Fredonia Normal School
The Post-War Years
Jennifer Champ, Class of 2000
This is an oral history, shaped from women talking together, meeting, and
exchanging ideas. Sixty-five women between the ages of 25 and 90 were interviewed
including alumni, and current and retired faculty and staff members. Interviewers
asked questions focusing on the women's roles in the social, economic and educational
life of the college.
The women were interviewed by 27 students in the Fall 1999 Introduction to Women's
Studies class taught by Dr. Jeanette McVicker, coordinator of the Women's Studies minor
at SUNY Fredonia in 1999 and a member of the Department of English faculty. The
project was a part of the students' capstone assignment. Each student contacted two
or three women. A large number of the students were able to meet face-to-face with
the participants; others communicated through e-mail and letters. Woman to woman,
they told secrets, offered advice, and learned from each other. The students learned
how hundreds of women before them paved their way at SUNY Fredonia.
The assignments were divided into decades, with two students researching the early
formation of the Fredonia Academy. In order to situate the women in context, the
interviewers also investigated the historical, political and social climate,
nationally and locally.