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The Schooling of Girls and Changing Community Values in Massachusetts Towns, 1750–1820

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2017

Kathryn Kish Sklar*
State University of New York at Binghamton


This essay addresses a gap in our understanding of the social forces promoting female literacy in New England between 1750 and 1820. Historians generally agree that a rapid expansion of female literacy occurred during that century. Measuring literacy by the ability to sign one's name, studies have shown that in many communities only half as many women as men were literate in 1750. An example of this differential is the case of Elbridge Gerry, who courted but did not marry a young woman who, though she was the daughter of a Harvard graduate and state legislator, could neither read nor answer his letters to her from the Continental Congress. Yet by 1850 when the first federal census measured literacy by gender, both white women and men in New England were almost universally literate. Since older women were also universally literate, the change appears to have been complete among girls by 1820. After Kenneth Lockridge first pointed out the discrepancy between male and female literacy rates in colonial New England, scholars have amended many of his findings, but they have not yet found a way to explain the rapid increase in female literacy that occurred in New England after 1750.

Copyright © 1993 by the History of Education Society 

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1 The first discussion of the mid-eighteenth-century disparity between men's and women's literacy rates was Kenneth A. Lockridge's Literacy in Colonial New England: An Enquiry into the Social Context of Literacy in the Early Modern West (New York, 1974), 39. See also Beales, Ross W. Jr., “Studying Literacy at the Community Level: A Research Note,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 9 (Summer 1978): 93102. On a related topic, see Cornelius, Janet Duitsman, “When I Can Read My Title Clear”: Literacy, Slavery, and Religion in the Antebellum South (Columbia, S.C., 1991). For the example of Elbridge Gerry, see Kerber, Linda K., Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1980), 191; and Abigail Adams to John Adams, 14 Aug. 1776, in Adams Family Correspondence , ed. Butterfield, L. H. (Cambridge, Mass., 1963), 2: 95. Catherine Hunt's mid-eighteenth-century grandfather believed that “girls knew quite enough if they could make a shirt and a pudding.” Yet illiteracy gravely disabled Hunt in the marriage market, and she remained unwed. See also Monaghan, E. Jennifer, “Literacy Instruction and Gender in Colonial New England,” American Quarterly 40 (Mar. 1988): 18–41. This framing of the chronology of literacy in New England and elsewhere can be found in Vinovskis, Maris A. and Bernard, Richard M., “Beyond Catharine Beecher: Female Education in the Antebellum Period,” Signs 3 (Summer 1978): 856–69; Sklar, Kathryn Kish, “The Founding of Mount Holyoke College,” in Women in America: Original Essays and Documents, ed. Berkin, Carol Ruth and Norton, Mary Beth (Boston, 1979), 179–80; Lee Soltow and Edward Stevens, , The Rise of Literacy and the Common School in the United States: A Socioeconomic Analysis to 1870 (Chicago, 1981), 56; Kaestle, Carl F., Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780–1860 (New York, 1983), 27–28; and idem, “Studying the History of Literacy,” in Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading since 1880, ed. Kaestle, Carl F. et al. (New Haven, Conn., 1991), 3–32. See also Curtis, Bruce, “Some Recent Work on the History of Literacy in Canada,” History of Education Quarterly 30 (Winter 1990): 613–24; and Monaghan, E. Jennifer, ” ‘She Loved to Read in good Books’: Literacy and the Indians of Martha's Vineyard, 1643–1725,” History of Education Quarterly 30 (Winter 1990): 493–521. For a critique of Lockridge and for the most thorough discussion of this chronological framework, see Perlmann, Joel and Shirley, Dennis, “When Did New England Women Acquire Literacy?” William and Mary Quarterly 48 (Jan. 1991): 50–67, which urges the adoption of an earlier date between 1750 and 1800 marking almost universal literacy in New England.

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2 Auwers, Linda, “Reading the Marks of the Past: Exploring Female Literacy in Colonial Windsor, Connecticut,” Historical Methods 13 (Fall 1980): 204–14; Main, Gloria L., “An Inquiry into When and Why Women Learned to Write in Colonial New England,” Journal of Social History 24 (Spring 1991): 579–89.

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3 Two paradigms dominate discussions of the acquisition of literacy skills in colonial New England. Bailyn's, Bernard Education in the Forming of American Society: Needs and Opportunities for Study (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1960), emphasized the importance of home instruction. In The Irony of Early School Reform: Educational Innovation in Mid-Nineteenth Century Massachusetts (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), Michael B. Katz also pointed to the family's importance as a conveyer of literacy, and highlighted the nonacademic curriculum of many early schools, which featured discipline and sewing as much as reading and writing. Yet quantitative studies have more recently introduced the significance of the school as a place where literacy skills were developed. Lockridge argued that the expansion of male literacy before 1775 was at least partly due to the increasing number of town schools that accompanied greater population density. Lockridge, , Literacy in Colonial New England, 69–71. If the increasing availability of institutionalized learning was an important factor in the 30 percent rise in male literacy between 1650 and 1760, then we might expect that to be even more a factor in the 50 percent rise in female literacy that seems to have occurred in about half that time between 1750 and 1800. Yet scholars also make convincing arguments for the importance of home learning and dame schools in influencing literacy rates. See especially Kaestle, Carl F. and Vinovskis, Maris A., “From Apron Strings to ABCs: Parents, Children, and Schooling in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts,” in Turning Points: Historical and Sociological Essays on the Family, ed. Demos, John and Boocock, Sarane Spence (Chicago, 1978), 39–80; and Moran, Gerald F. and Vinovskis, Maris A., “The Great Care of Godly Parents: Early Childhood in Puritan New England,” in Moran, and Vinovskis, , Religion, Family, and the Life Course: Explorations in the Social History of Early America (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1992), 109–39. See also Slater, Peter Gregg, “Views of Children and of Child Rearing during the Early National Period: A Study in the New England Intellect” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1970). For the role of schools in women's literacy in Europe, see Houston, R. A., Literacy in Early Modern Europe: Culture and Education, 1500–1800 (New York, 1988), 19–23, 38–39, 73–75.

4 On the impact of socioeconomic developments, see Gilmore, William J., “Elementary Literacy on the Eve of the Industrial Revolution: Trends in Rural New England, 1760–1830,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 92 (Apr. 1982): 87179; and idem, Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life: Material and Cultural Life in Rural New England, 1780–1835 (Knoxville, Tenn., 1989). On church membership as a variable, see Kaestle, et al., Literacy in the United States, 15–23.

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5 Perlmann, and Shirley, , “When Did New England Women Acquire Literacy?” 66.

6 Accounts of women's secondary schooling can be found in Sklar, Kathryn Kish, Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (New Haven, Conn., 1973); Cott, Nancy F., The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman's Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (New Haven, Conn., 1977), 101–25; Scott, Anne Firor, “The Ever Widening Circle: The Diffusion of Feminist Values from the Troy Female Seminary, 1822–1872,” History of Education Quarterly 19 (Spring 1979): 3–25; Sklar, , “The Founding of Mount Holyoke College”; Gordon, Ann D., “The Young Ladies Academy of Philadelphia,” in Women of America, ed. Berkin, and Norton, , 177–201; Norton, Mary Beth, Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750–1800 (Boston, 1980), 256–94; and Kerber, , Women of the Republic, 185–231. A good summary of this scholarship can be found in Solomon, Barbara Miller, In the Company of Educated Women: A History of Women and Higher Education in America (New Haven, Conn., 1985).

7 Study of female schooling at the town level has languished, partly because the records have seemed confusing. Looking at the minutes of town meetings or school board meetings, Walter Small in 1901 presented “all the gleanings from the records of nearly 200 towns” to consist of “seven direct votes making ‘females’ eligible for the public schools, and five cases of implied permission.” Small concluded: “There is considerable evidence to show that girls were not admitted to most schools, until well toward the close of the Eighteenth Century.” Small, Walter H., “Girls in Colonial Schools,” Education 22 (Sep. and June 1901–2): 534. The most authoritative source on women's early schooling, Thomas Woody's monumental A History of Women's Education in the United States (New York, 1929), relied on Small's research and concluded: “The place of girls in New England town schools has been a rather obscure subject. On this question individual cases can be cited from the town records to show that they were admitted and again that they were not…. It appears that not until the later half of the 18th century was the admission of girls to the town schools more generally practiced, and the change of attitude throughout the last half of the century was slow. Equal provision was sometimes not made until well into the 19th century” (p. 142). See also Cole, Norwood Marion, “The Origin and Development of Town-School Education in Colonial Massachusetts, 1635–1775” (Ed.D. diss., University of Washington, 1957); and Murphy, Geraldine Joanne, “Massachusetts Bay Colony: The Role of Government in Education” (Ph.D. diss., Radcliffe College, 1960). Studies of men's higher education have for some time examined not only the process of learning itself, but the social forces that intersected with institutions of learning. See Novak, Steven J., The Rights of Youth: American Colleges and Student Revolt, 1798–1815 (Cambridge, Mass., 1977); and Allmendinger, David F. Jr., Paupers and Scholars: The Transformation of Student Life in Nineteenth-Century New England (New York, 1975). Yet most social histories of New England schooling have ignored primary schooling for girls. See, for example, Axtell, James, The School upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England (New Haven, Conn., 1974).

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8 Norton, Mary Beth, “Communications,” William and Mary Quarterly 48 (Oct. 1991): 639–45.

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9 Cott, , The Bonds of Womanhood, 30. Other considerations besides gender might have been involved in the ratio between expenditures on summer and winter sessions. The smaller salary paid to female teachers, the variation in teacher salaries between urban and rural schools, and most importantly, the higher costs of maintaining grammar schools compared to English reading and writing schools are all additional reasons why summer expenditures were lower than winter costs before 1800. I discuss the per-pupil savings represented in the smaller salaries of female teachers below. Population differences among these towns were not so great as to produce urban–rural distinctions among them. But distinctions between towns preferring grammar schools over reading schools were important in producing differences in winter and summer expenditures.

10 The twenty-eight towns about which I collected evidence are: *Andover, *Brookfield, *Charlton, Concord, Deerfield, *Dudley, Gloucester, Grafton, Haverhill, *Hingham, *Ipswich, *Leominster, *Leicester, Lexington, Longmeadow, Lynn, *Marlborough, Medford, *Northampton, Pepperell, Salem, *Sturbridge, Sterling, *Sutton, Templeton, Uxbridge, Whately, and Worcester.

The thirteen towns marked with asterisks had sufficient material to be included in the comparative statistics assembled in tables 1, 2, and 3, below. My goal was not to embrace all Massachusetts towns in this study, but to include a sufficient number of those with extensive records to produce a meaningful comparison between two towns with contrasting histories of female schooling.

This study draws on four basic categories of evidence, each of which has limitations. (1) Town selectmen reports and reports of town meetings, which usually record the amounts voted for school expenditures. Missing from these accounts are justifications or explanations about the schooling allocations. (2) Other town records, including special committee reports, tax lists, and vital records of births, deaths, and marriages. Teacher lists are rare before 1800. Also missing are pupil lists. Tax lists do not allow us to identify the school district in which households were located. The Massachusetts State Archives has microfilmed most tax lists before 1776, but after that date researchers must rely on the few remaining original manuscript tax lists. (3) Town histories frequently contain extensive verbatim excerpts from the above records and reproduce documents that have since been lost or destroyed. They usually provide a separate section on female schooling, but are highly uneven in this and other respects. (4) Personal documents, such as diaries and letters.

11 For Hawley, see Brown, E. Francis, Joseph Hawley, Colonial Radical (New York, 1931); and Taylor, Robert J., Western Massachusetts in the Revolution (Providence, R.I., 1954). For more on the “River Gods,” see Sweeney, Kevin M., “River Gods in the Making: The Williamses of Western Massachusetts,” in The Bay and the River, 1600–1900, ed. Benes, Peter (Boston, 1982), 101–17. For relative property values, see List of Rateable Property, 1792, microfilm reel 146, Northampton Tax Assessors, Northampton Town Papers, Forbes Library, Northampton, Mass. For more on Shepard, see Clark, Christopher, The Roots of Rural Capitalism: Western Massachusetts, 1780–1860 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1990), 31–32; Nobles, Gregory, “The Rise of Merchants in Rural Market Towns: A Case Study of Eighteenth-Century Northampton, Massachusetts,” Journal of Social History 24 (Fall 1990): 5–23; and Pruitt, Bettye Hobbs, The Massachusetts Tax Valuation List of 1771 (Boston, 1978), 398–99, which showed that Shepard had $750 lent at interest. Percentages calculated from Tax Valuation Lists, 1739–81; and Polls and Estate, 1814, microfilm reel 146, Northampton Tax Assessors.

12 Tercentenary History Committee, The Northampton Book, Chapters from 300 Years in the Life of a New England Town, 1654–1954 (Northampton, Mass., 1954), 184. After 1647, Massachusetts law required grammar schools in all towns with one hundred families. In 1683 the law was amended to require two grammar schools in towns with more than five hundred households, and the fine for noncompliance was raised from £5 to £20.

13 Records of the Government and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, vol. 2, 1642–1649 (Boston, 1853; reprinted, New York, 1968), 203.

14 Trumbull, James Russell, History of Northampton, Massachusetts, from Its Settlement in 1654 (Northampton, Mass., 1902), 2:304, 306; Northampton Schools, microfilm reel 141, Northampton Town Papers.

15 Trumbull, , History of Northampton, 2:331, 475, 552, 585–88; Proceedings, 1718–1865, Northampton Town Meeting, microfilm reel 137, Northampton Town Papers.

16 Trumbull, , History of Northampton, 2:586.

17 Ibid., 587.

18 Ibid., 588.

19 Ibid., 475, 551, 527–28. Since the federal government paid a bounty of 8s. per bolt of duck cloth, this made Shepard one of the first defense contractors and his employees among the first defense workers.

20 Ibid., 586.

21 Centennial Hampshire Gazette (1786–1886) (Northampton, Mass., 1886); Amory, Thomas C., Life of James Sullivan: With Selections from His Writings (Boston, 1859), 94. Sullivan is discussed in Kerber, Linda K., “The Paradox of Women's Citizenship in the Early Republic: The Case of Martin v. Massachusetts, 1805,” American Historical Review 97 (Apr. 1992): 349–78. Brown, , Joseph Hawley, 170–73; The Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from Nov. 28, 1780, to February 28, 1807 … (Boston, 1807), 473; The Colonial Laws of Massachusetts (Boston, 1887), 26, 136–37; Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (Boston, 1869), 1: 29–30, 66–68, 91–93, 166–69, 186, 213–15, 243–45, 371–72, 398–99, 420, 470; Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (Boston, 1874), 2: 21–22, 56–57, 758. Schoolmistresses were mentioned in a portion of the 1789 law that referred to “schools for the education of children, in the most early stages of life.” The law stated:

no person shall be allowed to be a master or mistress of such school, or to keep the same, unless he or she shall obtain a certificate from the Selectmen of such town or district where the same may be kept, or the committee appointed by such town, district, or plantation … as well as from a learned minister settled therein … that he or she is a person of sober life and conversation, and well qualified to keep such school. And it shall be the duty of school master or mistress, carefully to instruct the children attending his or her school in reading, (and writing if contracted for) and to instill into their minds a sense of piety and virtue, and to teach them decent behavior. And if any person shall presume to keep such school, without a certificate as aforesaid, he or she shall forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings.

22 Trumbull, , History of Northampton, 2:552; Northampton Vital Records, City Clerk's Office, Northampton, Mass. George Blackman and Phebe Strong married on 7 April 1791; Sally was born on 16 January 1797.

23 Vanderpoel, Emily Noyes, More Chronicles of a Pioneer School from 1792 to 1833 Being Added History on the Litchfield Female Academy Kept by Miss Sarah Pierce and Her Nephew, John Pierce Brace (New York, 1927), 82. I am grateful to Doris Malkmus for bringing this quotation to my attention.

24 Butler, Jon, Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People (Cambridge, Mass., 1990), 172–73. For church–state relations in Massachusetts, see McLoughlin, William G., New England Dissent, 1630–1883: The Baptists and the Separation of Church and State (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), 2: 1254 and passim. Although the Congregational church was not disestablished in Massachusetts until 1833, exemptions were made for those who attended other churches. Interestingly, Northampton's Second Congregational Church was in reality a Unitarian congregation, founded in “a revolt against the whole Calvinist system of doctrine which seemed to allow for no change, and a warmer belief in the power of human beings to do good.” Tercentenary History Committee, The Northampton Book, 386. Ministerial authority was declining throughout New England, not just in Northampton, in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. See Scott, Donald M., From Office to Profession: The New England Ministry, 1750–1850 (Philadelphia, 1978).

25 For the possibility of upward mobility through grammar schooling, see Allmendinger, , Paupers and Scholars ; and Harris, P. M. G., “The Social Origins of American Leaders: The Demographic Foundations,” Perspectives in American History 3 (1969): 157344.

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26 Benedict, William A. and Tracy, Hiram A., History of the Town of Sutton, Massachusetts, from 1704 to 1876; including Grafton until 1735; Millbury until 1813; and Parts of Northbridge, Upton, and Auburn (Worcester, Mass., 1878), 912.

27 The town began paying school fines in 1731. Ibid., 496, 502.

28 Baldwin, Christopher Columbus, “Annals of the Town of Sutton, 1714–1868,” Sutton, Mass., Papers, 1714–1868, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

29 Ibid.

30 “Diary of the Reverend David Hall,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. For more on Hall, see Sibley, John Langdon and Shipton, Clifford K., Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge (Cambridge, Mass., 1873–1968), 7:345–56. Joseph Hall graduated from Harvard in 1774 and married a decade later. Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 311, 503, 657, 502.

31 Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 726–28; Sutton, Second Church of Christ Records, 1743–1825. Singletary quoted in Brooke, John L., The Heart of the Commonwealth: Society and Political Culture in Worcester County, Massachusetts, 1713–1861 (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), 169.

32 Records of Massachusetts, 2:203; Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 449, 500. Sutton's records do not indicate which districts offered summer sessions beginning in 1767, or whether all did so. The gradual increase in funding for summer sessions might have been due to increasing numbers of districts offering such sessions or to an increasing length of sessions offered in every district, but the former seems more likely than the latter.

33 Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 501.

34 1784 Tax Valuation List, Sutton, Mass., Massachusetts State Library, Boston; and Sutton 1826 Tax List, Sutton, Mass., Papers. Differences in the scale of wealth in the two towns can be seen in the difference in their largest merchants. Sutton's largest merchant had stores worth one-third less than Northampton's second-largest merchant. For a graph of the proportion of taxable wealth owned by the top tenth of taxpayers, 1675–1860, see Henretta, James A., The Evolution of American Society, 1700–1815: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (Lexington, Mass., 1973), 105.

35 Dodge, Reuben Rawson, List of Teachers in School Districts Numbers Nine and Ten, Sutton, Massachusetts, from 1790 to 1897 (Worcester, Mass., 1897), 8, 20–22. In District 9, Anna Batcheller taught the summer term in 1788, 1789, and 1790, while her brother Benjamin taught in the winter sessions during those years and in 1791. For more on the Leland and Batcheller families, see Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 587–90, 684–85; Leland Family Records, Town Clerk, Sutton; and Sutton Vital Records to the End of the Year 1849 (Worcester, Mass., 1907). A branch of the Batcheller family who moved to nearby Brookfield in the 1820s became the largest manufacturer of boots in the country.

36 Table 1, columns 5 and 6, “Per-Pupil Expenditures in 1765 and 1772,” and Table 2, “Derivation of Columns 5 and 6 in Table 1.”

37 See Table 3, “Index of Educational Expenditures Relative to Town Wealth.”

38 I am grateful to James McLachlan for generously providing me with this information drawn from his quantitative study of Harvard graduates in the colonial era.

39 1784 Tax Valuation List, Sutton. For the range of literacy skills used by farm families, see Brown, Richard D., Knowledge Is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1706–1865 (New York, 1989), 132–59. Christopher Clark pointed out that livestock constituted the safest aspect of agricultural family economies, serving as a kind of economic regulator. In good years when grain and hay were plentiful, surpluses could be fed to livestock for fattening, and in bad years livestock could be slaughtered for food. Clark, , The Roots of Rural Capitalism, 77. Gloria Main's study of probate records in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, supports the notion that mothers backed initiatives for schooling girls. In the decades after 1750, Main found, widows were more likely than orphaned girls to be able to sign their names, indicating that women were acquiring literacy skills as adults. Following Main's logic, we can assume that mothers of Judith Hazeltine's generation, aware of the value of literacy skills through their own efforts in acquiring them, would have taken a special interest in their daughters' opportunities to learn more easily as children what they had learned as adults.

40 Hazeltine genealogy in Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 660; and Second Church of Christ Records, 1743–1825, Sutton, Mass., American Antiquarian Society.

41 Main, Gloria L., “The Standard of Living in Southern New England, 1640–1773,” William and Mary Quarterly 45 (Jan. 1988): 124–34; Shammas, Carole, The Pre-Industrial Consumer in England and America (Oxford, Eng., 1990); Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 27.

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42 By 1776 Sutton's population stood at 2,644, and 2,642 in 1790, compared to Northampton's size of 1,270 in 1764 and 1,628 in 1790. Sutton Vital Records, Town Clerk, Sutton; Trumbull, , History of Northampton, 2:328; and U.S. Federal Census statistics. Land scarcity in New England was first analyzed by Lockridge, Kenneth L., “Land, Population, and the Evolution of New England Society, 1630–1790,” Past and Present 39 (Apr. 1968): 62–80. The same process in the Northampton region has been described by Clark, , The Roots of Rural Capitalism, 21–117. Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 530–35. An excellent description of this process of change from rural to factory production, focusing on towns neighboring Sutton, is Prude, Jonathan, The Coming of Industrial Order: Town and Factory Life in Rural Massachusetts, 1810–1860 (Cambridge, Mass., 1983).

43 Clark, , The Roots of Rural Capitalism, 8493; and Dublin, Thomas, “Women and Outwork in a Nineteenth-Century New England Town: Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, 1830–1850,” in The Countryside in the Age of Capitalist Transformation: Essays in the Social History of Rural America, ed. Hahn, Steven and Prude, Jonathan (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1985), 51–70. Clark pointed to the expansion of secondary academies in this connection, but overlooked the issue of female primary schooling. Clark, , The Roots of Rural Capitalism, 115. Prude comments briefly on the local funding of district schools, but not on female schooling. Prude, , The Coming of Industrial Order, 28, 161, 241.

44 Mary “Molley” Chaplin's birthdate of 1768 is available in Sutton Vital Records, although the Chaplin family is not mentioned in the genealogy section of Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton. Shumway, Henry L., “An Old-Time Minister,” Worcester Society of Antiquity, Collections 5 (1882): 4467. All of the following quotations about the Chaplin episode are drawn directly from his diary as quoted in the Shumway article.

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45 For an interesting interpretation of frustrated patriarchy in eighteenth-century Virginia, see Lockridge, Kenneth A., On the Sources of Patriarchal Rage: The Commonplace Books of William Byrd and Thomas Jefferson and the Gendering Power in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1992). Mary Pierce, seventy-two years old in 1791, was the mother of eleven children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. Pierce genealogy in Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 700–701.

46 Shumway, , “An Old-Time Minister,” 5562.

47 Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 71. Sutton acted almost a century ahead of Massachusetts, which only guaranteed religious liberty for all citizens with the passage of a state constitutional amendment in 1883. See McLoughlin, , New England Dissent, 2: 1245–62. For more on the connection between Sutton's political fluidity and its religious pluralism, see Brooke, , The Heart of the Commonwealth, 127. For more on American religious pluralism before 1800, see Butler, , Awash in a Sea of Faith, 174–75. On the question of whether Baptists might have been more supportive than Congregationalists of women's spiritual leadership, the evidence appears to be mixed. See Hatch, Nathan O., The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven, Conn., 1989), 78–79; and Juster, Susan, Sinners and Saints: The Gendering of Evangelical Culture in Revolutionary New England (forthcoming, Ithaca, N.Y., 1994).

48 Davidson, Cathy N., Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (New York, 1986): 110–25; Kaestle, Carl F., “The History of Readers,” in Literacy in the United States, ed. Kaestle, et al., 33–74; Armstrong, Nancy, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York, 1987); Harris, Susan K., Nineteenth-Century American Women's Novels: Interpretive Strategies (New York, 1990); Ballaster, Ros, Seductive Forms: Women's Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740 (Oxford, Eng., 1992); Smith, Daniel Scott and Hindus, Michael S., “Premarital Pregnancy in America, 1640–1971: An Overview and Interpretation,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 5 (Spring 1975): 537–70; Smith, , “Parental Power and Marriage Patterns: An Analysis of Historical Trends in Hingham, Massachusetts,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 35 (Aug. 1973): 419–28.

49 Table 2 in Smith, and Hindus, , “Premarital Pregnancy” shows that women in families of middling wealth experienced a higher proportion of premarital pregnancies than women in poorer families, but that a higher proportion of men in poorer families wed pregnant brides than did men in middling families. Throughout the United States, in Virginia as well as in New England, one out of every three brides was pregnant at marriage in the 1790s, some of those marriages happily consummating a romance sustained on both sides, but some entered into by the bride because she had no choice. After 1820 the new “Victorian” pattern shifted from fathers to brides themselves the responsibility for maintaining premarital chastity, thereby internalizing what previously had been externally imposed. Ultimately, voluntarily forged marriages produced voluntarily limited fertility after marriage. Thus the 1790s crisis of parental authority led directly to the long-term reduction in family size that characterized women's lives between 1800 and 1930. Until that paradigm emerged around 1820, however, the clash of old and new cultures of sexual relations resounded through village, town, and city. See Smith, and Hindus, , “Premarital Pregnancy”; Smith, , “Parental Power and Marriage Patterns”; and Smith, Daniel Scott, “Population, Family, and Society in Hingham, Massachusetts, 1635–1880” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1973).

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50 Vickery, Sukey, Emily Hamilton: A Noval. Founded on Incidents in Real Life. By a Young Lady of Worcester County (Worcester, Mass., 1803); Davidson, , Revolution and the Word, 113.

51 Schultz, Stanley K., The Culture Factory: Boston Public Schools, 1789–1860 (New York, 1973), 14, 117–19; Hurd, D. Hamilton, ed., A History of Worcester County, Massachusetts (Philadelphia, 1889), 1: 117; and Morse, A. C., “Sturbridge,” in History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, 2: 361.

52 Rev. Staples, C. A., “Early Schools and School-Masters,” Proceedings of the Lexington Historical Society (1900–1905), 160; Locke, Alonzo E., “The Early Schools of Lexington,” in ibid., 8. Remaining information about Lexington from Staples, “Early Schools and School-Masters,” 165–68.

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53 The ideology of “Republican Motherhood” is described by Kerber in Women of the Republic, and by Sklar in Catharine Beecher .

54 Benedict, and Tracy, , History of the Town of Sutton, 503.

55 The effects of the feminization of the teaching profession on a particular region have been tellingly explored in Jensen, Joan M., Loosening the Bonds: Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750–1850 (New Haven, Conn., 1986), 167–83. For quotation, see Anonymous, Bessie; or Reminiscences of a Daughter of a New England Clergyman of the Eighteenth Century: Simple Facts, Simply Told by a Grandmother (New Haven, Conn., 1861), 185.

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