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Education] Willard, Emma.

Advancement of Female Education.


[Education]. Willard, Emma. Advancement of Female Education:  Or, a Series of Addresses, in Favor of Establishing at Athens, in Greece, A Female Seminary, Especially Designed to Instruct Female Teachers, Troy: Norman Tuttle, 1833.
8vo; 8-5/8 x 5-3/8"; 48 pp; sewn; light overall use with mild age-toning to title page and occasional toning to a few leaves; wrappers removed; generally fresh; very good.
First edition of Emma Willard's plea for assistance for the work of Frances Mulligan Hill and her teaching training school in Athens, as well as her reflections upon the success of higher education for women in the United States. OCLC records the pamphlet in microform only.
     Emma Willard by 1833 had long since established herself as a pioneer in women's education in the United States.  Acutely aware of the deficiencies in her education, Willard sought to create an institution which had not existed for her - a school which offered young women a classical education and exposure to the arts. She began by teaching a few students out of her home in Middlebury, Vermont. She decided to enlarge her modest effort she should transfer her teaching to New York State and lobbied the legislature to fund higher education for young women.  Her "Address to the Public" (1819) in which she set out the public good she envisioned arising from offering sound education to girls failed to persuade New York state legislators. It became a landmark text on women's education, however, and did arouse the citizens of Troy, a small industrial town in inland New York. The Common Council showed remarkable foresight when it assessed $4,000 to support a female academy and invited Mrs. Willard to undertake its management. Within the decade the Troy Female Seminary could boast some 100 boarders and 200 more day students. It continues today, 183 years after its original founding, as the Emma Willard School.
     Mrs. Willard toured Europe and as she traveled she met with other women educators. In Athens she discovered an American woman and her husband, Frances and John Hill, had set up a series of schools in the newly-liberated Greece. One particularly struck her - a course for training women teachers. As NAW records, Mrs. Willard was impressed by Mrs. Hill's "fine the direction of the young mind, as well as the great force and energy of her character". Upon her return home, she organized a Society for the Advance of Female Education in Greece and "enlisted Lydia Huntley Sigourney...and Sarah Josepha Hale". In "Advancement" Mrs. Willard reflects upon the necessity of education for women, the critical role of Greece in western civilization and the state of education for women in Europe.  
    "Advancement" also accords her opportunity to consider the impact of her seminary:
Though unsuccessful in obtaining legislative patronage, yet has succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations, when I consider how short a time has elapsed since its commencement.  It has spread more widely throughout our country, and the literary and scientific course we pursue is more extensive....[and] a general movement has been felt throughout our country, in favor of female education. The subject has suggested itself to many original minds, and they have laboured with zeal, though with diversity of plan, and difference of success. From our united operations, the prospects of American female youth, in regard to education, are astonishingly changed.  
An important statement by this pioneer in women's education.

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