2) An unsalaried lecturer and one of the few women then offering graduate instruction at Columbia, Ladd-Franklin was critical of the gender barriers and anti-feminist biases she perceived at the Ivy League university.
This essay explores how Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930) conceptualized the capabilities and contributions of educated women and the meaning she attached to the life of the mind.
In focusing on Christine Ladd-Franklin, this essay seeks to open a window to the social world that Ladd-Franklin and other kindred women were compelled to negotiate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The marriage between Christine Ladd-Franklin (she used a hyphenated surname) and Fabian Franklin was a marriage of equals, anchored in their shared commitments to intellectual life and career, family, civic reform, and social concerns.
These early years as a faculty wife at JHU found Ladd-Franklin forging a career that combined childrearing (her daughter Margaret was born in 1883), unsalaried lecturing, reform activity in Baltimore, and contributions to the Nation on scientific news and a host of topics relating to women: including, for instance, ethnological perspectives on female subordination, the social contributions of working-girls clubs in America, the exclusion of women from intellectual and public life in Germany, and reviews of recently published biographies of talented and unconventional women--such as author Louisa May Alcott, astronomer Maria Mitchell, and physician Elizabeth Blackwell.
Given her wide range of talents and interests perhaps no other US academic institution could have offered Ladd-Franklin so stimulating an intellectual environment.
Ladd-Franklin Advocates for Women's University Education
In addition to her growing preeminence as a scientist, Ladd-Franklin also had emerged during the JHU stage of her career as a stateswoman who had a keen grasp of trends in higher education and of the intellectual and financial resources needed to cultivate female talent.
Although she was the product of a woman's college and a loyal member of women's advocacy groups, such as the AAUW, throughout her adult life, Ladd-Franklin rejected gender segregation in intellectual matters.
Ladd-Franklin understood that it was possible to help broaden educational opportunity for women working through the power of philanthropy and voluntary action and the power of the pen.
52) Ladd-Franklin similarly led the ACA in establishing fellowships for US women to travel to Europe for first-rate advanced training.
Ladd-Franklin was astute enough to realize that creating more equitable opportunities for women meant changing attitudes and common practices in academic culture.