "Marian Elliott Koshland, 1921-1997". Pp. 1-17. Biographical Memoir. National Academy of Sciences, 2007. 

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