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Founded 1814 




JUNE 1, 1914 


Fort Orange Press 

The Brandow Printing Company 




Albany Academy for Girls 

Grace Perry 
The Reverend Eben S. Stearns, principal of the Academy at 
the celebration of her semi-centennial, began his historical 
sketch for the occasion by noting that at the opening of the 
Academy in 1814 the country was at war: that, in much more 
terrible form, 1864 found her again absorbed in the endless 
horror of strife. The present sketch was to have been pre- 
faced by a heartfelt Thank God that a second fifty years had 
put us beyond even the fear of blood. But — 1814, 1864 
and 1914, and are we still to dream only of a land whose 
inhabitants shall have ceased to learn war any more? 

There must have been many little girls in America in 

1814 who needed better school advantages than their towns 

afforded, but to none of them did it fall to be the occasion 

for a new undertaking save to Lucretia, the daughter of 

g Ebenezer Foot. It is always easy to credit special blindness 

\^ or special vision to acts one hundred years old, but it can 

o scarcely be claimed that Mr and j\Irs Foot looked furtiicr 

^ into an educational future than the very natural desire for 

the immediate wellbeing of an only child. Far-sighted for 

^ eight year old Lucretia they certainly were, but no thought 


- for the complicated higher education of another century can 

=^ have disturbed their simple plans. .And because the scIkioI 

rose, not from caprice nor ostentation, but from the actual 

h needs of the time, it grew constantly to meet those needs as 



Albany Academy for Girls 

they grew, and has been ever since adapting itself to the 
requirements of each advancing day. 

After due canvassing of the situation, twenty-three other 
interested fathers promised for one year, to pay to Mr Foot, 
as treasurer, the sum of twenty-four dollars for each " female 
scholar " they should send to the " Little Seminary ", and 
with tliat, the Union School in Montgomery street was fairly 
launched. That Mr Foot was considered even then the real 
founder of the institution seems clear from the fact that at 
his death, July 21, 1814, on the closing day of the first 
quarter, all examinations and exercises which would have 
constituted the first commencement were omitted in his honor. 
A biographical notice of Ebenezer Foot, deceased, contains 
this paragraph : " The principal motive of Air Foot, no 
doubt, was to establish a good female school in his neighbor- 
hood, to which he might send his daughter. If this was his 
sole motive, it was a good one. But whatever the motive, 
whether to qualify his own daughter, or those of his neigh- 
bors and friends, for the duties of American ladies, or more 
expansive still, to elevate and adorn the female character, 
and store the female mind with useful knowledge, his name 
should be kindly remembered by every pupil, who has or 
may enjoy the benefits of the institution, and by every friend 
of female education." 

The ine'xpensive one story building erected in 1814 was, 
during the next three years, enlarged by the addition of a 
second story, and a second department was created, which 
necessitated one or more assistants to aid in the work of 
instruction. On the sixteenth day of February, 1821, by act 
of legislative incorporation the school took the name of 
Albany Female Academy, under the control of a distinguished 


Cextexnial Celebration 

board of trustees, of whom Chancellor Kent was the first 
president. These gentlemen immediately proved their fitness 
for the position by taking measures to procure subscriptions 
for a new building. On June twenty-fifth, 1821, a procession 
of trustees, teachers and pupils marched to a spot a little 
below the site of the first building, and the corner stone, 
now in the study hall of the Academy, was laid. The parch- 
ment discovered in its sealed bottle when the present railroad 
station was built in 1899, records this statement: "This 
stone is laid in the fear of Jehovah, the God of Knowledge, 
and commended to his protection and favor." 

Three thousand dollars and ninety-six cents were sufficient 
to pay for this building and equip it for one hundred and 
twenty pupils, but it was outgrown at the end of seven more 
years and in 1828 an addition was erected in the roar of the 
main edifice and connected with it by corridors. Xo picture 
of either of these buildings being found, ]\Irs Mary Kent 
Stone drew from memory the earlier one, with the color 
as she recalled it, for the chart sent by the school to the 
Columbian Exposition. Another alumna whose school days 
were spent in the second building, supi)lied the information 
which enabled Professor Morgan to paint that also for the 
chart. Her description of the interior arrangements and fur- 
nishing is all that we have from which to reconstruct the 

" On the first floor of the building was the Fourth Dejiart- 
ment, the youngest pupils. The entrance to it was directly 
opposite that of the building. The furniture consisted of a 
number of small, yellow wooden chairs, a table and two or 
three larger chairs, a small blackboard, and a frame with 
wires, on which were strung small colored Ixilis. These 


Albany Academy for Girls 

were used to teach the children the first lessons in numera- 
tion, as by moving them on the wires they saw that one and 
one make two, etc. This room occupied the whole main 
floor excepting a narrow hall on the north side. The stairs 
leading to the second floor were at the north side of the front 
doors. The first few steps at right angles with the front 
wall, led to a broad landing, with a large window in front. 
From this a smaller flight of steps led up to the second floor, 
which was divided like the one below, into one large room 
and a hall. This hall had a window at the east or back end, 
and was furnished with hooks for hanging cloaks, etc. 

" The furniture of the room was unlike that in the lower 
room, and probably few, if any, of the present generation 
have seen its like. The desks, or what was called by that 
name, consisted of a wooden structure, in form like the top 
of a desk, but built firmly against the wall. Under this a 
shelf about two-thirds as wide, not enclosed, but entirely 
open to dust, or to the inspection of the inquisitive, w^as the 
sole receptacle for books or other belongings. 

" In front of this structure, at such distance apart as to 
leave about twenty-four to twenty-six inches of table for 
each student, were seats, also built fast, and immovable. Two 
upright boards were screwed to the floor, and upon these was 
a solid piece of wood about twelve by fifteen inches. On 
these seats we sat all day, the tall and the short, each one's 
seat at the same distance from the desk, just as high as her 
neighbor's and just as hard. When a class was called to 
recitation we simply turned around in our seats to face the 
teacher. A table three feet wide and five long, a large wood 
stove and a blackboard, completed the furniture of the room. 


Centennial Celebration 

" The third floor, occupied by the Second Department, was 
in every way precisely like the second. 

" Adjoining the broad steps in the main entrance was a 
door, and a stairway leading to the basement. At the foot 
of this stairway was a water pipe with faucet, and if anyone 
thirsted, this was the only source of relief. The basement 
was fitted up for a dwelling for the janitor, and had very 
comfortable rooms. 

" A new two-story building was added, and the whole of 
the upper floor was in one room, excepting a narrow hall, 
which was used like those in the other building, for hanging 
cloaks, hats, etc. This room was used by the First Depart- 
ment and was furnished with movable desks and chairs. It 
had windows at both east and west, and was, of course, well 
lighted and well aired. The desks occupied only about lialf 
the room, which was used as a chapel and for examinations 
and commencement exercises. As it was not large enough 
to accommodate a great number of people, only the friends 
of the graduating class were invited to the commencement 
exercises. These, with the different examining committees, 
and the First Department, filled the room, and no pupils from 
the lower departments could be admitted. 

" The lower floor of the rear building was divided into 
two rooms. One of these was called the library and con- 
tained the few books belonging to the institution, and the 
few pieces of apparatus for philosophical and chemical experi- 
ments, and a large library table. The smaller room was the 
Trustees' room, and used for general business." 

Here for thirteen years, in an aristocratic part of the city, 
with trustees of unusual importance, with principals gradu- 
ated from Union and Harvard, the daughters of Albany's 


Albany Academy for Girls 

most substantial citizens gathered daily to receive instruction 
in solid branches of learning. As early as 1827 the state 
testified its appreciation of the character of work done, by 
placing the school under " the visitation and control " of the 
Board of Regents, as the first school for girls admitted to 
this consideration. 

Certainly where " the philosophies ", logic, Biblical antiqui- 
ties, elements of criticism, and evidences of Christianity 
occupied a prominent place in the curriculum it can never 
be said that " solid " subjects were lacking. The announce- 
ment of the beginning of the school year in 183 1 contains 
the statement, " The trustees do not consider the merely 
ornamental branches as forming any part in the course of 
education established by them." French and Spanish were 
taught, however, and the closing examinations of 1835 were 
lightened by fancy articles of needlework and an exhibition 
of drawings " highly finished, many of them from nature ", 
so the gentlemen may not have interpreted too strictly the 
word '* ornamental ". 

In 1826, to the list of principals — Horace Goodrich, early 
worn out by the double labor of law and teaching; Edwin 
James, " a worthy young man, but evidently lacking in some 
of the essentials of his office " ; Lebbeus Booth, " well edu- 
cated, highminded and honorable " ; Frederick Matthews, 
" refined, urbane, and of elevated Christian character ", was 
added the name of Alonzo Crittenden, and he at once began 
a strong and wise administration. The extraordinary success 
of the institution during his term of service, 1826- 1845, was 
undoubtedly due in large measure to his perfect control of 
each detail of the management. Public oral examinations 
which lasted well through the "8o's. were introduced by him, 


Centexxial Celebratiox 

and through the columns of an early Argus we learn, among 
other facts, that by 1833 the usual dependence on textbooks 
as the principal means of instruction, was an outworn custom 
in the Academy. 

" The year 1835 is marked by the origin of the custom of 
teachers and pupils meeting in the Academy and going in 
procession to a church to hear the reports of committees, 
and to witness the awarding of premiums to those who had 
distinguished themselves in any department of study." Since 
we have spoken of these annual ceremonies we may fairly in 
this place trace their development to the present time. From 
1828, when the new hall was added to the second building, 
commencement was for several years held there. The first 
church service was in the Baptist church, on Pearl street, 
south of Maiden Lane. In 1836 the Old South Dutch church 
was used. For many years, beginning with i860, commence- 
ments were held in the Congregational church. One reads 
of a June day in 1862 when led by Principal Stearns, two 
hundred and fifty girls, in white, marched from the Academy 
across State street and down South Pearl to Beaver street. 
In 1868 commencement was held in Tweddle Hall. The 
report of 1878 describes exercises in the cha])el of the 
Academy, but in the early '8o's the Second Presbyterian 
church began to echo annually the wisdom of " graduating 
essays ". They were nine in number in 1894. but were 
reduced the next year to a valedictory, salutatory, and one 
other. The last exercise in the church wa> in 189*;, when, 
conforming to the more modern idea, Dr James II. Ecob, 
unassisted by members of the class, made the first commence- 
ment address. Usage has now established the custom, begun 


Albany Academy for Girls 

in IQCXD, of meeting for all such occasions in the study hall 
and in the morning. 

Mr Crittenden had been conducting the school in his 
brilliant if somewhat irascible way, for eight years when 
again it became necessary to make provision for the constant 
increase of pupils, as well as to follow the natural change 
of the city's residence to higher ground. With subscriptions 
to the stock to the amount of four hundred shares, a lot was 
procured on North Pearl street and the erection of a " spa- 
cious, tasteful and commodious " building was at once begun. 
Twenty-five years ago no description of this building would 
have been necessary, but it is safe to say that no person con- 
nected with the present school ever saw the original fagade 
of the classic edifice which from 1834 to 1892 was the school 
home. It is therefore permissible to quote somewhat in detail 
from an elaborate description written by a traveler who 
passed through the city very soon after the building was 

" The plan of the building is about sixty-five feet by 
seventy-seven, including the portico, and the height about 
fifty-five feet, containing in all four stories and a cellar. The 
four stories are divided into sixteen spacious rooms; with 
halls sufficient for the accommodation of the staircases, and 
communications to the several apartments. The front faces 
to the east, and is ornamented with a beautiful Hexastyle 
portico of the Ionic order, which for sublimity of effect, and 
taste in arrangement, is not surpassed by any in the United 
States. The proportions of the columns, capitals, bases, and 
entablature, are taken from the temple on the Ilissus, the 
most beautiful example of the Ionic among the remains of 
antiquity. A flight of six steps of marble supports the colon- 

Cextexnial Celebration 

nade; and this elevation, the great length of the columns 
(which are forty feet), the bold and lofty entablature, so well 
adapted to this order, give a majesty and effect to the front 
which can only be duly appreciated by a critical examination. 
The angles are finished with antae ; and the ceiling of the 
pronaos or vestibule formed into a single panel, surrounded 
with an appropriate entablature. 

" The arrangement of the front windows, dividing the front 
into two stories instead of four, is judicious. If the front 
had been i)erforated for four tiers of windows, its archi- 
tectural beauty would have been much impaired ; but by 
lengthening the windows, so that one serves to light two 
stories, as has been done, and throwing a transom across 
them at the intermediate floors, ornamented with Grecian fret, 
the beauty of the whole has been increased. 

" The principal entrance into the interior, is from the vesti- 
bule above mentioned. The door is quite plain, no ornament 
being admitted which does not strictly accord with the gen- 
eral character of the front. The entrance is, nevertheless, 
spacious and convenient, and corresponds well with the 
Venetian windows above. A bold, well constructed stair- 
case, ascending to the fourth story, is presented immediately 
on entering the lower hall, and though divested of all fantastic 
ornament, it will be much admired on account of its strength 
and convenience, and the durable cjuality of the materials with 
which it is constructed. 

"The finish of the rooms (the Exhibition room excepted) 
is plain, and of Grecian detail ; and while all superfluous 
ornament has been studiously avoided, strength, boldness, and 
propriety have been kept steadily in view. 

" The Chapel exhibits a slight departure from that plain- 


Albany Academy for Girls 

ncss of style which is a marked feature in the general finish 
of this edifice. But this slight variation creates no confusion. 
It seems in harmony with the rest; and while the shade of 
difference is so small as scarcely to be noticed, you are pre- 
sented with the most classically finished room in this city, and 
one probably not surpassed by any in the state. This room 
is thirty-seven by sixty-one feet, the ceiling about seventeen 
feet high, and the entrance by two spacious doors on the east 
side. It is lighted by a range of windows along the west side ; 
and the walls of the opposite side and end have recesses cor- 
responding in number and location w^ith the windows, which 
preserve a rigid symmetry as regards the various openings. 
The doors, windows, and recesses, are finished with plain 
casings, having pedimental lintels crowned with carved mould- 
ings. The plainness of the face of the casings is relieved by 
patteres, or rosettes, a fashionable and judicious ornament 
much used by the architects of antiquity. The antae and 
entablature with which this room is ornamented, are in imi- 
tation of those of the Erectheum, and cannot fail to attract 
particular attention. They exhibit a highly finished specimen 
of the Grecian Ionic, and display a judicious use of ornament 
without profusion ; and if this specimen of the Ionic order 
be contrasted with that used in the front portico, it will be 
readily conceded, that though the latter, on account of its 
boldness, should have preference in external decoration, it 
must yield the palm to the former for internal finish." 

And all this for $33,295, which, compared with the $3,000 
of the previous building, doubtless seemed a large expendi- 
ture. The ceremonies of dedication took place on the tw-elfth 
of May, 1834. The principal feature of the occasion was an 
address by the president of the board of trustees. Rev. John 


Centexnial Celebration 

Ludlow, for which the trustees, that day in session, voted 
their thanks, and of which they begged a copy for pubHcation. 
The traveler of whom mention has been made was inter- 
ested not only in the pillars and entablatures, but recorded 
also what was told him of the courses and methods. That 
each of the six departments should have had a permanent 
teacher, that a text book in science was the basis only of 
instruction, and that some specimens of prose composition 
read him " would have been creditable to a practiced and even 
classic writer " seemed worthy of remark. A survey of 
materials available for a history of the school shows in an 
interesting way that of all the subjects taught from the begin- 
ning, English composition, both in prose and poetr}-. received 
the most attention. The prizes and blue ribbons given by the 
alumnae association were nearly all for excellence in literary 
work. The long-treasured copies of the Semper Portfolio, 
hand-painted and beribboned, testify to the interest felt in the 
art of expression. A special graduate course in English, with 
diploma, was offered from 1849 to 1869. Commencement 
exercises for a series of years made a special feature of the 
" Report on Composition of the Graduating Class ", and the 
catalogue (at least in the '70's) contains reports of judges 
of English writing in all the departments and print- in full 
the best three essays of the Graduating Class. In a sketch 
of the later work of the graduates of the school before the 
'8o's, thirty-six are mentioned as having shown special ai)ti- 
tude for writing, or as having jiublished magazine articles or 
books. The teachers of tiie earlier years most often quoted 
and most admired were English teachers. A school publica- 
tion called Planetarium was j^rinted in 1843. The Monthly 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Rose, which also lived in the '40s, was followed in the '60s 
by the Academy Monthly, and in 1903 by the Academe. 

In 1864 the first half century was completed, and on the 
morning of the seventeenth of May the school chapel was 
filled with pupils, graduates and guests. Distinguished among 
the others were three daughters of Mr Thomas Russell and 
the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Foot, who had all entered 
the school at its first session, fifty years before. An address 
of welcome was made by the president of the trustees, Hon. 
Amasa Parker, devotional exercises were conducted by Mr 
Crittenden and Mr Stearns, the principal, and an anthem 
was sung by the school. More public exercises, in the after- 
noon, were held in Tweddle Hall, where an historical sketch 
w^as read by Mr Steams and an oration given by President 
Stearns of Amherst College. The evening session, rendered 
brilliant by the presence of Governor Seymour and his staff, 
" was mainly devoted to music and social intercourse." 

The historical sketch concluded with these words : " Thus 
our Academy commenced, continued and perfected its first 
half century. How much husbands and children in our city 
and elsewhere, owe to its benign influence, how much society 
is indebted for the virtue and cultivation of many of its 
chiefest ornaments, no historian save the ' Recording Angel ' 
can write. It has rested on no splendid endowments. It 
has made no pathetic appeals to the sympathies of the public. 
It has kept on the even tenor of its way, furnishing its own 
pecuniary support, sometimes even paying dividends to its 
stockholders, and relying on its own conscious excellencies 
for its favor with the community." 

Mr Steams seems to have been a natural educator, and 
the Academy's favor with the community in those days 


Centennial Celebration 

depended largely on his thoroughness and firm discipline, as 
well as on the excellent teachers whom he selected. The 
women who taught in these years were merely assistants, and 
seem not to have been considered a part of the faculty. Even 
Mr Stearns printed " Faculty " in large type over tiie list 
of the men, and " Assistants ", very small, over Miss Greely, 
Mrs Bruce, and their associates. Revising at once the course 
of study, he had reduced the number of departments from 
six to four and enriched the curriculum by offering advan- 
tages in many directions which were not to be found else- 
where in the city. His interest in the boarding department 
had led him to purchase for that use the old mansion Ash 
Grove Place, which, with its beautiful lawns and groves, had 
been the home of three governors of the state. 

His predecessor, Mr Parsons, had also secured distin- 
guished residence for the pupils from out of town. The 
Patroon Place, 88i Broadway, was advertised as " healthful 
and airy ", with halls and rooms " commodious and splen- 
did ", and with an extensive garden to furnish a secluded 
playground. Members of the French normal class, estab- 
lished at this time, and others wishing to speak the language, 
were provided for in the residence of Professor Molinard. in 
Park Place. The boarding department has never again 
reached the importance it assumed under Mr Crittenden, ^Ir 
Parsons and Mr Stearns. 

Four years after the semi-centennial the satisfactory admin- 
istration of Mr Stearns came to an end. For the first fifty 
years the principals liad all been men, educated at I'nion, Vale, 
and Harvard. For the second fifty years they have all been 
women, beginning with Miss Greely in 1868. Iler term of 
service as princi|ial was only one year, but for the eleven 


Albany Academy for Girls 

years preceding she bad made the position of " Assistant " 
one of great honor. 

Toward the last of the decade from 1869 to 1879 Miss 
Ostrom was obliged to meet certain difficulties which had not 
disturbed her predecessors. Miss Plympton once wrote of 
certain causes which were at work to diminish the number 
of pupils, as not hostile in themselves but arising " from 
conditions incident to the growth of the city, the change in 
population and the demand for free instruction in higher 
branches than were then taught in the public schools. The 
establishment of a Church day and boarding school under the 
direction of the bishop of the diocese gradually withdrew 
from the Academy most of the Episcopal patronage, together 
with that of other denominations better accommodated as to 
location by St. Agnes School. Between the high school and 
the new Church school it is not surprising if this was a 
period of gradually diminishing numbers and consequent loss 
of prestige." 

The number of pupils graduated from a school never of 
course tells the full story of the worth of the institution or 
its position in the community, but a certain tale of tendencies, 
at least, may be supplied by averages. The largest class ever 
graduated from the Academy was in 1839, under Mr Crit- 
tenden, a class of thirty-five, from a school membership of 
five hundred and thirty-six. The average number graduated 
in the decade beginning that year was twenty-three. For 
the five following decades the averages are eleven, fourteen, 
sixteen, eleven, and nine, showing less variation than has 
perhaps been thought. 

A school membership of five hundred and thirty-six was 
not extraordinary for the years preceding 1864. In 1848 


UK Ukioinal Bl';. i^\4 

Centennial Celebration 

there were five hundred and fifty-eight, and in 1852 there 
were five hundred and twenty-seven. It must be remembered 
that in the '30a, '40s and '50s there were no colleges for 
women, and there came to the Academy pupils from eighteen 
different states, seeking, not the education of a secondary 
school, but the nearest possible approach to the advantages 
offered their brothers in the college and university. The 
distinction of the Academy lay in the fact that it not only 
claimed to take the education of girls more seriously than 
most contemporary schools, but that it actually did so do. 
The quaint insistence in the old catalogues and announce- 
ments that here text books were used as a basis only for the 
preparation of lessons has often caused a smile. What more 
should a text book be? But in its time that fact presented 
a real and radical advance, and is only one illustration of 
many. The second half century has seen a period of read- 
justment. With the founding of colleges for women the 
character of schools changed. Certain courses of study much 
emphasized in the earlier days were gradually eliminated. 
College entrance examinations forced entirely new require- 
ments. Schools came to be classified as " Finishing ". " Pre- 
paratory " or " just school ". and an institution with so 
dignified a past has found its place in the new order with 
some travail of soul. Tlie old unique position is obviously 
out of the question, the five hundred i)ui)ils ])robably out of 
the question too. but to be now the best possible secondary 
school, in the face of keen competition, because it is a secon- 
dary school that the time recjuircs, is surely as honorable a 
position as any the past could show. 

Complications arising on the resignation of Miss Louise 
Ostrom, in 1879, the trustees, under the wise guidance of 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Mr Thomas Olcott, invited Miss Lucy A. Plympton to unite 
with the Academy her school for young ladies on North Pearl 
street, and meeting for the first time February sixteenth, 
1880, for four months, under the one principal, this curious 
alliance of two separate organizations was welding itself into 
a whole. The perfecting of this arrangement was one of 
the last acts of Mr Olcott, and Miss Plympton has always 
said that the solemn and impressive charge he gave her dur- 
ing their last interview filled her with a deep and peculiar 
sense of responsibility in her work. " If my courage held 
out during years of effort to secure a more suitable location 
for the Academy, it was largely due to the inspiration I had 
received from this honored man." 

But not even the bringing in this way of sixty new pupils 
and the further addition to the primary of Mrs Millard's 
private school nor the most earnest efforts on the part of 
the administration could balance the fact that North Pearl 
street was far down town, that electric cars made the busi- 
ness streets unsafe for young pupils, and that nothing but a 
change of location could save the school. The trustees were 
embarrassed by the old building for which there seemed to 
be no sale, and could see no way of financing so radical a 
move as the purchase of property further west, even if such 
a site had been definitely offered. The strain of decision 
fell most heavily on the principal, who after wxeks of thought 
and toilsome planning was allowed to rent at her own risk a 
residence on Washington avenue for use as a school and a 

The first days of January, 1892, saw the portraits from 
the library and old chapel rehung in the new entrance hall, 
drawing rooms transformed into school rooms, and the little 


Centennial Celebration 

space which could be wrung from the actual necessities 
of school work prepared for the uses of a family. The 
sorting and packing for moving of the equipment and accumu- 
lations of nearly sixty years was no holiday enterprise, though 
it was accomplished during the holiday recess. In spite of 
cramped quarters which admitted of no growth in numbers, 
and the many inconveniences incident to a transition period, 
teachers and pupils alike entered into the game with courage 
and good faith, and many strong ties of good fellowship were 
the result of that year's association. 

Then, in the autumn of 1892, began the new era of alumnae 
activity. The Alumnae Association has been organized in 
1 84 1 and its aims were set forth in the preamble of the Con- 
stitution : " To perpetuate the recollections of their Alma 
Mater, to foster the relations of friendship that have been 
formed during their course of academic study, and desirous 
of continuing their mental discipline by such systematic 
arrangements as they shall be enabled to establish and sustain, 
and wishing chiefly to advance the cause of female education 
by searching for, and pointing out its objects, and by seeking 
the modes of instruction best adapted to accomplish the great 
end of all mental training and acquisitions." These ends were 
sought by the offer of prizes and medals in various depart- 
ments, and later, by study clubs and classes. One of these, 
Semper Fidelis, organized in 18/ 1. has met regularly and 
enthusiastically since then for reading and discussion of 
matters literary, artistic and scientific. 

The Dana Natural History Society was a somewhat more 
remote outgrowth of Alumnae organization, and remains the 
last of a number of societies started by Professor A. J. Ebell. 
to awaken and foster an interest in scientific research. 


Albany Academy for Gikls 

But the attainment of these ends was quite ajjart from any 
relation to the school, and the association was so thoroughly 
alumnae that its influence in the ongoing of the institution 
had been very little felt. At this crisis, however, at the time 
of their mother's greatest need, her loyal daughters entered 
into a compact of strong and intimate assurance of support, 
which has never been broken. Through a small but influen- 
tial committee they met the trustees and offered, in case it 
should seem wise to secure property for a new building, to 
exert themselves in substantial manner for the raising of the 
necessary funds. Within a month the house then occupied 
had been purchased and a very unusual enthusiasm had been 
roused in the community. It was proposed to erect in the 
rear of the Washington avenue house and attached to it, 
an addition of very considerable size for recitation and study 
halls, and rooms for administrative use. The newspapers 
gave long columns of comment and long lists of donors, with 
now and then a supplement to show plans for rebuilding or 
addition. If the teachers and pupils sometimes winced at 
phrases used as incentives to larger giving, they, none the 
less, rejoiced at the lengthening lists and took courage. One 
read " An ivy-like lethargy has crept over this venerable insti- 
tution of late years," or " Little did our townsmen think ten 
days ago that the Girls' Academy was anything more than 
an old curio — a sort of mausoleum of past prestige." An 
open meeting was held by the trustees in the chapel of the 
old building on the thirty-first of January, 1893. Hon. Wil- 
liam L. Learned presided. The room was crowded, and 
most stirring addresses were made by members of the board 
of trustees and board of visitors. Large separate committees 
of men and women w-ere appointed for the raising of money, 


Centennial Celebration 

and announceinent was made of the first gift of one thousand 
dollars from Mr Dudley Olcott. Then these two hundred 
people scattered, the women, led by Mrs. George Douglas 
Miller, to meet every Saturday morning to report their work, 
busy men, prominent among them Mr George Douglas Miller, 
to give unsparingly of their time and energ\% and all of them 
by argument and example, to work out a constant problem in 
subtraction with $35,000, the required sum, as the base. So 
telling was the work and so generous the response, and so 
faithful the press in keeping the matter before the public mind 
that one-third the cost of the proposed addition was raised in 
eight days. The citizens of Albany were bidden to consider 
the financial advantage of a large boarding school, they were 
reminded that in 1838 one hundred and forty boarding pupils 
spent their money freely in the city shojxs ; and finally, the 
school, with its history, was laid upon the conscience of each 
man and woman. Will you let die an institution which is 
yours? It was the first plea for money the Academy had 
made since 1833. and the money came. 

On the twentieth of April the work of tearing down struc- 
tures then on the site of the new edifice was begun, and by 
the end of November the last hammer was silent, the last 
workman had dei)arted and the well-lighted, commodious 
and well-cc|ui]:iped school rooms were in daily use. 'I "he prin- 
cipal had s])ent nio>t of the summer in tlic city, and Judge 
Learned, on behalf of the trustees and because of his own 
untiring devotion, had given his time without stint and gen- 
erously filled more than one gap in the appropriations. 

On the evening of the eleventh of December, i8<)3. the 
building was formally opened. Judge Learned gave a brief 
account of the main events in the history of the institution 


Albany Academy for Girls 

and presented the other speakers of the evening, the Rev 
Wallace H. Buttrick, Dr James H. Ecob, Dr A. V. V. Ray- 
mond, later president of Union College, and President Taylor 
of Vassar. The singing of Alma Academia closed the exer- 
cises in the study hall and opened a sort of peripatetic recep- 
tion which surged pleasantly from the fourth floor of the 
old house to the fourth floor of the new, until the last corner 
had been inspected. 

For eight years more under these improved conditions the 
school went on with Miss Plympton still at the head. The 
ample study hall gave opportunity for evening lectures and 
for concerts, for Semper plays and for Dana Society exhibits. 
Large Alumnae classes in literature and French met regu- 
larly. There were teas where French only was spoken and 
informal gatherings of pupils with their friends. For the 
first time the Alumnae Association found a suitable place 
for meeting and for storing in safety its memorials. By wise 
expenditure and through gifts the handsome room allotted to 
them becomes every year more significant of the old and new 
life it strives to represent. Here, most ancient of all, may 
be seen the original agreement of the first patrons of the 
Academy, premiums given to Lucretia Foot and Mary Kent, 
with autographs and photographs and medals. Here also are 
the old books — once the " Albany City Library, owned and 
controlled by a stock company composed of many prominent 
citizens. When the building on Pearl street was completed, 
the large room on the north side of the first floor was loaned 
to this library and occupied by it until the winter of 1834- 
1835. At this time it was suggested that the stockholders 
might be induced to transfer the ownership to the Academy. 
A committee was chosen from the pupils to draw up a peti- 


Cextexnial Celebration 

tion, which, when circulated, received the signatures of all 
the stockholders, and the library became the property of the 
A. F. A." 

Enlarged facilities in every direction gave a new interest 
to the school work. The number of pupils in the home did 
not materially increase and the school continues to be pri- 
marily for day scholars. With the present equipment it can 
never offer sufficient inducement to attract very large num- 
bers. A boarding school in a city, in these days when the 
call to the country is so strong, must naturally be at a dis- 
advantage not to be overcome except in case of peculiar 
specialization derived from unusual equipment. 

On February sixteenth, 1901, Miss Plympton completed her 
twenty-first year as Principal, the longest record of service 
in the history of tlie school. Her resignation took effect in 
the June following. The administration had been one of 
great devotion and singular courage. Such demands on 
vision, faith and endurance will, in the years to come, 
scarcely be exacted of those who stand in her place. 

The conduct of the school passed into the peculiarly capable 
hands of IMiss Esther Lx)uise Camp, and the last thirteen years 
of the century close the epoch w'ith dignity and with hope. 
The number of pupils has increased from a little less than 
one hundred to something more than one liundrLcl and fifty. 
The numljer fitted for college during these years shows a 
marked increase. Of the one hundred and sixty-nine gradu- 
ates in twelve years, fifty-six, or exactly one-third, have been 
sent to Vassar, Radcliffe, Mt. Holyoke, liamard. W'ellesley 
and IJryn Mawr. ( )f tiie class of 1914 one-third will go to 
college and practically the whole of the other two-thirds will 
carry on some work in advanced courses of art, music, or 


Albany Academy for Girls 

languages. The curriculum provides for those pupils who do 
not go to college special courses in history, art and science. 
The school is divided very simply into two departments only, 
Pre-Academic and Academic. The youngest children, from 
two and a half to seven years, are in charge of a teacher 
trained in Italy in the Montessori system and skilled by expe- 
rience in the adapting of this system to American children. 
The number of teachers has with the increase in pupils 
advanced to seventeen, most of whom reside in the home. 

The practical advantage of the Endowment Fund, for which 
the Alumnae have been for fourteen years exerting their 
efforts may be seen in the fact that already more than two 
thousand dollars are each year drawn from the earnings of 
this fund for school expense, and found to be absolutely 
essential. The history of the Endowment Fund falls entirely 
in these last fourteen years. In May, 1900, at a meeting of 
a conference committee of the Alumnae with the board of 
trustees, an offer of twenty-five hundred dollars was made 
by one of those present toward liquidating a debt of ten thou- 
sand dollars, providing the Alumnae raise the remainder of 
the amount by the first of January, 1901. A few days later, 
at the annual breakfast, it was voted " that the Alumnae pledge 
themselves to raise the seven thousand five hundred dollars 
necessary to secure the gift of twenty-five hundred." A year 
from that time the mortgage had been paid, and a balance of 
thirteen hundred dollars formed the nucleus of this new fund. 
A bazaar in 1904 added something over three thousand dollars, 
but for the most part the yearly additions have been the result 
of tireless activity on the part of those in charge and the 
unceasing loyalty of old friends. Somewhat less than three- 
fourths of the desired one hundred thousand is, as we have 


Cextexnial Celebration 

seen, already accomplishing its purpose. An endowed lec- 
tureship in memory of Mrs Bruce, who conducted the Third 
Department from 1856 to 1864, was established in 1910. This 
memorial seeks to perpetuate by a yearly lecture of superior 
character, the wholesome and beautiful influence of a woman 
of clear thought, rare culture and consecrated life. The 
founding in New York City of the Betsey Foot Chapter of 
Alumnae was reported at the luncheon in 1909. Alumnae 
representation on the board of trustees also originated in this 
period. ]\Irs George Douglas Miller and Mrs George Porter 
Hilton were elected to this body in jVIay, 1900, and are still 

In 1905 Miss Camp's sane and eloquent plea for a change in 
the name of the school, presented in so wise a way the prac- 
tical reasons for translating the old name into modern English, 
that the last expressed objections were overcome, and on 
February twenty-sixth, 1906, Governor Higgins signed the bill 
which makes us today own allegiance to the Albany Academy 
for Girls. A varying allegiance it must necessarily be — to the 
unfading memory of some inspiring personality, to friend- 
ships which have stood the test of years, to work which was 
for the love of it, and love that came through work, to ideals 
the more glorious because too high, and hopes as yet too new 
to understand. iUit true allegiance whether to a memory, a 
love or an ideal is a working princijile. and a school, in the 
last analysis, is a very concrete, practical thing, and though 
" ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thouc/ht " of your 
Alma Mater's need of you. the years will still insist on saying, 
" Give answer, what," for her. " ha' ve done? " 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Historical Address 

Justice Alden Chester 
President of the Board of Trustees 

Friends, Alumnae, Teachers and Pupils of the Academy: 

Responding to the request of my associates in the Board 
of Trustees, that I should on this occasion give a brief his- 
torical review of the institution from its beginning, I proceed 
to the pleasant task, mindful of the difficulty of condensing 
the matter in hand to the limits of a single address and bearing 
in mind that Miss Grace Perry, at the Alumnae breakfast 
today, has already presented a very valuable and interesting 
paper on the subject covering to some extent a few of the 
facts that I shall mention but from a somewhat different point 
of view than is expected from me. 

When we reflect upon the educational advantages which 
the girls and young women of 1914 enjoy and upon the 
splendid opportunities which are today afforded them on 
every hand for obtaining a liberal education, it is with great 
difficulty that we can fairly appreciate the woeful lack of 
such advantages and opportunities a hundred years ago. 

We are astonished not because they now have equal advan- 
tages with boys and young men in the schools, but because it 
has not always been so. 

In the time of Queen Elizabeth very few women could read 
or write and the only way available to them for procuring 
even a rudimentary education was from private teachers, yet 


Centennial Celebration 

the doors of Oxford and Cambridge were then open to young 
men and had been for centuries. 

In the early days of the pubHc school system, there was 
much debate over the propriety of the education of boys at 
public expense, but there was general concurrence in the belief 
that it was not proper for the public to educate girls at all. 
A solemn vote to that effect was passed at a town meeting in 
the Massachusetts town which is now the seat of one of the 
great women's colleges of the country. 

Abigail, the accomplished daughter of Parson Smith, who 
afterwards became the wife of President John Adams, wrote 
of her youth that " female education in the best families goes 
no further than writing and arithmetic, and in some few rare 
instances, music and dancing," and even so much was under 
private teachers. 

P>arry, in his History of Massachusetts, says that public 
education was first provided for boys only " but light soon 
broke in, and girls were allowed to attend the public schools 
two hours a day." 

The town of Medford voted in 1766 that the school com- 
mittee " have power to agree with the school master to instruct 
girls two hours a day after the boys are dismissed." 

In Quincy's Municipal History of P)Oston it is stated 
that from 1790 girls were there admitted to the jiublic schools 
tluring the summer months only, when there were not boys 
enough to fill them. In fact, girls were not admitted to the 
public schools at all in that city until 1789 and for only half 
time until 1828. 

Dorchester voted in 1784 " that such girls as can read the 
psalter be allowed to attend the grammar school from the 
first day of June to the first day of October." 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Gloucester, in 1790, directed that the school masters devote 
two hours a day (I quote from the record) "to the instruc- 
tion of females — as they are a tender and interesting branch 
of the community, but have been much neglected in the public 
schools of this town." 

Nathan Hale, who was the school master in New London 
in 1774, writes : " I have kept during the summer, a morning 
school between the hours of five and seven of about twenty 
young ladies, for which I have received twenty shillings a 
scholar by the quarter." That girls should be willing to go to 
school at as early an hour as five o'clock in the morning, shows 
a commendable zeal on their part for an education, but it 
shows more clearly the condition of public sentiment at the 
time, which compelled them to attend at that unreasonable 
hour, if they attended at all, in order that the rest of the day 
could be reserved for the teaching of boys — my own grand- 
father who was a pupil of Hale among the number. 

The conditions prevailing in New York at the time, while 
not quite so bad, were not essentially different from those 
existing in New England. 

In the Republic of the Netherlands, from which many of 
our early settlers came, schools in many places were open to 
girls and boys alike and were supported at public expense, 
yet education was far from universal. 

A considerable portion of the people — men and women 
alike — who came to the New Netherlands, were unable to 
read and write. The exceptions were the clerg)-men, the very 
few lawyers, the office holders and the wealthy. These classes 
in their youths were the only ones deemed fit subjects for 
instruction by " Schoolmasters." 

One of the early Colonial governors of New York declared 


Centennial Celebration 

that all the common people needed to know, was how to earn 
enough money to pay their taxes. Governors, as well as 
others, have improved since that day. This reflected the then 
prevalent English idea. 

Early in the last century there was a forward movement in 
educational lines which was evidenced in Albany by the found- 
ing of the Lancaster School and of the Albany Academy for 
Boys, the former having been incorporated in 1812 and the 
latter in 1813. 

These increased facilities for the training of boys led some 
people who had girls to educate to wonder if they had not 
some rights which mankind was bound to respect. 

Ebenezer Foot, an eminent lawyer of the city, prompted 
no doubt by the dominating influence of his good wife, Betsey 
Foot, and by the desire of both to provide some better facili- 
ties for the education of their daughter than those aflforded 
by the elementary schools open to her, became the active leader 
in a movement for the organization of a school exclusively for 
girls. The then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, James 
Kent, afterwards Chancellor of the State, and other men 
prominent in the social, professional and business life of the 
city, heartily joined in the movement. They united in sub- 
scribing to a pa])cr agreeing to send for a year the number 
of " female scholars " affixed to their names to the proposed 
school. This paper is still in existence and may be seen at 
the interesting exhibit at the Alumnae Room of the Academy. 

A small one-story building was erected on leased land on 
the east side of Montgomery street, a location which is now 
a portion of the N. Y. C. & TT. R. R. yard, but which was 
then one of the most fashionable and quiet parts of the city, 
and there, on May 21, 1814, ten days more than a hundred 


Albany Academy for Girls 

years ago, the Albany Female Academy — then for a short 
time called the Union School, was opened, with Horace Good- 
rich, a graduate of Union College, as principal. 

Albany was then, as now, the capital of the state and had 
been for twenty-five years, but it had a population of only 

It was thirteen years before negro slavery was abolished in 
this state. 

It was seventeen years before the Albany and Schenectady 
Railway, the first railroad to enter Albany, was opened, and 
twenty-one years before the first telegraph line entered the 

It was seven and a half months before General Jackson 
defeated the British at New Orleans and over a year before 
the British and the allied troops defeated Napoleon at 

James INIadison, the fourth President of the United States, 
was in office. 

Daniel T. Tompkins was governor of the state and only 
three governors, George Clinton, John Jay and Morgan Lewis, 
had preceded him, 

Philip S. Van Rensselaer, the youngest brother of the 
patroon. General Stephen Van Rensselaer, was JNIayor. 

There was no daily newspaper published in the city at the 
time. No daily Argus or Knickerbocker Press was laid at 
the doors of our inhabitants in the morning, nor Times-Union 
or Journal in the evening, therefore what we lack concerning 
the early history of the Academy is easily accounted for. 

The school thus started was not only an innovation but an 
experiment. It was, however, a success from the start. iMr 
Goodrich was soon succeeded by Rev. Edwin James as prin- 


Centex N I AL Celebration 

cipal. He in turn gave place in 1815 to Lebbeus Booth, who 
was also a graduate of Union. Young women in increasing 
numbers knocked at its doors for admi>sion as students. 
The small building where it started was soon found to be 

To provide an effective governing body and to enable the 
institution to hold property, an act of incorporation was 
needed. Gideon Hawley, then Secretary of the State Board 
of Regents, drew the act, which was entitled " An Act to 
incorporate the Female Academy of the City of Albany." 
It was passed by the legislature and approved by Dewitt 
Clinton as Governor, February 16, 182 1. In the preamble of 
the act it is recited that " An Academy has been for some 
years founded in the City of Albany for the education of 
females, which has proved to be of great public benefit." 

At the first meeting of the trustees after the incorporation, 
held at the house of Rev. Dr John Chester, a committee was 
appointed to look for a lot, to procure plans for a new Acad- 
emy building and to ascertain the probable expense thereof. 

Matters moved with commendable speed, for within about 
two months a lot was purchased, Xo. 1 1 on the east side of 
Montgomery street, running through to Water street, not 
far from the site of the old building and contracts were let to 
erect a new one. 

On the forenoon of the 26th of June. 1821, the corner 
stone of the new building was laid in the presence of the 
teacher>, the ])upils and the public with appropriate cere- 
monies — the Rev. Dr Chester making a prayer and the prin- 
cipal, Mr Booth, delivering a formal address suitable to the 
occasion. Under the corner stone a sealed bottle was buried 


Albany Academy for Girls 

with a roll of parchment contained in it bearing the following 
inscription : 

" To all to whom these presents shall come 
" Salutem in Domino." 

" Know ye, that the Albany Female Academy, the corner 
stone whereof is this day laid, was founded in the year of 
our Lord 1814; and that the same was incorporated by an 
act of the Legislature of the State of New York passed Feb- 
ruary 16, A. D. 182 1 ; whereby the following persons were con- 
stituted Trustees, who have accepted the trust viz : The Hon. 
James Kent, Chancellor of said State, President ; John V. 
Henry, Esq., Counsellor at Law and late Comptroller of the 
State ; the Rev. John Chester, Pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian 
Church, Albany ; Gideon Hawley, Counsellor at Law and late 
Superintendent of common schools of said state ; Messrs. 
Joseph Russell, Asa H. Center (treasurer of the institu- 
tion), Peter Boyd and Wm. Fowler, merchants; and Tunis 

Van Vechten, Esq., Counsellor at Law. 


" The sole design of the institution is the education of 

" Mr Lebbeus Booth, A. M., is Principal. Mr Frederick 
Matthews, A. M., Assistant. 

" This stone is laid in the fear of Jehovah, the God of 
Knowledge and commended to his protection and favor. 

" Done at the City of Albany this 26th day of June, a. d., 

" Chauncey Mills and Stephen J. Rider. Builders." 

This corner stone and its contents are now preserved and 
may be seen in the study hall of the present Academy. 


The Siicoxii Bliliung, i8ji 

Centennial Celebration 

The building was completed and occupied in November, 
1821. The Rules and Regulations for the institution first 
promulgated after the incorporation provided that " the teach- 
ers for the present shall consist of a principal and one male 
and one female assistant." The i)upils were classified into 
three departments " according to the progress they shall have 
made in their education and not according to their age." It 
is interesting to note that in the highest department there was 
a course in General History as well as an epitome of Sacred 
and Ecclesiastical History; Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and 
Belle-lettres and Lord Kane's Elements of Criticism were 
taught, and also in the language of the regulations, " such 
parts of Paley's Moral Philosophy as are suited to the char- 
acter and condition of females." This was before the days 
when the Academy had a woman for principal and before 
women were chosen to serve on the board of trustees and 
the language employed in framing the rules was undoubtedly 
that of some " mere man." 

Erench was added to the course in 1824 and Latin in 1825. 

While serving as principal Mr Booth was married to the 
daughter of Ebenezer and Betsey Eoot. In deference to the 
" high cost of living " at the tiipe, the trustees voted that he 
should be paid at the rate of $100 per annum since his mar- 
riage, in addition to his stated salary of $1,000. to be regarded 
however wholly as a gratuity at the pleasure of the board and 
not to oblige it to pay anything if the state of the funds in 
the treasury did not warrant. 

This generous provision for the benefit of himself and his 
new wife did not attract them very long, for the next year 
he resigned his place to establish a seminary for young ladies. 
at r.nllston, and was succeeded as principal by his assistant, 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Frederick Matthews. The latter served with great credit a 
little more than two years when he resigned. Alonzo Critten- 
den was chosen principal in his stead and he proved to be an 
excellent selection. He was a graduate of Union College and 
served as principal for a period of nearly twenty years with 
great fidelity and ability. 

Soon after he took the position, the school, through his 
influence and that of Gideon Hawley, who was still Secretary 
of the Board of Regents, in December, 1827, was placed under 
the " visitation and control of the Regents of the University " 
and it thus became the first " school for females " in the state 
to achieve that distinction. This relation has continued ever 
since with a short interim between 1866 and 1873, during 
which time there was a shortsighted disinclination on the part 
of the authorities of the school to comply with some of the 
requirements of the Regents. 

During nearly all the time of Mr Crittenden's service as 
principal the Academy enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. 
Shortly after his selection it was apparent that additional 
room must be provided for the growing needs of the school. 
Another building was accordingly erected in the rear of the 
main edifice and connected with it by corridors. It was com- 
pleted and occupied in May, 1828. They were described in the 
Academy circulars as " two spacious buildings erected with a 
particular regard to the best accommodation of the several 
departments." The institution, so it is stated in the circular, 
" is situated on Montgomery street, a street east of one of the 
principal business avenues of the city. * * * Perhaps no 
situation could have been selected better adapted to the pur- 
pose of such an institution, as it is unusually pleasant and 
retired from the ordinary confusion and noise of the city." 


Cexte.vxial Celebration 

This had reference to a location which is now adjacent to the 
present railroad station. It was before the days when the 
screechings of locomotive whistles and the noises of engine 
bells disturbed the quiet of the neighborhood and before the 
smoke arising from the burning of soft coal was present to 
disturb our linen and our esthetic tastes. 

The " spacious buildings " in ]vIontgomery street did not 
serve their purpose very long. They were soon outgrown. 
The Academy was not driven out of them by the advent of 
the steam whistle but by the growth of the school. 

A new site was accordingly purchased on the west side of 
North Pearl street, where the Drislane store is now located, 
and here at a cost of about ^^34,000 for lot and building, an 
imposing new Academy building was erected, which has always 
been looked back to with pride by all associated with the 
Academy during its occupancy. It was classic in appearance 
with a beautiful Hexa style portico of the Grecian Ionic order. 
It is stated that the proportions of the columns, capitals, bases 
and entablature were copied from the temple on the Ilissus, 
one of the most beautiful examples of the Ionic among the 
remains of antiquity. It was formally dedicated on May 12th, 
1834, the Rev. Dr John Ludlow, then President of the Board 
of Trustees, delivering the dedicatory address. 

W'lun this building was first occupied there were ten 
teachers besides the principal, and the school had increased 
so it was classified in six departments. There were times in 
that building when there were twenty teachers in the various 
departments and upwards of 500 pui)ils. 

During the nearly sixty years of the occupancy of that 
building there were several changes in the principalship of 
the Academy. L. Sprague Parsons, A. M., succeeded Mr 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Crittenden in 1845, the latter having resigned to accept the 
principalship of the Brooklyn Female Academy. Mr Par- 
sons was a young man of 36 at the time and a graduate of 
Yale College. After giving satisfactory service for ten years 
he resigned to engage in business at Cohoes. He was suc- 
ceeded in 1855 by Rev. Eben S. Stearns, a graduate of Harvard, 
principal of the State Normal School at Framingham, Mass., 
and a brother of President Stearns of Amherst College. He 
was the efficient head of the school for thirteen years, and 
resigned in 1868. During a year's absence in Europe, the 
school was served by his assistant, Miss Caroline G. Greely, 
afterwards Mrs J. S. White, as principal pro tern. After he 
resigned she was chosen principal in his stead. She resigned 
after serving in that capacity for a single year, but she has 
the distinction of being the first woman who became principal 
of the Academy. Her place was taken in 1869 by Miss Louise 
Ostrom, who gave ten years of devoted service as head of the 
school. When she resigned in 1879 the mistake was made of 
again selecting a man for principal in the person of Wm. G. 
Nowell. He proved so unsatisfactory that he was asked to 
resign in the midst of his first school year. Miss Lucy A. 
Plympton, who was then successfully conducting a school 
for girls in the city, was then selected as principal. Her 
school was combined with the Academy with great benefit to 
both. She had the distinction of being the last principal in 
the old building in North Pearl street and the first in the 
new home for the school at 155 Washington avenue, which 
was occupied for the first time in 1892. V/hile she resigned 
her place in the school some years since, she is still with us, 
an honored guest of this occasion and looked up to with 
veneration and afifection not only by all of her former pupils, 


Centennial Celebration 

who are numbered by hundreds, but by all who have ever been 
favored with her acquaintance. She was succeeded in 1901 
by Miss Esther Louise Camp, the present head of the 
Academy, under whose efficient management during the past 
thirteen years the school has enjoyed a remarkable degree 
of prosperity and has been fulfilling its high mission in the 
training of our young women as well as at any time in its 
long history. 

It would be interesting, if time afforded, to make mention 
of many other teachers in the school, besides those who have 
stood at the head of it, for a large number of them have left 
records that deserve notice. This, however, cannot be done, 
but reference will be made to two whose fame is secure but 
whose relation to the school may have been forgotten by 

Stephen J. Field, of Haddam, Conn., came to the Academy 
as an assistant teacher in 1839 and taught for several years, 
receiving the munificent salary of $500 per annum. He had 
graduated from Williams College when IMark Hopkins was 
president and was the valedictorian of his class. He was a 
son of the Rev. David Dudley Field, D. D., a brother of Cyrus 
W. Field, who laid the first Atlantic cable ; of David Dudley 
Field, the eminent lawyer ; and of Rev. Henry M. Field, the 
distinguished clergyman, author and editor. His sister. Mary 
E. Field was a pupil in the Academy before he came and was 
one of the prize scholars in 1838, 1839 and 1840. Another 
sister was the mother of the late David J. Brewer. Associate 
Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In the report 
of the Academy to the Regents in 1840. in making mention of 
the teachers then employed, it is said: " Stephen J. Field is 
about twenty-one years of age. a graduate of Williams Col- 


Albany Academy for Girls 

lege, Mass., has been a teacher most of the time for the last 
three years and has the practice of law ultimately in view." 
He had in fact studied law for a time in the office of Har- 
manus Bleecker, and while here also he was in the office of 
John Van Buren, afterwards Attorney-General, who then had 
his law office on State street. That he succeeded as a lawyer 
after he left the service of the Academy is evident from his 
subsequent career. He went to California in the early days, 
soon after his admission to the bar and became Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of that state. While serving in that 
office he was appointed by President Lincoln in 1863 as Asso- 
ciate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and 
served in that great court for thirty-four years, a service 
longer than that of any other man since the organization of 
the court, not even excepting the great Chief Justice, John 
Marshall, who served for thirty-three years. A splendid oil 
portrait of Judge Field adorns the study hall of the Academy, 
a gift from the well known artist who painted it, the late 
Asa W. Twitchell. 

A teacher in the Academy who gave his life to the cause of 
science should not be forgotten. Dr August Sonntag. while 
serving as Associate Director of Dudley Observatory under 
Gen. Ormsby McKnight Mitchell, who was Director of that 
institution, was the teacher of Astronomy in the Academy. 
He and Dr Isaac I. Hayes had been members of Dr Kane's 
expedition which returned from the Arctic regions in 1855. 
Dr Hayes organized an expedition in i860 to complete the 
survey of the north coasts of Greenland and Grinnell land 
and to make such explorations as he could find practicable in 
the direction of the North Pole. He deemed himself for- 
tunate in securing the consent of his former companion and 


Centennial Celebration 

friend, Dr Sonntag, to accompany him as astronomer and 
second in command. At the commencement exercises of the 
Academy held on June 22, i860, Prof. Stearns, the principal, 
in a formal address, presented Dr Sonntag with a splendid 
national flag on behalf of the young ladies of the graduating 
class, as a testimonial of their personal regard and in appre- 
ciation of the excellence of his instructions. Dr Sonntag 
made a feeling response and promised to plant the flag at the 
nearest point to the pole which the expedition could reach. 
Two weeks afterwards, bearing the flag with him. he sailed 
from Boston in the Schooner United States with Dr Hayes, 
on the voyage of discovery. In December following, just 
after passing the long Arctic midnight, Dr Sonntag started 
out from winter quarters at " Port Foulke " on the west 
coast of Greenland, with a team of dogs and a single Esqui- 
mau companion on a journey across the ice from a hundred 
to a hundred and fifty miles distant southerly to Northum- 
berland Island in search for dogs, for all those, belonging to 
the expedition, except one team, had been carried off by an 
epidemic among them during the winter. 

Dr Hayes, in his " Open Polar Sea," under date of Decem- 
ber 2^, 1860, the next day after his companion had loft on 
this journey, writes : " I had a strange dream last night, 
which I cannot help mentioning; and were 1 disposed to super- 
stition, it might incline me to read in it an omen of evil. 
I stood with Sonntag far out on the frozen sea. when sud- 
denly a crash was heard through the darkness, and in an 
instant a crack opened in the ice between us. It came so sud- 
denly and widened so rapidly that he could not spring over 
it to where 1 stood, and he sailed away ui)on the dark waters 
of a troubled sea. I last saw him standing firmly upon the 


Albany Academy for Girls 

crystal raft, his erect form cutting sharply against a streak 
of light which lay upon the distant horizon." 

New Year's day came and Dr Hayes began to look anxiously 
for the return of his friend, but as he knew of his desire to 
study the language and habits of the natives he was not greatly 
surprised at his delay. A full month passed and still no tid- 
ings came. It came to be evident that Sonntag had met with 
an accident or had been detained in some unaccountable man- 
ner among the natives. Unavailing efforts were made with 
the meager means at hand to learn what had happened. Just 
as an expedition was starting out upon a search, two Esqui- 
maux came to the ship with the information that Sonntag 
was dead. Two days later his sole companion came back and 
reported that, having become chilled by riding on the sledge, 
he sprang off and ran ahead of the dogs to warm himself with 
the exercise. He came upon thin ice covering a recently 
opened tide crack, which he stepped on unawares and broke 
through. His companion was able to rescue him from the 
water but he died the same day from the exposure. Dr 
Hayes' dream had become a prophecy realized. A few weeks 
afterwards his body was recovered and brought back to the 
ship with some difficulty. A neat coffin was made, the 
Academy flag was used as a pall, a burial service was read 
by Dr Hayes and his remains were lowered to their last rest- 
ing place in a grave dug in the frozen terrace. Afterwards a 
neatly shaped mound of stones was built over the grave and 
a chiseled slab was erected bearing a cross and the words : 

August Sonntag 

December i860 
Aged 28 years 


Centennial Celebration 

" And Iiere," says Dr Hayes, " in the drear solitude of the 
Arctic desert our comrade sleeps the sleep that knows no 
waking in this troubled world — where no loving hands can 
ever come to strew his grave with flowers, nor eyes grow 
dim with sorrowing; but the gentle stars, which in life he 
loved so well, will keep over him eternal vigil, and the winds 
will wail over him, and Nature, his mistress, will drop upon 
his tomb her frozen tears forevermore." 

Dr Hayes reports that on May i8 and 19, 1861, when he 
had arrived at the most northern land which up to that time 
had ever been reached (latitude 81° 35', longitude 70° 30' W.) 
the flags which he bore, including the one which had been 
committed to Dr Sonntag by the ladies of the Albany Female 
Academy, were unfurled to the breeze and remained while 
his party were building a cairn to mark the spot. 

Dr Hayes, whom it was my pleasure to know well, when 
many years afterwards he served as a member of Assembly 
in this state, carefully guarded the flag and brought it back 
to the Academy in October, 1862, as an almost sacred memento 
of the loved teacher and friend who had gone out from us, 
never to return, but never to be forgotten. 

The Academy made a radical change in location in 1892. 
Instead of Pearl street being the (|uiet residence thorough- 
fare which it formerly was it had become one of the chief 
commercial centers of the city, the street was congested with 
business traffic and trolley cars were many and frequent. It 
had become unsuited to a girls' school, and it was determined 
to move to the hill. The residence of the late Amos P. 
Palmer at 155 Washington aveiuie was purchased and the 
present commodious school building was erected in the rear 
of the dwelling with an entrance from the street. The expense 


Albany Academy for Girls 

of the new property was met from the proceeds of the sale 
of the Pearl street property, which had largely increased in 
value, and by the generous contributions of our citizens. Here 
the school has had its home ever since. 

In deference to a cjuite prevalent sentiment among its 
teachers, students and younger graduates, the Legislature, in 
1906, changed the corporate name from the Albany Female 
Academy to the Albany Academy for Girls. (Ch. 15, Laws 

The success of the Academy during its century of existence 
is undoubtedly chiefly due to its several principals who have 
served it so faithfully and to the devoted teachers who have 
assisted them in one capacity or another, but on an occasion 
like this it seems fitting to make brief personal mention of 
some of its officers and trustees who have guided its business 
interests and looked after its material welfare. 

Its first president w^as the great equity Judge, Chancellor 
James Kent, whose name is revered w^ith that of Sir William 
Blackstone, as the two really great commentators on the Eng- 
lish Common Law. He was appointed an Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court of the State in 1798. The next year 
he removed from his home in New York to Albany to be 
more centrally located on his circuit and as he said. "' not to 
be too much from home." He had been married at twenty- 
one, to use his own words, " to a charming and lovely girl," 
Elizabeth Bailey, who was, as he says, the " idol and solace " 
of his life. This undoubtedly accounts for his not desiring 
to be too much from home, and also for the fact that he 
resided here in 1804 when appointed Chief Justice of the 
Supreme Court and in 1814 when appointed Chancellor of 
the State. He was one of the founders of the school that his 


Centennial Celebration 

daughter might have its advantages and he served as presi- 
dent of the Academy until he retired from liis judicial office 
on December 31, 1823. He returned to his old home in New 
York after a residence here of nearly twenty-five years, but 
during all the remainder of his life retained a deep interest 
in the Academy. 

Since his day there have been nine presidents of the board 
of trustees, four of whom, in succession, were eminent 
clerg}men of the city and after them five who were or had 
been Justices of the Supreme Court, one of whom had also 
been Governor of the state. 

Chancellor Kent was succeeded in 1824 as president by 
Rev. Dr John Chester, who was a graduate of Yale College in 
the class with James Fenimore Cooper and \'ice-President and 
Senator John C. Calhoun. Dr Chester w-as pastor of the 
Second Presbyterian Church here at the time of his election. 
He was a man of ample fortune, which he dispensed with a 
generosity that apparently was never exhausted. Of him it 
has been said that " the loveliness of his character, the purity 
of his life and the faithfulness of his ministry " left an im- 
press upon this city that has borne fruit for its betterment 
ever since. 

He was followed, upon his death in 1829. by the selection 
as president of Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D.. pastor of the Second 
Reformed Church — then located on Beaver street but now 
situated at the corner of Madison avenue and Swan street. 

Rev. John Ludlow, D. D., i)astor of the I'irst Reformed 
Church at the corner of Xorth Pearl and Orange streets, suc- 
ceeded Dr l*"erris as president when the latter was compelled 
to resign on account of ill health in 1831. When he resigned 


Albany Academy for Girls 

the office in 1834 Dr Ferris, with restored heahh, was again 
chosen to fill his old position. 

He laid it down again in 1836 and Rev. Dr John N. Camp- 
bell, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church — and after- 
wards Regent of the University — was chosen as his successor. 
He held the office nearly seven years and then resigned at a 
time when the institution was passing through perhaps the 
most troublesome times in its history. 

The Academy had been organized as a strictly non-sectarian 
school where young women, whether Protestant or Catholic, 
Gentile or Jew, would be received on equal terms and enjoy 
equal privileges. This idea happily has always been promi- 
nent in the school and while the upbuilding of high moral 
character in the pupils has always been its highest aim, no 
student, it is believed, has ever had just cause to complain 
because of any attempt to influence her religious convictions. 
The non-denominational and non-sectarian character of the 
school has been, next to the devotion of its teachers, its 
greatest source of strength. 

To make this idea more pronounced no clerg}'man has ever 
since the resignation of Dr Campbell been chosen a president 
although many have since served as trustees. 

The business and financial troubles through which the 
Academy were passing induced the selection of Greene C. 
Bronson as president in 1843. He accepted the office at a 
considerable sacrifice. He had been Attorney-General of the 
State, was then serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court and 
was soon afterwards appointed Chief Justice. 

When he retired from the bench he removed to New York 
and was succeeded as president in 1850 by ex-Governor Wm. 
L. Marcy, one of the most eminent jurists and statesmen of 


Centexxial Celebration 

the country. He had served as a Heutenant in the war of 
1812. He had been the Adjutant General and Comptroller of 
the State and Regent of the University. He had served with 
credit for several years as Justice of the Supreme Court and 
as United States Senator. While holding the latter office he 
was elected as Governor of the state and served as such for 
three terms. He ran for a fourth term but was defeated by 
Wm. H. Seward. He was Secretary of War in President 
Polk's cabinet and Secretary of State in President Pierce's. 

When he retired as president of the board of trustees in 
1855 he was succeeded by Judge Amasa J. Parker, who held 
the office for twenty-four years, and he in turn was succeeded 
in 1879 by Judge William L. Learned, who held it for twenty- 
five years. 

Judge Parker had a remarkable career as a lawyer, states- 
man and jurist. He held the offices of Surrogate and District 
Attorney of Delaware County and also Member of the Assem- 
bly. He was also Member of Congress, Regent of the Uni- 
versity, Circuit Judge, Justice of the Supreme Court and as 
such served for two years in the Court of Appeals. He was 
twice the candidate of his party for Governor of the state 
and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1867. 

Judge Learned was an able scholar and a distinguished 
jurist. He was a graduate of Yale College and for twenty- 
three years was a Justice of the Supreme Court, during seven- 
teen of which he was the presiding Justice of the General 
Term of that court, in the Third Department. 

Upon his death in 1904 he was succeeded as president by 
the present incumbent of the office. 

The Academy was organized under the act of incorpora- 
tion, as a stock corporation with shares of $50 each. The 


Albany Academy for Girls 

buildings which it erected in Montgomery street and Pearl 
street were largely paid for by the proceeds of the sale of 
stock. Annual dividends of six per cent, were paid on the 
stock for a number of years and a considerable surplus was 
applied to the purchase of a library and apparatus for the 
school. The cost of the Pearl street building and lot was 
considerably more than the highest estimates and the trustees 
in consequence incurred debts amounting to over $18,000. 
After carrying this burden for a number of years they deter- 
mined that no more dividends should be declared until all 
debts were paid. This resulted in some criticism among a 
few of the subscribers to the stock and in a call for a general 
meeting of stockholders. At this meeting a committee of 
stockholders who were not trustees was appointed to examine 
into the condition of the Academy. The report of this com- 
mittee was presented at a later meeting, which was largely 
attended, which was held at the Academy March 15, 1843, 
and after a full discussion it was, with only a few dissenting 
votes, voted " that the stockholders are satisfied with the man- 
agement and mode of conducting the institution by the trustees 
and with the integrity, ability and faithfulness of the prin- 
cipal and teachers and that the Academy deserves the public 
support and confidence which has heretofore so eminently 
distinguished it." 

During this controversy, the Rev. Dr Campbell resigned as 
trustee and president of the board, because of dift'erences he 
had with Alonzo Crittenden, who had then for nineteen years 
been principal of the school. Dr Campbell was succeeded as 
president, in 1843. ^y Ji^'<^lge Greene C. Bronson and ]Mr Crit- 
tenden gave way to L. Sprague Parsons as principal in 1845. 
They came to the Academy in the darkest hour of its existence 


Cextexxial Celebration 

when it was borne down with this heavy debt and when it was 
embroiled with many contentions of a more or less bitter char- 
acter, which seemed at times to threaten its very existence. 
Prior to 1850, when Judge Bronson resigned to go to Xew 
York to live, the entire debt was paid, harmony of action was 
restored and the institution entered upon a new career of 
prosperity. The spirit which prompted those most directly 
concerned in the financial affairs of the school was shown 
within a few years by the great liberality of the stockholders 
in cheerfully relinquishing all expectations of dividends from 
the institution other than those to be derived by the entire com- 
munity, from the elevated standard of education maintained 
by it. From that day to the present its certificates of stock 
have been held as interesting souvenirs of its early history ; 
there has been nothing of the " proprietory " order about the 
Academy and all its income has been devoted to the promotion 
of its welfare and of the pupils intrusted to its care. 

In the long list of names of those who have served as 
trustees there are many worthy of mention on an occasion 
like this, but the limits of time forbid. An exception must 
be made, however, with respect to two. 

One of these, Thomas W. Olcott. served as such for forty- 
six years, from 1834 until his death in 1880. He appeared 
first as a subscriber for capital stock and a patron of the 
school in 1828. When he thus early became interested in the 
Academy, it found a valued friend. When he accepted mem- 
bership in its board of trustees it liad a safe adviser and one 
who was able and ever ready, in storm as well as in sunshine, 
to guide its course aright. His zeal in its interest and his 
generosity led him to purchase the shares of many fault-find- 
ing stockholders, in order to eliminate their infiuence. He 


Albany Academy for Girls 

came to be regarded by general consent as the great banker 
of Albany. He was, as well, a financier with a reputation 
second to none in the entire country. In 1863 he declined 
the office of First Comptroller of the Currency, tendered to 
him by President Lincoln. He would hold no office either in 
the gift of the state or in that of the board of trustees, but 
he was a man that all officers looked up to for guidance and 
direction. When the Academy was passing through the finan- 
cial vicissitudes following the debts it had incurred in build- 
ing the North Pearl street edifice, while it was struggling with 
dissatisfied stockholders whose dividends had ceased, and 
when the president and several trustees resigned their posi- 
tions, he it was who influenced his friends, Judge Bronson to 
take the presidency, and Governor William L. Marcy to come 
into the board as trustee. It did not take long for names 
and men like these to bring back confidence where it was lack- 
ing. Restored confidence soon brought new students in great 
numbers and increased revenues and in turn an elimination of 
the entire debt. It was Mr Olcott's influence and guidance, 
supported by these true friends, that brought sunshine out 
of shadow and laid the foundations of financial stability upon 
which the institution has ever since stood. His great service 
to the Academy has not only been reflected but added to by 
his sons, the late Comptroller Frederick P. Olcott as evi- 
denced by his generous gift of $25,000 to its endowment, and 
Dudley Olcott, who has served for thirty-five years and is 
still serving as a valued trustee and the treasurer of the 
Endowment Fund. 

The other trustee I must mention was the late Ira Harris, 
Justice of the Supreme Court and United States Senator from 
this state. He served in the board a period of forty-three 


Centennial Celebration 

years from 1833 to his death in 1876. During this long period 
he gave the benefit of his legal advice freely to the institution 
and was the successful attorney for the board in the annoy- 
ing suit brought in 1833 against the Academy by Dr Wm. Bay 
the owner of the adjoining property on the north of its Pearl 
street building, to compel it to remove the beautiful Ionic 
portico then being erected, as an obstruction to the street and 
a nuisance to his property. That this portico and its columns 
were erected in accordance with the original design of the 
architect, and graced the building during all the subsequent 
years of its occupancy by the Academy is due largely to the 
legal acumen of its long time friend and trustee. Ira Harris. 

Besides Mr Dudley Ulcott. one other of the present board 
of trustees, Dr Samuel B. Ward, has also served for thirty- 
five years. Dr Frederic P. Curtis has a record of over 
twenty-two years as a trustee; Mr Benjamin \\'. Arnold and 
the speaker of seventeen years ; Airs George Douglas Miller 
and Mrs George P. Hilton of fourteen years ; Mr J. Townsend 
Lansing and Mr Charles J- Buchanan of twelve years; Mr 
Joseph A. Lawson of ten years ; Rev. Dr Charles A. Rich- 
mond of seven years, and Dr Edgar A. \'ander Veer of three 
years. Air Wm. L. Learned Peltz has within this month been 
elected to succeed David A. Thompson who recently resigned 
after twenty-two years' service as trustee, during twenty of 
which he was the faithful secretary of the board. 

In calling the roll of those who have aided in making the 
history of the Academy what it is I nuist not fail to mention 
a few who never held any official relation to it but yet have 
given substantial aid as members of examining committees 
and upon commencement occasions. 

Millard Filmore, President of the United States. General 


Albany Academy for Girls 

John A. Dix. Secretary of State and Superintendent of Com- 
mon Schools, afterwards Governor of the State, as well as 
Governors William H. Seward, Silas Wright and Samuel J. 
Tilden, each served upon committees to award prizes. Judge 
Alfred Conkling, father of Roscoe Conkling, John Van Buren, 
" Prince John," as he was called, son of President Van 
Buren, John C. Spencer, Secretary of War and Secretary of 
the Treasury, Alfred B. Street and John G. Saxe. the poets, 
Joel T. Headley, the historian, Erastus D. Palmer, the sculp- 
tor, Thurlow Weed, the editor and politician, Thomas Hun, 
the physician, Amos Dean, the author and scholar, Lyman 
Tremain and Hamilton Harris, the lawyers and statesmen, 
Robert H. Pruyn, Senior, Lieutenant-Governor and Minister 
to Japan, Sanford E. Church, Chief Judge of the Court of 
Appeals, General Stewart L. Woodford, Lieutenant-Governor 
and orator, Daniel S. Dickinson, United States Senator, and 
Right Rev. William Croswell Doane, late Bishop of Albany, 
each served in the same capacity and some of them many 
times. Elaborate reports showing the results of their labors, 
the reasons for their conclusions and giving the names of the 
young ladies who were the fortunate winners, were read at 
the commencements by them and are spread upon the minutes 
of the trustees. 

The Academy has now concluded a hundred years of its his- 
tory. It has the unique distinction of being the pioneer school 
in the entire country for the better education of women which 
has maintained a continuous existence throughout the century, 
and also of being the first school for girls in the state to 
come under the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents. The 
past, considering the many difficulties that have been sur- 
mounted, has been one of remarkable success. No institution 


Cextexxial Celebration 

has trained better girls or trained them better than this. Its 
graduates are scattered all over the world, and no better type 
of womanhood can be found anywhere than that represented 
by them. No one can begin to measure the achievements that 
have been wrought as a result of the teachings they have 

The school has now entered upon its second century. What 
of its future? May it not receive inspiration from its past 
history and strive for still better results in the years to come. 
Sheridan once said : " On the cultivation of the mind of 
women depends the wisdom of men." This may be conceded 
and may it be an added inspiration. May the Academy go on 
with still higher aims and continue in the future as in the past 
to be a most potent agency in this community in developing a 
type of as near perfect a womanhood among its pupils, as is 
possible to be attained, to the end that all coming under its 
influence — men and women alike — shall reap the beneficent 
results of its good work. 


Albany Academy for Girls 

The Responsibilities of Educated Women 

Flavel S. Luther, LL.D. 

Mr Chairman, Members of the Board of Trustees and Fellow 

Not only because of the emergency character of the 
speaker, but also by virtue of the text of his topic, he is 
scarcely fitted for an educational address of this sort. I have 
been teaching now for a matter of forty-four years, and it 
so happens that only during one of these years, the very first 
one, I made any attempt whatever to teach girls, and that 
attempt was somewhat unhappy in some of its results. It 
took place only about five or six miles from where we are 
gathered now. It was at the Parish School of the Episcopal 
Church of what was then West Troy, N. Y. I had some 
twenty boys and some twenty girls. It seemed to me there 
were two thousand of them. I was then about twenty years 
of age and the girls were not less than seventeen or eighteen. 
I had a rather unhappy time. Since then I have put myself 
in charge of one single girl and she has been educating me 
ever since. 

However, I suppose, after all. the story of the education of 
girls in this country is to follow along pretty nearly the lines 
of the story of the education of boys and young men in this 
country. There is no doubt about that, as you have just heard 
the accounts from that historical address to which we have 
all listened with such pleasure. And how much we might have 
learned out of it. 


Centennial Celebration 

Now I did not know before that my fellow citizen of Con- 
necticut, Nathan Hale, whose old schoolhouse is only a few 
miles from Trinity College, had to teach school at five o'clock 
in the morning. Don't you suppose that goes some little way 
toward an explanation of the singular cheerfulness with which 
he went to the gallows? But, when you come to think of it, 
education in the modern sense of the word is for boys and 
girls alike and it is yet modern in spite of your one hundred 
year old school. What a hundred years it has been ! Why, 
the difference between 1814 and 1914 is indefinitely more than 
the difference between 1814 and no hundred and 14. Bar- 
ring gun powder and the printing press the activities and 
conditions of life changed more in this century that has just 
been completed than they changed from the days of Julius 
Caesar to the time when this school was founded. Medical 
treatment in 1814 was not a bit better. George Washington's 
surgeon did no better for him than Julius Caesar's surgeon 
might have done for him. Now I do not really suppose that 
the whole development of these modern times, of this nine- 
teenth century civilization of ours with its wonderful scientific 
and economic achievements is due to the intluencc of this 
school, with whose prosperity and welfare we are so much 
concerned. You did not do it all, but it has pretty much all 
taken place within this century of school life of yours, and so 
I cannot help thinking that perha|)s from the inspiration that 
founded this school and founded at the same time, or a little 
before and a little after, other schools for men and women, 
has arisen the astonishing progress that has been made in this 
and other countries where education on a higher scale has 
been made the feature of the history of the la-t century, and 
particularly the last half century. 


Albany Academy for Girls 

We have in this country a great many things we can be 
proud of, and a number of things of which w'e need not be 
so proud. It is not true that we have the best school system, 
for our schools are not as good as the schools of Germany 
and France, and they are not as good as some of the schools 
in Italy. But I believe we are responsible for this theory that 
it is the business of the state somehow to educate everybody. 
There have been schools a long while, but it was America that 
first said everyone shall go to school. Some other nations 
have said that, but they said it after we did. Now that was 
a great and wonderful step in human development. 

Think what the State does. It says to the father and 
mother, this is not your boy ; this is not your girl ; it belongs 
to us. That child is going to school whether you like it or 
not, father or mother. That child is going to study certain 
things, whether you approve of them or not, parents. That 
child is going to some school until a certain age and we are 
going to teach him. We are responsible, and you " go way 
back and sit down." Now that is a wonderful thing for the 
State to have said. Most of the states in this nation of ours 
have said so, and the wonder is that the people take it as 
calmly as they do. I wonder that in the beginning of things 
they submitted to it without a great deal of protest and 
trouble, for it was a new thing not known to mankind. It 
was a new thought in the evolution of civilization. It was 
the beginning of a new day for humanity. The State says, 
these children are ours and they shall be trained; some, any- 
how ; and I wish they would train them a good deal more. 

Now, as I say, there have been schools for a long, long 
while; only lately schools for everybody, but schools of some 
kind, and they have had two diverse objects, as to the relative 


Centennial Celebration 

importance of which teachers have been quarreling ever since 
there were pedagogues. 

There were the schools of ancient Athens, splendid schools 
producing an intellectual type which perhaps has scarcely been 
equalled in any race or in any nation since, the result of 
which was something very fine ; trained with a cultured intel- 
lect, with a capacity to appreciate the beautiful, with an under- 
standing of art, with a taste and capacity for literature that, 
as I said before, has scarcely been equalled since. That was 
the Greek idea of the training of men. They did not train 
the women. It was the training of the man so that he shall 
be a pleasant comi)anion, so that he shall be separated from 
the common herd, so that he shall be a joy to himself, so that 
he shall be a fine specimen of the human race. That was the 
Greek idea. Well, the years passed on and the Roman power 
dominated the world and they had their theory of education, 
which was the training of men to be the servants of the state ; 
they were trained as to their efficiency in the upbuilding of 
the republic and later of the empire. That was the Roman 
idea, to make a servant. The Greek ideal was self-improve- 
ment. The Roman ideal was self-sacrifice. Those were the 
two tendencies in education which struggled against each other 
then and which have been struggling against each other ever 
since. Then, in the time which we call the dark ages, the 
monastic schools kept alive the torch of learning and. the 
schools of knighthood preserved the spirit of conservation to 

Those are the two o])posing opinions of what education is 
for. one which says the intent of education is to i)ro(luce an 
individual finer than the rest, able to appreciate art. literature 
and science ; able to be a friend of those who are like him- 


Albany Academy for Girls 

self, able to understand and enjoy much more than his less 
fortunate neighbors. That is the kind of education which 
produces culture. The other kind is that which has in view 
the service of the people when the school education has 
ceased, which says we teach you all these things not in order 
that you shall get more out of the world than you otherwise 
would, but so that you shall be able and willing to put more 
into the world than you otherwise could, and that is the idea 
of the Roman education, the schooling of boys and girls for 
some kind of service. Let me illustrate that to you, as I want 
to leave this point with you, that there are two different kinds 
of education. Perhaps some of you do not appreciate the dis- 
tinction between an education which makes an individual 
something fair to look upon and an education which makes 
the individual better able to serve human kind. Let me 
illustrate that to you by two little pieces of carbon. Here is 
the story of the first one : in a geological period prior to our 
own it was fused at a tremendous heat and while it was in 
that liquid state there fell upon it a pressure more tremendous 
than the utmost resources of modern mechanical science can 
produce. Then this piece of carbon began to cool. It grew 
dark and with this great weight upon it each particle, one 
after another, sought its place in the crystal. It is brought to 
light at last — a diamond — fit ransom for a king or token from 
the emperor to his bride. It glitters beautifully. It reflects 
from its many facets the light that falls upon it, but it gives 
no light itself. Now this other bit of carbon had also its 
•experience. It was ground to powder. It was mingled with 
chemicals. It was manipulated by deft fingers. It was driven 
through minute apertures till it became a slender thread. It 
was imprisoned within a vacuum typifying the isolation 


Centennial Celebration 

within which dwells each human soul. Then it was placed 
where most it is needed, and. thrilling to the subtle currents 
developed by a mighty power, it shines in the dark places. It 
gives out light for the sons and daughters of men. So the 
two kinds of education make the diamond or the electric 
light. Both have their functions, but for myself I would rather 
be able to give light than to refract it. 

Now it seems to me that is the one great thing which edu- 
cation is for — to produce those who will give light, who will 
brighten the darkness of life, who will make brilliant those 
places where mankind has been stumbling for years. It is 
that, it seems to me, which the educated women and all other 
educated persons must do. Women have a very special ser- 
vice to render to society and to this nation. It would be 
unbecoming in me, a stranger, to undertake at sucii a time 
as this to say what I may think as to questions in dispute, but 
I am going this far and say that I do not believe that really 
for the last two thousand years, since Jesus Christ came, man's 
attitude toward woman has been wrong. I believe in chivalry, 
in protection, in tenderness, in the Christian home. Now it 
seems to me that in these late years our women are being 
sacrificed. I do not like to see the great stream of girls and 
young women at morning and night pour into and out of our 
great dej^artment stores. I do not like to see that long pro- 
cession of young women, not so well dressed as the others, 
who morning and night pour into and out of our factories. 
I believe that there is something better for them to live for, 
something more beautiful. 1 believe that tiiey can expand 
their lives more nobly, more beautifully, and more to advan- 
tage of mankind by doing something else than that. Now do 
you ask me what? Upon my word I do not know. 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Don't you educated women care? Won't you try to find out 
what is the function of the modern woman in the modern 
world? That it is to be something different all signs seem to 
show, for we have observed great changes in the organization 
of society, and changes which affect the position and the privi- 
leges of womankind affect the other half of mankind. Isn't 
that obvious? But what I mean to say to you is that you chil- 
dren, you educated women, must find out what the solution is 
of the problem which is leading to so much of unrest in these 
days of ours, because, as always has been the case, what you 
women w^ant you are going to get. Xow what do you w^ant 
and why do you want it? Are you satisfied with the perform- 
ances of your sisters in England? Is that what you want? 
I dare say no. I am not satisfied with any proposition that 
has been made looking to the change of woman's relation to 
society. Are you quite sure that you know just what you 
want? Are you quite sure that you are ready to submit to 
sacrifice, that you are willing to devote your lives to noble 
things ; are you willing to grow up in luxur}', or are you will- 
ing to put out of your life much of this which is pleasant, 
because the responsibility of the educated woman is one of 
service? Oh, that is for you to decide, and you must do 
something worth while, my dear friends. 

Now I think the history of the education of girls and 
W'Omen is going to be something like the history of the edu- 
cation of boys and men. For many years, perhaps many 
centuries, it was supposed that the reason for the education 
of a boy or a young man w-as to better him as compared with 
his fellows, to get him out of the common herd so that he 
would not have to work so hard, so that he would not have 
to work so long, so that he would not have to work so cheaply. 


Centex xiAL Celebration 

That was supposed to be the reason for educating him. Xow 
we are beginning to find out that you cannot expect a man to 
do anything worth while unless you educate him ; that every 
branch of employment that it is worth while for a man to 
devote his energies to is a learned profession. When I was 
in college they used to say there were only three learned pro- 
fessions. Why, there are twenty-five or thirty now. There 
isn't anything that a man does that he cannot do better if he 
is trained for it, if he has a school training for it, and that 
feeling is to increase the appreciation of the uniform dignity 
of all kinds of labor. There is not any profession that is any 
more dignified than any other profession. There is absolutely 
no more advantage in getting your fingers stained with ink 
than there is in getting them stained with oil. The question 
is which man will wash them first. 

Now I think that as we have come to see that education, 
and a considerable amount of education, is necessary for the 
higher development of the man's side of this civilization of 
ours ; so too I think that you ladies and you girls have got to 
find out that you also are not educated in order that you may 
be set aside, that you still are in close contact with those 
women who have not had any such training, and that you will 
not have a satisfactory solution of these diflftculties until you 
have educated them too. In training a girl for a saleswoman 
she has got to know the details of a profession. I hope she 
won't have to. The factory girl has got to understand mechan- 
ical engineering if she goes to work in a factory. I hope she 
won't have to ; it is not going to be necessary. Womankind is to 
be the salvation of women in society. You women with mind 
and education cannot pull yourselves away from your sisters 
down in the shops and factories. If you do you are shirking 


Albany Academy for Girls 

the highest responsibility of the educated woman of the twen- 
tieth century. Oh, what a beautiful task that is of yours, you 
women who are educated, to lift up your own half of the 
human race, and then lift us up also, if you can. It will be a 
big job — a very big job — there is no end to it. 

Why, ladies, when I think of what this world might be, 
when I think it might be so much finer, I wonder that you 
care so much for four o'clock teas. What are you going to 
do with all these sisters of yours, you educated women? 
These are your responsibilities. What do you suppose God 
and man gave you education for? Just so that you could 
enjoy yourselves? Just so that you could have a good time? 
Just so that you could appreciate art and science and litera- 
ture ? Don't think so for a minute. It was given to you with 
the prayer and with the command that you share it with all the 
others and see that somehow it shall be made to count for the 
lifting up of others, even to those serene heights of life in 
which you so contentedly dwell. 

There is no kind of work that w^omen can do which they 
shall not be let to do if they want to. But the beautiful 
things in life, the sweet things in life, the noble, honorable, 
dignified things in life which you educated women can com- 
municate to civilization in so many ways by helping your own 
sisters as well as your own daughters ! Those are the things 
that are going to count. 

I am glad to know that this old, old school has so prospered 
during this century that is gone. It is a long while and yet 
there are here and there single lives that cover the whole of 
it. You are very modern after all. 

I have talked about the past hundred years and I will say 
this for the next hundred years — I don't want you to think 


Centennial Celebration 

I am only half through my speech. I am very nearly through, 
but I am very much concerned about the next hundred years. 
I would like to live until 2014. for I know full well that you 
will get an education here and I hope for the prosperity of 
this school for all these coming years. I know that those of 
you in the little crowd here to my left hand (the pupils) are 
going to do a good deal better than we have done. How I 
should like to see the outcome of it all. 

I don't know and I don't care very much whether women 
vote or not. I don't know and I don't care very much whether 
women should take up this profession or that as a part of 
their work. I do know and do care very much that women 
who have been educated in our schools shall care for their 
sisters, they shall lift up the feeble ones. 

Did you ever think that in all the history of the world the 
sun, moon and stars have never looked down on this earth 
upon one single nation, one single state, one single city that 
was educated ; not one community that was educated, in all 
the history of the w'orld ? What do you suppose it would be 
like? What would Albany or Hartford be like if every man, 
every woman, and every child of sixteen years and upwards 
had a thorough school training, the training of the head, train- 
ing of the hands, training of the character, a thorough school 
education? It would be something different from anything 
that has ever existed on this earth. T think it would be some- 
thing better than ever has existed on this earth. Now I want 
you educated women to think about that and consider if it is 
not worth while to try to bring about a time when all your 
sisters and all your sisters' little brothers shall be educated, 
trained, made better citizens and citizenesses. They should 
know and they should understand. You who are educated 


Albany Academy for Girls 

women, and upon whom rests so heavily the responsibility of 
deciding whether other women shall be educated, should 
decide what you want as your share in the life of the nation, 
and when you do decide then you will get it. 


Cextex n I al Celebration 


Governor Martin H. Glynn 

Fifty years ago, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary 
of this Academy, Governor Seymour was privileged to address 
the graduating class. Fifty years later the Governor of the 
State finds himself honored by an invitation to take part in 
the celebration of your hundredth anniversary. 

Looking about me at this galaxy of beauty, grace and 
charm, I cannot but feel that you are discriminating against 
the executive department of the State government. Instead 
of inviting the Governor here twice in a century, you ought to 
invite him twice in a year. 

I consider it an honor to be present to-night. The fact 
that you are celebrating the centennial of the school's exist- 
ence makes this an important occasion, in this new land of 
ours there are not many institutions which can lay claim to 
a century of continuous existence. The humorists assure us 
that the feminine mind inclines to conceal age rather than to 
boast of it. I do not believe that this is a peculiarly feminine 
attribute myself, but at any rate the graduates of this .Academy 
are perennially fresh and charming, even if the institution 
which they adorn grows older with the years. 

The teachers and students of this academy have reason to 
be proud of the centenary which they celebrate to-night. It 
is not only the centenary of the founding of this particular 
school, but it is the centenary of the beginning of higher edu- 
cation for girls. It is true that some of the academies organ- 


Albany AciVDEMY for Girls 

ized in the last decades of the eighteenth century were open to 
girls. Leicester Academy, which was founded in 1784, and 
Westford, which was started in 1793, received members of the 
gentle sex, but these were primarily academies for boys and 
gave instruction to girls only as a sort of complement to their 
other activities ; but the Albany Academy properly enjoys the 
distinction of being the first school designed only for girls, as it 
was founded nine years before the Derry Academy in Xew 
Hampshire, which is accustomed to claim the distinction which 
belongs to you. 

Not only is your history long, but it is distinguished as well. 
There is nothing particularly admirable in age if it has noth- 
ing to commend it but its years. It is only when age can look 
back upon achievement and progress that it may incite admi- 
ration and command respect. The progress of this Academy, 
the friends it has won, the distinguished names that are linked 
with its story, are eloquent proof of a century of accomplish- 

The academy has been fortunate in its friends, in its teach- 
ers, and in its students, and the best proof of the worth of 
the institution is the affectionate esteem in which it has ever 
been held by those who have graduated from its halls. 

In its particular field, the Albany Academy has done its 
part in the movement for the better education of women. 
A pioneer in this great movement, it has maintained the high- 
est standards and been worthy of the highest ideals of the 
new dispensation. It can look back with pride on the trans- 
formation it has helped to work during the last century. It 
can compare present opportunities for feminine development 
with a not distant past, in which woman was looked upon as 
unworthy of education. 


11 H rUi;.>F.N 1 I'.l II.IMM 

Centennial Celebration 

The changes during the last hundred years in the legal 
rights of women, which the lawyers sum up as the change 
from status to contract, have seen a similar change in the 
educational opportunities of women. To-day there is no 
avenue of education open to a boy of which his sister may 
not avail herself. The world has awakened to the needless- 
ness of wasting the intellects of its girls. It has put away 
the notion that a wife or mother is less capable because her 
mind has been developed, her interests broadened and her 
energies trained, and it has been rewarded by the development 
of such authors as Myra Kelly, such scientists as Madam 
Curie and such citizens as Jane Addams. Samuel Johnson, 
the encyclopedic Englishman, said that a woman made the 
better wife and better mother for being educated ; Boswell, 
his biographer, contended she did not ; but, as in nearly every- 
thing else, the world has decided that Johnson was right and 
Boswell was wrong. 

There is to me no more encouraging sign of modern pro- 
gress, no more convincing proof of modern development than 
the position which woman is now assuming in our social and 
economic life. Lincoln said that no nation could exist half 
slave and half free, and it seems to me equally true that no 
nation can live up to its opportunities which is half educated 
and half uneducated, half trained and half untrained, half 
developed and half undeveloped. 

It is a truism that a nation's welfare is founded on the wel- 
fare of its homes and that these homes are made by the wives 
and mothers who shed their radiance there. And the wife 
who has received the benefit of a liberal education, who has 
a lively and intelligent interest in the broad world about her, 
can exercise an influence within the walls of her home which 


Albany Academy for Girls 

will make it a citadel from which soldiers of truth and right 
may go forth to battle and to victory. 

The ideal woman is the aim of the Albany Academy for 
Girls, and for a hundred years this school has tried to attain 
what Holmes so gloriously writes of in the Autocrat of the 
Breakfast Table, what Dickens portrays in the lovable char- 
acter of Agnes in David Copperfield, and what Cowper sings 
of in the glorious poem of My Mother's Picture. 

For a hundred years this school has gathered the knowledge 
blossoms of the ages and handed them to her daughters with 
plentiful fruitage. For a hundred years this school has nur- 
tured the garden of girlhood until it has burst into the flower 
of womanhood. For a hundred years this school has gathered 
the myrrh of life with the spice and given to her daughters 
the honeycomb of science with the honey of art for food, 
and the wine of poetry with the milk of morality for drink. 
For a hundred years this school has kept her head among 
the stars until her tresses are moistened with heaven's dew 
and her eyes illuminated by heaven's light. To-night we 
crown the old age of this school with an everlasting youth 
adorned with noble accomplishments. To-night we mingle 
the youth and age of this school and watch them walk hand in 
hand down the corridors of time, more accomplished wdth the 
growing years, more cultivated through experience, more 
wise by the passage of time, and more and more possessed of 
the finest fruits of the learning of the world. 


Centennial Celebration 

In Memory of Eben S. Stearns 

At the Alumnae Reunion announcement was made of a 
gift to the Academy's Endowment Fund of $2,525.00 in 
memory of the late Professor Eben S. Stearns, who was prin- 
cipal of the school from 1855 to 1868. In grateful acknowl* 
edgment of Mr. Stearns's high service and abiding influence, 
graduates and undergraduates who had been his pupils and 
other friends joined heartily in this tribute. 

The sources of the contributions were as follows: 

Class of 1857 $50 

Class of 1859 10 

Class of i860 30 

Class of 1862 45 

Class of 1863 5 

Class of 1864 583 

Class of 1865 20 

Class of 1866 780 

Class of 1867 80 

Class of 1868 36 

Class of 1869 50 

Class of 1871 7 

Class of 1872 10 

Class of 1873 I 

Class of 1874 5 

Class of 1875 I 

From undergraduates and other friends.. 812 

Total S2.525 


Centennial Celebration 

Albany Academy for Girls 

Founded 1814 

Incorporated February 16, 1821, as Albany Female Academy 
(Chap. 53, Laws 1821) 

Name changed to Albany Academy for Girls by Chap. 15, Laws 1906 


Alden Chester President 

Miss Esther Louise Camp Principal 

Joseph A. Lawson Secretary 

Miss Esther Louise Camp Treasurer 

Dudley Olcott Treasurer of Endowment Fund 


Dudley Olcott Mrs George P. Hilton 

Dr Samuel B. Ward J. Townsend Lansing 

Dr F. C. Curtis Charles J. Buchanan 

Alden Chester Joseph A. Lawson 

Benjamin W. Arnold Rev. Chas. A. Richmond, D. D. 

Mrs George Douglas Miller Dr Edgar A. Vander Veer 

William L. L. Peltz 



Chancellor James Kent Feb. 27. 1821 

Rev. John Chester, D. D April 6, 1824 

Rev. Isaac Ferris Jan. 29, 1829 

Rev. John Ludlow, D. D Aug. — , 1831 

Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D Oct. 3, 1834 

Rev. John N. Campbell, D. D April 12, 1836 

Judge Greene C. Bronson Jan. 30, 1843 

I Ion. Wm. L. Marcy Jan. 28. 1850 

Judge Amasa J. Parker Jan. 31. 1855 

Judge William L. Learned March 4, 1879 

Judge Alden Chester April 11, 1904 


Albany Academy for Girls 


Horace Goodrich, A. M May — , 1814 

Rev. Edwin James, A. M 

Lebbeus Booth, A. M June 26, 1821 

Frederick Matthews, A. M May i, 1824 

Alonzo Crittenden, A. M Aug. 18, 1826 

L. Sprague Parsons, A. M July 2, 1845 

Rev. Eben S. Stearns, A. M June 5, 1855 

Miss Caroline G. Greely Sept. i, 1868 

Miss Lx»uise Ostrom May 26, 1869 

Wm. G. Nowell July 18, 1879 

Miss Lucy A. Plympton Feb. 12, 1880 

Miss Esther Louise Camp April 2, 1901 


Lebbeus Booth Feb. 27, 1821 

Frederick Matthews April 6, 1824 

Alonzo Crittenden Aug. 8, 1826 

John Q. Wilson July 10, 1841 

Alonzo Crittenden Aug. 23, 1844 

L. Sprague Parsons July 28, 1845 

Eben S. Stearns Oct. 3,1855 

WilHam L. Learned June 15, 1868 

Miss Louise Ostrom Dec. 14, 1870 

John Templeton July 18, 1879 

George Douglas Miller Dec. 7, 1892 

David A. Thompson Jan. 19, 1894 

Joseph A. Lawson Jan. 1 1, 191 1 


Asa H. Center Feb. 27, 1821 

Richard M. Meigs April 4, 1827 

Israel Smith May 21. 1839 

Alonzo Crittenden May 30, 1842 

L. Sprague Parsons April 21, 1846 

Eben S. Stearns April 25, 1856 

William L. Learned June — . 1868 

Miss Louise Ostrom Dec. 14, 1870 

Wm. G. Nowell July 18, 1879 

John Templeton Jan. 22. 1880 

Miss Lucy A. Plympton April 7< 1880 

Miss Esther Louise Camp April 11, 1904 


Centennial Celebration 


Dudley Olcott April 1 1 . 1904 


*James Kent Feb. 16, 1821 

*John Chester Feb. 16, 1821 

*Joseph Russell Feb. 16, 1821 

*John V. Henry Feb. 16. 1821 

*Asa H. Center Feb. 16. 1821 

*Gicleon Hawley Feb. 16, 1821 

*William Fowler Feb. 16,1821 

*Teunis Van Vechten Feb. 16, 1821 

*Peter Boyd Feb. 16, 1821 

* Named in Act of Incorporation, Chap. 53, Laws 1821. 

In place of Elected 

J. Winne, Jr James Kent April 6. 

E. F. Backus John V. Henry April 6, 

M. A. Duer Wm. Fowler April 5, 

Israel Smith J. Winne, Jr April 5, 

James Clark M. A. Duer April 4, 

Peter Wendell, M. D Asa H. Center April 3, 

Dr Richard M. Meigs Teunis Van Vechten April 3, 

Rev. Isaac Ferris E. F. Backus April 8, 

Edwin Croswell Peter Wendell, M. D April 8. 

Judge Jacob Sutherland.. .. Rev. John Chester, D. D.... April 7, 

John T. Norton Joseph Russell April 7, 

Rev. John Ludlow, D. D...Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D....Aug. 3, 

Benjamin F. Butler Peter Boyd Xpril 3. 

*James Vanderpocl April 10, 

*Gen. Richard V. DeWitt April 10. 

*Philip S. Van Rensselaer April 10, 

*Ira 1 larris April 10, 

Thomas W. Olcott Benjamin F. Butler April 3. 

Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D....Rev. John Ludlow, 1). l)...Oct. 3, 

Rev. John N. Campbell, D.D.John T. Norton April 2, 

Ezra P. Prentice James Clark Oct. 26. 


* Named in Chap. 133, Laws 1833, to increase the Trustees from 9 
to 13. 


Albany Academy for Girls 

In place of Elected 

Judge Greene C. Bronson. . Ezra P. Prentice Jan. 14, 

Archibald Mclntyre Rev. Isaac Ferris, D. D April 5. 

Ezra P. Prentice Judge Jacob Sutherland April 5, 

Judge John Q. Wilson Israel Smith May 21, 

Rev. Isaac N. Wyckoflf, D.D. Judge James Vanderpoel. . .July 10, 

Mason F. Cogswell Archibald Mclntyre July 10, 

Rev. Barth. F.Welch, D.D.. Philip S. Van Rensselaer. .July 10, 

Rev. Horatio Potter, D. D.. Gideon Hawley, LL.D Feb. 11, 

Hon. Wm. L. Marcy R. M. Meigs Jan. 30, 

Rev. Wm. B. Sprague, D. D. Rev. Jno. N. Campbell, D. D.Jan. 30, 

Rev. Duncan Kennedy Rev. Horatio Potter, D. D..Jan. 30. 

James M^Naughton, M. D.. Dr Mason F. Cogswell Jan. 30, 

Marcus T. Reynolds Richard V. DeWitt April i, 

Harmon Pumpelly Ezra P. Prentice April i, 

Gen. John Taylor Cooper.. Hon. Wm. L. Marcy April 7, 

Judge Amasa J. Parker Gen. John Taylor Cooper.. .April 4, 

Hon. Wm. L. Marcy Rev. B. W. Welch, D. D. . .April 11. 

Gen. John Taylor Cooper. . Hon. Greene C. Bronson. . .Jan. 28, 

James H. Armsby, M. D. . . Edwin Croswell April 3, 

Rev. Eben S. Stearns, A. M. Rev. Duncan Kennedy Nov. 19, 

Amos Dean Hon. Wm. L. Marcy April 6, 

Erastus D. Palmer Marcus T. Reynolds Oct. 19, 

Judge Wm. L. Learned. . . . John Q. Wilson April 8, 

Arthur Bott Amos Dean June 22. 

Gen.John Meredith Read,Jr. Rev. Eben S. Stearns Dec. 28, 

Rev. Anson J. Upson, D. D.Rev. Wm. B. Sprague Dec. 14, 

Rev. Henry Darling, D. D. Gen. J. Meredith Read Dec. 14, 

Rev. Joachim Elmendorf .. Rev. Dr Wyckoff Dec. 14. 

Rev. Rufus W. Clark, D. D.Rev. Anson J. Upson Oct. 9, 

Rev. Wm. S. Smart. D. D. . Rev. Joachim Elmendorf. . .Oct. 9, 

Rev. Irving Magee, D. D.. . Dr Jas. McNaughton Oct. 9. 

John Templeton Ira Harris April 11, 

Wm. M. Van Antwerp Dr Jas H. Armsby April 11, 

Dr Samuel B. Ward Judge Amasa J. Parker March 4, 

Dr Jacob S. Mosher Gen. John Taylor Cooper. .March 4, 

Dudley Olcott Wm. M. Van Antwerp March 4, 

Archibald McClure Erastus D. Palmer Feb. 12. 

Rev. James H. Ecob, D. D. Thomas W. Olcott April 27, 

Rev. Henry M. King, D. D.Harmon Pumpelly April 27. 

George G. Davidson Rev. Rufus W. Clark. D. D.April 27, 

Benjamin W. Arnold Jacob S. Mosher, M. D April 27, 

John G. ]\Iyers Archibald IMcClure April 27, 

Centennial Celebration 

Ifi place of Elected 

George W. Kirchwey Arthur Bott April 27, 1889 

Rev. A. V.V. Raymond, D.D. Rev. Henry Darling. D. D..Feb. 12,1892 

Dr F. C. Curtis Rev. Wm. S. Smart, D. D. .Feb. 12, 1892 

David A. Thompson Rev. Irving Magee, D. D. . .Feb. 12, 1892 

Acors Rathbone John Templeton Feb. 12, 1892 

George Douglas Miller. ... Rev. Henry IM. King, D. D..Feb. 12. 1892 

Francis C. Huyck B. W. Arnold Feb. 12,1892 

Edward McKinney George W. Kirchwey Feb. 12,1892 

Henry Patton George G. Davidson Dec. 7, 1892 

Henry P. Warren Edward McKinney April 4,1893 

George G. Davidson Henry P. Warren Jan. 19, 1894 

Judge Alden Chester Rev. Jacob H. Ecob, D. D. .March 27, 1897 

Benjamin W. Arnold Rev. A. V. V. Raymond, D.D.March 27, 1897 

Mrs George Douglas Miller. George Douglas Miller May 15,1900 

Mrs George P. Hilton. ... John G. Myers May 15.1900 

J. Townsend Lansing George G. Davidson Oct. 29, 1902 

Charles J. Buchanan Acors Rathbone Oct. 29. 1902 

Joseph A. Lawson Judge William L. Learned.. Oct. 11. 1904 

Rev. Chas. A. Richmond.D. D.Francis C. Huyck Oct. 9,1907 

Dr Edgar A. Vander Veer. Henry Patton Jan. 11, 1911 

William L. L. Peltz David A. Thompson May 16, 1914 


Albany Academy for Girls 







May Thirty-first, June First and Second 

nineteen hundred and fourteen 


School Sunday, May 31st, Service 5 p. m., Study Hall 

Sermon by the Rev. Charles A. Richmond, D. D. 
Alumnae Breakfast, June ist, i p. m.. Ten Eyck Hotel 

Historical Address by Miss Grace Perry 
Centennial Celebration, June ist, 8 p. m. 

Auditorium of State Education Building 
One hundredth Commencement, June 2nd, 11 a. m. 

Auditorium of State Education Building 
Speaker, Rev. Samuel McChord Crothers, D. D. 
Reception for visiting Alumnae, June 2nd. from 4 until 6 p. m. 
Hostesses — Mrs William Law Learned 
Mrs George Douglas Miller 
Loan Exhibition, June ist and 2nd, Alumnae Room 


Processional Hymn 

" Onward Christian Soldiers " 

Bible Lesson 

Anthem — Ave Varum 


Lord's Prayer 


" Softly Now the Light of Day " 


Rev. Charles A. Richmond, D. D. 

Anthem — " I Waited for the Lord " 


Recessional Hymn 

" Savior again to Thy Dear Name We Raise ' 


Centennial Celebration 
Alumnae Breakfast 

Centenary Celebration of Albany Academy for Girls, June i, 1914 


President's Greeting Mrs George Porter Hilton 

By Mrs George Douglas Miller 

Presentation of the Class of 1914 Miss Esther Louise Camp 

President's Address Read by Mrs George Douglas Miller 

Presentation of the Portrait of Mrs Foot By Mrs W. H. Arnold 

Great Granddaughter of Mrs Foot 

Song, " The Old and the New " Mrs David Brainerd Hunt 

(Ida A. McKinney, '71) 

Historical Address Miss Grace Perry 

Report of Betsey Foot Chapter of New York. .Mrs R. W. Montgomery 
(Millie Brown, '83) 

Greeting Miss Lucy A. Plympton 

The Endowment Fund Mrs George Porter H ilton 

(Jessie K. Myers, '76) 

Signing of Parchment Roll 

Alumnae Song Mary C. Topp, '65 

" Happy are we met, happy have we been, 
Happy may we part, and happy meet again." 



Mrs George Porter Hilton President 

(Jessie K. Myers, '76) 

Miss Katharine Porter, '09 Secretary 

Miss Winifred Boyce, '07 Treasurer 


Mrs James W. Canaday, Jr President 

(Mary Rider, '08) 

Miss Katharine Porter, '09 Secretary 

Miss Winifred Boyce, '07 Treasurer 


Albany Academy for Girls 

Albany Academy for Girls 
Centennial Celebration, Education Building, June i, 1914, 8 p. m. 




Greeting from New York State Department of Education 

Historical Address — ^Justice Alden Chester 

(President of the Board of Trustees) 


Address — " The Responsibilities of Educated Women " 

Flavel S. Luther, LL.D., President of Trinity College 


Address — Governor Martin H. Glynn 



Centennial Celebration 

Albany Academy for Girls 
Centennial Commencement, Education Building, June 2, 1914 


Processional — March from Tannhaiiser Wagner 

Invocation Rev. William H. Hopkins, D. D. 

Address Rev. Samuel McChord Crothers 

The Spinning Chorus — Flying Dutchman Wagner 

Sweet Rose — By The Glee Club German 

Presentation of Diplomas Hon. Alden Chester 


Recessional Kipling- DeKoven 

Class of 1914 

Catherine M. Bacon Albany, N. Y. 

Helen M. Brandow Albany, N. Y. 

Dorothy Brate Albany, N. Y. 

Margaret Brate Albany. N. Y. 

Margaret C. Burton Cooperstown, N. Y. 

Helen G. Chrysler Albany, N. Y. 

Sue B. Craig Greencastle. Pa. 

Alice S. Elmendorf Albany, N. Y. 

Enid W. Elmendorf Albany, N. Y. 

Helen M. Fitzsimmons Albany, N. Y. 

Isabelle Gilmore Albany, N. Y. 

Frances K. Gleason Albany, N. Y. 

Anna L. Hobbs Albany, N. Y. 

Frances L. Kellogg Menands, N. Y. 

Eleanor B. Newton Albany, N. Y. 

Betty Palm er Canaan. N. Y. 

Catherine W. Peltz Albany. N. Y. 

Helen R. Sutherland .Mbany, N. Y. 

Miriam A. Sweet Elbridge, N. Y. 

Eleanor Todd Katonah, N. Y. 

Sarah E. Van I>e Carr East Greenbush, N. Y. 

Julia O. Wells Albany, N. Y. 

Ruth B. Wing Menands, N. Y. 


Albany Academy for Girls 


Margaret Brate First Honor 

Catherine W. Peltz Second Honor 

Catherine M. Bacon] 

Margaret C. Burton \- Third Honor 

Eleanor Todd J 

College Certificates 

Catherine M. BaconJ Wells College 

Anna Hobbs f 

Margaret Brate | Vassar College 

Sue B. Craig ( 

Eleanor Todd Wellesley College 

Gladys Smiley Teachers' College, New York 

Katherine Shelly Simmons College 


Centennial Celebration 


[An orchestra in the mezzanine balcony played the old Academy 
songs which the company sang. Among them were " The Old and 
New," written by Mrs David Brainerd Hunt (Ida McKinney), as a 
toast for the presentation of the Betsey Foot portrait by Mrs W. H. 
Arnold of New York.] 

Years cannot bury hearts, my dears, nor quelling silence lay 

Its hand upon the old time songs, the songs of yesterday. 

So in our hearts we'll keep our songs and bind them in with Blue, 

Where, fastened with our Golden Star their message they'll renew. 


O, the girls of long ago, and the maidens of to-day. 

They are meeting, they are greeting, in the old familiar way! 

For the glove of latest fashion holds no warmer grasp a bit, 

Than the hand that clasped its neighljor in the old lace- fashioned mitt. 

The Loveliness of Trees in Bloom has just the same dear ring. 
And Alma Acadcmia with dignity we sing: 
The loyalty of old and new, may never change we pray, 
May the century in passing mold the spirit of to-day. 


O, the girls of long ago, and the maidens of to-day. 

They are meeting, they are greeting, in the old familiar way ! 

For the glove of latest fashion holds no warmer grasp a bit, 

Than the hand that clasped its neighbor in the old lace-fashioned mitt. 

With labor's chisel in our hand, we'll pay the debt we owe. 

And grave full deep in Learning's Wall one name — that name we know. 

So sing, my dears, make melody while wo this toast acclaim, 

Let every throat be full of song when Betsey Foot we name. 


Albany Academy for Girls 



Miss Esther Louise Camp 
History of Art and Bible History 

Miss Ada S. Blake, A. B. 



Miss Ellen C. Keates, A. B. 

(Mt. Holyoke) 

Latin and Greek 

Miss R. Pauline Wilson, B. S. 

(Teachers' College, Columbia) 

Mathematics and Science 

Miss Julia W. McCormick, A. B. 



Mademoiselle Julia A. Viet 

(Brevet Superieur) 

Miss Hilda B. Edwards, B. A. 

(Smith College) 


Miss Marion Van Slyck 

(Los Angeles Normal School) 

Pre-Academic Department 

Miss Florence G. Jones 

(New York State Normal College) 


Miss Jessie D. Fox 

(Yonkers Training School) 


Centennial Celedkation 


Miss Leigh W. Palmer 

(Miss Whcelock's Training School, Boston) 


Miss Sylvia B. L. Gersbach 

(Albany Academy for Girls) 


Miss Charlotte Whittemore 

(Department of Hygiene and Physical Education. Wcllesley) 

Physical Training 


(Teachers' College, Columbia University) 
Drawing and Painting 

Miss Laeta Hartley 

(Pupil of Wager Swayne and Harold Bauer) 


Miss Beatrice Pinkney Jones 
(Pupil of Ernest Hutcheson and Edwin Farmer) 


Frank Sill Rogers. Mus. Doc. 

(Dresden Conservatory of Music) 

(Royal College of Organists, London) 

I'oicc CnllKre and Choral Singing 

Miss Helen W. Palmer 


Mrs Jessalvn A. Taylor 
House Mother 


Albany Academy for Girls 


Mrs William Law Learned 
Miss Blanche C. Austin Mrs George Douglas Miller 
Mrs Frederic C. Curtis Mrs Augustus S. Brandow 

Miss Grace Perry, Historian 







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