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Cover image of Those Good Gertrudes
Cover image of Those Good Gertrudes
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Those Good Gertrudes

A Social History of Women Teachers in America

Geraldine J. Clifford

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The definitive book on women teachers in America, told in their own voices.

Those Good Gertrudes explores the professional, civic, and personal roles of women teachers throughout American history. Its voice, themes, and findings build from the mostly unpublished writings of many women and their families, colleagues, and pupils. Geraldine J. Clifford studied personal history manuscripts in archives and consulted printed autobiographies, diaries, correspondence, oral histories, interviews—even film and fiction—to probe the multifaceted imagery that has surrounded teaching.

This broad ranging...

The definitive book on women teachers in America, told in their own voices.

Those Good Gertrudes explores the professional, civic, and personal roles of women teachers throughout American history. Its voice, themes, and findings build from the mostly unpublished writings of many women and their families, colleagues, and pupils. Geraldine J. Clifford studied personal history manuscripts in archives and consulted printed autobiographies, diaries, correspondence, oral histories, interviews—even film and fiction—to probe the multifaceted imagery that has surrounded teaching.

This broad ranging, inclusive, and comparative work surveys a long past where schoolteaching was essentially men's work, with women relegated to restricted niches such as teaching rudiments of the vernacular language to young children and socializing girls for traditional gender roles. Clifford documents and explains the emergence of women as the prototypical schoolteachers in the United States, a process apparent in the late colonial period and continuing through the nineteenth century, when they became the majority of American public and private schoolteachers.

The capstone of Clifford’s distinguished career and the definitive book on women teachers in America, Those Good Gertrudes will engage scholars in the history of education and women’s history, teachers past, present, and future, and readers with vivid memories of their own teachers.

Reviews

Reviews

Clifford's book is a timely blessing, the history of teachers are at last accorded their own integrity instead of as appendages in other fields of study.

In a clear example of evidence-based history, Clifford gathered her stories from 628 archival collections over a period of 25 years... Highly recommended.

It is as such a useful resource for historians of the teaching profession and for any of us who wish to reshape labor practices in the academy, who wish to rethink our professional identities, who wish to acknowledge the significant history and work of the educator.

Clifford’s colleagues around the world have long anticipated Those Good Gertrudes. They will find the wait exceedingly worthwhile. The book’s scope and depth can now incite new generations of students to reflect on and investigate the repercussions of teaching and learning—activities still driven essentially by women both in the U.S. and globally.

Those ‘Good Gertrudes’—the women who dedicated some part of their lives to teaching—finally have a great historian to tell this important, missing story. Professor Geraldine J. Clifford has brought together an intense combination of extended research, fresh archival information, and the insightful interpretation that only wisdom can bring to scholarship. This stands as a landmark work in the social history of education.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
496
ISBN
9781421419794
Illustration Description
18 halftones, 1 line drawing
Table of Contents

Introduction
1. "It Is Well That Women Should Be Unlettered"
2. "School Dames in Each Quarter"
3. "A Sisterhood of Instruction, Essential to the World's Progress"
4. "Overflowing from the Domestic Circle"

Introduction
1. "It Is Well That Women Should Be Unlettered"
2. "School Dames in Each Quarter"
3. "A Sisterhood of Instruction, Essential to the World's Progress"
4. "Overflowing from the Domestic Circle"
5. "An Honorable Breadwinning Weapon"
6. "The Presiding Genius of His Home and Heart"
7. "In the Mind's Eye"
8. "Higher Prospects for a Useful Life"
9. "Laboring Conscientiously, Though Perhaps Obscurely"
10. "The Great Perplexities of the Teacher-Life"
11. "That Our Daughters May Be as Cornerstones"
12. "The Feast of Reason and Flow of Soul"
13. "A Lady Well Qualified to Show the Way"
Notes
An Essential Reference Guide
Archives Consulted for the Good Gertrudes Project
Index

Author Bio
Geraldine J. Clifford
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Geraldine J. Clifford

The first woman to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship for research in education, Geraldine J. Clifford is professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Lone Voyagers: Academic Women in Coeducational Institutions, 1870–1937.
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