Towards Degrees for Women
A first attempt to gain degrees for women is unsuccessful. Somerville and the Association for Promoting the Higher Education of Women in Oxford waste no time in ensuring that women’s efforts and achievements are recognised: by the summer they have developed plans to award BA diplomas to students who qualify for the BA degree.
The Jewel in the Somerville Crown
The College library is completed. At a time when women are not permitted access to the University’s Bodleian Library, Somerville is one of the first women’s colleges to build its own library with the intention of offering a fully autonomous collection that will not disadvantage Somerville students. It remains one of the largest undergraduate college libraries in the university.
A Formidable Champion
Emily Penrose is appointed Principal. The first woman to achieve a First in Literae Humaniores (Classics), she builds on the academic advances made by her predecessor Agnes Maitland and is the driving force behind the 1920 decision allowing women to take degrees at Oxford.
Somerville becomes the first of the women’s colleges to require applicants to pass an entrance examination. Sports including tennis and croquet are widely adopted.
A Taste of Things to Come
Maitland Hall opens, allowing all members of Somerville to eat together (and it is still the place they eat together today).