I. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) Blandin.

History of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. online

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assistance of the South Georgia Conference, he suc-
ceeded in obtaining funds to build the present struc-
ture, one of the best in the State. In 1895 he was
succeeded by Rev. Homer Bush, who continues in

Cuthbert has a very high elevation, being the high-
est place between Macon and Montgomery. This
renders it free from malaria and causes it to have a
health record unsurpassed. Andrew is a Christian


school. The managers believe that any education
claiming to be complete must develop not only the
physical, mental, and moral side of our being but
must also give special attention to the spiritual. The
Bible is taught as a regular text-book in all four of the
College classes not in the least with a purpose of
inculcating sectarian bias, but for the sole end of de-
veloping a high type and healthful form of Christian

The corps of instructors is composed of teachers of
successful experience, whose educational advantages
have been the best to be obtained.

A large three-story building has recently been added
to the equipment. Some of the appointments are large
grounds, a tennis court, croquet sets, a natatorium, a
well-selected library, a well-supplied reading-room, and

Lucy Cobb Institute, Athens, Georgia, 1858-1908

Early in the year 1857 there appeared in the Athens
Watchman a striking article on the subject of " The
Education of Our Girls." The article called atten-
tion to the fact that the State provided at Athens every
advantage of culture and education for the boys, but
had made no provision for the girls. It proceeded to
show that woman had received from her Creator the
" same intellectual constitution as man, and had the
same right to intellectual culture and development."
The article was signed " Mother," and it was a most
earnest plea for equal advantages of education for boys
and girls. It caught the eye of Gen. T. R. R. Cobb,
at that time one of the leading lawyers and most pro-
gressive men of the town. He had several intelligent
and promising young daughters, and he immediately
realized the necessity of providing such a school in the
town as would obviate the necessity of sending girls
out of the State to be educated. No sooner did he see
that a thing ought to be done than he went to work


to do it. Being a leader in almost every enterprise
in the town, he soon succeeded in raising a sufficient
amount of money to purchase the land and to have the
present school building erected. He believed that
everything that was worth doing at all was worth do-
ing well, so that the building was designed and built
in the very best manner. After its completion the
equipment was the very best that could be procured.
The parlors, bedrooms, dining-halls, and school halls
were all furnished in the most comfortable and attrac-
tive manner.

" Lucy Cobb " was designed as a home for her
pupils, and essentially a home it was then and has
been ever since. A faculty of the very best teachers
was employed, and in 1858 the doors of the institute
were thrown open to young women of the South.
Just about the time of the opening of the school, Lucy
Cobb, the eldest daughter of Gen. T. R. R. Cobb, died,
and the trustees, who had been chosen by the stock-
holders of the school, met and unanimously decided to
name it in honor of her, the daughter of the

The school, from its beginning, became popular,
and was then, as it is now, patronized by the best
families of the South. Even during the War between
the States, when business was interrupted, railroad
communication destroyed, fortunes threatened, this
school was full.

During its history of forty-five years the following
principals and presidents have presided over its inter-
ests and affairs: R. M. Wright, 1859-1860; W. H.
Muller, 1860-1862; Madam S. Sosnowski, 1862-1869;
Rev. Mr. Jacobs, 1869-1870; Mrs. A. E. Wright,
1870-1873; Mrs. A. E. Wright and Rev. P. A. Heard,
associate principals, 1873-1880. For the past twenty-
three years Lucy Cobb has been under the manage-
ment of Miss M. Rutherford and Mrs. M. A. Lips-
comb, nieces of Gen. T. R. R. Cobb, the founder, and,
what seems a coincidence, the daughters of the mother


whose article on " The Education of Our Girls " first
attracted the notice of General Cobb.

Year by year the curriculum of the Institute has
been advanced, until it is abreast with the leading- col-
leges for young women in the land. Within the last
few years a beautiful addition to the school has been
made, the Seney-Stovall Chapel, a gift from Mr.
George I. Seney of New York. It is admirably
adapted to all commencement exercises and entertain-
ments. Mr. Seney placed in it a large pipe organ.
The Art Department is also indebted to Mr. Seney
for eighteen large paintings, the work of eminent
artists. These paintings are placed in the parlors and
reading-rooms, where they are a constant source of
pleasure and inspiration to the students. One of them
is a portrait of " Aunt Dot," by E. L. Henry, who was
sent out from New York to paint the portrait of this
faithful retainer of the Institute; and another a family
servant of the principal. The artist has admirably
portrayed the kindliness, honesty, and faithfulness of
a representative Southern slave as she stands in char-
acteristic attitude, ready for duty when called upon
to serve.

There is a pleasant piece of history connected
with Mr. Seney 's interest in the Lucy Cobb and his
numerous gifts to it. When it became apparent
that a new chapel was necessary for the advance-
ment of the school, Miss Rutherford, who was
then principal, began to devise means to procure the
necessary funds to build it. The citizens of Athens
were called upon for contributions. Many responded,
but the sum collected was not sufficient. Finally, one
day Miss Rutherford called the school together and
asked if each girl would not make an individual effort
to procure the needed funds outside of Athens. The
pupils were enthusiastic, and wrote to various friends
and the leading philanthropists of the North and South
for aid, and many responded with gifts from five dol-
lars up to five hundred. Gen. Henry R. Jackson of


Savannah, Georgia, was one of the most liberal con-
tributors. A beautiful and girlish letter from the
hand of Miss Nellie Stovall, telling the needs of the
school, touched the heart of Mr. George I. Seney, and
the Seney-Stovall Chapel, which stands to-day as a
monument to a cultured Southern woman and to this
great philanthropist, is the result.

The school is without endowment, but the present
principal is endeavoring to secure an educational fund
which will enable her to make loans to deserving and
ambitious young women on condition that when they
become self-supporting they return the funds, thus
making these funds a constant benefaction.

The course of study is divided into primary, inter-
mediate, and collegiate; the last two requiring four
years each for completion. The Institute provides a
course of lectures supplementary to its regular course.
These lectures will be given by the professors of the
University of Georgia and by specialists in the lecture


Early Schools of Kentucky

INTEREST in the history of education in Kentucky,
from the early settlement to 1820, centers in the de-
velopment of the splendid system of higher education,
a State University and a subsidiary academy in each
county. These academies were quite fully developed,
and reached their culmination during this period;
while Transylvania University was fairly established.
This system made no provision for the education of
girls; in fact, they were entirely excluded from these
schools. The only schools open to them were the " old
field " schools ; perchance, in some neighborhoods, a
school supported by a few families. For a consider-
able period the only schools in the State claiming to
give girls a grammar-school course were those of Rev.
John Lyle, at Paris, and of Mrs. Keats, at Washing-
ton, Mason County.

Rev. John Lyle's School, Paris, Kentucky

Rev. John Lyle was one of the Presbyterian min-
isters prominent in the early history of Kentucky. He
attempted to supply the great lack of educational facil-
ities for girls by opening, in 1806, at Paris, the first
seminary for girls in Kentucky. Mr. Lyle proved a suc-
cessful teacher, and soon had a school of 200 or more
pupils. He continued his school until 1810, when he
withdrew from the seminary because some persons con-
nected with the school refused to allow the Bible to be
read publicly in the school. His withdrawal seems
to have broken up the school, as nothing more is
known concerning it.


Mrs. Louisa Fitzherbert Keats's School, Washington,

In 1807 Mrs. Keats opened a school for girls at
Washington, the most important town in Mason
County. It is said the daughters and wives of many
of the distinguished men of the State received their
scholastic training in this school, which was very
popular at that time. For some unknown reason it
was closed in 1812.

Lafayette Seminary, Lexington, Kentucky

" This Seminary was established in 1821 at Lexing-
ton. An annual announcement of the Seminary for
1825 says it was visited by Lafayette on May 16, 1825.
It had then 9 instructors and 135 pupils, and in the
four years previous had had altogether 366 pupils. It
claimed to furnish every facility ' for making thor-
ough and accomplished scholars/ ' (Lewis's " His-
tory of Higher Education in Kentucky.")

Science Hill, Kentucky, 1825-1908

Since the days of John Wesley, Methodists have
been interested in education, hence it is no surprise to
find that Rev. John Tevis, a member of the Kentucky
Conference, and his wife opened a school for girls
at Science Hill, March 25, 1825. It was and still is
a private enterprise, without a dollar of endowment,
having no support from any source but from its pupils.
Although Mr. Tevis was associated with Mrs. Tevis
in conducting the school, and rendered efficient services
in its behalf, yet from the inception of the enterprise
the burden was borne by Mrs. Tevis, and to her must
be attributed the largest share of its success. After
the death of Mr. Tevis, in 1861, she conducted the
school alone until 1879, when Dr. W. T. Poynter pur-
chased it. Mrs. Tevis remained at Science Hill until


her death in 1880. She was a gifted woman, far
ahead of her time, and had a strong and fine influence
over her pupils, who remember her with great admira-
tion and affection. Her life was strong and helpful,
her old age was lovely; to the last she was full of
energy, full of interest in past and present, full of
faith and hope and love.

Prior to the War between the States many hundreds
of girls attended school at Science Hill, often remain-
ing four or five years without returning home, as steam
had not then annihilated distance. During the war
many girls from the South remained with Mrs. Tevis
two or three years, some never hearing from home
during that time. They remained at the expense of
that noble-spirited woman. After the war the South-
ern patronage was greatly diminished, owing largely
to the impoverishment caused by the war.

Science Hill was the third academy for girls estab-
lished in Kentucky, and the second oldest academy
(Protestant) that has continued to the present day.
The school was small at first, the enrollment for the
first term being but 20, four of whom were boarders ;
but gradually the prejudice in Kentucky against higher
education for girls was overcome, a reputation was
established, and the rooms were crowded the matric-
ulation being limited only by the accommodations that
could be offered. The catalogue of 1859 shows an
enrollment of 370.

Science Hill celebrated the closing of her seventy-
fifth year June 3, 4, 5, 1900, with a diamond jubilee
a grand reunion of former pupils. They assembled
from nearly all the Southern States and many of the
Northern and Western, 800 being present the last day.
Ladies were present who had attended the school in
1831, '33, '35 and so on. When they parted sixty-
four years before they were in the bloom of youth,
bright with anticipations for the future; now they
were faded, white-haired pilgrims nearly at the jour-
ney's end.


The school was always a preparatory school, the
course offered comprising the usual English studies,
music, and French.

When Dr. Poynter took charge of the school he
changed the course to make it a secondary school in
the fullest sense of the term, its requirements being
made to conform to those laid down by the Committee
of Ten. The school is correlated with Wellesley and
Vassar, but its diploma admits to other colleges of first
rank. A diploma admits to the freshman class of
these colleges, and the course in music prepares for the
fifth grade in the New England Conservatory.

The faculty is composed of college-trained women,
each a specialist in her department. The music teach-
ers are also skilled musicians. No Sham is the motto
of teachers and pupils. The school has had only two
principals. Mrs. Tevis was principal for fifty-four
years, and since that time Mrs. Poynter has had
charge, though she was assisted by Dr. Poynter until
his death. Few institutions have been so favored.
The school is now known as an " English and Classical
School for Girls."

The buildings at first consisted of one dwelling-
house, and as there were no funds save the profits of
the school, the enlargement was gradual ; but after the
reputation was established new buildings were added
every vacation, until the equipment was ample for
the accommodation of three or four hundred girls.
The last building added during Mrs. Tevis's regime
was the large chapel, opened in 1860. The buildings
have been remodeled to conform to modern ideas of
comfort and convenience, and the library and scientific
apparatus and other means of instruction have been
enlarged and otherwise adapted to the requirements of
modern teaching. Almost all the records of the school
during Mrs. Tevis's administration have been lost, but
it is known that more than 2,000 pupils had been edu-
cated in the school in Mr. Tevis's lifetime, and more
than 3,000 up to 1875. The average attendance in


recent years is 130 and in many instances the pupils
are the daughters and even the granddaughters of
former graduates.

(From catalogues, and letters from Mrs. Poynter.)

Beaumont College, Harrodsburg, Kentucky, 1841-


The college now known as Beaumont College had
its origin in 1841, when Prof. S. G. Mullins bought
the property and founded Greenville Springs College,
which he conducted as president till the close of the
collegiate year, in June, 1856.

In the summer of 1856 the College was bought by
Dr. C. E. Williams and his son, Prof. Augustus Wil-
liams. In September of the same year (1856) Prof.
John A. Williams as president changed the name of
the school to " Daughters' College," and conducted it
with marked success as such till the summer of 1893.
In 1894 the College, with all its grounds, buildings,
and appurtenances was bought by Th. Smith, who as
its president changed the name to Beaumont College.
Professor Smith opened the school in September, 1894,
since which time he has continued in charge. The
curriculum is a broader and more comprehensive one
than it has had in its previous history. The aim of
Professor Smith is to make the work more distinctively
university work than is usually done in schools for

Beaumont College provides good facilities for teach-
ing art, music, elocution, and physical culture; but
especial stress is given to music. In addition to the
conservatory course, a normal course in piano, organ
and singing is offered. Like its predecessors, Beau-
mont College is entirely a private enterprise. It is
an accredited school of the University of Tennessee,
and prepares for the best American and German Uni-

(This sketch was furnished by Professor Smith,


who also sent a catalogue from which a few addi-
tional facts were taken.)

Caldwell College, Danville, Kentucky, 1859-1908

Schools for girls were established in Danville at an
early period of its history, the first of these being
founded by Rev. J. K. Burch, who was for a time a
professor in a theological department attached to
Center College. None of these schools had a first-
class equipment and their duration was short. Very
soon after its establishment, Danville became an edu-
cational center for young men, especially among the
Presbyterians, who also endeavored to provide equal
advantages for their daughters. A united and deter-
mined effort toward the accomplishment of this pur-
pose was made in 1856. In this enterprise the more
intelligent citizens of the town of Danville and Boyle
County were interested, but the Presbyterians were the
prime movers. After much canvassing and many ear-
nest, eloquent addresses had been delivered in favor of
the higher education of women, an amount sufficient to
purchase a lot and erect a building was raised. In
1859 Prof. A. E. Sloan of Alabama was elected prin-
cipal. At his suggestion another building equal in size
to the first was erected, and school opened in 1860 with
a large attendance and every prospect of success.

The original name of the institution was Henderson
Institute, but in consideration of the great liberality
of Mr. Charles Caldwell the name was changed to
Caldwell Institute; and under this name a charter
was obtained for the enterprise, placing it under the
management of the two Presbyterian churches. A
disagreement between these Presbyterian churches con-
cerning the issues of the War of 1861-65 and the
withdrawal of the Southern patronage, on which the
management had largely depended, made it necessary
to close the school in 1862. It remained closed two
years, then a Mr. Hart opened school and taught two


years, when the original management elected Rev.
L. G. Barbour principal. He conducted a good school
for eight years, and resigned to accept a chair in the
newly established Central University. The lack of
co-operation between the controlling Presbyterian
churches had for some time greatly impaired the use-
fulness of the school. They had become divided by
the issues of the war, and now decided not to occupy
the property conjointly. Finally an arrangement was
made by which the Second Presbyterian Church as-
sumed the indebtedness of $20,000 and control of the
school. Since that time the elders of that church
have acted as trustees.

Prof. W. P. Hussey of Boston, Massachusetts, suc-
ceeded Dr. Barbour as principal of the school. His
enthusiasm infused new life into the school, and his
plans to raise the standard and enlarge the scope of
the work were favorably received. His first step was
to induce the trustees to apply for a new charter, which
changed the name to Caldwell College, a distinctive
name which defined the character of the school.

In 1876 the buildings were destroyed by fire. Noth-
ing remained but the ground, which was sold as town
lots. With the funds thus obtained another lot was
purchased, a building erected, and school was re-
opened in 1880 under the management of Rev. John
Montgomery, president. Mr. Montgomery conducted
a fairly successful school for six years, and during his
superintendency the material equipment was increased
by the addition of a brick chapel. In 1886 Miss C. A.
Campbell succeeded Mr. Montgomery, and was a suc-
cessful manager for eleven years. During her admin-
istration a large building containing four large recita-
tion-rooms and a gymnasium was added to the equip-
ment. A new charter was obtained granting the
power to confer degrees, a power the college did not
have under the old charter, the standard raised, and
the course of study enlarged, the aim being to make it
equal to that of the colleges for men.


Miss Campbell was succeeded by Rev. J. D. Ely,
who seems to be maintaining the prosperity of the in-
stitution. A recent catalogue announces that all mod-
ern conveniences have been added to the building, and
a well-ordered home is offered to the boarders.
Professor Ely has extended the preparatory course one
year, thus making the time required for the full course
seven instead of six years. The College offers four
courses : a classical course, which entitles the graduate
to A.B. degree; a scientific course, which entitles to
B.S. degree; a seminary course, which entitles to a
diploma. An elective course has been arranged for
those who cannot complete the degree courses. A
normal course has been added for the benefit of those
preparing to teach.

The other departments of the school are the schools
of modern languages, music, art, elocution, physical
culture, and business; the last includes stenography,
typewriting, book-keeping and telegraphy.

The institution was originally established to provide
facilities for higher education for women, and Presi-
dent Ely thus states the present purpose of the institu-
tion : " . . . nor shall we retrench in any effort to make
it one of the leading institutions in the State for the
higher education of women. The idea should be to
afford the highest and broadest intellectual training,
and at the same time preserve the essential character-
istics of a refined Christian home. Our aim will be
to give a broad and generous culture, founded upon
Christian principles, so that those seeking its advan-
tages shall become intelligent and cultured Christian


(The facts contained in this sketch have been ob-
tained from Lewis's " History of Higher Education
in Kentucky/' from catalogues, and correspondence.)



Early Schools in Louisiana

ALTHOUGH the colonists did not give much atten-
tion to the establishment of schools during the French
or the Spanish supremacy, yet a school for girls the
Ursuline Convent was established in 1727; this
school claims the distinction of being the first school
for girls ever established in the United States.

The educational apathy seems to have been dispelled,
to some extent, by the transfer from European
dominion to republican rule; for the first Territorial
Legislature, notwithstanding the commotion produced
by the transfer, passed " An Act to institute an uni-
versity in the Territory of Orleans." This Univer-
sity was to be called and known by the name of " The
University of Orleans." Section IV of this Act re-
quired the regents of the University to establish, as
speedily as may be, within each county, one or more
academies for the instruction of youth in the French
and English languages."

The next section is introduced by a short preamble :
" And whereas the prosperity of every State depends
greatly on the education of the female sex, in so much
that the dignity of their condition is the strongest char-
acteristic which distinguishes civilized from savage
society; Be it further enacted, That the said regents
shall establish such a number of academies in this
Territory as they may judge fit for the instruction of
the youth of the female sex in the English and French
languages, and in such branches of polite literature and
such liberal arts and accomplishments as may be suit-
able to the age and sex of the pupils."

These schools were not free schools, and therefore


did not meet the approval of Governor William C. C.
Claiborne, and no action was taken until 1806, when
an Act establishing free schools was passed. Still the
authorities were in no hurry to put in force the provi-
sions of the act; not before 1811, when the Legislature
made the first appropriations to the academies, allow-
ing $2,000 to each of twelve counties for buildings,
and $500 for salaries, is there any record of academies.
Even then there is no mention of academies for girls,
under State control, but this deficiency was supplied
by private enterprise; but as these schools were not
chartered and no records were kept, it is difficult al-
most impossible to find any details of them.

On March 6, 1819, the Academy of Natchitoches
was chartered by a total of forty-eight incorporators,
who were empowered to elect from their own number

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Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 11 of 24)