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Elizabeth Hershey helped Iowa Wesleyan renew its founder's pledge to educate "all on equal terms" by being the main benefactor for providing living quarters for women on campus. Providing residences for women was a powerful way to solidify and support their claim to higher education. In a time when many male faculty and male students felt admitting women represented a downgrading of their institutions, Iowa Wesleyan advocated the opportunity for women to receive an education and in 1859 graduated one of the first women to earn a bachelors degree from a liberal arts college in the U.S.
Elizabeth Hershey Hall contains two striking architectural features: 1) its Victorian/Romanesque revival style reminiscent of public structures designed by H. H. Richardson; and 2) its innovative steel shell construction which minimizes interior load-bearing walls.
The building is in need of extensive work, especially the second and third floor which have not been used for over 20 years. The roof was replaced in 2002, a major step in stabilizing the building.
Corkhill, Thomas E. "The Birth of Iowa Wesleyan." Mt. Pleasant Iowa Wesleyan, November 30, 1896.
Haselmayer, Louis A.. A Sesquicentennial History of Iowa Wesleyan College (1842-1992). Mt. Pleasant, IA: Iowa Wesleyan College, 1992.
Kennedy, Charles J. History and Alumni Record of Iowa Wesleyan College 1842-1942. Mt. Pleasant, IA: Iowa Wesleyan College, 1942.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa. Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1888.