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Student Life in the 1960s and 1970s
Item 4 of 4

Constructed between 1912 and 1915 and named in honor of the state superintendent of education who supported Maryland State Normal School's acquisition of 80 acres in Towson, Stephens Hall served as a classroom and central administration building throughout until the university's administrative staff became so large that a new seperate administrative building was deemed necessary. Architect Douglas H. Thomas Jr. modeled the building on Blickling Hall, an English manor house that was once home to Anne Boleyn, the second and most famous wife of England's King Henry VIII. The building now houses several academic departments and a 680-seat theater for music, lectures, and theatrical performances.


  • Stephens Hall was one of three buildings on the new campus of Maryland State Normal School when it moved from Baltimore to Towson.
Maryland State Normal School, now Towson University, was established in 1865. The fledgling school rented space in existing buildings throughout this area of downtown Baltimore until 1876, when this classroom, library, and administrative building was opened. This building was soon inadequate to house the growing school, fueled by increased demand for trained educators in the rapidly-growing public schools of the state. However, there was little room for the school to expand within this section of the city. With the support of the state legislature, the school expanded to its current location in Towson with the acquisition of former farmland and the construction of several buildings in 1915.

On November 14th, 1975, a very important event occurred at Towson's campus at Stephens Hall. Famously known as the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team, comprised of American gynecologist Dr. William Masters and sexologist Virginia Johnson, came to give a presentation on human sexuality. During this time period, women had been extremely oppressed in all aspects of their sexuality, unable to express themselves in any way. That is one of the reasons this presentation was so important because it made taboo topics such as sex an open forum to discuss with the students, especially women, of Towson University. Masters and Johnson were known for pioneering research into the nature of human sexual response and treatments relating to sexual disorders and dysfunctions. Together they had also published two best-selling books in their field, Human Sexual Response and Human Sexual Inadequacy in 1966 and 1970.  Both have done extensive research in field of human sexual activity, used for the purpose of obtaining information for the “realistic treatment of sex problems." Prior to their interest in the field, sexuality had been a widely controversial study due to sex being looked down upon in the public eye, as something you didn't talk about in public. 

Conducted as a "standing room only" presentation in Stephens Hall, the duo presented their findings to whoever decided to attend. However, Virginia Johnson was unable to attend that day due to a severe case of laryngitis. The entire presentation itself focused on sex as an effective means of communication and for us to be able to enjoy sex as a natural function. Masters states, "
No one has had the privilege of living with sex as a natural function because our culture has denied us this privilege." Due to an extreme double standard in our society that one could argue still exists today, Masters explains is the cause for such an enormous influence on a culture. 

Prior to 1972, 97% of sexual education how-to books were written by men for men on what a woman wanted sexually from her partner. During this time period women did not have the cultural privilege or ability to educate men on what they actually wanted from them. Masters explained that in order to be able to ever solve this problem, men must remove the beginning of time notion that "we are expert" and actually try listening to the women. He then went on to talk about that another huge misconception sexually is that of the elderly. For example, if a older man wanted to have sexual relations in our society he would be considered a "dirty man". Dr. Masters also compared elderly nursing homes to college dormitories, stating how there is a huge lack of sexual interchange taking place. He lectured that our culture does not accept the fact that growing older does not decline your sexual interests, or cause you to become dysfunctional or inadequate. 
Milder, Marlene “Sex is a Natural Thing.” Towerlight, 14 November 1975
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