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Alumni by the Decades: 1930s and 1940s

We're excited to launch Alumni by the Decades, a monthly celebration for Calhoun's 125th anniversary that features the people and history of our school. October kicked off with the 1930s and 1940s; we were an all-girls school then, but still committed to a forward-thinking education which included arts, clubs and athletics.

The House on 92nd Street

We had the opportunity to speak with alumna Dorit Paul ‘46 about what it was like to be at Calhoun in the 1940s. In those years, Calhoun was located on West 92nd Street, and Dorit recalls that students affectionately referred to the school as, “the house on 92nd Street.” She adds, “the standard for education was very high,” describing how she and her peers were encouraged to go to college, a rarity for women at the time. Dorit herself went on to study at Radcliffe and then earn her master’s degree in English from Columbia University.

1944 Calhoun Building

Calhoun building on 92nd St, circa 1944

Community Service, Then and Now

Calhoun has continued to evolve over the course of its history, but for all the differences between the Calhoun of the early 20th century and today, some of the founding values of the school still resonate. The school’s emphasis on community service was on full display during the war years, when Calhouners raised money to provide scholarships to refugees from Germany, rolled bandages for and made donations to the Red Cross, and collected essential supplies such as paper, rubber and bandages.

1944 War Service Project

Calhoun students collect rags and tin for the war effort.

From the Archives

Looking at the archives from that era, we found a valedictorian speech given by Norma Glaser ‘48, whose descriptions of a “responsible citizen” and student voice still ring true: 

“A responsible interested in her community and its problems, and seeks to understand the issues of the day in the light of reason … She makes her opinion count by the use of voice and vote; the continuance of democracy depends upon this type of citizen, and we know that our Calhoun education has tried to prepare us for just such responsibilities.” Norma Glaser '48

Stay tuned for more alumni stories and snapshots from the archives throughout the school year! 

Explore Calhoun’s history.

We want to hear about your own time at Calhoun! Share your story with us, and we may use it as part of our anniversary celebrations.