Schools Associated with Mary Lyon

Sanderson Academy--student, 1817 and 1820; teacher, 1821-23. When she was 20, Mary Lyon enrolled at the new coeducational academy in Ashfield, a town adjacent to Buckland. "Here," she would later write, "I was principally educated; here my mental energies first awakened." Her quick intelligence and thirst for learning impressed her teachers and fellow students. All were amazed by her ability to survive on only four hours of sleep a night, and to memorize an entire Latin grammar in one weekend.

Byfield Female Seminary
--student, 1821. Mary Lyon attended Byfield, north of Boston, for six months. Joseph Emerson, the Seminary principal and a graduate of Harvard College, believed strongly in the intellectual ability of women, and consequently, his school had higher academic standards than did most female seminaries. He became Lyon's mentor. A star pupil at the Seminary was Zilpah Grant, who soon became Emerson's assistant. She and Lyon became close friends, and later, colleagues.

Adams Female Academy, Londonderry, New Hampshire--teacher, 1824-27. When Zilpah Grant was named the principal of the new academy, she invited Mary Lyon to join her. The school was open for a seven-month summer term. Lyon's salary was $5 a week, plus board.

Winter School for Girls--principal and teacher, 1824-30. When Adams closed for the winter, Lyon returned to her native hilltowns, at the request of local families, to run her own school. Designed to prepare young women for elementary teaching, the school was an immediate success, enrolling 100 students by 1830.

Ipswich Female Seminary--assistant principal and teacher, 1828-34. After a dispute with the owners of Adams Academy, Zilpah Grant founded her own school in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Although reluctant to close her winter school, Mary Lyon accepted Grant's offer of a year-round position in 1830. At Ipswich, Lyon and Grant became widely known for their progressive ideas about women's education and their ability to train teachers.

Wheaton Female Seminary--consultant and visiting instructor, 1834. In addition to offering advice, Mary Lyon suggested the school's first principal--Eunice Caldwell, a graduate of Ipswich Seminary. Wheaton Seminary is now Wheaton College.

Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, later Mount Holyoke College--founder and first principal, 1837-1849.