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Mary Lyon In the nineteenth century there was a growing demand for womens education Many reformers changed the education system but perhaps none more than Mary Lyon Lyon was the most prominent advocator of womens education in the 1800s and she took many steps to improve the type of schooling females could receive Many people were involved in this reform A great majority of supporters were women who sought a higher education While Mary Lyon was the main leader of the movement she might have accomplished little without the backing of several wealthy male investors who put finances into the college she founded the Mt Holyoke Female Seminary The movement took place in the early nineteenth century leading up to the establishment of Mt Holyoke in 1837 and continuing for many years afterward While Mary Lyon did pioneer education for women it is important to note that reform did not end with her Lyon simply was one of the first to put force behind the movement and others picked up her cause as the years went by Born in Buckland Massachusetts Lyon focused the reform movement in her home state Lyon had not only been a student but was a teacher in her adulthood Having struggled to finance her own education she wanted to ensure that other women in her home state and throughout New England no matter what economic group they were part of could receive an education comparable to that of men At this time women were limited to being prepared only for homemaking and teaching Defying conventional behavior Lyon traveled and fundraised in the public eye to win support for her ideas In 1837 Mt Holyoke Female Seminary opened with 80 students This was in South Hadley and located in her native state of Massachusetts It was an immediate success and was overwhelmed by more students than the school could accommodate for Lyon headed the organization
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