Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Botany - A Philadelphia Seed Dealer & a New York Teacher on why Women should learn Botany

Irish immigrant gardener, seed dealer, nurseryman, & writer Bernard M'Mahon (1775-1816), noted in his 1806 Philadelphia book The American Gardener's Calendar"The innocent, healthful, and pleasing amusement that Botanical studies might afford to the fair daughters of Columbia, who have leisure time to devote to such, is also a very important object, as in that way, many happy and enchanting hours might be delightfully spent to useful and salubrious purposes, which otherwise would hang heavily or be trifled away perhaps to disadvantage."

Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793-1883) who taught at the Troy Female Seminary wrote in her 1829 Familiar Lectures on Botany "The study of botany seems particularly suited to females; the objects of its investigation are beautiful and delicate."  
In 1821, Emma Hart Willard opened the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, to provide young women with the same higher education as their male peers. Prior to the school's founding, most young women had been unable to pursue the advanced curricular offerings in mathematics, classical languages, and the sciences, including botany, that were taught to their male counterparts. Having taught for several years, Emma Willard perceived the egregious disparity in what girls learned compared to boys. She was able to formally found the Troy Female Seminary "for young ladies of means," becoming "the first school in the country to provide girls the same educational opportunities given to boys."  The school was immediately successful, and it graduated many great thinkers, including noted social reformer and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
School for Girls by Jan Josef Horemans (1682–1759)

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