Letter from Julie Isenberg to Thomas C. Mendenhall


Letter from Julie Isenberg to Thomas C. Mendenhall


Education, letter to the President of Smith College


In this letter Julie Isenberg wrote to the president of Smith College in regards to Smith’s participation in the American Alumni Association Seminar for Public Responsibility. The main goal of the American Alumni Association’s seminar was to address how college educated men and women could affect society at large and what their responsibility to the public was, and how to affect that change though education. The seminar sought to address issues in public education with the hopes that proper education in areas of government and law would make the general public better informed voters, lead to more community involvement, and better leadership. This seminar also addressed financial and funding issues faced by public schools. Isenberg made an impassioned case for Smith’s involvement with the program and called for “alumnae to grapple, personally, and responsibly, with the problems of our society at all levels.” Isenberg even stated that Smith’s involvement in the program was “presaged in Sophia Smith’s will”( Smith was the founder of the college) to add weight to her argument. This letter demonstrates that Isenberg not only valued her own personal educational experience but also recognized education as a tool to address social issues, and believed strongly that educated people have a personal responsibility to the society at large. Isenberg’s personal sentiments about education reflect an emerging mindset that viewed education as a means to bring about social equality; her belief that Smith’s alumnae should be involved in the matters of education as a way of helping to enfranchise women and involve them in politics and that it was her duty as an educated woman to ensure that this social change became a reality.
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Isenberg, Julie


Collection: Ms 276 Box: 1 Folder: 3


University of Memphis Libraries


June 11, 1961


Digital Image © 2016, University of Memphis Libraries Preservation and Special Collections Department. All rights reserved.




Isenberg, Julie , “Letter from Julie Isenberg to Thomas C. Mendenhall ,” Making an Impact: The Lives of Tennessee Women, accessed October 21, 2020, https://umhist4851.omeka.net/items/show/96.

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