In 1983, four authors captured the spirit of Kalamazoo College’s pioneer women who “found at Kalamazoo College enormous challenges, great work to be done, obstacles of tradition and prejudice which never fall easily and might have thwarted lesser spirits.” Celebrating the college’s sesquicentennial, Emancipated Spirits details the lives of four Kalamazoo College women who “had taken first steps and opened doors — or broken them down”:
- Lucinda Hinsdale Stone: abolitionist, feminist, suffragist, and educator;
- Frances Diebold: Professor of Biology who was “perhaps more responsible than anyone for its reputation in the sciences, that realm where women were supposed to tread so fearfully;”
- Pauline Byrd Johnson: the College’s first black student, who became the first black teacher in the Kalamazoo Public Schools; and
- Nelda Balch: Professor of Theatre, who was known for undertaking challenging and avant-garde plays and elevated theatre at the College.