Hunter College High School

       Hunter began in 1869 as a school to educate girls who wanted to become teachers. Originally designed as a normal school by Thomas Hunter and later named for him, it grew into a series of schools providing free public education for girls and women at all grade levels. In 1974, HCHS became co-educational.

Hunter College High School
68th Street & Lexington Ave.
Home from 1940-1970

        Across the years when Mrs. Lilienthal taught at HCHS, girls took exams in which they competed to enter high school. Teachers expected intense commitment to school work, and took for granted that students were college-bound. After 1974 boys were accepted. Competitive exams still occur but students now must enter at the 7th grade, not the 9th.

       More of the history and current policies can be found on the HCHS website: also Wikipedia’s entry for HCHS includes a list of prominent graduates.

       Ilana De Bare’s study of American high schools for women, Where Girls Come First  (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004), refers to HCHS repeatedly.  De Bare’s interview with Audrey Maurer  (256-59) surveys aspects of the Hunter experience at mid-20th century and highlights Maurer’s comment that the teachers then were “feminists before there were feminists” (257).

Index  --   Next: Questionnaire