Women Teaching, Women Learning: Historical Perspectives


Edited by Elizabeth M. Smyth and Paula Bourne

236 Pages
May 01, 2006

Women Teaching, Women Learning: Historical Perspectives is a collection of essays inspired by the pioneering work of Canadian feminist historian, Alison Prentice, that explore aspects of women’s formal and informal education in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The subjects of the essays are women who teach and learn in such traditional institutional-based settings as schools and universities as well as in informal learning networks that arose from travel and involvement in social activism. The authors write in a variety of styles with education broadly conceptualized as occurring at home, at school, and in the community.


Elizabeth M. Smyth is Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her most recent work is a co-edited volume with Ruby Heap and Wyn Millar, Learning to Practice: Professional Education in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2005).

Paula Bourne is Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Among her many publications, she is co-author, with Dorothy Smith, of Gender Equity and the Professional Education of Teachers: A Critical Review (Toronto: CWSE/OISE/UT, 2000)

Elizabeth M. Smyth and Paula Bourne

I. The Lives of Women Teachers

Getting Things Done: Donalda J. Dickie and Leadership Through Practice
Rebecca Priegert Coulter 

Sustaining the Fire of “Scholarly Passion”: Mary G. Hamilton (1883-1972) and Irene Poelzer (1926-)
Dianne M. Hallman and Anna H. Lathrop

And Gladly Teach? The Making of a Woman’s Profession
Marjorie Theobald

Cecilia Fryxell: The Life of a Swedish Educator
Inga Elgqvist-Saltzman

II. Regulating Women: Social Work, Teaching and Medicine

A Passion for Service: Edith Elwood and the Social Character of Reform
Cathy James

Gender and Class: State Formation and Schooling Reform in 1880s Toronto
Harry Smaller 

“All Matter Peculiar to Woman and Womanhood”: The Medical Context for Women’s Education in Canada in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
Wendy Mitchinson

III. Women’s Public and Private Lives

Travel Lessons: Canadian Women “Across the Pond” 1865-1905
Susan Mann

“Giving Myself a Toni, Write Thesis Tonight”: Negotiating Higher Education in the 1950s
Alison Mackinnon

The Ideology of Domesticity: Re-constructions Across Three Generations in Ontario
Cecilia Reynolds

Contributor Notes
List of Illustrations

1 review for Women Teaching, Women Learning: Historical Perspectives

  1. InannaWebmaster

    Advance praise for Women Teaching, Women Learning: Historical Perspectives:

    “This is a splendid tribute to Alison Prentice, a pioneer in the fields of social and women’s history. Each of the ten essays by her colleagues and students offers a different entry point into topics relating to women as teachers and learners and reminds readers not only of the relevance of the past to our present condition but also of the great pleasure that can be derived by reading history that is well-researched and accessibly-written. I consumed it in one gulp.”
    – Margaret Conrad, Department of History, University of New Brunswick

    “This rich collection of essays offers novel insights into women’s learning and teaching in formal and informal educational settings. The collection delineates how race, religion, class, and state regulation framed and moulded women’s educational experiences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This is a work certain to engage a broad audience of scholars interested in social history, the history of education, and women’s studies.”
    – Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Professor of History, Renison College, University of Waterloo

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