Emancipated Spirits: Portraits of Kalamazoo College Women
Griffin, Gail B., 1950-
Moerdyk, Ruth Ann
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From the preface: "This is a book about pioneers. It begins with an account of the life of a woman who arrived in Michigan in 1843, when it was still mostly vast forest. It ends with the story of another woman, who arrived in Kalamazoo 111 years later to discover that the territory still needed considerable clearing. Between these are two other stories of pioneer women, both of whom likewise found at Kalamazoo College enormous challenges, great work to be done, obstacles of tradition and prejudice which never fall easily and might have thwarted lesser spirits. In other words, they found much the same landscape which greeted Lucinda Hinsdale Stone when she and her husband arrived to assume the leadership of a ten-year-old Baptist college in a three-room building shaded by burr oaks in the town square. The point of commonality in these four lives is that college, which, as this book goes to press, celebrates its sesquicentennial. The theme of the year-long celebration is "A Tradition of Excellence." All year those of us who live and work in that tradition have considered that word "excellence" -what it is, what it is not, how many things it can be. The lives which form the subject of this book span that full 150 years and more, beginning with Lucinda Hinsdale's birth in 1814, long before Joseph Merrill and Caleb Eldred ever dreamed of their Michigan and Huron Institute, and continuing beyond this year's celebration. They comprise, in themselves, a tradition ofexcellence, a fem3.le tradition whose roots lie deep in the past, in Mrs. Stone's time, when it was thenew colleges oftheAmerican"West" -Oberlin, Antioch,Hillsdale, Olivet, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin-that shook the staid eastern institutions by daring to offer higher education to women and usually in the same classrooms with their brothers. The Western experience taught many women how little the prevailing notions of their capacities-or incapacities-described what they could actually do, and it lured Eastern women like Lucinda Stone who had already learned that lesson. It is this legacy of aspiration, commitment, and creativity in the face of resistant circumstances of all kinds which this volume is meant to honor."