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A New Moral VisionGender, Religion, and the Changing Purposes of American Higher Education, 1837-1917$
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Andrea L. Turpin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704789

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704789.001.0001

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Ideological Origins of Collegiate Coeducation

Ideological Origins of Collegiate Coeducation

Oberlin College as a Sending City on a Hill

Chapter:
(p.63) Chapter 3 Ideological Origins of Collegiate Coeducation
Source:
A New Moral Vision
Author(s):

Andrea L. Turpin

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501704789.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the Oberlin Collegiate Institute, which was founded in 1833 with separate men's and women's tracks. It became the world's first truly coeducational college when it admitted women to the AB program in 1837. Like Holyoke Female Seminary's unusually advanced education for women, Oberlin's coeducation originated from “evangelical pragmatism,” a tendency to make decisions based on the desire to equip as many people as possible to spread the Christian message effectively, even when those decisions cut against the social norm. Although its leaders did not present a unified front on how women's higher education connected to their future roles, Oberlin's shift away from some of its more extreme social and religious stances would enable the college to play a significant role in the national debates over coeducation that dominated the higher educational landscape from the late 1850s through the early 1870s.

Keywords:   Oberlin Collegiate Institute, evangelical pragmatism, Christian message, national debates, coeducation

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