Do I Need a Tie?

Gender Matters

Submitted on Thursday, 10/20/2011, at 8:58 AM

In 1962, Amherst hired Rose Olver, now the L. Stanton Williams '41 Professor of Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies, as its first female tenure-track professor. On Oct. 1 of this year, nearing the  50th anniversary of Olver’s arrival and facing the impending retirement and replacement of a large proportion of the faculty, the  college held a symposium titled “Half a Century of Women Teaching at Amherst: Gender Matters.” More than 150 people packed the Cole Assembly Room, including current professors, students, alumnae and 60 percent of the women who taught at Amherst between 1962 and 1983.

Amherst in the 1950s and 1960s

Marietta Pritchard was what was once known as a "faculty wife." She arrived in Amherst in 1958 at age 21, just out of Radcliffe, and was soon turned down for a teaching job in a Northampton private school. She went back to school, doing graduate work in education at UMass, completing an M.Ed. and teaching part-time in various places while raising three sons. She eventually joined the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where she worked for 13 years as writer and then as features editor, leaving to become a freelance writer and editor in 1989.