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Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era$
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James Marten

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479894147

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479894147.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Duty and Destiny

Duty and Destiny

A Progressive Reformer’s Coming of Age in the Gilded Age

(p.230) 11 Duty and Destiny
Children and Youth During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Anya Jabour

NYU Press

This chapter describes a kind of proto-Progressivism in the Kentucky childhood of Sophonisba Breckenridge, the daughter of Confederate veteran, former Democratic congressman, distinguished lawyer, and Lexington Herald newspaper editor W.C.P. Breckinridge who would later try to reform the lives of children in Chicago and ultimately become one of the most renowned reformers of the Progressive Era. It examines Breckinridge's prolonged quest to reconcile destiny and duty and how it complicated her coming of age and delayed her professional career, but also led her to find her calling as a progressive reformer. It also considers how Breckinridge's introduction to the suffrage movement and to institutionalized sexism inspired a lifelong commitment to women's rights, and how her pacifism shaped her adult understanding of her father's military service.

Keywords:   proto-Progressivism, Kentucky, childhood, Sophonisba Breckenridge, children, Chicago, reformers, Progressive Era, W.C.P. Breckinridge, women's rights

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