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ERIC Number: EJ768600
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
"Lady Teachers" and the Genteel Roots of Teacher Organization in Gilded Age Cities
Leroux, Karen
History of Education Quarterly, v46 n2 p164-191 Sum 2006
Most narratives of teacher activism began at the turn of the twentieth century. Though historians acknowledge the formation of earlier local associations, they tend to dismiss them as merely "social organizations." The clubs that teachers formed between the 1870s and 1890s were indeed social, but the author argues that their social character did not preclude serious occupational concerns. This research reveals urban women appropriating elements of educator associations, women's self-improvement societies, and fraternal orders to protect themselves against loss of income due to illness and infirmity, while attempting to strengthen their position as female professionals in the service of the public. From the 1870s until the turn of the century, teachers' clubs formed in cities small and large, including Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Most of these organizations either kept poor records or failed to preserve them, but two associations--one in Boston and one in St. Paul--kept detailed minutes of meetings which form the basis of this study. Seemingly unexplored by previous historians, these sources show strikingly similar concerns about teachers' income security and comparable strategies taken to address them. Indeed, teachers' clubs in different parts of the country shared advice on programs, organization, and membership. This essay peers into these local associations, where teachers began to trace the practical difficulties they experienced to their valuable status as professionals, women, and citizens. (Contains 65 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; Minnesota
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A