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Susan Tolman Mills served as its president for 19 years. A woman who was well educated in academic subjects was thought to be unusual and not good marriage material. Education in colonial America was based on European traditions. Wealthy girls might be taught by a governess or sent to a convent school to learn the basics of reading and writing. Middle class families could generally only afford to educate their sons and in lower class families neither the boys nor the girls were educated.
As America grew, private tutors were slowly replaced by town schools. The program prepared boys with the basic skills needed to enroll in a town school. The female students were taught skills such as sewing and knitting. After dame schools, boys were given the option to continue their education but most girls were not. All but a few towns in New England specifically barred girls from town schools. Towards the end of the 18th century, girls were permitted to attend town schools, but the change was slow and girls were often taught separate from the boys.
The s and s witnessed a of important educational experiments for women in Pennsylvania.
It was said to be the first all female academy in America, and it set an example for the many academies and seminaries that were opened in the late s and early s. Less than a year after it opened the Academy had enrolled almost one hundred girls. It also gave young women a visible civic role by holding annual public examinations for graduates.
These events, which were well attended by prominent Philadelphians, featured orations by students and prizes for academic merit, and sermons by male visitors. Rush believed in education for women, only for the purpose of passing on their knowledge to their young sons. Some Academy students challenged limitations imposed by men. Our high and mighty Lords thanks to their arbitrary constitutions have denied us the means of knowledge, and then reproached us for the want of it. Being the stronger party, they early seized the sceptre and the sword; with these they gave laws to society; they denied women the advantage of a liberal education; [and] forbade them to exercise their talents on those great occasions which would serve to improve them.
InWashington College in Chestertown, Maryland, appointed the first women teachers at any American college or university, Elizabeth Callister Peale and her sister Sarah Callister — members of the famous Peale family of artists — taught painting and drawing. In Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts was the first institution of higher learning in Massachusetts to admit women. It was founded as a co-educational institution, but became exclusively for women in Inthe first public high schools for girls were opened in New York and Boston. The girls in the family were sometimes allowed to sit in on these lessons, and in some cases a governess was hired to teach the girls, who were taught reading in order to study the Bible, and writing and arithmetic to record household expenses.
Girls were taught subjects like social etiquette, music, needlework, cooking and nursing. In much of the South during colonial times the education of slaves was strictly forbidden. InSouth Carolina passed a law which prohibited anyone from teaching a slave to read or write. There were cases, however, where slaveholders felt it would be useful for their slaves to read and write in order to help with jobs such as record keeping.
Other slaveholders felt that it was important for their slaves to be able to read the Bible. Quaker and Moravian communities believed in educating both genders. Quakers believed that the gifts of both sexes should be cultivated and proposed that both girls and boys schools be started. While they believed in the education of both sexes, girls education focused mainly on domestic skills. Quakers promoted the education of African Americans and in some instances they were given access to formal schooling.
However, African American schools received little support from whites and constantly suffered from a lack of funding. Perhaps the most prominent example of an educated African American woman during colonial times was Phillis Wheatleywhose education was extremely rare for the s. The family that bought Wheatley taught her to read English, Greek and Latin, astronomy and geography. On December 23,the Georgia Female College in Macon, Georgia was the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women.
The school opened its doors to students on January 7,with almost students. Their first baccalaureate degree was awarded to Catherine Brewer on July 16,first in alphabetical order in a graduating class of It was renamed Wesleyan Female College inthen shortened to the present name in Themes of independence and self-reliance meant that the success of the nation required highly intelligent citizens. Women who made efforts to participate in politics were ridiculed, but the Republican Mother was seen as acting in the interest of raising patriotic children.
Despite its intents and purposes, many women took advantage of these new opportunities. Judith Sargent Murray was one of the women associated with the Republican Motherhood movement, but her thoughts on the education of women were much more radical.
She believed that the accusation that women were intellectually inferior stemmed not from the way they were raised — boys were encouraged to learn while girls were not. In response, parents felt that an education would make their daughters more attractive to well-bred husbands. The goal of these women was to form schools that would offer women an education equal to that of men by holding their pupils to the same high standards. The female seminaries established in every colony were limited to young ladies from families who could afford to pay tuition, and focused on ladylike accomplishments rather than academic subjects.
The formal education of girls and women… was intimately tied to the conception that society had of the appropriate role for women to assume in life. Republican education prepared girls for their future role as wives and mothers and taught religion, singing, dancing and literature… Seminaries educated women for the only socially acceptable occupation: teaching. Only unmarried women could be teachers. She continuously improved and expanded her academic curriculum, offering many subjects rarely available to women, including logic, chemistry, botany and mathematics.
At the same time, Pierce experimented with innovative ways to combine academic and ornamental subjects. Students drew and painted maps and made charts of historical events for geography and history lessons. Zilpah Grant Grant began teaching at the early age of fifteen. At Byfield, she befriended Mary Lyonwho later taught with Grant for several years. Grant then founded Ipswich Female Academy, where her curriculum blended rigorous academic studies, moral oversight and teacher training. Grant expected her students to study for the joy of learning, rather than working for grades or prizes.
Institutions of higher education for women were primarily founded during the early 19th century. Lyon served as principal at Ipswich before leaving in to found Mount Holyoke. Mount Holyoke Mary Lyon traveled outside of New England to survey various schools in the summer ofgoing as far as Detroit.
The country was in an economic depression when Mary Lyon began looking for funds. She traveled alone by stagecoach to gather contributions, which ranged in value from six cents to a thousand dollars. Fundraising was hard work, and sometimes discouraging. Most people still believed that women could not withstand the mental and physical demands of higher education.
Lyon was determined to prove them wrong. She studied chemistry, traditionally taught only to males, and excelled at it. Her personal struggle to obtain an education inspired her to make higher learning available to all women, particularly those of limited means. Driven to establish a permanent school for women, Lyon learned from the accomplishments of other educators in order to minimize opposition to her seminary. She wrote:.
It is desirable that the plans relating to the subject should not seem to originate with us [women], but with benevolent gentlemen. If the object should excite attention, there is danger that many good men will fear the effect on society of so much female influence, and what they will call female greatness.
Mount Holyoke Female Seminary was chartered in and opened its doors to students on November 8, This school served as a model for those to come. Oberlin College In Oberlin College became the first coeducational college in the United States, and the first college in the United States to regularly admit African American students, beginning in The college was listed as a National Historic Landmark on December 21,for its ificance in admitting African Americans and women. Oberlin was also active in social reform; it was a key stop along the Underground Railroad, the system of conductors and safehouses that aided slaves in their effort to gain their freedom.
The fight to learn was a valiant struggle waged by many tenacious women — across years and across cultures — in our country. Pioneers of secondary education for young women faced arguments from physicians and other experts who claimed either that females were incapable of intellectual development equal to men, or that they would be harmed by striving for it.
With the success of her school, Willard was able to travel across the country and abroad, to promote education for women. Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Leave a Reply Cancel reply.Looking for a Ipswich educated woman
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