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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Catharine Beecher

Catharine Beecher was born on September 6, 1800. The daughter of outspoken religious leader Lyman Beecher and sister of Uncle Tom's Cabin writer Harriet Beecher Stowe and preacher Henry Ward Beecher, she was the eldest of eight surviving children.

In 1821 she began teaching at a school in New Haven, Connecticut and went through a religious crisis brought on by her father's attempt to force his Calvinist views on her.

Catharine was engaged to marry Professor Alexander M. Fisher of Yale University, but he died at sea before the wedding took place. She never got married.

Catharine Beecher

After her fiancée’s death, Catharine founded the Hartford Female Seminary, launching a life-long campaign as lecturer, writer, and advocate for women's education.

The Hartford Female Seminary began with one room and 7 students; within three years, it grew to almost 100 students with 10 rooms and 8 teachers.

Catharine was constantly making experiments, and practicing them upon the girls, weighing all their food before they ate it, holding that Graham flour and the Graham diet were better for them than richer food. Ten of her pupils invited her to dine with them at a restaurant. She accepted the invitation, and the excellent dinner changed her views. Thereafter they were served with more palatable food.


In 1852 she founded the American Women's Education Association. Her goal was to rescue women who wasted their lives in frivolous "feminine" pursuits as well as those exploited as factory hands.

Catharine Beecher

Among her many published works was Treatise of Domestic Economy (1841). In 1869 she collaborated with her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe on a new edition, retitled The American Woman's Home (1869) which became a hugely influential guide for generations of American housewives.

Sources Wikipedia

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