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First Exeter Women :

The Early Classes Go On The Record

Classes of 1971-1976

Thank you to all who responded to the survey - your stories are the heart of this report - and to all who are interested to read about the experiences of the First Exeter Women. You'll find statistical analyses of the data and vivid voices and stories of how we faced challenges, adapted, and in doing so changed ourselves, the school and American society. You'll read about voracious appetites for learning, affection for fellow students and teachers, gratitude for athletic and other extracurricular activities, as well as the exuberant recollections of adolescence. It wasn't all wonderful, of course, and there are stories of personal struggle that will resonate with readers.We hope the report will prompt greater reflection on the history and the future of the school.
You will find the report HERE. (Link will go live mid June)


In light of the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Exeter, a group of us wanted to document the first-hand experiences of that historic time. Led by Chloe Gavin, Class of 1972, we've developed a series of questions we believe will elicit valuable primary source material for future students and researchers.


We invite graduates of the Classes of 1971 to 1976 to participate in First Exeter Women: The Early Classes Go On The Record, the FEW Project.  These classes were chosen to span the years from the first day students in the Class of 1971 through the Class of 1976. We were the first young women to attend Phillips Exeter Academy -- the pioneers who changed the Exeter experience forever. We are now uniquely positioned to fill out the historical record by each of us reflecting on the girl we were and the woman we have become and how Exeter influenced that process.


Questions in the links below are organized by topic and include both multiple choice and impressionistic questions. You decide how much time you want to spend on the survey. We estimate the multiple choice questions can take as little as fifteen minutes. The descriptive questions may take longer, but you can choose which are relevant for you. We ask that you start with the data questions Section 1. If you decide to answer only one question (and that’s OK) please make it the first open-ended question in the  Section “After Exeter”:


            In terms of your personal and professional aspirations, how does the woman you are

            today compare  with the girl you were at Exeter, and how did Exeter influence that


You can review the survey before deciding to participate by going to this link:    Read Only Survey Questions. The survey can be completed in one sitting or by repeated visits to the site.

If you wish to keep a copy of your responses, you can print out the pages of the survey which you have completed. There are more complete instructions about printing a copy once you reach the survey.

The stories and reminiscences that this project captures eventually will reside in the Academy Archives for use by future researchers. This will be the first significant material about girls and women in the Academy Archives. Before donating a copy of the responses to the Academy, we intend to send a report on the results to each person who participated. We need your permission to write that report. We will also consider writing an article or book to make these experiences available to the wider public. We ask you to give FEW permission to use and quote your responses by signing a "Permission and License" before proceeding to the survey. See the box and link below, "License, Use and Donation of Survey Responses". 

On a personal note, we have found it immensely enriching and satisfying to discuss our experiences as we formulated questions for you. We hope that you will find answering the questions as valuable.

Many people were generous with their time, opinions and expertise. We want to thank Kris Christine '73, Jane Feldman '74, Ellen Fowler '72, Iris Gowen '72, Judy Hall '73, Laurie Hayes '75, Karen Lavine '73, Myra Jones '74, Nancy Wilder '75, Juliet Kostritsky '72, Aaron Perzanowski and Kent Newman '72.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with one of the survey authors listed below. You have until the end of October 2021 to submit your responses. No doubt some will respond to the entire series of questions early and in one sitting. Others will come and go over the next six months, and some will complete everything on October 30th.  However you approach it, the Academy will be enriched by the information only you can provide. 


The Survey sections are:


Section 1: Your Profile Then and Now


Section 2: Getting to Exeter


Section 3: Classroom Experience


Section 4: Dorm and Day Student Life


Section 5: Athletics


Section 6: Extracurriculars


Section 7: Social Life


Section 8: Health and Well-being


Section 9: After Exeter


Section 10: Additional comments


License, Use and Donation of Survey Responses

Our goal with this project is to collect and preserve information and reminiscences from the first female students at Exeter. We may also produce a report, article or book, and your responses may be quoted. When we have completed this, our intention is to donate the survey responses to the Academy Archives. The Academy archivist will determine access to and use of the material.

 We ask you to give FEW permission to use your responses by electronically signing a "Permission and License" before proceeding to the survey. There is a link to the form below.

Chloe Gavin '72
Beth Harrison Hadley '73
Alison Heaney Freeland '72
Renee S. Edelman '73 
  Zoe Billman '72
Sarah Lindemann-Komorova '72
Emilykaye Lonian Mitchelson '73

We've made some videos to encourage you to dive right into the survey ...

Chloe Gavin

  Beth Harrison           Hadley

Alison Heaney Freeland

Sarah Lindemann-Komorova

Zoe Mandes Billman

Renee S. Edelman

Emilykaye Lonian Mitchelson