Eliza R. Knight, from Ipswich Seminary, became the principal of Wheaton Female Seminary in 1838, remaining until 1840. Miss Knight chose the Seminary motto, “Who drinks will thirst for more” (John 4:13), and designed a related seal containing a fountain.
1838 - 1840Eliza R. Knight
1840 - 1842Martha E.W. Vose
New Principal Martha Vose advised her pupils that “one thing well learned, is better than a dozen, half committed and not half comprehended.”
1840 - PresentLibrary established
Fanny Morey Wheaton established the Seminary Library with a gift of $100.00. The money was used to purchase Harper & Brothers newly established and pioneering publisher’s series, the “Harper’s Family Library” of titles in travel, history, and biography.
Wheaton raised the charge for board to $2.00 per week. Student tuition was $10.00 for each of three twenty-two-week terms.
1842 - 1846Martha C. Sawyer
A member of Wheaton Female Seminary’s first graduating class in 1839, Martha Sawyer remained at Wheaton to become a full time teacher. After three years of service, Miss Sawyer replaced Martha Vose as principal in 1842.
1844 - 1878First Gymnasium
In 1844, a small gymnasium was built between Seminary Hall and the Boarding House (Old Metcalf Hall). It is believed to be the first freestanding gymnasium built at any women’s college in the U.S. In 1878, Mrs. Wheaton donated the… Read More »
In 1846, Zerviah Mitchell became the first known African-American to apply to Wheaton.
Judge Laban Wheaton, founder of Wheaton, died at the age of 92. His funeral oration was given by the Rev. Sylvester Holmes, Wheaton Female Seminary Trustee and pastor of the Pacific Congregational Church of New Bedford, MA.
1846 - 1965Holmes Cottage
Laban Morey Wheaton built this home for his mother, Fanny Morey Wheaton, after the death of his father in 1846. Originally built on the southeast corner of Howard and Main Streets, it was moved across the street in 1856 when… Read More »
1847 - 1849Elizabeth A. Cate
In the spring of 1847, Mrs. Wheaton’s personal appeal brought a new principal to the Seminary: Elizabeth A. Cate, a long-time friend of Martha Vose from their days at Bradford Academy.
1849 - 1850Margaret Mann
The Board of Trustees elected Miss Margaret Mann as principal in 1849, hoping she possessed the qualities to continue Miss Cate’s improvements.
1849 - PresentNew Seminary Hall / Mary Lyon Hall
The new Seminary Hall, the main classroom building, was constructed in 1849 to replace “The Sem.” Seminary Hall was enlarged in 1878 to include a science wing (south wing), gymnasium and library (west wing), additional classrooms (east wing), grand stairway… Read More »