The Dream of the Women: AU's Female Donors

The Woman's Guild wasn't the only way for women to get involved with AU's founding, nor was Mary Graydon AU's only noteworthy female donor.

Women served on AU's Board of Trustees, donated funds and objects for specific projects, and campaigned to bring their political and moral visions to AU.

Madame Mountford and the Mountford-Mamreov Museum

Among AU's early donors, few stand out as uniquely as Madame Lydia M. Von Finkelstein Mountford, a high-profile benefactress who donated her collection of Biblical and Palestinian artifacts, worth an estimated $50,000, to AU. In addition to her regular lecture tours throughout the U.S., during which she would discuss her interpretations of the Bible and her life in Palestine, Mountford also curated the Mountford-Mamreov Museum Illustrating Bible Life and Customs in AU's College of History, now Hurst Hall.

The College of Scientific Temperance

Although the temperance movement doesn't inspire quite the same respect today as the women's suffrage movement, many of the most important women's political action groups of the 19th century, such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, campaigned against the influence of alcohol.

These campaigns reached AU as part of the whirlwind of hopeful activity that surrounded administrators' early efforts to fill out the university's campus. Many proposed schools and programs would never come to fruition, among them the College of Scientific Temperance. Funded through an endowment provided by the Temperance Educational Association, the College would have provided instruction and encouraged research on alcohol, intoxication, and physiology.

No one fought harder for the College of Scientific Temperance than Mary Hunt, a prominent temperance education activist. Her writings speak to her commitment to her cause.