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Mar 1, 2021

In 1969, women were allowed entry to undergraduate study at Yale for the first time. Their experience was not the same as their male peers enjoyed. Isolated from one another, singled out as oddities and sexual objects, and barred from many of the school’s privileges, the young women nonetheless met the challenge of being first and changed Yale in ways it had never anticipated.

Mary Donohue interviews historian and Yale alumna Anne Gardiner Perkins, author of Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant and New Haven leader Constance Royster, one of Yale’s first women undergrads. Anne Gardiner Perkins is an award-winning historian and higher education expert, and the author of Yale Needs Women, which won the 2020 Connecticut Book Award. Ms. Royster holds a J.D. from Rutgers University Law School – Newark, and a B.A. cum laude from Yale University.

Read more!
UConn Law: The Trailblazing Bessye Bennett,” Spring 2014
Yale’s Grace Murray Hopper College,” Fall 2017

This episode was produced by Mary Donohue, Assistant Publisher of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan. 

Ms. Donohue has documented Connecticut’s architecture, built environment and popular culture for over 30 years. Contact her at