Grace C. Bibb
Hegelian Idealism, Feminism,
Philosophy of Education

Kate Lindemann's 

Women Philosophers


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Grace C Bibb: We know little of her early life. Most of the published references and biographical material concerning her treat only of her adult accomplishments.

She was one of the first women to be dean of a University department - the one for the Normal School Education at the University of Missouri.

She was very much the philosopher and involved in the St. Louis Hegelian Circle and was often in contact with Harris, who was the leader of the group. She was also friends with Susan Blow who was an important figure in that group. Her friends hips with Anna Brackett continued long after Brackett leftSt Louis for New York. See: Anna Brackett, friend of Grace C Bibb. As you recall the St. Louis Hegelians were the first major philosophical movement in the United States.

Grace C Bibb was not just interested in Hegel's idealism. She was the only woman to regularly attend the Kant Club which was part of the St. Louis Circle. The members of the Kant club read Immanuel Kant, of course, but they also devoted a great deal of time to studying Hegel's Phenomenologyand Science of Logic so we know that this philosopher was well acquainted with German idealism.

1842 Grace C. Bibb is born in Nelson, Virginia to George Bibb and Mary Ann Slater.

1877 Grace C Bibb served as dean of the Normal School at the University of Missouri.

1882 The Normal School as changed to the Normal Department

1883 She left her position at the University of Missouri in part because she married.

To read the full chronology of the Normal school/department go to University of Missouri Archives

1884 - She moved to Omaha, Nebraska with her husband, Thomas Sudborough. It might have been her impending marriage that may have influenced her leaving her position at the University.

In Nebraska she continued her reading and study. It appears that she might have felt a bit at "loose ends" and missing the engagement in University work.

We know that while at the University, she taught Rousseau in her classes and that later she was in discussion with Harris about publishing a book on the philosopher's work. But there appeared to be some disagreement over the project. Several years later Harris asked someone else to write the Rousseau book.

1912 - Grace C. Bibb dies in Omaha, Nebraska

It is well worth reading Grace C. Bibb's work. Modern feminists will be especially interested in her analysis of Lady Macbeth.


1873 "Women as Teachers". Journal of Education 2:12:225.

1875 "Lady Macbeth: a Study in Character". the Western Review 1:287.

1875 "Avenues into which our Work Leads Us". the Western Review 1: 731.

1880 "Education of the Public as to Normal School Education ". Education 1: 574.

1880 "Normal Departments in State Universities". Address to the National Education Association. Chautauqua, New York, 1880.

Sources used: Dorothy G. Rogers. America's First Women Philosophers Continuum, 2005.

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