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Coe College:

The Critical Period Under President

James Marshall


In January of 1927, the Coe College board of Trustees comissioned Erik M. Eriksson (professor of history, 1926-29) to write a history of the college.   The Critical Period Under President James Marshall covers the years 1887-1896.  "This period of Coe's history can be termed 'exciting' at best and 'nearly ruinous' at worst.  But then, life at Coe was rocky for most of the nineteenth century."

"During Marshall's tenure, Coe underwent financial upheaval and numerous curriculum changes.  But perhaps more critical was the student walkout that nearly doomed the college.  Eriksson relates a story of faculty censorship of a student in 1887 but omits a stand of Marshall's that was just as uncompromising: when he first became president, Marshall issued an edict against the 'mingling of the sexes' except for the classroom--no social affairs, no dating.  These developments and a general campus atmosphere of unrest led in 1888 to the walkout of all upper-class students--only freshmen remained at the the college.

Not suprisingly, James Marshall holds the distinction of being the only Coe president hanged in effigy by his students--at least to date."

The Critical Period Under President James Marshall was published by the Development office of Coe College in 1982.

For full text, click here.

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