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Her father told her to snag a Harvard man, and she did

Cornelia Paine Grant, 86, of Weston, died earlier this month. Her obituary recounts a life well lived, including how the Redlands, CA native came to marry Halcott Green Grant:

After graduation, she travelled to Europe for the summer, then to Boston to attend Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, at the direction of her father in order to get her into the work force, and find a Harvard man! During her first fall semester, Cornelia was riding in a 1947 Ford with friends on Beacon Hill. They stopped on Mt. Auburn Street, as the driver had spotted his friend Halcott Green Grant of Weston, and Harvard College (1948). He told him to hop in, and in the back seat was Cornelia. Within a year, they were married on May 16th, 1953. They moved throughout the Boston suburbs before settling in Weston.

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Did they mean Mount Vernon Street? Mount Auburn Street is in Cambridge and Watertown, not Beacon Hill.

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Long considered a path to upscale matrimony, to the point of being a trope in books like Scruples.

I had a classmate at MIT who said that her mother was given two years of tuition to Simmons so that she could snag a Harvard or MIT man.

Sick.

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Back almost 20 years ago I was assigned Betty Friedan's 1963 sociological study, “The Feminine Mystique”. It explained the idea that the sole reason for some women to attend college was, as you say, to find a husband and many women enrolled with no intention of graduating. I was truly surprised.

A century earlier, women had fought for higher education; now girls went to college to get a husband. By the mid-fifties, 60 percent dropped out of college to marry, or because they were afraid too much education would be a marriage bar. Colleges built dormitories for "married students," but the students were almost always the husbands. A new degree was instituted for the wives - "Ph.T." (Putting Husband Through).

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It’s called getting ones Mrs degree. People still do it.

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Went to college for an MRS degree. In a society where men were expected to be the breadwinner, it was logical to find someone who would be a successful breadwinner.

While I think there aren't any women now who attend Wellesley as a step toward marital status, the shuttle buses between Wellesley and MIT are still there to facilitate the same sort of social connections, even if the Wellesley grads these days are expected to have even greater success than their spouses in prior years.

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the shuttle buses between Wellesley and MIT are still there to facilitate the same sort of social connections,

Or, you know, they're there so Wellesley students can take classes at MIT and MIT students can take classes at Wellesley? Some people go to college to learn things, you know.

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So that's why the buses also stop at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Marlborough St. in Back Bay? I guess it's so Wellesley students can enjoy counting smoots while crossing the Harvard Bridge, but absolutely zero to do with the fact that many of MIT's fraternities are in the Back Bay? I guess that's also why the buses run more frequently on Friday & Saturday nights than they do on weekdays -- definitely more about cross-registration, right?

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There's the Exchange Bus (weekdays, free, primarily for getting to class), and the Senate Bus (Friday nights and weekends, costs a few dollars, for social activities at MIT or Harvard (where it also stops) or any other reason people go into the city).

The Senate Bus could be one of the last buses in the country that takes tokens. Also it has a rude nickname, which I'll spare you.

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... these were for the most part highly trained professionals looking for an actual career as office staff. Sexism being what it is/was, other career paths were not open to these women. There were a lot of smart, overqualified women sitting behind typewriters in offices.

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I worked with numerous Gibbs and Burdett grads (Burdett being the lesser regarded of the two) many moons ago.

The women who attended both schools had to meet some rather exacting standards and not just academically to graduate (i.e., repeated dress code violations such as wrinkles, not wearing hose, bad hair, or tardiness etc could get you expelled).

The students and/or their families paid a premium to attend but also had a fairly good ROI as their starting salaries were often quite competitive.

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Instead of looking back on what the culture was with disdain, why not celebrate how far women have come in realizing their full potential?
And so what if parents decades ago only wanted the best for their daughters and were not of the mindset to realize marrying a successful man was not the only path?

As you say, there simply weren't many career options for women.

VERY true that those KG women back in the day were hard-core forward thinking women serious about a career.

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There are those amongst us who want it back with, well, vengence.

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It just went underground.

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Thank you. Great perspective.

There's always room to study, learn and get better. But it's also important to celebrate and acknowledge success.

. Instead of looking back on what the culture was with disdain, why not celebrate how far women have come in realizing their full potential?
And so what if parents decades ago only wanted the best for their daughters and were not of the mindset to realize marrying a successful man was not the only path?

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In the 60s and early 70s she worked as a legal secretary in a high-powered lawyers office in a skyscraper downtown for years before I was born. My folks bought the house I grew up in with a down payment based from her income. Then she quit when I was born, and was the best mother ever.

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It was the way it was done by many driven, intelligent women!

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They were capable of supporting themselves and were the cream of the crop for clerical workers.

And yet the motivation for parents to pay their way was ... marry an executive.

Just because their parents were using their training as a leg up socially doesn't mean that they weren't highly competent or trained ... but it was still a common motivation.

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Smart as whip, no one told her what to do, and not looking to marry.
She chose to go to Gibbs and became an executive assistant to a mogul.
Extremely lucrative and with agency.
Anecdotes are fun!

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Unfortunately, she could never tell him very much.

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n/t

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Seems unnecessary, I've never heard that letter pronounced in there.

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It's a nice story. Get a grip, people.

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...because, guess what?

Being home to raise a family is actually something many women wanted to do and still want to do.

Isn't that a choice?

If a mother wants to sacrifice her career because being a mother is a priority for her, then so what?
It's between her and her husband.

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Voting closed 13

If a mother wants to sacrifice her career because being a mother is a priority for her, then so what?
It's between her and her husband.

That is, of course, assuming she has a husband. And it's also sweeping under the rug that this is a decision with both economic drivers (in a heterosexual couple, the woman is most likely earning less) and both marital and economic consequences (in a heterosexual couple, the woman is more adversely impacted by time out of the workforce). And, finally, it's assuming that their family can survive with a single earner.

It's charmingly 1950s though.

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Please thank the quality-control elves for double-checking all consonants, Adam.

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