American education » Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry
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Published: April 3, 2011

Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry

One of several “colleges” established by socialists, labor union leaders and intellectuals attempting to establish egalitarian educational facilities for American workers during the years between World Wars I and II. Unlike the BROOKWOOD LABOR COLLEGE, which was designed to teach union organization and strike-management techniques, the Workers’ Summer School was modeled after England’s Ruskin College at Oxford and was designed to teach working women such nonvocational subjects as literature, history, hygiene, science and other courses that would make their lives, rather than their work, more pleasant. Bryn Mawr College president Martha Carey Thomas (1857–1935), who was also a prominent suffragist, founded the Workers’ Summer School in 1921. A former Bryn Mawr English professor and dean, Thomas had been president of the college since 1894 and, although she retired in 1922, the summer school continued in operation until 1938.