The Dean's Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality

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Overview

Like pearls threaded one-by-one to form a necklace, five women successively nurtured students on the Purdue University campus in America’s heartland during the 1930s to 1990s. Individually, each became a legendary dean of women or dean of students. Collectively, they wove a sisterhood of mutual support in their common—sometimes thwarted—pursuit of shared human rights and equality for all.

Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. ...

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The Deans' Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality

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Overview

Like pearls threaded one-by-one to form a necklace, five women successively nurtured students on the Purdue University campus in America’s heartland during the 1930s to 1990s. Individually, each became a legendary dean of women or dean of students. Collectively, they wove a sisterhood of mutual support in their common—sometimes thwarted—pursuit of shared human rights and equality for all.

Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. Nelson opened new avenues for women and became conduits for change, fostering opportunities for all people. They were loved by students and revered by colleagues. The women also were respected throughout the United States as founding leaders of the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS), frontrunners in the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, and as pivotal members of presidential committees in the Kennedy and Nixon administrations.

While it is focused on changing attitudes on one college campus, The Deans’ Bible sheds light on cultural change in America as a whole, exploring how each of the deans participated nationally in the quest for equality. The story rolls through the "picture-perfect," suppressive 1950s, the awakening 1960s, women’s liberation, Title IX, 1980s AIDS and alcohol epidemics, the changing mores for the disabled, and ends in the twenty-first century.

As each woman succeeded the other, forming a five-dean friendship, they knitted their bond with a secret symbol—a Bible. Originally possessed by Purdue’s first part-time Dean of Women Carolyn Shoemaker, the Bible was handed down from dean to dean with favorite passages marked. The lowercased word "bible" is often used in connection with reference works or "guidebooks." The Deans’ Bible serves as a guidebook, brimming with stories of courageous women who led by example and lived their convictions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557536761
  • Publisher: Purdue University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2014
  • Series: Founders Series
  • Pages: 427
  • Sales rank: 529,962
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Angie Klink writes biographies, histories, children’s books, essays, and advertising copy. She is the author of Kirby’s Way: How Kirby and Caroline Risk Built their Company on Kitchen-Table Values, a spirited profile of one of the Midwest’s leading businessmen, his wife, and their company, the Kirby Risk Corporation, published by Purdue University Press in July 2012. In her book Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home, Klink brings to life two remarkable female educators who improved the lives of American women. She also has authored the popular lift-the-flap children’s books Purdue Pete Finds His Hammer and I Found U. Klink is published in four titles for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She has won forty-four American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards and an honorable mention in the 2007 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. She holds a BA from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University.
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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    As an alumna of Purdue University, I was intrigued to read of th

    As an alumna of Purdue University, I was intrigued to read of the professional and personal lives of Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. Nelson, all Deans of Women, and/or Deans of Students at the West Lafayette campus. I was overwhelmed by the level of passion, integrity, and caring they had in an environment that lacked support for female students and faculty for so long! I had no idea how I had benefited from this legacy as an engineering undergraduate in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. How fascinating to hear of the early support for women students by President Elliott (he invited Amelia Earhart to Purdue to be an inspiration to women students in the 1930’s, as an example) and then to hear of the subsequent institutional bias against female leaders at the university. Through it all, and against the back drop of significant historical, cultural and social change, the deans never lost their focus of serving students first. Their main focus was initially female students, of course, but they also advocated for minority and disabled students as well. They were visionaries in this (mostly) quiet, midwestern campus. Angie Klink uses the deans’ lives to teach us about the barriers that women faced in trying to make necessary change. The story here is all about perseverance in the face of tremendous resistance. The other remarkable story is the advocacy and support these women gave each other, even in retirement. The accomplishments of these women are truly remarkable. This book brings these years of history to life in an engaging way. I was genuinely sorry when the book ended.

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