Josephine Brunyate Meredith (1879-1965)

Josephine Brunyate Meredith, c.1940

Josephine Brunyate was born on April 14, 1879, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the daughter of a prominent clergyman, Edwin Richard Brunyate and his wife Eliza. Home tutored first, she attended the State Model School in Trenton, New Jersey and then entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with advance standing in 1899. She graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors in three years in 1901. After her graduation, Brunyate taught in high schools located in Pleasantville, Atlantic City, and Trenton, New Jersey. In August, 1908 she married Arthur J. Meredith of Boston, Massachusetts and had one daughter. Following the death of her husband in 1917, she returned to teaching at the high school in Woodbury, New Jersey.

Mrs. Meredith began her remarkable career at Dickinson in 1920 as the Dean of Women. Two years later she became an associate professor of English, teaching courses in the English novel and Chaucer. A product of her time, she lived in Metzger Hall and made her name synonymous with "order" and "good standards" for generations of female Dickinsonians. Described as "firm but sympathetic," she remains one of the most interesting personalities in the history of the College. For example, she authored a pageant, "Scenes from Dickinson's First Fifty Years," for the celebrations surrounding the sesquicentennial of the College in 1933. Being not only the first but also the longest serving Dean of Women (from 1920 to 1946), in 1943 she became the first woman to be named as full professor at the College. At her retirement in 1948, she also became the first Professor Emerita. At the dedication of Drayer Hall for women in May, 1952, she received an honorary doctorate from the College.

Outside of her work on the campus, Mrs. Meredith was active in numerous Methodist church and community events and groups in the Carlisle community. She was also a member of both the National and Pennsylvania Associations of Deans of Women, the Y.W.C.A., and was a founder of the local branch of the Association of University Women.

She never remarried. Her daughter, Christina Brunyate Meredith, also graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dickinson in 1934. Suffering from a heart condition in her later years, she moved to Iowa to be near her daughter, now Mrs. Carl S. Vestling, and her three grandchildren. On January 15, 1965, Josephine Brunyate Meredith died in West Branch, Iowa. She was eighty-four years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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