Seminary and Some Questions

My first thought when reading that Adaline attended Phipps Female Seminary was along the lines of a Bible college. A female Bible college in the 1800’s? What would a woman do with her education? It didn’t seem to fit in with my ideas of 19th century living. So I wasn’t very surprised when I found out that it could more appropriately be described as an academy or secondary education. A quote from an article entitled “Female Students and Denominational Affiliation: Sources of Success and Variation among Nineteenth-Century Academies” says that:

“From the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries, academies were the dominant form of schooling beyond the primary level in the United States. Until the 1880s the number of academies and academy students outnumbered high schools and high school students. At mid-century the proportion of 10 to 19-year olds that attended academies was approximately 13-21 percent, a figure that compares favorably with ranges of high school attendance as late as 1890.” American Journal of Education, vol 107, No. 2, pp 75-115.

Phipps Female Seminary was located in Albion, NY about 20 miles away from where Adaline grew up near Shelby and Medina. This area is northeast of Buffalo, right below Lake Ontario. The Seminary was started by Miss Caroline Phipps (later Mrs. Achilles) in the early 1830’s accepting both males and females, but Miss Phipps later chose to limit the teaching to young ladies.

Adaline attended secondary school with less than half of the population of young people her age. This raises so many questions for me. What members of society were able to go to school? What kind of a role did money play? Was it difficult or easy for Adaline to attend? What were her goals in attending school? What value systems were in place with regards to education? I don’t know about you, but I have always been told the benefits of a good education. Where did this value originate? Is it possible that family values over 100 years ago have trickled down to today? And that leads to the question: What values do I currently express that one might find evidence of 100 years in the future?

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Published in: on January 25, 2007 at 4:04 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good food for thought.


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