To Whom It May Concern

19th Century Feminist Responses to "A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice"

Book 5 of 8:

Woman and the higher education.

Table of contents

Edited by Anna C. Brackett.
New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, MDCCCXCIII [1893].
The distaff series.

214 pages, 16 cm (16mo) -- Signatures: pi4 chi4 1-138 144 -- Brown cloth covers with gilt design on spine and front cover. -- Lovejoy Library catalog record.

This compilation presents the evolution of American education for women in the 19th century. In her preface, editor Brackett remarks on the earliest essay and "the pleading words of Mrs. Willard ... in behalf simply of a girls' seminary" (p. ix). Brackett proceeds to proudly note that later contributors include two professors at Vassar College and Alice Freeman Palmer, president of Wellesley College from 1881 to 1887. The professors are astronomer Maria Mitchell and historian Lucy Maynard Salmon.

Although Brackett characterizes Willard's historic 1819 address to the members of the New York Legislature as "pleading," many passages like this one ring with strength and conviction:

[I]t has been made the first object in educating our sex to prepare them to please the other. But reason and religion teach that we too are primary existences; that it is for us to move in the orbit of our duty around the Holy Centre of perfection, the companions, not the satellites of men ... (p. 16)

Willard founded the first college for women, Troy Female Seminary, two years after making this speech.

The title page is a red, black, and fawn wood engraving with a circular emblem which reads: "State Board of Women Managers, Columbian Exposition, Excelsior 1893."

Cover Title page