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HIST/WFQS 260: Sex and Reproduction in Nineteenth Century America: Before Margaret Sanger

This guide is a companion to Ms. Edwards' group assignment, Sex at Early Vassar

Topic

Heterosexual Courtship & Marriage

Heterosexual relationships as revealed in student diaries, letters, Miscellany News articles, yearbooks.  If you wish, you may also explore official Vassar records, presidential papers, faculty papers, or other such sources.

You may also find some of the resources included on the guide for Topic 4 (Same-Sex Relationships) useful for thinking about courtship rituals, love, marriage, socialization of college women, etc.

 

Material only available in Special Collections

Main Library

Online - general

Keywords to get you started: marriage, married, engaged, engagement, fiancé, courtship, chaperone, promenade, beau, flirt...

Don't forget about newspapers and magazines from the time period as well. Reflections on Vassar can often be found in these publications, including in firsthand accounts of student/alumna experiences (see, for example, "Does the Girls' College Destroy the Wife? A Frank Confession of Why One College Girl Has Not Married" (Ladies' Home Journal, June 1916).

Do you believe, Belle...

Bates, Sarah -- to Isabel Treadwell, Mar. 1868, page 4

Do you believe, Belle, that the only end of woman is "marriage" - that she who fails of that may be happy in another world, but never in this....