During the Early Republic, education for the daughters of Portland's elite families usually included “ornamental” subjects such as needlework, music, and painting in addition to the “useful” subjects of reading history, arithmetic, and geography. This curriculum mirrored that of fashionable schools for young ladies in New York, Philadelphia, and, of course, Boston. The “Misses Martin's School for Young Ladies, ” opened in 1803 by the English “gentlewoman” Penelope Martin, instructed girls in “useful” and “ornamental ”subjects while also offering Portland’s best families the added cache of sending their daughters to a British-style boarding school for training as “proper” young ladies. Yvonne Souliere’s essay sets the Misses Martin’s School in the context of education in Maine in the early nineteenth century and points to the importance of these types of schools for elite families interested in both educating and socializing their daughters. Yvonne Souliere works for the Division of Academic Support at the University of Southern Maine.
Souliere, Yvonne. "The Misses Martin’s School for Young Ladies Portland, Maine, 1803-1834." Maine History 38, 2 (1998): 82-103. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol38/iss2/2