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Sisters in mind--early networking for the advancement of women's education: Emma Willard's French connection.

The lifelong friendship and networking between Emma Willard and French femmes de lettres and educators Louise Swanton Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier are reconstructed here from their correspondence. The letters written by Louise Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier spanning almost forty years have been translated into English by the author. The letters bare witness to the rich intellectual life of these women and their strong dedication to the advancement of women's education.

Emma Willard was "a star and a guide" in the eyes of the French educators. They shared her views on the education of women and instilled them into their own writings.

On Friday, April 22, 1831 when Emma Willard and her son John boarded the steamboat Lord Melville to cross the Channel, she carried with her a letter of introduction to Maria Edgeworth. The letter was written by Madame Louise Swanton Belloc--friend and translator of Maria Edgeworth's books.</p> <pre> She seems to me to be one of the most sane and complete minds one ever meets; a person of resolution, wit, heart, imagination--a union of beautiful and rare qualities. </pre> <p>Founder of Troy Female Seminary in 1821 (now Emma Willard School), Emma Willard (1787-1870) was a prominent American educator and a strong advocate for the advancement of women's education. Instead of "ornamental" branches, she introduced courses in science ("to attend to the cultivation of the mind") into the curriculum of the TroySeminary. (1) In A Plan for Improving Female Education (2) published in 1819, Emma Willard stated her lifelong credo: [1]</p> <pre> Education should seek to bring its subjects to the perfection of their moral, intellectual and physical nature: in order that they may be of the greatest possible use to themselves and others, that(they?) may be the means of the greatest possible happiness of which they are capable, both as to what they enjoy and what they communicate. </pre> <p>Through her books, articles and letters, Emma Willard was a communicator, but she was also a rassembleur. Indeed, she was perhaps the only nineteenth century educator vitally interested in the work of outstanding women writers and educators living outside of the United States. During the memorable year spent in Europe (1830-1831), she met and exchanged views on education with Maria Edgeworth in London as well as with Louise Swanton Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier in Paris.

Louise Swanton Belloc was the French paternal grandmother of Hilaire Belloc and Marie Belloc Lowndes, both reputable English writers. Prolific author, gifted critic and translator, Louise Swanton Belloc should be remembered in her own right. She was on the editorial board of the famous Revue Encyclopedique for twelve years and also collaborated with other important magazines such as the Revue des Deux Mondes, the Magazin Pittoresque, the Musee de Familles and the Revue de Paris. La Ruche, the first journal dedicated to teaching by correspondence, was edited and published by Louise Swanton Belloc (3) and her lifelong friend and collaborator, Adelaide Montgolfier. Both shared the conviction that women had the right to as rich intellectual life as men.

In addition to her substantial contribution to the writing and publishing of La Ruche--journal d'etudes familiere, Adelaide Montgolfier was herself an educational writer and translator. They were both, in Emma Willard's opinion, <<literary ladies of high talent and attainment>>.

In a letter to her sister (4) dated March 28th 1831, Emma Willard writes from Paris: [2]</p> <pre> She [Madame Belloc] had heard of me as a writer, and wished to read my books, particularly my History of our republic. I had not that, but I gave her my appeal to the Legislature in favor of female education, and my little volume of poems ... Warm hearts are better than sunny fields, and elevated minds more sublime than cloud-capt mountains [of Switzerland] ... In the house of Madame Belloc, the very lady of whose writings we have taught so much and often talked about, I have realized these high imaging. You, my dear sister, and a friend of Madame Belloc's, truly a friend, Mademoiselle Adelaide Montgolfier, are parties in the friendship which we have formed. </pre> <p>This friendship, which lasted for the next almost forty years, has been reconstitute here from Louise Swanton Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier's letters found in the Emma Willard family papers in the Archives and Special Collection of the Amherst College Library (19 letters between 1831 and 1868). Unfortunately, in spite of the inquiries made in the framework of the Emma Willard's Papers Project, Emma Willard's replies have never been recovered. Camille Lepouchard, in his recent book on Louise Swanton Belloc, expressed his belief that Emma Willard's replies were lost in France during the two wars.

The most interesting part of the correspondence is the period between 1831 and 1840, the most active phase of their professional lives. The first letters were written while EW was still in England. The letters mention professional and private issues as well as public events such as the social turmoil that marked France and the United States. Except for three, the letters were written in French and have been translated into English by the author for the purpose of this paper.

This article seeks to highlight the close friendship between three--(four, if we include A. Lincoln Phelps, Emma Willard's sister)--of the most remarkable nineteenth century educators. Today, we would employ the term <<networking>>, since they wrote to each other--(there are usually two letters, one from Louise Belloc and one from Adelaide Montgolfier)--about their work, their beliefs and their feelings. They sent each other books, praised each other in articles, and helped one another in many ways. From the letters we can speculate as to Emma Willard's opinion and advice regarding the different issues raised by her French friends.

In addition, they shared a common interest in other outstanding women writers such as Maria Edgeworth, Hariet Martineau and Madame Necker de Saussure--sister-in-law and biographer of Madame de Stael. Emma Willard and her sister translated Madame de Saussure's Progressive Education. Commencing with the Infant sent to them by L. Belloc and A. Montgolfier as soon as the three volumes were published. They introduced her to the American public in an article full of praise published in the Patapsco Young Ladies' Magazine. (5) [3] When in 1837 Emma Willard organized the Willard Association of the Mutual Improvement of Female Teachers, both Madame Necker de Saussure and Madame Belloc were among the honorary members.

Throughout their long friendship, Louise Sw. Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier greatly admired Emma Willard and, believed their own accomplishments were insignificant compared to hers.</p> <pre> Paris, October 28, 1831 You, whose active and beautiful life has produced such marvelous

results, you would not understand that I, who has accomplished

nothing or very little and who is not associated with any important

enterprise, would not find the time to recall the person I honor and admire most in the world. I wish I could go and join you and offer my cooperation to the accomplishment of your important work. If I were ten years younger and could decide my fate without carrying along a husband, children and a whole world, I think I would not

hesitate. (6) I would be happy to follow your inspiration and accomplish your beautiful thought. You are too good Madame, to have thought about dedicating the history of your admirable work to Adelaide and me. Many people would be more worthy of this honor, but no one, I am sure, would be more touched than we are. It seems to me that your writing will encourage imitations, and this will be another way to make your bright views on education widely known. As for me, I can only prepare some useful books to translate and publish. Here [in France], the education is based on narrow and puerile vanity, on a highly developed sensitivity. Our vanity is external; we respect ourselves, not for what we are worth, but for the respect the others show us. We do try to acquire knowledge, not to enrich our intelligence or to understand more, but only to shine for a moment in a salon, to collect suffrages and applause. Our sensitivity is almost always selfish, focused on our pain. We have tears only for our own suffering. (7) I have not yet received the books that you kindly promised and that your sister should have sent. I am counting on your friendship to fulfill this promise. (8) If by any chance the book have not yet been sent, please send them to the Royal School of Drawing and Mathematics, 5 rue de l'Ecole de Medicine, Paris, but I can still receive them at my old address as long as Adelaide will continue to live in the house. This forced separation is difficult for me. For six months she has been living, not at my house but very near, on the same floor. We could see each other anytime to think together, work together. We will not be far from one another, but we will have to give up this intimacy.

What do you think of the History and Topography of the United States of North America, edited by John Howard Linton with the charming engravings? It was sent to the Revue Encyclopedique, where I have mentioned the work months ago. If, by any chance, you know the Editor, please tell him that I will be pleased to publicize the second volume as well, and that I do have the means, through different magazines, to make the work widely known in France. The work can be sent directly to me and I will write an article in the Revue and in Mr Jullien's new magazine as well. You know that he gave up the Revue Encyclopedique to the sect of the Saint-Simoniens. I don't know whether you have heard about this more social than religious doctrine, which aims to recreate the society with new ideals. I doubt that the time for this reform has come. (9) The Revue will continue to announce different works published in England and America. Louise Sw. Belloc

Since you have left, we have had many worries. (10) Our heads are

less cold than yours, our ground is more mobile than that of America,

and after this revolution that I thought was over, the spirits still

have not settled, the imagination does not want to rest and the

ground is still trembling. In Paris, the movements affecting a part of our country have reached as far as our place. In Lyon, thousand of workers thrown on the streets by misery rebelled carrying flags with the inscription "To die fighting or to live working" (mourir en combatant ou vivre en travaillant). This rebellion put aside all other problems except the unbelievable misery of the working class. I do hope that some remedies will be found and that the only attitude towards the unfortunates will be that of pity, clemency and gentleness. Adelaide Montgolfier Paris, June 16, 1832, 5, rue de l'Ecole de Medecine We were very pleased to receive your letter and, a couple of days later, the parcel from Le Havre. I began to worry as days went by without a sign of you. Thank God you were able to pursue your task and the accomplishment of your great work without too much fatigue of spirit and body. You were extremely kind to think of me and to select the books from your library. There are 9 volumes of biographies and 20 books and atlases, all from you. I think that the bookseller from Boston whom Mrs. Phelps has kindly written to has sent or will send the books in time for Sully's departure. Adelaide and I both need this memory of your friendship because we have been unhappy and pained for several months because of both public events and private sorrows. Our poor country is prey to continuous violence. Our July revolution can hardly be accomplished. It has brought about many ambitions, a lot of dissatisfied people unhappy with their fate. The cholera added to the riot. In Paris, up to two thousand people were buried when the epidemic reached its peak. This is only to assure you that we are fine after the last troubles in Paris (June 5 and (6). that were as frightening as those of July 1830. (11) People were shooting in the streets, canons were firing at the people mislead by generous but mad theories. Your friend General Lafayette was at the center of this political conflict but thank God, he was not harmed. (12) Paris is still under the blockade and we are worried about the people who have been arrested. Among them there are always friends; nowadays you should live completely isolated to avoid interesting people who have all kind of opinions. Would you please give Mrs. Phelps, Madame de Saussure's (Madame de Stael's relative) L'Education progressive? Only the first volume has been published. There are many good things that will interest both of you such as the practical observation. (13) As to what pertains to elementary treatises, we have very few. I believe that in this field you are richer than we are. There is an excellent book by Mr. Dumeril, one of our most distinguished savant. It contains the priciples of all of the sciences but is much too savant for children. It is excellent and, if you would like, I will send it to you. There are two volumes and the book is intended to introduce 18 to 20 year olds to the study of natural history. I am also sending you dear Madam, 200 copies of the leaflet of the Education familiere that I have published myself, reprinting at my expense the six volumes that were already published and, since I was deceived by our bookseller, I have had to open a subscription. We will start with the Bibliotheque d' 'education which I will publish little by little and for which I will ask your help and advice. I think that these booklets may be appropriate in the United States for the study of French. The parts translated by Miss Edgeworth have been done with high fidelity. I would have liked to have sent you the next two volumes, volumes 7 and 8, that I will publish but they will only be ready in 8 days. You should have the first 6 volumes. Please read them attentively and tell me what you think. Up to the middle of volume 4 is my work, 2 or 3 chapters were written by (?), volume 8 by Adelaide. We intend to quickly publish the 12 volumes in 3 series of 4 volumes each. Maybe you could distribute some of our leaflets to the families of your students and to a bookseller or publisher. He could send them mainly to families.. The popular books you have mentioned are not yet ready. At present we have begun with a few books, not expensive, but not substantial either I am afraid. If it is worthwhile to you, I will send them to you. Up to now, only the leaflet has been published and this does not give much faith in the work. Mr. Jullien asked me to give you his regards. Adieu, dear Madam, I am pressed by the time. In the midst of all the turmoil, I have not yet had the courage to write the paper that I want so much to do well. (14) Adieu, Mr. Belloc asks me to present you with his respects. Louise Sw Belloc P.S. I address the parcel to Mr. Gallher and Mr. White of New York. Please claim it as soon as you have received our letters. Paris, April 22, 1836

My dear friend, we would like you to buy from the printer or the

bookseller, not the engravings of the Geography, but a plate (stereotype). You know, there is a high quality imprint of the engraved wood, a plaster cast. A mold is made from a very fusible alloy, and as many metal sheets are made as desired, all of them similar to the wood reproducing the engravings. In French they are called cliches. I do not know the English name, but it seems impossible to me that the procedure be unknown in your industrious America. This method makes the wood engraving eternal and the plate may be sold in the same way as the engraving, without damaging the original plate. I realize that I have provided a long and twisted description, but I do hope that you will be able to untangle it. (15) This year has been painful for us; I often felt the need of your strength to support my weakness. A long and painful illness forced my poor dear friend Louise to render in bed or on the chaise longue for over ten months. Had we anticipated this cruel ordeal, we would probably have refused to begin La Ruche; it is a good thing that we

hoped for a better situation, for better health, as if we are given

the strength to go on, this entreprise will be a good one and our

children will be as numerous as yours. Their parents and their

teachers assure us that it makes the task of education easier and

more pleasant for everybody. (16) God made you strong, dear friend, in more than one way: what your thought creates, your will carries out, your perseverance completes, while I almost always remain in a state of hopes and regrets. You have guessed, dear friend, that the journal we wanted to create is our true vocation and the best thing we could have done in our situation, within our means in order to exert some useful influence on women's education in our country. Many parents are afraid that by knowing useful things, their daughters will be different from other women and will not find a husband, as men do not care for the savantes. We are presently trying to translate almost all of the excellent books you have sent us, among others, the admirable Geography and the Precis d'histoire universelle, Mrs. Phelps' Botanique and Natural

Philosophy, books that are an inspiration for us but that are too

difficult for our public. We must try to direct readers toward the

good books. As you have suggested, bringing together your strong

students' compositions with our childrens' would be useful for all of them. The qualities as well as weaknesses seem to be different. The flow of ideas and the religious serenity are remarkable in the works of your young Americans and are almost always missing in our girls' work, which have fewer essential qualities but are nice and gracious. They have more imagination, more unexpected ideas; this makes you guess that beautiful things could develop. If you asked your girls to write on topics found in La Ruche, do you not think that we could find out more about the diversity of their ideas? We have not yet decided which composition to publish among those you have sent us. We would like to offer the same topic to our students in order to compare. We are worried because of the American crisis, we are anxious for you dear friend and your letters are now even more necessary. Adelaide Montgolfier Vichy, July 24, 1836 My very dear and most worthy friend, Your letter reached me the day before my departure from Paris. The physician has prescribed the Vichy waters for my health and I have resolved to undertake this rather long and trying journey. We read, Adelaide and I (for this most excellent friend has accompanied me here), we read together the satisfactory account the American Ladies Magazine wrote of it [of the seminary]. Many thanks for having anticipated the pleasure we would have in perusing this interesting notice. The other books, and particularly your excellent outline of Universal History are so very clear to the eye and mind, like everything else you have created. It merits a gentleman's remark about you at Miss Montgolfier's six years ago that you have such a fine architectural head: do you not in fact plan and accomplish? Have you not raised by your own exertion the splendid intellectual building your powerful mind had dreamed? Not with us, alas, who stretch the hands to reach the floating vision of our brain which always escapes. However, we are now thinking most seriously of realizing one of our oldest thoughts, one which will, I hope, have your good wishes and sympathy. Adelaide has already told you that I was engaged in reviewing compositions and literary essays of young girls exerting themselves to write about different subjects, mostly moral and religious. When I was recommended to do this for a journal which gave premiums for the best composition every month on a subject given a month before, I was stricken with fear that this would awaken immoderate ambition, vanity, etc. I objected for all these reasons and more, and asked if I could think about it two whole months before I returned an answer. Examining then what had been done, I perceived the prizes as extravagant but I thought there would be a possibility, through tenderness and endearing affection, to influence those young hearts and minds in the right way and give them true and sincere advice. I thought too of the immense advantage it would be for me to enter into direct communication with young girls whose mind I could judge. You must be aware that many schools are sending compositions to the journal from almost every part of France so I could judge on a pretty large scale the education of girls. In short, I consented to give the questions and to examine, criticize or praise the essays of the correspondents. The compositions which first amounted to thirty or thirty five, have come to hundred and fifty per month (only girls). As I had foreseen, the predominant feeling among my young daughters [underlined in the original] was an excessive and sickly sensibility, exaltation, without an aim, vanity cultivated to the highest degree without balance, no judgment, very little observation, comparison, common sense. I became sincerely attached to those pupils whose minds I knew but not the faces. I continued to turn to the direction of the Como..(?) to exert observation and judgment, but the journal was not mine, and I often experienced great pains to follow my own plan. I was obliged this very month to give up the task I have fulfilled with all my conscience, heart and mind. Still the children have remained attached to me, and I feel grieved at the thought of withdrawing completely the hand and arm on which they have depended for a whole year. I feel it a sort of duty to pursue what I have begun, but I could not do it without complete liberty. A friend, a sister in mind, whom you would have a worthy assistant in the case you have so triumphantly held up and served in America, wanted Adelaide and me, to publish a monthly magazine in which we should display our own ideas. Mothers came to me and many of my pupils asked me to continue to guide them, but how could I do it without publicity? Though fearing the difficulties inherent to this project, we have almost resolved to put it to execution. Miss Edgeworth approves of it and will help us. We hope to be able to depend on your kind support. We intend on continuing to give a question every month on subjects, either moral, religious, historical, literary or arts, to be exposed by our young correspondents. We should have wished to suppress the premium, but our generation is not ready for this progress. It strikes me too that, if instead of exerting young minds on vague and romantic subjects, we lead them to facts. If we think less of improving their style, and more their character, if we may reach their heart through their head, we will do good, and prove to be truly useful to girls. We intend to avail ourselves of all good works written in other languages which may suit our purpose. Yours are, of course, among the first and, whenever a book appears to you amusing and wholesome for young ladies, let me know its title I beg. We will, of course, send you our first issues as soon as they are published and ask for a most sincere advice. I am certain that your suggestions will always improve our plans. Now let us come to an article of your letter which I should have answered first. I will certainly be happy to receive in my own family one of your amiable, benevolent young friends. I should do everything

in my power to make her happy and comfortable with us. Paris, March 8th, 1838 5, Rue de l'l'Ecole de Medecine I was quite taken up and charmed by Miss Martineau's book on American society. I think it is a good book and a good action. She has so much trust in the future program of the humanity and speaks so frankly about all sorts of oppressions beginning with that of the slaves' and ending with the women's, that I felt certain that she had had your approval, at least for that part of her work. I do not know what those who are in a better position than me may think but they gave me the truly pleasant feeling of having some time with your countrymen in your fine country, aside from the satisfaction of sympathy on many points. It seems to me a truly wholesome book, unbiased by prejudices and written in a true spirit of devotion for what is just and good. I should wish to know if you have read the review of Miss Lincoln's composition. (17) It was liked and admired, and provided a good example for our frivolous little bees. We do our best to guide them toward something better but we must do it carefully keeping our aim to ourselves. The labor is, however, so great and so unequal to our strengths that I do not know if we will be able to continue it for a third year. We feel that it is too demanding. The sacrifices too are great, for we devote our time, labor, etc. for no retribution, but the wish and pleasure of doing some good, and being a little useful. Nevertheless, money is required for the printing, the engraving, etc., and sometimes, I reproach myself for the spending for public education of my children's bread. As for praises, encouragements, heaps of letters, some indeed heartfelt and truly touching, we have plenty, but the subscribers are not yet sufficient to cover the expenses. Miss Martineau's book which

you must allow to be well worth reading and examined, and let it be criticized or praised, cannot be welcomed. A capital book has not sold even thirty copies in three months though everyone is intent on America's past and future prospects. When I had ordered it, many said that it was a dull, tedious, flat political review of America. (18) Lately, I have read Miss Sedgwick's Rich poor man and we gave a translation of it in La Ruche avoiding however to name the title or the author till the end of the translation, for we should be certain to have it immediately printed by some famished translator. I did like the To live and let live, we want that sort of work which has a good and lasting impression on the mind instead of the harassing and highly seasoned literature we live on now, We founded La Ruche, to keep some young minds on the right side of good feelings and habits. Farewell, my dear friend, pray let us know everything about your health, plans, and domestic and public concerns, for you cannot be contended with doing good on a little scale. Adelaide does not even know of this opportunity, for she is out this minute and will know of it too late. She is as ever your true admirer and warm friend. We have been so taken with our journal that we have done nothing else for more than a year. It is possible. God bless you and yours, my dear friend, many tender wishes and blessings to your dear sister and lovely nieces and daughters. Louise La Celle St Clout, August 27, 1839 I have learned with satisfaction that your efforts are successful, not only in your country but also in Greece, the country for which I have a deep sympathy. (19) Looking at the books you have sent us, I am impressed by the poem

you have sent to the Periodical American. In everything you do, your

conviction is there as a principle of life and power.. I have seen

the Elements of Botanics by Madame Phelps. Upon opening the book and seeing the classification and the tables I understand that it is a work that we lack here. I think that there is an aristocracy in our instruction. The one who knows a lot, finds an infinity of means to learn more, the one who knows nothing is trying to get close to the tree of Science, which nowadays is the tree of life. Nobody is there to raise the aspirant to the fruits or to lower the branches to his height. It would be a useful mission to familiarize the instruction and I wish to have more force, more health and energy to help my dear Louise to accomplish this. If Madame Belloc finds means to arrive in time to Captain Robinson, I think that with the second volume of Madame de Saussure, she could send you a couple of issues of a journal dedicated to women at which she has an active role. This periodical work call women to educate themselves and to help each other through mutual learning extended from one end of France to the other. Madame Belloc is in charge of the young girls sending their compositions to the journal. I think that her advice, the topics she will give them will improve their judgment and personality. Adelaide Montgolfier I leave the country to send you the second volume of Madame de Saussure that you are waiting for impatiently. I also send you two short volumes, one of myself entitled Persirianne, the last 6 volumes of Education familiere, one series for you and one for Madame Phelps. Finally, two issues of the journal Adelaide told you about and where I wanted to do some good. What would you think, if we translated the Geography, could we have a part of the plates (cliches) used for the engraving, not of the US cities but of the general topic that gives some ideas on the customs of the country? The same question for Mrs Phelps' Geology. Here, the wood plates allow the printing of a great number of cliches or they are sold when a book was printed. The same in England, and this is less expensive than making new wood plates. I

use your admirable Geography for Beginners with my daughter (7 years

old) who is a gentle child, very intelligent. I do admire your

approach, easy and perfect for young people but I adapt your method

and your work to France, which my little Adelaide has to know and

admire I have looked for some writing about Lafayette to send you. I am ashamed but I haven't found, and want to believe that I did not look hard enough instead of accusing my countrymen of such an oversight. L.Sw.Belloc. </pre> <p>There is a gap between 1839 and 1852. However, the content of the letter dated November 22, 1852, the first after thirteen years, seems to suggest a continuity; possibly, for an unknown reason, the letters have not been preserved. Although their private lives were more and more shadowed by illness and death, Louise Sw. Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier had not ceased to write and publish.</p> <pre> Paris, November 22, 1852, 9, Rue de l'Ecole de Medecine Dear friend, Relying as we do upon your constant and active participation in everything which concerns moral education, both of the young and of the generation still rude and uncultivated, we call upon your precious help and beg that you will lend us the help of your wisdom and tried experience. We have just been asked to give our opinion on the different periodicals published for popular readings in America, England, Germany and France. It is a wide field, and we are not prepared to enter it, unless our friends offer us their assistance, and supply our inefficiency. No one has been better placed than you are to judge the effect of certain books on the imagination of the young. People and children are apt to be pleased in the same way. Have you any periodicals in America, free from politics, which have caught the public taste, and which exert a real influence on the moral disposition of the lower classes? Which have the greatest run? What are their tendencies? Do they address the imagination or the reasoning part of our nature? Do you possess puny magazines, are they written with an aim and a plan? Do they publish original tales, fiction or merely extracts from other works? Have they engravings like our Magazine Pitoresque? Does any writer of great and popular fame write for the people? What are the kind of books and journals, which the common mass of the people read most eagerly and which best suit the public taste and feeling? It would be very kind of you to send us, as soon as possible, your judgment on these popular American periodicals, and a list of the titles of those you like best. Paris, July 29, 1854

La Celle par Bourgival, Seine-et-Oise October 7, 1854 My good Louis [Madame Belloc's son], is happy more than I could tell. God has sent him a charmante woman. Maybe you or Madame Phelps heard about her, Miss Bessie Ryner Parkes, now Madame Louis Belloc. She was interested in the life of women workers, especially teachers. (20) </pre> <p>In the summer of 1854, Emma Willard attended the World's Educational Convention in London. Afterwards, she again went to see her friends at their house in La Celle.</p> <pre> It was good to met you still the same, with your freshness of heart and mind, happy privilege of beautiful lives that makes old age happy and honored. Adelaide told you about the happiness that came with the marriage of our dear son with a very distinguished person who brings us elements of youth.. Dear friends, The letter that Miss Mason left in Paris is 18 months old. Fortunately, we had more recent news from Miss Barleigh who came for a day at La Celle. She is an amiable and beautiful person. We have talked a lot about you, dear Madame Phelps, about your work, your dear son, about the infinite energy of our excellent friend Mrs. Willard, always young in heart and in spirit. We do hope to have the same exchange of ideas with Miss Mason. I hope that she will meet my dear daughter-in-law, Bessie Parkes whose work on the situation of women in England, on the life of workers, must have arrived in the US as well as The English Woman's Journal that she had directed for 6-7 years. </pre> <p>And this letter, the last in this lifelong correspondence ends with Louise Swanton Belloc's words:</p> <pre> The years that are taking away our force have saved our hearts and I ask God to keep the feelings we have for you. You know, dear friend, that you have an important place in our hearts, and, that over space and time, we are with you. Bien a vous, L.Sw. Belloc </pre> <p>Acknowledgments

The author is grateful to Amherst College for granting the permission to quote from the Belloc and Montgolfier letters to Emma Willard in the Emma Willard papers. Many thanks to Mrs. Barbara Wiley, librarian of the Emma Willard School, for her invaluable help during the completion of this project.


(1) For standard reference work on Emma Willard, see Willystine Goodsell (1970) Pioneers of Women's Education in the United States (New York: AMS Press), Alma Lutz (1964) Emma Willard, Pioneer Educator of American Women (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press Publishers) and Anna Firor Scott (1979) The Ever-Widening Circle: The Diffusion of Feminist Values from the Troy Seminary 1822-1872, History and Education Quart., 19 (Spring), pp. 3-25

(2) Mrs. Willard read it and talked over her Plan with several members of the New York Legislature and pointed out the defects of the female schools. She asked them "why do they (Legistratures), make their daughters illegitimates and bestow all their cares upon their sons?"

(3) For a detailed account on Louise Swanton Belloc's work, see Camille Lepouchard (2001) Louise Swanton Belloc: du bon usage des modeles anglais et americaines dans oles milieux intellectuels francais du XLX siecle (La Rochelle: Rumeur des Ages)

(4) Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793-1884), Emma Willard's sister, was one of the early proponents of science education for women. She was a teacher at the Troy Female Seminary, author and illustrator of science books for beginners. For more information on her life and work, see E.L. Bolzan (1936) Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps. Her Life and Work (Philadelphia, Science Press), L.B. Arnold (1984) Four Lives in Science: Women's Education in the Nineteenth Century (New York, Schocken Books) and Simona Badilescu, Chemistry for Beginners. Women Authors and Illustrators of Early Chemistry Textbooks, Chem. Educator, 2000, 6, 1-7. About the working relationship between the two sisters, see Thalia Mulvihill, Hart to Hart: Sisters Working in Tandem. Education Change in Nineteenth Century America, Vitae Scholastica, 18(1), 79-95 (Spring 1999).

(5) In the Preface there is a part of a letter from Madame de Saussure to Mrs. Willard, dated Geneva, 1834: "Permet me to express, madam, how much I am delighted that my work has received the approbation of yourself and your sister, Mrs. Phelps, so far as to induce you to translate it. Your own works which I had had the happiness to read, show to what enlightened judges mine has been submitted." See Clarissa Campbell Orr (1995) Albertine Necker de Saussure, the Mature Woman Author, and the Scientific Education of Women, Women's Writings, 2(2), pp. 141-153.

(6) Louise Swanton Belloc's husband was the well-known French painter Hilaire Belloc and, at the time of this letter, they had three young children.

(7) In a letter to her sister [2], Emma Willard gives clearly her opinion on female education in France:" I have been enabled to come to more definite opinions concerning the differences between us and the French, than I should otherwise have done; as comparisons were constantly elicited in the course of the conversations. The general opinions which I have before expressed to you have been confirmed rather than changed. Their standard of attainement is higher in drawing, in music, and in the living languages, and these accomplishments, particularly drawing, better taught; but how unimportant are these, compared with those scientific studies, which are calculated to give vigour to the reasoning powers; and those moral influences which lead to a good and useful life".

(8) At the time of this letter, very few science books have been published in France for women's instruction. Most of them were presented in a literary form and were devoided of scientific formalism and vocabulary. More elaborate works emerged only after 1836 when young woman teachers at a pension or an institute had to take an examination. Since 1838 girls could attend the Ecole Normale and starting the 1840s, women opened their own private courses, some of them at secondary level. However, secondary education for young women was officially introduced as late as 1880. For a short history of education of women in France, see Natalie Pigeard Chemistry for Women in Nineteenth Century France, in Communicating Chemistry. Textbooks and Their Audiences, 1789-1939, Anders Lundgren and Bernadette Bensanden-Vincent, Eds., Science History Publications, USA 2000.

(9) Women had a role to play in this movement as well as in Fourierism which advocated total equality between men and women.

(10) Adelaide Montgolfier writes about the period of political unrest that continued in France after the July Revolution and culminated with the events of 1848.

(11) The July Revolution was a revolt of the middle class against the absolute monarchy of Bourbon King Charles X. The revolt forced him to abdicate and Louis-Philippe of the house of Orleans was placed on the throne by the Liberal bourgeoisie.

(12) The French general, the Marquis de Lafayette, prominent, both in the American Revolution and the French Revolution, was Emma Willard's friend and, during her stay in France, she was often invited at his house.

(13) The first volume was published in 1828, the second in 1833, and the third in 1838.

(14) Mrs. Belloc had been asked to write a note about Emma Willard for an American periodical.

(15) Until the advent of photographic book illustration (around 1880), drawings were the basis for woodcuts, lithographs, and copper engravings. The first great books in natural sciences and cartography were all illustrated by woodcuts. In this intaglio process, the lines that make up a picture were drawn on the smooth surface of a piece of softwood such as cherry or pear wood. After the wood was cut away, the lines of the drawing would stand out in relief and could be inked for printing. The stereotypes allow the fabrication of metal imprints of the original engraving.

(16) La Ruche-journal d'etudes familieres, which was founded, edited and published entirely by the two friends, was the first French magazine dedicated to teaching by correspondence. The collection which spanned 4 years (1836-1839) with 10 issues per year, demonstrates the extensive research, composition, editing and correspondence carried out by Louise Swanton Belloc and Adelaide Montgolfier. In the curriculum, subjects such as economy, botany, and natural history played an important part. However, due to the overwhelming amount of work and to serious financial difficulties, the publication of La Ruche ended in March 1840. The collection of La Ruche is now at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

(17) Compositions on the same topic were given in France and at the Troy Seminary, they were published and reviewed in La Ruche.

(18) Madame Belloc has sent H. Martineau's book to the Ministere de l'Instruction Publique in February 1833 and asked for financial assistance for the translation of the book in French. The original letter with her offer to translate is kept at the Bibliotheque Municipale (Espace Patrimoine) de La Rochelle in France. (Lettres autographes composant le cabinet de M.A.-P. Dubrunfant, Mediatheque Michel-Crepeau, Bibliotheque Municipale de La Rochelle).

(19) In 1832, when Greece became an independent state, Emma Willard had founded the Troy Society for the Advancement of Female Education in Greece and raised funds to establish a Seminary in Athens.

(20) Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925) was the mother of Hilaire Belloc and Marie Lowndes-Belloc, herself an essayist, poet and feminist. Together with Barbara Bordichon, she established The English Woman's Journal. Remarks upon the education of girls (1854) and Essays on women's work (1865) are among her writings.


An Adress to the Public, Particularly to the Members of the Legislature of New York Proposing A Plan for Improving Female Education. By Emma Willard, Second Edition, Middlebury: Printed by J.W. Copeland, 1819.

Emma Willard, Journal and Letters from France and Great-Britain, (Troy, NY: N. Tuttles, 1833).

Patapsco Young Ladies Magazine, 1(2) (1850), pp. 1

Simona Badilescu

Montreal, Quebec
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Author:Badilescu, Simona
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Date:Mar 22, 2005
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