New Introduction by Carolyn Goffman
Hester Donaldson Jenkins (1869-1941), a professor at the American College for Girls in Constantinople from 1900-1909, wrote enthusiastically about the Young Turks who seemed to promise new freedoms for Ottoman women. Jenkins uses her own observations of Constantinople, her students, and their families to construct an account of a "typical" Turkish Muslim woman's life cycle at this turning point in Ottoman history. She directs her comments toward childhood, education, marriage, polygamy, and divorce, in order to correct Western misapprehensions. In its confidence in the bright prospects of American influence and Ottoman reform, this book captures an optimistic moment in which social progress seemed to be thriving.