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Ipswich Female Seminary

Ipswich Female Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts, established in 1828, was a female seminary, an early school for the secondary and tertiary-level education of young women.

Ipswich Female Seminary
TypeFemale Seminary
PresidentZilpah P. Grant Banister

The school was founded as Ipswich Academy in 1828[1] by Zilpah Grant, with assistance from Mary Lyon.[2] Grant had previously been a teacher and Lyon a student at an academy for female students in Byfield, Massachusetts.[3] The school's focus was on preparing girls for careers as teachers and missionaries. It offered a "rigorous curriculum",[3] including study of English, arithmetic, geography, chemistry, human physiology, history, the natural sciences, religion, vocal music, and calisthenics, and placed an emphasis on "standards of personal conduct and discipline".[2][3] Teachers encouraged students in questioning and analysis, in addition to comprehension.[3] As part of their preparation, students did practice teaching with guidance from a teacher.[2] Enrollment averaged 116 students.[2]

Mary Lyon left as the principal in 1834 to begin a three-year effort that culminated in 1837 with the founding of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.[4] Grant retired from education in 1839, whereupon the school closed. In 1844 it was reopened by Eunice Caldwell Cowles, an Ipswich graduate, and her husband John P. Cowles, a minister. The school was renamed "Female Seminary" in 1848.[1] It operated until 1876, by which time the increasing availability of public schools had reduced the need for schools of this type. According to Academy records, 88 of school's graduates went on to teach as educational missionaries in the western and southern United States.[2]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Massachusetts Board of Education; George A. Walton (1877), "Report on Academies: Ipswich Female Seminary", Annual Report...1875-76, Boston – via Internet Archive


  1. ^ a b George Adams (1853). "Education in Massachusetts: Incorporated Academies". Massachusetts Register. Boston: Printed by Damrell and Moore.
  2. ^ a b c d e Finding Aid: Ipswich Female Seminary Collection, 1828-present
  3. ^ a b c d Irene Harwarth; Mindi Maline; Elizabeth DeBra, Women's Colleges in the United States: History, Issues, and Challenges, United States Department of Education, archived from the original on February 4, 2005, retrieved February 7, 2012
  4. ^ The Founding of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Mount Holyoke College

External linksEdit