Hunter College - American EducationNew York City’s first “normal,” or teacher-training, college. Founded in 1870, when only 12% of American schoolteachers were women, the Normal College of the City of New York, as it was called, was one of dozens of women’s colleges opening across the United States to fill the need for teachers. The end of the Civil War had seen almost every state join the burgeoning “public school movement” by passing public education laws and building public schools in every town and hamlet. But the vast expansion of industry was absorbing most young men into jobs that paid far more than teaching, and women were forced to fill the vacuum. Within 10 years after Hunter and other teachers’ colleges had opened, the percentage of women schoolteachers more than doubled, to 66% of all teachers.
Between World Wars I and II, Hunter, Brooklyn and Queens colleges joined the already public City College in Manhattan to form an expanded public system of higher education, which, after the end of World War II, expanded into what is now the huge City University of New York. Now a comprehensive, nonresidential coeducational college with nearly 21,000 students enrolled in 3 undergraduate and 4 graduate schools, Hunter continues to offer a program leading to a bachelor’s degree in education.