Frances Addelson ’30 is now a retired social worker living in Brookline, Mass. In 1926, she was a freshman at Radcliffe, a year before Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic to Paris. In those days, Radcliffe students could not wear bobby socks in Harvard Square, walk through Harvard Yard unescorted, or study at Widener Library except in a segregated room.
Gender restrictions loosened by World War II, and nearly disappeared in the 1970s. In 1999, Radcliffe took on a more free, independent, and powerful role than anyone in Addelson’s time could have imagined. It became the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, one of Harvard’s most important intellectual crossroads.
The Radcliffe Institute’s first decade is being celebrated this fall, starting with a two-day symposium Oct. 8 and 9 — a star-power taste of the institute’s signature interdisciplinary exchanges. In the past 10 years, Radcliffe has sponsored seven science symposia, six gender conferences, and 41 Dean’s Lectures. It has funded 90 “exploratory and advanced seminars,” which are short-term, frontier-seeking collaborations among scholars.
Radcliffe has also hosted more than 450 Fellows since 2001 — men and women ascendant in the creative arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and the natural and physical sciences. (Applications to date: 6,500.)