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On the wave of the women’s movement in 1860, Girton College began in 1869 as the first women’s institution at the University of Cambridge. Emily Davies, Barbara Bodichon, and Lady Stanley of Alderley established Girton as a step toward gaining women the right to sit for examinations and entry into Cambridge University.
The first women to take the Tripos exam (the requirement to gain a degree as opposed to just receiving a ‘Pass’ from Cambridge), took the test unofficially in 1873. Girton College did not receive the status of college at Cambridge University until 1948, the year when women also received official admittance into the university.
Continuing with pioneering new values in the United Kingdom and world, Girton College represented the first women-only college to open its doors to both males and females in 1971.
The Stanley Library at Girton came from a donation of £1,000 bestowed on the college by Lady Stanley of Alderly. The college students did not have access to a library before the library began construction in 1884, which took away a place for the women to study, research, and gain the information they needed to support their studies.
The library has received contributions to the book collection from authors including George Eliot, John Stuart Mills, and Tennyson.
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