In 1866, the Berea College Board of Trustees appointed a Ladies Board of Care (though no explicit authority or budget accompanied the appointment). The goal of the Ladies Board of Care was to protect the college from negative publicity and it achieved this by writing regulations and meting out punishments on all infractions relating to female students. It also focused on teaching the women of the college appropriate etiquette, monitored social privileges of the women in the boarding hall, and provided oversight of the boarding halls in the community. During this time, gendered rules and regulations were enforced by two groups, the Ladies Board of Care, which governed women alone, and then the Cabinet that governed both men and women.
The Board was led by the Lady Principal and consisted of several other female staffers such as the matron of Ladies Hall. Berea’s Ladies Board included founder and faculty wives such as Matilda Hamilton Fee, women teachers such as Elizabeth Rogers, and the college president’s wife, such as Eleanor Marsh Frost.
During the 1880s and 1890s, numerous diseases and illnesses, such as malaria, mumps and tonsillitis, occupied the attention of the Ladies Board of Care. During this time, the Board repeatedly called on the Trustees to employ a professional nurse to supervise wellness and health matters. In calling for and such a measure the Board laid the foundation of a health program that served as a catalyst for imp roving sanitary conditions not only on campus but also in the town of Berea.
The Ladies Board functioned until the first decade of the twentieth century when replaced by the Council of the Dean of Women.