One of the models for many girls’ schools was the Troy Female Seminary, started in 1821 by Emma Willard.
There girls studied not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also geography, history, science, and higher mathematics.
They could take classes in French, Italian, Spanish, or German, as well as in painting and dancing.
When teaching anatomy, Emma Willard made sure that any textbook pictures of the human body were covered over with thick paper. Young girls were not supposed to look at such shocking things.
At the Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut, opened in 1823, Catharine Beecher introduced calisthenics, a series of rhythmic exercises, to keep her students in shape.
Ann Marie Becroft started the first seminary for black girls in Washington, D.C., in 1820; other African American women, such as Sarah Mapps Douglass in Philadelphia, started similar schools.