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Mary Beth Norton, Liberty's Daughters:The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800(New York: Cornell University Press, 1996), 259-260.


In Norton’s 1980 book, she explores the experiences of women during the Revolution, their political activities, and the reactions they and others had to the turmoil of the Revolution. Noting that women were not expected to participate prior to the Revolution in the realm of politics, she addresses girls’ education in this passage.

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“A girl in pre-Revolutionary America could progress beyond [the] bare rudiments only through some combination of her initiative, the inclination of her parents, and the proximity of one of the ‘adventure schools’ that, before the 1780s, constituted the sole means through which girls could gain access to advanced training.…Like dame schools, adventure schools catering to girls were usually run by women or perhaps by married couples. Located in the homes of the instructors, they were short-lived, with no staff other than the owners, and their course of study stressed ornamental accomplishments. By the 1760s, adventure schools teaching music, dancing, drawing and painting, fancy needlework, and handicrafts flourished in every colonial city along with other similar establishments offering some instruction in advanced writing, grammar, and arithmetic.”


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