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of circumstances, as when a girl leaves hoine and goes to school, where there is almost an entire change of habits. Many cases came under my observation while at the Seminary, among the junior class (first year), of suppression or irregularity for three or six months, all then proceeding regularly without medical interference. I think women suffering from ordinary female troubles are benefited by regular exercise ; for a want of proper exercise affects injuriously the general health, thereby increasing the uterine disorder. If a girl with any great female trouble should enter the Seminary, her troubles would be increased, not from the regular work, but by going over the stairs." .
Letter from Mrs. Arnold, of Milwaukee, formerly Dr. Homer, physician at Mt. Holyoke Seminary in 1860–64:
“A large number of cases of irregularity in the form of suppression, were always met with during the first year, especially the first months of that year. Often the health was not seriously affected, and the trouble would right itself or readily yield to mild remedies. Had this derangement been caused by hard study in the pursuance of a regular course, it would have been most common ainong pupils in advanced classes. The fact that it was not, shows that it must be accounted for in some other way. Neither do we need to look far. There is change of circumstances, of employments, of diet, of sleep; often of climate, many coming from a distance, and, more than all, coming from quiet homes to dwell in such a large family, where there is enough of novelty and excitement to keep them constantly interested-perhaps I should say absorbed-in new directions. It is common for change to produce like results elsewhere, as well as in
school life, especially during the early years of womanhood. Again, those thus affected are quite as likely to be the dull or inattentive as the studious.
“Cases of excessive or painful menstruation were far less numerous, and had their origin also in other causes than hard study.
"As to the effect of regular brain-work upon those already suffering from diseases peculiar to the sex, I do not recall any cases where the mere matter of intellectual labor had any effect to increase the trouble. Other circumstances connected with school life might aggravate such complaints, e. g., much going over stairs, but a temperate application to study, even of the sterner kinds, by giving occupation to the mind, I consider highly beneficial.
“ The great cause of diseases incidental only to the female sex is to be found in want of sensible, intelligent thought, and an unwillingness to act in accordance with the convictions such thought would bring. The follies and frivolities of fashionable life slay their thousands where hard study slays its one. Tight-lacing, I believe, was never more prevalent than at the present time, and its victims are a host. * * * This matter of dress, so difficult to be reformed, has a very large share in making women weak and helpless.
“Of course, it cannot be denied that many young women come out of school with broken health. Do not young men also ? The fact that so many girls are enfeebled by the course pursued with them from their very infancy, easily accounts for their broken health, without attributing it at all to study. It cannot but be apparent to any one, that a feeble, sickly girl or boy is unfit to attempt a severe course of study. Again, girls are often
in such a hurry to finish,' that they overdo, and suffer the consequences in after life.
“ It has long been my opinion that we are in danger of pushing the graded school system’ too far. There should be more latitude allowed, more optional studies in all our schools. The question may be asked, Does not this system bear equally upon boys and girls? If so, why do girls suffer more in health ? I affirm, not because of the difference physically, but because the custom of society shuts the girl up in the house—to her books, if she is conscientious, and she is more likely to be so than her brother—while the boy is turned loose, to have just as good a time as if he were at the other end of his class. * * * When we attempt to compare the ability of the two sexes to endure the strain of continuous mental work, there are many circumstances to be considered, many things that are not as they should be. If women were trained from their infancy as they might be, and as they ought to be, there would be no need of arguing. But so long as the present fetters of fashion and custom are submitted to, the question will remain unsettled.” Such is the testimony from Mt. Holyoke.
MARY 0. NUTTING. South Hadley, Mass.
DR. CLARKE's experience and success as a physician give him a right to speak, and that with the tone of authority. He has spoken, and in such clear and unmistakable words that all must hear, the startling truth, that American women are sickly women; that proofs of this fact are not confined to any class or condition, but that “everywhere, on the luxurious couches of Beacon Street, in the palaces of Fifth Avenue, among the classes of our private, common, and Normal schools, among the female graduates of our colleges, behind the counters of Washington Street, on Broadway, in our factories, workshops and homes," pale, weak women are the rule, and not the exception. This is the one permanent impression which the book makes. It is for this reason that we are thankful. It matters not that the presenting of this fact was not the author's main object. It matters still less, that he failed in his object; for, if his theory had been a true theory, and he had succeeded in convincing the world of its truthfulness, he would have benefited but a sinall class of our American people. Only a few women, comparatively, are found in our colleges and higher schools of learning.
Man often means one thing while God means another. Luther meant to reform the Roman Church-God meant to reform the world. Dr. Clarke meant, as he tells us in his preface, to excite discussion, and stimulate investigation, with regard to the relation of sex to education; bat he has excited a discussion, and stimulated an investigation, that, unless Ephraim is wholly joined to his idols, will not stop until a reform has been wronglit in our whole social system. Not only in our colleges and universities, but in our lower grades of schools; and--as he has taught us that the head is not all, but the bods a good deal—in our food, in our times of downsitting and uprising, in our hours of retiring, in the ventilation of our churches, public halls and private homes. We are at last to understand, what it is so hard for an American to understand, that to wait is sometimes as much a duty as to work.
Dr. Clarke meant to prove, that co-education, in the popular signification of that term, for physiological reasons, is an impossibility. He succeeded, as he thinks, theoretically, but failed, as he confesses, practically, for the want of sufficient data. What he indirectly proved was of much more vital importance, because it affects the whole nation; that, for physiological reasons, American wonen, and consequently the American people, cannot live at this high-pressure rate, which means death. The universal interest which his book has awakened, the rapidly following reviews and criticisms, the numerous essays which have since been published, on the same and kindred subjects, show that thinking minds were already working their way to definite conclusions and expression on this now most important of all subjects--how to give back to the American woman the bloom and physical strength, the elasticity and fresh old age which are hers by the right of inheritance.
No one will deny Dr. Clarke's statement, that, with the best of opportunities, she does not in these respects