A History of Dorothy McSparran Arnold: Dean of Women at NYU from 1948-1961


When I first learned a Dean of Women existed at NYU or any school, I didn't know what to expect. Would she be a feminist fighting for women's rights at the university or an outdated piece of social construct? I wasn't surprised to learn that Dean Arnold represented a stereotypical 1950's ideal of women especially in her representation of the women at NYU. She opposed female cheerleaders because she did not want them performing in front of other school's. She also denied the female members of the sophomore class from changing their annual tea into a smoker party.

She was not a total detriment to the women of NYU. She was responsible for pushing the creation of more women's athletics, and she created advisors meant specifically to help female students in their transition to NYU. She was proud of the accomplishments of her students and kept all of the clippings about them in her files. She had their best interests at heart, but maybe, she was too concerned with their honor rather than expose them to the outside world.

She was the last Dean of Women at NYU. Her replacement Dorothea Berger was the Counselor to Women Students and was not as powerful as the dean.

Explanation of the papers:

Dorothy's Papers