Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I have incurred many debts, both professional and personal, while writing Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920. As a significant revision of my Rutgers University dissertation, this book has lived through many incarnations. Without the support of numerous teachers and friends, archivists and librarians, grant agencies and academic orga-...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-18

When Rachel Rosalie Phillips began keeping a diary during her prolonged stay in Washington, D.C., with her uncle and aunt, she took her commitment seriously. She wrote about the dresses she wore to synagogue services, the books she read, the Hebrew she learned from her uncle, the sewing projects she completed with her cousins, and the letters ...

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1. “Any Other Girls in This Whole World Like Myself”: Jewish Girls and Adolescence in America

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pp. 19-58

During the winter of 1889–1890, the editors of the nationally circulated weekly Jewish Messenger decided to sponsor a written symposium on the topic of “The American Jewess.” In a publication that had always run numerous articles by, about, and for women, this idea was not particularly surprising. Other Jewish periodicals had carried out similar ...

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2. “Unless I Got More Education”: Jewish Girls and the Problem of Education in Turn-of-the-Century America

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pp. 59-105

During the spring of 1872, thirteen-year-old Jennie Rosenfeld ventured out with trepidation to take the entrance examination for the public high school in Chicago. Though her mother was afraid to let Jennie go downtown alone, she felt that the possibility of extending her daughter’s education outweighed other considerations. After the exami-...

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3. “Education in the Broadest Sense”: Alternative Forms of Education for Working-Class Girls

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pp. 105-142

In 1892, when Rose Gollup was twelve years old, she and her unmarried aunt left their Belarus village to travel to America and join her father in New York. Though she went to work right away, even as a child she recognized that her opportunities in her new country were likely to be limited by illiteracy and ignorance unless she took action. Once her ...

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4. “A Perfect Jew and a Perfect American”: The Religious Education of Jewish Girls

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pp. 143-184

Amelia Allen opened her 1876 diary with the hope that “God grant that the end of this year may find me in all respects a better and wiser daughter in Israel, a more affectionate sister, and a true friend. ”During the course of the year, she and her family participated in the local excitement of hosting the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The pa-...

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5. “Such a World of Pleasure”: Adolescent Jewish Girls and American Youth Culture

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pp. 185-234

On a typical day in New Orleans during the Civil War, six-teen-year-old Clara Solomon rose early to go to the Louisiana Normal School. She dawdled over breakfast and left the house reluctantly, complaining of poor health. She would have much preferred to stay home with her mother. At school, she noticed the dwindling number of students ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 235-240

Nothing demonstrates so clearly the complicated route adolescent Jewish girls took toward adulthood and individuality than the ways in which they embraced American youth culture yet balanced their participation with a measure of traditionalism. Playing the piano, reading Shakespeare, and joining the school glee club offered only indirect ...

Notes

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pp. 241-272

Bibliography

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pp. 273-294

Index

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pp. 295-309

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About the Author

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pp. 310-310

Melissa R. Klapper is Assistant Professor of History at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.