Getting Physical: Women's Athletics at MU spacerspacerHeader graphic

Note: All images are thumbnails to larger photographs. Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures in greater detail.

Women's Dressing Shack
Women's Dressing Shack
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 6)

Women's Athletic Association Pin
Women's Athletic Association Pin
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 4)

Women's Athletic Association Patch
Women's Athletic Association Patch
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 1)

List of points toward earning varsity letter, 1947-1948
Part of points toward earning a varsity letter, 1947-48
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 4)

Women's 'M' Patch
Women's "M" Patch
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 4)

Certificate, Athletic Conference of American College Women
Athletic Conference of American College Women Certificate
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 4)

As early as 1889 the Board of Curators decided forms of physical education were necessary and beneficial for the welfare and health of women students. In that year the Curators established a requirement that each woman must have one semester of physical education, in the form of calisthenics, before she could graduate. A top floor room in Jesse Hall was equipped for that purpose. By 1904 a physical examination was required for students and all students found to need remedial exercises were placed in special classes for corrective work. The only facilities for women's athletics until 1923 were the room in Jesse Hall and a small shack used as a dressing room for women using the field designated for their use in outdoor sports. In the fall of 1923 the new women's gym, later to be dedicated in 1974 as McKee Gymnasium, opened for full use and a new era in women's athletics began.

Description of Athletic Programs in MU Catalog, 1907
Description of Athletic Programs in MU Catalog, 1907, p. 100
(University Archives, C:0/51/1)

Women's Gymnasium in Jesse Hall, 1904
Women's Gymnasium in Jesse Hall, 1904 Savitar, p. 102
(University Archives, C:22/1/1)

1900 Women's Basketball Team in Jesse Hall
1900 Women's Basketball Team in Jesse Hall, Savitar, p. 166
(University Archives, C:22/1/1)

The Women's Athletic Association (W.A.A.) was founded in 1910, but for the next two years it was inefficient due to the small number of members and irregular meetings. It was reorganized in 1912 with the goals of promoting athletics, creating a love for sports and fostering the ideal of good sportsmanship. Since membership was required for any woman wishing to take part in sports at MU, W.A.A. became an important campus organization. The rule requiring membership was later dropped and an amended constitution made earning "points" by taking part in athletic games and sports a requirement for membership. Cloth patches, pins or varsity letters were presented depending upon number of points earned. In 1916 the "M" Women's Club was organized with twelve charter members; other members were initiated as they acquired the points required.

Four members of the women's 'M' Club, ca. 1928
Members of the women's "M" Club, ca. 1928.
(l-r: Ethel Hunt, Alice Sonnenschein, Louise Hitchcock, Helen Jenkins)
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 2)

Pool in McKee Hall
Pool in McKee Hall
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 5)

1912 Field Hockey Team
1912 Field Hockey Team
(University Archives, C:8/18/8)

WAA Parade Float, 1923
WAA Parade Float, 1923
(University Archives, C:8/18/8, Box 2)

Gallery 2 of the Exhibit

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Published by: University Archives muarchives.missouri.edu/
Revised: 22 January 2007
URL: http://muarchives.missouri.edu/physical1.html

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