"Our Tools of Learning" : George Arthur Plimpton's Gifts to Columbia University

Education for Women > Page 2

JUAN LUIS VIVES, 1492-1540

A Very Fruteful and Pleasant Booke Called the Instruction of a christen woman, made first in latyne, by the right famous clerks mayster Lewes Vives, and tourned out of latyne into Englishe by Rycharde Hyrde

London: [Henry Wykes], 1557

Plimpton 376 1557 V83 (STC 24861)

Born in Valencia the year that Jews were expelled from Spain, Vives’s family had converted to Christianity, but many members of his immediate and wider family were executed as crypto-Jews by the Inquisition. He left Spain forever in 1509, studying in Paris, and teaching philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His De institutione feminae Christianae first appeared in 1523. While assuming that women were subordinate to men in all things including intelligence, Vives called for education for women so that they would not be left in ignorance. He may have met Richard Hyrde though Thomas More. In Hyrde’s translation, the work became the most influential book on women in Tudor England, including instruction in a variety of subjects such as behavior, dress, even reading matter, for all stages of life.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton


Tunaikeion, or, Nine Bookes of Various History Concerning Women

London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1624

Plimpton 396 1624 H51 (STC 13326)

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton


The Learned Maid, or Whether a Maid may be a Scholar?

London: Printed by Johon Redmayne, 1659

Plimpton 376 1659 Sch8

Anna Maria van Schurman was considered the best-educated woman of her era in Europe. By sitting in a separate cubicle she was able to hear lectures, becoming the first female student at the University of Utrecht. She graduated with a degree in law. The title of this work, an English translation of her Dutch text published in Leiden in 1641, is more accurately translated as "Whether the Study of Letters Is Fitting for a Christian Woman?" In it she argued that women should be fully educated, but that their education should not interfere with domestic duties, nor be used to enter professional employment. This was, however, a radical idea for its day.

Gift of George Arthur Plimpton


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