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From A Cyclopedia of Education, edited by Paul Monroe, Ph.D. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1911, vol. V, pp. 795-811).

Women, higher education of

  • Arthur F. Leach (Charity Commissioner for England and Wales, London)
  • Elizabeth K. Adams (Ph.D., Professor of Education, Smith College)

Historical Sketch

No part of the history of education is so obscure as that of the education of girls. This obscurity is itself suggestive that little is known because there is little to know. Our educational institutions and practices descend from Greece. In Ionian Hellas it seems to have been an accepted dogma that no respectable girl was educated; education, including a knowledge of music, singing, poetry, and the power of conversation, was left to the Hetæræ. (See Greece, education in.) At Rome, on the other hand, it has been positively asserted that girls received the same education as boys and, indeed, attended the same schools. But the assertion is an absolute contradiction to the whole attitude of Roman law and Roman thought to women. If, however, little girls did go to the grammar schools, these were little more than preparatory schools up to thirteen or fourteen years old. There is no suggestion that girls attended the rhetoric schools, which corresponded to our secondary schools and universities. Some women undoubtedly were well educated, like Cornelia, Pompey's fourth wife, who, according to Plutarch (Pompey IV), not only was versed in literature and played the lyre, but understood geometry and had made progress in philosophy. But it is significantly added that she was not a prig. So we hear from Suetonius (De illust. gram., 16) of a Greek freedman acting as tutor (and also lover) to the daughter of his patron, a Roman knight. On the other hand, Pliny's wife, who recited and sang his verses and those of other poets, had no teacher, but learnt from love. Martial (xiii, 98) speaks of a wife "rich, noble, learned, and chaste," and (x, 35) praising the love poems of Sulpicia says, if Sappho had had her for mistress, she would have been more learned and more chaste; in an epigram on another female poet, Theophila (vii, 69), he makes exactly the same point in another form. But both these poetesses wrote apparently in Latin, and the writing of Latin poems by Latin women required no more schooling than was required by the female novelist of the last century. But Juvenal lashes the ladies who talked Greek as if they were as bad as those "with a past." The absolute absence in Quintilian of any reference to the education of girls may be taken as conclusive that as a rule they were not educated. Certainly there was no system of girls' schools. The female philosophy lecturer, Hypatia seems to have been a solitary phenomenon, and it is on record that she was taught by her father, himself a professor.

The earliest authentic illustrious example of women's education in the Middle Ages is Eustochium, daughter of Paula, Jerome's friend, who in 404 succeeded her mother as head of the convent they had established at Bethlehem. Jerome tells how she had learnt not only Greek, but also Hebrew, in order to be able to sing the psalms. Contrary as it may be to current and preconceived ideas, it may be laid down that no girls were sent to convents for education except those who were going to become nuns, and then always with the same object of learning the scriptures and taking part in services. About the year 534, Cæsarius (St. Césaire), Bishop of Arles, established a nunnery under his sister, Cæsaria, with a rule which is said to be the first rule for nuns as distinct from monks. It has been cited as showing that these nuns were to be learned because Rule XVII begins omnes litteras discant. Such a rule addressed to an English monastery a century later would certainly mean a high education, learning Latin grammar and literature. But at Arles in 534 Latin was still the vulgar tongue, and the rule meant no more than that the nuns were to learn to read. This is shown by the concluding words of the rule, that "at all seasons" - not only in Lent, as the Benedictine rule required — "they shall have leisure for reading for two hours, viz., from dawn to the second hour." C&#230sarius' Rule for monks prescribed three hours for reading. That the nuns were not intended to act as nurses or teachers of others is made clear by the positive prohibition in Rule V, that "no little girl (infantula parvula) shall ever be taken into the monastery unless she is six or seven years old and able to learn to read (litteras discere) and to do service. The daughters of gentlemen or others (nobilium seu ignobilium) shall never be received for nursing or teaching." This prohibition was probably not founded on any objection to learning but, like the similar prohibition against taking in washing, was intended to cut nuns off from all intercourse with outside. A nunnery was still regarded as a place for penance, not a quiet retreat, and according to the synod of Agde, at which Cæsarius was present in 506, no women were to be veiled as nuns under forty years old.

In view of these facts it is not surprising to find that while many learned nuns undoubtedly existed in the early centuries of establishment of nunneries in France, England, and Germany, it is not possible to find any warrant for the inference that they kept schools except for novices and nuns. Wrong conclusions or rash inferences have been drawn from the fact that, in spite of all prohibitions, nunneries and monasteries were treated as convenient crêches for young children to be nursed. Hence instances of learned nuns and abbesses can easily be multiplied, but the evidence for schools is slight. In England five men, who later became bishops, are said to have studied the scriptures under Abbess Hilda, the patron of Cædmon, while St. Guthlac is said to have gone to Repton nunnery in 694 to study there under the Abbess Ælfthryth, but his biographer does not hint at lady teachers there. Aldhelm in his treatise on virginity to Hildolith and nine other nuns praises them as "gymnasophists, scholars, and fighters in the arena of learning, who like bees collect materials for study from everywhere, study the fathers and rules of grammarians, the laws of accents" and prosody. Boniface continued after leaving England to correspond with learned women there; thus the Abbess Eadburg wrote for him "in letters of gold the epistles of St. Paul," and Leobgith or Lioba sent him Latin verses. In the period of Charlemagne some effort was made for girls as well as boys, and the Emperor himself had his daughters as well as his sons instructed in the liberal arts. But in the mandates of 787-789 to establish schools of grammar and song in every monastery, only boys are mentioned.

What has been said of England is true of Germany, — that learned nuns can be mentioned, e.g. Roswitha, abbess of Gandersheim who wrote lives of the saints in Latin hexameters modeled on Vergil and dramatized Christian legends in the style of Terence; and Herrad, abbess of Hohenburg and author of Hortus Deliciarum. But there were no schools for girls. What education there was was "given exclusively to the nuns or to girls destined to take the veil" (Jourdain, Excursions Historiques, 1888, p. 470). Probably the best summary of what was considered to be the proper practice on the question of nunneries and schools is contained in the rule drawn up "from ancient fathers" by Abélard for Héloise as abbess of the nunnery of Paraclete. Abélard definitely prohibits the admission of girls to be brought up in the house (de puellis non nutriendis in domibus nostris), and "boys or girls who are accustomed to be boarded or taught (institui) there shall be entirely expelled." St. Gilbert, the founder of the bisexual Order of Sempringham, who had, while a secular, as rector, set up a parochial school for boys and girls, excluded outsiders altogether when he established his order, and as to those about to become nuns provided: "Let none speak with the children that are not yet novices except their mistress or prioress. . . . We judge it abominable for any other nun to speak with the novices." In the thirteenth century, the period of Episcopal registers, there are numerous instances of such prohibitions, the rule being broken through financial reasons or pressure of powerful friends. It is significant that at this period, too, the use of Latin among the nuns was declining and communications were made in French or the vernacular, or if in Latin, translations were given. Not only nuns but also anchoresses or female hermits, who were secular, seem to have been forbidden to keep schools, although some of them did (Ailred of Rievaulx, On the Hermit Life (c. 1150), and the Ancien Riwle, largely a translation of Ailred, a century later).

There is also evidence of secular girls going occasionally to secular schools in the twelfth and thirteenth century romances, if they are to be trusted as pictures of real life (H. Jacobius, Die Erziehung des Edelfraüleins im alten Frankreich, 1908). These girls learned of course to spin and weave and work hangings for hall and church, but Flore and Blancheflor went to school together at five years old and used to kiss each other on going home from school. They wrote letters and love verses in wax on tables of ivory with gold or silver styles, and could speak Latin. Yet they left school at ten years old. Ydain, in the Knight of the Swan, was as advanced at four as most children at seven. Flordespine was very learned at thirteen and a half, and Melior, daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, had surpassed all her teachers, of whom she had more than one hundred, at fifteen. The daughter of Ydain had a private tutor, Master Saleinon, his chaplain. Some heroines are said to be able to read their psalters and hours. More often they read romances in the vulgar tongue, like that which was so fatal to Paolo and Francesca. Though one heroine, wife of the King of Scotland, had to get her chaplain to read letters to her, other heroines, like Athenais, could do it themselves. Even one waiting-maid is able to write a letter, but she does it very slowly. Dame Prudence read Ovid and Seneca, and Philomela in Ovid moraliseé knew grammar and classical authors; while the princess in the Fair Unknown studied the Seven Arts, including arithmetic and astronomy. Philippe of Novaire, however, thought that a woman ought not to learn Latin or writing unless she was going to be a nun, as it lays her open to seductive letters.

In France there is some evidence of girls' schools not in connection with nunneries. At Paris, in 1292, a schoolmistress, Dame Tryphena, appears as assessed for taxes. An ordinance of 1357 by the precentor of Notre Dame as controller and licenser of the petty schools (parvarum scolarum grammaticalium) of Paris, absolutely forbids masters to receive girls, and mistresses to receive boys, into their schools. In 1380 no less than forty-one masters and twenty-one mistresses (tam rectores quam rectrices scolarum grammaticalium) in the various parts of Paris, who formed a gild, were sworn to certain regulations partly to prevent undue competition. In 1405 a schoolmistress at Rouen was excused from taxes on her wine. M. Jourdain, who collected these instances, thinks that the Black Death and the Hundred Years' War extinguished most of these schools. But he had found in 1484 the precentor of Paris licensing "his beloved Perrette la Couppenoire " to keep a school in the parish of St. Germain's Auxerre "to teach and instruct girls in good behavior, grammar (litteris grammaticalibus) and other lawful things." As grammar schools, the great grammar schools were under the chancellor, not the precentor, M. Jourdain interprets grammar as only learning to read. These petites écoles went on under twenty mistresses, of whom five were married women.

In England no trace has yet been found of any mention of a schoolmistress except Matilda Mareflete, who is described as such (magistra scolarum) when admitted a member of the Corpus Christi gild of Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1404. There is nothing to show whether she taught boys or girls or kept a reading and singing or a higher school. It has indeed been sought to build a whole system of girls' schools on the "saving" clause in the Statute of Apprentices which, while forbidding people in the country who possessed less than 40s. a year in land to apprentice their children in the towns, "provided always that every man and woman of whatever estate or condition, shall be free to send his son or daughter to learn literature (apprendre letture) at any school they please in the kingdom." But this clause would be satisfied by the sending a girl to a convent to be made a nun. We can hardly argue from this single mention a whole system of girls' schools, of which there is no other evidence forthcoming. An instance of an old priest in the city of London teaching little girls as well as boys has been found by Mr. de Montmorency in a suit in Chancery, in 1484. This was a school apparently like the petites écoles of Paris, being one in which this little girl of eight years was taught "the Pater Noster, ave and credo with further lernyng" with "other younge children of the number of xxxii."

In the latter part of the fourteenth century, perhaps owing to the necessity of making money caused by the lowering of rents after the Black Death, the rule against girls in nunneries seems to have been relaxed. Though in 1359, at Elstow, Beds, every secular was to be turned out because by the living together of secular women and nuns the contemplation of religion is withdrawn and scandal engendered; at Farwell, in 1367, no nun is allowed to keep with her for education more than one child, nor any male child over seven, and that not without leave of the bishop. In the first half of the fifteenth century Gerson, the Chancellor of Paris, speaks of the detestable morals sometimes learned by boys and girls in the boarding schools of the religious (religionum et scholarum contubermiis). Yet in Germany Johann Busch, sent to reform the Magdalen Kloster at Hildesheim, c. 1450, writes (Liber de reformatione monasteriorum, Ed. Grube, 1857), "First of all the secular girls whom the nuns had with them (not that they might take the veil but that they might learn good manners and discipline and that they might not see or hear in the world anything improper) these we ordered to leave the convent lest they should hinder the cloister discipline and the devotion of the nuns." Similar orders were given at Dorstad and Neuwerk.

The theory that the nunneries in general were "Shee-colleges" and that there was a widespread system of education in them dates from long after the Dissolution and appears to be, as far as England is concerned, wholly due to Fuller's Church History, published about 1655, and Tanner's Notitia Monastica, posthumously published in 1744, which repeats Fuller with notes of his own. Fuller, after making the demonstrably false statement that there "being a great paucity of grammar schools" (which there was not, see Cathedral schools; Colleges; Chantry schools; Endowments; Free schools) the monasteries served as such, says, "Nunneries were good shee-schools wherein the girls and maids of the neighborhood were taught to read and work and sometimes a little Latin." He gives reference to Carrow nunnery, near and now part of Norwich, and Dartford nunnery, Kent. In the case of Dartford, the evidence consists only in a reference, not to girls being educated but to girls of noble birth being admitted as nuns. The case of Swine rests on a statement by the late Professor Thorold Rogers in Work and Wages that girls were educated there, but the only reference given by him is to three women as "boarders" there, said to occur in an account roll at the Record Office, which cannot now be found. The case for Carrow rested on two documents. But one, a papal bull of 1273, has no reference to girls or education, but consists of a prohibition against admitting on pressure from nobles more nuns than the revenues would support. The other, a quotation by Tanner from a cellaress' account roll, the date of which he does not give, was a receipt for 13s. 4d. from Lady Margery Wederly "sojourning there for eleven weeks, and 8d. a week for her maid for three weeks." On examination this great locus classicus of girls' education shrinks into a mixed boarding house, which possibly included a few girls, never more than six at a time, who may have been receiving some education, though there is absolutely no evidence that they did.

But there are three undoubted evidences of girls at school in nunneries. The earliest is in 1470, when the Prioress of Cornworthy, Devon, sued for the fees due for two daughters of a "gentleman" whom her predecessor had taken in, "to teche them scole" at 1s. 8d. a week for their "mete and drynke." The other two are at the dissolution of the monasteries. The country gentlemen who acted as commissioners to visit Polesworth nunnery asked for its retention because of the "repayre and resort there of gentlemen's children and sojourners" (not "studiants" as misread in Dugdale's Monasticon, ii, 363) "that there do live to the number sometimes of thirty and sometimes of forty or more, that there be right vertuously brought up" It should be observed that the numbers are very vague and that no indication is given as to how many of the thirty or forty were grown-up sojourners, and how many children. At St. Mary's Nunnery, Winchester, which was formally visited on surrender in 1538, though its refoundation, which took place the same year, by letters patent of Henry VIII, had already been determined on, a list is given of twenty-six "children of lords, knights and gentlemen brought up in the said monastery." This was probably the chief girls' school in England, as the neighboring college was the chief boys' school; but whereas the boys numbered at least 100, the girls numbered only twenty-six.

What the girls learned at Winchester or in any nunneries there is no evidence to show. But it is almost certain that the teaching did not include Latin, and therefore was of no great depth, when all the learned books on every subject were still written in Latin. For practically since the twelfth century the nuns themselves had ceased to learn Latin. As early as the thirteenth century, the Benedictine rule had been translated into English for the benefit of the nuns. A rhymed translation into more modern English was made between 1400 and 1425 expressly to make it "intelligible to women who learnt no Latin in their youth, that they may easily learn it." We have already seen how in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the nuns were addressed by the bishops in the vernacular French. So the clerk of Godstow who, about 1450, translated the Priory Chartulary into English, says that he did it because "women of religion are excused in reading Latin from much understanding." About the same time the noted Chancellor of Oxford University, Thomas Gascoigne, caused the legend of their patron saint, St. Bridget, to be translated into English for the benefit of the nuns of Sion, "as many of you though you can sing and read yet cannot see what the meaning thereof is." We hear of nunneries with "one psalter in English to understand, another in Latin for services." Bishop Longland's injunctions to Nun Cottam in 1534 were in English.

The Renaissance was probably the real cause of the attempted development in nunnery schools. Leonardo Bruni of Arezzo, who died at the age of seventy-four in 1443 after being secretary to four popes, in a treatise De Studiis et Litteris addressed to Isabella Malatesta, advocates the classics for women, and the composition of Latin verse. But he does not recommend their proceeding far in some subjects, such as geometry or rhetoric, as to which he remarks that which Demosthenes said, action was the first, second, and third requisites, for "a woman who swept her arm about while speaking and raised her voice would be taken for a mad woman and to be put in a strait waistcoat." Vittorino da Feltre, Leonardo's contemporary, in his "Palace School" of La Giocosa at Mantua in 1423 included girls, but only those of the reigning Marquis, Cecilia Gonzaga, and Barbara von Hohenzollern, who married the young Gonzaga. They learned Greek and Latin like the boys. On Cecilia the training had the unfortunate effect that, against her parents' wishes, she became a nun. Leonardo and Vittorino were not, however, followed by other Italian humanist educationalists, theoretical or practical. The Florentine, Alberti, in his Cura della Famiglia, thought that "honesty" required women "to keep silence and to listen." It was not till the last twenty years of the fifteenth century that even in Italy we find learned great ladles like the Duchess Elizabeth of Urbino, Gonzaga, Vittorina Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara, or the Venetian Cassandra Fidele who gave women in regard to the highest Italian society and to education something like their modern position. These ladies acquired their learning, not at schools, but at home from private tutors like the thirteenth century ladies of romance. Castiglione in his Courtier (Il Cortegiano), an imaginary dialogue at the Court of Urbino, written in 1508, treats of the Court Lady as well as the Court Gentleman. He demands that she shall know Greek and Latin as well as Italian literature, and ventures to affirm that "whatever men can know and understand, women can also; and where the intellect of one can penetrate there also can the other." Even in Italy it is clear that this doctrine never extended beyond the highest ranks of the court and merchant princes.

Sir Thomas More was perhaps the first to introduce these ideas of the desirability of education for women into England, where his three daughters learned in their home in Chelsea "to speak well Latin, Greek, and Hebrew." The doctrine was first openly proclaimed in Erasmus' Institutio Matrimonii Christiani and the Spanish Ludovico Vives' De Institutione Feminæ Christianæ (1523); dedicated to Queen Catharine of England. Neither of them is much more than a rechauffé of Leonardo Bruni's views, as in the objection to rhetoric, and in the recommendations of classics and philosophers, "especially those who have written upon self-control, as women specially need this lesson of philosophy." But Vives is less advanced than Castiglione, and specifically forbids the reading of modern literature. In 1525 he became tutor to the Princess Mary, and his somewhat gloomy and ascetic turn of mind was perhaps partly responsible for hers.

It was reserved for Henry Cornelius Agrippa, a German trained in Italy, in his Nobility of the Female Sex, addressed to Margaret of Austria, in 1529, to reproduce, north of the Alps, Castiglione's view that women's weaknesses came from their mode of training, and that when educated and "compared with men of like gifts" they are "equal or superior." The Princess Elizabeth, like Mary, acquired her learning in private tuition from Roger Ascham, as did the Lady Jane Grey, whose love of learning was due rather to a preference for reading with a deferential tutor to society in which she was nagged at and even pinched and bullied by her father, the redoubtable Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.

From 1500 onwards these ideas were no doubt beginning to spread. As the only real evidence we have of anything like genuine girls' schools in nunneries — and those entirely of the highest classes, noblemen's and country gentlemen's or rich merchants' children — is at the very end of the nunneries' existence, it seems probable that, instead of their being an ancient custom, they were really a recent innovation. However that may be, in England the dissolution of monasteries cut short any development of the kind that may have been possible. We still hear of learned ladies like the Ropers, Sir Thomas More's granddaughters, and the four daughters of Sir Anthony Coke, Lady Mary, Countess of Pembroke, Sidney's sister, and Lord Burleigh's three daughters, one of whom wrote a Latin epigram from Cornwall to her sister at Court about her husband's going abroad. These ladies, like Boniface's correspondents ten centuries before, figure in all the screeds on women's education, and can hardly be considered typical of girls' education in general. Still it is certain that in the Elizabethan age, there was a more general knowledge at least of the arts of reading and writing and music than at any previous period. Girls were not admitted any more than before to grammar schools, which were legally sacred to boys. The "children" of the Elizabethan school-founders was merely a translation of the pueri of the pre-Reformation founders. Yet there must have been some tendency to try to send girls to some of these schools. Shakespeare represents the curate in Love's Labour's Lost as telling Holofernes, the schoolmaster, who keeps "the charge-house on the top of the mountain, or mons, the hill" that his parishioners' "sons are well tutored by you and their daughters profit very greatly under you." Again, then, Helena in the Midsummer Night's Dream says of Hermia, "She was a vixen when she went to school" ; at what school had they been together? In the Rules appended to the statutes of Harrow School, made in 1590, express provision is made that "no girls shall be received to be taught in the same school." If no girls had been admitted or had tried to be admitted to this and other free grammar schools, this provision could hardly have been necessary. With the example of Queen Elizabeth before them, the girls of the period may well have demanded, and in some cases received, the same classical education as their brothers. However, if successful in some cases, they were not successful in general.

In the reign of James and Charles, before the Civil War, the learned women remain raræ aves; such as the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I, whose tutoress, Mrs. Makin, vouches for her being able at nine years old "to write, read, and in some measure understand Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and Italian," while her cousin "the Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Queen of Bohemia (daughter of James I), is versed in all sorts of choice literature." In the opposite camp in the Civil War was Mrs. Hutchinson, née Lucy Aspley, who, learning at home from a tutor and outstepping her brothers in Latin, was an incentive to their efforts at school. The excellency in learning of "the daughters of Dr. Love" (whether the warden of Winchester College or the Puritan preacher hanged by Cornwall is not clear) was also well remembered. Milton's daughters, taught by himself, as is well known, were also learned, but hated their learning. Margaret Lucas, on the other hand, who became Duchess of Newcastle, "by her own genius rather than any timely instruction overtops many grave men." During the Commonwealth new developments of all kinds were tried in education as in other spheres. So we find that at Polesworth in Warwickshire, perhaps in conscious historical remembrance of the reputed Nunnery School there, Sir Francis Nethersole, knight, by deed of March 10, 1655, established what is perhaps the earliest known endowed school for girls as well as boys. It was a "dual," not a mixed school, however, and purely elementary. The school building was divided into two portions, in one of which a master was to teach boys to write and read English, while in the other a mistress was to teach the girls to read and work with the needle.

Contemporaneously in France we have from 1622 to 1628,a series of documents relating to the Petites Écoles of Paris, including in 1625 a list of 42 masters, of whom 20 were priests, and 20 mistresses, 5 of the latter being married women. (Felibien, Hist. of Paris, iii, 451.) The celebrated Jansenist Petites Écoles at Port Royal near Paris, established in 1637, included a school for girls as well as for boys. They were both convent schools, though not established, as usual, in the convent, but outside its gates. The whole tone of the school under Mère Agnes Arnauld and Jacqueline Pascal was religious and ascetic. The girls were to learn a little Latin with a Latin Psalter, but their schoolbooks were strictly limited to those of a devotional character. These schools were closed by royal decree in 1661. In 1689 a fierce attack was made on the Precentor of Notre Dame for the wretched teachers he appointed to the boys' and girls' petites écoles. In Germany we find in Lübeck, in 1643, 25 school dames who taught reading (Lesemütter) as against 6 male teachers. In 1653, an attempt was made to bring them under control by establishing a gild of reading teachers, who were to be licensed by the town council. At Esslingen in 1656 there were two German — as distinguished from Latin — schools, one for boys and one, which was under a mistress, for girls. At Hohenstein in Saxony, a brandy distiller taught in a girls' school. At Selingstadt in Hesse, after a long struggle with the abbey, a German girls' schoolmaster, who was also bell ringer, was established. (Konrad Fischer, Geschichte des Deutschen Volksschul Lehrerstandes, I, viii, 206.)

During the abeyance of church control of education in England under the Commonwealth, large numbers of unlicensed private schools of various kinds had sprung up, among them probably girls' schools. At all events we find many private girls' schools after the Restoration. Mrs. Makin in 1673 dedicated to her Highness the Lady Mary, eldest daughter of H.R.H. the Duke of York, afterward James II "an Essay to revive" what she called "the ancient education of Gentlewomen in Religion, manners, Arts and Tongues With an answer to the objections against this Way of Education." It was an eloquent and well reasoned plea for the education of women on the same lines as men. (See Makin, Bathsua; also Perwick, Mrs.)

From this time onward there is evidence of plenty of girls' boarding schools, but they aimed at "breeding," deportment, and the accomplishments, not at learning. Thus we find in 1677 an advertisement that "in Oxford there is set up a boarding school for young gentlewomen (by John Waver, master in the art of dancing) where they may be educated and instructed in the art of dancing, singing, musick, writing and all manner of works." In 1680 "Josias Priests, dancing master, that kept a boarding school for gentlewomen in Leicester Fields is removed to the great schoolhouse in Chelsea, which was Mr. Porman's, where he did teach, and there will continue the said master and others to the improvement of the said school." Hackney, however, was the great place for girls' schools, "the Hackney Sarum schools." In all, dancing and music and "works" were the mainstay, though French also was taught, and of course reading, writing, and English. From this time forward there is no doubt that every English girl of the bourgeois class and upwards could at least read and write English, of which we have no certainty previously, though their spelling was marvelous in its inaccuracy.

In France, Madame de Maintenon, who had experienced the limitations of convent education (though born a Protestant) in her childhood, made a spirited attempt to improve girls' education. After several preliminary efforts from 1680 to 1686, Louis XIV built a school at St. Cyr, under regulations drawn by her, for 250 "young ladies of rank, above all of those whose fathers have died in the service of the State." The raison d'être of the school was to be free "of monasticism either in external practices, or in its customs, or in its religious services or in its daily life." Racine and Boileau gave the final touches to its statutes, and Racine wrote Esther and Athalie for performance by its pupils. But Madame de Maintenon was much behind Mrs. Makin in her views. She ruled out ancient history and geography, she even thought spelling correctly savored too much of the pedant, and her list of books was almost as narrow as that of Port Royal.

In the eighteenth century the attitude to such learned women as Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, who had Bishop Burnet for tutor, and other "blue stockings" was perhaps more contemptuous than at any previous time. There were schools in plenty, but all aimed merely at accomplishments. For the lower classes, the great spread of charity schools to teach girls to become domestic servants also taught them to read and write and do sums. The ordinary parochial day-school, which spread gradually over the country, gave poor girls practically as good an education as the boys of their class. But except that the abandonment of Latin for learned works and the enormous development of English literature gave the few girls who were naturally attracted to reading and literature wider scope, the education of the middle- and upper-class girl showed little improvement. Mrs. Montagu and Elizabeth Carter, the friend of Dr. Johnson, kept up the tradition of the possibility of learned women. But as a rule the Young Ladies' Academies were not much better and often a good deal worse than the governesses under whom the majority of girls of the upper and middle classes suffered at home.

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century conditions in England

The beginning of girls' education on a basis of solid instruction and with the same seriousness of intent as that of boys began with the establishment of Queen's College, London, in 1848. The college grew out of a governesses' Benevolent Institution begun in 1843. After three years it was thought that the best way to help the governesses was to let them help themselves by conferring certificates of competence. But as there was no training for governesses, the grant of certificates was found difficult. In 1847 classes were begun, taught by the professors of King's College, London, especially Professor F. D. Maurice. On March 29, 1848, the inaugural address of Queen's College, London, at 67 Harley Street, was given by him. It consisted, as for long did the introduction of all the lectures on subjects such as mathematics and Latin — the latter introduced apologetically to prepare the way for teaching English — with an elaborate deprecation of the danger of teaching girls anything thoroughly. In 1853 Queen's College became a real college endowed with its site and buildings and incorporated by royal charter. It was practically a school rather than a university college, as its pupils were admitted at fourteen years old; and some ten years later a school for younger girls was attached to it.

In 1849 Mrs. Reid established in Bedford Square the undenominational Bedford College. At first it included a school, but the want being met by new schools, this one was closed in 1868 or 1869, when Bedford College also was incorporated by charter, being endowed with Mrs. Reid's residuary estate.

In 1850, Miss Frances Mary Buss, one of the first pupils of Queen's College, opened a private school in Camden Town, under quasi-public auspices, i.e. a general superintendence of the vicar and clergy of St. Pancras, as the North London Collegiate School for Ladies, there being another school started at the same time for boys. In 1865 the enrollment in this school had grown to 219, of whom 201 were day-scholars paying £9 9s. a year and eighteen boarders at about £55 a year. It is a striking fact that, in giving evidence before the Schools Inquiry Commission in that year, Miss Buss said that there were no girls sufficiently advanced to take mathematics, i.e. beyond arithmetic, and that most of them coming at the age of thirteen to fifteen could not do the simplest sum in arithmetic. In 1871 a movement began to endow the school, and in 1875 it and a lower school, also founded by Miss Buss, received under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners an endowment of £20,000 from the Platt Charity. The schools are now known as the Frances Mary Buss Schools.

The Cheltenham Ladies' College was perhaps the first girls' school on precisely the same lines as the "Great Public Schools," being started to do for the girls of Cheltenham what Cheltenham College, begun in 1840, did for its boys. The Rev. A. Watford Bellairs, Inspector of Schools, drew up its prospectus, and the College was opened on Feb. 13, 1854, with one hundred pupils; The first principal was not successful, and the school had gone down when she resigned in 1857. Miss Dorothea Beale, early pupil and mathematical tutor at Queen's College, was appointed principal on June 16, 1858. In 1864, a boarding-house was opened, and on Jan. 30, 1880, the College was incorporated under the Companies Acts; there were 501 girls and ten boarding-houses. When Miss Beale died in 1906, leaving all her property to the College, of which she had been principal for forty-eight years, there were over 1000 girls, and she had established also in connection with it St. Hilda's College at Oxford for university students from the school.

A great impetus was given to girls' education by the extension of the Cambridge local examinations, at first informally in 1862 by grace of the examiners, but in 1865 on the same terms as to boys.

On the appointment in 1864 of the Commission of Inquiry into Endowed Schools, the question of women's education was brought to the front. Miss Emily Davies wrote an essay to prove that girls had been intended to share equally with boys in the endowed schools. As a matter of history and law, there was absolutely no ground for any such contention. But the agitation which ensued procured the insertion in the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, of a clause directing the Commissioners in framing schemes under the act to provide "so far as conveniently may be for extending to girls the benefit of endowments." Accordingly, in the first scheme that was made for any great town, that for Bradford Grammar School (credited to Charles II in the scheme but which has been shown by the present writer to have been endowed long before it was claimed as confiscated to the Crown in 1548) on Aug. 19, 1871, provision was made for the application of £200, to be increased in certain events to £250 a year, out of the grammar school endowment, for girls' education. With this assistance, more than doubled by private subscriptions, the first girls' grammar school was opened in Bradford on Sept. 27, 1875. This school has had in it, for twenty years or more, some 350 girls, while the boys' school, one of the best in the country, numbered a little over 500. The most striking instance of the new policy of taking a rib out of the endowment of a boys' school to convert it into a girls' school was that of Bedford, which had become very rich through the possession of twelve acres of land in the heart of London. The new scheme on Aug. 4, 1873, divided the income into eleven parts and gave 4/11 to a high school for girls on a level with the grammar school, and another 4/11 to a modern school for girls on a line with the modern school for boys. It took nine years to start the two girls' schools, which were both opened on May 1, 1882. In a year there were 131 girls, in six years, 427, and in 1898, 800 girls, and the school has retained that level ever since. The modern school at low fees was less successful, but in 1906 it numbered 300. With its two boys' schools of 850 and 600 each, modern Bedford is a singular instance of a town which has grown and lived on a wise application of educational endowments. Similar success has attended the similar great endowment of the so-called King Edward VI School at Birmingham. This foundation already under act of Parliament gave elementary education to 607 girls, but did nothing for the sisters of the grammar school boys. Under the scheme made in 1878, there is now a high school for 300 girls and four other girls' schools, ranging from 160 to 260 girls.

But the Endowed Schools Commission, like all government departments, worked slowly, and schemes took years to become law. Private enterprise stepped in to fill the gap. The Girls' Public Day School Company, established in 1872, started girls' schools of the public school type as commercial speculations, and almost alone among such enterprises made them both commercially and educationally successful. Its first school was opened in Chelsea, the next at Notting Hill, the third at Croydon. In 1875 the company went beyond London and started schools at Bath, Oxford, and Nottingham. Some of the earlier schools, such as Chelsea, have been closed. But the company, converted into a trust and its schools into endowed schools in 1905 so as to receive government grants, still keeps twenty-nine schools, among the best of the girls' public schools. A rival company on a clerical basis, the Church Schools Company, was started in 1883, but its schools are less in number and smaller in size. The success of the Girls' Public Day Schools Company led to extensive imitation by similar schools started on a similar commercial basis in many of the large towns of the North, notably Leeds, tired of waiting for a scheme to give it a girls' school out of the grammar school.

In 1894 a new development of schools for girls in connection with boys' endowments began in the admission of girls in person to the boys' schools. The present writer. as Assistant Commissioner under the Endowed Schools Acts was instrumental in establishing by scheme of Jan. 29, 1894, the first of these coeducational secondary schools in Lady Grace Manners' School at Bakewell in Derbyshire, where an old grammar school had long been in abeyance, and the second under somewhat similar circumstances, at Keswick in Cumberland, where girls were admitted as day scholars, while there was also a boarding-school for boys. These examples have been rapidly followed, and many decaying grammar schools, such as that of Lady Berkeley at Wootton-under-Edge, have been given new life by the admission of girls and the intellectual competition provoked thereby. These mixed secondary schools are mostly in small country towns or in the lower schools of large towns, with boys chiefly under sixteen. It has been reserved for private enterprise to establish in the Bedales School at Petersfield a mixed school on the lines of the great public schools as a boarding-school for girls and boys up to the age of nineteen, in which life is in common, except that the girls do not share in the rougher games. Oddly enough, while some men are keen on coeducation, the opinion of most women engaged in education is now against it.

Since the grants made to local authorities for technical education in 1896 and the power of rating for elementary or secondary education given them in 1902, a large number of what may be called middle secondary schools for girls, either separately or mixed with boys, have been established in every town of 10,000 inhabitants or upwards, at tuition fees ranging from £3 to £12 a year. So that there are now 239 girls' schools receiving grants from the board of education as secondary schools, and 177 such schools which admit both boys and girls. No official statistics are available for the girls' schools of the public school type which do not condescend to accept state aid, but they must be not less than one hundred. So that whereas the Schools Inquiry Commission in 1867 could scrape together only a few dozen of endowed or quasi-public girls' schools, these now exceed 500 in number; while there is no comparison between the buildings, the apparatus, the subjects and methods of instruction in the one period and the other.

The advancement of the education of women in the sphere of the university has been perhaps even more marked than in these secondary schools. In 1862 a proposal to alter the charter of London University so as to admit women was lost by the casting vote of the chancellor. In October, 1869, six women began to work in a hired house at Hitchin for the examination for degrees at Cambridge. In 1873 they moved to the spacious site and buildings of Girton College at Cambridge, incorporated in 1872. The Association for the Higher Education of Women began in 1873 in a hall in a private house which in 1875 became Newnham Hall and was incorporated as Newnham College, whose quadrangle is double the size of the great court of Trinity, the largest of male colleges, and apart from antiquity is far more beautiful. The claim of women to share the highest studies on a level with men was vindicated when a senior wrangler and a senior classic were found among the women students. At Oxford, Somerville Hall and Lady Margaret Hall, the latter with a church bent, were opened in 1879. In 1878 London University, an examining body merely, threw open its degrees to women. When in 1880 the Victoria University was erected out of Owen's College, Manchester, and the Yorkshire College, Leeds, it was chartered for degrees to women as well as men. Queen Margaret's College for women was established at Glasgow in 1883, and in 1892 the four Scotch universities opened their degrees to women. It is only the accession of women that has prevented these universities from showing a marked reduction in numbers. Durham University in 1895 threw open all its degrees to women except for theology, though it is hard to see why in religion above all things woman is not entitled to study equally with man. Trinity College, Dublin, followed suit. In the new universities of . Birmingham and Bristol, women are admitted. Only Oxford and Cambridge, while admitting women to their examinations for degrees, still refuse them the degrees, the certificate of proficiency, and a share in the settlement of the objects and methods of study and examinations which degrees confer.

With this exception it may now be said that throughout the whole range of education, from the infant and elementary school to the highest university course, girls have been put on an equality with boys, exercising and enjoying equal freedom in the choice of subjects of study.

A. F. L.

United States

The higher education of women has been of such relatively brief duration that it is necessary to outline its history in order to understand its present character and problems. The period of preparation from 1830 to 1865 was a time marked by a ferment of new ideas both in the United States and in Europe. In the United States it was the period of Jacksonian democracy and westward expansion, of transcendentalism in literature and thought, of the antislavery agitation and the early women's rights movement. In Europe it was the period of the revolutions of 1830 and of 1848, of the emancipation of the serfs in Russia, of the winning of Italian independence, and of wide political, economic, and social reforms in England. In such an age belief in the higher education of women was an outgrowth of other beliefs held to be far more important.

The substantial beginnings made in the United States are to be fully appreciated only when viewed against the background of the scattering and superficial education commonly given to the girls of the day. Before 1830 Emma Willard and Catherine Beecher had made striking protests against the accepted type of education for girls, and had established schools to carry out their ideas. In 1834 Mary Lyon began her personal campaign throughout Massachusetts for funds with which to establish a seminary on a nonproprietary basis, governed by a board of trustees and buttressed by invested funds; 1837, the year in which Mount Holyoke Seminary (q.v.) was opened, is a significant date in the history of the higher education of women.

From this time on, the founding of seminaries and academies for girls went on apace. The South was especially prolific of them before the Civil War, legislatures often chartering them as colleges with the right of conferring degrees. In the newly opened Middle West both the spirit and the material exigencies of pioneer life fostered coeducation. The Oberlin Collegiate Institute, opened in 1833 with a college charter and changing its name to Oberlin College (q.v.) in 1850, offered all its facilities to women from the start. Its seminary department was large, but its college curriculum was said to compare favorably with that of contemporary Yale. Although few women completed the college course, seventy-nine had received the Oberlin B.A. degree by 1865. Antioch College, also in Ohio, opened in 1853 under the presidency of Horace Mann, and was fully coeducational and of high standing for the times, although sorely beset by administrative and financial difficulties. Many denominational colleges of the Middle West and some of the earlier state universities admitted women from the outset, but their resources were meager and their standards uncertain. In practically all of them preparatory departments absorbed many of the men and most of the women students. In the eastern part of the country, Elmira College for women was established before the Civil War by the synod of the Presbyterian Church. It was chartered in 1855 with the provision that "no degree shall be conferred without a course of study equivalent to a full ordinary course of college study as pursued in the colleges of this state, and a serious effort was made to carry out this program." Elmira College has the distinction of being the first women's college chartered in an eastern state. The Civil War checked temporarily the development of higher education.

The period of establishment began just after the Civil War with the opening in 1865 of Vassar College (q.v.), chartered in 1861 by the legislature of the state of New York and endowed by its founder, Matthew Vassar, with land, buildings, and funds amounting to nearly $800,000. The idea of gifts for such institutions was already in the minds of others, and within ten years two more colleges for women were endowed, while practically all the state universities and several large private foundations had become coeducational.

In Vassar College was a really notable foundation for the higher education of women, fulfilling Mary Lyon's dream and effort of thirty years before. Matthew Vassar had considered his project for years, and clearly intended that the institution should be a college for women, not a superior seminary. Vassar was from the first on an undenominational although strongly Christian basis, and attracted wide public attention and large numbers of students, about 350 in the first year. Unfortunately Mr. Vassar had expended the greater portion of his gift upon an extensive building and equipment, leaving little endowment for instruction and maintenance. The inadequate and irregular preparation of students and the necessity of admitting enough students to justify so large and expensive an undertaking led to the early establishment of a preparatory department and the recognition of special college students. A strong faculty for the day, of both men and women, was, however, secured, and under the first active president, Rev. John H. Raymond, the problems of the higher education of women were recognized and met with remarkable wisdom and foresight. Latin and mathematics were required for entrance; Greek only in the classical course. The preparatory department, although of diminishing importance, was not finally abolished until 1888; but President Raymond always saw clearly that it was a temporary and disadvantageous expedient, and never ceased to maintain the, necessity of having students of full college grade in the majority and of sharply separating the preparatory students from them in subjects and methods of instruction. Only women of maturity and earnest purpose were admitted as special students, and their number steadily lessened.

In 1870 the legislature of Massachusetts chartered Wellesley Female Seminary, changing its name to Wellesley College (q.v.) in 1873 and fully empowering it to grant degrees in 1877. This institution was the foundation of Henry F. Durant, a Boston lawyer, who provided it with ample land, a large academic and residence building, and adequate equipment, but with practically no productive endowment. Wellesley was opened in 1875, and for five years maintained a preparatory department. From 1881 to 1883 it required both Latin and Greek for entrance, but subsequently established a scientific course without Greek, leading to the degree of B.S. Special students of maturity have always been admitted.

Smith College (q.v.), endowed by the will of Sophia Smith, of Hatfield, Mass., with nearly $400,000, was chartered in 1871 and opened at Northampton, Mass., in 1875 with twelve students. Both Greek and Latin were required for entrance from the first, and the college never maintained a preparatory department. Recognizing the disadvantages, social, financial, and educational, of a large central residence building, it adopted the plan of small dwellings in the housing of its students, adding to their number as students increased. In 1877 certain special students were admitted without Greek, and from 1884 to 1900 courses were established leading to the degrees of B.S. and B.L., which did not require Greek for entrance. Since 1904 all courses have led to the B.A. degree without required Greek. From 1880 to 1902 schools of music and of art were maintained. In its early policies Smith clearly showed the influence of the adjacent New England colleges for men and the sagacity of its first president, Rev. L. Clarke Seelye, who served from its foundation to 1910.

The last of the colleges for women to be largely endowed was Bryn Mawr College, founded by Joseph W. Taylor of Philadelphia, a member of the Society of Friends. It was chartered in 1880, and opened in 1885. The date of its establishment enabled it to profit by the experience of twenty years in the higher education of women. From the first it laid stress on high standards of entrance, tested by examination; and made provision for graduate work of a university character.

In 1888 Mount Holyoke Seminary was chartered as a college and seminary, and in 1893 closed its seminary department. Wells College at Aurora, N.Y., was chartered in 1870. The Women's College of Baltimore, now Goucher College, was opened in 1888 under Methodist auspices. A number of small institutions in the middle and far west attained college rank in this period, notably Mills College in California (1885) and Rockford College in Illinois (1892). These two institutions have closed their preparatory departments within the past year.

In 1870 the University of Michigan, then the strongest and best known of the state universities, opened its doors to women, followed in the same year by the universities of California, Illinois, and Missouri; in 1873 by the Ohio State University; and in 1874 by the University of Wisconsin, which had practically given college instruction to women since 1869. The universities of Utah (1850), Iowa (1856), Kansas (1866), Minnesota (1868), and Nebraska (1871) had been coeducational from their foundation; and the state universities established later accepted coeducation as a matter of course. Only the three southern state universities of Virginia, Georgia, and Louisiana remain closed to women.

During the years between 1870 and 1892 a number of endowed institutions for men first admitted women: Cornell University (founded in 1868) in 1872; The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (founded in 1865) in 1883; Tufts College (founded in 1854) in 1892. Others were coeducational from their foundation: Boston University (1873), Leland Stanford Junior University (1891), the University of Chicago (1892).

From about 1880 we have the introduction into the United States of a modified form of the English type of higher education for women; the affiliated or coordinated college attached to the university for men. The earliest of these was the popularly named "Harvard Annex," whereby, in 1879, the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women provided courses for women, taught voluntarily by Harvard professors and paralleling courses given at Harvard. In 1894 this informal association was organized as Radcliffe College, with power to give degrees. All teaching is done by members of the Harvard faculty, but financial and administrative relations are not close. Other important affiliated colleges for women are the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College of Tulane University in New Orleans (1886); the College for Women of Western Reserve University in Cleveland (1888); Barnard College of Columbia University (1889); the Women's College of Brown University, not fully organized until 1897. These institutions differ considerably in the intimacy of their relations with the university with which they are connected. (See Thomas, M. C., Education of Women.)

Graduate study

A strong impetus was given in the United States to graduate study of the German or research type by the founding of Cornell University in 1868 and of Johns Hopkins University in 1876. From about 1880 American college women began to seek opportunities for graduate work and to study for advanced degrees, both in the United States and in Europe. While Johns Hopkins has not opened its facilities to women except in its medical department (1893), its influence upon graduate instruction for women has been exerted through Bryn Mawr College, which modeled its graduate school largely after the Johns Hopkins plan. In 1892 Yale University opened its graduate school and its Ph.D. degree to women; the University of Pennsylvania admitted women graduate students in the same year; and the University of Chicago has always placed its large facilities for graduate instruction at the disposal of women. Harvard has never granted university degrees to women, and Radcliffe College is empowered to grant only the bachelor's and the master's degrees. Women doing work for the doctor's degree at Radcliffe receive only a certificate, quite in the Oxford and Cambridge manner. In 1901 31 per cent of the graduate students in the United States were women : in 1911, 30 per cent. Of those receiving the master's degree in 1901, 21 per cent were women; in 1911, 28 per cent. Of those receiving the doctor's degree in 1901, 9 per cent were women; in 1911,10 per cent. (For figures before 1900, see Thomas, Education of Women.)

The Association of Collegiate Alumnæ was organized in 1882 by representative women graduates of eight American institutions, to work for the maintenance of high standards and the extension of opportunities in the higher education of women. In 1911, its corporate or institutional membership included twenty-three American universities and colleges admitting women to the first degree, and nine institutions admitting women to higher degrees, together with a list of approved foreign universities admitting women to higher nonprofessional degrees. It now has forty-three local branches throughout the country, open to women graduates of any of the institutions mentioned. In 1911 its total membership was 4982. It issues a series of publications, and has carried on investigations of many topics connected with the education and occupations of educated women. It also maintains, or administers for other organizations, several fellowships available for graduate study in Europe or America.

Continent of Europe

On the continent of Europe higher education for women has had to meet intrenched conservatism, religious, social, and political. Its development has been irregular, and in many cases, even when opportunities have been granted, there has been little response on the part of women. The majority of women studying in continental universities have been foreigners. With regard to the education of women, the continental countries fall into the following groups: (1) Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, including the Grand Duchy of Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium, in which the absence of a powerful upper class and the prevalence of a more or less democratic spirit have brought about general recognition of the rights of women' (2) the Latin countries, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, in which there has never been legal prohibition of the attendance of women upon the universities, but in which the actual attendance of native women has been slight; (3) the German and Austrian empires; and (4) Russia and the lesser Slavonic nations.

The Swiss universities were the first to be practically opened to women. Zürich admitted them by 1867; the others then existing, during the decade. The University of Freiburg, established in 1889, receives them only as hearers. In the early days Russian women, checked in their efforts to secure university education at home, flocked to Zürich. In 1872 108 Russian women studying there were ordered home by the Russian government. The first American women studying abroad went largely to Zürich. In the Swiss universities women matriculate as regular students, and receive university degrees.

In the Scandinavian countries the universities were opened to women in Sweden and Finland in 1870; in Denmark in 1875; in Norway in 1884. In Belgium and the Netherlands they were opened in 1880.

In France none of the sixteen universities in the reorganized state system is closed to women, although Frenchwomen avail themselves slowly of the opportunity. The few women who seek higher education in France do so from professional motives, not for a liberal education, although from 1865 courses of lectures for girls and women were given by university professors, and to-day women of leisure sometimes attend lectures at the Sorbonne. The first woman to apply for admission to a French university was an American, in 1868, seeking medical training. She was followed by numbers of Russian and Polish women, more slowly by native Frenchwomen. In 1882, after the establishment of public lycées or secondary schools for girls in 1880, the École Normale was founded at Sèvres to train women as secondary teachers. Its courses are given largely by professors from the Sorbonne, and its work is of university rather than of normal grade, although it gives no degrees. It is, however, open to only a small number of women. The Collège Sévigné in Paris, founded in 1880 by the Society for the Propagation of Instruction among Women, is of much the same type. In the last ten years the general attendance upon French universities has increased 37 per cent; the attendance of foreigners has increased 196.6, and in certain faculties to an even greater degree. In the four years from 1905 to 1909 the number of women students increased nearly 90 per cent. In 1909 there were 2916 native Frenchwomen in all the French universities out of a total student attendance of about 40,000, and 680 foreign women, of whom the largest number from any one country came from Russia. (Rep. U. S. Com. of Ed., 1911.) In Italy university trained women are still exceptional, as they are to a greater degree in Spain and Portugal.

In the states of the German empire and in Austria, university education for women has developed slowly, partly because of views regarding the sphere of women and partly because these universities are state institutions and the possession of their degrees leads to certain positions in the public service. Even where women have been admitted in considerable numbers, it has been as a favor and not as a right. They have been required to ask permission of the minister of public instruction, of the rector of the university, and of individual professors whose courses they wished to attend; and they have had no assured status. For the .most part, they have been ranked as hearers, although a few universities have allowed them to matriculate. Foreigners have fared better than native German and Austrian women, since their own college or university degrees have frequently been accepted in place of the "leaving certificates" from the gymnasiums which all Germans have to present. The present movement for the establishment by the state of girls' gymnasiums equal to those for boys will undoubtedly lead to the presence of a larger number of German women in the universities at no distant date. It is difficult to make general statements about university education for women in Germany, since theory and practice frequently differ, and the policy of a given university may change from year to year. Until recently the south German universities were more liberal in their treatment of women than was Prussia. About 1893 the Prussian minister of education sent an inquiry to the ten Prussian universities regarding the admission of women. All replied unfavorably, although degrees of opposition differed. Heidelberg, one of the two universities of Baden, was earlier more cordial to women than it later became. It admits them to the doctor's degree on individual petition. Russian women studied there before 1870, and it was frequented by the earlier American women students. Freiburg, the other university in Baden, Wurzburg, Erlangen, and, since 1903, Munich, the Bavarian universities, admit women to matriculation and degrees. The University of Leipzig in Saxony has for a number of years received a considerable number of women. Of the Prussian universities, Göttingen has been perhaps most hospitable, granting an occasional degree to women by 1895. The University of Berlin was for many years closed to women, but for the last ten years has admitted them as hearers. In 1895 there were said to be only six women in attendance. The Prussian law of 1908, reorganizing girls' higher schools, and putting them legally on a level with those for boys, admits girls with the proper qualifications to matriculation in the Prussian universities. Since then, foreign degrees have been accepted as proof of preparation, and there has been a surprising increase in the number of women students, a high percentage of them matriculating. In 1909-1910 there were 2324 women matriculated in Prussian universities, an increase of 468 over the preceding year. For 1910-1911, the German handbook Minerva reports 1043 women at the University of Berlin alone, out of a total student body of 14,543. Of these, 8425 men and 777 women were matriculated, and 5075 men and 266 women were hearers. At Freiburg there were 2925 men and 155 women matriculated; 125 men and 31 women hearers. At Heidelberg there were 1846 men and 162 women matriculated, and 173 hearers, including women. In 1898-1899 the total number of women studying at all the German universities is said to have been approximately 471. So recently as 1903-1904 there were but 85 matriculated women students in all the German universities, 28 at Heidelberg, 26 at Freiburg, 25 at Munich, 5 at Wurzburg, and 1 at Erlangen. There were 1256 women hearers, 562 of them at the University of Berlin. The only institution which may be said to give separate higher instruction to women is the Victoria Lyceum in Berlin, established in 1869. This, however, does not grant degrees.

In Austria-Hungary women have been admitted as hearers by special permission since 1878. Since 1897 they have been allowed to matriculate in the philosophical faculty. In the summer semester of 1910-1911 there were 6866 men and 282 women matriculated; 1015 men and 294 women hearers.

Strangely enough, it is in Russia that we find the beginnings of European interest in the higher education of women. With the opening of the reign of the liberal Alexander II in 1855 and the emancipation of the serfs, the need of popular education and of trained intelligence in public service increased greatly. The universities were reformed, and students flocked to them in large numbers. From 1856 to 1863 the Russian universities were not legally closed to women, and certain professors willingly admitted them to lectures. By the university legislation of 1863, however, this right was withdrawn, although a majority of the universities themselves were in favor of interpreting the term "auditor" as applying to either sex. In 1867 leading Russian women petitioned for university instruction; and since 1869 courses for women have been given by university professors in St. Petersburg and some of the other university towns, subject, however, to governmental interruption and interference. Russian universities as such are not open to women, and the history of higher education for Russian women is to be sought in the foreign universities which they have attended in such large numbers as to be the prevailing type of woman student in many of them.

Professional and technical education

Of the three learned professions, medicine, law, and theology, medicine is the only one which women have entered in any numbers. In European universities, especially those of the continent, the four faculties under which instruction is given are those of philosophy (or liberal arts), medicine, law, and theology. Hence any university allowing women to matriculate opens to them legally the opportunity for medical training. Practically, however, the permission often rests with the professors concerned; and in many cases, laboratory, hospital, and clinical facilities have been refused. The English universities granting degrees to women, in some cases explicitly withheld the medical degree. All now grant it except the Royal University of Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin, and, of course, Oxford and Cambridge, which grant no degrees to women. In the United States women receive their medical training either in independent medical schools or in medical schools forming part of universities and colleges. The first woman physician in the world, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, received her degree in 1848 from a medical school in Geneva, New York, later studying in France. After 1868 American, English, and Russian women studied medicine in Paris or Switzerland. In 1869 several Englishwomen were given formal permission to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh, but were so badly treated that, in 1870, they formed the London School of Medicine for Women. In Russia a women's medical school was opened in 1872. In the United States the medical schools accepted women slowly, so that several women's medical schools were established, in Philadelphia in 1850, in New York in 1863, in Baltimore in 1882. Women are now admitted to some of the best schools in connection with the universities; but other good schools are still closed. The report on medical education in the United States and Canada issued by the Carnegie Foundation in 1910 points out that with the increase in institutions open to women, the number of women studying medicine has of late years decreased. Eighty per cent of the women considered studied at coeducational schools, and on this ground as on the ground of limited facilities the report advises the closing of separate medical schools for women. (Ch. 13.) The Report of the United States Commissioner of Education for 1911 gives 810 women studying medicine in the United States, but comparatively few of them are in schools requiring college study or graduation for admission.

Law as a profession for women is far less highly developed than medicine. In Europe, individual women have taken degrees in law at various universities, although legal and traditional barriers usually stand in the way of their becoming lawyers. In the United States a small but increasing number of women have studied law and have been admitted to the bar. The Commissioner's Report for 1911 gives 223 women students in law schools. These schools, however, even more than medical schools, are of all grades, and most of the best law schools do not admit women. In Europe a very few women have been admitted to faculties of Protestant theology. In the United States certain denominations, notably the Universalists, have long admitted women ministers. In 1911, 1187 women are reported as studying theology in the United States. The last available census (1900) reports in the United States 7387 women physicians and surgeons, 1010 women lawyers, 3373 women ministers. What proportion of these are university and college graduates it is impossible to say, but it is safe to assume a respectable minority. The facts available for both Europe and America show that the modern educated woman is not entering the learned professions to anything like the degree that it was thought she might enter them, in the early days of higher education for women.

From the modern technical and engineering professions women are for the most part barred, by inclination and by the nature of the work, though in both Europe and the United States there are women architects, and in the United States a few engineers. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the scientific school of Cornell University have afforded excellent technical training of the best type to occasional women.

Present status and numbers

Surveying the higher education of women in the United States and in Europe during the period from 1890 to 1910, we are struck with the difference in its development on the two sides of the Atlantic. During these years in the United States university and college education for women has expanded greatly as regards number of students and productive funds. In Europe, on the other hand, its development has been gradual. The United States Commissioner of Education's Report for 1910 presents statistics of attendance in the United States for the twenty years from 1890 to 1910 for men, women in coeducational institutions, and women in the sixteen separate colleges for women held to be of first rank. A striking increase of attendance is seen at a glance. The total enrollment has grown from 48,111 in 1890, 38,056 men and 10,054 women, to 171,893 in 1910, 119,578 men and 52,315 women, — 43,441 in coeducational institutions, 8874 in colleges for women. In the 92 colleges for women of the second class there were 10,013 students in 1890; 11,690 in 1910. The different rates of increase, however, are more significant. The number of men students has increased 214.2 per cent; the number of women in coeducational institutions, 438 per cent, and the number of women in the separate colleges for women, 348.4 per cent. That is, in the last twenty years the attendance of women upon higher institutions has increased more rapidly than that of men; and among women, the attendance upon coeducational institutions has increased more rapidly than upon institutions for women only. In this same period the resources in buildings, equipment, and productive funds of the institutions for both men and women have gained enormously. These two decades have been a period of unprecedented endowment of higher education in the United States, and although institutions for women have been much less richly benefited than those for men, they have received noteworthy benefactions. Women in coeducational institutions have, of course, profited by the gifts or the public funds put at the service of those institutions.

The numbers of women students at Oxford and Cambridge, on the other hand, and even at the British universities granting women degrees, have not increased strikingly in recent years. The two Cambridge colleges for women had 302 students in residence in 1899; 361 in 1910. In 1910, the women students at Oxford numbered only 357. Moreover, education for women in England has been little endowed. The recent increase of women students at the universities of Prussia and France has been noted, but it is too soon to tell its real significance.

From 1890 to 1910, few new institutions for the higher education of women were founded in the United States. In 1893 the Randolph-Macon Women's College was established under Methodist auspices. In 1902 Simmons College, endowed in 1870 by John Simmons of Boston, was established according to the terms of his will to combine liberal and vocational training of college grade. In 1908 the William Smith College for Women was established as an affiliated college of Hobart College (1822). The Connecticut College for Women was chartered in 1911, and is to be opened in 1914. Wheaton Seminary in Norton, Mass., was given a college charter in 1912.

In the United States the expansion in the higher education of women leads us to certain conclusions and brings us face to face with certain problems. In the first place, higher education for women has come to be accepted as a matter of course. Girls and boys of the same social groups are going to college very generally and from much the same motives. Second, the prevalent type of higher education, as of secondary education, in the United States is coeducational in spite of the remarkable growth of the leading women's colleges. A comparison of the relative growth of the two types of institution suggests at least a practical solution of the problem of coeducation. Whatever may be the objections to it — and the arguments for it seem to grow stronger as the grade of education given becomes more advanced — the matter is virtually settled by community sentiment, financial considerations, and accessibility of certain types of institution. Both coeducational and separate higher education for women have apparently come to stay, so that individuals may choose according to their temperament and needs. But the growing realization that education is for the making of citizens lends weight to the contention that it should be given so far as possible under normal conditions of human association.

The new emphasis upon the relations of education to the life of the day has raised many questions regarding the present systems of higher education for both men and women. What shall be the course of study? Which subjects shall be required, if any, and which shall be elective? Shall there be a group system, to give greater continuity and thoroughness? How shall subjects be taught to prepare for modern life while still giving a liberal education? How much responsibility for their own government shall be given to students? With regard to the education of women the old question, shall the education of women differ from the education of men, is asked afresh with the experience of nearly fifty years of women's education behind it. There are positive opinions on both sides, but the evidence is still equivocal. Modern psychology is tentative in its views on the mental differences between the sexes; and the needs of the modern world are to be increasingly met by men and women working in common. Perhaps the solution of the problem will best come gradually through a better regulation of the choice of studies in college, determined more than at present by the types of service which educated men and women can best render to the community, and by a new spirit and outlook in college teaching.

A contribution to this solution is being made to-day through the study by college women of the occupations open to women with higher training. Teaching has been predominatingly the occupation into which college-bred women have gone. Full statistics have not been compiled, but there are several recent valuable studies for individual colleges. In the United States Bryn Mawr College furnishes most complete data. Of its 1076 graduates to Jan. 1, 1911, 28.5 per cent were teachers; 9.2 per cent were in other occupations; 5.5 per cent were studying further; 25.6 per cent were unmarried and without paid occupation; 27 per cent were married and without paid occupation; 2.2 per cent were dead. A study of the 1583 college graduates of Mount Holyoke College from 1890 to 1909 shows that 82 per cent have been for longer or shorter periods in paid occupations. Of these, 78.5 have been teachers. (Hewes, p. 793.) For the University of Wisconsin it is reported in 1909, "Of those who are either temporarily or permanently self-supporting, 88 per cent become teachers and 3.3 per cent engage in library work. No other occupation has a representation of more than 1.5 per cent." (Olin, p. 194.) In a study of the economic status of 377 self-supporting college women made in 1909 for the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ, 317, or 89 per cent, were teachers. Statistics before 1900 are given in President Thomas' monograph on the Education of Women and in Mrs. Sidgwick's Health Statistics of Women Students of Oxford and Cambridge (1887).

At present college women, both in the United States and in England, are going increasingly into other fields of work, and systematic investigation of these fields is in progress. In 1910 the Women's Educational and Industrial Union of Boston, an organization for the promotion of women's work and welfare, established an appointment bureau to assist college women in securing non-teaching employment and to study existing and potential opportunities for trained women. In 1910 it published Vocations for the Trained Woman; Opportunities Other than Teaching, a survey by men and women experts in various fields. Since then it has issued fourteen special bulletins on opportunities in the Boston area for various kinds of employment. In October 1911 the local alumnæ organizations in New York City, representing nine institutions, established the Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations, and entered upon the work of placing and of investigation. Early in 1912 a similar bureau was opened in Philadelphia, and Chicago college women are now (1912) maturing plans for a bureau. In 1909 the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ created a standing committee on vocational opportunities other than teaching, which has held two conferences, compiled an occupational card catalogue of college women, published a study of nearly 300 college women engaged in non-teaching occupations, and issued a bulletin giving information about places for vocational training in the United States open to college women. Most of the colleges receiving women have for some years maintained appointment bureaus for assisting their students who seek employment, and these are now cooperating with the newer agencies described above. Englishwomen attacked the problem even earlier. In 1897 they established in London a Central Bureau for the Employment of Women, which has of late years organized a Students' Career Association in close relations with the women's colleges, university graduates, and the girls' schools preparing for college. They now issue bimonthly a magazine, Women's Employment, which lists places for vocational training, and studies openings and vocational tendencies.

Out of these movements and others, educational and social, are bound to come a progressive adaptation of women's higher education to the needs of the day, without in the slightest degree sacrificing its high standards, and a fuller realization of the value of the contribution made by the educated woman to the constructive work of the world. In the realm of pure scholarship, also, the modern woman has made and is making substantial contributions. In the future, it is to be hoped that she will reap more of the professional rewards of scholarship.

E. K. A.

See College, American; College attendance; Coeducation; also articles on the various countries; and on the various universities.

References: -

  • Association of Collegiate Alumnæ Publications. Especially for 1885, 1896, 1902-1905, 1907-1913.
  • Blandin, I. M. E. History of Higher Education of Women in the South Prior to 1860. (New York,1909.)
  • BLEASE, W. L. Emancipation of the Englishwoman. (London, 1910.) Good bibliography.
  • Books on Education in the Libraries of Columbia University: Education of Women including Coeducation. (New York, 1901.)
  • Bremner, C. S. Education of Women and Girls in Great Britain. (London, 1897.)
  • Briggs, L. R. Girls and Education. (Boston, 1911.)
  • Contributions toward a Bibliography of the Higher· Education of Women, and Supplement No.1. Publications of the Association of Collegiate Alumnæ 1895, 1897.
  • Davies, Emily. The Higher Education of Women. (London and New York, 1866.)
— . Questions Relating to Women, 1860-1908. (Cambridge, 1910.) 
  • Dexter, E. G. A History of Education in the United States, Ch. 21. (New York, 1904.)
  • Gilchrist, B. B. The Life of Mary Lyon. (Boston, 1910.)
  • Girls' Schools Year Book. (London, 1911.) (British Universities and Vocations. for Trained Women.)
  • Great Britain Board of Education, Special Reports, Education in Russia, Vol. 23, 1909-1910.
  • Haldane, R. B. Handbook of Foreign Study. (Edinburgh.)
  • Handbook of Courses Open to Women in British, Continental, and Canadian Universities. Edited by I. Maddison. (New York, 1896, 1899. Supplement, 1901.)
  • Lwyd, MRS. H. R. Life and Letters of J. H. Raymond. (New York, 1881.)
  • Minerva, Jahrbuch der Gelehrten Welt, 1911-1912. Nation, The, Letters on Women at German Universities, Vols. 57-59, 64.
  • Olin, H. R. The Women of a State University. (New York, 1909.)
  • Openings for University Women other than Teaching. (London, 1912.)
  • Palmer, G. H. The Life of Alice Freeman Palmer. (Boston, 1908.)
  • Perkins, A. F., Ed. Vocations for the Trained Woman. (Boston, 1910.)
  • Sadler, M. E. Arrangements for the Admission of Women to the Chief Universities in the British Empire and in Foreign Universities. Great Britain Board of Education, Special Reports, Vol. I. (London, 1896-1897.)
  • Strassburger, F. Die Mädchenerziehung in der Geschichte der Pädagogik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts in Frankreich und Deutschland. (Strassburg, 1911.)
  • Talbot, M. The Education of Women. (Chicago, 1910.)
  • Taylor, J. M. College Education for Girls in America (before 1865), Educational Review, Vol. 44.
  • Thwing, C. F. A History of Higher Education in America, Ch. 15. (New York, 1906.)
  • Thomas, M. Carey. Education of Women. In Education in the United States, N. M. Butler, Editor. (Albany, 1900.) Prepared for the Paris Exposition, 1900. Contains statistics up to 1900.
  • United States Commissioner of Education, Annual Reports, especially for 1894-1896.
  • Vocation Series. Bulletins 1-14, Women's Educational and Industrial Union. (Boston, 1911-1912.)
  • Watson, Foster. Vives and the Renaissance Education of Women. (London, 1911.)
  • Women's Employment. (Bimonthly.) Vols. 9-12. (London, 1909-1912.)
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