Mears Cottage

Ah, I imagine myself sitting on the steps of Mears Hall in 1905, long skirt and petticoats, hands clasped against my knees, chatting with my grandmother and her friends. We pause our conversation as a train rumbles by; I construct my question: “What impetus brought you to Grinnell?”

Those young women might demure, and, in fact, family lore says that my grandmother herself returned to Knoxville one Christmas and declared, “I’m not going back.” But she did. “Why are you here?” I might insist. And gesturing toward North Campus, “What made you realize that education is equally important for women?”

Mears Cottage circa 1895

Nancy Welch Barnby ’61
Menlo Park, California
If you could travel forward or backward in time to experience Grinnell during a different era, when would you want to visit and why?