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Colby College Special Collections

Mary Caffrey Low, Waterville, 1875

Contributed by Colby College Special Collections
MMN Item 13651 Item Details
Mary Caffrey Low, Waterville, 1875
MMN Item 13651 Zoom


Portrait of Mary Caffrey Low (later Carver) who was the first woman to graduate from Colby College. She entered the college in 1871 as the only female in her class, and was joined by four more women in 1873.

She helped found the women's sorority Sigma Kappa and delivered the valedictory address to her class, beating Leslie Cornish who later became a justice of the Maine Supreme Court.

Mary Low married George Carver, the State Librarian in Augusta, devised the first systematic catalog of the Maine State Library, and assumed her husband's library position after he died.

She was also active in the protest against the formation of a separate women's division at Colby. However, the division was approved by the Board in 1890 and had the effect of segregating women into different laboratory courses, and separating men's and women's competitions for class prizes.

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