84. Evelyn College


The history of coeducation at Princeton began in 1887, when former Princeton Professor Joshua Hall McIlvaine ’1837 founded a “sister” school named Evelyn College, after the 17th century literary figure Sir John Evelyn, one mile north on Nassau Street.  The college’s enrollment consisted largely of the daughters of Princeton College and Seminary professors, as well as the sisters of Princeton students, and never exceeded 50 per year.  The women engaged in a rigorous academic program under the instruction of Princeton College professors, including Woodrow Wilson, John Grier Hibben and Henry Fine.  Geographic proximity led to much interaction between Princeton men and Evelyn women, who called themselves “The Orange and the White.”  This picture shows Princeton and Evelyn students together, circa 1890.  However, the period’s strict social mores led to rumors of scandalous secret rendezvous and sexual behaviors, compromising McIlvaine’s efforts to secure an adequate endowment for his school.  When he died in 1897 during an economic depression, Evelyn College was forced to close its doors.