Mabel Smith Douglass


Mabel Douglass was the first dean of New Jersey College of Women from its founding in 1918 to 1932, when she retired for health reasons. The college was renamed Douglass College in 1955. This photograph was taken circa 1899.

courtesy of University Archives/Special Collections

The name of Mabel Smith Douglass was on the lips of many when the college that she helped found in 1918 kicked off its yearlong 100th anniversary celebration on  September 18. Opened on the eve of women finally gaining the right to vote under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the New Jersey College for Women, located at what is today Rutgers University–New Brunswick, thrived under the stewardship of Douglass, its founding dean and guiding light. The school, the counterpart to the all-male Rutgers College, was renamed in her honor in 1955 and distinguished itself as one of the top women’s colleges in the United States, producing alumnae who broke glass ceilings years before the phrase was even invoked. In 2007, it was renamed Douglass Residential College, where the educational standards, imaginative curricula, and supportive culture live on. Learn about upcoming events and the history of the college at, and Twitter (#Douglass100).