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Those Good Gertrudes explores the professional, civic, and personal roles of women teachers. Its voice, themes, and findings build from the mostly unpublished writings of many women and their families, colleagues, and pupils. Geraldine J. Clifford studied personal history manuscripts in archives and consulted printed autobiographies, diaries, correspondence, oral histories, interviews—even film and fiction—to probe the multifaceted imagery that has surrounded teaching. This work stands alone: it is broad ranging, inclusive, and comparative. It surveys a long past where schoolteaching was essentially men's work, with women relegated to restricted niches such as teaching rudiments of the vernacular language to young children and socializing girls for traditional gender roles. Clifford documents and explains the emergence of women as the prototypical schoolteachers in the United States, a process apparent in the late colonial period and continuing through the nineteenth century, when they became the majority of American public and private schoolteachers. She finds that this trend continues in the twenty-first century, despite the diversion of women to competing professions, a precipitous reduction in the number of Roman Catholic nuns, and repeated efforts and incentives to recruit and retain male teachers. Cross-national comparisons suggest that America's early reliance on women teachers quickened and extended the reach of schools across the nation’s social classes, religious and ethnic groupings, and cultural and physical landscapes. The capstone of Clifford’s distinguished career, Those Good Gertrudes will engage scholars in the history of education and women’s history, teachers past, present, and future, and readers with vivid memories of their own teachers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. vii-xx
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  1. 1. “It Is Well That Women Should Be Unlettered”: Before Teaching School Was “Women’s Work”
  2. pp. 1-19
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  1. 2. “School Dames in Each Quarter”: America’s Army of Gertrudes
  2. pp. 20-44
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  1. 3. “A Sisterhood of Instruction, Essential to the World’s Progress”: Societal Pressures and Women’s Opportunities, 1700–1900
  2. pp. 45-72
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  1. 4. “Overflowing from the Domestic Circle”: Individual and Family Factors in Choosing to Teach
  2. pp. 73-95
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  1. 5. “An Honorable Breadwinning Weapon”: Who Became Teachers?
  2. pp. 96-120
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  1. 6. “The Presiding Genius of His Home and Heart”: Her Marital Status and Domestic Arrangements
  2. pp. 121-146
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  1. 7. “In the Mind’s Eye”: Images and Expectations of the Teacher
  2. pp. 147-173
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  1. 8. “Higher Prospects for a Useful Life”: The Teacher as Trained Professional
  2. pp. 174-200
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  1. 9. “Laboring Conscientiously, Though Perhaps Obscurely”: Certain Realities of Being a Teacher
  2. pp. 201-228
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  1. 10. “The Great Perplexities of the Teacher-Life”: Gertrudes Talk and Their Pupils Reminisce
  2. pp. 229-255
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  1. 11. “That Our Daughters May Be as Cornerstones”: Women Teachers and Messianic America
  2. pp. 256-287
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  1. 12. “The Feast of Reason and Flow of Soul”: The Political Rights and Civic Duties of Women
  2. pp. 288-315
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  1. 13. “A Lady Well Qualified to Show the Way”: Widening Women’s Work
  2. pp. 316-346
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 347-436
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  1. An Essential Reference Guide
  2. pp. 437-438
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  1. Archives Consulted for the Good Gertrudes Project
  2. pp. 439-442
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 443-458
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  1. Images
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781421414348
Related ISBN
9781421414331
MARC Record
OCLC
889813057
Pages
496
Launched on MUSE
2014-09-09
Language
English
Open Access
No
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