Bouvé-Boston School



The Simmons Years

Decreasing enrollment and withering tuition revenues combined with a diminished endowment to place the Boston School of Physical Education in dire financial straits during the Great Depression. To stay off bankruptcy, board trustees proposed a merger with the Bouvé School. Marjorie Bouvé affiliated the renamed Bouvé-Boston School of Physical Education with Simmons College as one of her first acts as Director. The agreement allowed students to graduate in three years with a diploma or earn a four year Bachelor of Science degree through Simmons. The merger unsettled both parents and alumnae, who worried for the quality of curricular offerings as well as the continuity of School traditions.


At left: Marjorie Bouvé and Allan Winter Rowe, President of the School Executive Committee, correspond with parents and alumnae.

International Roots

Bouvé not only sought to increase awareness of the physical education program in the greater Boston area but also to bring the principles of physical education training abroad. In conjunction with the Tokyo YWCA, she opened Taiiko Shihomba, a school that trained Japanese women for positions in Japanese schools.

The Tufts Years

Simmons College trustees dissolved the relationship between their institution and BBSPE in 1949. Seven years earlier, Marjorie Bouvé had affiliated the School with Tufts College through its Division of University Extension, which enabled working professionals to pursue additional education. New director Ruth Page Sweet negotiated an agreement with Tufts to maintain BBSPE’s degree-granting status and access to clinicians at the New England Medical Center.  The academic reputation of Tufts attracted a competitive pool of applicants, and BBSPE continued to grow in the post-WWII period while maintaining its high academic standards.


Ruth Page Sweet reviews the architectural plans for the new Bouvé-Boston School of Physical Education building to be constructed on the Tufts College campus. Architect Walter F. Bogner stands at left and President of the School Corporation W. Duncan Russell at right.



Above: New administration building for Bouvé-Boston School of Physical Education at Tufts University, 1963.
At right: Profile of the entering class, 1960.