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A Vision for Girls

'A Vision for Girls' cover image

A Vision for Girls

Gender, Education, and the Bryn Mawr School

Baltimore's Bryn Mawr School was founded in the 1880s, the first college-preparatory school for girls in the United States. Unlike other educational institutions at the time, the Bryn Mawr School championed intellectual equality of the sexes. Established with the goal of providing girls with an education identical to boys' in quality and compass, it endeavored to prepare girls to excel in a public sphere traditionally dominated by men.

Narrating the history of the Bryn Mawr School, Andrea Hamilton's A Vision for Girls examines the value of single-sex education, America's shifting educational philosophy, and significant changes in the role of women in American society. Hamilton reveals an institution that was both ahead of its time and a product of its time.

A Vision for Girls offers an original and engaging history of an institution that helped shape educational goals in America, shedding light on the course of American education and attitudes toward women's intellectual and professional capabilities.

"To educate American girls and women in ways beyond the traditional has been a dangerous experiment that has challenged basic notions of female nature and has seemed to threaten the social order... One such bold venture in female education—the Bryn Mawr School of Baltimore, Maryland—is the subject of Andrea Hamilton's lively and well-researched book... In Hamilton's telling, the story of the Bryn Mawr School moves beyond its local particulars to illumine much about the history of American education and life... The importance of Hamilton's contribution is that she never loses sight of the complexity of the school and its relation to society. Her history of the Bryn Mawr School helps us understand aspects of the unique position held by American women in national social, intellectual, and cultural life."—from the Foreword by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz