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Women and Education

Collection Information

These selected collections include personal papers of professional educators, schoolgirl diaries and lesson books, and records of women's schools and women's educational organizations. Materials document the wide range of women's educational experiences in America (particularly the South and New England) in one-room school houses, female academies, and colleges and universities, primarily from the 19th and the 20th centuries.

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Kelly Wooten
Research Services Librarian, Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Rubenstein Library

General Education-related Collections

Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth Records, 1887-1963, 1914-1946
Contains information on standardizing educational requirements for women's colleges in the South; increasing employment opportunities for Southern women; occupations for blacks; socio-economic factors affecting rural youth employment; model guidance courses and programs; and the effects of World War II on vocational trends. 

Ann Henshaw Gardiner Papers, 1753-1970
Includes papers on the Gardiner, Henshaw, and Snodgrass families who were pioneer settlers in Berkeley and were flour millers, justices of the peace, county officers, members of the Virginia House of Delegates, teachers, and writers; and material on the educational program of the Duke University School of Nursing.

Dorothea Jane Stephen Diary, 1887
Diary of 16 year old describing school classes and examinations and leisure activities such as collecting bugs and reading.

Cornelia Augusta Gilman Baldwin Diaries, 1868-1872
Detailed diaries kept by affluent Washington, D.C. mother. Entries chronicle her daily activities, often focusing on the education (secular, musical, and religious) of her two children Ralph ("R") and Lillian May ("M").

Eugenius Aristides Nisbet Papers, 1804-1934
Includes papers describing the education of girls in the early 20th century.

P.F. Wainwright Papers, 1767-1890
Correspondence and other papers of Peter Wainwright, Jr., and other members of the Wainwright family, concerning slavery, punishment of slaves, and the education of a slave who wanted to learn to read and education of women in the early nineteenth century.

Fleming Family Papers, 1810-1910
Personal correspondence reflecting domestic, educational, and social conditions in Virginia (1840-1875), and relating to Virginia schools and colleges (1840s and 1850s).

James De Votie Papers, 1839-1925
The collection consists primarily of letters from Rev. De Votie's children. Elizabeth Annie's letters, 1861-1873 (bulk 1866-1871), describe student life at the Judson Female Institute in Marion, Ala.

John Mead Gould Papers, 1841-1944
Primarily a collections relating to Gould's service in the Civil War, these papers also include the correspondence of Amelia and Adelthia Twitchell and the diaries, 1860-1865, of Amelia Jenkins Twitchell, who left Maine to teach at a freedmen's school in Beaufort, S.C.

Charles N. Hunter Papers, 1850s-1932
Personal and professional papers of Charles N. Hunter, educator and editor who was prominent in the effort to hire black teachers and provide better educational facilities for black students in North Carolina. Correspondence concerning family life and personal finance included letters home from his two daughters attending school at Howard around the turn of the century. The papers reflect Hunter's various political activities on behalf of black people. Included throughout the correspondence are letters from black women seeking teaching positions in North Carolina in the 1920s and 1930s. There are 17 scrapbooks containing clippings and other items concerning race relations and social/political/economic affairs pertaining to African-Americans. 

John McIntosh Kell Papers, 1785-1921
Large collection of family papers contains correspondence, scrapbooks, albums, and financial papers of Julia Blanche Munroe Kell, Marjorie Spalding Kell, Harriet T. Munroe, Tabitha Napier, Mary Denke, and Caroline Napier which document their attendance at various schools such as the Montpelier Institute and the Salem Female Academy. Published and unpublished manuscripts of Julia Kell include short stories and a collection of her husband's Civil War letters.

Eugene Marshall Papers, 1839-1962
Papers of a Civil War soldier include letters, 1861-1910, from his sister in Brockton, Mass., concerning economic conditions, labor problems, education and careers of women.  

Susan McDowall Diary and Scrapbook, 1856-1880
Descriptions of school and social life at Patapsco Institute, Endicott's Mill, Md., along with clippings of poems and biographical notes written after her father's death.

Marion Morgan Richardson Autograph Album, 1895-1898
Album of student at Southern Home School for Girls includes addresses, autographs, amusing messages, and numerous drawings by students at a private girls' school. Depicts students, staff, rooms in the school, and a local Presbyterian minister, Dr. William U. Murkland. Students include Mabel Duke, daughter of Brodie L. Duke.

Lemuel C. Wheat Correspondence, 1837-1897; (bulk 1870-1876)
Correspondence between the Wheat and Hunter families, related through marriage. Included are the letters from the Wheat girls, who attend female seminaries, concerning school life.

Alice Williamson Diary, 1864
Entries relate to the military occupation of Gallatin, TN and surrounding areas by Union troops describing the presence of former slaves, projects to educate them, school life and social visits.

Higher Education

Note: Duke University Archives holds many records related to women at Duke, including faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and organizations, which are not included here.

American Association of University Women, Durham Branch (N.C.) Records 1913-1976
Membership and financial records, minutes, yearbooks, directories, annual reports, clippings, printed materials, audio tapes and other records documenting the official administrative functions of the Durham branch and its relationship to the national organization.

Annie Burnham Autograph Album, 1871-1872
Autograph album of student attending State Female College in Memphis.

Sara Evans Papers, 1959-2005
Regents Professor Emeritus in the history department at the University of Minnesota. She specializes in American social and women's history of the 20th century. Collection consists of subject files, course materials, research files, publication materials, lectures, correspondence, project documentation, student course work and student activist work accumulated by Evans during her career as first a student, then a professor and historian, of women's history. 

William Righter and Mary Wager Fisher Papers, 1830-1934
These papers are particularly rich in documentation of women in medicine and women's medical education in the second half of the nineteenth century and the Freedmen's schools in the Reconstruction South. 

Mary Zilpha Giles Papers, 1846-1942
Student, school-teacher. Letters and papers concerning Giles' education at Trinity College in Randolph Co., N.C. in the 1870s where she was tutored at home by faculty members; her experiences as a teacher; and her trip abroad with her sister. Includes tuition receipts; an 1889 charter for the Giles sisters and their mother to conduct the Greenwood Female College in Greenwood, S.C.; and several letters from missionaries in India, China, and Guatemala.

Jean O'Barr Papers, 1964-2008
Professor and founding director of Duke University's Women's Studies program. The collection largely consists of materials from the founding and operation of Duke's Women's Studies program. Also includes reviews of other women's studies programs throughout the United States; materials relating to the founding of SIGNS magazine; student papers discussing gender; published and unpublished articles by O'Barr, including surveys of women at Duke, writings by O'Barr related to her African studies, and articles about women in academia and the workplace.

Pettaway Family Papers, 1944-1953
Collection contains letters to Grace and Winifred Pettaway from family members and their girl and boy friends during the years 1944-53. They provide a glimpse of college and military life for African Americans during the 1940s and 1950s.  Includes finding aid.

Nell Irvin Painter Papers, 1793-2007 and undated bulk 1876-2004
Painter's papers provide a contemporary record of many trends in American culture, especially as regards career and educational choices and opportunities for women and African Americans. Her correspondence with students, colleagues, and  friends, her teaching material and academic files, her papers from an array of historians' organizations, and her personal journals each shed their own light on these themes. 

Louisa Bouknight and Mary Barnett Poppenheim Correspondence, 1871-1955
Correspondence related to the two sisters' education at Vassar during the 1880s. Mary was the first Southerner to be awarded a degree from Vassar.

Frank Lewis Reid Papers, 1893-1897
Contains 1893 and 1896 president's report of Greensboro Female College, a sketch of the college's Emerson Literary Society, and the 1897 alumnae address of Sallie S. Cotton which discusses the importance of women's education and the power of women's clubs.

Scarborough Family Papers, 1760-1939
Family correspondence includes information on education and student life at Davenport Female College during the 19th century.

Anne Firor Scott Papers
Noted women's historian and history professor at Duke University. Papers are held in two collections, one in University Archives and one as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and CulturePortions of these collections are restricted.



Ellen Bartlett Correspondence, 1856-1888
Letters to Bartlett from a number of friends and relatives concerning the schools and colleges of Connecticut and Illinois, the education of women, teachers and their salaries, and social life and customs.

Amy Morris Bradley Papers, 1806-1921
Educator, nurse. Correspondence, diaries, clippings, and financial papers document this New Englander's work in establishing free schools for poor white children in the South; her duties as a nurse during the Civil War; her role in establishing the Tileston Normal School; and her work with the Wilmington Mission, the Soldier's Memorial Society, the American Unitarian Association, and the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

Frances Louisa Goodrich Papers, 1890-1895
Teacher's aide. Diaries and letterbooks document Goodrich's work as a companion and helper teaching sewing, history, reading and arithmetic at rural Home Industrial Schools operated by the Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church. Volumes contain specific information about routine school life and are rich with details of local folklife and custom.

Grout Family Papers, 1848-1984
Collection of miscellaneous family papers include the papers of Laura M. Miller Grout which contain reports, articles, photographs, and school papers documenting her work as principal of Dorchester Academy in McIntosh, Georgia and as assistant principal at Pleasant Hill Academy in the mountains of Tennessee. Collection also contains the papers of daughter Julia Grout, which include correspondence to her family while teaching physical education at Trinity College, articles written on the Durham Altrusa Club, and family memoirs.

Alice J. Cutright Kaine Papers, 1864-1947
Educator, administrator. Correspondence, writings, legal papers, printed materials, clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous materials document Kaine's work as public school teacher in Springfield, Ill., her service on the board of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls, and her employment at Tuskegee Institute. Includes finding aid.

Idris Knox Papers, 1951-1997
North Carolina woman who taught school in Europe.

Jacob Mordecai Papers, 1784-1936
Large family collection includes the papers of several Mordecai women. Of particular note are the letters of Ellen Mordecai regarding her long tenure as a teacher in her father's school at Warrenton and later as a governess in New York City and the letters of Caroline Mordecai Plunkett written while conducting a school in Warrenton with her husband and during her later life as a teacher in Mobile, Ala.

Robert Algernon Myrick Papers, 1890-1953
Collection contains two diary sections (1873, 1897) of Mary Beckham which describe teaching school in Halifax Co., and country life.

Sallie Sue Ellis Peebles Papers, 1874-1926
Music teacher. Correspondence, financial papers and commencement and conference programs document personal relationships as well as Peebles' work with the Woman's Association for the Betterment of Public School Houses.

Laura W. Stebbins Papers, 1852-1884
School-teacher. Family and personal correspondence of Stebbins who taught in Mississippi before and after the Civil War, and who also operated her own school in Springfield. Contains information on subjects taught, remuneration of teachers, references to the Campbellite sect, living conditions in Ohio, merits of Northern and Southern teachers in Southern schools.

Nellie Stearns Letter, 1865
Letter from a Northern teacher in a Negro school describing the African Church in which she is teaching and the close observation of their activities by Southerners.

Townsend Family Papers, 1829-1972
Includes diaries, notebooks, photographs, and correspondence (1911-1972) of Bessie Meachum which document her activities as a teacher to black children at the Beach Institute in Savannah, Ga., Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Ala., and the Rio Grande Industrial School in Albuquerque, N.M. Correspondence of several Townsend family women relate to family matters. The letters of Annie Townsend reflect the activities and beliefs of a self-described spiritualist.

Isabella Ann Roberts Woodruff Papers, 1768-1865
School-teacher. Chiefly correspondence between Woodruff and several other single self-supporting middle class women documenting the variety of teaching positions held by the women at schools and academies and with private families as well as the struggles of teaching during the Civil War. Also included are Civil War courtship letters.