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Auburn opened doors to girls and challenged the University of Alabama to do the same

Auburn opened doors to girls and challenged the University of Alabama to do the same

On June 14,  in 1892 the A. & M College at Auburn (NOTE: this was the way it was published in the newspaper – should be Alabama Polytechnic – (later renamed Auburn University) opened the doors of the institution to girls over 18 years of age and challenged the University of Alabama to do the same.

Below is the news article transcription about the historic occasion in the Times Daily of Florence, Alabama.

Historical Seminary, of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn. Students are sitting around long tables. Q4141Historical Seminary, of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn. Students are sitting around long tables. Q4141 (Alabama Department of Archives and History)

Took a step forward

The A & M of Alabama, at Auburn, is one of the best educational institutions of this country.

Its faculty contains men of national reputation and its graduates take front rank in every profession.

The board of trustees of this great institution on Tuesday took a step forward which entitles them to to the commendation of all good people. It was decided by them to open the doors of the institution to all girls over 18 years of age prepared to enter the junior class.

Challenged the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Thus are the girls of Alabama given an opportunity to receive at home every advantage of high education enjoyed by their brothers.

Let the State University now follow, throwing aside the tradition that only men are to enter the classic halls of the noble institution at Tuscaloosa.

Such actions as that of the Auburn trustees on Tuesday means that we are moving forward.

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. The year was eighteen ninety two

  2. Alabama Polytechnic Institute, Auburn. I never heard it called Alabama A&M.

    Alabama A&M is in Huntsville.

    1. I haven’t either, but this was the way it was written in the news article. It was probably a mistake by the news paper.

      1. See comment I posted regarding the names and founding date change of Auburn University. Posted 7/18/2019

  3. Ian Velasquez your school has always been first!!! War Eagle my friend

  4. You are wrong about name . A&M College at Auburn later became Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) before before officially becoming Auburn University in 1960.
    Congratulate Auburn for leading the way for ladies to attend college in Alabama.

    1. Not all-inclusive, but not wrong.

    2. Charles Turnipseed, “wrong ” was incorrect description. I stand corrected.

      1. Hang in there Cayce.

  5. Alabama Polytechnic Institute

  6. I am proud that my mother was a freshman in 1924 and continued our family Auburn tradition. My grandmother preceded her as a student and later taught in Auburn city school.

  7. Auburn University was first “East Alabama Male College”, a Methodist Institution. It then became the “Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama” at Auburn > Then later “Alabama Polytechnic Institute” and finally “Auburn University”. There is a corner stone showing the name A and M. on Samford Hall.

  8. 1892 I think was the year!!

  9. WAR EAGLE for all the women who benefited from Auburn’s forward thinking.

  10. 1892 was a good year for Auburn – admitted women and football! For those disagreeing about the name, it didn’t become API until 1899, so when women were admitted it was still Agriculture and Mechanical College of Alabama.

    1. Veterinary programs were also started in 1892!

    1. Enjoy yr day 🙂 yr welcome

  11. Interestingly the name Agricultural and Mechanical College appears in a earlier Pioneer article about Auburn University nearly being at Greensboro.

  12. The University of Alabama admitted its first women students in the fall of 1893. Julia Tutwiler, the founder and president of Livingston, then a small teachers college for women, had been lobbying the board of trustees for years on the issue. In 1892 the board was presented with a petition by Tutwiler and at last agreed to allow women as “special students.” In 1895 the university awarded its first degree to a woman. It seems both Auburn and Alabama were on a similar trajectory toward coeducation — slow, grudging, and complicated by ridiculous ideas. A pattern that would be repeated with racial integration.

  13. When the school was transferred from the Methodist to the State as a land grant college it was named the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama and remained that until 1899 when it became API.

  14. What Flag is that I see?

  15. My grandmother went to, what was then, Alabama Polytechnic in 1918, when she was 16. She did not finish because they recruited her to be a teacher and sent her to a one room school house near Goodwater.

  16. The caption A&M College probably is correct, The present Auburn University was first the A&M College of Alabama, then Alabama Polytechnic Institute, then Auburn University. If one wants to go back to when Auburn changed its founding date from 1872 when it was API to 1856, it was called the East Alabama Male College. The change from 1872 to 1856 was really a misnomer and a play on dates to compete with the founding date of the UA.

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