Those Good Gertrudes
Geraldine Clifford defines her study of women teachers in America as a social history of the women who taught school. Since the 1970s, when she began her encyclopedic research for the ‘Good Gertrudes,’ (a descriptive term introduced by Swiss educator K. Pestalozzi in the 1850s), she has delved into an almost untapped treasury of unpublished documents, some six hundred archival accounts squirreled away in a wide range of libraries and collections.
The book’s scope is daunting, describing transformations since the earliest women to teach on American soil until the present in series of thematic chapters. Clifford details the significant change that came about from the mid- nineteenth century when it was acknowledged that teachers in private and public schools provided virtually all the basic education.
Although meticulously organized, the book takes considerable concentration and should be viewed as a reference work rather than a volume to read from beginning to end. The notes are copious and useful, the photographs provide a welcome break in the demanding text.
In sum, Clifford’s book is a timely blessing, the history of teachers are at last accorded their own integrity instead of as appendages in other fields of study.
|Page Count||496 pages|
|Publisher||Johns Hopkins University Press|
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