“Who is that woman?”

Martha H. Verbrugge

in Active Bodies

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195168792
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949649 | DOI:
“Who is that woman?”

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Chapter 1 opens with a brief history of physical education as a profession in the United States from the 1890s through 1940s. It then focuses on white and black women who became gym teachers during these decades: their upbringing, interests, training, employment, work-related challenges (such as inadequate resources, facilities, and administrative authority), professional activities, and personal lives. As second-class members of a new, seemingly non-academic field, early female physical educators emphasized notions of gender to accommodate as well as resist the disadvantages they faced at educational institutions. The chapter includes biographical sketches of prominent and lesser-known women; data on the careers and marital status of physical education graduates of several Midwestern universities; and detailed descriptions of the hiring process at Hampton Institute and Spelman College.

Keywords: history of physical education; women gym teachers; teacher training; marital status; Hampton Institute; Spelman College

Chapter.  13574 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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