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If educational historians were asked to name 19th century women's educators worthy of in_depth study, Emma Hart Willard_s name would surely be mentioned. Willard first gained public recognition with the publication of Plan for Improving Female Education (1819), a closely reasoned argument exposing the inferior quality of most women' s schools and urging legislators to appropriate public funds for the support of rigorous women's institutions. Willard's Troy Female Seminary (founded in Troy, New York, in 1821) was widely regarded as one of the finest women's schools in the United States. Its academic program and the two hundred women's institutions said to be modeled after it did much to shatter the popular myth that women were too feeble to master challenging academic subjects. Willard educated and placed hundreds of young women in teaching positions, pioneered in social studies teaching methods, held numerous teacher institutes, and promoted the common school cause. Her textbooks and charts, estimated to have sold more than one million copies during her lifetime, disseminated her ideas widely in the United States and Europe.

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