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In the United States, female seminaries and their antecedents, the female academies, were crucial first institutions that played a vital role in liberating women from the "home sphere," a locus that was the primary domain of Euro-American women. The female seminaries founded by Native Americans and African Americans had different founding rationales but also played a key role in empowering women. On the whole, the initial intent of these schools was to prepare women for their proper role in American society as wives and mothers. An unintended effect, however, was to prepare women for the first socially accepted profession for women: teaching. Thus equipped, women played a crucial role in the development of American education at all levels while achieving varying degrees of social justice for themselves and other groups through engagement in the reform movements of their times--including women's suffrage, abolition, temperance, and mental health reform. By recapturing the role religion played in shaping education for women, Welch and Ruelas offer a refreshing take on history that draws on several primary texts and details more than one hundred female seminaries and academies opened in the United States.