Though she never set foot on campus, English political economist Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) had a tremendous -- if somewhat irreverent -- influence on the students at Wellesley from 1886 to 1914.
"Of heroic size, a noble representation of womanly force and tranquility, Anne Whitney's statue of Harriet Martineau had watched the stream of American girlhood flow through "the Center" [of College Hall] and surge around the palms for twenty-eight years. ... [R]epresenting as it did her ideal modern woman, [Whitney] gave it in 1886 to Wellesley, where modern womanhood was in the making."
One of the College's early traditions -- one that sadly ended when College Hall burned to the ground in 1914 -- was "passing through Harriet." Florence Converse 1893 expressed the statue's importance on campus:
"No freshman was considered fully matriculated until she had been dragged through the rungs of Miss Martineau's great marble chair."
(Illustration caption: "One of the first steps in our education." -- 1913 Legenda)