Anna Belle Corson

Although a professor for only a few years at Taylor, Anna Belle Corson was instrumental in creating an early gym program for female students at Taylor University. After graduating from the University of Michigan, Corson taught English and German at Taylor while pursuing a degree in piano, which she achieved in 1907. In 1905, she met the demands of women at Taylor by creating the Ladies’ Physical Culture Class. By spring of 1906, it was a required course for all female students, and in the fall of that year the class, held twice a week, began to meet in the spacious chapel room in Wright Hall. The chairs had to be removed before each session, and initially some of the men of the university had to donate equipment for the women to use. The class’s popularity continued to grow, and in January 1907 it was transformed into the Physical Culture Club.