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Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1 "Any Other Girls in This Whole World Like Myself": Jewish Girls and Adolescence in America 2 "Unless I Got More Education": Jewish Girls and the Problem of Education in Turn-of-the-Century America 3 "Education in the Broadest Sense": Alternative Forms of Education for Working-Class Girls 4 "A Perfect Jew and a Perfect American": The Religious Education of Jewish Girls 5 "Such a World of Pleasure": Adolescent Jewish Girls and American Youth Culture Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index About the Author

About the Author

Melissa R. Klapper is a professor of history, Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.


"Melissa R. Klapper has succeeded handsomely in surmounting the hurdles of her topic to create a coherent narrative of cultural change. She brings to her subject sensitivity to the stress of adolescence, mastery of her materials, and genuine affection for the experience of growing up female, Jewish, and American." -Journal of American History "Melissa Klapper's pioneering volume, based on an astonishing wealth of primary sources, uncovers more than we have ever known about the upbringing and education of Jewish girls in America from the Civil War to World War I. Covering everything from religious education to sex education, it explores what it meant to be a Jewish girl aged 12-20 during one of the most tumultuous eras in American history." -Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun,Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University "Provides a revealing glimpse into the lives of adolescent girls at the turn of the century. Klapper's exhaustive search for the diaries of young Jewish women has produced a harvest of insights into their relationships to religion, to education, to domestic lives, and to girl culture." -Alice Kessler-Harris,author of In Pursuit of Equity "Drawing on diaries and magazines, historian Klapper recreates the world of Jewish girls in late 19th- and early 20th-century America. . . . This book's charm lies in its innovative and engaging focus on girlhood. Klapper . . . offers grace notes to a familiar narrative about the tensions between assimilation and tradition." -Publishers Weekly "Masterfully weaving together stories of adolescent girls based on an analysis of their diaries, personal letters, and memoirs, Klapper illuminates the ways these young women grappled with contradictory feelings about their friends, family, and future...This compelling narrative deeply enriches our understanding of the intertwined roles played by gender, ethnicity, religion, and education in fostering American identity at the turn of the century." -American Historical Review

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