Radcliffe, the real Radcliffe--the women's college whose students lived in their own all-female quad and rode their bikes across Cambridge Common to coed classes at Harvard--hasn't really existed since 1977, when the two institutions technically merged. Since then, the exact nature of Radcliffe ("the invisible college," one waggish graduate called it) has been mysterious to undergraduates and alumnae alike. Still, the announcement last week that Radcliffe would cease to exist, except as a network of research institutions, gave me a twinge.
I never thought I'd feel that way. At the cusp of the '70s, I spent four years at Radcliffe chafing at rules and assumptions that seem outrageously hidebound and sexist today. Read on.
From the Archive: "The End of an Era at Radcliffe": Pollitt on Her Disappearing Alma Mater
In Newsweek, Pollitt reflected on the "official demise" of the great (if inherently problematic) women's college that was: