Complete Schedule

Title

Iowan Schoolmarms: The Significance of Iowa Rural Schools and the Feminization Movement, 1865-1920

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Rural schools--Iowa--History; Women in education--Iowa--History; Women's rights--Iowa--History;

Abstract

Approximately twelve to fourteen thousand one-room schoolhouses occupied the Iowan landscape during the late nineteenth century. Rural schools possess a strong connection to the memories Iowans have of their state and have a particularly strong impact on women’s recollections. The state was established during the climax of the educational reformation led by Horace Mann and Catharine Beecher. Consequently, Iowa mostly negated schooling by religious leaders and developed public school systems almost immediately upon the state’s foundations. The majority of the people settling Iowa already contained firm beliefs on public education being accessible for all citizens. Women began entering the schoolhouse in large number during the Civil War which continued to increase over the next several decades. Prior to the Civil War, Beecher sent her educational seminary graduates out west to teach. She also traveled across the county between the 1830s and 1850s and established seminary normal training programs throughout the Midwest including Burlington, Iowa. As education reformers and feminists continued to argue for women to work as educators, teaching became an extension of republican motherhood, and allowed women from rural communities to gather at institutions, such as the Iowa State Normal School to communicate and spread the significance and power women believed they had. This educational reformation and cultural shift created a movement that empowered women. As a result, the rural school became a symbol of independence in Iowa women’s history even more than it served as an ideological symbol of the nation’s democracy.

Start Date

4-4-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

4-4-2017 4:30 PM

Faculty Advisor

Leisl Carr Childers

Department

Department of History

Comments

Location: Maucker Union Presidential Room

Embargo Date

4-4-2017

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Apr 4th, 1:00 PM Apr 4th, 4:30 PM

Iowan Schoolmarms: The Significance of Iowa Rural Schools and the Feminization Movement, 1865-1920

Approximately twelve to fourteen thousand one-room schoolhouses occupied the Iowan landscape during the late nineteenth century. Rural schools possess a strong connection to the memories Iowans have of their state and have a particularly strong impact on women’s recollections. The state was established during the climax of the educational reformation led by Horace Mann and Catharine Beecher. Consequently, Iowa mostly negated schooling by religious leaders and developed public school systems almost immediately upon the state’s foundations. The majority of the people settling Iowa already contained firm beliefs on public education being accessible for all citizens. Women began entering the schoolhouse in large number during the Civil War which continued to increase over the next several decades. Prior to the Civil War, Beecher sent her educational seminary graduates out west to teach. She also traveled across the county between the 1830s and 1850s and established seminary normal training programs throughout the Midwest including Burlington, Iowa. As education reformers and feminists continued to argue for women to work as educators, teaching became an extension of republican motherhood, and allowed women from rural communities to gather at institutions, such as the Iowa State Normal School to communicate and spread the significance and power women believed they had. This educational reformation and cultural shift created a movement that empowered women. As a result, the rural school became a symbol of independence in Iowa women’s history even more than it served as an ideological symbol of the nation’s democracy.