An Address Upon the Co-Education of the Sexes
Philadelphia: Charles A. Dixon and Co., 1873.
Philadelphia: Charles A. Dixon and Co., 1873. First edition. Original printed wraps, with stitching holding well. Small stamp of Andover Newton to top corner of front wrapper. Mild offsetting and toning to exterior, with top rear corner bent. 14 pages. Internally complete, clean and unmarked. The present argument for coeducation in the U.S. has become quite scarce, with no appearances in the modern auction record and no other copies on the market.
Composed and presented by the President of Swarthmore College a decade after its foundation, the Address asserts the need for national access to coeducation, outlines its benefits both to women and the population at large, and strikes down counterarguments through the use of statistics from coeducational universities including Swarthmore and Oberlin College. While Magill posits that the burden of proof should fall on the detractors of women's education, he nonetheless uses Swarthmore and Oberlin's successes as evidence that women should not be taught frivilous fashionable accomplishments but instead should be given opportunities for "the serious work of pursuing a liberal course of study" by which they may "pursue the same courses of study and receive the same degrees" as their male peers. At these schools, women were given the opportunity to attend the same rigorous courses in classical languages, literature, mathematics, science, and economics as any man; as Magill asserts that the presence of both sexes in the classroom invariably adds to the quality of ideas and diversity of solutions presented to problems. Both sexes benefit and are refined by contact with each other. Though he acknowledges that girls' education prior to the university needs to be improved to allow women to enter college on equal footing to their better-trained male classmates, Magill shows that this is a fixable condition unrelated to women's natural abilities. Counterarguments that higher education strains women's health, reduces their employment or marriage possibilities, or disrupts men's concentration in class are summarily knocked down using statistics on men's versus women's rates of ill health and death at universities, which align, testimonials from professors and male students, and rates of marriage. "I have thus endeavored to show that morally and socially coeducation is productive of the best results ; and that scholarship will not suffer but rather be promoted by it...Nothing short of co-equal educational advantages and the same degrees conferred upon both sexes for equal attainments will meet the demands of the time." Near Fine (Item #2727)