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Higher Education for Women in Postwar America, 1945–1965

, 296 pages
March 2010



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Higher Education for Women in Postwar America, 1945–1965

Outstanding Academic Title for 2007, Choice Magazine

This history explores the nature of postwar advocacy for women's higher education, acknowledging its unique relationship to the expectations of the era and recognizing its particular type of adaptive activism. Linda Eisenmann illuminates the impact of this advocacy in the postwar era, identifying a link between women's activism during World War II and the women's movement of the late 1960s.

Though the postwar period has been portrayed as an era of domestic retreat for women, Eisenmann finds otherwise as she explores areas of institution building and gender awareness. In an era uncomfortable with feminism, this generation advocated individual decision making rather than collective action by professional women, generally conceding their complicated responsibilities as wives and mothers.

By redefining our understanding of activism and assessing women's efforts within the context of their milieu, this innovative work reclaims an era often denigrated for its lack of attention to women.

Linda Eisenmann is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at John Carroll University, past president of the History of Education Society, and president-elect of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

"Groundbreaking synthesis... Highly recommended."

"This is an interesting book and Eisenmann skillfully demonstrates the connections between governmental policy, social ideologies, and higher education."

"Historians of education and gender will find the book useful."

"Eisenmann gives the postwar activists the attention they merit and insightfully conveys their value in women's educational history."

"No other history of this era has explored so many facets of American gender ideology, including economic, cultural, and psychological ideologies. Eisenmann offers well-supported and original arguments that will make this book a 'must read' not only for historians of higher education and American women but also for women who lived through the experiences described in the book."

"Through the use of primary sources of early women's organizations, commissions, and continuing education institutions, Eisenmann explains the actions of a group of women in higher education, while noting the racial and class differences all along the way. The book will expand our understanding of this era."

"For social, labor, and women's historians interested in the middle twentieth century, the book is a critically important one."

"Eisenmann also makes an important contribution to our understanding of postwar American society."

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