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Dorothy Bowe Collection on Women at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Identifier: MC-0347

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers were collected by Dorothy Bowe who was centrally involved in issues relating to women at the Masssachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) both formally in staff roles and informally. The material is largely MIT records and was created in the period 1970-1984. The papers provide documentation of a period of change when issues of women students came into focus by those advocating change to increase numbers of women students and address career of women graduates. Included in the collection is information about committees on such subjects as admissions, financial aid, and athletic, the Advisory Committee on Women Students’ Interests, and the Carnegie Corporation Project on Women and Career Options.

The papers reveal growing concern for women staff as well. In 1972, an Independent Activities Period seminar called the “Women’s Forum” gave rise to a permanent organization by that name. The group raised issues of concern to women with the MIT administration and sponsored conferences, workshops, and seminars. Its wide range of activities is documented in the collection in series 2. Also in the records, in series 3, is information on the Working Group on Support Staff Issues.


  • Creation: 1970 - 1984


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note - Chronology

Chronological list of Bowe’s activities at MIT

Association of MIT Alumnae, honorary member
Eloranta Selection Committee
Women’s Forum, founding member
Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, Subcommittee on Women
Committee on Academic Performance
Women’s Advisory Committee
Carnegie Foundation Grant, “Upward Mobility of Women in the Scientific Professions,” research assistant
Staff Classification Study, Benchmark and Function Committee
Women’s Faculty Committee
Athletic Advisory Board
Secondary Technical Education Project
Women’s Independent Living Group, founding member and permanent member of their Corporation
MIT Women’s League, chair of Nominating Committee
Committee on Commencement
Dining Advisory Board
Green Fellowship Selection Committee
Athletic Director Search Committee
Alpha Phi Omega, Service Fraternity, Advisory
Alumni Council
Inauguration Committee Staff
Task Force on Interfraternity Council
Advisory Committee on Women Student Interests
Faculty Club Advisory Board
MIT Women’s League, chair of Nominating Committee
MIT Alumni Association, honorary member
Quarter Century Board of Directors
Task Force on Career Development within Financial Operations Area


Dorothy Elizabeth Leaman Bowe was born December 1, 1930 in Townsend, Massachusetts. She attended the Fay School of Boston (1948-1949). Following a year as secretary for the Peter Gray Corporation in Cambridge, she came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in May 1950 as a secretary to professor John T. Norton in the Department of Metallurgy. Her duties included administering the graduate student program in the department. She also assisted professor Carle R. Hayward in the preparation of his book Outline of Metallurgical Practice.

In 1964 Bowe transferred to the office of the Dean for Student Affairs, Kenneth R Wadleigh, to work on two new programs: the Foreign Student Program and also a Women’s Program. The Women’s Program reviewed the status of women students at the Institute and advised the MIT administration on all matters that affected them. Bowe assisted the first director of the program, Associate Dean Jacquelyn Mattfeld, and her successor, Associate Dean Emily L. Wick, who took over the program in 1965.

In 1969 Bowe was promoted to Assistant to the Dean for Student Affairs. Her area of responsibility included the newly reorganized Premedical Advisory Program, which advised and assisted MIT students, both male and female, who were considering careers in medicine. In 1971 she joined the Student Financial Aid Office as Assistant Director, and became Associate Director in 1974.

Bowe’s interest in and commitment to the life and role of women at MIT was fostered by her work with the Women’s Program and her personal experiences as an employee at MIT. Her involvement went beyond the scope of her actual position, and she provided a focal point for women in many areas, such as athletics, where she was the first woman to serve as a member of the Athletic Advisory Board.

Dorothy Bowe married Gerald J. Bowe in June 1953. She retired from MIT in December 1986, but continued to serve as a director of the MIT Quarter Century Club and as an advisor to the Women’s Independent Living Group.


2.3 Cubic Feet (2 record cartons, 1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials


Arrangement note

The collection was arranged in the following three series by Dorothy Bowe: Series 1. Women Students; Series 2. Women’s Forum; Series 3. Women’s Groups and Activities at MIT.


Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Preliminary Inventory to the Dorothy Bowe Collection on Women at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ready For Review
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US