In the 1850s women could choose a female “college” (usually a seminary) or apply to one of a few coeducational colleges, such as Oberlin or Antioch in Ohio or the University of Iowa.
During the 1860s and 1870s, many new colleges opened for women.
Among the new state universities to admit women were Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, California, Michigan, and Missouri.
Other universities that accepted women included Cornell in Ithaca, New York; Howard in Washington, D.C.; and Northwestern near Chicago.
New top-notch women’s colleges included Vassar, upriver from New York City; Wellesley and “the Harvard Annex” (later Radcliffe), near Boston; and Smith in western Massachusetts.
Thousands of educated young women traveled west to teach in one-room schoolhouses, one of the very few careers open to women. Miss Blanche Lamont once posed for a photograph with her students in Hecla, Montana.