Catherine Beecher (1800-1878)
A rebellious nature that surfaced in her youth and continued through her adult years led Catherine Beecher to challenge accepted notions of femininity and the education of women in the nineteenth century. Born in East Hampton, New York, and raised there and in Litchfield, Connecticut, Beechers aversion to the social expectations for women in her well-heeled sphere expressed itself early in the founding of the Hartford Female Seminary.
In her teachings and writings Beecher extolled the power of women in the family by advising them to assume control over domestic affairs. To Beecher, the role of women as mothers served a great purpose in the health of American democracy. She believed womens education should prepare them for roles of responsibility and that higher education for women should train them as teachers-a natural public extension of womens role in the family. Beecher published many pamphlets promulgating her positions, and also founded the Western Female Institute in Cincinnati and the Milwaukee Female Seminary.