Setting the Stage

When women students first arrived at William & Mary in 1918, the world was awash in upheaval. World War I had disrupted lives on three continents, the Russian Revolution had upended the Romanov dynasty, and the Spanish flu had reached the United States, where it would soon kill 675,000 people.

Black and white women were emerging as media celebrities:  Madame C. J. Walker was expanding her business empire, Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman were jailed (or soon would be jailed) for pursuing their social agendas.

The American women's suffrage campaign was reaching its conclusion (the 19th Amendment passed in both the House and Senate in June, 1919), and co-education was moving from the Northeast and Midwest into the South.

Upheaval abounded, including at William & Mary.