“My dear Doctor”
“Dear Miss Hebard”
“My dear Dr. Grace”
“My dear Dr. Hebard”
“My dear Prof. Hebard”
“Dear Most Wonderful”
In the fall of 1905, Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard and Dr. Agnes Mathilde Wergeland began building a home together. When the house finished that next summer, they hoisted an American flag from Dr. Wergeland’s balcony and fixed a nameplate above the doorbell for their new home, “The Doctors’ Inn.”
As the first Norwegian woman to earn her doctorate degree, Dr. Wergeland felt proud of her title. No doubt, Dr. Hebard also felt proud of her own academic accomplishments. An anecdote from a section of Dr. Wergeland’s biography titled “Not Used To Women Doctors,” recounts a visitor looking for a “Dr. G. R. Hebard” being shocked to discover a young woman instead of the man he expected. It is certain that he was not the only person to question either woman’s degree. By declaring the name of their house, right above the bell, the two women were making a definite statement about their earned titles.
In 2018, women in academia made a similar statement by adding their earned titles to their Twitter names. This clickbaity article from The Independent in 2018 compiled tweets from women explaining what adding their title to their Twitter meant to them and recounting times they had their expertise challenged or explained to them. Since the article embedded the tweets each users’ name updates to their current handle, making for a curious but limited study in who continues to use their titles two years later and who stopped. It also clearly shows that women in academia today continue to experience what Dr. Hebard and Dr. Wergeland experienced during their own lifetimes. In 1906 and 2018 they all reacted in a similar way– with a posted declaration of their academic titles.
Despite her declaration and continued use of her title, two years later Dr. Hebard saw her degree called a “pure fake” in the pages of the Laramie Boomerang. It was the dying breaths of a scandal stretching out publicly for around two years. Throughout the scandal, partisan newspapers called for Dr. Hebard’s resignation or dismissal from her various offices. The kindest appeal for Hebard to step down acquiesced that she had been cleared of all charges, but held fast that problems at the University would persist as long as she held the position as Secretary to the Board of Trustees. From there the calls for Hebard’s job escalated calling her a “paid servant” of no special skill and telling her that she could not hide from criticism behind her skirts, “If Miss Hebard wishes to take the part of a man in a political sinecure she should expect to assume some of the responsibilities.” Another short clip suggested she be forcibly ousted from her position under the somewhat threatening headline, “Seldom Die, Never Resign.” All of these articles were published in 1908 by the Democrat newspaper in Laramie, Wy. Nearly all of them refused to use Dr. Hebard’s title. 
Ostensibly, the scandal boiled down to a combination of partisan politics and growing pains: the University of Wyoming was two decades old with an all-Republican Board of Trustees. Democrat newspapers across the state decried every decision made by the board as corrupt and demanded their party be represented in its ranks. The Wyoming Democrat Platform in 1908 even called for state officers to be audited and an investigation into the handling of state lands. With the Board of Trustees all being appointments made by the Governor and being given the authority to dispose of state lands under the university’s control, this platform essentially called for this body to be investigated twice, on top of the investigation already performed in 1907.
Accusations of “political graft” from a former professor, Dr. George E. Morton, spurred the initial investigation in July 1907. During the August meeting of the Board, Grace Raymond Hebard read the report out loud. It opened with a summary of the investigation and its parameters before addressing each of the charges individually. The investigators provided a few reasonable suggestions to address the University’s growing pains, namely that it cut back on preparatory instruction and for the President of the University to take on more of the executive functions from the Board. When the University was founded in 1886, there was little infrastructure for secondary education across the state. Thus in order to provide the citizens of Wyoming with a college education, the university first had to provide a high school one. By 1907, the education system in Wyoming didn’t necessitate such a robust service– the university could and, according to the investigators, should start to shift its priorities to focus on its collegiate instruction. The Board of Trustees was commended for their work in carrying the University this far, but citing the experiences of other universities, the investigators felt that it was time to start shifting executive responsibility off the committee and onto the University President. No wrong-doing on the part of the Board was cited as a reason for this shift, rather this was a desire to avoid the future filibusters, confusion, and mismanagement that can come from committee rule.
Charges of political favors in the form of university contracts proved to be unfounded, with noted members of both parties getting considerable business from the university. While the Board of Trustees was gently chided for not opening the coal and printing contracts up to competitive bidding, the investigators concluded that the contracts could not amount to graft because the services were reasonably priced and well-done. Even Morton had to sheepishly admit that his accusations of grazing favors at the Experiment Station could not be considered the graft he had claimed it to be in the pages of the Boomerang. The investigators also gently chided the former professor for turning to the press without ever making a formal complaint to the Board of Trustees. They laid their harshest criticisms on the poorly managed Experiment Station, which heavily implicated Morton. While still at the university he taught all of the classes on animal husbandry and took charge of that department within the Station. The investigators were not impressed with the upkeep of the Station on a whole, but particularly the poorly maintained stock barns that let loose a $250 ram during the investigations only for it to turn up drowned in the river.
The “Petticoat Government” that Democrat newspapers accused of ruining the University with underhanded and manipulative forces received special attention from the investigators. Nearly that entire year, Dr. Hebard weathered the accusations against her in silence. During the investigation, she finally spoke. The Boomerang’s rival newspaper, The Laramie Republican described Dr. Hebard as her best advocate, answering the inquest professionally with straight forward responses. She did not deny that she was given considerable power over the day-to-day functions of the University but there was no evidence that she ever overstepped her bounds. She had stepped down as a member of the board four years prior remaining in the position of paid secretary, and at the investigation, current Board Members attested to the fact that while she was the best person to go to for advice on any matter pertaining to the University, she did not assume her former role on the executive committee nor attempt to insert herself into decisions to be made by the board. Dr. Hebard remained a focus for the investigation with every member of the faculty being asked if she had undue influence over them or their department.
Several professors chose to speak on Dr. Hebard’s behalf, most notably Dr. Agnes Wergeland. Dr. Wergeland claimed that Dr. Hebard was only guilty of the crime of being successful. Her testimony revealed the unspoken and unrecognized labor of Dr. Hebard with students. Hebard’s care for her students and interest in their lives after they graduated rivaled only that of their mothers. Any student in need went to Dr. Hebard for help. Wergeland recounted Hebard nursing sick students back to health and giving monetary aid from her own private income so that students who couldn’t afford it could still finish their education at the university. Aware of needy students, she also advocated for student workers and opened up several work-study opportunities in her own offices. Dr. Wergeland asserted that there were hundreds of students who could speak to the kind and giving nature of Dr. Hebard’s service to the University.
Her public defense during the investigation cleared her name to everyone but her detractors. Dr. Hebard was commended for her service to the university during the report, which stated that she never overstepped her role. “We find that the influence of the Secretary, wherever exercised, has been altogether wholesome and beneficial; that no attempt is made by said Secretary to usurp the powers of any other officer of the University; and that no undue influence is sought to be exerted by her in the various departments of the University. From the evidence presented to the commission, it appears that the Secretary has constantly and zealously labored for the promotion and upbuilding of the university.” The report was a far cry from the newspaper claims that she sought her position to advance and enrich herself.
Despite being vindicated by the report, Dr. Hebard still tried to resign from her position following the investigation in August 1907. She may have been silent in the face of constant public attacks but undoubtedly they still had an impact on her life in the way that someone going viral today for all the wrong reasons might experience an onslaught of public cruelty. The Board of Trustees refused to accept her resignation and forced her to stay on as the Secretary into the next year. As if it wasn’t already obvious, her role with the University was definitely not the cushy sinecure political appointment that Democrat newspapers accused her of holding. The vast amount of work that she took on for the university along with her intimate knowledge of the tasks at hand combined to make the Board of Trustees extremely reluctant to let her go. Yet, by 1907 Dr. Hebard had already begun expanding the official roles she filled at the university. Not only did she serve as a secretary for several other departments, as well as, the Board, but she also served as the librarian, taught correspondence courses, and in 1906 began picking up classes in the Political Economy department for instructors who had to be out of town.
The 1907 investigation looked into a “Lack of Harmony” at the university and found that the situation existed mostly due to personal animosities and jealously. Even historian Mike Mackey, who is no fan of Dr. Hebard’s, admitted that financial jealously served as a primary motive for one of Dr. Hebard’s main detractors, Dr. Hadly Winfeld Quaintance. He taught three classes at the University each session as principal of the Political Economy and Commerce Department and was offended to have Dr. Hebard join his department in 1906. Mackey claims that he was also upset to be making $200 less than Dr. Hebard. Now, Quaintance was the head of a department and a man who held several advanced degrees, but Dr. Hebard served as the secretary to Board, to the Experiment Station, to the Correspondence College, and satellite schools while also serving as University librarian and departmental Experiment Station librarian, teaching correspondence courses and filling in for other professors. Surely, the work Dr. Hebard took on excused the extra $200 in pay making for an annual wage of $1,800 set by the Board of Trustees and not Dr. Hebard.
The lack of harmony continued on into 1908, as Dr. Quaintance stayed on with the University and the Board of Trustees refused Dr. Hebard’s multiple attempts to resign as Secretary. Democrat newspapers jumped at the opportunity to further accuse the University of scandal at the beginning of the year as the Board tried to dispose of University lands at a profit. The accusations again seemed to make mountains out of well-meaning molehills, until President Tisdel threw gasoline on the fire in the form of a circular letter distributed across the state in March 1908. The transition of executive power from the Board to the University President was too slow-going for President Tisdel who accused the board of carrying on as before without adhering to the recommendations from the 1907 inquest. The personal attacks on Dr. Hebard started back up again with vigor.
In response to the circular, The Republican reminded its readers of Dr. Tisdel’s 1907 contradictory testimony in which he claimed to have all the power a university president could ever want. His testimony also revealed another motive for Morton and Quaintance, purely political in nature. Before the public smears began in 1907, Dr. Morton and Dr. Quaintance approached the Board of Trustees for permission to have Quaintance appear on the Democrat ballot in 1908. The Board of Trustees feared the political implications of having a professor take active part in party politics and denied their request. At the time, President Tisdel backed the Board’s decision and cited this incident as the only issue involving party politics at the University.
By May 1908 the attacks against Hebard had escalated to the point that she publically stepped down from her role despite the continued refusal of the Board to accept her resignation. May 1908 also saw Quaintance’s resignation. Later, Quaintance would claim that he never tendered his resignation and was forced out by Hebard, who in turn replaced him as head of the Political Economy and Commerce Department. Grace Hebard’s sister Alice came from Cheyenne to stay with her over the weekend in May when her resignation was publically announced. Before the announcement, a reporter with The Boomerang had the gall to call Dr. Hebard to confirm the rumors. After over a year of printing cruel personal attacks on Dr. Hebard the paper described her answer as evasive, “I haven’t resigned yet. No, not yet.” 
During her last official Board Meeting held in her office in June 1908, members of the Board tried to talk her into staying on. Her replacement was a young man who used to be the bookkeeper for The Republican. One would expect a loud outcry from The Boomerang concerning Dr. Hebard’s replacement and his former position at their rival, partisan paper. Instead, The Boomerang celebrated his new position, giving him high accolades for his previous service and character. If it wasn’t already obvious that the attacks on Dr. Hebard and claims that she took part in some Republican political machine were falsehoods then the celebrated appointment of a man who did take an active part in the Republican political machine certainly made it clear: the attacks on Dr. Hebard came about because she was a woman in a position of power. After she stepped away from that position of power, The Republican expressed hope that The Boomerang and other Democrat newspapers would let Dr. Hebard pursue her next endeavors in peace. Under the headline, “Vast Aggregate Sum Handled By Woman,” the favorable newspaper shared that during her eighteen years as Secretary to the Board Dr. Hebard handled $1,142,039.59 with not a penny being unaccounted for or misapplied.  Dr. Hebard handed over all of the finances along with the rest of her responsibilities and stepping away, she likely assumed the fervent attacks on her character would step back as well.
The gendered language in the attacks relied on negative stereotypes of women as overbearing reformers and manipulative liars with self-absorbed fancies. Since historian Mike Mackey agrees that Dr. Hebard was a manipulative liar, his analysis of this scandal implies that the claims made against her interfering with other departments and her domineering petticoat rule were accurate depictions of her University service. He favors testimony from one student and the co-workers who disliked Dr. Hebard, at times unaware that he is in many cases just reprinting the sexism Dr. Hebard faced while alive without any critical analysis to accompany it. Mackey takes up Quaintance’s cause quoting his assertions that Illinois Wesleyan, where Dr. Hebard earned her Ph.D. in Political Science, was a disreputable institution with only a reading list and some very liberal fees to back up her “fake degree.”
Quaintance, once ousted from his job at the university, began working for The Boomerang in July of 1908. It wasn’t long before he began dedicating pages of the paper to his complaints against Hebard and the University. He started by reprinting a letter he sent to his church warning that he was about to be forced out of his position at the university. He claimed that Dr. Hebard started to spread malicious rumors about him and his wife, without giving any detail as to what exactly the rumors/accusations detailed. Despite being an active member in his Baptist church, even teaching Sunday School, The Boomerang could not secure an endorsement from his minister who refused to take a public position on political matters. When The Republican refused to dignify his letter with a direct response concerning Dr. Hebard’s qualifications (“or lack thereof” as Mike Mackey puts it), Quaintance dedicated nearly three full pages of his paper expanding on his accusations in an article aptly titled, “Republican Roast Gets Attention,” with the addendum of his 1907-1908 annual report to the President and Board of Trustees.
Hadly Winfeld Quaintance began working for the University of Wyoming the Fall of 1906, assuming the role as head of his department. According to his annual report, Miss Meader who taught secretarial classes such as stenography, penmanship, and typewriting taught the majority of the students in the department. When he arrived, she joked that she was known as a person who was difficult to get along with and stuck in her ways. In other words, he may be her new boss but she knew what she was doing and handled her own business. Upset about the affront to his power as “principal” of the department, Quaintance found it even more upsetting to have this set-up confirmed by the University President. During his two years with the University, he attempted to take hold of the entire department’s annual appropriation, intending to deny Miss Meader some of the money she requested while requesting the full amount from the Board of Trustees and giving them the itemized request, which broke down how much he requested on total and Miss Meader’s requests. After purchasing a map and other supplies, he discovered the account overdrawn as the President had independently approved Miss Meader’s requests as well. Quaintance grew irritable to have a subordinate refuse to act like one and he suspected Dr. Hebard’s influence. Allegedly in a fit of rage accusing Hebard telling her a “lot of blankety-blank blanks,” Meader confessed to Quaintance that Hebard had pushed for her to have certain raises over the years and that had earned her loyalty. There is evidence that Hebard advocated for other women on the faculty to earn more money, so it is likely that she did suggest Miss Meader for a raise if she was doing a good job. Quaintance understood this advocacy to be further evidence of corruption and Dr. Hebard using favors to earn faculty loyalty while punishing anyone who dissented. He believed that Dr. Hebard’s influence bred insubordination and was the root of all of his issues with Miss Meader.
To make matters worse for Quaintance, the year he began working at the university was the same year the Board of Trustees gave Dr. Hebard an assistant professorship for taking on the classes of Political Economy, which the University President could not attend to. Quaintance was bitterly opposed to Hebard as a professor and believed that allowing her to teach brought down the prestige of the University. Hearing through Morton that he was upset, Dr. Hebard confronted Quaintance and tried to explain the situation of her appointment. Quaintance recounted the event as evidence of her false modesty and lies, unwittingly also giving evidence that rather than be the type to start false rumors, she instead had the personality of someone who confronted rumors head-on. Hadly Quaintance and Mike Mackey share dismissal of Hebard’s qualifications.
Dr. Hebard earned her Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa and her Doctorate of Philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan University, while she was living and working full time in Wyoming. The programs were largely correspondence courses– education by rail, the very beginnings of online education. As COVID-19 has forced the entirety of academia online due to circumstances, I doubt that anyone would seriously argue that a dissertation defense done over video chat is any less valid than the ones that were able to be done in person just a few months ago. My cousins who have completed or are completing a Master of Arts degree online have the same level of degree that I have from a program I did mostly in person. Underpinning Quaintance’s complaints against Illinois Wesleyan is a complaint about making education so readily accessible to a class of people who could not dedicate themselves to in-person study, including women already teaching and even black scientists like Alferd O. Coffin who graduated from Illinois Wesleyan with his PhD. in 1889, just four years before Dr. Hebard earned hers.
Quaintance’s article quoted a prominent member of the National Education Association speaking on the issue of predatory colleges putting out correspondence work to give out degrees and build up an endowment. He claimed that Illinois Wesleyan fit the bill as a disreputable institution. Regarding the school’s ability to instruct graduate students in 1893, Quaintance consulted the 1907 stats for the university. He claimed Hebard paid a $50 fee for a program no longer offered by an under-decorated and under-educated faculty. Looking at a 1895 history of the university, a different picture of Hebard’s Ph.D. program emerges. In 1891, Dr. Robert O. Graham took over the Non-Resident Graduate program, having earned his P.hD from Johns Hopkins University in 1888. Immediately, Graham set about raising the standards for entrance into the program and revised the program’s requirements making their study and examinations more rigorous. It is during this time that Hebard undertook her degree, graduating upon passing her in-person examinations in 1893. Tuition was $30 for Dr. Hebard, hardly the liberal fee compared to other 1893 tuition rates such as $17 at the Normal School in Lincoln, NE, $20 at North Carolina State, and $95 tuition for Dartmouth.
Mike Mackey takes umbrage with Dr. Hebard’s later recollections of her education. In 1930, FORTY-FIVE years after earning her Master of Arts degree and writing countless articles, speeches, books, and conducting extensive research, Dr. Hebard couldn’t quite recall the subject of her Master’s Thesis, thinking that it had something to do with George Elliot. Mackey complained, “it is still difficult to understand how anyone who wrote a master’s thesis could not remember the subject.”  His implication is that the program was so lax, Dr. Hebard did not actually write a thesis. Considering the lifetime of work between Dr. Hebard and a paper, which was not her main focus of study– I find it unsurprising that she couldn’t recall the exact topic. She was a prolific writer and reader, a correspondence course encouraging independent investigation suited her well. While considering her MA degree, Hebard did assert that degree requirements had become more rigorous over the years. She was careful to not claim credit more than she felt she earned. Mackey tries to lend further credence to his argument that Dr. Hebard was a poor student and a terrible academic by stating that she would later claim her doctorate to be in philosophy rather than Political Science. This bad-faith reading of Hebard’s statement willfully ignores that all Ph.Ds, regardless of topic, are doctorates of philosophy and that it is more likely Dr. Hebard misspoke in stating the type of degree she held rather than assert she studied philosophy.
In 1907 and 1908, Dr. Hebard did not engage in the public mudslinging. Instead, she and Dr. Wergeland organized the University Women’s Club to meet at their home, The Doctors’ Inn starting in January of 1908. All of the women associated with the university, including former faculty like Dr. Hebard’s former roommate Dr. Irene Morse, became honorary members. They gathered not to socialize, rather to share their research and discuss academic papers. Faced with extreme professional criticism, Dr. Hebard likely found solace in the group of women gathering each month to engage in intellectual pursuits. Their topic over the course of 1908 explored the conditions of women at co-educational institutions and their future prospects. That summer, after the summer session ended and Dr. Hebard officially relinquished her duties as Secretary, she and Wergeland headed to Enebo. They spent several weeks with friends visiting, before spending the last of their summer just the two of them in the Snowy Range. It is likely this summer that Wergeland wrote “Your Hand,” a poem in direct response to the public scandals Dr. Hebard had been weathering and thought herself to be free from that summer of ’08.
Unfortunately, she returned to more slander from Quaintance who appeared he would not be satisfied until Hebard was completely dismissed from the university. His true motives, however, became more clear with each issue of The Boomerang. Alongside his nasty character sketch of Dr. Hebard, he spoke of the Republican party which had stood by Dr. Hebard during all of the university difficulties. He opined for voters to commit his evidence to memory and carry it with them to the polls on November 2nd. Yes, Hadly W. Quaintance was running as a Democrat for office and his platform was a denunciation of Dr. Hebard. As the election neared, all of the democrat candidates printed their picture and a short sketch of their qualifications and beliefs in The Boomerang. Quaintance ran his profile with an added section about his dismissal from the university at the tyrannical hands of Dr. Hebard. He made it clear to the public, that a vote for him was a vote against Hebard and her work at the University of Wyoming. He lost his election. Only the socialist candidates and one other democrat received fewer votes than him. When he got his fill of playing newspaper-man, he became a real estate agent, staying in Laramie and not pursuing a further career in academia.
Dr. Hebard weathered these scandals with the help and support of a network of Wyoming women. She maintained her dignity by not dignifying their accusations with a response. As I write about her, this conflict over her education and earned titles hang over me. The name a historian chooses to use for their historical subjects is a political choice. In A Midwife’s Tale, historian Laurel Tatcher Ulrich refers to her historic subject by her first name, Martha. My first semester of grad school, I was one of the only students who did not have to re-write my review of this book because I used Martha’s last name “Ballard” in my review. None of us had earned the intimacy Ulrich utilized in her book, we had not read and transcribed Martha Ballard’s diaries– so we were expected to adhere to the standard and just use her last name. As historians of Dr. Hebard, particularly those taking on the Sacagewea scandal, have continued Quaintance’s work in stripping Grace Raymond Hebard of her title I find myself wanting to deviate from the standard yet again. Still, at times, I find her title to make my writing awkward and clunky so I revert back to my years of training, referring to her only as Hebard. And other times still, while writing about her sister or other intimate relationships I find myself writing about “Grace.” As I bounced around her correspondence archives this past week, moving from box to box as letters mention new people, I noticed what other people called her. Carrie Chapman Catt always addressed her letters to Dr. Hebard, with one handwritten one opening instead with, “My dear Doctor.” Form letters from the suffragist movement call out for “Dear Friend” or “Dear Campaigner.” Many of the letters discussing Wyoming’s history and sharing testimony are addressed to Miss Hebard, while my favorite letters from a fellow suffragist call her “Dearly Beloved,” “Beloved and Peerless,” “Dear Most Wonderful,” and “Most Precious.” I am not about to start writing about “Most Precious” in my work on Hebard, but more often than not, I find myself echoing the name she was most frequently addressed by in all of her letters, Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard– title and all.
 Maren Michelet, Glimpses from Agnes Mathilde Wergeland’s Life (Memorial Edition, Privately Published: 1916)↩
 In order of mention: “The Republican Roast Gets Attention,” October 15, 1908, page 1 Laramie Boomerang; “The Only Cure For The University”, April 07, 1908, page 2, Laramie Boomerang; “Gramm and Miss Hebard” April 23, 1908, page 2, Semi-Weekly Boomerang; “Uni Muddle As Seen By Press,” April 09, 1908, page 4, Semi-Weekly Boomerang; “Seldom Die, Never Resign,” April 22, 1908, page 2, Laramie Boomerang ↩
 “Dr. Hebard May Resign,” May 09, 1908, page 1, Laramie Boomerang ↩
 “Vast Aggregate Sum Handled By Woman,” no. 273 June 30, 1908, page 1, Laramie Republican ↩
 page 9, Mike Mackey, Inventing History in the American West, (Western History Publication, Casper WY: 2005)↩