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Mabel Potter, a member of the Class of 1897 at the Women's College, as a freshman accosted President Andrews after chapel and requested that gymnastics be provided for the women students. Andrews recommended walking for exercise, but by 1897 arrangements had been made for the women to use a downtown gymnasium. In that year the alumnae subscribed funds to purchase physical apparatus for women, and a Department of Physical Culture was established with Mabel Potter and instructor.
Early women's basketball.
"Helen," the first live bear mascot, made her appearance at the Brown-Dartmouth game in Springfield in 1905. She went in place of her mate, "Dinks," who had been hired from the Roger Williams Zoo for the occasion, but when Dinks would not leave his cage was replaced by the valiant Helen, who received a standing ovation on her entrance to Hampden Park. The inscription on the base of the Bronze Bruno statue sculptured in 1923 extols the ursine qualities of strength, courage and endurance, "which make men invincible." Thanks to Helen, a role model for women athletes, women were already invincible.
Two Olympian swimmers, Albina Osipowich '33 in 1928 and Helen Johns '36 in 1932, came to Pembroke College.
Women bowlers in Sayles Gym.
Archery was a woman's sport in the 1930s, and for convenience intercollegiate telegraphic tournaments were held, at which each college competed on its own premises and telegraphed its members' scores.
Departing for a weekend of winter sports in February 1939 are, left to right, students Polly Tirrell, Celeste Griffin, Elsbeth Beeh, and physical education faculty Florence Sayward and Bessie Rudd.
Pembroke had no official sailing team in 1939, but four independent women sailors, who had learned to sail in their own boats, entered a competition with seven other crews on the Charles River on May 9. Shown here, left to right, are Janet Ervin, Celeste Griffin, Gladys Snow, and Elizabeth Potter.
Bessie Rudd, Director of Physical Education at Pembroke, 1944-1961.
Field Hockey instruction with Bessie Rudd.
Beginning in 1964, women hockey players learned the game by practicing with the men, and raised their own funds. One fund raiser was a game against the J.V. men's team, who played with brooms.
Arlene Gorton, Director of Athletics, Pembroke 1961-1972, Associate Director, Brown 1971-1998.
Kate Flynn '74 and Nancy Fuld '76 playing against Providence College in the first women's athletic contest held in the Providence Civic Center. Photo by Bruce Richard '74.

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