Vincent and the Sociology of Women

Vincent did not specifically study women, so little evidence ofhis views on their place in society can be found in his formalstudies. His position on the university's segregation policy,however, is known and reveals his support of Small's general approach.

In the fall of 1902, Vincent was asked by President Harper topublicly support the policy to segregate the sexes. Vincent refusedto do so, although he supported the policy. In November 1902,Vincent explained his position:

I regret to say that I am still of the opinion that the leastsaid about the social and pedagogical aspects the better. ProfessorSmall has done the thing as well as it could be done, but neverthelessthe result is unconvincing. This material presents a marked contrastto the brief definite paragraphs of the earlier part of the paper.The reason is not far to seek. The later pages deal with opinionrather than with demonstrable facts. These assertions, howevergently and qualifiedly made, are open to attack, and may provokereplies which will seem to make telling points. My attitude maybe summed up in this aphorism: "When in doubt, don't do it"[36]

As dean of the Junior Colleges, Vincent actively enforced thepolicy. After he had worked with the sex-segregated policy fortwo years, Vincent was quoted by Marion Talbot as follows: "Itmeets most of the objections against throwing suddenly into constantassociation large numbers of young men and women just leavinghome and entering on a new experience . . . it does not seem tohave affected unfavorably the general social life of the institution."[37] Talbot went on to translate Vincent's opinions. First, themajority of the students came from coeducational high schoolsand it was only the elite private-school graduates who had sex-segregatededucation. Vincent was clearly more supportive of the elite'sviews than those of the general population of students. Second,Vincent supported social interaction but was more opposed to intellectualassociations. Having fun with women was desirable but having themas equals was not. [38]

It is evident that Vincent can be placed in the "Doctrineof the Separate Spheres" category along with Small. Theirlack of research on the subject of women reflects their biasesas well.


36. George E. Vincent to W.R. Harper, 11 November 1902, "Coeducationat Chicago," box 60, folder 11, Presidents' Papers, 1889-1925,UCSC.

37. Talbot, More Than Lore, pp. 178-79.

38. Ibid., p. 179.

From Mary Jo Deegan, Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School, 1892-1918.New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Books, 1986, pp. 200-201.

Forward to "Zeublin and the Sociology of Women"
Back to "Henderson and the Sociology of Women"
Back to the Index