Posted by: Claudia Willett
In 1913, Marjorie Bouvé, Bessie Barnes, Caroline Baxter, Marguerite Sanderson, Grace Shepardson, Mary Florence Stratton, and Miriam Tobey established The Boston School of Physical Education.
“The School was established to provide for women a thorough training in physical education which would fit them to meet as teachers the increasing need for instruction in the proper use of the body and its functions in relation to human efficiency … the school proposes to graduate only such students as will make good teachers and who are qualified to carry forward and maintain the highest ideals of p.e. in their professional work.” (First Annual Catalog, page 3, BBC, Box 48, Folder 4)
These seven women recognized an important education gap in the Greater Boston Area and set out to fill it. Success was immediate. In its inaugural year, the Class of 1915 entered the school with 11 members. Since its founding, the school has been affiliated with three Boston-area universities, survived splits and mergers, and graduated countless health sciences professionals. This complex, detailed history of the school’s move from independent school to The Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University are stored in the Archives and Special Collections Department of Snell Library. We are pleased to preserve and carefully curate the historical Bouvé College of Health Sciences records as well as Marjorie Bouvé’s personal papers.
When the The Bouvé College of Health Sciences started working to establish a commemorative timeline in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class, they immediately looked to the Archives and Special Collections department. With help from archives staff, Bouvé representatives spent gainful hours looking through the collection to identify original, interesting photographs to illuminate the history of the college. Archives staff then digitized the requested images and provided the college with a disc of high quality, scanned images for continued use. We look forward to the publication of the timeline and future research in Northeastern University’s historical collections.