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The purpose of this paper is to give historical insight into the progressive thinking of nineteenth century American philanthropist, Mary Hemenway (1820-1894), and why she was interested and believed in physical education for females. Also interesting is how her integrated thinking is compatible with the thinking in present-day education reform
The presentation of the findings will include a brief background of Mrs. Hemenway’s family life, and a brief description of her philanthropic contributions and activities. These include: 1) public education in America, particularly female education, 2) physical education and home economics education, 3) Native-American research, and 4) other significant issues and philanthropic activities in American education. The major focus will be her contributions to physical education and her founding of the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, and influences that persuaded her interests in these pursuits.
The sources used include early normal school catalogues, minutes of meetings, course syllabi and lecture synopses, written papers, early and recent bulletins, personal correspondences, government reports, college documents, pamphlets, memorial pamphlet, one new and several old books, and old newspaper clippings and professional journals.