1940-1949

Women's Literary Societies

Alpha Kappa Chi, 1917-1918Literary societies were once a common feature at Concordia.  Alpha Kappa Chi (AKX) was the first all-female literary society at the college.  Even as its focus shifted from literary pursuits to social events to charitable activities, AKX provided a way for Concordia women to engage with their campus and their community for over eighty years.  Phi Kappa Chi (PKX) was another major women’s society at Concordia College from 1946 to 1969.  Although PKX was relatively short-lived, it provides an interesting look at some of the factors that influenced the rise and fall of women’s (and men’s) societies at Concordia.

Women's Smoking and Dress Code Policies

Concordian article, 1942Double standards in the regulation of student conduct at Concordia College placed the liberties of women below those of men.  Dress codes and smoking policies in particular explicitly treated female students differently than male students.  A combination of student action as well as changing social views brought an end to these sexist differences in regulation over the course of the 1960s and 1970s.

Women in WWII

In the midst of World War II Concordia College adapted to wartime restrictions and decreasing enrollment.  Due to the military draft the number of male students enrolled dropped, while the number of females attending the college increased dramatically.  Accordingly, Concordia established programs and courses that allowed and encouraged women to contribute to the war effort.  

Women's Hours

Concordian cartoon, October 1970Until the early 1970s, Concordia College imposed restrictive rules and strict regulations pertaining to women’s curfews and lights out.  The questioning of authority surrounding the Vietnam War and the feminist movement helped to empower female Cobbers to advocate for their personal freedom. Through a variety of strategies such as demonstrations, lobbying, and expressing opinions in the campus newspaper, women studying at Concordia gained personal freedom and independence when Women’s Hours were eliminated in 1973.

Margaret Nordlie (1912-1989)

Margaret NordlieMargaret Nordlie came to Concordia first as a student and then returned to teach classes in library science and work in the library under head librarian Anna Jordahl. In collaboration with Jordahl, Nordlie facilitated the growth of library collections as well as the beginnings of the Concordia College Archives.

Women's League

Women's League, 1936In 1921, a group of faculty women and wives at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota joined together to form a club devoted to both social activities and to raising money for students in financial need. In the almost seventy years that followed, the Concordia Women’s League formed successful student loan and scholarship funds, contributed to several worthwhile campus projects, and developed a long-lasting legacy.

Clara Duea (1901-1965)

ClaClara Dueara Duea taught music classes and directed musical groups at Concordia for nearly two decades.  In 1927, she established Concordia’s Music Club, which performed and sponsored the first Christmas Concert, a tradition that continues at the college.

Emma Norbryhn (1877-1977)

Emma NorbryhnEmma Norbryhn was a linguistically gifted woman who instructed a variety of language courses at Concordia.  During her lengthy teaching career she introduced new language courses and taught Norse, French, Latin, German, and Greek before retiring in 1948. At her retirement she held the title of longest term of service at the college. Today she is among a handful of Concordia faculty to reach the forty year mark.

Norma Gooden Ostby (1898-1990)

Norma Gooden OstbyNorma Gooden Ostby took charge of Concordia’s dramatic program in 1932.  Initially the theatre was unsupported by a formal budget or theater season; Ostby described the early productions as a “desperate financial enterprise.” In 1938, Ostby revitalized the artistic community of Concordia College by forming the Concordia Theatre, which provided the school with the organization and budget necessary to hold an annual theater season.

Anna Jordahl (1907-1993)

Anna JordahlIn 1944, Anna Jordahl was appointed head librarian at Concordia College.  In this capacity she helped develop the plans for the Carl B. Ylvisaker library, built in 1956, which gave her the space to increase the collection size to over 100,000 volumes before her retirement in 1973.
 

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