Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-9

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiii

Between the 1780s and 1820s, American women acquired education during an expanding but experimental stage when scores of female academies proliferated across the new nation, yet decades before colleges and other institutions of higher education admitted women. The literary public sphere eagerly took notice...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvii

In the space of time it took to see these pages to print, there was much living—and dying. I begin by acknowledging the untimely loss of Robert Takesh’s quiet grace, Jim Disbrow’s contagious laughter, Teresa Hom’s joyful spirit, Ana Margarita Gómez’s...

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Introduction: Between Cupid and Minerva

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pp. 1-17

In an 1802 essay provocatively titled, “Plan for the Emancipation of the Female Sex,” an anonymous author suggested that women “would willingly relinquish that authority which they have so long enjoyed by courtesy, in order to appear formally on the theatre of the world merely as the equals of man....

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1. “More like a Pleasure than a Study”: Women’s Educational Experiences

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pp. 18-41

In 1801, Violetta Bancker left her home in New York to attend Mrs. Capron’s Female Academy in Philadelphia. In a letter to her father, Violetta described her teachers: “you and mama wish to know my opinion of Mrs. Capron: I find her very affectionate and kind. Mrs. Mallon who is the English teacher is a very sensible...

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2. “Various Subjects That Passed between Two Young Ladies of America”: Reconstructing Female Friendship

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pp. 42-66

In 1803, Eunice Callender wrote to her friend Sarah Ripley, pleased that they had begun a correspondence. “By the end of the year we may have letters enough in our possession to make a handsome volume,” Eunice mused. “What say you to it don’t you think it would be a good plan, to make a book, and entitle [it]...

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3. “The Social Family Circle”: Family Matters

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pp. 67-89

In 1796, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Shippen and her younger sister, Margaret, left their family home in Chester County, Pennsylvania, to attend “Grammar” and “dancing” school in nearby Philadelphia. Although their brother John would miss his sisters’ presence at home, he took “pleasing consolation” that...

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4. “The Union of Reason and Love”: Courtship Ideals and Practices

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pp. 90-115

Writing to his fi ancée, Linda Raymond, in 1818, Benjamin Ward shared his hopes for their relationship: “I anticipate in you, a companion, whose friendship is not founded on the combustible materials of enflamed passions; but in whom is ‘The union of reason and love;’ in whose society I shall ever receive a pleasure, and...

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5. “The Sweet Tranquility of Domestic Endearment”: Companionate Marriage

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pp. 116-138

In May 1812, John Griscom, educator, wrote to Jane Bowne Haines, his former student, offering congratulations on her recent marriage to Reuben Haines. Marriage, he noted, “brings to its final accomplishment the period of education” and “opens to the young and glowing mind, a scene, rising in...

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6. “So Material a Change”: Revisiting Republican Motherhood

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pp. 139-163

In the eyes of her son-in-law Samuel B. How, Jane Bayard Kirkpatrick “came as near to perfection as any human being I ever knew.” Jane fulfilled her various roles “as daughter, sister, wife, mother, and mistress of a family” with “propriety and grace.” Samuel reserved particular praise for Jane’s intellectual attainments:...

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Conclusion: Education, Equality, or Difference

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pp. 164-170

Miss A. M. Burton read this poem at commencement exercises held at Susanna Rowson’s Female Academy in October 1803. The poem was published in the Boston Weekly Magazine, making Burton’s acquisition of education at once a lived experience and a literary representation. The interplay between the personal...

List of Archives

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pp. 171-173

Notes

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pp. 175-221

Index

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pp. 223-228