“Welcome Home!”

New Bryn Mawr students are today greeted with this familiar phrase, but it was first used by James Rhoads in his address to the students at Bryn Mawr’s opening in 1885. Rhoads and other Bryn Mawr Trustees wanted to impress upon students and their families that Bryn Mawr would not disrupt social norms by dislocating young women from the private sphere. Instead, it would be an extension of the domestic realm. This was crucial, for harmonious homes were believed to refine and morally instruct young women. The preservation of nineteenth-century family values in the home was believed to safeguard, even spread the influence of white, Euro-American Christian civilization. Bryn Mawr students were held responsible for the success of this future.

“We welcome you to your new home and new duties… That those who follow you will look back and find from your example nothing but an inspiration towards what is wise, best and noble in young Christian womanhood, I feel assured… That you may adorn such homes is the highest aim of Bryn Mawr.” ​

James E. Rhoads, Inaugural Address for Bryn Mawr College, 1885  ​

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