As college women were not the norm, questions sometimes arose concerning
their character and morality. In this 1908 letter, Martha Van Rensselaer
responded to a parent in defense of the undergraduate women in home
Cornell men with whom we are acquainted tell us that
the social and moral tone among Cornell girls is bad. As they
put it, "Cornell girls are common."
Mrs. Lucy Roberts
I am afraid I can not agree with young men. I would say that
there are here as everywhere some common girls and I should
say that there are also many very fine ones. I may say that
there are many young men who object to the attendance of the
girls at this institution. ... Socially, the girls make their
own places. ... So far as I have known, the girls are not dissatisfied
with their social condition here.
Martha Van Rensselaer