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Those Good Gertrudes

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Those Good Gertrudes

A Social History of Women Teachers in America

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 Its voice, themes, and findings build from the mostly unpublished writings of many women and their families, colleagues, and pupils.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.