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Ahead of Their Time
Two Albright alumnae look back on their days at Albright College at Myerstown
When they were teenagers in 1908, cooking and cleaning were the order of the day for most women. However, for Laura Brown Lutz ’27 and Dorothy Strickler Whitmoyer ’26, higher education was the priority.

President Zimon, Laura Brown Lutz '27 and Dorothy Strickler Whitmoyer '26Although many of her classmates dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help in the home, Lutz says she went to college to obey her parent’s wishes. "I lived in an age when children obeyed their parents. My mother said I was going to go to college, so I went. Looking back on the decision, she says, "My mother really had a lot of foresight back then."

Whitmoyer’s family encouraged her to go to college as well. "My mother used to say that, ‘You have to educate the girls because if her husband dies the only thing she can do is go to work for the wash tubs.’ So I went to college."

Both Lutz and Whitmoyer were day students, traveling on the train each day to get to the college in rural Myerstown, Pa.

The college was established in Myerstown after a schism in the Evangelical Association resulted in the new United Evangelical Church. The members of the church purchased the property of the Palatinate College in Myerstown, which was rechartered as Albright College in 1898. In 1902, after the closing of its sister institution, Central Pennsylvania College, the two institutions merged.

Mohn Hall in MyerstownThe new Albright College at Myerstown, according to the Fall 1974 issue of The Albright Alumnus, "enjoyed continuing growth and development and was blessed with good faculty and an enthusiastic student body."

Excited to be receiving an education, Lutz studied foreign languages while Whitmoyer studied chemistry.

Whitmoyer remembers her chemistry classes with fondness. "I really liked the lab work," she says. However, one day while in the lab, the chemicals she was working with exploded. Fellow classmate Clarence W. Whitmoyer ’28 was right there, pushing her out of harm’s way. Dorothy and Clarence were married several years later in the Albright Church in Myerstown.

According to the 1926 Speculum, Albright’s yearbook, Whitmoyer, known for her curls and keen analytical mind, was an all around good sport who "never lacked an escort for skating, dancing or swimming."

Bower Science Hall at MyerstownBut the social life at Albright was quite different in the 20s, says Lutz. "We didn’t have as many parties, and we didn’t have many activities or sports." However, Lutz says she does remember traveling to Harrisburg for class banquets. "We used to take excursions to Harrisburg and go to a dinner theatre," she says. This yearly ritual occurred in the beginning of the academic year, right after registration closed.

But Whitmoyer says she remembers something they weren’t allowed to do. "Dancing was a sin so Albright wasn’t allowed to have dances," she says. "So we’d have walks. The girls and boys would take a partner and walk up and down the pavement together." Looking back she says, "It was pretty stupid."

Upon graduation, both Lutz and Whitmoyer went into teaching. Lutz worked for seven years at Robesonia High School as a Latin and German teacher until she got married. "In those days," she says, "when a woman married a man who was gainfully employed, she had to resign her job." However, when World War II began, Lutz went back to teaching and remained with Tulpehocken High School for 17 years.

Whitmoyer taught sixth grade in the Ontelaunee School District until she married. But since she "loved the children so much," she says she decided to run a private kindergarten out of her home since she was no longer able to teach in the school district.

Lutz and Whitmoyer say they feel privileged to have had the opportunity to attend college at a time when it was so uncommon for women to be educated. "My mother really wanted to go to college when she was young," says Lutz, "but her father wouldn’t let her. Her misfortune was my gain," she says.

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