The exact age of a young lady

In the eighteenth century many works appeared on the market that were designed for "young ladies". Lately I have been wondering about the exact age of this specific readership. According to the oed, "until late in the 19th cent. girls at boarding schools were spoken of and addressed as young ladies", while Bottigheimer (2005:10) points out that "young gentlemen and ladies" "could be as young as thirteen or fourteen or as old as young people at the age of their independent entry into society". I, however, believe that the term was also used to refer to slightly younger girls. Please reply to this post if you know more about the topic. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Bottigheimer, Ruth B. (2005). "The Book on the Bookseller’s Shelf and the Book in the English Child’s Hand. In: Ruwe, Donelle (ed.), Culturing the Child, 1690-1914. Essays in Memory of Mitzi Meyers. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 3-28.

 

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