Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States

By Linda Eisenmann | Go to book overview

O

Oberlin College. When contemporary readers think of Oberlin College, they imagine a model for the small liberal arts college well known for a liberalthinking faculty, student body, and administration. Historians know the institution best for its lead in providing education for women and African Americans. Since 1837 women have attended an Oberlin practicing coeducation,* and the school opened with a commitment to accept students without regard to race. Dozens of influential female educators, especially African Americans, are Oberlin alumnae.

Oberlin Collegiate Institute was incorporated on February 2, 1834. Incorporation of a college in northeast Ohio was the plan of Reverend John J. Shipherd and his associate Philo P. Stewart. Shipherd was pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Elyria, and Stewart, a former missionary among the Cherokees in Mississippi, was living with Shipherd's family. The original plan was to constitute a school surrounded by a Christian community modeled after the life and ideals of German pastor John Frederick Oberlin. In 1835 the board of trustees voted to admit students “irrespective of color” and thereby set Oberlin on its path of distinction.

From the beginning the school was to be open to both sexes. Like most nineteenth-century institutions, Oberlin had a Preparatory Department to help students not yet ready for collegiate study. The Collegiate, Theological, and Teacher Departments completed the Institute, and a manual labor system provided students financial support “see normal departments*”. Oberlin students considered themselves poor, and a long break at midterm allowed them to earn money at such jobs as teaching* in order to pay tuition. This practice continued until 1877 when the college adopted a more traditional calendar.

The ambitious first annual report in 1834 spoke of “the diffusion of useful science, sound morality, and pure religion, among the growing multitudes of the

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Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction xi
  • A 1
  • B 29
  • C 65
  • D 111
  • E 136
  • F 146
  • G 163
  • H 188
  • I 217
  • J 225
  • K 229
  • L 232
  • M 256
  • N 287
  • O 312
  • P 317
  • Q 331
  • R 336
  • S 349
  • T 408
  • U 443
  • V 446
  • W 456
  • Y 494
  • Appendix: Timeline of Women's Educational History in the United States 503
  • Selected Bibliography 507
  • Index 511
  • About the Editor and Contributors 525
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