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ERIC Number: EJ996707
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
A Means of Honorable Support: Art and Music in Women's Education in the Mid-Nineteenth Century
Nash, Margaret A.
History of Education Quarterly, v53 n1 p45-63 Feb 2013
"The value of the Art Education becomes more and more apparent as a means of honorable support and of high culture and enjoyment," stated the catalog of Ingham University in western New York State in 1863. The Art Department there would prepare "pupils for Teachers and Practical Artists." This statement reveals some of the vocational options for women that were concomitant with the increased popularity of music and art education in the middle decades of the nineteenth century in the United States. Practical vocational concerns, along with notions of refinement and respectable entertainment, all were aspects of the impetus for music and art education. Preparing young women for occupations, whether as teachers of art and music or as commercial artists or musicians, was a particularly prominent component of education for women in the mid-nineteenth-century United States. In this article, the author argues that in a world in which limited occupations were open to women, skill in music and art expanded women's options and, for some, made independence possible. Often relegated by historians to a trivial dimension of women's education, or spoken of as a means of reproducing a social elite status, the so-called "ornamentals" are due for reassessment. In what follows, the author engages the literature on the "ornamentals," showing that the term held varied rather than static meaning and significance. In fact, one important aspect of the fine arts was their potential to provide women with remunerative employment. The author next discusses the rise of music and art education in public schools, and then demonstrates how the heightened social interest in music and art affected women's occupational options during these middle decades of the nineteenth century. (Contains 66 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York