Art Gallery Exhibit – Leading & Learning: A Century of Women at Bentley

archival photo of women in the classroom
Now on display in the RSM Gallery is “Leading & Learning: A Century of Women at Bentley.” This exhibit, curated by the Bentley University Archives, explores over one hundred years of women’s achievements at our institution. It is on view in the library from 3/14/2018 – 4/22/2018.

Please also join us for an exhibit reception on Wednesday, March 21st from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Enjoy snacks and refreshments, make a commemorative button, and discuss women’s history at Bentley.  No RSVP needed, drop in as you are able.

About the Exhibit

In 1918, women were first offered admission to Bentley as a response to the large number of college-aged men drafted to fight in WWI. After the war ended Bentley again became a single-sex institution, although many women were still working diligently in Bentley’s administration. Prompted by another war, admission of women resumed in 1942. Since then, women have been learning, working and teaching at Bentley and have made an immeasurable impact on our campus.

This exhibit presents a chronological narrative of some of the activities and achievements of women over the course of Bentley’s history. As you view the exhibit either in person or online, we encourage you to think critically about the context in which these events occurred. What opportunities did women of various backgrounds have in our country over the last century? How was this the same or different at Bentley?

We hope this exhibit will be the beginning of a campus-wide conversation about historical narratives and recorded memory. Traditionally, the accomplishments and opinions of women and members of other underrepresented groups have often gone unrecorded. It is partly because of this fact that any exhibit discussing women at Bentley cannot be all-encompassing. We have done our best to provide a broad overview of women’s progress at Bentley, but we acknowledge many archival silences as well.

To help us create a richer picture of Bentley history – and to ensure that records from our current time are similarly robust – please consider donating photographs, documents, and items of memorabilia to the Bentley Archives. Tell us about your unique experiences in the Bentley community, and suggest ideas for other groups whose histories you would like to explore further.

If you have comments, questions, or suggestions please email Jaimie Fritz, University Archivist, at

To view the online version of this exhibit and additional multimedia content, please visit

On Display: Women’s History & Leadership

March is Women’s History Month and we are celebrating with a lobby display, guest curated by Bentley’s Center for Women and Business! Visit the library from 2/21/18– 4/2/18 to browse items in person, or see the list of display titles online. Many of these books, as well as additional women’s history and leadership titles, are available as eBooks and audiobooks via the library’s OverDrive digital collection.

This display encompasses many aspects of women’s history and empowering women’s advancement. Titles have been divided into two sections to help you browse and choose new books more easily.

  • Looking Back: Learn about inspiring, historical women and the ways that they have led and changed the world. Find out about the history of women’s suffrage, early female entrepreneurs, and more.
  • Looking Ahead: Get inspired to be a future leader by picking up titles that discuss current women’s issues and strategies for women at work. Titles in this section address the wage gap, leadership,  female mentorship, the state of women in politics, and more.

Check back on the display often – we will update the title list as new acquisitions arrive and checked-out titles return to the library. If a title you want to read is checked out, remember to place a hold! If you’d like more reading suggestions for Women’s History Month, please contact the Bentley Library. If you’re looking for resources on women’s leadership, please visit the Center for Women and Business website.

March is Women’s History Month

Strikers ca. 1910-1915

Since 1987, March has been proclaimed National Women’s History Month in the United States. March 8 has also been observed  as International Women’s Day since the early 1900s, born out of the suffrage movements of that era. Learn more about women’s history by delving into the wealth of materials the Bentley Library and the Internet have on the topic!

Starting places on the library’s website include our research guides on both Gender Issues and History, which will point you toward key databases, books, videos, and websites in those areas.

Take a look at the Women’s Studies section of one of our latest databases, Films on Demand, to see videos ranging from a history of women at West Point to speeches given by key figures in women’s rights to a full-length PBS film on the introduction of birth control.

Singer/songwriter Billie Holiday

Our library catalog is packed with books, films, and electronic documents about women’s history; this is just a sampling:

Meanwhile, Bentley’s Women’s Center has its own library of books. Search it right from the Bentley Library’s catalog, or stop by LaCava 120 to browse for yourself. Keep your women’s history local by keeping up with the Women’s Center on Twitter and Facebook, and look for events on HerCampus Bentley, too.

Also locally, you may want to check out the centennial events going on this year at Orchard House in Concord, historic home of writer Louisa May Alcott and her family. More information can be found in this Boston Globe article.*

Learn more about Women’s History Month at the websites of the National Women’s History Project and, both of which contain images, histories, and chances to test your knowledge.

The photos on this page came from a Library of Congress flickr set called “Women Striving Forward, 1910s-1940s.”


*(Thanks for the tip, Barb!)