Theses Doctoral

Toward a History of Mathematics Education for Young Women: 1890–1920

Shvartsberg, Yana

This dissertation is dedicated to the historical review of female mathematics education during the Progressive Era, from 1890 through 1920. This time period is known in the United States for multiple social reforms. Secondary schools experienced rapid expansion in enrollment, and the purpose and direction of education underwent development and change. During this era, a secondary education, which had been available to few, came to be accepted as a necessity for a majority of children in the United States. During this period of development and change, the educational system encountered several challenges. One such challenge was to tailor curricula according to the needs of different students. In parallel with increased enrollment, labor market demands experienced changes as well, and these changes were especially prominent in the urban areas. Historical evidence documents that the purpose of girls’ and boys’ education was often considered to be distinct. This belief stemmed from the idea that girls and boys had different career paths upon high school graduation. Therefore, differentiation of curricula received needed support and allowed schools to provide an elective system of subjects within high schools.

This dissertation provides historical analysis of the mathematics education available for girls in the Progressive Era, focusing on the purpose of mathematics education, on curricula differentiation facilitated by an elective system, and on social factors that affected girls’ enrollment into the mathematics classes when the election of mathematics classes was allowed.

Geographic Areas


Downloadable resources are currently unavailable for this item.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Karp, Alexander P.
Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 14, 2020