From a New York Times article on Helen Vendler (free registration required):
Back in the States, Vendler enrolled in 12 English courses in a single year at Boston University so as to qualify for graduate school at Harvard. In her first week there in 1956, the chairman of the English department told her, “We don’t want any women here.” (Years later, he apologized.) Another professor, the renowned Americanist Perry Miller, considered Vendler his finest student and published one of her course papers, but denied her admission to his Melville seminar. “The men come over in my house and they sit around and drink and we talk. I wouldn’t talk like I wanted to if there was a woman there,” she recalled him explaining.
Food for thought.