Baker Library Historical Collections is pleased to join in this year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of women’s admission into the full two-year Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program at Harvard Business School (HBS). In 1937, a Radcliffe College certificate program that HBS Professor Fritz Roethlisberger called “the first daring experiment in ‘practical education’ for women” opened the door for women to study business at Harvard University. Twenty-six years later, the first eight women students entered the full two-year MBA program at Harvard Business School. Documenting the partnership of HBS and Radcliffe College, Building the Foundation: Business Education for Women at Harvard University, 1937—1970 traces the programs and events that led to the 1962 HBS faculty vote to admit women directly into the full MBA program. These programs and their graduates broke new ground for women in business education and in the business world.
This exhibition and website benefitted from the contributions of the staff at the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. We could not have told this very important story without our colleagues. We thank Marilyn Dunn, Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute; Ellen Shea, Head of Research Services; Diana Carey, Reference Librarian, Visual Resources; and Sarah Hutcheon, Research Librarian.
We would like to give our sincere thanks to the early graduates of the MBA program who recalled their experiences as part of the HBS Centennial Celebration in 2008 – Judy L. Allen (MBA 1963); Joan Colligan (MBA 1964); Barbara Hackman Franklin (MBA 1964); and Sara B. Wilkinson (MBA 1960). Several early graduates participated in an oral history project for the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration. We are appreciative that Betty J. Diener (HRPBA 1963, MBA 1964, DBA 1974), Elizabeth “Betsy” Latimer Jaffe (HRPBA 1962), Judith Prior Lawrie (HRPBA 1958), and Lloyd Adams Mitchell (HRPBA 1957) also shared their memories. All these women’s personal stories and memories make this dynamic period in business education come alive.
Our exhibitions are the result of a close team effort whose individual contributions are crucial to the success of the project. I am grateful to every member of the exhibition team, particularly Priscilla Anderson, Katherine Fox, Melissa Murphy, Justyna Szulc, and Rachel Wise. Special thanks to Melissa Banta, the guest curator, whose skill and dedication is reflected in the quality of the exhibition, website, and this publication.
Director, Special Collections