Jeopardy! category: COLLEGES, NOT UNIVERSITIES (22-04-2014)
$800 clue: The name of this one of the Seven Sisters is a Welsh phrase meaning “high hill”
The gist: All Seven of the Sisters are colleges, but only one managed to make it into this category. That one is Bryn Mawr, by far the Welsh-iest sounding of the lot. Bryn Mawr was named after the piece of land on which it was established, formerly a farm given by Pennsylvania’s Quaker founder William Penn to co-religionist immigrant Rowland Ellis. Ellis’ former farm in Wales, which he had left due to religious persecution, was also called Bryn Mawr. The other six Sisters are named for important people like benefactors (Smith and Vassar) or early presidents (Barnard), or for decidedly less Welsh places (Radcliffe, now part of Harvard, and Wellesley, in the Massachusetts town of the same name).
Bryn Mawr was founded in 1885 mostly through the benefaction of Joseph W. Taylor, a Quaker physician and philanthropist who believed in education for women (and the promulgation of the Quaker movement). The school’s official Quaker alignment didn’t last long, though, and it became institutionally non-denomination in 1893. It offered the first doctorates in social work in the United States in 1912, and began accepting men into its graduate programs in 1931. It remains women-only at the undergraduate level today. Possibly its best known alumna is actress Katharine Hepburn, and it has boasted faculty such as President Woodrow Wilson and (close to my own classicist heart) Richmond Lattimore, creator of the popular “Lattimore translations” of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
The clue: I don’t know whether Bryn Mawr is actually one of the best-known of the Seven Sisters or it’s just the best-known to me, but it’s still easily identifiable as the one with a Welsh name – although don’t go just on the ‘y’ in the middle, since many such words (rhythm, rhyme, and myrrh, for example) actually derive from Greek, where the ‘y’ was originally upsilon or ‘υ’.
In Jeopardy!: Bryn Mawr has the honour of appearing in 14 regular clues and 2 FJ! clues in the J!Archive. It’s regularly in clues about Pennsylvania, and about the Seven Sisters in general (name two, name three, name four…). Wales and Welsh only appears in two clues, as does Hepburn, once as the correct response herself.