Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in History


Arch Dalrymple III Department of History

First Advisor

Ted Ownby

Second Advisor

Rebecca Marchiel

Third Advisor

Jessica Wilkerson

Relational Format



Through close study of St. Christopher’s School—an all-boys’ school in Richmond, Virginia—during its first fifty years, this thesis historicizes upper-class white masculinity in Virginia during the first half of the twentieth century. The school’s founder, Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, linked the Lost Cause myth with other movements in education at the time, especially Muscular Christianity and the country day school movement. By looking at how students and administrators at St. Christopher’s made and remade traditions surrounding notions of masculinity, in addition to more muted manifestations of gender at the school, illuminate the existence of a gender hierarchy even before gender integration. In the 1960s, the school participated in a curriculum exchange with its sister school, St. Catherine’s, which caused a considerable backlash from St. Christopher’s students. St. Christopher’s boys appropriated the language of Virginian segregationists to address women taking a few classes at their school, vowing to protect the exclusively male spaces they cherished. The thesis additionally investigates how both St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s students reacted to racial integration at their schools, revealing the role whiteness played in their conceptions of gender.



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