"I was of course delighted to learn that Miss Parker had been acquitted [...] I have suspected that she has fallen under the influence of some men students who have been very undesirable for her."
I was curious to see who, exactly, this controversial Miss Parker was. A preliminary Google search yielded a digitized copy of Barnard College's 1916 yearbook in which I found a few "Miss Parkers." I figured that Eleanor Parker was the woman for whom I'd been searching, seeing as she was voted "Most Radical" of her class. Being listed as President of the Socialist Club and her senior quote --
"Wilt thou aspire to guide the heavenly car and with thy daring folly burn the world?"
— seemed to confirm that she was the Miss Parker.
Mortarboard Yearbook. New York: Barnard College, 1916. Pages 50, 139, & 162.
Onto Temple Library's bountiful resources: I searched New York Times articles (via ProQuest) and found five articles mentioning her name and Barnard College. Along with items from the Barnard Bulletin and the Columbia Spectator, a story began to emerge.
I wonder about the extent to which the "undesirable men students" and "false teachings by professors" really influenced Parker. By the end, it really seems like she was the one to shoulder the causes she promoted (namely the publication of Challenge) all on her own. The other interesting tidbit is that Virginia Gildersleeve herself was a firm believer in engagement with political movements — despite objections that, especially for women, such things were "shocking," "shameful," and "unladylike." Indeed, Gildersleeve was a purported lesbian, but self-identified as celibate — a fact that might add to an interesting conversation about the relationship between non-normative sexuality and politics.