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Leaders of Their RaceEducating Black and White Women in the New South$
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Sarah H. Case

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041235

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041235.001.0001

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The “Perfection of Sacred Womanhood”

The “Perfection of Sacred Womanhood”

Educating Young Ladies at the Lucy Cobb Institute, 1880–1908

(p.14) 1 The “Perfection of Sacred Womanhood”
Leaders of Their Race

Sarah H. Case

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that between 1880 and 1908, Lucy Cobb Institute of Athens, Georgia, a private secondary school for young white elite women, took part defining New South white womanhood. Lead by Mildred Lewis Rutherford, prominent for her work on behalf of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, her sisters, and other faculty members, the institute defined white female identity as encompassing support for the Lost Cause, racial hierarchy, and gendered notions of gentility including feminine modesty. At the same time, the school offered a modern education and examples of female leadership, and taught that respectability would allow women to take part in expanded educational, club, and professional opportunities.

Keywords:   Lucy Cobb Institute, Mildred Lewis Rutherford, private secondary schools, respectability, white elite women, New South, Athens, Georgia

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