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BOST, JESSIE OLIVE THATCHER (1875-1963)

Jessie Thatcher, the first female to graduate from Oklahoma A&M College, was one of seven children of John W. and Frany Thatcher. Born in Guthrie Center, Iowa, on December 16, 1875, she and her family moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, in 1891. Sixteen-year-old Jessie Thatcher entered Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) when it opened in December 1891.

Since the college had a common curriculum, Thatcher studied the same subjects as the men. Course work included horticulture, agriculture, chemistry, and physics and participation in military drill. However, women were not allowed to carry weapons during the drill. She worked as an assistant librarian at the college from 1895 to 1896. She and other women students established the Sigma Literary Society, because the Webster Literary Society included only men. On June 9, 1897, Gov. Cassius Barnes presented diplomas to Thatcher and two men students. All three gave graduation addresses. Thatcher's was entitled " The Dawning of the Twentieth Century." In 1902 she served as president of the Oklahoma A&M College Alumni Association. After graduation Jessie Thatcher taught school in Stillwater, earning forty dollars a month. On July 16, 1902, she married Henry A. Bost, a fellow student. They had four children, three of whom attended Oklahoma A&M College. When the Bosts moved to Alva, Oklahoma, she organized a parent-teacher association and was chair of the Northwest District PTA. Except for the time spent rearing her children, she continued to teach until her retirement in 1946.

In 1925 Jessie Thatcher Hall, a women's dormitory, was built on the A&M campus and named in her honor. In 1954 Jessie Bost organized and served as the first president of the college's Half Century Club. She died in 1963 (exact date not known) in Cleveland, Oklahoma.

SEE ALSO: EDUCATION, WOMEN, WOMEN AND WORK, WOMEN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Jessie Thatcher Bost," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jessie Thatcher Bost Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. Berlin Basil Chapman, Oklahoma State University: Pioneers on the Prairie (N.p.: B. B. Chapman, 1992). John Creswell and William E. Segall, "College Life in Oklahoma Territory," in Women in Oklahoma: A Century of Change, ed. Melvena Thurman (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1982).

Linda D. Wilson

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