How Did Oberlin Women Students Draw on Their College Experience to
Participate in Antebellum Social Movements, 1831-1861?


        Oberlin College, founded in 1833, opened to train teachers and preachers during the fervor of the Second Great Awakening. Based on egalitarian principles, the college began accepting students of color in 1835. It also became a center for antislavery activities. Oberlin was a pioneer in coeducation, accepting female students from its beginning. The female students at Oberlin embraced their gendered responsibilites for domestic virtue and discovered an empowering call to action in their communities. The following documents reveal how female students in the antebellum era drew on their college experience to participate in local as well as national social movements.

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