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Women at Northwestern


               Allison Hall, 1980                                   Woman's Edition to the Daily Northwestern, 1903                   Entre Nous Tennis Club, 1896

Welcome to the Women at Northwestern Research Guide

The purpose of this guide is to support researchers with archival material from the Northwestern University Archives relating to the history of women at Northwestern University.

Northwestern University, opened in 1855, began admitting women in 1869, with the election of new University President Erastus Haven, a strong supporter of higher education for women. At the time, there were only a few co-educational universities in the United States and college-level education for women was still considered a new and somewhat revolutionary concept. In 1874, Sarah Rebecca Roland became the first woman graduate of Northwestern University.

The Northwestern University Archives houses records, publications, photographs, and other materials pertaining to every aspect of Northwestern’s history, including the papers of faculty and alumni, student organizations, and department and administrative records. The Archives' holdings are non-circulating and are open to the public for research, reference, and instruction.  

Planning a visit to Northwestern University Archives

The best way to request archival material or research consultation is to send an email to or call at 847-491-3136. It is recommended that you schedule an appointment as some collections take 24-48 hours to retrieve. 

University Archives is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am - 5 pm. Closed on weekends and Library holidays. See the hours page for more information. If possible, please let us know what time you plan to arrive for your visit. 

University Archives is located in Room 110 on Deering Library Level 1, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. If you are not affiliated with Northwestern, be prepared to show identification at the welcome desk. 

While at the Archives, you can make copies with your phone, iPad, or digital camera. We also have a document scanner (free) that scans to your flash drive, Google-Drive, or email.

Research guide created by Charla Wilson, Archivist for the Black Experience