An Ongoing Revolution for Women


Mourning Needlework

Made at the Young Ladies’ Academy
Boston, Massachusetts
ca. 1800
Silk Thread, Natural Linen

A student at Susanna Rowson’s Young Ladies’ Academy near Boston created this silk embroidery depicting angels and a soldier mourning George Washington. 

At the school, students took courses in music, drawing, literature, arithmetic, and history. The frequent patriotic themes also taught women to consider their political identity and their potential to influence the nation.

From the Collections of the Bergen County Historical Society,

“Goddess of Cybele”

Margarete Van Wagoner, Artist
Watercolor, Pen and Ink

Margaret Van Wagoner was born in 1810 in Bergen County, New Jersey. While she painted this watercolor in 1830, after she was married, Van Wagoner’s earlier work of the same style suggests that she learned this skill while attending a female academy in her teens. It depicts Cybele, the Phrygian mother of the Gods, sitting in a chariot drawn by two lions. Female academy teachers frequently chose stories of strong women from the Bible or classical literature to inspire their students.

From the Collections of the Bergen County Historical Society,