Not in the Kitchen Anymore?: The Middle Class Intentions for the Milwaukee School of Trades for Girls
In 1909 the Milwaukee School of Trades for Girls opened its doors becoming the first public vocational high school for girls in the United States. While education historians have given treatment to vocational education, most examples and analysis has focused on males or the “boy problem” in education. There are few sources that examine the “girl problem” or even acknowledge that there may have been one. The reform of girls’ education to focus on house and home aligns with the Progressive Era movements to eliminate poverty. Using the words of the Milwaukee Public School Board, school documents, local newspapers, and the personal papers of Elizabeth Black Kander, one of the main activists for the school, this paper explores the intentions these people had in founding a public vocational high school for girls., Women’s vocational training at the Milwaukee School of Trades for Girls went beyond shaping citizens and workers in the middle-class image; it was about fashioning the future wives and mothers in the middle-class ideal.