Opposing Ideas

Opposing Ideas

Although both very prominent women on campus, it is widely known that Louise Pound and Mabel Lee didn't get along (Knoll, page 78). Both women had very different pasts, which resulted in them having very different outlooks on the world…

Competitive Views: Coming from a prominent family of high-achievers, as well as being the middle child, turned Pound into a very competitive woman. During their time at UNL, Mabel Lee felt that sports were a way of becoming healthy, while Pound saw them as a competition (Knoll, page 98). Pound thought Mabel Lee looking at physical education as a professional endeavor rather than a competition took away from its very nature. Pound hated the idea of playing for fun rather than for winning (Knoll, page 78). The 1924 Cornhusker yearbook explains how Lee wanted to get all women on campus involved in athletics, while another page of the same yearbook goes along with Pound’s competitive views, explaining that teams who competed against other universities were comprised of the physically fit students selected from PE classes rather than being inclusive of everyone (Cornhusker1924).

 Social Views: Pound led a far more active life than Lee, who was not a fan of clubs. Pound belonged to all of the right groups in Lincoln while Lee though the city was full of snobs (Knoll, page 78).

Professional Lives: Lee and Pound played very different roles at UNL. Pound served as an English professor while Lee was the director of physical education for women (Knoll, page 70). While both women played prominent roles on campus, and were both athletic, their differing views led to many disputes.

Views on Women's Roles: Lee wanted to earn a place among the men, while Pound wanted to defeat them. Lee was a beautiful woman who held traditional views on women's roles, and didn't like the conception of athletic women being "manly" (Knoll, page 78). Pound, on the other hand, held more modern views, and couldn't even find a recent picture to give the Sunday World Herald because she did not concern herself with trivial things such as picture-taking, which would have required her to dress up or look presentable (Simpson).The 1925 Cornhusker yearbook talks about Lee opposing varsity competition for women, sticking with the traditional views of women in competetive sports. The very next page of the yearbook shows Louise Pound as a Faculty “N” Wearer for her accomlishments in competitive sports. The two pages of the yearbook provide insight as to the conflicting ideas that existed at the time, and the differing views held by Lee and Pound (Cornhusker1925).

Preservation on Campus

Contemporary society uses several forms of commemoration. One way of honoring those we are proud of is through the building of some type of commemorative monument, oftentimes a building. We use such commemoration to preserve the memories of those who have had an impact on our surroundings. Both Mabel Lee and Louise Pound had lasting impacts on UNL and are therefore commemorated on campus. The two women of such distinct viewpoints each is commemorated similarly on campus, having a building named after her. Yet, just as the women presented opposing ideas, the buildings of their commemoration represent different ideas. The buildings serve different purposes, with Pound Hall serving as a place of living and Mabel Lee Hall serving as a place of learning, while Mabel Lee Fields (east of Mabel Lee Hall) are used for intramurals, keeping with Lee’s idea of getting everyone involved in athletics, not just a select few. This, in a sense, “preserves” the feud that existed between the women. Additionally, the manners in which the women gained their commemoration on campus were very different. Pound Hall was built first, but it was after Pound had died. Mabel Lee Hall, was built while Mabel Lee was still alive, and there was a big ceremony where Lee was honored. This supports the ideals of each woman because Pound, while very active in many organizations and social circles, did not concern herself with appearance and flamboyant public displays, whereas Mabel Lee was a beautiful woman who enjoyed attention.


Just as the two women of opposing ideas came together on one campus, the buildings commemorating them also stand on this campus, representing differing aspects of campus life. Through commemoration, we have preserved the women who had such huge impacts on our university, from Pound putting UNL on the map for its athletic achievements to Lee revamping our athletic program to be inclusive of women. At the same time, we have, in a sense, preserved the feud that existed between the two women so that students today can walk by either Pound Hall or Mabel Lee Hall and be reminded of the women, their effect on our university, and the change that has occurred on our campus in the last 60 years.