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Mary Elizabeth Russell Bauer ’43

A picture of Mary Russell Bauer

Mary Elizabeth Russell Bauer ’43, January 6, 2009, in Kennewick, Washington. Mary was born in Vancouver, B.C., and came to Reed from Bremerton, Washington. In an oral history interview with Deborah Prince ’71 in 2004, Mary talked about her experience as coxswain in 1941 for the newly formed Reed crew team, a position she held during her sophomore year. “Neither my roommate nor I liked organized sports, so we were honor-bound to put in so much time a week at physical activity.” Mary and roommate Dorothy Cottrell Coppock ’43 rowed in two-person sculls on the Willamette River about the same time several male students and a couple of faculty members organized a crew team. None of the men on the team were small enough to be coxswain, so Mary agreed to take the position, thus becoming the only woman (and the first in the state of Oregon) in collegiate rowing. The story of Mary and Reed's team appeared in Life magazine, on the front page of the Oregonian, in the Oregon Journal, and in other publications, including Ripley's Believe It or Not. Thanks to Mary, the team won three out of six races in that first season. She also was on the Griffin staff during her two years at Reed. Later she transferred to the University of Washington, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. She married George H. Bauer; they had one daughter. The family lived in Washington, Alabama, and Mississippi. Inspired by a lecture on medical history, Mary enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi, earning an MA in the field in 1976; she later did postmaster's study in medical history at the University of Washington. Mary's occupations included public health and office nurse, teaching assistant, instructor in nursing, and research associate. Her brother, physicist and inventor James T. Russell ’53, graduated from Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2010

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