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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/355

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THREE DECADES OF COLLEGE WOMEN.

discouraged. Whenever a variety of occupations is open to women, they need not marry for a livelihood and the ethical standard is raised. I think, however, the fact that a woman has an occupation is a less certain hindrance to marriage than many suppose. As will presently be seen from these records, the graduates who have taken up the most advanced work are quite as likely to marry as those who have not, and many of those who are best known to the outside world are both wives and mothers.

Still another fact may comfort the pessimists: Although less than three fifths of the first decade of Vassar women have entered matrimony, no other profession in any decade has attracted nearly so large a number. If marriage is not universal among college women, neither is teaching.

In the second decade, including the classes '77-'86, there are 378 graduates. The members of these classes in 1900, accepting the average age, ranged from 36 to 46 years. As might be expected, the marriage rate is somewhat less than for the preceding decade. Out of the whole number 191, or 50.53 per cent., have married. The next general catalogue would probably show a larger proportion. The third decade, 1887-96, contains 601 members. As '95 was the first Vassar class to graduate 100 members, a rate which since then has been steadily exceeded, it can readily be seen that half the members of this period were under thirty years when the census was taken. Its marriage rate has no value for general statistical purposes. Of the 601 members 169, or 28.12 per cent., were married in 1900.

The number of children next claims attention. These statistics are particularly valuable, for it is the first time any on this subject have been collected. The general catalogues of 1883 and 1890 contain no information on this point. The 181 marriages of the first decade have produced 361 children, or two to a marriage, a typical American family of the present day. In the second decade there are 191 marriages and 295 children, or 1.54 children to a marriage. It is fair to assume that this proportion will be increased. In the last decade there are 169 marriages and 135 children, an obviously incomplete record.

Although the number of children seems small in the first decade, which is the only one where the record may be regarded as measurably established, it must not be inferred that there are no large families among the alumnae. The banner record in this respect belongs to a member of the class of '75, a widow with eight children. There are three graduates who have seven children each, in the classes of '71, '79 and '80, respectively. The member in '71, a small class of 21 members, 12 of whom have married, has nearly one quarter of the whole number of children (29) in the class. In the class of '79 three