Southern Women at the Seven Sister Colleges: Feminist Values and Social Activism, 1875-1915by Joan Johnson
Pub. Date: 04/15/2010
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
From the end of Reconstruction and into the New South era, more than one thousand white southern women attended one of the Seven Sister colleges: Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, and Barnard. Joan Marie Johnson looks at how such educationsin the North, at some of the country’s best schoolsinfluenced southern women
From the end of Reconstruction and into the New South era, more than one thousand white southern women attended one of the Seven Sister colleges: Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, Radcliffe, and Barnard. Joan Marie Johnson looks at how such educationsin the North, at some of the country’s best schoolsinfluenced southern women to challenge their traditional gender roles and become active in woman suffrage and other social reforms of the Progressive Era South.
Attending one of the Seven Sister colleges, Johnson argues, could transform a southern woman indoctrinated in notions of domesticity and dependence into someone with newfound confidence and leadership skills. Many southern students at northern schools imported the values they imbibed at college, returning home to found schools of their own, women’s clubs, and woman suffrage associations. At the same time, during college and after graduation, southern women maintained a complicated relationship to home, nurturing their regional identity and remaining loyal to the ideals of the Confederacy.
Johnson explores why students sought a classical liberal arts education, how they prepared for entrance examinations, and how they felt as southerners on northern campuses. She draws on personal writings, information gleaned from college publications and records, and data on the women’s decisions about marriage, work, children, and other life-altering concerns.
In their time, the women studied in this book would eventually make up a disproportionately high percentage of the elite southern female leadership. This collective biography highlights the important part they played in forging new roles for women, especially in social reform, education, and suffrage.
- University of Georgia Press
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Table of Contents
13 one. “In theWonderland of the Mind”: The Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education
40 two. “We DoWant More Southern Girls to Come”: Entrance Requirements, Preparatory Departments and Schools, and Alumnae Networks
62 three. From Homesick Southerners to Independent Yankees: The Campus Experience
78 four. A Southerner in Yankeeland: Southern Clubs, YankeeWays, and African American Classmates
109 five. After College: The Marriage and Career Dilemma
143 six. After College: The Activist
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