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Therefore, this research will explore the influences of religion, particularly Methodism, at Indiana Asbury in the context of the national trend in the late nineteenth century to admit women to higher education institutions. This paper will layout the foundational beliefs of Methodism, Indiana Asbury’s road to becoming coeducational, the experiences of the first Asbury women at college and after graduation, and the establishment of exclusive female organizations. Through detailed analyses, I will demonstrate how Indiana Asbury’s affiliation with the Methodist Church and students’ Methodist faith dramatically shaped: 1. Indiana Asbury’s decision to become coeducational in 1867; 2. the first collegiate women’s experiences at Asbury and post-graduation, and; 3. the establishment of the women’s fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta (1870) and the Philomathean literary society (1871).


Clifton J. Phillips Archives Research Award winner.