Raised in the gritty Mississippi River town of Davenport, Iowa, Cora Keck could have walked straight out of a Susan Glaspell story. When Cora was sent to Vassar College in the fall of 1884, she was a typical unmotivated, newly rich party girl. Her improbable educational opportunity at "the first great educational institution for womankind" turned into an enthralling journey of self-discovery as she struggled to meet the high standards in Vassar's School of Music while trying to shed her reputation as the daughter of a notorious quack and self-made millionaire: Mrs. Dr. Rebecca J. Keck, second
Ch. 1. Introduction -- ch. 2. "Is not woman a human being?: Discourses on education in the early national period -- ch. 3. "Cultivating the powers of human beings": Curriculum and pedagogy in schools and academies in the new republic -- ch. 4. Female education and the emergence of the "middling classes" -- ch. 5. "Perfecting our whole nature": Intellectual and physical education for women in the antebellum era -- ch. 6. Possibilities and limitations: Education and white middle-class womanhood.
The purpose of this study Is to determine the nature and to trace the development of the education provided southern girls by all educational Institutions and agencies except taxsupported public schools from the late colonial to the close of the antebellum period.
The article discusses the education of women in the early U.S. republic, and the broad social goals articulated by its advocates. Specifically, the goal of educating women for the benefit of a strong civil society and democratic political culture is discussed, as are the implications for womanhood and gender roles generally. Also discussed are women's academies and the curricula they offered, the financing of and government policy toward women's education, and the intellectual achievements of American women in the early 19th century.