Celebrating Emma Hart Willard
Her 225th birthday was last week, February 23. Until yesterday, I had never heard of her. In 1821, Emma Hart Willard founded the first women’s school for higher education in the United States.
I face a computer screen, surrounded by books accumulated over my lifetime, and I risk forgetting that women like Emma Hart Willard came before me, reading books belonging to the men in their households, overcoming obstacles that I have never imagined, risking derision to gain expertise deemed “unfeminine” and restricted to and by men, driven by desire for knowledge and will to share that knowledge with other women.
She said, “The education of females has been exclusively directed to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty … though well to decorate the blossom, it is far better to prepare for the harvest.”
We are the harvest prepared for, and we continue to prepare for harvests to come.