WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2015-2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/596643

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Page 97 of 211

pauline and Henry Fowler Durant had a bold vision. They were strong proponents of women's education and wanted to provide women with an advanced educa- tion on par with what Henry had enjoyed at Harvard. And they wanted to realize that vision right here in Wellesley. It was the late 19th century and only 0.7 percent of women in the US attended college. Access to higher educa- tion was limited for women as most colleges only admitted men. Women's education generally consisted of public ele- mentary school or private finishing school, where girls would study music, literature, languages, and religion — subjects that would support their future roles as wives, mothers, and benefactors. Those women who wanted to become teachers — the only socially acceptable career opportunity at the time — could study at seminaries, pro- vided that they remained unmarried. There were precedents for opening the world of ad - vanced education to women. Forty years before, the first coeducational college, Oberlin, was formed. Co-education challenged prevailing Victorian era beliefs, however, which extolled the virtues of domesticity for women. It was commonly believed that men and women had different intellectual and emotional capabilities, and if educated together, it would lead to the demise of both sexes. Even Oberlin initially expected its female students to take a separate "Ladies Course" of study. 96 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 5 / 2 0 1 6 Is the Durants' Work L I S A L E S L I E H E N D E R S O N writer P H O T O G R A P H Y C O U R T E S Y O F D A N A H A L L S C H O O L M I N D Y B E S T

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