Fall / automne 2016
Articles

The Way They Were: “Conn Girls” and American Culture in 1959

J. Paul Grayson
York University
Bio
Published October 20, 2016
Keywords
  • American college girls,
  • American female students,
  • 1950s,
  • marriage,
  • careers
How to Cite
Grayson, J. Paul. 2016. “The Way They Were: ‘Conn Girls’ and American Culture in 1959”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 28 (2). https://historicalstudiesineducation.ca/hse/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/view/4493.

Abstract

In the 1950s, American women in general, and female college students in particular, confronted different sets of cultural assumptions, or ideologies, relevant to their aspirations and behaviour. Perhaps the best-known of these was an ideology in which it was assumed that female college students were not interested in their studies and were primarily concerned with nding a husband. An examination of the cohort that entered the Connecticut College for Women in 1959 reveals that some students were indeed concerned with marriage; however, a large minority did not know what they wanted. In addition, many students were keenly interested in their studies, wanted to do well, and aspired to careers. These ndings indicate that rather than forming a homogeneous group, the students at Connecticut College did not t a common 1950s stereotype of female students in American colleges.

RÉSUMÉ

Dans les années 1950, les femmes américaines et les collégiennes, en particulier, furent confrontées à différentes manières de penser ou idéologies ayant trait à leurs aspirations et à leur conduite. Parmi les plus courantes, un préjugé voulait que les collégiennes n’étaient pas inté- ressées par leurs études, mais plutôt par la recherche d’un mari. Une analyse de la cohorte qui entra au Connecticut College for Women en 1959 révèle que certaines étudiantes étaient, en effet, préoccupées par le mariage ; cependant, une minorité importante ne savait pas ce qu’elle voulait. En outre, plusieurs étudiantes furent vraiment intéressées par leurs études, voulaient réussir et aspiraient à une carrière. Ces résultats indiquent que plutôt que de former un groupe homogène, les élèves du Connecticut College ne répondaient pas au stéréotype des années 1950 concernant les collégiennes américaines.