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Wooster Digital History Project

Female Literary Societies

One activity available to female students in the early period of the College was participation in women’s literary societies. They would report the program from their weekly meetings in the Wooster Voice, which included recitations, readings, extemporaneous talks, and book reviews. The most prominent of these female literary societies was the Willard Society, the Orio Society, the Castalian Society, and the Athenaen.1  These societies gave women a social and academic outlet beyond the classroom in which they could discuss the works of authors such as Charles Dickens. During Wooster’s struggle to rebuild the campus after the 1901 fire, many of the campus’ female literary societies donated money for rebuilding such as the Willard, Lowell, and Lincoln societies. Most of them gave twenty-five dollars and had their name printed in the Wooster Voice for recognition.2  Although female literary societies no longer exist at the College of Wooster, they were an important social and intellectual pursuit for female students for many years.

1 “Literary Societies,” The Wooster Voice, October 5, 1901, Vol. XXI, No.4, 2.
2 The Wooster Voice, December 14, 1901, Vol. XXI, No. 14.