When Benjamin Stillingfleet rejected the norms of 18th century polite society, for the graver pursuits of learning and literature—and the company of like minds for enlightened conversation—his fortunes dramatically altered. No more would he be invited to grand affairs requiring the fashionable formality of black stockings. His daily-wear blue stockings must suffice.

No matter. He much preferred an intimate collection of lovers of learning in a private parlor, to the boredom of a society ballroom. His esteemed reputation and generous wit in conversation assured that no gathering of educated minds—both men and women—was thought complete apart from his presence. It is from his informal attire at such gatherings that the Blue-stocking Societies found their name and genesis in 1750’s England.

Up unto that point in history, education for women was strictly guarded. It devolved from strong foundations in Bible, reading, writing, and sums in the early years, to the masterful use of a needle, screen sketching, dancing, and best practices in husband hunting by the mid-teens. A woman of forty might be considered less accomplished in intelligent conversation on the topic of geography and history than a girl of twelve.

But trailblazing young women, captivated by words, literature, histories, and the writing of their own opinions on these subjects, pursued their passion in the secrecy of personal diaries and journals. Men, seeking intelligent female companionship, and thoughtful conversationalists, bravely noted such ladies. They sought out these blue-stocking gatherings where book discussions, critical thinking, and shared knowledge trumped prowess on a dance floor.

Who were these bluestockinged females

and might you be one of them in the 21st century?

Learn more . . .

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE as guest post at Almost An Author!

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