Join us as Patricia Auspos speaks about her new book Breaking Conventions: Five Couples in Search of Marriage-Career Balance at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century and discuss the fascinating lives of the Greenwich Village-based couple, Lucy Sprague Mitchell and Wesley Clair Mitchell.

Residents of Greenwich Village from 1913 to 1946, Lucy and Wesley were pioneering educators who founded and led schools that became beacons of progressive education and iconic institutions in the neighborhood. Lucy founded the Bureau of Educational Experiments (later the Bank Street College of Education); Wesley, a renowned economist, was involved with the New School for Social Research. Their union was an early and unusually successful example of a dual-career marriage, at a time when well-to-do white women weren’t supposed to have careers, and career women weren’t supposed to marry.

Living in Greenwich Village gave Lucy the physical space she needed to integrate her professional and family life and access to social and intellectual circles that were vital to her success. The Mitchells were part of a network of like-minded pathbreaking educators – Caroline Pratt, Harriet Johnson, and Elizabeth Irwin – who resided in Greenwich Village and experimented with alternative lifestyles. Lucy and Wesley were also friends of Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, founder of the Greenwich Settlement House, and her husband, Vladimir, an economist. These friendships bolstered the Mitchells’ efforts to create a new-style marriage and develop new standards for raising their four children, two of whom were adopted.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
6:00 pm



Pre-registration required

Location: Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011