During the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction eras, Howard University was unique in employing females as faculty, staff and administrators. Female instructors served with distinction in the College, Commercial, English, Industrial, Medical, Music, Normal, Preparatory, and Theological Departments. Ms. Bella C. Barrows lectured on ophthalmology and diseases of the eye in the Medical Department during 1870-1872.12 From 1873 to 1879, Ms. Martha B. Briggs served as instructor in the Normal Department, while Ms. Addie C. Bowen was an instructor in the University’s Model School from 1873 to 1881 and in the Normal Department from 1881 to 1895.13 The 1900 presidential annual report praised the selection of Ms. M.A. Anderson, an African American graduate of Middlebury College, as a new University faculty member.14 The report also noted the reappointment of Ms. S.C. Ebersole as instructor in dietetics, a position she had held since 1898.15 Mrs. B.M. Howard was an instructor in sewing from 1889 to 1903.16 Mrs. Anna Bartsch Dunne taught histology and experimental physiology in the Medical and Dental Departments during 1904-1908, and Ms. Sara W. Brown, the first female Howard trustee in 1924, lectured on gynecology in the Medical Department from 1908 to 1911.17 To ensure that female faculty and staff positions remained available at the University, some of Howard’s monetary allocations from its annual congressional funds were specifically targeted for these positions. At least forty-one females were listed as holding positions in University budgets from 1892 to 1907.18

     Howard female administrators and staff were part of the University community during the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction eras. Ms. Maria R. Mann served as Miner professor in charge of the Miner School during 1870-1872, and Ms. Martha Briggs was principal of the University’s Normal Department from 1878 to 1889.19 The position of matron of Miner Hall, the female dormitory, became an administrative post starting in 1870, and Mrs. E.P. Messer held the position of housekeeper at Miner Hall from 1903 to 1910.20 Two females served in the position of librarian of the University from 1894 to 1910.21 Superintendents of the Freedmen’s Hospital Training School for Nurses during 1898-1903 were Ms. S.C. Ebersole and Mrs. Sara I. Fleetwood.22 The supervisor of the Training School in the Normal and Pedagogy Departments from 1898 to 1903 was Ms. Annie R. Barker.23 From 1905 to 1910, Ms. Lulu V. Childers served as director of music at Howard.24


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May 2000