Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2007 - 6/30/2008

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Music Education in 19th-Century American Female Seminaries: A Neglected History

FAIN: FA-53416-07

Jewel Ann Smith
University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH 45220-2872)

In the early nineteenth century, a new type of female seminary emerged as an important institution for women’s education. These seminaries stressed a liberal arts education along with instruction in the ornamental arts. Along with a rigorous academic program, such institutions provided the most significant foundation for women’s music education. An examination of prominent schools—Litchfield, Troy, Hartford, Ipswich, Mount Holyoke, and Music Vale—represents the first musicological study of women’s music education in nineteenth-century American female seminaries. It also furnishes the historical, cultural, and educational material necessary for interdisciplinary study in nineteenth-century American history, education, and women’s studies.

Associated Products

Transforming Women's Education: Liberal Arts and Music in Female Seminaries (Book)
Title: Transforming Women's Education: Liberal Arts and Music in Female Seminaries
Author: Jewel A. Smith
Abstract: Female seminaries in the nineteenth-century United States offered middle-class women the rare privilege of training in music and the liberal arts. A music background in particular provided the foundation for a teaching career, one of the few paths open to women. Jewel A. Smith opens the doors of four female seminaries, revealing a milieu where rigorous training focused on music as an artistic pursuit rather than a social skill. Drawing on previously untapped archives, Smith charts women's musical experiences and training as well as the curricula and instruction available to them, the repertoire they mastered, and the philosophies undergirding their education. She also examines the complex tensions between the ideals of a young democracy and a deeply gendered system of education and professional advancement. An in-depth study of female seminaries as major institutions of learning, Transforming Women's Education illuminates how musical training added to women's lives and how their artistic acumen contributed to American society.
Year: 2019
Primary URL:
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780252042249
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes