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Authors: Jane Robinson

Bluestockings

BOOK: Bluestockings
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Bluestockings

The Remarkable Story of the
First Women to Fight for an Education

JANE ROBINSON

VIKING

an imprint of

PENGUIN BOOKS

VIKING

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

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First published 2009

Copyright © Jane Robinson, 2009

The moral right of the author has been asserted

All rights reserved

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book

ISBN: 978-0-14-196109-5

For Mollie Haigh,
an inspirational lady

Contents

List of Illustrations
Chronology: Landmark Dates in the History of Higher Education for Women in England
Acknowledgements
Introduction
  1.     Ingenious and Learned Ladies
  2.     Working in Hope
  3.     Invading Academia
  4.     Most Abhorred of All Types
  5.     What to Do if You Catch Fire
  6.     Freshers
  7.     Women’s Sphere
  8.     Blessed Work
  9.     Spear Fishing and Other Pursuits
10.     Shadows
11.     Breeding White Elephants
Notes

Select Bibliography

Index

List of Illustrations

  
1.  Frances Buss of North London Collegiate School (courtesy of North London Collegiate School)
  
2.  Constance Louisa Maynard of Girton and Westfield Colleges (courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Archives, Westfield College Collection)
  
3.  Emily Davies, founder of Girton College (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College, Cambridge)
  
4.  Anne Jemima Clough, the first Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge (courtesy of the Armitt Collection, Ambleside)
  
5.  Dorothea Beale, founder of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College,
c.
1885 (courtesy of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College)
  
6.  Eleanor Sidgwick, maths tutor and later Principal of Newnham (courtesy of Harlan Walker)
  
7.  Miss Buss, surrounded by staff and students, 1877 (courtesy of North London Collegiate School)
  
8.  ‘The Ladies’ College’, Somerville Hall (from
Graphic
, 31 July 1880, courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of Somerville College, Oxford)
  
9.  Students at Cambridge protesting, 1897 (courtesy of Newnham College)
10.  A proud graduate,
c
.1890 (courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library)
11.  Chinese student Pao Swen Tseng, 1916 (courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Archives, Westfield College Collection)
12.  Sarah Mason (Mrs Tebbutt) and her children (courtesy of Tom Lester)
13.  A student cocoa party,
c
.1890 (courtesy of Royal Holloway, University of London)
14.  Oxford ‘Home Students’, 1899 (courtesy of St Anne’s College, Oxford)
15.  Graduates of St Hild’s in Durham, 1898 (by permission of the College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham University and Durham County Record Office, ref. DRO E/ HB 1/652)
16.  The Principal and Students of St Hilda’s, 1907 (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of St Hilda’s College, Oxford)
17.  Girton’s ‘College Five’, 1869 (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College)
18.  A portable fire-escape,
c
.1890 (courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Archives, Westfield College Collection)
19.  The Girton student fire brigade (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College)
20.  A third-year performance of
The Princess
at Girton, 1891 (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College)
21.  A group of Girton Classicists, 1891 (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College)
22.  Vera Brittain of Somerville College, Oxford, 1913 (copyright © Vera Brittain Estate)
23.  Open-air revision in June 1919 (courtesy of the Mistress and Fellows, Girton College)
24.  The first women entitled to wear academic dress at Oxford, 1921 (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of St Hilda’s College)
25.  Grace, Julie and Daphne Fredericks (courtesy of Grace Fredericks)
26.  Students of Lady Margaret Hall prepare for punting,
c
.1890 (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford)
27.  The Oxford University ladies’ hockey team,
c
.1900 (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of Lady Margaret Hall)
28.  St Hilda’s Boat Club, 1920s (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of St Hilda’s College)
29.  Exeter University’s tennis team, 1929 (courtesy of Exeter University)
30.  The entire student and staff population of Leicester University, 1922 (courtesy of Leicester University)
31.  A student chemist at Leeds University, 1908 (courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library)
32.  Physics research at Queen Mary College,
c.
1930 (courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Archives, Queen Mary Collection)
33.  A practical lesson in anatomy, 1911 (courtesy of Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
34.  Medical students at Bedford College, London,
c
.1915 (courtesy of Royal Holloway, University of London)
35.  A drawing class in the 1890s (courtesy of Royal Holloway, University of London)
36.  Trixie Pearson’s Class of 1932, St Hilda’s College (courtesy of the Principal and Fellows of St Hilda’s College)

Illustrations in the Text

p. iii   Girl with a quill pen, from
Fritillary
(the Oxford women’s colleges’ periodical), November 1924
p. 6     Dr Syntax woos a ‘Blue Stocking Beauty’, Thomas Rowlandson cartoon from William Combe,
The Third Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of a Wife
, 1821
p. 27    ‘She Stretcheth Out Her Hand to the Poor’, from
The Workwoman’s Guide, by a Lady
, 1840
p. 40    ‘The Girl: What Will She Become?’, from
Punch
, 1916
p. 59    Ashburne Hall fire drill, 1905, courtesy of Ashburne Hall Archives
p. 73    Callisthenics routine, from the
Girl’s Own Paper
, May 1884
p. 90    Women in academic dress, from
Fritillary
, November 1924
p. 112   Royal Holloway College,
c.
1886, courtesy of Royal Holloway, University of London Archives
p. 124   A monitor summons her fellow students, 1905, courtesy of Ashburne Hall Archives
p. 136   First women graduates in England, from the
Girl’s Own Paper
, July 1882
p. 166   Pupils practise in the gym at North London Collegiate School, from the
Girl’s Own Paper
, April 1882
p. 207   Cambridge alumna conquers the world, late nineteenth-century cartoon reproduced in Mountfield,
Women and Education
, 1990

Chronology

Landmark Dates in the History of
Higher Education for Women in England

1096
   The earliest record of Oxford as a centre of teaching and learning. It is the first university in the English-speaking world.
1209
   The University of Cambridge is (one could argue) indirectly founded by an Oxford woman, when scholars are banished from Oxford for her manslaughter, and decide to settle by the Cam.
1673
   Bathsua Makin publishes
An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen.
1694/7
   Mary Astell’s
A Serious Proposal to the Ladies
appears, suggesting a type of university education for women.
1750s–70s
   The heyday of the original Bluestockings, led by Elizabeth Montagu: mostly women, meeting in one another’s houses to discuss literature, philosophy, art, and intellectual discourse.
1792
   Mary Wollstonecraft’s
Vindication of the Rights of Woman
is published.
1826
   The founding of University College, London (originally known as London University).
1829
   The Governesses’ Mutual Assurance Society is established.
1830
   Birkbeck College (then known as the London Mechanics’ Institute) admits women to lectures.
1832
   Durham University is founded.
1841
   Whitelands (teacher-training) College opens in London.
1847
   London ‘Lectures to Ladies’ are instituted by Professor F. D. Maurice (whose sister is a governess).
1848
   Queen’s College, London, is founded by Professor Maurice.
1849
   Bedford College opens, later to become part of the University of London.
1850
   North London Collegiate School opens.
1854
   The Cheltenham Ladies’ College opens.
1854
   The Oxford University Act removes the requirement for religious tests for BA students, thus widening access; the Act for Cambridge is passed in 1856.
1858
   The
English Woman’s Journal
is first published, by the Ladies of Langham Place.
1863
   Girls are allowed to attempt Cambridge ‘Junior Local’ examinations.
BOOK: Bluestockings
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