The Muhlenberg Memories Project

The Mar-Kay Club​

As the academic year 1946-1947 dawned, Muhlenberg faced an unprecedented wave of incoming students numbering over 1,200. This influx was the result of the G.I. Bill, and many of these veteran-students were married. During opening convocation in September 1946, President Levering Tyson announced that a limited number of students’ wives would be allowed to take credit-bearing classes at the College. The Muhlenberg Weekly emphasized in its coverage that “in no way is Muhlenberg committing itself to the future program of co-education that has been under consideration for a number of years.” This was purely a temporary situation.

Meanwhile, the campus wives organized. The Mar-Kay Club (named after Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s daughter-in-law Mary Katherine, a name inspired by Lafayette College’s similar organization, the Emile Club) was formed in 1947, and thrived as a social and educational club on campus until 1951, when the wave of married, veteran students began to subside.

The Mar-Kays organized dances and holiday parties; they arranged lectures from Muhlenberg professors and invited speakers on topics ranging from table-setting and flower arranging….to family planning. In its inaugural year, the club invited early Allentown Planned Parenthood advocate Dr. Frances Schaeffer to speak to the group.

 The complete Mar-Kay scrapbook may be visited here.