An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College

Olive San Louie Anderson

Olive San Louie Anderson

Olive San Louie Anderson was one of the first women at the University of Michigan. She enrolled in 1871, a semester after Madelon Stockwell became the first woman student.

After graduation, under the pseudenym SOLA, Anderson penned a novel called An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College about the university coeds in the fictional town of Ortonville. It did not take long for many to realize the similarities between the University and people of Ann Arbor and the fictional ones in Anderson's story.

Anderson was the only woman in her graduating class given the opportunity to speak at commencement. After moving west to California, she drowned at the age of 33. An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College was her first and only literary work.1

Caroline Kleinstuck Hubbard

Caroline Hubbard Kleinstuck

Caroline Hubbard Kleinstuck was a member of the class of 1875 with Olive San Louie Anderson. An active suffragist, Kleinstuck was the first woman to receive a Master of Science degree from U-M and was also the editor of An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College.2

She wrote, “I can never forget what the opening of Michigan University meant to all women at that day-- and we all should-- the wonderful scholarship of Madeline (Madelon) Stockwell Turner-- who made the higher education of women a possible thing-- all over the world."3

 

Today a copy of An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College containing notations of the real names of the faculty and student characters in her book is held in the Clements Library on the University of Michigan campus. Michigan students still read An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College in an American history course.

An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College

Title page of An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College

 

1. "History of the Women's League U of M," Folder "Undated," Box 1, Women’s League (University of Michigan) Records 1890-2011, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

2. Residence Hall Program Advances, Michigan Alumnus, Vol. 56, No. 3 (15 October 1949), p. 40, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

3. Carolyn Hubbard Kleinstuck survey, 1924, Box 109, Michigan University Alumni Association, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

An American Girl, and Her Four Years in a Boys' College