The history of women's rights has usually been defined in terms of the fight for suffrage. Yet the agenda of the women's rights movement in the mid-nineteenth through early twentieth centuries embraced a broader spectrum of goals, goals that were reflected in the women's rights periodicals of the era. One of the goals—securing women's rights to higher education—has remained virtually unexamined and, consequently, all but unknown.
In filling that gap, Butcher links two little-known aspects of the women's rights movement: its press and its struggle to secure for women the advantages of higher education. Eleven of the best-known papers, written by women, for women, are analyzed here in chapters covering the women's rights press, the purpose of women's education, coeducation, women as teachers, and the professional and graduate education of women. In offering this analysis, and in exploring the fight for higher education, Butcher broadens our understanding of the history and the legacy of the women's rights movement.