Chapter

Year of Decision: 1827–1828

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0005
Year of Decision: 1827–1828

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The emotional turmoil Harriet Beecher experienced in 1827 was felt by many young women of her time when they embarked upon the world freighted with a well-stocked mind, a sense of social duty, and no clear way in which to put their talents to use. This dilemma was heightened for graduates of the Hartford Female Seminary. However, Catharine Beecher had begun her school out of her personal awareness that not every woman would marry and have children. While Mary Beth Norton is right to point out that the first generation of educated female Americans included teachers, missionaries, authors, such careers were not obvious choices in 1827. The post-seminary experiences of Mary Talcott, a student at Catharine's school from 1831 to 1833, and her friend Harriet Grew were perhaps more typical for educated women of the time. A look at Mary Talcott and her brief career provides a context for Harriet Beecher's difficulties.

Keywords: Harriet Beecher; Hartford Female Seminary; Catharine Beecher; Mary Talcott; Harriet Grew; social duty; women

Chapter.  7163 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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