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Bluestockings, Spinsters and Pedagogues: Women College Graduates, 1865-1910

Mary E. Cookingham
Population Studies
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Nov., 1984), pp. 349-364
DOI: 10.2307/2174128
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2174128
Page Count: 16
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Bluestockings, Spinsters and Pedagogues: Women College Graduates, 1865-1910
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Abstract

This article is a study of the demographic behaviour of women college graduates in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century America. The nuptiality and fertility patterns of this group of highly educated women are described, and several explanations of their `unusual' behaviour are evaluated. Marriage rates of women college graduates declined during the second half of the nineteenth century, even as more women attended college. Only about half the women graduating during the 1890s ever married. Still, the number of children ever born per alumna only varied between 1.0 and 1.5 for the graduation classes of 1865 to 1910. An explanation based on changing labour market opportunities for educated men and women best explains this population's demographic patterns over time as well as their deviations from those of other women in their birth cohort.

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