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Presented to the Faculty of Wellesley College 


Hazel Paris Cederborg 
B.A. Wellesley College, 1915 

In partial fulfilment of the requirements 

for the degree of 

June, 1926. 

Miss Sill 

from Portrait by Mr. George Robertson 


Prof. Arthur Orlo Norton 


Every writer of an historical account finds himself 
face to face with a great mass of details, all of which 
are interesting in one way or another, but only part of 
which will meet the challenge of his subject squarely. 
The attempt to compose from his material a volume which 
will present a coherent and unified effect, is a diffi- 
cult task. It is easy to wander into entertaining di- 
gressions when he should be keeping to his subject. At 
least I have found it so in compiling this early history 
of Rockford College. It is difficult, too, to present 
his facts so that his readers will catch the enthusiasm 
his theme has engendered. 

I have found difficulties, however, beyond those 
presented in the organization of my material. The early 
history of Rockford, or any other college for that matter, 
should be written by one who has known it intimately. It 
is well-nigh impossible for one so far removed in time and 
experience to catch the fervor and earnestness of those 
first years. All those with whom I have come into contact 
have been so interested and helpful, however, that many 
times when the task seemed almost hopeless, I have been 
given assurance to go on with my work. It may be that 
some of those who knew the early years will read this 
history. Doubtless they will mentally red-pencil the mar- 
gins with comments, queries, and exclamations. I hope, 


however, that they will forgive its errors, if errors 
there be, and consider only the interest and sympathy 
which have inspired it, for after all they are the es- 
sential attributes of a piece of writing. In fact they 
seem to me a writer's only excuse for writing. 

Hazel Paris Cederborg. 
May, 1926. 

Chapter Page 

Introduction^ 1 

I Background and Founding 11 

II The Coming of Miss Sill 33 

III Miss Sill's Life to 1849 61 

IV Miss Sili--Appearance and Character 71 

V The Opening of "Miss Sill's School" 86 

VI The Early Years of the Seminary 93 

VII The New Seminary 108 

VIIIThe Sixties - 149 

IX The New College 1 80 

X Miss Sill's Resignation and Last Years 213 


A. Supplementary Chapters 

I The Trustees of "Miss Sill's School" 240 

I I Early Subscriptions 247 

III Among the Early Teachers 249 

IV Among the Early Trustees 262 

V The First Meeting of the Chicago-RocEford 
Association 276 

VI Tributes fo Miss Sill 280 

VII Activities and Social Life of the 

Students 299 

B.Documents Pertaining to. the History of the 


LCopy of Deed to Site- 329 

2. Charter 330 

3. Amendments fo Charter,! 837 333 

4. Constitution 333 

5. Certificate of Change of Name from Rockford 

Female Rockford Sem. 342 

6. Certificate of Change of Name from Rock- 
ford Seminary to Rockford College 344 

C. Programs from Various Years 348 

D. Papers of Interest in Connection with the 

Alumnae -« 

1 .Various Constitutions of the Alumnae 

Association 365 

2. Speeches at Alumnae Banquets 373 

E. Papers of Interest in Connection with Student 

1. Report of Sedond Eamination Period 386 

2. Valedictory, S.Adeline Potter 388 

3. Letter of Co. A, 33d Reg't 111. Volunteers-- 396 

4. Account of Exam. Period and Anniversary-- 398 
5. Account of Entertainment of Pierian Union-40 3 

6. Account of First Class Day Exercises-.—-- 40b 

7. Account of First Junior Exhibition 409 


F. Pertaining to Miss Sill 

1 .Miss Sill's Request for Leave of Absence 415 

2.Miss Sill T s Letter of Resignation 416 

3«Action of the Board on Miss Sill's Resigna- 
tion 418 

4. Miss Sill's Appointment as Principal Emerita -420 

5. Announcement of Miss Sill's Dea^h 421 

6. Resolutions of the Faculty at Miss Sill's 

Death 4 22 

7. Resolutions of the Trustees at Miss Sill's 

Dea.h 423 

Bibliography 425 



Though we are always interested in the early his- 
tory of an institution, we are interested, too, in what 
an institution has become. And Rockford College has 
progressed far from the little one-story building on 
North First Street where on June 11, 1840, Miss Anna P. 
Sill, with two assistants, opened her school. 

The college today has a faculty of well-equipped 
teachers, forty-one in number, besides those in the music 
department, seven in number. It holds institutional mem- 
bership in the North Central Association of Colleges and 
Secondary Schools, membership in the American Association 
of University Women, and the American Council on Edu- 
cation. It is approved by the Association of American 
Universities, and is in Class A of those colleges ap- 
proved by the University of Illinois for graduate work. 
It grants each year the baccalaureate degrees of A.B. 
and B.S., and has the privilege by its charter of grant- 
ing the degree of A.M. 

The college campus consists of more than ten acres 
of undulating and wooded land on a bluff overlooking the 
Rock River. It is sufficiently large to provide for 
tennis, field hockey, archery, baseball, and outdoor 
dramatics. The resources of the city give opportunity 
for even more extensive outdoor life, — picnicking, golf, 
horseback riding, hiking and boating. 

The buildings, except for Adams, Emerson, Osborn, 
and Enders Halls, are grouped to inclose three sides of 
a quadrangle. Middle Hall, the oldest, is connected on 
the east with Chapel and on the west with Linden, the con- 
nections themselves being four-story brick buildings. 
They provide rooms for students, several public rooms, 
offices, the library, the biology lecture rooms, the read- 
ing room, the chapel, and the library, and two large in- 
closed porches, one for the use of the faculty and the 
other for the use of the students. The former is equipped 
with a large serving room and kitchenette. 

John Barnes Hall, opened in 1911, provides accom- 
modations for more than one hundred persons. There is a 
large recreation room for students at the northwest end, 
and on the ground floor are the kitchen and dining rooms. 

Lathrop Hall, completed in 1920, is being used for 
three purposes. It provides dormitory space for fifty 
people, and has six lecture rooms. In the basement, there 
is a handsomely tiled swimming pool, sixty by twenty f€ t, 
having adjoining dressing rooms and shower baths. 

Sill Hall, which stands between John Barnes and 
Lathrop, houses the music and the physical education de- 

Emerson Hall was given to the college in 1891 by 

William Talcott and Ralph Emerson, Sr., in memory of the 
latter T s son, and was converted through the generosity 
of Mrs. E. P. Lathrop and the other sistersybf Ralph 

Emerson, into a dormitory in 1919. It and Enders and 
Osborne Halls, are located slightly, off the campus, and 
are used as freshman dormitories. 

Adams Hall, which was built in the early nineties 
through the generosity of the late Mr. J. Q. Adams, of 
Wheat on, Illinois, has the physics, chemistry, and home 
economics lecture rooms and laboratories, several reci- 
tation rooms, the art studio, and several small rooms 
furnished comfortably and attractively for the use of 
town students. The textile and clothing lecture room 
and laboratory are in Dorwin Cottage. 

The social life of the students and the student 
organizations are varied and interesting. As Rockford 
College believes "that the first objective of the students 
must be the accomplishment of tasks that will guarantee 
self-disciplined minds and well-rounded characters, --- 
provision is made for a variety of stimulating and in- 
teresting experiences that will increase interest in the 
courses offered and give fc reater opportunity for initia- 
tive, more independent work and development of special 

The Glee Club gives a vesper carol service just be- 
fore the Christmas recess, and a public concert each year. 
There are various receptions, four promenades each year 
by the students of the four classes and monthly informal 
dances, and frequent lectures and recitals by members of 
the faculty, and men and women from outside the college. 
Students have an opportunity, too, to attend functions 


and public performances in town. A dean of women lives 
within the college, and supervises the life of the stu- 

Aside from the Socratic Honor Society in which per- 
manent membership is based on intellectual achievment and 
is the reward of seniors who have proved themselves by 
superior class standing worthy of special recognition, 
there is no other organization to which any student is 
not eligible through class membership or by virtue of 
her special bent and ability. 

The Tolo Club works through committees to organize 
the social and recreative life of the students. Aside 
from many informal affairs, it is responsible for three 
formal parties, especially characteristic of Rockford,-- 
the Hallowe ! en Party, the Washington Party, and the May 

The Y.W.C.A. was organized in 1923, and provides 
for the more adequate direction of the religious life of 
the students through special chapel services and discus- 
sion groups. 

The Athletic Association has as its aim the purpose 
of arousing greater interest in athletics. Field day at 
the end of the autumn sports season when the interclass 
hockey games are played, an indoor meet, a swimming meet, 
basketball competition in March, a set of class tennis 
and archery tournaments in the spring term, and the May 
festival, are conducted under its auspices. The awards,-- 

as class numerals, felt n R's w , and gold R.C. pins, — are 
made at these times. There is also a Rockford College 
chapter of the Women's Life Saving Corps of the American 
Red Cross. 

The departmental study clubs, conducted by the various 
departments, are carried on by the students and are open 
to upperclassmen who have satisfactory college standing and 
to others under special conditions: the Quill .Club, the 
French Club, the Classical Club, the Home Economics Club, 
the Mathematics Club, the Debating Club, the Science Club, 
the Social Service Club, and the International Relations 

Every student is a member of the Student Self -Govern- 
ment Association, which under the supervision of the presi- 
dent and the dean of women, controls the life of the stu- 
dents in the dormitory. Every student, upon entering col- 
lege is honor-bound to co-operate with the organization and 
the college authorities in maintaining the high ideals of 
the college in its social and intellectual life. 

The college publishes a weekly newspaper, The Purple 
Parrot , a quarterly literary magazine, The Taper , and a 
junior year book, The Cupola . The Alumnae Association 
publishes a quarterly newspaper, The Rockford Alumna . The 
college issues three official publications, — a catalogue, 
a brief book, with illustrations of the buildings and stu- 
dent activities, and a directory of graduates. 

Few small colleges have such large funds available for 

use. There is the John Barnes Memorial Fund of $46,599.99 
in honor of Mr. John Barnes, Trustee, 1884-1916, Treasurer, 
1898-1906, and President of the Board, 1917-1916. Three 
professorships are endowed: --a Professorship of Sociology 
and Social Service, established by the Rockford College As- 
sociation of Chicago, to which the California and Minnesota 
associations have also contributed, in honor of Jane Addams 
of the class of 1B81, and two chairs, the occupants of which 
are to be known as the "Professor of Botany on the Theodore 
Buckbee Foundation" and the "Professor of Household Arts on 
the Catherine Buckbee Foundation," endowed by Mr. John T. 
Buckbee in honor of his. father and mother. There is also 
the Sill Endowment Fund, raised during Miss Sill's life- 
time, the interest of which was for her personal use and is 
now available for part of the president's salary. 

Friends of the college have been generous in their 
provision for scholarships. Interest from a large number of 
funds is available for the education of worthy young women . 
who need aid* Aside from these funds four scholarships are 
available for graduate study at the University of Chicago, 
through the generosity of William A. and Fanny C. Talcott, 
each yielding $150.00, and a fellowship is offered by Mrs. 
Catharine Waugh McCulloch for a year's study at the Chicago 
Commons. Each year the University of Illinois offers a 
scholarship of $300.00, called the Rockford College 
Scholarship, to a member of the senior class. The student 
who is chosen by the faculty, is thus enabled to take the 

A.M. degree at the University of Illinois in one year. 

The college in 1925-1926 had enrolled 602 students, 

distributed as follows: 

Seniors -56 

Juniors 55 

Sophomores 123 

Freshmen 184 

Total matriculated in college 418 

Number of students taking music only 107 

Number of students in special courses 

for city teachers 77 

Total number of students in all departments 602 

A few statistics about the city of Kockford will per- 
haps add to the interest of this volume. The founders of 
the Seminary could hardly have realized that the struggling 
pioneer town would, in the course of three-quarters of a 
century, become the busy center Rockford has become. 

Kockford enjoys a favorable location. It is situated 
on both sides of the Rock River, and the water power de- 
rived from this stream has aided its growth materially. 
It is ninety miles northwest of Chicago. Because of its 
excellent transportation facilities, — railroad, interurban, 
and state highways, --its influence as a commercial center 
is felt throughout northern Illinois. 

According to recent statistics its population is 
83,000. It is the third largest city in Illinois. 

While it is a big retail center for the surrounding 
country and a big insurance center, it is important mainly 
for its manufactures. It is the second industrial center 
in the state, the value of its products being greater than 
those of any city in Illinois except Chicago. The total 


number of its industries is 358, the total number of em- 
ployees approximately 26,000, and the value of its pro- 
ducts is over $112,425,000 a year. 

The list of made -in-Rockf ord products includes more 
than 3,000 items. The furniture industry stands first 
from the standpoint of the number of factories, thirty- 
eight. It is also one of the largest and most progressive 
cities in the manufacture of special machinery and special 
tools in the United States. 

Its educational facilities are excellent,— both public 
and private schools. Two new public schools, --the Theodore 
Roosevelt Junior High School, costing approximately ^800,000 
and the J. Herman Hallstrom Grade School, costing $235, 000, 
were completed in 1925. A second junior high school, the 
Abraham Lincoln Junior High School, which will cost ap- 
proximately $1,000,000, is now under construction. Aside 
from the public schools there are the parochial schools, 
several business schools, and an interesting private school, 
the Keith Country Day School, one of the foremost progres- 
sive schools in the country. It was founded in the autumn 
of 1916 by Mrs. Darwin Keith, Wellesley, 1883-1885, and has 
been since its beginning under the direction of Miss Annie 
B. Philbrick, Wellesley, 1902. 

Rockford is especially fortunate in its recreational 
facilities. A total of 572 acres is controlled by the 
Rockford Park District. There are, besides many smaller 
parks, three large parks, — Sinnissippi , Black Hawk, and the 

Lieutenant Clayton C. Ingersoll Memorial Park, the most 
recent addition to the system. Sinnissippi has a nine- 
hole golf course and Ingersoll an eighteen-hole course. 
All are equipped with fire places and tables for pic- 
nickers, and Black Kawk Park has a cabin ,( a replica of 
a pioneer cabin), built by the late Mr. Ralph Emerson for 
the use of groups in winter. A free tourist camp is also 
maintained here. There are seven parks having tennis 
courts, ten baseball diamonds, ten wading pools, nine foot- 
ball fields, one a new swimming pool, while others are 
provided with other recreational features. The first unit 
of the Rockford High School stadium, with a seating capacity 
for 4,110, has been completed, and other units are being 
planned for the coming year. 

The public organizations, the banks, the churches and 
business establishments of all types, are co-operating con- 
stantly with each other to make collective desires and ends 
effective. The Chamber of Commerce all the while is sur- 
veying "the community with a telescope to see the whole at 
once and at the same time with a microscope to search out 
the details." It is encouraging and co-ordinating the in- 
dividual activities of the community. 

Mrs. C. P. B razee, in commenting upon the city, said: 
"it cannot well be otherwise than it is, --a city of home- 
loving people with high aims. The ideals of its sturdy, 


right-minded founders are still at work." 

Note: The material for this introduction is drawn largely 
from the catalogue of Rockford College for March, 
1926, and from a pamphlet published by the Chamber 
of Commerce, Rockford . The Forest City . 



Background arid Founding 

It is seldom that a college on the seventieth anniver- 
sary of its first commencement numbers' among its guests a 
pupil who was present the day the institution was opened 
and a teacher from the earliest period. Yet that is just 
what did happen at Rockford College on June 11, 1925, at 
the seventieth commencement exercises. The pupil was Mrs. 
Caroline Potter Bra zee who was the youngest member of the 
second graduating class and a teacher in the institution 
from 1872 to 1883. She was a little girl of eleven when 
she first w ent to ''Miss Sill's School." The teacher was 
Mrs. E. L. Herrick, a teacher in the school from 1852 to 
1855 and a close friend of Miss Sill through the years. 
The presence of these two women both of whom caught a 
glimpse of Miss Sill's vision-splendid and both of whom 
have left the mark of their influence upon the institution, 
was like a benediction. 

It may have been, too, that that seventieth anniver- 
sary on June 11 fell upon the day of the opening of the 
school. The evidence is conflicting. We learn from the 
Rockford Forum for May 30, 1849, that"l.Jiss A. P. Sill will 
open a school in Rockford, Illinois, for the Eduction of 
Young Ladies, Wednesday, June 6, 1849." The Forum for 
June 6 sets the date as June 11. There are two bits of 
evidence, however, ttiat the school may have been opened 

1 2 

July 11. Rev. Henry M. Goodwin, pastor for many years of 

the First Congregational Church, the church which Miss 

Sill attended, and trustee of the Seminary from 1853 to 

1893, in his memorial volume published after Miss Sill f s 

death in 1 889, quotes from her diary as follows: 

"May 29. Sent my advertisement to the press. My 
success is yet to be known, for ! my times are in the 
hand of the Lord.' I trust I am prepared for what- 
ever cup He in His all-wioe providence may mingle, 
may I but glorify God and serve humanity while I 
live, and then go home. 

"July 11. Today commenced school, and laid the 
foundation of Rockford Female Seminary. Opened with 
fifty-three scholars. Lord, fit me for my work and 
glorify thyself thereby. 

" " 12. Today numbered sixty scholars. Oh, 
the responsibility of teachers! Lord, aid me. T, (1) 

I have every assurance that Mr. Goodwin w*ts a careful 
scholar. J ulv 11 may be a printer's error. 

The second bit of evidence .that July 11 is the date, 
I get from the report of the first decade of the school, 
appended to the catalogue of 1860-I86l,in all probability 
written by Miss Sill, which states that "the institution 
was opened July 11,1 849, by Miss Sill, assisted by Miss 
Hannah Richards and Miss Eliza Richards." It may have 
been that Miss Sill was delayed in opening from June 1 1 
to July 1 1 . 

(1) Go odwin f Memorial Volume f p.13» 


Mr. C. A, Huntington was occupying the building for 
his school, and may have been slow in moving. (1) If that 
was the case, it is remarkable that she made no note of 
the delay in her diary, (2) and, too, that she made no 
entry between May 29 and July 11. Mrs. Brazee (still liv- 
ing) unhesitatingly names June 11 as the day. An account 
of the first examinations (in the Rockford Forum ) which 
were held on August 21 says that "though scarcely three 
months have elapsed since this institution was established, 
the exercises were very successful. This statement would 
indicate June 11 as the day. Moreover, Founder's Day, w^s, 
until recently, observed on June 11. It is possible, then, 
that the seventieth anniversary fell upon the day of the 
opening. However that may be, the occasion was full of 
significance. The presence of Mrs. Herrick and Mrs. Brazee 
turned our thoughts back seventy years and more, and gave 
us a deeper understanding of the old Rockford, brought our 
minds to bear upon the sacrifice and earnestness of those 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette , Dec. 16, 1886. 

(2) i nave made every effort to find the diary. From a 
statement made by Miss Elizabeth Herrick and Miss Kather- 
ine Foote, I believe it was removed from the college 
shortly after Miss Sill's death. Miss Sill's niece, Mrs. 
Amelia Hollister Chapman, tells me that she knov/s nothing 
about it. Mr. Goodwin's children know nothing beyond the 
fact that he used many of Miss Sill's papers and returned 
them to whomever had them in charge. Miss Jane A&dams, 
who also contributed to the memorial volume, knows nothing 
of the papers. 


brave men and women who made possible the woman 1 s college 
of today. 

When Rockford was founded, the higher education of 
women was in its infancy. Towns had been slow in admit- 
ting girls even to the privileges of elementary education. 
It had required nearly two hundred years from the founding 
of the first school to place 'iris on an equal footing 
with boys. Family instruction, the dame school, and pri- 
vate schools, and finally separate instruction under the 
public schoolmaster during certain hours of the day, or 
days of the week, or months of the year, were the steps 
leading to the public instruction of girls. (1) 

The advocates of any thing beyond elementary educa- 
tion were few. Kiss Pierce T s school in Litchfield, Connec- 
ticut, with a curriculum overweighted wi th history, polite 
French, the art of needlework, had flourished and died. 
It was typical of the private school of the day. Its 
claim to remembrance lies n the fact that Catharine 
Beecher was brought up under its shadow and was a one- 
time student there. She attempted in her school at Hart- 
ford, Connecticut, founded in 1828, to give girls some- 
thing worth keeping. She worked extensively in the Mid- 
dle West, organizing a similar seminary in Cincinnati 
and traveling a bout in the interest of 

(1) Small, Early New England Schools , p. 289. 


higher education for women. She oame to Rockford, but 
made an impression not particularly favorable because of 
her extreme masculinity, though the value of her work, 
which was well known, was recognized. (1) 

Then there was Emma Willard who had shown the way at 
Middlebury, Vermont, in 1807, and at Troy, New York, in 

Among these pioneers in the education of women the 
name which stands out in the early history of Rockford 
College is that of Rev. Joseph Emerson, of Byfield, Massa- 
chusetts, and later of Wethersfield, Connecticut, the 
inspired teacher of Mary Lyon and of Zilpah P. Grant, 
(afterwards wife of the Hon. Joseph Bannister, of Newbury- 
port, Massachusetts) . The name of the Emerson family 
echoes and re-echoes through the history of the Seminary. 
Miss Sill was profoundly impressed by the Rev. Joseph Emer- 
son's work, with which she was thoroughly conversant. 
When she came to Rockford she had in mind his ideals of 
"female education. "( 2) The direct influence of the family 
has been unbroken since 1852 when Prof. Joseph Emerson, 
of Beloit, Wisconsin, became a member of the Board of 
Trustees. He was a nephew of Rev. Joseph Emerson, 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Mrs. C. P. Brazee, 1855. 


(1) of Byfield, and a son of Rev. Ralph Emerson, who wrote 
a biography of his distinguished brother. Rev. Ralph 
Emerson, himself, was a member of the Board from 1860 un- 
til his death in 1863, and another of his sons, Ralph, 
served in a similar capacity from 1870 to 1901. Rev. 
Ralph Emerson was also the one-time teacher of Miss Grant 
in Colebrook, Connecticut . The work which Joseph Emerson 
did at Byfield and 7/ethersfield was of great significance 
and had many ramifications. Prom Byfield came Miss Grant, 
and the cultured gracious teacher then and later f=-when 
Miss Lyon taught with her at Londonderry and. Ipswich;— had 
an influence upon Mary. Lyon which was one of the deter- 


mining factors of her life. (2) 

(1) From The Life of Joseph Emerson by Rev. Ralph Emerson 
and the Emerson Gene, lory, p. 219, we learn the following 
facts about Kev. Joseph Emerson. 

Joseph Emerson, the son of Daniel and Am? Fletcher Em- 
erson, was born at Hollis, N. H., Oct. 13, 1777, and died 
May 3, 1833. He was married three times, in each case (bo 
a woman who was highly educated: to Nancy Eaton, of Fram- 
ingham, once his pupil, in 1803; to Eleanor Reed, of 
Northbridge, Mass., in 1805, and to Rebecca Hasletine, of 
Bradford, Mass., in 1810. The latter was a sister of Mrs. 
Ann Judson, wife of the misfeionary. Joseph Emerson was 
graduated from Harvard in 1798. Between then and Sept., 
1893, when he was ordained and settled in the ministry at 
Beverly, Mass., he tutored in Framingham, where he met 
Nancy Eaton. In 1810 he brought out the E^LajageJJjial- 
Primer , of which 201,000 copies were sold. In 1818 he 
opened his school for young ladies at Byfield. It was 
here that Mary Lyon first came under his influence and 
under that of Miss Grant, then a teacher at Byfield. He 
later taught at Wether sfield, Conn. 

(2) Gilchrist, The Life of Mary Lyon, p. 80. 


In turn the words of Joseph Emerson to Miss Grant 
when she was fearful of accepting the call to Adams Acad- 
emy (in Londonderry), on account of her health, "If you 
can put into operation a permanent school on right prin- 
ciples, you may well afford to give up jour life when you 
have done it,"(l) had a profound influence upon both young 
women. Miss Grant carried the words in her heart through 
all the intervening years. The two friends at Ipswich 
cherished the plan for a permanent institution. Miss 
Grant never lost the vision, though Miss Lyon, young and 
careless of permanence, cried "Never mind the brick and 
mortar; only let us h;ve living minds to work upon. "(2) 
When Mary Lyon went forth on the active work of gathering 
funds for the new seminary at South Hadley, Miss Grant 
stayed at Ipswich, always giving advice and encouragement. 

And this seminary, too, was an inspiration to Miss 
Sill, A Mount Holyoke in the west was her ideal; it was 
her model. (3) She did not know Mary Lyon personally 
though she knew of her work from various sources. Nor 
did she ever visit Mount Holyoke on any of her eastern 
trips (4) as would seem likely. Mrs. E. L. Herrick came 

(1) Gilchrist, The Life of Mary Lyon , p. 170. 

(2) Ibid, p. 171. 

(3) Mrs. E. L. Herrick and Mrs. C. P. Brazee. 

(4) Mrs. -E. L. Herrick. 


to the Seminary in 1852. Though she herself was & .Leicester 
Academy graduate, she had come indirectly under the in- 
fluence of Mary Lyon, and was an ardent admirer of her. 
She knew a great deal about her work from an older sister 
who was a graduate of Mount Holyoke. This information she 
passed on to Miss Sill.(l) The Holyoke influence was em- 
phasized several years later when, in 1855, Miss Helen Car- 
penter, of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, came to the Semi'nary 
fresh from contact with many of the associates of Mary 
Lyon. She had been graduated the previous June, and this 
was her first teaching position. (2) Then, too, the air 
was full of echoes of the work being done at South Hadley. 

I mention all this because of the significance of the 
influence of the East upon the West, because of the close 
contacts of Rockford with the current educational forces 
in the East. To read the annals of the early education of 
women is to trace the delicate pattern of a Persian rug 
where the motif is repeated and where lines cross and re- 
cross . 

Catherine Beecher of Hartford, came to Rockford; 
Miss Sill was influenced hy Rev. Joseph Emerson and the 
Emerson family has been since the beginning profoundly 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Alumnae Office, Mount Holyoke College 


interested in the college; a Mount Holyoke in the West 
was Miss Sill»s ambition; and Zilpah Grant (Mrs. Bannister) 
was a good friend to Miss Sill and to the Seminary, giving 
so lavishly to it in the early years that Linden, the 
second hall, was named for her home in Newburyport. 

This interest in the higher education of women in 
the early nineteenth century, spread very rapidly to the 
Middle West, which was settled largely by emigrants from 
New England and New York. They brought the ideal of ed- 
ucation in their hearts as they brought their choice old 
pieces of furniture in their prairie schooners. In order 
to appreciate the significance of this ideal and the sig- 
nificance of the Rockford College of today, it is nec- 
essary to have in mind something of the history of the 
Rock River Valley and of Rockford. 

The Black Hawk War, the last Indian War in this re- 
gion, closed in 1832.(1) A year later John Phelps, with 
a Frenchman, started from Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in a 
canoe down the Pecatonica River and thence into the Rock. 
He stopped at the mouth of the creek where in 1834 Ger- 
manicus Kent and Thatcher Blake made the first settlement 
in what is now the city of Rockford. (2) This was not the 
first settlement in Winnebago County, however. 

(1) The History of Winnebago County , p. 224. 

(2) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 25. 


Stephen Mack,* who saw that a speedy settlement of 
the Rock River Valley would follow the war, had settled 
in about the year 1829 at what he thought to be the stra- 
tegical point, on a bluff at the junction of the 
Pecatonica and Rock, the settlement afterwards being 
called Macktown. The Pecatonica was then considered 
navigable for one hundred miles and the Rock for one 
hundred fifty. (1) 

The defeat of the Black Hawk Indians, in the war of 
1832, as has been stated, opened the way to the settle- 
ment of the Rock River Country. There were, too, other 
reasons for an influx of settlers: railroads were being 
pushed westward; the establishment of stage lines beyond 
the termini of the railroads, opened easy routes to the 
west; the northwest east of the Mississippi River, was 
well known, and offered wide opportunities, and Illinois 
occupied a central position. 

(1) The History of Winnebago County , p. 223. 

■fr Ibid. Stephen Mack was an interesting person. A 
native of Vermont and a one-time student at Dartmouth 
College, he drifted West, through love, of adventure, and 
took an active part in the Black Hawk War. He married 
Hononegah, the daughter of a Pottawatomie chief, and after 
her death a Mrs. Daniels, of Harrison, 111. He lived in 
Winnebago County until 1850, taking an active part in af- 
fairs and serving in different capacities. Mrs. Julia 
Warren confirms the statement, so often made, that two of 
his daughters by his first wife, Louisa and Mary, attended 
the Seminary. As I can find no record of their attendance, 
I assume that they attended between 1849 and 1854, of which 
years there are no records. 


The settlement of the Rock River valley at that 
time was inevitable. It is an interesting fact, however, 
that the first settlers came not from the East but from 
the West. Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake, like 
Stephen Mack, wer' New Englanders. Kent was born near 
Suf field, Connecticut, in 1790. In early manhood he 
went to New York, and in 1819 to the South. After some 
time in Virginia and Alabama, he came to the home of his 
brother in Galena, Rev. \ratus Kent, who later was com- 
monly called "the Father of Rockford Female Seminary . ,1 (1) 
It was here that Germanicus Kent met Thatcher Blake. (2) 
Blake, hearing that Kent wished to visit the Rock River, 
sought hirn out and planned a trip with him. In June, 1834, 
they accordingly started in a wagon from Galena up into 
T isconsin, and reached the Pecatonica River about four 
miles from "Hamilton's Diggings," operated by a son of 
Alexander Hamilton. Here they procured a Canoe, and 
proceeded down the Pecatonica to ? 'in eshiek's Village, an 
Indian village (now Freeport, Illinois.) From there they 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , 26-27. 

(2) Ibid, p. 27. Th tcher Blake was born in Oxford 
County, Maine, in 1809. In 1834 he started for the "far 
,; est" to find his fame and fortune. In St. houis he met 
soldiers of the Black Hawk campaign who gave interesting 
accounts of the Rock River Valley and Galen'-. attracted 
more by the mineral resources of the Galena region, he 
made his way there. 


continued on and into the Rock River until they came to 
a small creek on the west side, now known as Kent f s 
Creek, (1) directly opposite the present site of Rockford 
College. The Rock was navigable "both north and south. 
As the point was about half way between Chicago and Galena, 
they called the settlement Midway. The Indians called the 
point Rockford from the ledge of rocks ( just below the 
present dam) where they could ford the river with their 
ponies. Kent and ^lake returned to Galena by way of the 
river to Dixon, some forty miles below Rockford, and then 
overland. ( 2) 

Their second trip was made overland in a wagon with a 
single span of horses, and supplies. There were no roads, 
nor even Indian trails. The trip took four days, and was 
exceedingly difficult. On Sunday evening, August 24, 1834, 
with a Mr. Evans and an unknown man, they reached Kent's 
Creek. There was nothing romantic in the settlement. 
Kent came to set up a saw -mill and Blake to farm. (3) The 
consequences of their beginning could hardly have been 
foreseen. Little could they have guessed that within 
ninety years the settlement would become of one of the 
busiest manufacturing centers of the Middle West and a 
thriving city of 83,000. 

(1) The History of Winnebago County , p. 225. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Ibid. 


In this early Rockford there was a strong predominance 
of New England characteristics and New England ideals. 
Not all the settlers, but many of them, came from New Eng- 
land. Some were from New York, and a small number from 
other states. They impressed their traits upon the town, 
--industry, thrift, temperance, and a high sense of per- 
sonal integrity. It was a point of honor with them to 
maintain their families and to pay their debts. Of course 
not all were of the highest class; but those of the deter- 
mining group held the finest ideals of culture and religion, 
as is shown by their interest in education. (1) 

This interest in education was not confined to the 
settlers of Rockford, however. In many neighboring com- 
munities efforts were being made to establish schools, 
some of which were more successful than others. People 
interested in education were coming to the section, think- 
ing, it would seem, that it was fertile field for their 
efforts. Some of those who came to the section at this 
time, as Rev. Hiram Foote and Dr. A. W. Gatlin, (and doubt- 
less others), were later interested in the Seminary. Two 
grandsons of Dr. Gatlin are now( in May, 1926), associated 
with the college: Dr. Sanford R. Catlin is one of the 
physicians and Ir. Norman E. Catlin is a member of the 
Board of Trustees. 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 40. 


Early educational enterprises in the vicinity. 

As early as 1836 or 1837 a joint company was formed 
at Bel vide re, then Squaw Prairie (some eighteen miles east 
of Rockf ord) , to build and run Newton Academy. On March 4, 
1839, Boone County gave over to John King, Hiram Water- 
man, A. D. Bishop, William Dresser, and F. W. Crosby, 
trustees of Newton Academy, and their successors, land 
for the erection of an academy. (1) The school was built, 
and passed through the hands of several teachers, among 
them Arthur Fuller, the brother of Margaret Fuller. He 
advertised in the Winnebago Forum for October 18, 1843, 
that he was opening the school "on a permanent basis, n 
and he proposed "to establish a Seminary of Learning on 
a broad and liberal foundation and to give it such a 
character as (would) secure the patronage and support 
of the corn-unity at large." Mr. Fuller was graduated 
from Harvard in 1843. His sister, Margaret Fuller, came 
to Belvidere, and bought the property in person. (2) 
Arthur Fuller remained about two years, and then turned 
over the property to John K. Towner and Eben Conant. 
It passed through several hands ,and served as both school 
and church until 1852. At one time it was taught by 
T. G. Bisbee, who had an A . B. degree and had had 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford . p. 287. 

(2) Ibid, p. 288. 


experience as a teacher in Massachusetts. He advertised 
in the Rockford Forum for October 13, 1847, to open the 
school with three assistants, October 26, 1847. 

In 1839, a seminary was founded at Mount Morris in 
Ogle County, about thirty-two miles southwest of Rockford. 
(1) Its history has been varied. In the forties it was 
running under the name of Rock River Seminary. In 1843, 
it advertised accommodations for forty-five students in 
the Seminary boarding house and for a larger number with 
families in the village. The staff numbered six: Rev. 
D. J. Pinckney, A. B., principal; Rev. L. Catlin, pro- 
fessor of mathematics; Miss R. R. Carr, preceptress; Mrs. 
L. Catlin, female teacher; Mr. J. C. Parker, primary teach- 
er, and Jonathan Mitchell, resident agent. There were 
two courses--primary and seminary--and lessons in paint- 
ing and drawing. (2) The seminary was for both sexes, 
and was supported chiefly by the Methodists of the West. 
(3) In 1878"- 1879 it was acquired by the Church of the 
Brethren. It is now controlled by six state districts 
from which are chosen the trustees, and is affiliated with 
the Bethany Bible School of Chicago. In 1924—1925 there 
were 31 members on the faculty, and 160 students enrolled 

(1) Mount Morris College Bulletin, p. 15. 

(2) Winnebago Forum , Apr. 28, 1843. 

(3) Rockford Forum, Nov. 19, 1843. 


for degrees. Besides courses leading the B. A. and B. S. 
degrees the college offers work in art and music. (1) 

A point near the junction of the Kishw&ukee and Rock 
Rivers -»- was the seat of the next educational enterprise. 
In February, 1838, Dr. A. M. Catlin came in a wagon to 
Illinois from Western Reserve in Ohio. With him were 
Rev. Hiram Foote, and Silas Tyler, all of New England 
stock and all part of a movement to found an institution 
in the region similar to Oberlin. The three Foote brothers, 
Hiram, Lucius, and Horatio (all clergymen) were prominent 
in this educational movement, and were more or less in- 
fluenced by Rev. Charles G. Finney, a revivalist and the 
founder of Oberlin. At about this time and through the 
same influences, there came to Rockford Ira Baker, the Rev. 
Louis Sweasy, James L. Morton, a Mr. Field, and others. 
A building was erected by these missionary educators, but 
it was never used, though Kishwaukee shortly had forty 
dwellings, and Dr. Catlin moved there, and Mr. Tyler, 
Mr. Field, and Mr. Johnson continued to live there. (2) 

In 1839-40 George W. Lee platted a town on the west 
side of the Kishwaukee River, some miles south of Rockford, 
in what is now New Milford township--a town of some size, 

(1) Mount Morris College Bulletin, pn. 15, 16, 34-38, 
list of faculty and students. 

(2) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 108. 
•«- Now the seat of a consolidated school. 


including two stores, a blacksmith's ship, and a large 
building for a seminary. This building was inclosed and 
partly finished, but never used.(l) 

In 1843 an attempt was made to establish at Beloit 
(on the Rock River, some twenty miles north of Rockford) 
a female Seminary. The Winnebago Forum for May 12, 1843, 
tells us that "after repeated solicitations from the 
citizens of Beloit and vicinity," Miss Eliza D. Field 
decided "to open a seminary for Young Ladies," on the last 
Monday in May, 1843. The proposed curriculum included 
"all those branches of the mental^ moral and natural sci- 
ences" which were "taught in our Eastern Acadamies of the 
first order; together with the French and Italian Lan- 
guages, Instrumental Music, Embroidery, or any of the Or- 
namental branches of Female Education." The subsequent 
silence of the Forum in the case of this enterprise, as in 

the coses of most of the others, would indicate that it was 

not successful. The fact, however, that people/repeatedly 

soliciting the establishment of schools and that schools 

were being projected, was significant. 

Early schools in Rockford. 

In Rockford, from 1843 on, we find one enterprise 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 105. 


after another, all bearing directly or indirectly upon 
the Seminary about to be founded. 

In July 1845, there was established in East Rockford 
the school of Miss Veronica Foote for the "instruction of 
children and youth of both sexes." She laid out three 
courses of study: 

I. Orthography, Reading, Writing, the elements of 
Geography, History, English, Grammar, and Arithmetic; 

II. The above continued with Natural, Moral, and 
Intellectual Philosophy, Botany, Geology, Geography, Geo- 
graphy of the Heavens, the Philosophy of Natural History 
and Philosophy; 

III. Chemistry, Geometry, French, Needlework, Paint- 
ing, and Embroidery. 

While the "ornamental branches" were included, they 
played a smaller part than in the curriculum of Beloit 
Female Seminary. (1) 

A little over a year later Professor and Mrs. S. S. 
Whitman opened the Rockford Young Ladies School in their 
home. (2) Professor Whitman * must have been a man of 

(1) Winnebago Forum , June 23, 1843. 

(2) Rockford Forum , Nov. 27, 1844, 

* The office of the dean of the theological seminary 
of Colgate University, Hamilton, Y. Y., furnished me 
with the following data about Mr. Whitman: ( The state- 
ment concerning his academic training is confirmed by 
the record sent me from the Newton Theological Institution.) 


parts; his name appears constantly in the records of the 
time, — "as one-time teacher in Belvidere Academy, "( 1) as 
one of the founders and the pastor of the First Baptist 
Church, and as clerk of the circuit court. (2) 

Mrs. Gif fordte Select School for Young Ladies seems 
to have been the next educational venture in the town. 
In 1845, according to the Rockford Forum of March 12, 
1845, she was teaching, at West Rockford, the common Eng> 
lish and higher branches, French, Drawing, and oil and 
"a new kind of Dry Painting." 

Mr. L. B. Gregory also conducted a school in Rock- 
ford in 1845. From the newspaper reports and from the 
testimony of those, who remember his school, it is evi- 
dent that it was popular end successful. In April of 

"Seth Spencer Whitman was born in Fairfield, 
Vt., February 5, 1802. He entered the Hamilton 
Literary and Theological Institution in 1820, but 
did not graduate. He received his A. B. at Ham- 
ilton College in 1825, was a student at Newton 
Theological Institution, 1825-28, received hia 
A.M. from Brown University in 1828. In 1828 he 
was elected Professor of Biblical Interpretation 
and Criticism. In 1835 Professor Whitman resigned 
the Chair of Biblical Interpretation and Criticism, 
having occupied the chair seven years. He was a 
fine scholar and a most amiable Christian gentle- 
man. He removed with his family to Belvidere in 
Illinois, and for years exerted a conspicuous in- 
fluence in the movements of the denomination in 
that state, and died esteemed! and loved by all w?>o 
knew him . " 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 127. 

(2) Ibid, p. 158. 


that year he had an exhibition to which the Forum devoted 
considerable space. There were over fifty performances, 
including "declamations, colloquies, the reading of com- 
positions by the female scholars, --and some excellent 
singing by Messrs. Benjamin and Bronson of this town." 
The audiences of the forties were evidently not given to 
voiceless approbation or disapproval. Of course we of 
today realize that a program of fifty pieces was somewhat 
of an ordeal, and make allowances for the audience. The 
Forum does not: it scores their "whistling, pushing, 
shouting," and denounces their conduct as "more befiting 
a mobocratic throng than a body of people proud of their 
intelligence, their courtesy, and their character." The 
offence was not unique.(l) The same paper rebukes in 
similar terms a later Rockford Female Seminary audience. 

Mr. Gregory was succeeded by Mr. Charles A. Hunt- 
ington. From all reports and from the testimony of those 
who knew him, he was "not only a man of moral integrity 
and of engaging personality, but he was also an excellent 
teacher, forceful and intelligent. "(2) It would seem that 
of all these schools his was the most advanced and most 
thorough . 

(1) Rockford Forum , Apr. 9, 1845. 

(2) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. 


He came to Rockford with many years' experience in 
eastern academies. In the autumn of 1845, he extended 
an invitation to "Young Ladies and Gentlemen wishing to 
acquire a thorough academic education" to avail them- 
selves of the opportunity he offered. (1) 

The school was first established in a block belong- 
ing to William Peters, and it ran under the name of Rock- 
ford Classical School. In 1848 the name was changed to 
that of the Rockford English and Classical School. (2) 

Mr. Huntington's curriculum was more ambitious and 
more solid than the curricula of his predecessors. He 
offered three groups of subjects: 

I. Commercial English Education, 

II. Higher branches of Mathematics and Natural 

III. Latin or Greek Language. 

This is the first time Greek or Latin was offered. (3) 

As the school grew, Mr. Huntington had hopes that he 
could make it a permanent institution and could establish 
it in more comfortable quarters. He was many times dis- 
couraged by the slowness of payment on the pert of his 

(1) Rockford Forum , Oct. 1, 1845 

(2) Ibid, Mar. 2, 1848. 

(3) Ibid, Oct. 1, 1845 


pupils. (1) He appealed to them at one time, through the 
press, urging that those who were indebted for tuition 
upon previous quarters, would pay immediately as his 
tuition money was his only means of maintenance for his 
family, and he was in immediate need of every dollar due. 


Mr. Huntington seems to have had the support of the 
townspeople to a degree which no previous teacher enjoyed. 
On his examining committee in 1846 were Rev. L. H. Loss, 
(a close friend of Miss Sill), Rev. Mr. Stone, Rev. Mr. 
Heath, James Wigert, Esq., Dr. J. C. Goodhue, Dr. Haskell, 
and Dr. A. G. Armour, "some or all of whom? were expected 
to visit the school each week, and to "impart whatever of 
counsel they (might) deem to be for the interest of the 
school. "(3) 

In January, 1847, Miss Elizabeth Weldon became a mem- 
ber of the school faculty as assistant in the primary de- 
partment, and Miss Clara A. White came from Goshen, Massa- 
chusetts, (4) after successful teaching in the East and 
South, to teach ornamental needlework, painting, and draw- 
ing, music and French. (5) Miss White is said to have 

(1) Rockford Forum , Aug. 12, 1846. 

(2) Ibid, Aug. 18, 1847. 

(3) Ibid. 

(4) Appendix to Catalogue, 1860-61, Rockford Female Semin- 

(5) Rockford Forum, Jan. 6, 1847. 


taught afterwards under Miss Sill.(l) 

1848 marks the last year of the Rockford Classical 
and English School. Mr. Huntington had moved to the 
building, — first used as a court house and then as a 
meeting house by the Methodists( 2)--in which Miss Sill 
opened her school. He himself says, "I gave the ground 
to her (Miss Sill) , and she begon the foundation of what 
is now Rockford Female Seminary, in the same old building 
which I had used. "(3) 

In October, 1849, he opened a small private school 
for boys. (4) That same fall he was elected school com- 
missioner of the village in which office he served success- 
fully for eight years. (5) 

His teaching it would seem was of the highest grade, 
and his school of the most advanced type in the community. 
Among his first pupils in Rockford were Gapt. E. E. Potter, 
Carrol Spafford, Samuel Montague, Hiram R. Enoch, Sarah 
Preston, Selwyn Clark, Clinton C. Helm, and Adeline Potter, 
(afterwards Mrs. William Lathrop) , all of whom have been 
friends, served the Seminary, or were in some way con- 

(1) I find confirmation of this statement in the list of 
teachers appended to the catelogue for 1860-61. She prob- 
ably taught before 1854 (when the first catalogue was 
issued) as her name does not appear in the catalogue of 
that year or any later year. 

(2) Mrs. Katherine Keeler gave me this information person- 

(3) Rockford Daily Gazette , Dec. 16, 1886. 

(4) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 276. 

(5) Ibid. 


nected with it. Mrs. La thro p was the valedictorian of 
the first graduating class and the mother of Miss Julia 
Lathrop and of Mr. E. P. Lathrop, st this time (1926) 
president of the Board of Trustees. Lathrop Hall is 
named for her. 

A Miss Brown and a Miss Hyde, also conducted schools 
in the village, Miss Brown having a school in 1847 on 
West Main Street, where she taught primary and higher 
studies, (1) and Miss Hyde one in the basement of the old 
Baptist Church and later at the corner of Chestnut and 
Walnut Streets where she taught similar courses. (2) 

Miss Eliza Richards, who had known Miss Sill in New 
York State and who became her assistant when she opened 
her school, was also on the ground. During the summer 
vacation of 1848 v/hen she and her brother had come west 
to visit their sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. 
Lorenzo Dwight Waldo who lived in Rockford, she had been 
persuaded to remain and open a private school for girls. 
Mr. Asa Crosby" off ered a room in his hospitable New Eng- 
land home" for the purpose. When Miss Sill decided to 
come to Rockford, she asked Miss Richards "to give up her 
school and join her in the new project." (3) 

This brief review of the interest in education in the 
com: unity and of the attempts to establish schools durin g 

(1) Rockford Forum , Oct. 20, 1847. 

(2) Ibid, Oct. 10, 1849. 

(3) Mrs. Malinda Richards Hervey, sister of Miss Eliza 
Richards and Mrs. L. D. Waldo. Miss Malinda suc- 
ceeded Miss Eliza in "Miss Sill's School." 


the early years, brings us to a consideration of the Sem- 
inary, These schools were, for the most part, of lower 
rank though they taught higher branches. Their founders, 
however, seem not to have had the vision nor the firmness 
of purpose of Miss Sill. 

The founding of Rockford Female Seminary 

As early as 1843 there began to be discussion of the 
need for a seminary in the upper Rock River valley. This 
discussion culminated in the founding of Beloit College 
for men and Rockford Female Seminary. At the general con- 
vention of the churches of the northwest held at Cleveland 
in June, 1844, at which education received considerable 
attention, it was decided that a college be founded in 
southern Wisconsin and a seminary in northern Illinois. (1) 
An invitation was given at this conference "to the friends 
of Christian education in Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, 
and Iowa to meet in convention at Beloit, on the sixth of 
August of the same ye^r at 1 o f clock P. M. t? (2) In answer 
to this invitation there were present four members from 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 288. 

(2) Records of Convention held at Beloit, Aug. 6, 1844. 

Iowa, and twenty-five each, from Illinois and Wisconsin. (1) 

w Rev. Aratus Kent was chosen chairman and Jason Marsh, 
Esq., Secretary. The Convention spent two days in the 

(1) The members from Illinois were Rev. L. Benedict, of 
Galena; Rev. E. Brown, of Twelve Mile Grove (now Seward); 
Rev. N. C. Clark, of Elgin; Rev. M. Hicks, of Chicago; 
Rev. Aratus Kent, of Galena; Rev. H. Marsh, of Galesburg; 
Rev. 0. W. Norton, of Roscoe; Rev. R. M. Pearson, of Grand 
de Tour; Rev. S. Smalley, of Amazon; Rev. H. Taylor, of 
Rockton; Rev. C. Waterbury, of Freeport; Rev. R. N. Wright, 
of Belvidere; Rev. A. P. Campbell of Galena; Mr. C. G. 
Horsman, Mr. P. B. Johnson, Mr. J. Marsh, Mr. A. Marsh, 
Mr. Anson S. Miller, Mr. E. H. Potter, Mr. H. L. Rood, 
Mr. T. Talcott, Mr. W. Talcott, Mr. S. Taylor, Dr. A. 
Thomas, all of Rockford, and Mr. V. Brent, of RocVton. 
Those from Wisconsin were Rev. S, Bridgman, of Pewaukee; 
Rev. C. H. Buckley, of Janesville, Rev. A. L. Chapin, 
of Milwaukee; Rev. D. Clary, of Beloit; Rev. A. P. Clinton, 
of Aztulan; Rev. H. Foote, of Racine; Rev. A. Gaston, 
of Delevan; Rev. J. B. Heaton, of Mount Zion; Rev. E. W. 
Hewitt, of Milton; Rev. H. Lawrence, of Elkhorn; 
Rev. S. E. Miner, of Madison; Rev. J. J. Miter of 
Milwaukee; Rev. C. Nichols, of LaPayette; Rev. S. Peet, 
of Milwaukee; Rev. C. E. Rosencrans, of Platteville; 
Mr. A. Field, Mr. L. G. Fisher, Mr. H. Hobart, Mr. 
C. Olds, Mr. T. Tuttle, Mr. S. G. Tylor, all of Beloit; 
Mr. J. Hopkins and Mr. C. Olds, of Waterloo; Mr. W. 
M. Seymour, of Madison, and Mr. Thompson of Elkhorn. 

There were present also two honorary members 
"who took part in the deliberation: Rev. Theron Bald- 
win, Secretary of the Society for Promoting Collegiate 
Education at the West, --and Rev. L. H. Loss from Ohio." 
(Mr. Loss was pastor of the First Congregational Church, 
in Rockford, 1846--1849.) 

Records of Convention held at Beloit, August 6, 1844. 

Note: — The spelling of proper names in this. and the fol- 
lowing lists, is kept as it w as in the records. 


serious, earnest, and prayerful consideration of the 
subject which had called them together," as a result of 
which the following resolution concerning northern Ill- 
inois and southern Wisconsin was adopted: 

"Resolved that we deem that the exigencies of 
Northern Illinois and Wisconsin require that there 
be a college (for men) and a Female Seminary, of 
the highest order, located in this region, and 
that we commend that one should be in northern 
Illinois, contiguous to Wisconsin and the other in 
Wisconsin, contiguous to Illinois, and that a com- 
mittee of ten be appointed to procure the requisite 
information, with reference to the locations, and 
report the same to a subsequent convention." 

The committee thus appointed consisted of the Rev. 

Aratus Kent, Rev. C. V/aterbury, Rev. Flavel Bascom, 

Rev. E. Brown, Rev. 11. C. Clark, Rev. S. Peet, Rev. J. 

D. Stevens, Rev. A. Gaston, Rev. H. Foote, and Rev. 0. 

P. Clinton, three of whom, the Rev. f. Bascom, Rev. E. 

Brown, and Rev. J. D. Stevens, were not present at the 

meeting. (1) 

Among the general resolutions adopted at this con- 
vention was one concerning the higher education of women 

"Resolved that permanent Female Seminaries 
of the highest order, for the education of American 
women, should have a prominent place in our educa- 
tional system." (2) 

A long step , this resolution, from the opposition 
with which Mary Lyon met only a little more than a 
decade before when she was trying 

(1) Records of convention held at Beloit, Aug. 6, 1844. 

(2) Ibid. 


to launch Mount Holyoke. 

A future convention was provided for,: this to meet 
at Beloit "on the last Tuesday in October next at seven 
o 1 clock P. M." The group was f, to be composed of one 
delegate from each of the Presbyterian and Congregational 
churches, all the ministers of those churches in this 
region. "(1) 

This convention met according to plan with a goodly 
number present, (2) and the sessions were opened with an 
address on education by the Rev. L. H. Loss. The officers 

(1) Records of convention held at Beloit, Aug. 6, 1844. 

(2) Roll Call shows those present from Illinois to have 
been the Hev. P. Bascora, of Chicago; Rev. S. Benedict, 

of Rockton; Rev. E. G. Hazard, of Winslow; Rev. 0. Little- 
field, (home not given); Rev. R. N. Pearson, of Grand de 
Tour; Rev. S. Porter, of Rockford; Rev. H. Taylor, of 
Rockton; Rev. C. Waterbury, of Belvidere; Mr. J. V. 
Nichols, of Chicago; Mr. N. Rudd, of Rockton; Mr. J. D. 
Twiner, of Freeport; Mr. J. S. Wright, of Chicago; Mr. 
A. Clark, of Pewaukee; Mr. C. D. Clinton, of Prairie- 
ville, and Mr. S. Hinman, of South Prairieville . From 
Wisconsin there came the Rev. William Arms, of Aztulan; 
Rev. H. H. Benson, of Beloit; Rev. E. G. Bradford, of 
Fond du Lac; Rev. C". H. A. Buckley, of Janesville; Rev. 
H. Foote, of Racine; Rev. A. Gaston, of Delevan; Rev. J. 
E. Horton, of Mount Zion; Rev, L. H. Loss, Rev. S. Peet, 
Rev. D. Pinkerton, and Mr. S. L. Fisher, and Mr. C. Haws, 
all of Beloit; Mr. G. Cutler of Aztulan; Mr. C. D. Holton, 
of Milwaukee; Mr. G. Humphrey, of Sugar Creek; Mr. J. Lay, 
of Southport; Ur , A. B. Parsons, of Delevan; Mr. L. Red- 
dington, of Geneva; Mr. C. C. Ryerson, of Mineral Point; 
Mr. A. Smith, of Troy, and Mr. R. D. Turner, of Burlington. 
Records of convention held at Beloit, Oct, 29, 1844. 


chosen were Samuel Hinman, Esq., president; Rev, R. N« 
Wright, vice-president; and Edward D. Hoi ton, Esq., and 
Rev. L. Porter, secretaries. 

The Committee of Ten appointed at the previous con- 
vention reported, recommending Beloit as the seat of the 
college and presenting a proposition from that village, 
but making no provision for the female seminary. (1) The 
girls could wait--and they did--until after their brothers 
were cared for. 

After a lengthy discussion of this report, resolu- 
tions were adopted that this convention concur with the 
resolutions of the previous convention to found a college 
and a female seminary in southern Wisconsin and in north- 
ern Illinois respectively. But these reverend gentlemen 
were nettling if not slow and cautious. "Prior to final 

action" "further measures" should be taken "to ascertain 

the views of all the ministers and churches in this region." 
A committee was appointed to visit the churches and to 
acquaint them fully with the matter, and the Committee 
of Ten was re-appointed, to continue its duties. (1) 

During the sessions of the third convention,-"- held 

(1) Records of convention held at Beloit, Oct. 29, 1844. 
» The delegates to this convention from Illinois were 
as follows: from the Ottawa Presbytery — Rev. L. Parnha:- , 
Rev. M. Hicks, Rev. S. Smalley, and Rev. R. N. Wright, 
Mr. J. Walker, of Belvidere; from the Galena Presbytery 
--Rev. E. H. Hazard, Rev. A. Kent, Rev. A. Littlefield, 
Rev. C. Waterbury, and Mr. T. J. Turner, of Freeport, and 


at Beloit on the last Tuesday in May, 1845, signs of hope 
for the female seminary appeared. The Rev. Aratus Kent, 
addressed the group during their deliberations on the 
subject of female education, and I imagine, from all re- 
ports of his personality, with considerable ardor. He 

Mr. J. F. Magoon, of Galena; from the Fox River Union-- 
Rev. N. C. Clark, Rev. P. Eodith, Rev. G. J. Howe, and 
Mr. S. Hubbard, of Elgin, and Mr. E. J. Town, of Batavia; 
from the Rock River Association--Rev. E. Brown, Rev. G. 
Grinnell, Rev. R. M. Pearson, Rev. L. Porter, and Mr. 
D. Lewis, of Byron, and Mr. C. Foster, of Rockford. 

From Wisconsin came the following delegates: from 
the Milwaukee convention--Rev. L. Bridgman, Rev. A. L. 
Chapin, Rev. H. Foote, Rev. J. k. Hart, Rev. H. Marsh, 
Rev. J. J. Unter, Rev. C. Nichols, Rev. M. Wells, and 
Mr. G. W. Arms, of Burlington; Mr. Geo. Barker; Mr. A. 
Ely of Milwaukee; Mr. S. T. Derbyshire, of Pleasant 
Prairie; Mr. S. Hinman, of S. Platteville; Mr. L. Jud- 
son of Yorkville; Mr. J. Mitchell, of Pike f s Grove; Mr. 
M. M. Pieville, of Racine; Mr. E. L. Purple, of Prairie- 
ville; from the Beloit convent ion- -Rev. L. Benedict, Rev. 
H. H. Benson, Rev. C. H. Buckley, Rev. Dexter Clary, 
Rev. 0. P. Clinton, Rev. A. Gaston, Rev. J. G. Heaton, 
Rev. E. Hewitt, Rev. M. P. Kinney, Rev. L. H. Loss, Rev. 
M. Montague, Rev. S. Peet, Rev. D. Pinkerton, Rev. C. E. 
Rosencrans, and Rev. S. M. Thompson; Mr. W. Arms, of 
Aztalan; Mr. J. Chopin, of Geneva; Mr. J. Edwards, of 
Troy; Rev. H. Holmes, of Milton, Rev. J. W. Keep, of 
Beloit; Rev. Benjamin Morell, of Jsnesville; Rev. C. 
Parsons of Delevan; Rev. N. P. Rudd, of Rockton; Rev. 
H. B. Russell, of l/iount Zion; Rev. J. Spooner, of Sugar 
Creek; from the Mineral Point Convention--Rev. E. J. 
Bradford; Rev. Z. Eddy, Rev. J. Lewis, Rev. J. D. 
Stearns, and Mr. Benjamin Kilburn, of Fairplay. 

There were also a number of persons from abroad who 
took part in the deliberations; Rev. J. Lindsley, D. D., 
president of Marietta College in Ohio; Rev. T. M. Hopkins, 
of the Buffalo Presbytery; Rev. Reuben Smith of the Troy 
(N. Y.) Presbytery; Rev. L. Graves, of the Illinois Asso- 
ciation, and Rev. Josiah Town, also of Illinois. 

The officers of this convention were; Rev. E. Water- 
bury president; Rev. J. Spooner and Col. J. Walker, vice- 
presidents; and J. M. Keep, Esq. and Rev. L. Farnham, sec- 

Records of convention, May (?), 1845. 


seems, too, to have obtained results. After the subject 
of the former conventions,— the establishment of the college 
and female seminary, — had been presented again, and the dis- 
cussion of it "earnestly and prayerfully carried through a 
day and a half," and after the Beloit offer had been dis- 
posed of, the committee continued from the previous con- 
vention, was invited to report. They reported that they/ 

made no further progress toward the choice of a location 
for a female seminary, and v/ere discharged, whereupon 
resolutions were made that another committee of ten be 
appointed to receive further proposals, and "consider 
measures for the speedy establishment of a Female Sem- 
inary of the highest order in Illinois contiguous to Wis- 
consin." They were to report to a convention "to be called 
within six months, by the committee on the College." The 
members of the second committee on the Female Seminary 
were as follows: Rev. E. Brown, Rev. D. Clary, Rev. L. 
Porter, Rev. R. N. Wright, Rev. L. Benedict, Rev. C. 
Waterbury, Mr. W. Talcott, Mr. T. J. Turner, Mr. A. 
Clark, and Mr. J. Marsh. (1) 

Among the resolutions passed at these sessions is 
one of interest to us as expressing the attitude of the 

(1) Records of the convention, May (?), 1845. 


"That we thankfully recognize the special 
supervision of God, manifested in the whole dis- 
cussion, and in conducting us to so harmonious a 
result, and that we commend the enterprise on 
which we have entered, to the support and prayers 
of the churches. "(1) 

The earnestness of purpose of these men and the thorough- 
ness and reverence with which they carried out their pur- 
pose is characteristic of the times. Rockford and Beloit 
Colleges were truly founded in prayer. 

As the fourth convention, * held October 21, 1845, 
more definite steps were taken in regard to the seminary. 

(1) Records of the convention, May (?), 1845. 
-* The delegates to this committee were as follows: 
from the Galena Presbytery— Rev. Silas Jessup and Rev. 
Aratus Kent; from the Ottawa Presbytery, Rev. H. Berson; 
from the Rock River Association,— Rev. W. L. Parsons, 
Rev. L. Porter, Rev. R. M. Pearson, and Mr. J. Marsh, 
Esq.; from the Fox River Association— Rev. E. Evileth; 
from the Milwaukee Association, --Rev. A. L. Chapin, 
Rev. J. J. Miter, Rev. E. D. Seward, Mr. J. Drurnmond, 
Mr. J. Rive, Mr. J. W. Vail; from the Beloit convention 
--Rev. L. Benedict, Rev. C. H. Buckley, Rev. D. Clary, 
Rev. C. P. Clinton, Rev. A. Gaston, Rev. E. W. Hewitt, 
Rev. L. H. Loss, Rev. M. Montague, Rev. A. Montgomery, 
Rev. A. Peet, Rev. P. H. Pitkin, Rev. L. A. Thompson, 
Mr. L. G. Fisher, and Mr. W. Talcott; from the Mineral 
Point convention— Rev. C. Warner and Mr. Hickox, Esq. 

The officers of the convention were Rev. S« Peet, 
president; Messrs. J. Marsh and G. W. Hickox, Vice- 
presidents, and Rev. R. M. Pearson and Rev. C. A. 
Buckley, secretaries. 

Records of the convention, Oct. 21, 1845 


The same persons constituting the board for the College, # 
were appointed for the Seminary; and, after the report of 
the committee named at the third convention, "on a lo- 
cation and charter for a Female Seminary" had been dis- 
cussed and accepted, it was resolved that "the location 
of the Female Seminary be referred to the Trustees, for 
the final action, and also that the Charter be referred 
to the same Board for revision and final adoption. "( 1) 

Within the next six months there were several meet- 
ings of the Board, which except for slight changes (2) 
remained as it was first appointed until 1850 when pro- 
visions were made for a separate board. On October 23, 
they met at Beloit, and appointed Rev. Aratus Kent, pres- 
ident and Rev. D. Clary, Secretary pro tern . 

The second meeting was set for the third Tuesday in 
November. Rev. A. L. Chapin was appointed to give an ad- 
dress on education; and Rev. Mr. Peet, Rev. Mr. Clary and 
Mr. Fisher were appointed a committee to "revise the 

(1) Records of the convention, Oct. 21, 1845. 

(2) Mr. Goodsell declined to serv and Mr. Samuel Hale 
was unable to serve. My. Samuel Hinman of Prairieville, 
111., was appointed to the board. 

* Board of Trustees: Rev, Aratus Kent, Rev. S. Peet, 
Rev. A. L. Chapin, Rev. R. M. Pearson, Rev. Dexter Clary, 
Messrs. -*Rev. F. Bascom, -»-Rev. J. D. Stevens, *Rev. C. 
Waterbury,' and Messrs. -*E. H. Potter, *C. M. G-oodsell, and 
■a-A. Raymond. Rev. Aratus Kent was chosen president, and 
Rev. D. Clary secretary pro tern . 

Records of the Board of Trustees, Not dated. 

* Absent. 


charter for the Female Seminary, and report at the next 
meeting of the board. "(1) 

At this meeting held at the Court House in Rockford 
November 18, Mr. Jason Marsh presented in behalf of the 
citizens of Rockford a proposition that the Female Sem- 
inary be located there. The Board decided to discuss the 
matter the following day, and adjourned until then when 
they met at the home of Mr. E. H. Potter. 

There were present at this session Rev. A. Kent, 
Rev. S. Peet, Rev. A. L. Chapin, Rev. R. M. Pearson, E. 
H. Potter, G. W. Hickox, and W. Talcott.(2) 

The proposition of the people of Rockford, * which 

(1) Minutes of the Board Meeting, Nov. 18, 1845. Records 
of the Board of Trustees. (Not dated.) 

(2) Ibid. 

* The people of Rockford, according to the Rockford 
Forum for Nov. 5, had met November 3, with Mr. Selden M. 
Church presiding and Mr. L. B. Gregory a s secretary to a ct 
upon the location of the Seminary in the town. Mr. C. P. 
Huntington spoke on education, and Dr. J. C. Goodhue 
"followed with remarks on female education." The resolu- 
tions adopted at that meeting were significant and impor- 

"Resolved: That while we recognize the great funda- 
mental truth, that the general diffusion cf knowledge 
is essential to the welfare of every community: we 
regard the subject of education as having special 
claims upon us who have made our homes in the West , 
upon whom----rests the great responsibility of laying 
the foundations of society upon such a basis as that 
the immutable principles of truth, morality, and re- 
ligion shall take deep root here.-—-" 


is quoted in full, was then taken up: 

"The undersigned hereby pledge to the Trustees 
of the Female Seminary connected with Beloit College, 
the sum of thirty- five hundred dollars (|3500) to be 
apportioned for the erection of the building for 
said seminary, in pursuance and according to the 
terms of a subscription, signed by the citizens of 
Rockford, dated November 19, 1845." 

This pledge was signed by Jason Marsh, Anson S. Miller, 

Daniel L. Haight, S. M. Church. J. S. S, Norton, and E. 

H. Potter. (1) 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees. (Not dated.) 

* "Resolved: That in view of the already large 
population (of Rockford; about 1200) and rapidly 
extending settlement of Northern Illinois and Wis- 
consin, we see even now before us a wide and invit- 
ing field for labor in the great cause of Education, 
that as parents, philanthropists, patriots, and Christ- 
ians, resting under solemn obligations not only to 
cherish and preserve our own most sacred interests, 
but to act for the welfare of our children and future 
generations, we hail this as an opoortunity.----" 

A resolution was adopted that Rockford be offered 
as the site of Seminary, and it was unanimously accepted. 
A commitee of seven, Jason Marsh, George Haskell, 
Willard Wheeler, Asa Crosby, Anson S. Miller, P. B. 
Johnson, and Horace Foote, was appointed to circulate 
a subscription. 

The editor of the Forum , in commenting upon the meet- 
ing, remarked that there were not so many present as there 
should have been. Though he favored the proposed plan, he 
was skeptical of its success; he found it 'difficult to 
harmonize" it "with the general practice and well-known 
parsimonious views of many----citizens" in regard to high- 
er education, adding that in previous instances, when a 
teacher had opened a school, no matter how low the rates 
were, there was always criticism of him. 


The committee appointed at the previous meeting 
to prepare the charter reported. After the charter was 
read it was adopted, and was approved "by the state, 
February 25, 1847.(1) The question of the site, however, 
was not settled, until the next day. The following morn- 
ing when the Board met at Pecatonica, ( some fifteen miles 
northwest of Rockford) after the election of officers, * 
Mr. Wait Talcott "in behalf of the citizens of Pecatonica 
offered, on condition that the Female Seminary should be 
located at that place, thirty- five hundred dollars, to be 
expended in erecting a building, an elligible site, and 
two thousand dollars as a permanent fund. "(2) 

The Board then discussed the location of the Semin- 
ary, and "after full consideration of the subject and 
uniting in prayer for the Divine direction, proceeded by 
ballot, to obtain the opinion of the members." There 
were eight votes for Rockford and two for Pecatonica, 
"whereupon it was resolved without dissent, that the Fe- 
male Seminary should be located at Rockford." The exec- 
utive committee was instructed to secure a site for the 

(1) See Appendix, pp. 330-33^ • 

(2) Records of Board of Trustees, (Not dated.) 

* Officers elected were Rev. A. Kent, president; Rev. 
S. Peet, vice-president; Rev. D. Clary, secretary; Mr. 
Benjamin Durham, Esq., of Beloit, treasurer; and Messrs. 
S. Peet, D. Clary, L. G. Fisher, W. Talcctt, and E. H. 
Potter, executive committee. 


Seminary and titles to the land, and to report at the 
next meeting which was set for the second Tuesday of 
April, 1846.(1) 

It would seem that, the site determined, there 
never was any question as to the name of the seminary. 
At the second meeting of the Board of Trustees it was 
resolved that "the Institution to be located at Rockford 
be denominated f Rockford Female Seminary. 1 " Although in 
the early days it was called Forest Hill Seminary, from 
the nature of the location, it officially bore the name 
the trustees gave to it until 1887, when it became Rock- 
ford Seminary. In 1892 it became Rockford College. 

It was at the same meeting that the executive com- 
mittee was instructed tc make plans for both the college 
and seminary buildings, and "to make inquiry respecting 
persons suitable to fill the offices of both Institutions." 
And, too, a committee composed of Messrs. Raymond, Potter, 
and Waterbury, was appointed to obtain a charter for the 
seminary. This committee at the next meeting, A^ril 14 
and 15, 1846, reported that the legislature had not been 
in session, which circumstance would account for the delay 
in granting the charter by the state, to February 25, 1847. 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees. (Not dated.) 


There is no further reference to the matter in the 
records of the Board. (1) 

At this and the next meeting the college seemed 
to receive the almost undivided attention of the Board. 
At the meeting on June 23, 1847, we find a committee 
appointed, consisting of Messrs. Kent, Parscns, Fisher, 
and Hinman, "to mature a plan and obtain an estimate 
for a seminary building at Rockford." They reported at 
the next meeting ("in part and were continued") that the 
condition of affairs in the village was such that titles 
could not be obtained that year. (2) This statement un- 
doubtedly referred to the repeated destruction of "the 
hydraulic works of the town which resulted in the crip- 
pling of its improvement, and the embarrassment of all of 
its business" and which delayed the plans for the seminary. 
(3) No attempt was ever made to collect the subscriptions 
amounting to thirty- five hundred dollars, pledged at the 
second meeting of the board of trustees. 

For nearly a year the subject of the Seminary was 
not touched upon; then at a meeting of the Board on May 
25, 1848, it was again introduced. Upon Rev. Aratus Kent 
devolved the responsibility of inquiring of the citizens 
of Rockford, concerning the probability of their being able 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, April 14-15. 

(2) Ibid, June 23, 1847. 

(3) Scrap Book. 


"to carry out the proposition made for erecting a sem- 
inary building." At the next board meeting, September 
19, 1848, Ivlr. Kent reported, and the subject was post- 
poned until the meeting of July 24, 1849, when "a Com- 
mittee was appointed consisting of S. Peet, A. L. Chap- 
in, to wham was committed the subject of (the) Female 
Seminary, with instructions to report during the present 
meeting of the Board," (1) 

On the next day, July 25, the committee reported that 
as the citizens of Rockford had "failed to fulfill the 
proposition made by them for establishing a Female Sem- 
inary" within the time specified, "the papers on the sub- 

ject be. returned to the Committee, and the proposition 

be no longer entertained." (2) 

That the interest in the establishment of a seminary 
for the education of young women was unflagging, is evi- 
denced by the next resolution to the effect that the 
.Trustees cherished "aa undiminished interest in securing 
a Female Seminary of the highest order in this region," 
and that they were "bounded in deference to the instruc- 
tions received from the body which appointed them to take 
measures for this end." They expressed themselves as ready 
to "receive new proposals, and take such other steps" as 
might lead "to speedy action" "in this enterprise." (3) 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustee?, July 24, 1849. 

(2) Ibid, July 25, 1849. 

(3) Ibid. 


The next meeting held November 21, 1849, was devoted 
to a consideration of the report of Messrs. Kent and Peet, 
who had been appointed by the Executive Committee "to 
make inquiries at Rockton and Rockford, relative to the 
location of the Female Seminary. Unfortunately the 
minutes of the Board contain nothing further than that the 
subject was for a long time under discussion. It would be 
interesting to know what was said. 

After a recess, at the session the next day Messrs. 
Kent, Bascom, Chapin, Pearson, Talcott, and Raymond were 
appointed a committee to take into consideration further 
plans for the Seminary, They were also authorized to re- 
ceive proposals from any quarter for the location of the 
Seminary. It was understood that the direction of the 
Seminary be left with the Executive Committee, the major- 
ity of whom were to be residents of the place where it was 
located. ( 2) 

Eight months later, July 25, 1850, the Board met 
again, this time to consider the propositions received 
by the Committee (for the location of the seminary) from 
the citizens of Rockton, Rockford, and Freeport.(3) 

Freeport sent subscriptions for $5,000 and the promise 
of a site; Rockton for $4,600, a site, and a permanent 
fund of $1,000, the interest of which was to be used for 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, Nov. 21, 1849. 

(2) Ibid, Nov. 22, 1849. 

(3) Ibid, July 25, 1850. 


maintenance. Rockford ! s offer was for $6,215, $500 of 
which was to be used for a site if necessary. The 
opinion was expressed that sites would "be offered, but 
that they might not be desirable. It might be necessary 
to buy in order to get the best location. (1) 

The Board after "full de libera :ion and prayer" and 
after h-ving first decided th -t a majority should be 
"requisite to a decistion," voted upon the three pro- 
positions. T hen the vote was counted, it was found that 
the majority favored Rockton. Messrs. Peet, Talcott, and 
Emerson were then appointed a committee to suggest further 
plans for the organization of the institution. Before the 
end of the meeting, "However, a motion was introduced that 
the vote favoring Rockton be reconsidered. The minutes 
tell us that "reasons were assigned in support of this 
motion and being duly considered it was carried." Further 
action on the location was deferred until the next meeting, 
which was set for September 18, 1850.(2) 

It would be interesting to have a record of the rea- 
sons set forth against Rockton. One popularly assigned 
is that Roekton was dangerously near Beloit, the seat 
of the college. It would seem, however, the advantages 
of Rockford were the deciding factors. newspaper of 
the time in discussing the situation expressed the be- 
lief that ockford would be preferred, not only "on the 

■fc— — ■■ -— — a ni|| 

(1) Scrap Book. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 25, 1850. 


pecuniary inducement," but also because of the fact that 
there was "established there just such a school (Miss 
Sill ! s School) as they desired to build up." The clip- 
ping goes on to state that it only remained for the 
trustees "to accept the means subscribed, and with it 
cast around that school whatever of patronage" they could 
control. Miss Sill had been on the ground, the writer 
believed, "long enough to test the experiment of such an 
Institution in this region," and all that was necessary 
"to place it in point of respectability and usefulness by 
the side of the first Institutions of the kind in the 
country, (was) the same expenditure of means providing 
for its convenience, and the same public co-operation 
which others (enjoyed) . "(1) 

The supposition that Rockford would be selected as the 
seat for the seminary, was correct. On September 18, after 
"a season spent in prayer for Divine assistance," a vote 
was taken, favoring Rockford. Messrs. Kent, Pearson, and 
Parsons were appointed to consider further action neces- 
sary to locate the Seminary. That evening they recom- 
mended that a meeting be held the following morning to 
organize under the charter. And after months of deliber- 
ation, the Seminary seemed about to be realized. (2) 

(1) Scrap Book. 

(2) Records of Board of Trustees, Sept. 18, 1850. 



The Coming of Miss Sill 

V/hile this long discussion as the establishment of 
a female seminary in Northern Illinois had been going on, 
Miss Anna P. Sill had come to Rockford, and had opened a 
school for young ladies (on June 11, 1849 ),(1) . which she 
firmly believed to be the "foundation of Rockford Fe- 
male Seminary," (2) That she was aware of the seriousness 
of her enterprise and that she entered upon her task with 
a spirit of consecration, is evidenced in the excerpts 
from her diary which are quoted in full in chapter one. 

It would seem that many people in Rockford and the 
vicinity knew Miss Sill and that her coming was due to 
the influence of many. For some time previous her thoughts 
had been turned toward the West as she felt that it of- 
fered her a wider field for service. Accordingly in 1843 
she began a correspondence with Rev. Hiram Foote, (3) a 
childhood friend in Burlington, Otsego County, New York, (4) 
then in Racine, Wisconsin • (5) "After his graduation from 
Oberlin, he came, with his bride, to Joliet, Illinois, as 
pastor of the Congregational Church there, and after three 

(1) This is the date commonly accepted, 

(2) Memorial Volume, p,14, Quotation from her diary, 
^uly (?),U. 

(3) Memorial Volume, p. 12. 

(4) Miss Katherine Foote (Mr. Foote f s daughter), 1879. 

(5) Memorial Volume, p. 12. 


years moved to Wisconsin, where he preached for nearly 
forty years." Mr.Foote was a trustee of the Seminary 
from 1852 until his death in 1889. 

"I have thought, "she wrote to Mr.Foote, "perhaps I 
might he useful as a teacher, and if possible establish 
a female seminary in some of the western states. Pecuni- 
ary considerations would have but little influence in 

such an undertaking. My principal object is to do good." 

As she did not receive a favorable reply, the time not 
being ripe, she opened a seminary for young women at War- 
saw, New YorkVOctober, 2,1843.(3) 

Later correspondence with M±. Foote was more success- 
ful. "It was while (he was ipastor of the Congregational 
Church in Jane s vi lie, Wis cons in, *that Miss Sill wrote from 
the East, asking what he thought was the outlook for a 
Bchool for young women in Southern Wisconsin or Northern 
Illinois. In reply my parents invited her to their home, 
to look over the field for herself. She accepted, and my 
parents used to say, 'Rockford Seminary was burn in our 
little home in Janesville. 1 On that trip Miss Sill planned 

Miss Katherine Foote. 
Memorial Volume . p. 13. 
(3) Ibid. 

^ Rev. Frank Scribner,of the Congregaoional Church in 
Janesville, gives the following information aoout Mr. 

"Rev. Hiram Foote, who at the time was pastor of the 
Congregational Church in Emerald Grove, was called to 
the pastorate of tne Janesville Church in October, 
1846. He began his work in this church in Novem- 
ber of the same year, residing for tne time being in 
Emerald Grove. In November, 1 84 7, he moved his fam- 
ily to Janesville, but continued as pastor of both 
churches. He was installed as pastor Nov. 4,1 848. He 
closed his work in Janesville March, 1 , 1848 ." 



and prayed and met the men of Rockford, and vicinity who 
were most deeply interested in laying the educational 
foundation of the West, which was then represented by the 
states bordering on the Mississippi." ( 1) Miss Poote does 
not remember the exact date of the visit, but she thinks 
it was very soon after her parents moved to Janesville. It 
must have been in 1849. We have no evidence that Miss Sill 
came to the West before that year. 

Miss Sill was of course known to Rockford through the 
Waldo family, — Mr. Lorenzo Dwight Waldo and his brother, 
Mr. Hiram Waldo. Mrs. L. D. Waldo was a sister of the 
Misses Eliza and Malinda Richards, and a cousin of Miss 
Hannah Richards. Miss Sill had been known to the Rich- 
ards family through her connection with Cary Institute 
(in Caryville, N. Y.) as its preceptress from 1846 to 
1849. Mr. Benjamin Richards, the brother of the Misses 
Eliza and Malinda, who was preparing for Yale, was the 
second principal. Both sisters were educated there, and 
it was he who came with Eliza in 1848 to visit the Wal- 
dos. They "knowing Miss Sill's desire (to come West), 
talked with some of the trustees, and also with Mr. Loss, 
minister of the Congregational Church in Rockford(1846 to 
1849), and they (the trustees) opened a correspondence 
with Miss Sill. "(2) 

(1) Miss Katherine Poote. 

(2) Mrs. Malinda Richards Hervey. 


Miss Sill's correspondence ( 1 )with various people in 
the section covered a considerable space of time. The 
Rockford Daily Gazette for June 18 , 188 9, mentions the 
fact that she corresponded not only with ^r.Foote.hut 
also with Judge Selden Id. Church, and Mr. E.E.Potter. This 
statement is doubtless true t as both these gentlemen had 
daughters to educate and were deeply interested in the 
proposed seminary. That for. some time she was seeking: an 
opportunity to come to this section, is evident from the 
fact, stated above, that she began to correspond with Mr. 
Foote as early as 1843. 

It was in May, 1 849 that Miss Sill finally decided to 
come to Rockford. In her Journal she says,"I listened 

(1) Mrs.E.P.Catlin tells a delightful story of a letter 
written to Miss Sill by one of the "trustees." It 
was told to her by her mother with whom Miss Sill 
boarded before the Seminary moved into its present 

"At the time that the trustees of the Seminary 
were casting about foE a principal , the First Con- 
gregational Church was looking for a pastor. Rev. 
L.H.Loss came to look the ground over. After his 
visit, the board of the church decided to take him. 
Mr.Sanford who was on both boards, was delegated to 
write two letters, — one to Mr. Loss, calling him to 
the church and one to Miss Sill inviting her to 1he 
Seminary. ^r.Sanford got the letters into the 
wrong envelopes. Miss Sill's reply was that she 3m d 
not applied for the pulpit, but that she would tate 
it if she could have a year in which to prepare." 

This incident must have occurred as early as l846,as 
Mr. Loss came to Rockford that year. Inasmuch as Mr. 
Sanforft wa^ not a member of the Board of Trustees of 
"Miss Sill's School, "or of the Board of the Seminary, 
the board to which Mrs.Catlin refers must have been an 
earlier committee formed for the purpose of providing 
a school for the girls of the community. 


to the call and consented to leave long cherished friends 

and go, I bade Careyville farewell May tenth. It is a 

very dear spot.(l) With her came Miss Hannah Richards, a 
cousin of Miss Eliza Richards who was already teaching in 
the village and whom she asked "to give up her school and 
join her in the new project. "(2) They arrived in Rockford 
May 24, 1849.(3) "Miss Sill, with boundless ambition and 
abiding faith, made the supreme venture, and on June 11, 
1849, the Rockford Female Seminary was founded, and her 
dream realized." (4) 

The two ladies came to Jud^e Selden M. Church* s on 
North First Street, opposite the Court House. There they 
stayed until the boarding house in connection with the 
seminary was made ready. (5) Both buildings are still 
standing (in May, 1926), the Church home a low brick build* 
ing with a broad porch across the front at 111 North First 
Street, and the boarding house a brown frame building a 
story and a half high with a wing on the south side, at 
223 North First Street. 

Mrs. Keeler in a speech prepared under the direction 
of her mother, and given at the Alumnae Banquet in 1891, 
tells of this arrival: 

(1) Memorial Vdlume , p. 15. Quotation from her journal. 

(2) Mrs. Malinda Richards Hervey. 

(3) Memorial Volume, p. 15. Quotation from her journal. 

(4) Mrs. Malinda Richards Hervey. 

(5) Personal reminiscence of Mrs. Katherine Keeler, daugh- 
ter of Judge Church. 


"Incidents often repeated to children "become so 
much afreality that they actually believe that they 
can temember that such and such a thing happened, and 
so I believe, although I was less than three years of 
age, that a certain day in early June, when, dressed in 
my Sunday gown, I stood on our front porejfo, awaiting the 
arrival of the Chicago stage jbelieve I heard the noun 
sound, the driver crack his whip, saw the four horses 
and coach dash up to the door, and my father step 
forward to assist a young lady to alight. 

"How we had talked and speculated about this same 
young woman, the elders as to her ability to be at the 
head of the much needed school'*; the children as to her 
face and the sweetness of her disposition, ^er first 
words, a firm handclasp, set the fears of the elders at 
restjher loving kiss and warm embrace won the hearts 
of the children. "(1 ) 

Miss Sill has left us no account of what must have 
been a long and tiresome trip from Chicago, nor of her 
impressions of the prairie with its wealth of flowers, 
its magnificent stretches of great trees, it myriads of 
bright-colored singing birds. Mr. Dickerman, however, 
described his arrival at Rockford five years earlier in 
the following manner: 

"To one who had lived among the Catskill Moun- 
tains, the opening prairies had much of interest. 
Garden Prairie (a little town about twenty-two miles 
to the east )was very attractive. Mr.Corey(his 
companion )would say: T Wait until you see the Rock 
River Country. 1 The state road from Belvidere (some 
eighteen miles east )was principally through wooded 

"As we came to Bela Shaw's place, -^unexpected 
improvements appeared ;a row of thrifty young pop- 
lars set in front, a half circle formed inside, with 
an avenue from that to the dwelling; also an avenue 
from the street to the barn. 

"From Mr. Shaw T s residence to the village there 
were about one and a half miles of prairie which af- 
forded a very extended view in all directions. The 

(1) Document lent to me by Mrs.Katherine Keeler. 
^fr Mr* Bela Shaw's home was one of the show places of 

the village. It stood on North State Street. 


high ground on the East was timberland, known as 
big woods. South, West and North the outlook was 
attractive. Stages in passing were often stopped 
by the request of passengers to take in the beauti- 
ful view. There were a few patches of cultivated 
land and small dwellings, but nothing to obstruct 
the view in any direction. ! And now,' says Mr. 
Corey, f This is the part of the Rock River Valley 
of which I have told you. T Truly I had never seen 
a prettier picture." (1) 

The stage which brought Miss Sill followed this 
state highway into the village, past the stage company's 
barn, near the location of the present watering trough 
at the junction of Kishwaukee and State Streets, down 
State Street, to the brick buildings on the corner of 
State and First, and around the corner to the commodious 
home of the Churches, the most comfortable in town, where 
a warm welcome waited her. 

Here she busied herself, preparing the school house 
and the boarding house, sending her notices to the press, 
interviewing trustees and parents, and meeting the child- 
ren ?;ho had so long and eagerly looked forward to her 
coming. We have a record of the impression made by her 
at this time upon one little girl, Carrie Spafford, after- 
wards Mrs. Brett, about whom a charming romance is woven. 
Mrs. Brett was first engaged to be married to Colonel 
Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth, the first soldier to be killed 
in the Civil War. She writes: 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford, pp. 236-237. 


"My first remembrance of Miss Sill dates back 
back more years than I care to state. When I was 
a child of six summers (as she expressed it)# two 
ladies called one day to see my mother, and I felt 
called upon to entertain them, though perfect stran- 
gers, until my mother should appear. Presently one 
of the ladies asked me if I went to school. I re- 
plied, 'No, Ma'am, I am waiting for Miss Sill to 
come. 1 She at once informed me that she was the one 
for whom I was waiting and that her companion was 
Miss Richards who was to have charge of the little 
girls. This incident Miss Sill never forgot, and 
she ever considered me her first scholar. (1) 

The eagerness of this little child was indicative of 
the attitude of the entire village. The Seminary which 
was felt to be so necessary and for which five years had 
been spent in planning was about to become a reality. 
Before we consider it, however, we pause to make the 
acquaintance of Miss Sill, — her background, her equip- 
ment for the work, and her peculiar fitness for it. 

(1) Document lent to me by Mrs. Brett's sister, Mrs. C. 
H. Godfrey. Speech given at a meeting of Kockford 
alumnae some years ago. 
* Ifl pamphlet,— A Letter to Our Old Girls , p. 3. 


Miss Sill's Life to 1849 

Anna Peck Sill was born August I6,l8l6,in Burlington, 
Otsego County, New York, the youngest of ten children. From 
her father's side she inherited the qualities of a long 
line of Puritan ancestors. The lamily was descended from 
John Sill, of Engl and, who, with his wife, Jo anna, came to 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1 647, eleven years after the 
founding of Harvard College. (1) 

In 1789 her paternal grandparents moved from Lyme, Con- 
necticut, to Otsego -County, New York, in the vicinity of what 
is now Burlington. Her grandfather, Deacon Andrew Sill, was 
a prominent member of the Congregational Church in Lyme, and 
served as deacon for thirty-one years. He was a soldier 
in the Revolutionary War. 

Her father, Abel Sill, was a quiet industrious farmer 
who died at the age of fifty when little Anna was only 

On her mother's side she came of equally good stock. 
Her maternal grandfather was the Hon.Jedediah Peck, a man 
of great influence and usefulness. He was a legislator, 
a Judge, and also a teacher. In addition he was highly 
versed (See following page) 

f 1 ) Memorial Volume f v. 6. The extracts are part of a his- 
tory planned by Mids Sill. Unfortunately she wrote 
only one chapter, that of her early life. 



in the sciences of navigation and surveying. As a member 
of the community, he was active and valuable. It was he 
in New York state who first urged legislative action for 
the establishment of common schools and the abolition of 
imprisonment for debt. 

Her mother was the oldest daughter of the family. 
From her Anna P. Sill inherited her great energy and her 
zeal for scholarship. Mrs. Sill had the reputation of be- 
ing a good scholar, expecially in mathematics . (1) Her 
daughter says of her: She was "a woman of piety, industry, 
and taste, and trained her children in the homely virtues 
of honesty, economy, industry, and strict moral and physical 
integrity." At her husband 1 s death she was left with the 
care of nine children, (one having previously died), six 
sons and three daughters, of whom Anna was the youngest. (2) 

Little Anna 1 s early life was free and happy. The sur- 
rounding country was so beautiful as to awaken and develop 
in the child an abiding love of nature. (3) The house 
"stood on a high elevation, surrounded with hills and val- 
leys, with the Cat skill Mountains in the blue east, a deep 
valley on the south, and far beyond rose hill after hill 
with curves of sky and changing cloud between." On the 
west there were deep ravines, sheer rocky walls overhung 

(1) Memorial Volume, p. 6. 

(2) Ibid, p. 7. 

(3) Ibid, p. 8. 


with trees and bushes, and running under a rustic bridge, 
a stream of sparkling water, (1) 

The home, too, fostered the best ideals of thought and 
conduct. "It was a house of industry, of early morning 
hours, simplicity in living and the abode of health. In it 
you could hear the loud buzz of the large spinning wheel 
and the hum of the smaller one ©r the clack of the weav- 
ing loom, and the flying shuttle and the varied occupations 
of farm life." It was here that the daughters were taught 
the various household tasks, — spinning, weaving, setting 
cards for wool and tow. (2) 

Through it all, however, the little girl found time 
"to braid bonnets from June grass" and to embroider. (3) 
She often went "rambling with her cousin along the wild 
ravine to gather moss and ferns, wild flowers and winter- 
green berries, stopping to catch the tiny fish with pin for 
hook and angleworm for bait; or climbing a long steep hill 
with a winding cowpath, through the meadow land and orchard 
to the old mansion, with its sheds and barns, its long well- 
sweep and oaken bucket, and nearby the trim and fenced gar- 
den with its beds of pansies, bachelor buttons, pinks and 
caraway, its gooseberry bushes and its vegetables of every 
name . " ( 4 ) 

(1) Memorial Volume , p. 8. 

(2) Ibid, p. 9. 

(3) Ibid. 

(4) Ibid, p. 8. 


A simple wholesonm childhood in a gentle land, over- 
flowing with milk and honey. It is in such lands that 
poets and prophets are made. Wot often in teeming cities. 
A deep reservoir of peace and beauty upon which in the 
difficult years ahead she was so often forced to draw. 

And then came, at four years of age, school with its 
daily walk of a mile to the little red school house, in 
all seasons, uphill and down, which she says made a deeper 
impression upon her than the drill in Webster ^s spelling 
book,Morse T s geography, and Murray's grammar, which she 
"committed to memory from beginning to end with no thought 
of its value or meaning . ,T ( 1 ) At thirteen she finished 
D aboil T s arithmetic with the aid of a key. She was 
taught to do "reverence to teachers and to all strangers 
by the way to and from school."^) 

As her school years passed, there came a deeper spirit- 
ual consciousness and an awakening of the intellect. "I 
craved better school advantages ; my soul cried out for its 
G-od. 1 groped in the dark but did not find him. "(3) 

The achievments and conversation of her cousin? stim- 
ulated her to more profound thinking, but to little speech; 
she did not care to talk about her ideas and experien- 
ces. Little was said to her about her new religious 
consciousness. The religious atmosphere of the home, 
however, was working (See next page) 

O) Memorial Volume f p.8. 
(<0 Ibid. 
(3) Ibid. 


its influence upon her.(l) 

"I could not remember the time when I did not pray; 
and in addition to ! Now I lay me f I composed a prayer of 
thanks to God for his care, including the petition that 
God would make me a Christian before I died. Prayer seemed 
innate to me and not to be taught by others. My father was 
an Episcopalian in preference, and one of the first books 
I remember to have read aside from the Bible in the Sunday 
School was the Episcopal Prayer-book. There were but few 
books in our library, and I was hungry for knowledge. "( 2) 

Of that period of 

"obstinate questionings 

Of sense and outward things, 
Fallings from us, vanishings, 
Blank misgivings of a Creature 
Moving about in worlds not realized," 

for which Vi/ordsworth raised 

The Song of thanks and praise, 

she wrote: 

"I was conscious of being opposed to God f s will. 
I can now see that again and again the Spirit of God 
came to me through the truth and urged an entire sur- 
render of all to Christ, and I would promise myself 
on some definite time named I would do so, and thus 
delay. I felt quite willing, as I thought, to go on 
a gainful pilgrimage, if that would make me a Christ- 
ian, but to yield my heart to do all the duties of a 
Christian and to be saved by Christ alone, I could not. 
If I must be lost forever, then I will be rather than 

do this. Thus I passed along until in my fifteenth 

year, in the spring of 1831. "(3) 

(1) Memorial Vol. p. 9. 

(2) "rora: 

(3) Ibid. p. 10. End of personal record. 


It is probable (tind it was quite inevitable) that the 
wide-spread revivals throughout the country, affected her. 
The New England states were swept by them. She dates her 
conversion from this time. 

Of the years 1 83 1 to 1836 unfortunately we have no re- 
cord. She probably spent these years at home, engaged in 
domestic occupations and thinking through the religious 
questions raised in the previous years. We find expressed 
later a rare spiritual attitude and a desire for service 
in His name which is unusual even in religious biogra- 
phies. These years no doubt strengthened her deep spirit- 
uality and her sense of consecration to her life work. 

In 1836 when she was about twenty, she left home to 
teach in a district school in Barre,near Alton, New York, 
for about seven months, at the munificent salary ,we are 
told, of two dollars a week. She did spinning and weaving 
to add to her slender resources. Six weeks of this time, 
during a school vacation, she went to school in Albion. 
Mr. Goodwin does not state whether she attended Phipps 
Union Seminary* at this time. It is probable that she did, 
however, as the next year (in November )she was enrolled there 
as a permanent scholar. *t was one of xhe first female 
seminaries in the stated) 

In l838,about a year after her entrance, she began a- 

gain to teach school.. She probably studied at the same 

time. For about five years she remained here. Her success 

(1) Memorial Volume /p. 1 1 . 

(2) Ibid. 

'*' According to the State Dept.of Educat ion, Albany, N. Y. , 
this seminary was incorporated by the Regents, Feb. 1 1 , 
1840. It burned Mar. 21 , 1875, and was never rebuilt. 


as a pupil and a teacher are shown not only by her high 
rank but also by her Journal and letters during this per- 
iod. (1) 

"Her consecration and whole-souled devotion to the 
tasks before her, and her prayerful labors for the spirit- 
ual interests of her pupils are revealed in her diary, as a 
sacred fire ever burning on the altar of her souljand she 
records with tearful gratitude how one and another, during 
a season of revival, were led by her earnest words to seek 
and find the Savior, "writes ^r. Goodwin. ( 2) This is the 
spirit of the later Anna P.Silljno longer is she groping. 
So sure is she of herself that her overwhelming desire is 
to lead others to that same peace by way of prayer and ex- 
pression of faith. 

During the early part of the last year at Albion, she 

suffered a great deal of mental anguish as to her future 

work. Since her early years she had desired to devote her 

life to doing good. She had no definite idea as to what 

the work would be beyond that it would be "to serve God in 

serving and blessing humanity." At this time there came 

anew the thought of the foreign mission field. In a letter 

to her pastor, the Rev. G.W.Crawford, she says: 

"I think it I know my own heart, the primary motive 
which led me to acqire an education was that I might 
lay it at the Savior .'s feet, and thus be of some service 
to his cause. I have Hardly dared to ask my Heavenly 

(1) Memorial Volume f p. 1 1 . (Mr. Boodwin had access to these. 
I am sure that they are not extant today. ) 

(2) Ibid, p. 11. 


Father so great a privilege, but have prayed that at 
least I might be permitted after death to go as a min- 
istering spirit and whisper sweet words of peace to 
some poor heathen soul."(1) 

What kept her from realizing this ambition, is not 
known. It is said that a young missionary about to leave 
for the foreign field/proposed marriage to ner,but that af- 
ter enough time for acquaintance, "reflection and prayer 
for divine guidance, "she refused the offer. (2) She cher- 
ished the ambition to go the foreign field, however, 
and when Miss finna All en, afterwards Mrs. F.A.Douglas, a grad- 
uate in the first class from Rockford,went to India, her 
joy was unbounded. She did more through the years for 
foreign missions in preparing students to go out than she 
could have done if she herself had gone. "She came to 
Rockford a disappointed woman, but instead of sitting down 
and whining j she threw all her religious zeal and romance 
into the project (the Seminary) . (3 ) 

After many discouragements (among them the failure of 
the attempt to come to the West), on October 2,1 843, we 
find her opening a seminary for young ladies in Warsaw, 
New York. Before the close of the year she had 140 schol- 
ars. In a letter to Mr. Crawford, she expresses her satis- 
faction at the success of the venture which wus greater 
than she anticipated, and goes on to say that she was "ex- 
ceeding entirely the most sanguine expectations of (her) 

(1) Memorial Volume , r>. 1 2~ 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Mrs.C.P.Brazee. 


After about two and one-half years, in March, 1846, 
she closed the school for reasons not known. Mr. Goodwin 
expresses the opinion that it surely was not because of 
lack of material prosperity, but "probably (because of) a 
want of spiritual sympathy in her higher religious and 
educational aims."(l) 

By this time report of her work had spread, and she was 
receiving many colls. She was asked to take charge of the 
seminary at Albion, to go to Leroy, Ne*- York, as principal,-* 
which later opportunity she refused because she felt it her 
duty to look "to the prospect of greater good." There were 
other calls to Vermont, Michigan, Lockport (New York,) and 
again to Leroy; but she long desired to work in a "more 
destitute" field. If she could not go to the foreign field, 
she was still hoping for an opportunity in the West. (2) 

It was in August of this year, 1846, that she was asked 
to Cary Collegiate Institute in Oakfield, (3) a few miles 
from Batavia, New York. At this time she was still undecid- 
ed as to the future, but she accepted the call to Cary, 
where she remained until the spring of 1849.(4) This oppor- 
tunity probably changed the course of her life for it was 
here that she met the Richards family. 

(1) Memorial Volume , p. 13. 

(2) Ibid, p. 14. 

(3) Ibid, p. 13. 

(4) Mrs. Malinda Richards Hervey. 

# The Le Roy Academic Institute, according to the State 
Department of Education at Albany, was incorporated by the 
Regents, Feb. 11, 1864. It was admitted to the Le Roy Union 
School on Dec. 9, 1891. , The academy property was then trans- 
ferred to the Union School, and the corporation was dissolved 
June 21. 1893. The school was graded as Le Roy High School in 
1898 . 

Cary Institute was built and endowed by"a wealthy 
bachelor, M r. Alfred Cary, "who was"deeply interested in ed- 
ucational affairs. ,T (l ) 

Little is known of Miss Sil^s work there. The school 
was reported to be in a prosperous condition. She had the 
care "some of the time, of about eighty ladies "and "had 
probably over two hundred different ones." During one 
winter"a number was hopefully converted" in her Bible 
class. (2) That she was highly successful in this work 
there is no doubt. Mrs.Malinda Richards Hervey was deep- 
ly impressed by her accomplishments. 

Her regret at leaving Caryville when the Rockford 
opportunity came we find voiced in her own words: "I lis- 
tened to the call and consented to leave long cherished 

friends and go. I bade Caryville farewell May 10. It 

is a de«r spot. "(3) 

She regarded the call to Rockford as a call of Prov- 
idence in answer, it would seem, to her prayers. It opened 
up a larger field of service to her than any yet occupied, 
and she believed it to be missionary work. From 1 849 
to her deauh,her life and the history of the Seminary 
are one. 

(1) Mrs.Malinda Richards Hervey. 

(2) Memorial Volume . v. 1 3. 

(3) Ibid, p. 15. 



Miss Sill- -Appearance and Character 
This, then, was the intellectual equipment which she 
brought to the new Seminary. There were other attributes, 
important not only to the school but also to the strug- 
gling little pioneer town, --an attractive personality ani 
appearance, and firmness of character TT for those were days 
that tried the staunchest souls ."(1) 

Of her appearance it is possible to gain a cle^r pic- 
ture. One who has studied Mr. George J.Robertson's fine 
portrait, which hangs in Middle Hall at Rockford College, 
cannot fail to carry away, a vivid impression. There is 
about the whole of it a sense of serenity, poise. The 
finely chiselled features, the deep brown eyes, the soft 
brown hair drawn into a loose knot, the light on her coun- 
tenance, and the simplicity and fastidiousness of her 
dress, --all radiate her personality. ±*er dignity and her 
poise were remarkable. 

"I wish you could have seen her sitting up there 
on the platform with her e&lm, Self-possessed face. 
She was conscientious-~always conscientious. She was 
a model woman and always set us an example. "(2) 

"When I first knew Miss Sill in 18^2 she was a- 
bout thirty-six years old, a woman of such splendid 
physique and majestic beauty that any artist might 
have rejoiced to find such a model for a Greek work 
of art. "(3) 

But those who 'knew her speak most often of her eyes 

(1) Mr s.Mary Clark Wadsworth, 1884. 

(2) Mrs. T.B.Wells, a student in the sixties. 

(3) Miss Mary E.B.Norton, quoted by Mrs. Daniel Fish at 
Alumnae Panquet, 1 9 1 ^> • Alumnae Notes P April. 1917. 


and her radiant expression: 

"Her personality was striking, The beautiful 
dark brown eyes seemed to penetrate your thought aid 
read your character. "( 1 ) 

"Her large soft hazel eyes would give distinc- 
tion to any face, but when their owner was aroused 
they could be sharp and severe in expression, and 
make one feel like escaping to a far corner. "(2) 

"I remember how her face showed the communion 
with God the seriousness of days of prayer. "(3) 

Mrs.E.P.Catlin says that the beauty of her hands 

particularly impressed her childish mind: 

"I think I never saw more beautiful hands — 
slender and white, and yet bespeaking strength." 

Too often the hands of the women of the community were 
red and roughened with hard work to which many of them 
were not acdustomed. 

Of her fastidiousness and care in dress, too, much is 
said. She set the young girls in the community an envia- 
ble example of personal cleanliness and daintiness, going 
so far at times as to send to mothers whose daughters need- 
ed them, fine-toothed combs with the admonishment to use 

them. (4) "Dress is the flowering out of character, "she 

often said. (5) 

Someone 9 (I have iorgotten who), has remarked that she 
was always arrayed as daintily as a bride. §er clothes 
were simple, but of the finest materials. Mrs.Brazee, re- 
members her in the freshest and crispest of cambrics. 

U)Mrs.±'.L. Woods, 1865. 

(2)Mrs.G.E. Newman, 1884. 

(3)Mrs.Mary Earle Hardy, 1877. 

(4)Mrs.E.P.Catlin,a member of "Miss Sill's School", June 11, 

(5 )Rookford Alumna. May 15,1922. 


Much of the time in the early years, she wore gray with 
white collars and pink "bow at her throat, which must have 
set off her soft pink cheeks, which Dr. Lucius Clark, re- 
marked toward the end of her life, were as fresh as those 
of any girl in the Seminary. (1) And slippers, always 
slippers, even in the coldest winter weather. (2) 

Her fondness of ribbons was marked, too. There were 
always ribbons in her drawer for an emergency, which meant 
much, particularly to the chidren. Mrs. Catline recalls 
the day Miss White's long golden hair, when they were play- 
ing a game in which she was the comet, became loosened, 
and Miss Sill took from her desk a bit of ribbon of the 
same hue, tied back the girl's locks, and they continued 
the game. 

As time went on, she seemed to love richer fabrics. 
In the eighties i4i rs. Gregory remembers her dressed in 
"velvet waists with a hea^y gold chain;" Mrs. Mower "in 
purple silk, with fine white lace caps and black silk for 
dress up occasions." 

She walked wi th a quick step f her skirts held 

daintily in one hand, on fire wi th her splendid energy 
which she had under perfect control. (3) In repose there 
was a dignity, a calmness and peace about her that one 
seldom sees. She cultivated repose, and admonished her 

(1) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Mrs. Emma Cotton, a member of the Floral Bank in the 
very early days. 


girls to do so, "Young ladies, cultivate repose," (1) 

Marked as was her appearance, it is her character that 
16ft so indelible an impression upon those who knew her. 
As a basis for this mental energy and strength, she had a 
strong constitution and robust health, the result of her 
early training and exercise. Up and down the land she went 
on missions for her Seminary, never too tired to labor for 
it. At home she taugiht , superintended the domestic depart- 
ment, (2) had care for the physical and spiritual welfare 
of the girls, entered into the life of the community, and 
in the wee small hours, when she should have been resting, 
she was writing hundreds of letters in behalf of the school. 
Her business correspondence was of tremendous volume. Not 
only letters in behalf of the school, but letter to alum- 
nae, encouraging them in their work, intimate letters in 
which she showed her love and solicitude for them, (3) 

There must have been times, many times,, when she was 
unutterably weary. But it was this same deep well of phy- 
sical energy that drove her on to limitless accomplish- 
ment, that kept her mind and heart open to inspiration. 
In a letter written from Boston in 1865, she says: 

(1) Ro ckf or d Alumna , May 15, 1922. 

(2) Mrs, Wallingford, who was head of the domestic depart- 
ment from 1865-1870, says she "made the rounds daily 
with Miss Sill of everywhere," even inspected "whe- 
ther the girls were paring the potatoes thinly," 

iZ) Mrs. E. L. Herri ck. 


"Just fancy me in the f Hub of the Universe, * the 
center of all right motion, the sun of civilization, 
enlightenment and refinement , and one of the ! Western 
Beggars. T Do you envy me or do you pity me?- — - One 
thing I am resolved to do, that is to make just as 
much happiness and refreshment out of the effort as 
may be, God has given me the safety valve in my tem- 
perament of susceptibility to the ludicrous, and has 
also made me hopeful. I find occasion for the facul- 
ties, sometimes quite to my relief liice rays of sun- 
shine coming through misty clouds." (1) 

What amusement she must have had — a "Western Beggar" — 
in her situ. ti on? She looked "as if a joke would die upon 
her lips,"(2)but she did have an appreciation of the lu- 
dicrous, and subtle wit. How she laughed when one Monday 
morning her fresh gray dress came to a disastrous endl 
The girls who were on duty in the laundry had the tubs of 
bluing and rinse water on the stove. From somewhere below 
there came the cry of "Firel " Miss Sill, always in fear 
of fire, hurried downstairs, and as everyone seized pails 
or kettles, she picked up a cullender, dipped it into the 
bluing water, and ran upstairs, through the flails, and out- 
doors, calling "Fire I" at the top of her lungs. It was 
not until the scare was over (it was only a scare )that she 
looked at the cullender in her hand and then down at her 
dress. Ever after that she used her fear of fire as an 
excuse to intercept mischief. With a twinkle in her eye, 
she would knock on a door and burst into a room with the 
remark, "I thought I smelled fire." (3) 

Mrs. Catlin remembers two occasions when her rare 

U) Memorial Vo3mme f , D. 24. 
(2) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. 
tj>) Ibid. 

wit displayed itself. Her mother, as happily married wo- 
men often are, was concerned about Miss Sill's spinster 
state, and said to her with some feeling, "Anna Sill, you 
s hould marry. You should accept one of these good chan- 

Quickly as a flash came the answer, "Emily Robinson, 
I T m not looking for a chance : I'm looking for an oppor - 
tunity ." 

Then there was the time when she was in Boston, seek- 
ing funds for the Seminary that she wrote back to %*.Asa 
Sanford as follows: 

"I am going to Providence tomorrow, hoping to get 
something for the Seminary. I have always put my 
trust in Providence, and I have no reason to doubt now. M 

How discomfited Prof .Emerson must have been when in an 

interview with her she suggested that at the anniversary 

exercises, certain essays be read. 

"But who will read the essays? "he asked. 

"I don't know, "she answered. 

"I might ."he offered. 

"Prof. Emerson, the young ladies will read their own ." 

Coupled with real wit, as is so often the case, was a 

deep and fine under standing, and, too, a deep longing for 

sympathy, which voices itself in her letters. She asks her 

correspondents to "write often." In the postscript of her 

letter to the class of 1 865 (quoted in Chapter VIII )at 

(1) Mrs.W.A.Talcott at the Chicago banquet , Dec. 2? , 1 924. 
Mrs.Brazee thinks this incident happened at the Com- 
mencement season, 1854. The Board was not in favor of 
the young women reading their essays. 


their graduation she voices this longing for contacts 

"H.B.I shall treasure any individual response 
to these farewell words as T Apples of Gold in Pic- 
tures of Silver.' " 

The whole letter in fact is indicative of this need for 

human sympathy. 

One student says: "You could not deceive her, and yet 

she was so kindly and good you felt you could go to her 

in trouble and find sympathy and help."(1) Another tells 

of her kindness to motherless girls. The narrator was an 

orphan, and did not have the kindnesses bestowed upon her 

that other girls did, — letters, boxes. Miss Sill seemed 

to sense her loneliness, and showed her little attentions. 

There was at one time in the school a very beautiful girl, 

the daughter of the founder of a great fortune who had 

married an Indian woman. When his wife died, the man 

brought the girl, then a little thing, to the Seminary to 

put her under Miss Sill's care, where she remained for some 

years. Miss Sill took a mother's interest in her, loved 

her devotedly, and cared for her. (2) 

Inflexible as she was in the matter of church go- 
ing, she could show sympathy and tact with a teluctant 
girl. A student on one occasionksked to be allowed to re- 
main at home one Sunday. 

"Are you ill, Miss Wright?" 

"Ho, I am well;but I Just feel like staying at home." 

( ! J Mrs 1 . P. L.Woods. 

(2) Mr s.Julia Warren. 


She scanned the girl doubtfully a moment, then patted 
her shoulder, and said, "Well, perhaps you have been study- 
ing too hard. You don't look well. It may do you good to 
remain at home. And you may learr? the fifty-fifth chapter 
of Isaiah, and repeat it to me this evening." (1) 

Twq of the characteristics that the older alumnae 
stress are her vision and her joy in progress. "She was 
a woman of great vision as well as of active life." (2) 

"She was a woman whose face was always toward the 
front, and she saw many changes. Now abide th faith, hope, 
and love, and the greatest of these is love, is what she 
said to 1865. And it's what she would say to 1925." (3) 

Her face was toward the front. This hope for the 
Seminary, the great vision, constantly glorified the work 
she was doing. While she appreciated the physical expan- 
sion of the Seminary and took a woman's delight in the 
new rugs and furniture and draperies, and rejoiced in the 
installation of each new "modern improvement," she never 
emphasized the material aspect. More students to her 
meant not a mere increase in numbers, but an opportunity 
for greater spiritual influence, her own spirit with which 
she infused her girls that many more times multiplied. 

"There comes before me a vision of the past, 
then the present, and onward the future in a pan- 

(1) Miss Mary Wright, 1871. 

(2) Mrs. Loretta Van Hook, 1875. 

(3) Mrs. Sarah F. Safford, 1865, at the Alumnae Banquet, 


orama of light and shadows. There are extended land- 
scapes of prairie land, towering moun tains, and deep 
valleys, large cities, and beautiful villas, broad oceans 
and grand islands ;and where can we look and not see 
some of our old girls, near us ot in the dim distance?" 

And these forty years at Rockford were years, too, of 

great change. The impetus which the woman 1 s college was 
gaining and the newer modes of life which necessitated , 
changes in the form of education, she faced squarely. The 
Seminary must aaapt itself. How to do it without violat- 
ing the principles of its founding,. «as the question. For 
Rockford Seminary w«a established for girls with little 
money who earnestly desired an education. Braciually she 
altered the curriculum until in 1 88 1 a four-year collegi- 
ate course was evolved, but for those girls who could not 
spend four years the three-year Seminary course, less ad- 
vanced in mathematics ana the classical studies but more 
extended and therefore better adapted to meet general needs, 
was retained. In regard to this change she wrote to Mrs. 
Van Ho ok, November 12,l88l,as follows: 

"You will find (by perusing the catalogue )we have 
progressed in some things, yes, in many things for 1 not 
to grow is to die.' We ar^ trying to increase the 
missionary spirit." 

But stronger than these attributes was her zeal for 

the religious welfare of those under her. It was her 

constant prayer that they would come to hope in Christ. 

Her care for their spiritual welfare weighed heavily 

(1) A Letter to Our Old Girls f p. 4. 


upon her. Every avowal of faith was to her a blessing, 

a confirmation of the work to which she had so reverently 

consecrated her life, 

"All the Senior Class are hopeful Christians. 
During the past year there have been sixty cases of 
conversion among the members of the Seminary. n (1) 

"We are having a glorious work of grace in the 
school. About fifty hope in Christ for the first 
time, have made vows or a renewal of vows long brok- 
en- -near ly all of the first class, however. The 

senior class are all in the fold I trust, J C , 

g p $ and J K have not made a public pro- 
fession. Miss L has become active, and row all 

lead in prayer. The work is still going on. "(2) 

"The work is still going on." What a glorious cryl 
For her it could never cease. There was much in her of 
the stuff which the old martyrs were made, --the strong 
sense of duty, of consecration, the zeal, and the soul 

"Do your .duty. Young ladies, do right though the 
sky falls." (3) How could they have heard that voice, 
the girls of the 50' s and 60' s and 70 's and 80»s,and 
failed? It rang out as a challenge through four decades, 
and molded not only the Seminary but the lives of scores 
of women. There is in their faces, as they come back to 
the old halls, a light seldom seen, the light which was 
reflected from her eyes. 

"Pray for your native land," she wrote to a mission- 
ary in Persia. "You have thought of us during the week 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, July 10, 1857. 

(2) Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. Van Hook, 1876. 

(3) Mrs. Phoebe L. Woods. 


of prayer, and tomorrow is the Day of Prayer for Colleges 
and Seminaries, We are hoping for a blessing. Pray for 
us daily that the missionary spirit may deepeni"(1) And 
again to Mrs .Van Hook: "Pray for us constantly, daily, 
that the fountain may "be kept pure and the streams make 

glad the city of our G-od. The very "best place in which 

to be, is where G-od would have us." (2) There is in that 
last , it seems, a suggestion of complete resignation. 

"She hath done what she could, "(3)was one of the mot- 
toes which she had on the chapel wall. How true of her- 
self , --though she little realized how great that what was 1 . 
Even the littlest girls were influenced. Mrs. Warren 
tells an amusing and interesting story of several of the 
Floral Band. In the "Patch" (a poor district across the 
river), there were two sisters who were not particularly 
careful in their personal habits. Several of the young- 
er girls saw a chance to apply the missionary princi- 
ples their dear Miss Sill so earnestly preached, and they 
went over, and cleaned the girls thoroughly, even their 
hair. Then they dressed them (Carrie Spafford donated 
her wool merino dress), and brought them to Miss Sill to 
show the results of their efforts. Her smile, I am sure, 
was full of tenderness and understanding. 

That this intensity should have eventually been pro- 

TTT Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. Van Hook, Jan. 24, 1877. 

(2) Ibid,Mar.l8,l880. 

(3) Mrs. Phoebe L.Woods. 


ductive of feep faith was inevitable. As the years wore 

on, the fervor of attainment mellowed into a deep longing 

for friendship and an abiding faith. In her letters she, 

almost wistfully, urges her loved ones to write to her and 

to pray for the Seminary, and she expresses a peace and 

trust that "passethall understanding." 

"How glad I was to learn that the way had cleared 
and you felt so happy in going to Persia. You know 
how my thoughts and heart will go with you, how I 
shall think of you climbing those mountain heights. 
I know the dear Savior will be with you by the way, 
and I feel quite sure that a life of usefulness is 
before you. "Whom the Lord loveth, He doth chast- 
en, 1 and he vail never leave you. Shadows may come, 
but there is light on the cloud above the view. "(1) 

And again: 

"Oh, the lights and shadows of life. There is rest 
above." (2) 

But this spiritual zeal did not blind her to the af- 
fairs of the world. She was aware too of what was going 
on without her gates. 

"Our political sky is dark — but we can only trust in 
God." (3) 

To the question which I put to the alumnae, "What in- 
fluence did Miss Sill have upon you?" there came scores of 
answers, of which I can quote only a few. They do not 
eulogize her. There runs' through fehem all a strong note 
of sincerity, and there is too a sense of having caught 

(1) Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. Loretta Van Hook, 
Aug. 11, 1876. 

(2) Nov. 19, 1876. 

(3) Ibid, Jan. 24, 1877. 


a glimpse of something beyond our ken. She did not stir 
up those who came into contact with her for the moment 
only. Nor was her zeal that of the religious fanatic. 
It might have been, had she not been so intensely prac- 
tical and so finely poised. 

"She made me perhaps ready to do my best with 
whatever I had to do, and find pleasure in simple 
homely things," (1) 

says one. 

"Pleasure in simple homely things." Can we today in 
our colleges meet that test? 

Again a student stresses the practical wisdom learned 

at her feet: 

"My abiding impression of Miss Sill's administra- 
tion are if lessons in punctuality, diligence, the 
elements of science, and, above all, spirituality." (2) 

Still another student speaks of the "stimulating 
contact with her leadership" in the classroom, and of "the 
immeasurable influence of class prayer meetings and morn- 
ing and evening devotions in the dining room." (3) 

"No one could come under the influence of her 
teaching and living from day to day and not be con- 
scious of her strong personality, her nobility of 
character, and her high ideals. I should say first 
of all she was a Christian woman of t he fine, strong 
New England type, of indomitable courage and will. 

"At the Chapel hour each morning she gave us a 
verse of Scripture as a text for the day, and we weee 
expected to memorize it so that if it was asked for 
at the hour of any recitation or other assembly of 
the day, we could repeat it. How deeply these verses 

(1) Mrs. James F. Garvin, 1880. 

(2) Mary P. Wright. 

(3) Mrs. T. G. McLean, 1867. 


sank, along wiih her worrs of admonition, she never 
could, know; not did we realize, but she was content 
to do the sowing. That they took root is shown in 
the lives of the students who went from her class- 
room to home and foreign fields for service, or 
founded the "best type of American homes which have 
become our bulwark as a nation today 1" (1) 

A graduate who was older than the average girl when 
she came to the Seminary and who, through the chastening 
of bitter experience, had gained a deeper insight into 
life and a broader perspective, sums up Miss Sill's char- 
acter and influence in this telling passage: 

"Miss Sill was a woman of choice character, 
shown in her staunch adherence to truth and devo- 
tion to v duty, in her passion for the development 
of a true and cultivated womanhood in her pupils, 
in her self-abandonment to the promotion of her 
ideals which were never overshadowed by her long- 
ings for their spiritual development. The re- 
petition of terse sayings was a characteristic. 
'Young Ladies, remember you are what your most cher- 
ished thoughts make you f ,} reiterated untiD it be- 
came an unforgetable admonition, has held many a 
one, I am sure, to habits of right thinking. To 
my own mind the words have returned again and a- 
gain as the years passed by, and I, in turn, have 
passed them on to my own school daughters. 

"Her sympathies took in the whole world and 
'Woman 1 s Work for Woman' in every land had the sup- 
port of her interest, activities, gifts and prayers. 
Those who went out from the Seminary as foreign mis- 
sionaries were ever in her heart, and their schools 
and bible work, medical work and homes were objects 
of her solicitous regard. 

"Remaining after graduation for some weeks of 
work at the Seminary, in the intimacy of sharing her 
room, with a relaxation of formalities, I learned 
that underneath an exterior somewhat severe in at- 
titude and expression generally, there was a deep 
sympathy, and interest in the romantic and e ven a 
love of fun in her nature. Always avoiding showi- 
ness or any ostentation of dress, she had a fine re- 

(1) Miss Katherine Foote, 1879. 


gard for appearance with great regard particularly as 
to appropriate attire. "(1) 

This spirit has become a part of the living Rockford, 

to inspire and keep it safe, the spirit which "later girls," 

to quote Miss Jane Addams, "accepted as they did the camptE 

and buildings, without knowing that it could be otherwise." 

While there is kept alive the memory of those early 
sacrifices and the spirit of love and consecration of its 
founder and of those brave men and women who worked with 
her, whatever storms may rock it, the institution is safe. 

A verse found in an old scrap book, (the owner thinks 
it was dictated by Miss Sill ) sums up her life more ade- 
quately than I can: 

"Such souls, whose sudden visitations daze the world, 

Vanish like lightning; 
But they leave behind a voice that 

In the distance far away 
Wakens the slumbering ages." (3) 

Such a soul was hers. 

(1) Mrs.Loretta Van Hook. 

(2) Addams . Twenty Years at Hull House . v. 44. 

(3) Mrs.Sarafc Safford. 


Chapter V 
The Opening of "Miss Sill»s School" 

As has been said before, the history of the Seminary 
and the life of Miss Sill, from the day she opened her 
school in 1849 until her resignation in 1 884, were one. 
It is impossible to separate events on paper or in the 
minds of those who knew her. 

One of her first pupils gives an account of the opening 

day in the following paragraph: 

"The scholars were drawn up in a row on the lawn 
the first day, forming a gauntlet of happy faces, and as 
the teacher passed through, each gave her name. After 
they had entered the room Miss Sill made a few remarks 
in which she said: ' Well, well, young ladies, this is like 
the sunshine of this beautiful day, dropping light into 
our hearts. 1 She then remarked that it might seem 
strange to them to find one from the East away out in 
the West. She came there for a purpose, and that pur- (1) 
pose was to establish a school in the wild Northwest." 

But one of the littlest girls ,Mrs.E.P.C&tlin,was there 

"even before the gauntlet was drawn up, "waiting"on the 

lawn"with seven or eight others. As the group hurried 

into the school toom in response to the bell,Miss]Sill 

held up her hand, and "she had the most beautiful hand I 

ever saw." There was absolute silence as she walked to a 

table on which were her Bible, a iew books, and flowers (she 

always had flowers), and laid down the bell. Then she sat 

behind the table. There was no yielding nor bending 

toward the students jneither was there any note of repel- 

lence. She was merely waiting for absolute quiet. 

( 1 )Memorial Volume P -p. 16. 


The children were awed by her presence, and were afraid 
of doing the wrong thing. 

She then took the roll, and organized among the young- 
est girls the Floral Band, giving to each the name of a 

flower and a planet or star. Mrs. Catlin was called n La- 


verial" for the newest planet. Mrs. Sharratt who had long 

golden hair was called "the Comet." This ceremony endeared 
Miss Sill to the children. 

The Floral Band existed for some years. The smaller 
girls adored their t teachers and the older girls, and were 
in turn petted by them. On one of the northeast windows 
of the library, scratched into the glass, is an enduring 
record of some of the earliest members — the names of Emma 
C. Crosbie, Frankie Fitch, Sarah Evans, Esther Frowe, 
Evan Horton. Further down on the pane are the names of 
many of those of later dates. 

"The building itself was a high one-story affair, 
finished as an assembly room, facing east." (2) It was 
fairly old, and had served many purposes before it became 
the home of Miss Sill's School. The seats were low and 

(1) Neptune. W. J. J. Leverrier published two reports (in 
1845 and 1846) on Neptune. The question as to whether 
he should receive sole credit for the discovery of this 
new planet was warmly discussed. It was even sugges- 
ted in France that his name be given to it. 

(2) Letter from Mrs. C. P. Brazee to W. A. Maddox, June 4, 
1924. The building stood in about the middle of the 
second block on North First Street. 


uncomfortable, and the sun came in through the uncurtained 
windows, causing much complaint. (1) Miss Sill, however, 
had unmeasured courage. She immediately opened a boardiijg 
house for scholars "from abroad "which her sistes Mrs.Hol- 
lister,came to Rockford to organize, ( 2 )and from the funds 
thus derived, she bought curtains and books. She prevailed 
upon the scholars to furnish desks. (3) So many were the 
students for whom accommodations must be furnished that 
neighbors took in some of the girls. C4) Miss Sill herself 
lived with Mrs. Emily Robinson, the mother of Mrs.xJS.P.Cat- 
lin. ?o some of the girls at least Mrs. Sarah Cook, who was 
the first ma tron( 1849-1 85 2) , served meals in the Seminary 
boarding house. Board at this time, an old newspaper 
clipping in the Scrap Book tells us, might have been had 
in"good private families from $1.00 to $1.50 a week." 
Those who wished to hoard themselves might obtain rooms 
very reasonably and furnish their own food, — Ha method 
less expensive and much in favor in some of the Eastern 
Seminaries. " 

Of the fifty-three scholars who were present that open- 
ing day,Mrs.E.P.Catlin and Caroline Potter Brazee,the youig- 
est graduate in the class of 18 55, afterwards a teacher in 
the Seminary (from 1 872-1 883) , are the only ones living. 
Though the school opened with "a (See next page) 

(1 )Mrs.E.P.Catlin. "~ 

(2)Mrs.E.L.Herrick. The house is now standing, and so far 

as I can ascertain, it is is at Z2J> North First 



(4 )Mr. E.L.Simpson, whose mother had several Seminary 

• * I 


Primary and higher department, the larger proportion of 
pupils" were children "under ten years." (1) Still Miss 
Sill cherished her ideal of a seminary. In her diary she 
says that she "today commenced school and laid the founda- 
tion of Rockford Female Seminary," and in her advertise- 
ment she stresses the fact that "it is designed to make 
this a permanent Institution , one in which the public may 
safely rely for the Complete English and Classical Educa- 
tion of Young Ladies." (2) 

The higher course which Miss Sill offered was "a sys- 
tematic English course as far as practicable, — pursued in 
three regular classes, after the pupil (had) completed the 
Elementary studies," The "Ornamental Branches and Modern 
Languages" were also taught, (3) 

The elementary course which preceded the higher, em- 
braced the usual elementary subjects, Mrs, Brazee her 
second year in the school began algebra. She remembers 
particularly one early text book which she thinks she had 
also in that year--Watts, On the Mind , too difficult a 
book for a child in her early teens. But this Spartan 
teacher rejoiced in what was difficult, and inured her 
students to arduous tasks. 

girls boarding with her, 

(1) Report appended to catalogue for 1860-61, p, 30, 

(2) Scrap Book, 

(3) Ibid. 


They studied "figures and the rudiments of grammar"in 
which the emphasis was upon corrective work. For example, 
they were taught to say T, Idid_it "rather than "I d one it." ( 1) 
Calisthenics "to the music of an old melodeon" gave many of 
the children joy. The exercise could not be wicked be- 
cause the melodeon could not be played fast. To Mrs. Call! n 

it was not so pleasant. So dearly did she love to dance 

that it was difficult for her to walk sedately afterwards. 

That the health of the students would be safe-guarded 
Miss Sill promised, as she promised the "discipline of the 
intellect, the regulation of the moral feelings yand the care, 
of the moral life. Wot only did she care for the health of 
her students, but she directed a great deal of attention to 
their appearance, constantly admonishing them and writing 
frequent letters to their parents. She "was a stickler, 
too f for fine manners, "and taught them to her charges by 
precept and example. (3) 

Every afternoon the whole school was "marshalled into "the 
big room to attend the closing exercises of the day, there- 
by fixing indelibly in their minds a remembrance of Miss 
Sill, reading the Scriptures, leading the singing, and ear- 
nestly praying for blessings upon the institution to 
which she had already consecrated her life. "(4) 

(1 )Mrs.E.P.Catlin. 
(2). Ibid. 

(3) Ibid. 

(4) Mrs. Carrie Spafford Brett. An old sketch of the Sem- 
inary recently loaned to me by her sister, Mrs. C.H. 


The charges for this instruction were unbelievably 
low, A clipping in the Scrap Book, announcing the open- 
ing, gives the following rates: tuition in the primary 
department $2.00 a term and $7.00 a year; in the junior 
class, S3. 00 and 811.00; in the middle class, $3.50 and 
$13.00, and in the senior class, $4.00 and $16.00. Mu- 
sic, painting, drawing, and French and German were extra 
at rates that ran from $2.00 and $6.00 per term and year 
to $8.00 and $30.00, the latter charge being for instruc- 
tion in piano. 

With Miss Sill enme Miss Hannah Richards who was in 
charge of the little girls and later more or less in 
charge of the domestic affairs. Miss Eliza Richards, 
her cousin, was already in Rockford. The three divided 
the work, Miss Sill of course in charge of the more ad- 
vanced work. (1) 

Within the year Miss Eliza became Mrs. Burden, of 
Dubuque, and was succeeded by her sister, Miss Malinda. 
Miss Sill gave her consent to Miss Eliza's marriage only 
upon one condition, and that was that "she would per- 
suade her younger sister, Malinda, to take her place." (2) 
Miss Malinda was young and pretty and charming, and was 
one of the belles in the community. Not only did she 
have a knack with children, but she had many ideas new 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick, Mrs. C. P. Brazee, 1855, Mrs. 

M. R. Hervey, and Beport appended to the catalogue or 
1860-61, p. 30. 

(2) Mrs. M. R. Hervey. 


to the section. She was in charge of the Floral Band. So 
popular was she, however, that within three years she went 
to Dubuque as Mrs.Hervey. ( 1 ) She died in Dubuque in the 
spring of 192% 

The accounts of the number of students that first year 
vary. That the school was well patronized from the begin- 
ning is certain. Miss Sill states in her diary that on "the 
second day she had sixty pupils. A newspaper clipping of 
the time (in the Scrap Book)places the number at upwards 
of seventy for the first term and two hundred forty for 
the first year, ninety-two of whom were boarding students. 
The primary department which made "quite as deep an im- 
pression for good upon the community as any other depart- 
ment , "usually numbered that first year from forty to fifijt 

The success of the enterprise even within the first 
three months "exceeded the most sanguine hopes of its 
warmest friends." This comment was made by the editor of 
the Rockford Fprum (August 29)in reporting the first ex- 
aminations which were held late in August, 1 849. ihe 
"classes in the upper departments , taught in the different 
subjects of classicd.1, mathematical and natural science, 
as well as music, and all the other arts which contribute 
to a polite and finished education evinced to the ut- 
most satisfaction of their examiners , the correctness and 
thoroughness of the instruction." And even the "little girls 
(1 )Mrs.C.P.Brazee. 


did admirably ." The essays read by various students gave 
evidence "that the fields of literauu e(had) not b^en 
gleaned in vain, or the mines of thought explored without 
finding a gem." The editor's only adverse criticism was 
of the "too great haste T? of one reader, which he"attributed 
to a slight embarrassment, having its origin in becoming 
modesty. " 

For the mus$e which "agreeably interspersed"the exer- 
cises of the aiternoon,he had the highest praise, especial- 
ly for those exercises 6f the primary department under the 
direction of Miss Eliza Richards, whose work showed that 
"those youngfimmortal minds were under the right sort of 
moral and mental culture." 

The Floral Band came in for further praise. Many of the 
letters read by them, when the age of the writers w^s con- 
sidered, "were really praiseworthy, whether regarded as spec- 
imens of literature or of correct sentiment and feeling." 
Especially delighted"!. was the writer with two "poetical col- 
loquies (one sung and the other spoken )by four bright-eyed 
little girls." "One was about the moon and the other about 
the angels who attend us." Unfortunately these collo- 
quies were not reported. 

The press accepted the school as The Rockford Female 
Seminary, "and pronounced it "an honor to the villuge"and 
deserving of the patronage it was receiving. 

A visitor to the school, probably late in this same 
year,"on the day ef the week set apart for exercises in 
vocal music, composition, reading, domestic sewing, col- 


loquial recitations or declamation, et cetera", reported 
that the recitations "were performed in a manner highly 
creditable to both teachers and pupils," About one hun- 
dred pupils were present. 

The enterprise was successful from other points of 
view. The personal influence of this young woman upon the 
community was by no means small. Her sincerity and her en- 
thusiasm were unbounded. Even "the children became im- 
pressed with her earnestness. They realized that they 
stood in the presence of a devout Christian woman. In 
those days a person direct from the East commanded espe- 
cial respect, . The fact that >this young woman came hundreds 
of miles to do good had its effect upon them, and they went 
to work with a will," (1) 

The co-operation of the village and the accomplish- 
ments of this first year must have been very gratifying 
to Miss Sill, Hers was no small task, — to set up a per- 
manent institution in this pioneer settlement. One school 
after another had been established in the community, strug- 
gled awhile, and quietly passed out of existence. In some 
cases, too, the teachers had been interested in their ?/ork 
and capable. Conditions had been too much for them. She, 
however, was endowed with qualities which enabled her to 
bring the Seminary safely through the most difficult times. 

(1) Scrap Book. Tribute of one of her first pupils in 


The Early Years of the Seminary, 
1850 - 1852 
The success of w Miss Sill f s School" in its first year, 
brought the community, it would seem, to accept it as the 
basis of Rockford Female Seminary, The patronage of the 
school was constantly increasing, the the buildings on North 
First Street were small and crowded. The Seminary could 
never become the permanent institution its friends hoped it 
would, under the then existing conditions. Affairs began 
to shape themselves, and plans were made for the future. On 
September 19, 1850, more than three years after the Seminary 
had been chartered, the Board had its first meeting. There 
were present the Rev. Aratus Kent, president of the Board 
from 1850 to his death in 1870; Rev. S. Peet, Rev. Dexter 
Clary, Rev. Aaron Chapin, Rev. R. M. Pearson, Messrs. E. 
H. Potter, L. G. Fisher, and Samuel Hinman, and Rev. J. D. 
Stevens. The other members were Gen. George Hickox, A. 
Raymond, and Wait Talcott. At the meeting they read and 
adopted the charter. (1) 

Financing the Seminary, 
With the Board acting, plans for a site and building 

began to be formulated and for the raising of money to se- 

ll) Records of the Board of Trustees, Sept. 19, 1850. 

Section 1 of the charter set the first meeting for the 
first Monday in June 1847. For copy of charter, see 
appendix, pp. 330-332. 


cure them. The subscriptions of 1847 were never re- 
deemed. Times which were especially hard were made even 
more difficult by the repeated failures of the "hydraulic 
works" to function properly. Mr. C. A. Huntington, in a 
letter to the Rockford Gazette, December 22, 1886 de- 

^^W— I ■■ ,i I^ W II ■>—■■■■ a^— fcw^i 

scribes that year (1847) most vividly. The summer and 
autumn were known as the "sickly season." Within three 
or four months there were fifty funerals in and around 
Rockford. There were in the village only about twelve 
hundred inhabitants. ( 1) 

Wheat was the one cash article. Sometimes a farmer 
got only forty cents a bushel. And he had had a hard 
week's work, as his grain often had to be drawn one hun- 
dred miles by a team. "Pat horses,, fat cattle, fat pigs 
and poultry abounded," but there v/as no money. "Still 
the country was full of hope, in prospect of the good 
time coming, when the railroad would bring them (the 
people of Rockford and vicinity) into connection with the 
living world, and enrich them by giving value to land and 
its production. "(2) 

By 1850 conditions, while they were none too good, 
had improved. The first subscription for the Seminary, 
dated 1850, totalled $3915. There were eighty-3ix sub- 
subscribers, and the amounts ranged from $5 to $400. 

(1) Rockford Forum, Mar. 25, 1856. 

(2) Mr. C. A. Huntington. 


There were many gifts of $25, $30, and $50, several for 
$100, and one for $200. As all were checked and as re- 
ceipts for many are recorded, it is to be supposed that 
the entire amount, or nearly all, was collected. (1) 

It was at this time, when such strenuous efforts 
were being made to secure $5,000 for a building that the 
ladies of Rockford came forward and offered to donate the 
site. A small group of women were meeting one Thursday 
afternoon when they decided to raise the thousand dollars 
necessary. By Monday noon it was pledged. (2) To pledge 
was one thing, however; to procure the money another. All 
sorts of sacrifices were made to raise the sum. The old 
bonnet must be made to do another season; daughters frock, 
so many times made over, must be renovated again. Enter- 
tainments were given for which every one worked. 

Mrs. Katherine Keeler tells of one of these enter- 
tainments given in the old building, probably in 1850 or 
1851. Mrs. Keeler does not remember the exact date. 

"The ugly old assembly room was converted into 
a perfect bower of bloom under the artistic hands of 
teachers and pup:' Is. All was lovely save the bare 
refreshments tables. Suddenly some one bethought 
herself of Mrs. Church f s lovely china. A part of 
her wedding outfit, it had taken the long journey 
West by land and water of nearly a thousand miles 
without a crack. How could she trust it to the hands 
of giggling girls and careless young men? 3ut the 
festival must be a success, and so she heroically 
saw it depart and tremblingly awaited results. 

(1) Record of subscriptions in an old book in Rockford 

(2) Rockford Register , May 30, 1874. 


"The entertainment was over, the china safe. 
All were gone save Miss Hannah Richards, who saw 
it, and knowing how precious it was, resolved to 
return it to its owner before she slept. Care- 
fully she piled it on a salver. Cautiously she 
tripped with her load across the street. The 
house was dark, the family in bed. But what of 
that? The pantry window was open, and a table 
always stood beneath it. Carefully she stole 
around, slipped the silver in — but the table 
wasn't there ! M (1) 

Thus by dint of great effort and sacrifice, the money 
was raised, and the site of eight acres which has been 
little extended since, on the east bank of the rivep, was 
bought from Buell G. Wheeler, October 22, 1850, for the 
sum of $550.(2) The steep bluffs descended to the water's 
edge, and were covered with grass and bushes and trees, 
particularly red cedars. Just below, where the river 
curves and broadens it is dotted with little islands. It 
was a secluded spot, too, though it was just below the 
ford (at which the present dam is built) where emigrants 
going westward crossed with their covered wagons. Just 
opposite on a little creek named for Germanicus Kent, was 
a small settlement ,— a few houses and several years later, 
a flour mill owned by James B. Agard.(3) 

The deed to this land*- and the charter, remained in 
the Spafford family until 1899 when they were given to 
the college. Mr. Charles Spafford was county recorder at 

(1) Paper read at Pounder's Day, June 11, 1891, lent to 
me by Mrs. Katherine Church Keeler. 

(2) Copy of deed given to me by J. A. Bowman, present 
Recorder of Deed® of Winnebago County, 111. 

(3) Mrs. Myrta Agard bartlett, ±878-1882. 
* For copy of deed, see appendix, p.329« 


the time of the purchase of the site and a trustee of 

( 1) 

the Seminary in the early f 50 f s. Unfortunately both 
have been lost. 

On Christmas day, 1850, at the second meeting of 
the Board the fundamental principles governing the 
Seminary were discussed and adopted. It was at this 
meeting, too, that Miss Sill's plan for preparatory studies 
was adopted, a really official recognition of her school 
as the basis of Rockford Female Seminary. The course to 
be pursued in the Seminary was referred to the Executive 
Committee(2 ) , records of whose early meetings seem not 
to be extant. 

Principles governing the Seminary. 
These principles are sufficiently interesting and 
important to be related in full. They are still funda- 
mentally sound, though years have passed, and fashions 
have changed in education as in every thing else. 

I. "The moral and religious influence of the in- 
stitution shall be regarded as of prime importance 
and no effort shall be spared to make this in- 
fluence pure, elevated and efficient. But, while 
the control and responsibilities of the Seminary 
are of necessity in the hands of those who are of 
one faith as Presbyterians and Congregationalists, 
the Trustees shall aim to guard against a sectarian 
spirit and to conduct this institution upon liberal 
catholic principles. 

(1) Mrs. C. H. Godfrey, Music Department, 18V9. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, Dec. 25, 1850. 


II . "The standard of mental culture shall be set 
and maintained at the highest practical point. 
Provision shall be made for thorough instruction 
in the solid and higher branches of learning, and 
in due proportion for imparting those accomplish- 
ments which adorn and grace the feminine mind. 

It shall be an especial aim of the institution to 
secure that discipline of mind which will develop 
all its capacities in a balanced purport, adapted 
to their practical application in the active ser- 
vice of life. To secure this elementary character 
to the Seminary a course covering (three)* years 
shall be adopted, and none shall be received as 
pup5.1s under (15)*- years of age or who have not 
made some proficiency in the elementary branches 
of knowledge, and a corresponding increase of age 
and attainment shall be, as a general rule, neces- 
sary to advanced standing. 

III. "To secure that instruction of the pupils in 
domestic duties and the useful arts which is in- 
dispensable to the completeness of feminine edu- 
cation, provisions shall be made uniting as many 
as possible in connection with the teachers in 
one family, the domestic service of which shall 
be chiefly performed by the pupils under a 
regular system. To promote this as well as the 
other objects contemplated, it is esteemed 
desirable that a large proportion of the pupils 
have their home in the institution. 

IV . "The whole economy of the Seminary shall be 
so arranged as to reduce the expense of education 
to the lowest point compatible with the maintenance 
of its elevated character. It shall be the aim 
of the Trustees to bring the advantages of the in- 
stitution within the reach of all classes in the 
community around. To aid in the accomplishment of 
this, efforts shall be made to secure endowments, 
at home and abroad. 

U "As soon as the way shall be opened for a full 
organization of the Seminary, a Principal and in- 
structors shall be appointed who shall constitute 
the Faculty and to whom shall be committed the 
government and instruction of the institution sub- 
ject to the regulations and approval of the Board 
of Trustees. "(1) 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, Dec. 25, 1850. 
* Blanks filled in by the Executive Committee. 


This organization, however, was not effected until 
1852, and nearly two years elapsed between the meetings 
of the Board and the completion of plans for the first 
building and the laying of the cornerstone. In the 
meantime the school, greatly handicapped by crowded 
conditions and lack of equipment, labored on. Classes 
and school exhibits, and public examinations were held. 

School exhibits. 
School exhibits in those days were great events, 
and an immense amount of time and labor were expended to 
plan something unique and interesting which was also 
instructive. To Mrs. Keeler again, I am indebted for the 
following account: 

"One ambitious performance has been indelibly 
impressed upon my memory. It was nothing more nor 
less than a representation of the solar system by 
bodies that revolved about the sun upon two legs. 
The stage had to be somewhat pieced out to enable 
the planets to revolve at all about the sun, to say 
nothing of in their respective orbits, for they 
were all there—Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, while !_, the tiniest of the pri- 
mary scholars,appeared as one of the satellites of 
Hershel, otherwise Uranus. Over and over again I 
was put through my lesson 

! Six moons round Hershel rove, in perfect 

orbit bound, ! 
et cetera. It was predicted by my father that in- 
stead of circling round the planet as a good little 
satellite should, I would spoil all by rushing 
off stage and into my mother's arms. But Miss 
Sill believed in me, and the solar system didn't 
go to pieces through any fault of mine." 

The examinations, which were held twice a year, in 

February and June, were oral and of three days 1 duration. 

The board of examiners was composed of prominent and 


learned men from the town. They heard the exercises, 
and submitted a lengthy and detailed report, the full ac- 
count of which appeared in the newspapers . (1) 

By February of 1851 so great had the interest in the 
exercises become that "throngs of visitors" were "in con- 
stant attendance," and "the house was so crowded as to be 
oppressive, the attendants being so eager to see and hear, 
as to be even desperate and, in some instances, uncivil 
and needlessly indecorous, somewhat an impediment to the 
proceedings, a disturbance to others, and a reproach to 
themselves ."(2) 

Pupils were examined in the various subjects, the 
exercises "being agreeably interspersed with music" (some- 
times on the melodeon) and ending with the "colloquy" 
which was the piece de resistance , as it were. That of 
1852 as described was a most elaborate affair. The sub- 
ject of it was: "The v/orld as it is, and will be, or a 
contest between Truth and Falsehood." Fifteen traits of 
character v/ere represented by fifteen young ladies: Piety, 
Truth, Philanthropy, Freedom, Amiability, Decision, False- 
hood, Fickleness, Distrust, Ignorance, .Mirthfulness, 
Avarice, Pride, Tyranny, and Misery. Each discoursed at 
length, setting forth the merits or evils of the trait 

(1) See appendix, pp. 386-387. 
(?) Scrap Book. 


of character she represented. Of course it is urmeces- 
sary to say that good triumphed. Unfortunately this col- 
loquy seems not to be extant; nor was I able to find a 
complete account of any other colloquy. 

Of the performance the press spoke in most elaborate 

"it chained the attention of the crowded and 
comfortless audience for more than an hour, and 
held it in profound silence. No excellence of 
human virtue, or deformity of human weakness or 
wickedness; no passion of soul or proud achievment 
of intellect, but was here represented to the life. 
Such familiarity with human nature, and with the 
thoughts and dialect of human philosophy; such 
lofty sentiments couched in language so chaste ; so 
classical, so eloquent, and so original, -ere cer- 
tainly unexpected in pupils of a school whose 
foundation is scarcely laid, and whose name has 
scarcely begun to be known as an institution." ( l) 

Equally fluent praise was accorded the young author 

of the piece. 

The criticism of one group of examiners, Mr. Q. A. 

is interesting 

Huntington, Rev. L. Porter, and Rev. H. M. Goodwin, /in 
revealing their attitude and, flowery as it is, in sug- 
gesting also the high quality of the instruction: 

"it is obvious here that no divorce is re- 
cognized between the knowledge of God, and the 
knowledge of his works, between the cultivation of 
the intellect and the cultivation of the heart. 
And nowhere did this last feature of the school 
appear more obvious than in the primary department: 
in the beautiful songs there so beautifully sung, 
in the reading and recitations and finally in the 
resolving of the whole into a miniature solar sys- 
tem,* each little mass representing some one of the 
heavenly bodies performing its revolution and re- 

(1) Scrap book. 

* It is doubtless this exercise which Mrs. Keeler 


peating, or rather chanting, as she moved, its 
history, making it audible." (1) 

Methods of teaching. 
Their comment (in the same report) upon the methods 
of teaching is as interesting. They stress the fact that 
these pupils have been trained to think rather than 
"taken through a given number of text books." The 
examinations were so planned that students had to apply 
what they learned. There was no attempt to conceal 
"absolute imperfections behind unreal accomplishments." 
This group of teachers they pronounced "in point of 
scholarship, aptness for teaching, zeal and fidelity" as 

"thoroughly furnished to the important work unto which 

( ) 
they (were) called." The testimony on this last point 

of one contemporary teacher of another and of students 

of the time, would bear out these gentlemen. 

The oral examinations were continued for many years, 

and were conducted along similar lines. The last 

exercises to be held in the old building were those of 

February, 1853. 

Curriculum , 
As there was no printed catalogue until 1854, it is 
possible only to reconstruct the curriculum of the pre- 
vious years from fragments. 

(1) Rockford Forum, Apr. 14, 1852. 


We know from the records of the Board of Trustees 
that in 1851 a preparatory course was established, and 
the course of study, presumably the Seminary course, was 
left with Miss Sill and the Executive Committee. 
Examinations of candidates for the regular courses were 
to be conducted by the Board of Instruction. ( 1) The re- 
port appended to the catalogue of 1860-1861, prepared 
presumably by Miss Sill, states that "a full Preparatory 
and College course of study was adopted" in this year. 
Fifteen were "entered upon this course, T ? and five were 
graduated in the first class, 1854. 

Mrs. E. L. Herrick, who taught arithmetic, algebra, 
geometry, and trigonometry, from 1852 to 1855, thinks 
that the course varied little during those years from 
the course as set forth in the catalogue of 1854.(2) 

We know from the reports of the examinations that 
students were examined in English grammar, United States 
history, Watts on the Mind, ancient geography, rhetoric, 
French history, the science of government, English his- 
tory, "intellectual arithmetic " (oral arithmetic), writ- 
ten arithmetic, Latin grammar, Cornelius Ijepos, and al- 
gebra. From the earliest days music and painting were 
taught. Before there was a regular art teacher Mrs. 
Salmon P. Weldon, of Freeport, came in to give instruc - 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, Apr. 9, 1851. This 
course was outlined in File 1, which, so far as I 
know, is not extant. 

(2) See Appendix, photostat of course of studies 1854- 
1855, p. 347. 


tion when she was needed. In the very early days Miss 
Eliza Richards taught music, (1) 

In the year 1852-1853, the last year on North 
First Street, there were eight teachers, including Miss 
Sill: Miss Lucy D. Jones, of Spencer, Massachusetts, 
afterwards Mrs. E. L. Herrick; Miss Harriet A. Stewart, 
of Lockport, New York; Miss Malinda Richards, of Ben- 
nington, New York, afterwards Mrs. William H. Hervey, 
of Dubuque, Iowa; Miss Mary A. Holt, of Madison, Wis- 


consin; Miss Prances M. Avery, of Belvidere, Miss Mary 
A. Miles, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who came through 
Mrs. Hiram Waldo and v/as a cousin of President Chapin , 
of Beloit, and Miss Catharine R. Moseley, of Byron. (2) 
Miss Hannah Richards, who had come with Miss Sill, was 
an assistant in the culinary department. 

The site purchased and funds available for the new 
building, conditions for the Seminary seemed more hope- 
ful. Within an incredibly short space of time "Miss 
Sill's School" had become an important factor in the life 
of the community, and v/as exerting its influence in many 
directions. It was the center of the social life of the 
village. No function v/as complete without its quota 
from the Seminary. The girls and faculty in large num- 
bers graced the audiences of the best public entertainments 

and lectures. Many exercises at the Seminary were 

(1) Mrs. Julia Warren. 

(2) List of teachers appended to catalogue of 1860-1861. 

10 7 

open to the townspeople. Numbers of desirable citizens 
were drawn to the region because of the presence of the 
institution. Its influence since the beginning has 
been self -perpetuating through the many marriages of its 
students and faculty to town men, for they, as well as 
the Beloit students, appreciated the qualities of these 
young women for successful wife-and motherhood. Rock- 
ford gave lioerally to the Seminary; on the other hand 
the Seminary for more than seventy years, has been a 
quickening and refining influence in the community. It 
has stood for the finest in academic attainments, and 
moral and spiritual values. 



The New Seminary, 1852 to 1861 

In 1852 Rockford began to show many si fe ns of in- 
creasing prosperity. The livery stables and the team- 
sters were unable to furnish transportation westward for 
the groups of travellers coming into Cherry Valley, (some 
eight miJes east of Rockford). (The Galena and Chicago 
Union Railroad had been extended that far.) On one train 
over one hundred emigrants were unable to get conveyances 
to take them to Iowa and Minnesota. Besides private con- 
veyances, there were six of Prink and Walker f s stages 
running v/est. The highway, passing through Rockford, 
wrought much trade to the village from emigrants on their 
way to the west. 

Many new stores v/ere being built, and "business of 
all kinds" was increasing so rapidly as to give "the lie 
to the evil predictions that the railroad would destroy 
the business of the towns on its route.' 1 There was talk 
of railroad connections to Beloit and Rock Island. 
"Buildings of all kinds, — frame, brick, and stone," v/ere 
being erected "on both sides of the river" and "on all 
sides." Multitudes of shanties sprang up.(l) 

This era of prosperity no doubt accelerated the plans 
for the Seminary building, though the project was by no 
means easy of achievment. 

In April of 1851, the Executive Committee of the 

(1) Rockford Forum, May 19, 1852. 


Board of Trustees, had oeen directed"to mature and carry- 
out a plan of a building for the Seminary to be about 
sixty-five by forty feet, of three stories, and to cost 

not exceeding $8, 000, # to comprise rooms for lodging and 

A (1) 

domestic purposes and necessary temporary public rooms." 

On July 15, 185 2, the cornerstone of this building ^^ 

was laid by the Rev.Aratus Kent, "that our daughters 

may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of 

a palace." (2) 

(1) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Apr. (?) , 1851 . 

(2) Miss Sill ! s favorite motto. 

# Itemized cost made by John Beattie. Document in col- 
lege safe called for an outlay of $7,927,35. 

*# This building now called Middle Hall, was originally 
called Chapel Hall. For this account of the dedica- 
tion I am indebted to Mrs.C.P.Brazee and the Rock - 
ford Forum for July , 21 , 1854. 

"It was a warm but lovely day. The school, headed 
by the Rockford Band, marched from the old building. 
It was a beautiful sight, and there was a large au- 

The exercises, which were simple and dignified, 
but fcather long, opened with a prayer by the Rev. Mr. 
Savage. Then the Rev. Dexter Clary gave a summary of 
the organization and "subsequent deliberations of the 

After the band had played a selection, Prof • 
Joseph Emerson, of Beloit, "spoke without premedita- 
tion and desired that the simplicity of his thoughts 
might chime with the better feelings of his audience. 
That the sentiments of all hearts toward the comple- 
tions of this structure might be breathed in one uni- 
ted melody, which would avail more in rearing these 
walls than the lyre of Ampheon in constructing the 
walls of Thebes." 

He was followed by Mr. Brewster and by PresChapin, 
of Beloit, who made "some very extended remarks "on 
education and on the relationship of the Seminary 
and the (Beloit )College. 


After an interlude by the band the Rev. Aratus Kent, 
with the help of the builder laid the corner stone, 
wherein were deposited 

"circular and charter of Rockford Female Seminary, 
"charter of the City of Rockford; last week's Demo - 
crat and Forum ; Chicago Daily Journal and Tribune ; 
a 12 cent, 1 cent and 3 cent piece; tne Bible ; a~~ 
Temperance medal by a volunteer lad; circular and 
order of co^niencement exercises of Beloit College 
for 1852; circular of the Wisconsin and Illinois 
Education Society." 

( What the purpose in including all the various articles 
was, I do not quite see. As the original charter was in 
the possession of the college until some fourteen or 
fifteen years ago, the document deposited must have been 
a copy. The statement that the chart r of the city was 
deposited is, undoubtedly a misstatement, it, too, surely 
was a copy. ) 

The exercises were closed with prayer by the Rev. Mr. 


On this same day the Board of Trustees*- made the first 
formal appointment to the faculty: they unanimously elec- 
ted Miss Sill principal at a salary of "Two hundred dol- 
lars per Annum and her maintenance in the Institution."(l) 
She had proved to the eagerly alert community that she had 
the ability, energy, and courage to carry on the perilous 
enterprise, for by no means was its success assured. 

As "the darkest time is just before day," so the 
guardians of the new Seminary found the time before the 
building was finished a particularly black time. Work 
went on slowly, and money came in still more slowly. 
That the inward grov/th was strong and healthy, was evi- 
denced by the rapid increase in the number of students and 

by their meritorious academic performances. But the means 
for sustaining this grov/th were scant, and the resources 
of Rockford were exhausted. All who could and would give, 
had given to the limit of their capacity. Others were un- 
willing to give. 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, July 15, 1852. 
# There seems to be a conflict of opinion as to the 

date when the Board of Trustees became separate from 
that of Beloit College. There is no record of the 
separation in the minutes of the meetings of the Board. 
The date is commonly set as 1850. The Rockford 
Seminary Magazine (Jan. 1873, p. 3) sets it as July 15, 
1852 . It would seem from a perusal of the list of 
trustees that 1850 is a more likely date: four mem- 
bers of the Board, members, too, of the Beloit board, — 
Rev.Plavel Bascom,Rev.C.Waterbury, CM. Goodsell, 
Charles Hempstead, — are recorded as being elected 
and resigning in that year. For many years, however, 
members served on both boards. 


The newspapers of the day set forth a plea for sup- 
port, based not upon the chance of financial returns, but 
upon the spiritual influence on the prosperity of the 

"it is not expected that this Institution is to 
develop the business resources of the city and the 
surrounding country; but it is, in a measure, to up- 
hold and make useful the latent social and moral 
character of this community. Its influence is now 
felt not only here , but it is rapidly extending far 
and wide. Such a school should be encouraged and 

stimulated by the presence of their friends.- 

Upon the friends of Rockford particularly rests 
the responsibility of the prosperity and usefulness 
of this Seminary. "(1) 

Thus early was the ever-recurring question raised: What 

does the institution mean to the city? There was on the 

part of the trustees and other friends a deep realization 

of the importance of the enterprise. No sacrifice was too 

great. When the money could be raised in other way, the 

Board was authorized (at two different times) to borrow 

money on the homes of the trustees. (2) Further than this 

(1) Rock River Democrat , Feb. 22, 1853; Rockford Forum Feb. 
23, 1853. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees: July 15, 1855 . 

"Resolved: That the Executive Committee be authorized 
to borrow the sum of Three Thousand Dollars for a time, 
not exceeding ten per cent per annum; and that the 
President and Secretary of the Board are hereby author- 
ized to execute a Bond and Mortgage on the lands and 
Tenements of the Board of Trustees to secure the pay- 
ment of said loan." 
Records of the Board of Trustees, July 15, 1855. 

"Resolved: That the President and Secretary of the Board 
be authorized to execute a mortgage upon the Real Es- 
tate of the Board of Trustees to secure the payment of 
the loans heretofore authorized to be made." 


the records are silent. Tradition tells us that it was in 
the formative period that three of the trustees, Charles 
Spafford, E. H. Potter, and Dr. Lucius Clark, mortgaged 
their homes, and mentions only one such occasion. It 
would seem that it was in 1853. The newspapers speak of 
the difficulties encountered then. Moreover, while the 
building was in a partial state of completion at the an- 
niversary period in 1853, it* was not equipped or fur- 
nished. (1) It is highly probable that money was raised 
in this way to prepare it for occupancy in the autumn. 

Just as silent as are the records were those heroic 
men and women. It was not until many years after the 
death of her parents that a daughter(2) of one of them 
heard the story from a friend. She had never even heard 
the episode mentioned by her father and mother. The wives 
and children — even the smallest children— were obliged to 
sign the papers. It was a courageous and far-sighted act 

on the part of the parents. Their homes had been gained 
at no small cost. There were families for whom they must 
provide, and yet this ideal was one for which the trustees 
and their wives were ready to risk even the safety of 
those families. 

Thus Miss Sill received support from her Board of 
Trustees, far beyond their duty. 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Mr3. C. H. Godfrey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Spafford. Mrs. Godfrey told me the story. Mrs. Brazee 
told it to her some years ago. 


The anniversary exercises of 1853 were held in the 
chapel of the new building(l), July 14.. (2). The halls 
were still littered with carpenters 1 benches and tools, 
sav/dust and shavings. The chapel which had been decorated 
by the young men of the town, was crowded. (3) The Rev. 
Mr. Waterman, of Galena, delivered the address. In the 
evening there was a concert to which an admission of 
twenty five cents was charged. The proceeds, $70, went 
toward furnishing the rooms. (4) 

Of this first public exhibition in the new building, 
the newspapers, not only those of Rockford but also two 
in Chicago, speak in a most commendatory fashion. The 
Rock River Democrat for July 19, 1853, quotes Mr. Bross 
of the Chicago Democratic Press as saying that he was 
"agreeably surprised at the number of pupils and the 
high degree of mental culture to which they had attained.' 1 
He rejoices that "we have a Female School in this part of 
the state which we should be proud to compare with the 
best Eastern Female Seminaries." The Chicago Congre- 
gational Herald speaks in equally laudatory terms, and 

(1) The first building, until the east wing was erected 
in 1867, was called Chapel Hall. The east wing, be- 
fore its erection, was conr only spoken of as Anniver- 
sary Hall because it was planned to hold the "anni- 
versary" ( commencement ) exercises in the chapel which 

it would contain. The original building is now called 
Middle, the east wing, Chapel „ and the west wing, Linden. 

(2) Rockford Forum, July 20, 1853. 

(3) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(4) Rockford Forum, July 20, 1853. 


tells us that the school had five assistants, a primary 

department of fifty children, and a collegiate department 

with one hundred students, 

"We have spoken of the Beloit commencement, and 
design now to describe the other. And we will say 
at the outset, that the latter was not a whit be- 
hind the former in interest and in the display of 
talent on the part of the pupils; in fact we must 
say it was superior. We have never attended simi- 
lar exercises which gave more evidence of thorough 
training or natural talents, and the same remark 
was made by others of extensive acquaintance with 
eastern female institutions of learning. We suppose 
it will be regarded incredible at the East that we 
have such schools of learning at the West, but 
this will bear comparison with those of New England." 

The visitor was also impressed by the "strong re- 
ligious influence exerted upon the pupils," and makes men- 
tion of it. 

. "The accomplished Principal is devoted to her 
work, but does not forget that the heart demands 
care as well as the head and that the formation 
of a correct moral character is the first object 
of attention. As a consequence there have been 

numerous conversions during the year -and anxious 

inquiries among the pupils, v/hile there was no 
special interest in the village. Of the hundred in 
the higher department, all but eight or ten left 
at the close of the term as professed Christians," (1) 

An editorial in the Rockford Forum, for July 6, 1853, 

urges strangers to attend these exercises and see what is 

being done. It states that the institution is becoming 

abroad, and that all that is necessary to insure its suc- 
cess is more financial aid. Money,— the ever-recurring 

(1) Reprinted in the Rock River Democrat, Aug. 2, 1853. 


plea for money I Yet despite the fact that every cent was 
being used as quickly as it came in, the trustees fixed the 
endowment of professorships at $5000 each. A building 
barely completed and not yet furnished, urgent need for 
another, and yet they looked to the securing of professor- 
ships. (1) 

Life in the new building* 
Even after the nev/ seminary building was opened, 
the discomforts of living were great. It was of course 
no great hardship to live in uncarpeted rooms heated by 
small stoves. Roommates, the catalogue of 1854 tells us, 
could together carpet their rooms. Neither was it a 
hardship to bring in one's own wood, or at ni L; ht one's 
own white pitcher of water from the well. Heating plants 
and running water were unknown even to the girls who came 
to the Seminary many years later. It was the greatly 
crowded conditions and the poor food which were most dif- 
ficult. In the fall that Linden was opened the day stu- 
dents were studying in the basement, (2) and one room was 
occupied by seven students. Mrs. Warren, who was then the 
youngest child in the Seminary, slept here in a trundle 
bed. (3) In many cases four were assigned to a room. Mrs. 
Herrick, Miss Sill, and two other teachers slept in a small 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 14, 1853. 

(2) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. 

(3) Mrs. Julia Warren. 


room now occupied by the post office. In the next room 
a girl began to practice on the piano at six o ! clock in 
the morning. When Mrs. Herri ck and Miss Sill moved to 
the room now used as a student parlor, they felt they 
were luxuriously situated. Under these conditions Miss Sill 
kept her records and carried on a voluminous correspondence 
well into the night. (1) Mrs. Herrick (Miss Jones) tells 
of retreating into a small dark closet under the stairs 
when she wanted to be alone and of hearing Miss Sill pass, 
calling her and asking if any one knew where Miss Jones 
was. It was the only place in the Seminary where she 
could have any privacy. 

These rooms, many of them small and poorly venti- 
lated, all poorly lighted by lard lamps, worked actual 
hardships. The nerves of the students, as well as their 
health, suffered. They often had spasms, and there was 
much illness. It is surprising there was not more. (2) 

When Miss Sill went East in 1853, she left Mrs. Her- 
rick in charge of the Seminary. One afternoon during Miss 
Sill f s absence, a young woman in the middle class was 
taken ill. As she was occupying a room with three other 
students Mrs. Herrick took her into her own room. The 
next morning the doctor pronounced the illness small-pox, 

a severe case. There were eighty in the building, and of 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Ibid. 


course all were vaccinated, though they were not quaran- 
tined. Fortunately the disease did not spreadjthere 
were no other cases. The girls met the situation with 
the characteristic optimism of youth, and made verses on 
it, ending each stanza with the line, 

"All is safe with vaccination." 

Added to the trials of congestion was the ever con- 
stant fear of fire. On several occasions there were files, 

once in the laundry, another time in Chapel Hall. Fortu- 
nately they were put out before serious damage was done. 
The food was very poor and poorly cooked. All the 
cooking was done on a small wood stove in the basement, 
preparaxions for breakfast were begun very early, and as 
the buckwheat cakes were made, they were put into a huge 
dish pan. The girls who get the bottom ones had cold 
soggy ekes. The other meals were of necessity not 
liberal. (1) 

The work of the institution was done largely by 
the students, each of whom devoted about an hour a day 

to her household duties, a"portion of time so small 

as not to retard porgress in study, "the catalogue of 
1854-1855 tells us. On the contrary, it was felt that 
the exercise had a "healthful and invigorating influ- 
ence"and aided"in symmetrically developing character, by 
keeping the scholar in the home sphere, and preparing her 
for the practical duties of life. "Several "large fleshy 
(1 ) Mrs.E.L.Herrick. 


women" who were very strong did the cooking and the heav- 
iest work.(l) 

Progress of the work. 
Despite these physical difficulties, life was going 
steadily on. Nothing was allowed to interfere with the 
intellectual progress of the school. Applications for 
admission poured in, and students were continually turned 
away for lack of room. It soon became apparent that un- 
less the resources of the school were immediately in- 
creased the enterprise would come to a standstill. It 
was not possible then, any more than it is possible now, 
to make the charges to students large enough to cover the 
cost of their tuition and to provide for new buildings 
and equipment. When it was evident that further help 
could not be expected from the city, Miss Sill decided 
to appeal to the East for aid. Her trip East in Decem- 
ber, 1853, had a double purpose, — to secure funds and to 
recuperate: her health had been seriously undermined by 
the strain of overwork. She visited Boston and other 
centers of wealth, and came back in the summer of 1854, 
with $5,000.(2) Immediately work was begun on Linden. 
It, too, was erected slowly and with great difficulty, and 

(1) Mrs. H. W. Kimball, a student in the late fifties 

(2) Memorial Volume, p. 22. 


again money was borrowed to finish it.(l) 

There were in the institution, in 1853, one hundred 
in the collegiate course, divided into three classes. 
Two of these students were over thirty, One had taught 
three years "before coming to the Seminary. The influence 
of these older women (and there were many of them in the 
Seminary) upon the younger students was profound. They 
emphasized the seriousness of the situation. Then, too, 
they often took a personal interest in the younger girls. (2) 
Mrs. Brazee, a member of 1855 and the youngest girl in 
her class, tells of finding in her books slips with verses, 
bits of prose, Biblical selections, placed there by 
a© older Student. In this, and in various other ways, 
she showed her interest in the child, and influenced her. 
In July of 1854 the first class, seven in number, was 
graduated. Among these first graduates was Mrs. Adeline 
Potter Lathrop, the daughter of E. E. Potter, one of 
the incorporators and a member of the first Board of the 
Seminary. She was the first president of the alumnae as- 
sociation and president again in 1884. Then there was 
Mrs. Abby Palmer Buckbee, whose contributions to various 

literary publications were varied and numerous. (5) Mrs. 

( 1) Records of the Board of Trustees: The building of 
Linden was authorized by the Board June 21,1854, and the 
plans of Mr. John Milvain adopted, subject to such modi- 
fications as the Executive Committee thought necessary, 
The Board was authorized to borrow up to $5,000, if 
necessary, to complete the building and furnish it. The 
location, on the west side of Middle," so as to have the 
line of buildings front north, according to the origi- 
nal design of the building, "was decided upon July 14,1854. 

(2) Mrs. C. P. Brazee. 

(3) Jubilee Book ; p. 29. 


Marion Silsby Walker, Mrs. Abby Spare Mead, Mrs. Louise 
Farnham Kent, all were active in the life of their com- 
munities. They reared families, taught, did W.C.T.U. work, 
club work of various kinds, were active in missionary and 
church circles, and in social affairs. (1) 

This class, too, to the great satisfaction of Miss 
Sill, sent forth a missionary. It was a coincidence that 
her first name was the same as that of Miss Sill. Miss 
Anna Allen came to the Seminary after having taught several 
years. When she finished, she was over thirty. Aside 
from being Rockford's first missionary and a member- of her 
first class, there is another distinction which belongs to 
Miss Allen, --she was the first bride of her class. She 
was married in the chapel (now the library) the night of 
graduation, July 13, 1854, to Kev. P. Arthur Douglas, of 
the Baptist Missionary Union of Boston, who was preparing 
to sail for India in October. The reminiscences of the 
wedding and its sequel are delightful. (2) 

(1) Jubilee Book, p. 29. 

(2) For the story of Miss Allen's wedding I am indebted 
to Mrs. Herrick, Mrs. Warren, and the Jubilee Book , 
p. 29. 

Every one was a little flustered, and somewhat 
dismayed at the thought of the bride going so far 
from home. A member of the faculty found a group 
of girls quietly weeping in a corner. "There, there, 
girls. Stop crying. You know she f s so frail that 
when the Board in Boston sees her, they'll never 
let her go to India." And she set them at their 
tasks. But the Board did not judge Mrs. Douglas 
too frail. She sailed with her husband in October, 
and remained in India for fifteen years. There in 


The anniversary of 1854 was much like those of pre- 
ceding years. Its special significance lay in the fact 
that the first collegiate class was graduated. The chapel 
was adorned, as was customary, with pictures and flowers 
and mottoes, among them being the following: 

"The liberal diviseth liberal things," 
"That our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished 
after the similitude of a palace *" 
"Science and Reli fe ion." 
"Our Field the World." 
"Altus etiam Alterior." (1) 

There were the usual addresses and compositions, the 
usual interested audience, "but the chief charm was that 
host of daughters of beauty and their galaxy of laughing 
eyes. "(2) Prof. Joseph Emerson, of Beloit, gave the ad- 
dress, and Miss Adeline Potter, the valedictory, a frag- 
ment of which is emoted below: 

"They (the founders) saw the daughter of the 

prairied '.'est thirsting, thirsting for cooling 

•aughts from learning's spring, — then their hearts 
were moved with true compassion, and they soon un- 
sealed this crystal fountain. We have cuaffed the 
soul -invigorating cup, as we took it dripping from 

the course of the years she reared a family of nine, 
and she became the grandmother of nineteen. V/hen she 
returned from India, she became the^Honorable Director 
of the Long Island Foreign Missionary Society, "in which 
capacity she served for some years. She lived to come 
back with her six classmates to their golden reunion in 
1904, a truly memorable occasion. Hot often, surely, 
does it ha>>pen that every member of a first graduating 
class of an institution returns to the fiftieth reunion. 

(1) The earlier graduates often speak of these mottoes. 

(2) Scrap Book. Account of visitor from Beloit. 


the sparkling waters, --and often as we drank, we 
thanked the givers of the blessing; --but today 
our hearts are welling up anew with gratitude, and 
our souls are full, too full <3f thankfulness, to 
express the half we feel. Yet their memory will 
be held with the unforgotten treasures of the 

The Seminary had in this year of 1854-1855, 253 
students, distributed as follows: senior class 10; 
middle class, 22; junior class, 30; preparatory depart- 
ment, 60, and normal and English department, 131. They 
came from a widely distributed area, --Illinois, Wiscon- 
sin, New York, Arkansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachu- 
setts, and Iowa. 

Collegiate students were enrolled in the three re- 
gular classes, --the junior, middle, and senior, and the 
work was organized into "departments of study, as Mental 
and Moral Philosophy, History and Belles Lettres, 
Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and the languages." In 
addition there were a preparatory and a normal and 
English department.-"- 

In connection with the last named department, a 
class was organized in the fall and winter terms to re- 
view the "Elementary Branches and also to give instruc- 
tion- as to the best method of Teaching and Government." 

(1) Quoted from the original document. See appendix 

p. 388, for complete address. 
* No course of study was outlined at this time for 
the normal students. 


There was, too, a fourth-year class for those qualified 

and desirous of going further. These students were called 
"resident graduates, n # and often assisted in the various 
department s . ( 1 ) 

There were, including Miss Sill, who, in addition 
to being principal, was head of the Department of Mental 
and Moral Philosophy, twelve teachers: Miss Mary A, White, 
of the Department of Natural Sciences; Miss Hannah Rich- 
ards, of the Department of History and Belles Lettres; 
Miss Lucy Jones and Miss Adeline Chase, of the Department 
of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy; Miss Anristine 
Waterbury, of the Department of Languages; Miss Hannah L. 
Perry, teacher in the preparatory department and of 
calisthenics; Miss Kate L. Moseley, teacher of drawing, 
painting, and needlework; Miss Susan M. Grandgirard, 
teacher of the French language, and the Misses Helen L. 
Roe, Harriet L. Raymond, and Ella E. Langdon, teachers 
of instrumental music. (2) 

The expenses were as low as it w~s practicable to 
set them. Tuition for each quarter of ten weeks ran from 
$3.00 for the preparatory student to $6.00 for resident 
graduates. Lessons on the piano, melodeon, and guitar 

(1) Catalogue, 1854-1855. 

(2) Ibid. 

* For the course for resident graduates, see photo- 
stat of the course of study for 1854-1855, appendix 


were $8,00, in drawing and painting from $3.00 for water 
colors to $6.00 for oils, in ornamental needle work $3.00 
and for French German, and Greek, each $2.00. Board for 
the school year was $70.00.(1) 

Students might enter at the beginning of any term, 
but they were expected to stay at least one term. As 
there were more applicants than could be accommodated, 
preference was given to those who intended to complete the 
course. A thorough knowledge of the preparatory studies*- 
was required for entrance to the "graduating course,"* 
and students were admitted "by examination for the stand- 
ing for which they (were) qualified." No student was ad- 
mitted to the junior class under fifteen. Testimonials 
of good moral character were required, and the first few 
weeks were considered probationary. (2) 

Although there were many girls from Rockford, a 
large number were boarders. Their life, as well as that 
of the day students when they were on campus, was most 
carefully regulated. They shared "in the responsibili- 
ties of the household as every wise parent would appoint 
and every dutiful daughter perform." Students furnished 

their own bedding, light, and fudl, and were cautioned 
against leaving home "without a pair of India rubber 

(1) Catalogue 1854-1855. 

(2) Ibid. 

•«■ For complete programs of study see appendix, p«347» 


overshoes and an umbrella." Later each student was re- 
quested to bring a Bible "for daily use." Unless parents 
specified a church, the girls went with Miss Sill to the 
First Congregational Church, (1) where she sang in the 
choir. Two by two they marched down South Second Street. 

The equipment was steadily being enlarged. In the 
previous year (1853) there had been gifts to the library, 
raising the total number of books to 1000. The Seminary 
ov/ned, too, a collection of "Shells and Minerals, and a 
Philosophical Apparatus — all donations of the friends of 
education at the East." (2) 

The statement of the trustees in the Hock River 
Democrat of July 4, 1854, (a report of resolutions made 
•at their annual meetings) (5) are of especial signifi- 
cance. This indicates that though the financial strug- 
gle was still a bitter one, there was no doubt in their 
minds as to the permanency and worth of the institution. 
Matters began to take on a more stable aspect, and every 
step insured the future. 

In their statement tr.e trustees first disclaimed any 
connection with Beloit, except "a certain identity of 
origin, of principles, and objects." The reason for 
this step is not clear. The two Boards had become 

(1) Catalogue of 1854-1855. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) As this statement was signed by the Executive Com- 
mittee, it probably was' recorded in the minutes 

of that committee, complete records of which are 
not extant . 


separate two years earlier, though several men were mem- 
bers of both boards. Second, they took "basic steps" to- 
ward organizing the course of study, (this organization 
was not completed for several years), and they stated as the 
"one grand aim of the Institution" the education of "the 
heart and character as well as the mind; hence the Bible, 
the fountain light of moral action." Third, they ex- 
pressed a wish that the advantages of the Seminary be 
given to as many as possible, and they reiterated their 
purpose to keep the tuition as low as they could. Fourth, 
they valued the property of the Seminary at $12,000. 
(There was a mortgage on it of $3,500.) The statement 
in which the above points were set forth, ended with a 
plea for $20,000, and was signed by the Executive Com- 
mittee: E. D. Willis, Lucius Clark, E. H. Potter, T. D. 
Robertson,C. H. Spafford, and H. M. Goodwin. 

At their meetings held in June and July of that year 
the Board was particularly active, and passed resolutions 
which affected many phases of the Seminary life. Realizing 
the need for an increase in the salaries of teachers, at 
the earliest possible moment, they raised those of the 
teachers in the collegiate department to $200 and Miss 
Sill's to $300.(1) Furthermore upon Mr. Loss 1 suggestion, 
action was taken that her expenses while travelling for 

the institution should be paid. (2) 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 10, 1854. 

(2) Ibid, July 10, 1854. 


Three additions were made to the staff, — a matron 
"and any other agency necessary" in the department of 
domestic affairs, and a teacher of music. (1) The first of 
these must have relieved Miss Sill greatly. Up to this 
time she herself had either been in entire charge of the 
domestic affairs, or had had inadequate assistance. The 
appointment of a financial agent shows that the trustees 
felt the growing need for a more systematic collection of 
funds. During the early years there were several such 
agents,— the Rev. E. D. Willis, 1854 to 1856; Rev. Hope 
Brown, 1856 to 1870; John Edwards, Esquire, 1870 to 
1871', /and later W. A. Dickerman, 1871 to 1885,(2) 
all of whom did excellent work in securing support. The 
Executive Committee and the principal were authorized 
to get a music teacher. (3) There had been several tea- 
chers who had taught music, but none who had been ex- 
pressly prepared for the situation. In fact it was not 
until 1858 when Mr. Daniel N. Hood came to the Seminary 
that music received its proper share of attention. He 
organized the conservatory, and laid the foundations for 
the present strong department. During his thirty-seven 
years of service, and since then, the standards of the 
department and the quality of the work accomplished have 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 10, 1854. 

(2) Catalogues over a space of years. 

(3) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 14, 1854. 
(f) Died in service. 


been exceptionally fine. 

The publication of a catalogue by the Executive 
Committee and the faculty "from time to time as they 
deemed expediant" was al30 authorized. (1) The college 
seal was adopted on July 14, 1854, and that same day it 
was resolved "that certificates of graduation signed by 
the Principal of the Seminary and the Secretary of the 
Board be given to such pupils as shall have completed the 
course of study, and been upon examination, recommended 
and approved by the Board or Executive Committee." (2) 

The first record of diplomas awarded appears in the 
minutes of July 7, 1859. Those who received diplomas at 
that time were: 

Emma M. Abbe, of Belvidere; Mary Blodgett, of Jack- 
sonville; Urania E. Coe, of Bloomingdale; Celia 
C. Culver, of Hopkinton, New York; Mary T. Gilbert, 
of Walworth, Wisconsin; Belle L. Pettigrew, of 
Union, Wisconsin; Fanny W. Rowland, of Rockford; 
Almira L. Stevens, of Bloomingdale, and Clarissa 
Winter, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (3) 
The graduates in the previous years received cer- 
tificates of graduation, printed, and signed by Miss 

Sill, and the president and secretary of the Board of 

Trustees. When the diploma form was adopted, *-these 
XT} Records of the Board of Trustees, June 21, 1854. 

(2) Ibid, July 14, 1854. 

(3) Ibid, July 7, 1859. 

* Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1858. 


students were given diplomas . (1) 

During the next six or seven years the institution 
prospered. There was, of course, as there always is with 
an institution, the ever-present need for money. The 
project seemed, however, beyond the perilous stage, and 
new problems had to be faced, and *#new ideas executed. 

Among the problems were those of regulating student 
life, of and to students, and of financial support for 
the Seminary. With the increase in tuition and expenses, 
it would seem that life in the Seminary was becoming 
slightly more complex. Each young lady was asked to be 
furnished "with a full supply of wardrobe, as frequent 
shopping (was) not allowed." She was, moreover, warned 
that she would be "required to present a weekly account 
of her expend! tures."-*( 2) According to Section I f Bylaw II, 
of the Constitution, the faculty was "expected to exer- 
cise a thorough and parental supervision of the habits 
and deportment of the students." Such supervision was 
easier to maintain that it would be today. 

But even "calico girls" needed to be prodded on the 
point of punctuality and unbroken daily attendance. The 

young ladies were warned before entrance that "the loss 
of a single lesson or even one Study Hour, (would) be 

(1) Mrs. C. P. Brazee, 1855. 

(2) Catalogue, 1857-58. 

## See p. 139, following , for the new ideas. 
* See the Report Book of Sarah T. Safford for 1865, 


felt for many weeks." The ever-recurring question of 
going home during the term was settled (possibly) by 
the statement in the catalogue. At least the young 
ladies knew the attitude of the authorities upon the 
subject. They were not expected to visit home* during 
the term, unless to spend "the Recreation Day," nor 
"to pass the Sabbath away from the Institution." (l) 

But it was not these questions of internal dis- 
cipline which were vexing the trustees; rather one of 
greater importance: how to keep desirable students who 

(1) Catalogue, 1857-58. 

* That there were homesick girls in the fifties as there 
now, the following poem printed in the Rockfor d 
Register , May 23, 1857: 

Lines By A Homesick Boarding School Girl 

Crystal stream, on flowing,-- 

Ever singing, — 
Gentle Winds, free blowing,-- 

Why am I doomed to stay,— 
Why may not I too stray, 

With ye, this heav'n born day, 
Praises bringing? 

Know ye some blessed spot, 

Singing river, 
Where boarding schools are not, 

Tell me either? 
Where never class bells ring, 
Where girls may romp and sing, 
And Momus be our King, 


The chill winds blowing on, 

Heed me, never, 
Cold in the morning sun runs Rock River! 

Ain't this a precious *-sell — 
I'm mad enough to — well I 
There rings the tardy bell! 
Did you ever? 
*- Cell? (The reporter's query.) 

Rockford Female Seminary, May 4, (?1857). 



could not meet expenses. For there were many. The story 
is told of one who came to the Seminary ?/ith only one 
dress, a brown print, which she always kept freshly laun- 
dered, though none knew how she managed. (1) These were 
the girls for whom the Seminary existed. The question of 
student aid was faced early. In 1855 it was voted that 
"Home and Foreign Missionaries "be allowed the privilege 
of a Tuition Scholarship embracing the tuition of a 
daughter through the course for the sum of Fifty dol- 
lars." (2) At that same meeting of the Board, steps were 
taken to provide for the establishment of scholarships. (3) 
In 1857-58 there was an educational fund from which stu- 
dents might borrow. It was created "by setting apart an- 
nually from the Seminary funds or from monies contributed 
for this purpose, the sum of $500." Students might bor- 
row any sum up to $200, which must be returned within a 
year after leaving school. There was no interest charged 

(1) Miss Elizabeth Herrick, teacher 1887-1902, daughter 
of Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 13, 1855. 

(3) Ibid. 

For a perpetual tuition scholarship the sum of 
$400 would entitle the donor to the tuition of one 
scholar in the institution, and the sum of $100 would 
entitle the donor to the tuition of one scholar for 
three years, these to take effect within "twenty- 
five years from the time of full pavment, the said 
scholarship not to be transferable. 

This act was amended June 25, 1867, to read $500 
instead of $400 and four years instead of three years. 
The clause concerning partial scholarships which 
entitled the donor to keep a student in the Seminary 
for three years by an annual payment of sixty dollars 
(passed July 8, 1858) was rescinded at this time. 


upon these loans. The beneficiaries were to be "in- 
digent young ladies" who intended to complete the Semi- 
nary course and who gave "promise of future usefulness, 
especially in teaching." The fund was to be administered 
by the Rockford Female Education Society, "already 
existing in connection with the Seminary, together with 
the Faculty — under the general superintendence of the 
Trustees. "(1) 

That same year in July the trustees fixed the board 
and tuition for "daughters of Missionaries and clergymen 
engaged in the active duties of their profession and of 
deceased clergymen or missionaries" at $60 per year, 
$40 under the usual charges. (2) And Miss Sill was allowed 
the board and tuition of one young lady so long as she 
remained principal of the institution. (3) 

From Miss Sill ! s own pen we are able to learn her 
viev/s on the subject of student aid. The Rev. Mr. Good- 
win in his Memorial Volume , pages 27-29, quotes some ex- 
tracts from a paper, "A Memorial to the Rockford Female 
Education Society, "(undated but e idently written at an 
early date), which show not only her sympathy with these 
indigent student but also the wisdom of her views on the 
practical value of feminine education. As these paragraphs 
sum up so admirably the attitude of the Principal and the 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1858. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Oct. 11, 1858. 


trustees, I quote them in full: 

"Prom the commencement of this Institution, I have 
frequently met with those who are very anxious to be 
educated but cannot command the means. With tearful 
eyes they have repeated again and again — ! I do want 
an education, but I am poor; 1 or f I want to do good; 
it is all I want to live for, I have no one to look 
to. What shall I do? Can you take me and wait un- 
til I can teach? 1 How could I say f No! f How could 
I turn away one thirsting for knowledge that she 
might be fitted for more usefulness, when the tear 
and sigh added to the eloquence of the appeal? I 
say, how could I, with the Golden Rule before me? 
I could only say to such, ! You may be educated if 
you will; go on, trust in God, and the way will 
open before you. 1 For two years I said nothing to 
other-s, but aided this class of scholars as far as 
practical, keeping all within my own heart, being 
fully aware of the state of public opinion regard- 
ing the importance of systematic, thorough female 
education, and consequently that it would be dif- 
ficult to obtain aid for those in indigent cir- 
cumstances, and that our organization for this pur- 
pose might not, and probably would not, meet with 
as much public favor as other benevolent enter- 
prises. I feel called upon, therefore to state 
more fully my whole views to this point. 

"Looking first at some of the objections which 
may arise to this form of benevolence: It may be 
urged that there is no need of so thorough and 
systematic education of young ladies to fit them 
for extensive usefulness unless they purpose to 
make a business of teaching; that woman's sphere 
is primarily in the domestic department, in the 
family circle. I reply, woman's sphere is in the 
home circle, truly, primarily so, and thaT is why 
I would have her educated, thoroughly and systemat- 
ically educated, for this her heaven-appointed 
orbit, that she may be qualified to perform the 
duties and to meet the responsibilities of this 
sphere. Is not woman the presiding genius in the 
family circle, the fixed center of attraction to 
the family f solar system," controlling and 
regulating the movement of all the planets; and 
is it not necessary that her habits of thought 
be such as will enable her to perfectly systematiz e 
the family life? Who that has ever resided in a 
family where order was wanting, each acting under 
the impulse of the present moment, regardless of 
the wants or wishes of others, has not been re- 


minded of the chaos of nature when all things were 
without form and void, and darkness v/as upon the 
face of the deep? or perhaps of the tower of Babel, 
after the confusion of tongues? Does not the guide 
of a household need discipline to patient endurance, 
that she may cheerfully meet the many petty trials 
incident even to the best regulated families? Nov/ 
what will better induce the habit of order, or 
better discipline the mind to patience, than a 
systematic, thorough education, developing aright 
all the powers of the mind? Do I hear you say, f I 
have seen well regulated families without what you call 
a systematic education of the mother? 1 I reply, we 
may differ upon the point as to what constitutes a 
well-regulated family. Can that family be well- 
regulated whose arrangements do not recognize the 
whole of our nature, as physical, intellectual, so- 
cial, and religious beings; where proper time is not 
allotted daily to the cultivation of each department 
of our being? Who has the power to give the facul- 
ties right direction in the morning of life , as 
the mother? How few realize the extent of the mould- 
ing influence of the mother upon the maturing 
character! Does she not daguerreotype her own 
characteristics of mind and heart indelibly on the 
plastic mind of childhood? Who is so well qualified 
to make home a paradise as a well educated lady at the 
head of the household? 

"Again, though this is her peculiar sphere, 
her province is not limited to the home-circle; 
her influence will be felt in whatever circle she 
may move, scattering around her the sunbeams of 
virtue and cheerfulness and ever winning grace. 
With her own mind expanded and liberalized, she is 
prepared to guide others. 

"Again, it is said, ! If we educate all our young 
women, where shall we find domestics? ! I reply, 
if they be rightly educated, they will be better 
fitted for the work of this department; and if they 
are not educated for this department, their educa- 
tion is radically deficient.- — --Do we not deny to 
young women their lawful rights , when we do not 
provide for their education? A young man who de- 
sires to be good in the world, and needs a pre- 
paratory mental discipline, is taken under the 
fostering care of the Church of Christ and aided 
by the Education Society. That is all ri fc ht — 
just as it should be. And why, I ask, should 
not the same privilege be granted to our own sex? 

Especially when a young man can help himself to 


means so much better than a young woman, whose 
labor is valued so much less. Why? I again ask. 
Is not the answer found in the estimate made of 
educated female influence? But who makes the most 
permanent impression on the youthful character, the 
father or the mother? And the education of which 
should be neglected, if either? I answer, not 
that of the mother, who is emphatically the most 
responsible teacher in the world. 

"If I rightly understand the design of the 
founders of the Rockford Female Seminary, it is 
this. First — That an institution shall be built 
up furnishing advantages to our own sex equal to 
the College, or as that furnished to the other 
sex. Second --To bring the expenses so low that 
all classes shall be able to avail themselves of 
its privileges. Third —That the property of 
the Institution belong to the public; that it 
be not local simply in its interests and influence, 
but a public benefit. Fourth --That it shall be 
founded by benevolent contributions from the 
Christian public, consecrated to the work of doing 
good to the world — an object for the prayers of 
all who love the diffusion of truth in its highest 
forms . 

"Who would not rejoice to aid in hastening 
that day when knowledge shall cover the earth as 
the waters cover the sea? 1 How much, then, is 
yet to be done; and ! the laborers are few. 1 And 
shall these few, now in the Seminary, who would 
live for a world, be hindered for want of aid, 
from doing the work they so much desired to do? 

I can but trust in God that aid will come 

from some quarter; and they who shall give a cup 
of cold water to a disciple, in the name of Christ, 
shall not lose' their reward." 

The following year a scheme of "charatable education" 

which had been worked out by the Executive committee was 

adopted. The Faculty with the approval of the Committee 

was "authorized to give aid from this fund to such young 

ladies in the normal class" as they thought suitable 

beneficiaries." (1) 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1859. 


Unfortunately there is no record of this scheme in the 
minutes of the Board of the Committee. The following 
year the Trustees resolved to extend the others who 
"in the-'r judgment seemed worthy," the privileges given 
to the daughters of home missionaries. ( 1) 

Although the most difficult period in its financial 
history had been passed, in 1857 the Institution found 
itself sorely in need of funds. Presumably money had 
been borrowed in July of 1856 to complete Linden and to 
meet the indebtedness. (2) In July, 1857, the trustees 
found themselves facing a debt of $13,000.(3) It 
availed little that the anniversary speaker in his ad- 
dress "expressed entire confidence in the management of 
the Institution," and resolved "to raise $25,000 to 
endow it properly." (4) Money was needed immediately. 
There had been a drive in the fall of 1856 for $10,000. 
The Board had pledged $4000 on condition that the city 
would complete the sum. (5) The subscriptions from twenty- 
two donors amounted to only $2244.01.(6) Accordingly an 
earnest request for support signed by John Edwards, £• 
H. Potter, Asa Crosby, Lucius Clark, Joseph Emerson, and 
H. M. Goodwin, appeared in the Rockford Register . The ap- 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 4, 1860. 

(2) Ibid, July 11, 1856. The Executive Committee was 
authorized to borrow such a sum. 

(3) Rockford Register, July 18, 1857. 

(4) Scrap Book. 

(5) Rockford Register , July 18, 1857. 

(6) Records of subscriptions. 


peal was based upon the economic facts that the Seminary 
was a business asset and that it had brought some of the 
best citizens to the community. Moreover, Rockford was 
"known at the East in its Seminary." Its social and moral 
influence were too mainfest, the article went on, to be 
dwelt upon. "True Godliness has been a prime object aimed 
at in conducting the Institution, and the result must 
be gratifying to every Christian heart." 

Obvious as were the advantages of the Seminary, both 
economically and spiritually, and fervid as was the appeal, 
the drive failed, and in April 1858, the Seminary site and 
buildings were mortgaged for $10,000 to Mr. C. R. Robert, 
of New York, for three years with interest at ten per cent. 
Among those who made themselves responsible for the tran- 
saction, were two of the men who had previously mortgaged 
their homes, Dr. Lucius Clark and Mr. Charles Spafford. 
The others were Asa Crosby, Dr. Dexter Clark, and John 
Edwards. (1) Three months later R e v. Hope Brown was em- 
ployed for six months "to spend one half or more of his 
time in collecting funds especially in the form of 
scholar ships 1 , 1 and the executive committee was "requested 
to make such arrangements for raising further funds "as 
they judged "expediant ."(2) During the next year the 
indebtedness was reduced to $11,000, still an onerous 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, April 14, 1858. 

(2) Ibid, July 15, 1858. 


burden . ( 1 ) 

A letter of Mr. John C. Proctor, of Boston, to Miss 
Sill came, evidently just before the anniversary season, 
advising of a subscription of $1000 for the purchase of 
apparatus for the Seminary." The Board sent their thanks, 
and asked that Mr. Proctor send a likeness of himself at 
their expense and a list of the names of the subscribers . (2) 

Despite the strained financial situation, improve- 
ments and additions to the equipment, demanded by the 
healthy growth of the Seminary, were constantly being 
discussed.* Plans were launched in November of 1858 
for the building of a passage v/ay between Linden and 
Chapel (now Middle) Halls. It was proposed to use for 
this building money "collected on debts to the current 
departments of the Seminary previous to last Anniversary" 
as might not "be needed to defray the current expenses" 
when enough was raised. (3) The contract was let to Mr. 
Batchelder for $700,(4) and the proposed connection v/as 
ready in the autumn of 1859. It was of three stories, — 
the lower one being covered, the other two open, --with a 
balustrade. (5) The remaining wing, which had been con- 
templated for some time, could have well been used, as 
TTJ Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1859. 

(2) Ibid, July 6, 1859. 

(3) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Nov. 23, 1858. 

(4) Ibid, August 26, 1859. 

(5) Rockford Register , October 15, 1859. 
*• New ideas. See note, p.130. 


the capacity of the two buildings was taxed to the ut- 
most. That summer the atrip of land lying west between 
the Seminary lands arid the tracks now used by the Chi- 
cago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, and Chicago Burlington, 
and Q.uincy Railroads, was purchased from William and 
Sarah Lathrop for $500.(1) Plans were also put under v/ay 
for bringing water into the buildings and committees were 
appointed to investigate plans for heating the buildings (2) 
and lighting them by gas. (3) These last two improvements 
did not come for some time. 

So great was the attendance that the buildings were 
overcrowded, and a number of young ladies were placed in 
private families to board. (4) 

These improvements in the plant were accompanied by 
corresponding improvements in the equipment. The library 
in 1859-1860 had reached 1600 volumes. Valuable additions 
had been made to the chemistry apparatus, and more were 
anticipated. (5) The Executive Committee had been authorized 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July r; , 1859, and 
Minutes of the Executive Committee, July 6, 1859. 
According to the copy of the deed in the office of the 
County Recorder of Winnebago County (in Rockford) this 
strip of land was "one-eighth part of that land known 
as "land reserved for the water power." The "land 
reserved for the water," according to the original 
map of Rockford east of the Rock River, ran from the 
present Bluff Street Bridge to Grove Street. The 

map was made in 1843, and was attested by William 
Hulin, recorder, on Nov, 0, 1845. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1859. 

(3) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Oct, 17,. 1859. 

(4) Ibid, Apr. 26, 1859. 

(5) Catalogue, 1859-1860. 


to take measures for filling up the Cabinet^(l) , thus 
giving the natural science students an opportunity to 
examine more specimens. 

The curriculum, too, was steadily being shaped. 
In 1855 a committee of three, consisting of the Rev. 
Jos eon Emerson, Rev. H. M. Goodwin, both of Rockford, 
and Prof. Joseph Emerson, of Beloit, was appointed to 
act with the faculty "to consider the subject of the 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July "7, 1859. 
* The Cabinet was a room in which shells, birds, 
curios, etc, were kept. Mrs. Gregory tells me 
that it was the delight of Miss Sill's heart. She 
took great delight in showing it to visitors. 


course of study." (1) The report of this joint committee, 
presented at the next annual meeting of the Board of 
Trustees, on July 11, 1856, was adopted in full. It pro- 

I ."That the course of instruction be distributed for 
the present into four departments to be filled by 
permanent appointments as soon as practicable and 
to be entitled as follows: 

1. The Department of Mental and Moral Science, 

2. The Department of Mathematics and Natural 

3. The Department of History and English 

4. The Department of Ancient Languages. 
Il"That arrangements be made to secure regular courses 

of lectures on Science and Experimental Philosophy 
from the professor having charge of those depart- 
ments in Beloit College. 
IIl"That the Department of Mental and Moral Science 
be assigned to the Principal,- — that Miss Mary 
White be appointed to the Department of Mathematics 
and Natural Science and that permanent appointments 
to other departments be deferred for the present. 
IV"That temporary appointments be made by the Execu- 
tive Committee on the nomination of the Faculty 
to fill the vacant departments and assistant in- 
V. M That those now appointed and those who may be 
hereafter appointed either temporarily or perma- 
nently to the departments above named, constitute 
the faculty, to whose joint counsels the interior 
arrangement of domestic matters, instruction and 
discipline be referred." 

Though there had been a division of courses into depart- 
ments earlier, there had never been any such definite 
arrangement of work or statement of authority as this. 

So far as I know there is no copy of the catalogue 
for 1856-1857 extant. It is missing from the volume of 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 13, 1855. 


catalogues owned by the college. There are some changes, 
however, in the announcement of courses for 1857-1858, 
the next In the volume. It makes provision, as do the 
previous catalogues, for three courses, — preparatory, 
collegiate, and resident graduate. Instead of the sub- 
jects for preparatory work being merely stated, a course 
covering two years was outlined, and the name was changed 
to "academic course." Reading, penmanship, drawing, 
book-keeping, vocal music, "a compendium of general his- 
tory," anatomy and physiology, "Worcester T s Elements," 
and natural history were added, and the study of 
"English grammar with an analysis of Prose and Poetry," 
was emphasized. 

The changes in the collegiate course strengthened 
it. To the first year were added physical geography, 
rhetoric and composition; to the second, the history 
of the middle ages. Chemistry was shifted from the 
senior to the middle year, and French or German was 
added to the middle and senior years. Criticism (pre- 
sumably literary criticism), astronomy, English liter- 
ature, and a review of the year f s work,, were added to the 
senior year. There was only one change in the course 
for resident graduates: English literature was omitted. 
The supplementary subjects, — penmanship, select reading 
of prose and poetry, biographical and historical re- 
hearsals, vocal music, and Biblical science, which ran 
throughout the course, — were continued as he ret of oi^e. 


In this year, too, the contents of the normal course 
(this course had existed since the beginning) were 
definitely formulated. The course included, the English 
branches in the .academic and collegiate courses, leaving 
the languages optional. Members were allowed to choose 
any branch of study In the classes formed, and had the 
privilege of reciting in all but the senior courses. 
These students were given special instruction in "Teach- 
ing, and also in government." 

It was this same year that the possibility of pro- 
viding scientific instruction came under consideration. 
In July, 1858, the trustees set aside $200 "securing 
apparatus; and $100 to defray expence of scientific 
lectures for the current year."(l) The following year the 
Department of Mathematics and Natural Science was divided, 
and the new department was "constituted for instruction 
in the Natural Sciences. "(2) It was not permanently filled 
until 1861.(3) 

With the coming of Mr. Daniel Hood in 1858 the 
music department began to gain in strength. The cata- 
logue of 1860-1861 calls attention to the superior 
facilities for instruction in both instrumental and vo- 
cal music. Mr. Hood from the beginning was a power in 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1858. 

(2) Ibid, July 7, 1859. 

(3) Rockford Register, July 20, 1861. 


the town and in the Seminary. Upon the art department 
Mr. George J. Robertson, who became director in 1861, 
exerted an equally potent influence. (See pages 1 39- 1 6 2. ) 

This same year, 1859, saw the change from a three- 
term school year with eight weeks vacation in the summer, 
to a two-term year.(l) The question arises as to v/hether 
this change had any effect upon attendance which was slight' 
ly lower than in 1858, though more students remained in 
school. (2) Girls had come and stayed as long as their 
money lasted. A third of a year would seem easier to 
finance than a half. One might earn enough teaching for 
two terms to attend one term while it would be difficult 
to earn enough in half a year for the other half at school. 
In either case the strictest economy would have to be 
practiced--as it so often was. 

There seems to have been an outburst of Intellectual 
activity in this year. We find the first mention of a 
missionary society and of a literary society. Both were 
addressed separately at commencement . (3) One or both 
of the literary societies, the Castalian and Vesperian, 
had come into existence three years earlier. (4) They seem 
to have been in their most flourishing condition in the 
60 s and 70 s. An ambitious course of lectures was given 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 7, 1859. 

(2) Ibid, July 9, 1859. 

(3) Rock River Democrat , July 17, 1859. 

(4) 1856 is date commonly accepted. 


for the benefit of the Seminary during the winter of 
1859, with lecturers from Beloit, Galena, Chicago, and 
other towns. (1) And the commencement address, very 
appropriately, was on the H Rights of Women." The 
speaker, Rev. J. M. Sturtevant, of Illinois College, 
spoke flatteringly of the abilities of the fair sex and 
their rights as educated women. In closing he expressed 
the wish, however, that the Seminary would never become a 
college, (2) 

The commencement was a gala occasion, a fitting close 
to a prosperous year, with which even the trustees ex- 
pressed their complete approval. (3) The Sax Horn Band 
played at the anniversary exercises. The pupils were 
dressed in white with scarfs and sashes, the colors of 
which identified them as to class. The graduates were 
distinguished from the rest "by white sashes and gloves; 
the normal class wore rose colored sashes and scarfs; 
the middle class, blue; the Juniors, myrtle wreaths." (4) 

It was a happy end to a difficult decade. There must 
have been many hearts that rejoiced. In the attitude of 
the trustees, however, it is possible tvo discern more 
than joy; there is a deep sense of gratitude and a stern- 
ness of faith that is Puritanic: 

(1) Newspapers of 1859. 

(2) Rock River Democrat , July 17, 1859. 

(3) Records of Board of Trustees, July 9, 1859. 

(4) Rock River Democrat, July 17, 1859. 


w We believe this Institution had its origin 
in prayer, and that it will be carried forward and 
build up in proportion as we labor and pray in faith, 
and that we shall find 'an angel standing in the way 1 
of our progress if we do not acknowledge God every 
step we take. Our trust is in Hirn, and we believe 
He will carry forward the enterprise." (1) 

In Miss Sill's report on the first ten years, pub- 
lished as an appendix to the catalogue of 1860-61, we find 
some interesting statistics. Fifteen hundred pupils and 
forty-seven teachers had been connected with the institution. 
Two hundred six had "entered courses including under- 
graduates, "(that is, had been enrolled in courses as 
candidates for the diploma), and eighty had been graduated. 
There had also been six resident graduates. "All of the 
graduates had expressed a Christian's hope in Christ, 
and all but two (had) made a public profession of reli- 
gion." Nearly all the graduates were engaged in teaching, 
as well as"many from other departments." (2) Three pupils 
and one teacher had entered the foreign mission field. 

While Miss Sill was duly thankful for the success of 
the Institution, she, v/ith her woman's sense of trying 
ever to make both ends meet, saw the need of a practical 
view-point, and in the conclusion to her report, set 
down the hope that somehow greater means would be forth- 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 9, 1059. 

(2) Phrasing vague. Possibly students who had attended 
but had not been graduated, or students in the normal 


"The Institution has no endowments for the 
Board of Instruction, and greatly needs funds to 
enlarge its operations, by carrying out the plan 
of buildings, increasing its Cabinet and Library, 
and also to discharge a debt upon the present 
buildings. To the Christian public we would say, 
the Institution was founded in prayer, and we be- 
lieve it has a mission in the advancement of the 
Redeemer's kingdom on Earth, and that God has 
placed His broad seal of approbation upon the 
enterprise from its beginning, and v/e trust more 
than three hundred of its pupils have experienced 
renewing grace while within its walls. The In- 
stitution has been made self-sustaining only by 
economy and sacrifice on the part of the Teachers. 
The donations received already are also the fruits 
of self-denial, and 'Blessed are ye that sow be- 
side all waters. 1 " 


The Sixties 

Civil War Days 

Hardly had the decade opened when the guns of Sumter 
began to thunder and the country was plunged into war. It 
seems incredible that the Seminary should have accomplished 
so much under such trying circumstances. While it inevit- 
ably felt the effects of the war, it was not so deeply af- 
fected as might be expected. The daily tasks went on, and 
plans for buildings and endowment were made and carried 
through with incredible efficiency and speed. 

The examining committee in its report in February of 
1862 commented most favorably upon the atmosphere of the 
institution, and especially upon the quality of the work 
done. It was their "solemn conviction that no term (had) 
ever closed bringing richer fruits of severe labor." (1) 

Attendance during the war. 
The attendance seems not to have been influenced per- 
ceptibly even in 1861 and 1862. The Rockford Register 
for September 7, 1861, contained the announcement that 
"the indications (were) that the school (would) be full 
as usual." It was. According to the catalogue for 
1861-1862, there were enrolled at various times 173 stu- 

(1) Rockford Register , Feb. 8, 1862. 


dents from eleven states and one foreign country, (1) and 
the teaching staff was increased to sixteen members. The 
following autumn so great was the rush that it was not 
possible to accommodate all who applied. A frame house 
was moved to the grounds, and prepared to house twenty- 
students. (2) 

In 1863 the Seminary opened with all the accommoda- 
tions "engaged some time before" and nearly a hundred ap- 
plicants beyond the number the officers could receive. 
In the end most of these girls were accommodated in pri- 
vate families. (3) The necessity of beginning work on 
the East Wing (the present Chapel Hall) was seen to be 
most pressing. 

In 1864 all the rooms were filled a month before the 
term opened. (4) That year 303 students attended the 
Seminary, 267 of whom were "from abroad" and 46 from 
Rockford. Of the first class 157 boarded in the Seminary 
and 100 in private families. The largest number in the 
Seminary at one time was 120; the smallest 103. (5) More 
students, it seems, came for short periods. 

(1) Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Illinois, Michigan, 
Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Cali- 
fornia, Indiana, and Turkey. 

(2) Rockford Re gi ster , Sept. 27, 1862. 

(3) Ibid, Sept. 57~T§63. 

(4) Ibid, Sept. 24, 1864. 

(5) Miss Sill's report, Records of the Board of Trustees, 
July 6, 1864. 


In 1865 fifteen diplomas were awarded, four certifi- 
cates in the normal department, and seven in the music de- 
partment, (1) Among the latter was a certificate to Miss 
Sill's niece, Miss Amelia Hollister, (now Mrs. Almon Chap- 
man) a teacher in the music department from 1866 to 1873. 

The letter which Miss Sill wrote to this class, holds 
a great deal of interest for us. It has recently been 
presented to the college by Mrs. Sarah Safford, who re- 
turned to the college in 1925 to celebrate her sixtieth 
reunion. The letter not only reveals Miss Sill's love 
and care for her students, but it also reflects her at- 
titude at the time. 

"My dear Class of 1865, 

"I need not say in response to your kind note,-- 
I would be glad to do any thing in my power, for your 
happiness or for your benefit. I have borne you on 
my heart, I have prayed and wept for you as I have 
prayed and wept for no oth^r class, hence the teacher 
tie is so sensitive, and vibrates so easily, I fear 
however that a class meeting of the kind I antici- 
pated would not now be possible. 

"I will watch for the hour, and make an appoint- 
ment, if the way shall open before us. I want to 
thank you as individuals, for every expression of 
love and gratitude you have manifested for your pri- 
vileges, and for your prayers in my behalf and for 
the Institution. I've put much of this class in the 
service of Christ, in the service of our Country, 

"No class going from us, ever had such respons- 
ibilities resting upon it, in view of the times* 

"As you go forth, remember you are witnesses as 
to the value of the Institution. Cherish your Alma 
Mater, as the old Homestead. Whatever may be the 
lights and shadows of life, here you will find a 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 5, 1865. 


warm welcome. As to Mie past forget the weariness of 
the ascent of the mount, but forget not the principles 
of a true life learned by the way. 

"Be always what you seem to be, 

"Duty is one's, events are G-od's. 

"Take the side of right though you stand alone. 
Always live for the greater good to the cause of 
truth, the cause of Christ. 

"Cultivate that charity which delights in human 
virtues and hides human faults. Strive to attain that 
spirit of self sacrifice that makes unappreciated toil 
sweet, because the 'Master praises!, 

"It is my earnest prayer that you may all receive 
the baptism of the Holy Spirit, before you go forth 
and then remember, 'Freely ye have received freely 
give.' You may forget my unworthy efforts, but for- 
get not the Love of Jesus. 'May the love of our Lord 
Jesus Christ--be with you all.' 

"Your Loving Teacher, 

"Anna P. Sill" 

"N. B. I shall treasure any individual response to 
these farev/ell ;vords as 'Apples of Gold in pictures 
of Silteer.'" 

"A. P. S. " (1) 
From students who were present during those critical 
years, it is possible to form a picture of the life. There 
wece moments of beauty as well as long hours of wor]£, of 
prayer; moments when girls then, as now, caught a bit of 
inspiration which they have carried through life from the 
lovely campus. 

A student who came that first fall tells of her ar- 
rival one beautiful autumn day when, with her father she 

(1) See photostatic copy , Supplementary Volume, pp. 25-27 . 


"rode up to the "buck entrance to Rockford Female Sem- 
inary : " 

"In the country school life of earlier years 
my ambitions had been fired to attend this wonder- 
ful school for girls, the only one of its kind in all 
the surrounding Hew West. Its spacious grounds 
were adorned only by Nature's groves of fijie trees, 
but the location on the high banks of RocMliver was 
much to be desired, commanding a fine view 'of city 
and country. And then we reached the school build- 
ing Others besides ourselves were arriving, each 

girl with her trunk on top of which was strapped a 
piece of carpet to help furnish her room. Miss SiU. 
seemed omnipresent ;a real general to direct and man- 
age her recmiits,with a smile of welcome to each 
one of us."( 1 ) 

Another student tell of arriving in 1864, a shy coun- 
try girl of sixteen, with her mother, one evening the 
country was rejoicing in the election of Lincoln: 

"My first view of the college was of a bril- 
liantly lighted building, only one window of which 
was dctrk and in which hung a little dried macker- 
wl.#- Miss Sill met us in her gracious manner, and 
first homesickness wa dispelled. "(2 ) 

War work. 

Crowded as Miss Sill's time was to sustain the 

school, she found time to work with the women of the city, 

and served as secretary of the Soldi er T s Aid Society 

which was organized August 27,1861. The organization 

had 124 members, and did a great de^l of work. (3) 

) Mrs. P. L.Woods, 1865. 

(2) Mrs. Daniel Fish,l867. 

(3) Rockford Register, Jan. 4 , 1862. 

^ Second election of Lincoln. McClellan had been de- 
feated. Probably a student T s prank. Similarity of 
first syllables of mackerel and McClellan. State of 
fish indicative of McClellan' s plight. Query: Was the 
slang expression TT poor fish"in use then? Mrs.Brazee 
feels sure that a student, not Miss Sill, was responsi- 
ble for the display. Dried salt mackerel was fre- 
quently served in the dormitory. 


The autumn of 1861 the girls and teachers spent their 
leisure time, preparing gifts for soldiers in different 
regiments, (1) — books, mittens, socks, pin cushions, et 
cetera, "the work of (their) own delicate fingers." These, 
"together with other creature comforts were all neatly ar- 
ranged and suspended from the houghs of a noble evergreen, 
placed in the chapel of the Seminary at the foot of the 
rostrum. The removal of the articles from the tree, and 
the reading of the mottoes appended to them was inter- 
spersed with charming msic from Mr, Hood and some of his 
pupils, calculated to inspire patriotism in the dullest 
heart." (2) 

(1) Rockford Registe r, Jan. 4, 1862. 

1, 1862 
prepared and sent included: 

(2) Roc kford Regist er, D e c. 28, 1862, 
The list of articles thus prei 

" 104 Books especially prepared for the soldiers, such 
as Christian Statesman, Christian Heroism, Life of 
Captain Hedly Vicars, Life of General Havelock, Sol- 
diers' Text and Song Book, Advice to Soldiers on 
Health, etc, 

"12 Packages for the hospital consisting of Tea, Sago, 
Rice, Dried Fruit and 6 prs. of Slippers for sick and 

"270 small parcels of reading matter appropriate to 
the soldier, enclosed in patriotic envelopes of various 
devices, most of them directed to individuals in the 
army for the city of Rockford. 

"18 pairs of mittens, 14 pairs of socks. 

"5 small boxes containing cake, dried fruit, & jelly, 
a variety of small articles, pin cushions, needle 
books, penwipers, etc." 

In addition the girls had sent fiftv pairs of socks, 

(Continued on following page.) 


ten pairs of mittens, one hundred needlebooks,f ive 
hundred sixty magazines "prepared with durable covers, 
pasted and firmly stitched," Some of the mittens and 
socks were "ornamented with the National Flag and 
Shield inwrought in the fabric •" Then there were two 
cakes; one to the Farnsworth Cavalry, on the frosting 
of whish was the address of the company, the name of 
thf regiment and a wreath, and the other to the Rock- 
ford Band. The latter was accompanied by an original 
poem in tribute to the music of the band and to many 
a moonlight serenade: 

"Oft in the stilly night, 

Ere slumber T s chain had bound us," 
Rose soft as the moonbeam T s light, 
Sweet music stealing around us. 

We loved rich Ingleside : 

Its notes were light and fleetest, 
But best of all beside 

The Home Sweet Home was sweetest. 

Still glad may your music fall, 

Far down in the Dixie regions, 
March on, at your country T s call, 

Pipe loud for the pacing legions. 

But "oft in the stilly night," 

While the moonlight gleams around you, 

Remember the bygones bright, 

And where that moonlight found you. 

Then play The Home Sweet Home . 

T Tis precious to those that wander, 
Life hastens and Death may come. 

There's a Home Sweet Home up yonder* 


Prom Company A of the Thirty-third Regiment, Illinois, 
came most amusing letter in appreciation of some of these 
gifts, especially noting the housewives and mirrors. ( See 
appendix, pp. ,5?6-397») 

But life held more than the making of "bandages and 
gifts, trips to the station to see volunteers off, and let- 
ters from adoring and thankful soldiers. Those were days 
that were full of anguish.-"-" The little reading room was 
much frequented. Girls who in the past had never read the 
papers, now vied with each other for the first possession. (1) 
And why not? There were accounts of "battles and skirmishes, 
of fathers, brothers, lovers, and friends. The city was 
in mourning. Some of its prominent sons had fallen or 
were taken prisoners.. Perhaps they were sick in hospi- 
tals or camps* Surely a dark cloud hung over our school. 
Miss Sill moved calmly vith sympathy and always with prayer 
where needed." (2) 

H Each day at four o'clock the entire school assembled 
in the chapel to hear Miss Sill read the latest news from 
the front. The girls were allowed to work on the fancy 
articles which they were preparing for a fair to raise 

(1) Miss Minnie B. Penwick, 1865. 

(2) Mrs. P. L. Woods. 

-"- Miss Minnie B. Fenwick writes: "It surprises me when 
I think of it that as far as I can remember not one of 
the girls was called home on account of the death of 
a relative (in the war.)." 

money for extra supplies for the soldiers." (1) 

Sometimes the .7 "marched down two and two" to the- hall 

in town to hear the many speakers of note who came to Rock- 

fordr-Theodore Tilt on; Henry Ward Beecner; Chaplain KcCabe, 

"whose singing and story of life in Libby Prison were 

wonderful;" Anna Dickinson, who "attracted much attention 

because she was a woman." Of her Miss Sill disapproved. 

She remarked later that "she hoped none of her girls would 

appear on the lecture platform." (2) 

From the pen of a member of 1865 we have an account 

of Lee's surrender. This same student went to Chicago to 

view Lincoln's remains. She thinks she was the only girl 

in the Seminary to go, 

"The day the announcement of Lee's surrender was 
made, all business stopped and the day was given over 

to hilarity. I think i t was a Latin class -that I 

was in when the door opened and some one announced 
the news. We did not wait for the formality of be- 
ing dismissed. Every one rushed out to the campus 
which was air' ady filled. Dignified men, lawyers 
and doctors, marched through the streets, beating 
tin pans and making every kind of noise imaginable. 
In the evening the town was illuminated. Of course 
there were nothing but candles and lamps for 'lights, 
but some houses had a candle in every window. 

"Having friends in Rockford, I was given per- 
mission to accompany them to Chicago to view Lin- 
coln's remains. This was a most imposing sight as 
miles and miles of mourners stood all night in driz- 
zling rain in order to pass through the grand hall 
at the Court House where the rernai ns^lay in state. 
The entire place was shrouded in black with silver 
stars on the ceiling. I shall always remember how 
peaceful and happy the face of the president looked. 
As you entered the Court House over th r door in 

(1) Mrs. Sarah Safford, 1865. 

(2) Miss Minnie B. Fenwick. 


large letters was the motto, 'Illinois clasps to her 
bosom her slain but glorified deaa. ! I. still have 
a small tin type that was part of the mourning badge 
we all wore at t ha t time • " ( 1 ) 

All through these years daily chapel services and 
church services were conducted perhaps with greater zeal. 
Chapel was at nine each morning. Sometimes a minister 
from the city would be present to lead, "A Bible verse 
was always selected at this time for the day ! s motto, and 
repeated at the evening devotions in the dining hall, either 
in concert or by some individual who might be called upon. 
If one had forgotten to learn the verse there was fear and 
trembling lest her name be called. Arrangements were made 
so that each young lady had a half hour alone in her room 
for private devotions if she chose So to employ the time. (2) 
On Sunday each girl was obliged to go to church and to 
Sunday school. The classes had their weekly prayer meet- 
ing at vhich attendance was voluntary and every Wednesday 
secular books were laid aside, and the Bible was the text 
book." Miss Sill did not lose sight of the missionary 
ideal, and "endeavored in every way to leave her pupils 
interested in the great missionary movements of the day." 
She even planned to raise "quite an offering in the school" 
to which each girl should contribute money which repre- 
sented some self-denial," (3) 

■■ ■■ —■ — ^— — — ■ — i i ■■■■ ■ ■ ■■■■pi ■« i i Hini — ,— ^— i ■ i— mi ■ i ■ i — ^i^— —iim^»»— p,i^^»i— W i i ■■■ ■ m i i n - ■■ m i ^-— 

(1) Miss Minnie B. Fenwick.. 

(2) Mrs. Sarah Safford. 

(3) Ibid. 


Laden with anguish as her heart was and Itard- pressed 
by the demands upon her time and strength, Miss Sill pre- 
served a calmness of spirit -that affected the entire in- 
stitution. Here, too, her strong sense of the practical . 
values of life asserted itself. She prayed ifoen prayer 
was most needed, (Indeed she did all things prayerfully), 
hut her fingers were even, "busy, knitting socks # keeping 
records; her mind was ever active, devising means for sus- 
taining and improving life in the Seminary, 

Development of the curriculum: 

1. Changes in the music department • 
Despite the heavy anxieties and burdens laid upon the 
trustees and officers of the Seminary by the times, they 
made a definite effort daring this decade to develop the 
curriculum.. It was in the early sixties that the music 
and art departments were entirely re-organized and their 
aims stated anew. Up to the 1861-1862 there had been a 
Department of Fine arts. This was separated into a Depart- 
ment of Music and a Department of Art, (1) In 1862 the 
Board of Trustees authorized the faculty "to organize a 
more complete department of music, and to receive pupils 
for that department alone, on condition of their attend- 
ance on the general exercises of the school, and to confer 
such testimonials for attainments in this department as 
they (might) judge best by this action" (2) It was de- 

(1) Catalogue, 1861-1 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 2, 1862. 


signed to make the department self-sustaining. Any surplus 
was to go to securing "increased facilities . " That this 
organization was undertaken is assured by the announcement 
in the catalogue of 1862-1863. 

That same catalogue sets ib rth the aims of the depart- 

1. "To aid in forming a pure and elevated taste in 

regard to usic, 

2. "To give it its true place in the formation of 

character which can only "be done by thorough 
instruction in its principles and practices." 

All were urged to cultivate their voices for the sake 
of their health, as such cultivation gives "strength to the 
lungs, expansion to the chest and flexibility to the voice, 
in speaking and reading aloud." 

Courses in theory, piano, organ, snd voice were offered, 
and a certificate was given to those who completed the re- 
quired work. The Board took action upon this point in 1864, 
leaving the form of certificate, the time and rranner of 
presentation with the faculty and executive committee. (1) 
The certificate is now, (1926) presented at the commence- 
ment exercise s when the B. A. and B. S. degrees are award- 

^•Changes in the art department.. 
The art department offered admission to students under 
the same conditions. It, too, enlarged the scope of its 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1864. 



work. Courses were offered, in "Drawing, and Landscape 
Painting in oil colors, and designing or sketching from 
Nature." (1) Students were urged to elect art because 
of the benefits accruing from it — -in cultivating the 
habit of observation, in refining the taste, and increas- 
ing the love for the beautiful in Nature, thus lifting 
the heart upward with devout reverence for the Creator, 
who made the beautiful for our admiration, and to sym- 
bolize to us the perfect and unattained. in the spiritual 
life," (2) Attention was given, a s in the Music depart- 
ment, to prospective teachers, 

3. Changes in collegiate course,- 
In 1863 the Trustees decided to unite into one the 
academic and normal departmen ts. under a permanent and re- 
sponsible head who should have general oversight and care 

of the pupils in said departments. She was to receive 


the same compensation as did the other heads of departments. 

The next year it was decided to make certain changes 
in the organization of the courses. The preparatory course 
was to be discontinued, and the courses of the present 
first year were to be required for entrance to the reg- 
ular Seminary course, which was to be "extended to four 
years, denominated Junior, Senior Middle, Junior Middle, 

(1) Catalogue, 1862-1863. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 1, 1863. 


and Senior,"*- the studies of the second preparatory year 
being moved p.p into the junior year.d) These changes 
went into effect in 1863.(2) 

4 .Changes in the course for normal students. 
In July of that year changes were made in the curri- 
culum of the normal department "so as to include mainly 
only such branches as (were )required for the state certi- 
ficate foroeaching in Illinois and Wisconsin." The course 
covered two years with an optional year. The first records 
of certificates for teaching, given in this department, we 
find in the minutes of the Board of Trustees for July 2, 

l862;these dertificates were given to Emma L.Hall, of Ash- 

field, Massachusetts, and Alice L.Thompson, of Hudson, Ohio. 

It would seem that these changes did not meet with 

the approval of some. There were those who felt that too 

much was crowded into the course and that the course should 

be lengthened, "though Rocicford Seminary, take it all in 

all, is one of the best places in the world for obtaining 

(1) Records f the Board of Trustees, July 6,1864. 

(2) Minutes of the Executive Committee, May 1 6, 1964. For 
curriculum for 1865-I866,see appendix pp. 348-3^2. 

•* Records of the Board of Trustees^July 13,1863. 

According to Miss Sill f s report at the annual meeting 
of the Board of Trastees, (Records of the Board, July 
13 > 1863), the collegiate course, including six normal 
students in the senior class, had 85 students dis- 
tributed as follows : seniors, 16 ; senior middle, 13; 
junior middle, 14, and junior, 48. In the other depart- 
ments there were 124 students: 42 in the normal, 49 in 
the preparatory, and 33 taking only music or drawing. 


such an education as will develop a true woman. Both 
teachers and students (were) 'sicklied o f er with pale 
cast of thought,* indicating too much mental effort and 
not enough attention to physical culture," (1) 

One wonders if this "pale cast" were not the result 
partly of too strenuous social life. Or perhaps the very 
wise resolution of the Board several years previous, 
"that the Executive Committee and faculty be instructed to 
devise and provide some method for securing a greater 
degree of physical exercise and recreation on the part of 
the pupils," (2) had not been carried out. Again the 
condition might have been due to a combination of too 
much work and play. It i s interesting to know, however, 
that the question of the physical condition of the student 
was discussed early. 

Examination s. 
In 1866 the system of examinations was changed, re- 
quiring nuarterly examinations of each class by the faculty 
and eliminating the public examination at mid-years. The 
public examination at the end of the year was retained. 
The anniversary was changed to the last Wednesday in 
June. (3) 

(1) Rockford Register, July 22, 1865. Reprinted from 
WTsco ns in Stat e J ou ma 1 . 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 4, 1860. 

(3) Ibid, July 5, 1866. 


Student activities. 

Activity along mental lines was not limited to the 
trustees and faculty, however. The students commenced in 
1860 to publish a sixteen-page monthly, Leaves from Forest 
Hill. How long it existed is uncertain. It was the fore- 
runner, however, of The Rockford Seminary Magazine which 
had such a happy and fortunate existence in the seventies, 
and of the later magazines, including the present Taper , 
whose flame "burns more bright ly each year. The editors 
were Libbie W. Ballard and Fanny C. Jones, afterwards 
Mrs. '..'. A. T°lcott, one of the first women to bo elected 
to the Board of Trustees. In commenting upon its first 
issue, the Roc kford Register for November 7, 1860, says 
that "the talent displayed in the getting up of The 
Leaves is highly creditable to them, (the young ladies) 
and to the institution." The prose articles were well 
written, and there were "several metrical gems." There 
was "enough of spice in the items and local clippings to 
ke©p good its motto "We gather the fresh and the fra- 
grant. 1 " What the fate was of The Leaves it is hard to 
say. It seems to have passed out of existence after a 
few numbers. 

In 1867 the class in geolog:/ formed a club called 
the Dana Club. This, too, was apparently short-lived. (1) 

(1) Ro c kf or d Regi s te r , Nov. 9, 1867. 


Financial problems of the 60 f s;the building of Chapel 
Hall; other changes. 

It is hardly remarkable that the financial situation 
was strained at this time. It had never been easy, al- 
though sometimes improved over others. The entire country 
was suffering. In two cases the records show that land 
was offered in payment of tuition, one in 1859 by a gentle- 
man in ChicagoO) and the second time in 1862 by a home 
missionary in Minnesota for the education of two half- 
breeds. (2) The daughter of this gentleman entered the 
Seminary that same autumn. In August she had escaped an 
Indian outbreak. (3) 

In i860 a mortgage of $1,000 was taken on the site 
and buildings to pay C.R.Robert. (4 ) It seems that the 
buildings were never free. Three years later a second 
mortgage, this time of $10 ,000, was taken to repay this 
same gentleman, (j? ) To help meet expenses board was in- 
creased ten per cent, an advance necessitated by the "de- 
preciation of the currency and the enhanced price of all 
articles of consumption." (6) How welcome must have been 
the Christmas gift of $1 ,500 from an unknown New York 
man! (7) 

(1) Minutes of the Executive Commit tee, April 4,1859» 

(2) Ibid, June 9, 1862. 

(3) Information from Mrs .H.E.Warner, herself , 1 865. 

(4) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 4,1860. 
(5)Ibid,July 1 ,1863. 

(6) Ibid. 

(7) Rockf ord Regist er f December r 28 . 1 864 . 


Plans for Chapel Hall. 
In 1862 Miss Sill laid before the Executive Committee 
plans for a "new building or hall for anniversary occa- 
sions, including also a Daily Chapel or School Room and 
rooms for music and painting. "( 1 ) Nothing seems to have 
been done toward the furtherance of this place until the 
following year when one of the Trustees, Mr .T.D.Robertson, 
relinquished his scholarship and subscribed five hundred 
dollars to the* new building. (2) This gift followed di- 
rectly upon Miss Sill T s statement of the situation and her 

question to the Executive Committee, "What shall be done?" 

A month; later in December, 1 8 63, the trustees (through 
the Rockford Register for December 19 ) f made a public ap- 
peal to the citizens of Rockford, stating the needs of the 
Seminary and outlining their purpose. The debt, (incurred 
by the building of Linden), was very heavy as many of the 
subscriptions of 1837 which would hate covered it, had not 
been paid. The interest paid on it already equalled 
half the principal. Though the student body had greatly 
increased, there had been no expansion of the plant. There 
were still accommodations for only eighty. "By using pub- 
lic rooms for dormitory and teachers 1 rooms for recitations 
and crowding three and four into rooms designed 

(1) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Oct. 1?, 1862. 

(2) Ibid, Nov. 24,1863. 

(3) Ibid, Nov. 19,1863. 


only for two," one hundred twenty pupils were "being cared 
for in the Seminary and seventy in private hemes. Within 
the year there had been two hundred applications. 

e plan of the trustees was to raise as the least 
sum for the payment of the debt and the erection of the 
East Wing, §25,000. The Board asked Rockford for |10,000, 
stating that if this sum was raised they had "pledges of 
further aid from the friends of Christian Education at 
the East." 

The appeal was signed by the members of the Execu- 
tive Committee, --H. M. Goodwin, T. D. Roberts, Asa Crosby, 
Charles Williams, E. D. Willis, and John Edwards. 

The week before Mr. Foote had been asked by Miss Sill 
to come to Rockford to engage in the task of soliciting 
funds. (1) 

He came early in the new year from the pastorate of 
the Congregational Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and with- 
in a short time began to report progress. In March, Mr. 
. S. Gilman gave $1,500 on condition that Mr. Dickerman 
would relinquish his scholarship. (2) The press tells 
us that strenous efforts were made to pay off the debt. 

By April, |5,500 of the $10,000 had been cancelled. (3) 
In June the subscriptions were reported to be increasing, 

(1) Minutes of Executive Committee, Dec. 14, 1853. 

( 2 ) Rockford Register , Jan. 16, 1864. 

(3) Ibid, Apr. 16, 1864. 


and the Rev. Mr. Poote 77 as described as "an energetic 
worker accompli shing large results." (1) 

T e money for this drive cane more easily that it 
had for the previous ones. In 1864 the records show that 
$13,711 had been raised, including eighty acres of land 
listed at §800. (2) 

In January, 1865, Miss Sill and Messrs. Foote and 
Brown were authorized to call a meeting of the citizens 
of Rockford "to consult respecting the best method of 
raising funds for the enlarging of the accommodations of 
the Seminary." (3) Shortly after the teachers pledged 
#1,000 on the condition that Rockford would raise $8,000. 
Later in view of their efforts and of Miss Sill T s en- 
feebled health, they were released from §375. (4) She 
had made herself personally responsible for tie sum, and 
had pledged $455. (5) 

In autumn of that year she was given leave of ab- 
sence (6) and was granted two hundred dollars to go East 
to secure funds. (7) Her reports within a few months 
were most favorable. (8) $10,173 had been raised by 
April in New York, New Jersey, Hartford, Connecticut J 

(1) Rockford Register, June 4, 1864. 

(2) Subscription Book. 

(3) Minutes of Executive Committee, Jan. 31, 1865, 

(4) Ibid, Feb. 5, 1869. 

(5) Records of pledges in college safe. 

(6) Minutes of Executive Committee, Oct. 28, 1865. 

(7) Ibid, Nov. 9, 1866. 

(8) Ibid, Apr. 9, 1866. 


Providence, Rhode Island; and Massachusetts. (1) Fif- 
teen thousand in the East was the goal, according to the 
New York Independent which contained glowing account of 
the Seminary and the drive. (2) 

That sane year Rockford, including the $1,000 given 
by the teachers, contributed .$8,300 to the fund. Am org 
these were many large subscriptions, including one from 
the ministers of the town for $600. The amounts ranged 
from $50 to $1,000. (3) 

In 1866 a Mr. Gilman gave a quarter section of land 
in Champaign County, Illinois, on condition ihat the Trus- 
tees "guarantee to bring $1280 toward the $10,000 fund. " 
This gift was accepted. (4) 

In July of that year the trustees took rather dras- 
tic action to expedite the collection of the fund. They 
passed a resolution that "an immediate effort be made to 
raise the sum of $25,000 to complete and furnish Chapel 
Hall (the East Wing) and to provide heating apparatus and 

(1) The subscriptions recorded (in the book of subscrip- 
tions) are as follows: r. John C. Baldwin, $1,000; 
Hartford, Conn., $555; New York City, .§2340 and Brook- 
lyn, N. Y. $501.00; Providence, R. I., $1410; Boston, 
$4,000. To this sum, Mr. Henry Fowle Durant, the 
founder of Wellesley, and Mrs. Walter Baker, of Dor- 
chester were donors. There is recorded another small 
subscription from Amherst, Massachusetts, amounting 

to $50.00, the gift of a Mr. John Smith. 

(2) Reprinted in Rockford Registe r, Mar. 3, 1866. 

(3) Book of Subscription s. 

(4) Minutes of Executive Committee, Feb. 10, 1866. 


gymnasium." They also decided to procure an agent, and 
put hirn to work as speedily as was practicable. (1) Ac- 
cordingly the Rev. Mr. George B. Rowley, a Congregational 
minister in Monroe, Wisconsin, was engaged as travelling 
agent for one year at a salary of $1200. (2) He remained 
in this capacity until his resignation in the spring of 
1869, and was extremely active in his efforts. The 
Executive Committee, at his resignation "Cheerfully 
(testified) that (they esteemed) him a self-denying 
servant of Christ and a true friend of Christian educa- 
tion." (3) 

That Mr. Rowley's work, vhich was local, was fruit- 
ful is evidenced by the fact that between April 1 and 
December 31, 1867, he collected $2229,50 in notes, thir- 
teen scholarships amounting to §1300, and $262.50. (4) 

! :hin the next three years, 1867 to 1869, there were col- 
lected from Rockford arid the surrounding towns,-"- many of 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 12, 1866. 

(2) Minutes of Executive Committee, Mar. 25, 1867. 

(3) Ibid, Apr. 5, 1869. 

(4) Ibid, Jan. 7, 1868. 

«• A list of there towns includes Monroe, Wisconsin, 
Roscoe, Shirland, Rockton, Harrison, Pecatonica, 
Seward, Hale, Byron, Elida, Ridot, Garden Prairie, 
New Milford, Kilbuck, Kishwaukee, Lynville, White 
Rock, Scott, Malta, Sada, Percent, Rochelle, Paine 1 s 
Point, Willow Creek, Caledonia, Sterling, Lee Center, 
Polo, Elkhorn, Wis., Apple River, Nova, Lena, Wins- 
lc innebago, Hollenbek, Sov/ark, Durand, and St. 


them only small groups of dwellings, ^4285, $250 of 13a is 
being in nursery plants. (1) In 1868 Rev. Mead Holmes 
gave $1000.00 for "a perpetual scholarship for the bene- 
fit of Congregational and Presbyterian Ministers." (2) 

As the records of this drive are fragmentary, (they 
are for the most part jotted down in two notebooks and 
on pieces of paper, and occasionally entered in the re- 
cords of the Board,) it is impossible to say what the 
total subscription was and w hat part of it was paid. That 
the Seminary was in need of money we know from two entries 
in the records of the Executive Committee: Mr. Brown was 
authorized, on May 5, 1868, to borrow $1000.0ofcor sixty 
days to meet current expenses, and on June 18, 1868, to 
borrow $3000.00 for the same purpose. In 1869 the pro- 
perty was again mortgaged, this time for $10,000.00.(3) 

That the situation was difficult for everyone is 
certain. The money came slowly, and no wonder* In fact 
it is remarkable that in view of post-war conditions it 
was obtained at all. So great was the need for economy 
that Mr. Townsend, who was retired, undertook to direct 
the building of Chapel Hall, (4) Miss Sill again began 
to feel the strain of her position, and in 1868 was grant- 
ed temporary leave of absence. (5) 

(1) Subscription book. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 23, 1868. 

(3) Ibid, June 29, 1869. 

(4) Mrs. Mabel Clark Wadsworth, 1884. 


Despite these heavy 'burd ens and difficulties, the 
spirit of the trustees and faculty was indomitable. They 
planned great things for the Seminary. Miss Sill had felt 
the need of Anniversary Hall (the East Wing), and had been 
urging its erection since the early years of the decade. 
In 1864 the plans for the building were submitted by the 
Executive Committee to the Board, the Board being given 
power to make any alterations it deemed necessary* (i) 
Nothing further was done until the following year. As 
fifty to one hundred students vrere living out each year, 
it was necessary that measures be taken to accommodate 
them. It : therefore decided to put in the found tion 
in autumn, and to proceed with the erection of the build- 
ing as fast as means could be obtained, "not incurring a 
debt aeyond the amount of the available subscriptions." (2) 
Rev. Aratus Kent remarked a t the anniversary exercises 
that July that he hoped all there would "carry away pains 
of sitting and standing in such narrow accommodations as 
to be ready to give lib eral ly to provide a larger build- 
ing." (3) That September Mr. Town send was authorized to 
draw &68.00 "from the building fund to pay for excavating 
the grourd for the East wing of the Seminary." And so 
Anniversary (now Chapel) Hall and the connection between 
it and Chapel Hall (now Middle) was begun. It was finished 
in 1867. and dedicated June twentieth "by appropriate ex- 

(1) Records of the Board o>t Trustees, July 6, 1864. 

(2) Ibid, July 5, 1865. 

(3) Rock ford Register, July 15, 1865. 


ercises, including addresses from Rev. Messrs. Goodwin 
and Williams, Judge Church, and others." (1) The records 
of the Board include a significant entry for June 25, 1867. 
■'1500.00 had been paid out, and $500*00 was due. In the 
minutes of this same meeting is recorded a vote of thanks 
to i-r. W. H. Town-send "for his very efficient and success- 
ful aid in superintending the erection of the new "build- 
ing." (2) It was while Mr. Town send was thus engaged thfet 
he suffered a sunstroke which ultimately caused his death. (3) 

The completion of Chapel Hall marked an important 
point in the physical history of the Seminary. Not only 
was more dormitory space provided, but opportuni ty was 
given for enlarging the activities of the Seminary. The 
three-story brick connection with Middle provided room in 
the basement for a gymnasium, which had been badly needed. 
On the first and second floors, were music rooms and 
students 1 rooms, and on the third floor an art studio. 
The main building contained a Chapel, capable of accom- 
modating abou J - five hundred people, on the ground floor. (4) 
The upper floPra were given over to dormitory space, each 
roor: 1 being "provided with the drawers and closets So ne- 
cessary for the disposition of the multifarious articles 

(1) nutes of the Executive Committee, Sept. 26, 1865. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June* 25, 1867. 

(3) Mrs, Mabel Clark Wadsworth, his daughter. 

(4) Rockford Register, July 6, 1867. 


that constitute a young lad.y ! s wardrobe." (1) 

Alterations and improvements in the plant* 
Aside from this new building, many improvements were 
made in the plant. In 1864 the corridors of the Linden 
Connection were inclosed. (: ) The present brick connec- 
tion was built in 1871. (3) The year that Chapel was 
opened, 1867, the upper part of Middle was remodeled, the 
old Chapel being divided into four rooms, --the southwest 
fo^ the keeping of the Cabinet and the southeast f o r a 
chemical laboratory and recitation room. The remaining 
space was divided between the library and philosophical 
apparatus. (4) A woodhouse was erected and two large 
cisterns were installed. (5) Although the trustees were 
contemplating the advisability of installing steam heat- 
ing and gas, (6) these improvements did not come until 

The campus. 
The campus, too, came under consideration. In 1866 
the Executive Committee was directed "to arrange the di- 
vision with the other owners, of the strip of land be- 
tween the Seminary grounds and the railroad known as 'land 
reserved for water power 1 of "hi ch land the Seminary own(ed) 

(1) Rockford Register , Sept. 5, 1867. 

(2) Minutes of Executive Committee. Sept. 12, 1864 

(3) Rockford Seminary Magazine. Jan., 15 7 ., p. 3. 

(4) Rockford. Registe r, Aug. ~, 1867. 

(5) Ibid, Sept. 5, 1867. 

(6) These questions were brought up at almost every meet- 
ing of the Board. 


an individual share." Upon "such division the President 
and Secretary of the Board" were authorized to "make the 
necessary conveyances and carry out the sane." The com- 
mittee was also instructed to take any "measures practic- 
able without embarrassing other interests of the Seminary" 
to get the piece of land south of the Seminary grounds. (1) 
There is nothing further in the records concerning this 
first strip of land. The second piece", three and one- 
half acres south of the Seminary was purchased the fol- 
lowing year from Mr. Sanford for $2200, on favorable 
terms. (2) A local paper tells us feat the campus now 
comprised about fifteen acres. A suitable place was 
"set apart for croquet grounds and other healthy out- 
door amusements, combining pleasure wi th exercise." (3) 

The following year, in May, 1868, Mr. Moses Bart- 
lett gave to the Seminary a strip of land west of the 
lot belonging to the Seminary. (4) This strip was "sixty- 
six feet wide, more or less." It was the strip of land 
along, the river v/here the railroad now runs. (5) 

Though the plant had been greatly enl-rged and im- 
proved, there was still need of further accommodations. 
These improvements were not made at the expense of the in- 
tellectual and spiritual welfare of the institution, how- 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 5, 1866. 

(2) Minutes of Executive Committee, May 31, 1867. 

(3) Rockford Register , Sept. 5, 1867. 

(4) Minutes of Executive Committee, May 29, 1868. 

(5) Copy of deed in office of Winnebago County Recorder, 
Rockf ord. 


ever. Realizing the need for an adequately equipped 
teaching staff and realizing that staff must be paid, 
the salaries of all the permanent teachers was increased 
§100. (1) Though the salaries seem ridiculously low,-- 
they ran from B250 to §600 with board and room,-::---it must 
be remembered, that the institution was in no way self- 
supporting. Indeed it was constantly in debt to meet 
current expenses. These women knew their work to be a 
labor of love. The endowment of the principalship was 
placed at $10,000 and that of other departments at 
3,000. (2) 

Though these accomplishments had been gained at the 
cost of tremendous effort and self-sacrifice, it would 
seem that the evils of posslfc-war conditions were begin- 
ning to permeate the Seminary. In view of this fact in 
1868 a circular (issued July 18), most explicit in its 
requests, was sent to incoming s tudents. It requested th&t 
all jewelry be left at home and that all clothing except 
the gymnasium suit viiich wouftd be made at the Seminary, 
"be made at home, that students may not have their time 
and thoughts diverted from imperative school duties and 
also to save expense." A dire warning that "a dress- 
maker's bill may be twice as much at Rockford as at home," 
was appended to this statement. 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1867. 

(2) Ibid. 

-"- Permanent: 0.00 to ?J600.00,* assistants, $100.00 
to $200.00. 

It was stated that few dresses were needed, and these 
"should be plain and unexpensive,and so made as to re- 
quire "but little labor in repairing :Two dresses for school, 
a third when the day ! s work is done, another for Church 
and public days in the Institution such as would be suit- 
able for a quiet home gathering, and a plain white dress 
for Anniversary." Each young lady should equip herself 
with"a warm sacque or breakfast shawl, a dressingUown and 
slippers for use in sickness, — two domestic aprons cover- 
ing the entiEe dress, also flannels, a waterproof cloak, 
India rubber overshoes, and an umbrella." 

The circular goes on to say that the authorities "have 
been thus explicit because (they) feel that the present 
tendency to extravagance in dress and style of living is 
pernicious in many ways, and that Christian Institutions of 
learning should see to it that they do not foster evil 
that is so seriously affecting health and the intellect, 
social and moral character of the women of America." 
The matter of dress during the Seminary years was deemed 
to be "important in its influence upon character and fu- 
ture usefulness . " 

frothing was said about the fashion of short heir 
which was so distinctly in vogue at the time. Evidently 
it was accepted, Perhaps it would not have been had it 
been known that girls sat up in bed after the retiring 
bell rang to do their hair up in curl papers.O) 

( 1 )Mrs. Albert Durham. 


Pernicious as these evils of extravagance might be, 
the institution was exertinda beneficent influence in 
spite of them. Though it was deeply in debt, it was un- 
doubtedly firmly established. The plant was in good con- 
dition, the faculty well established, and there were more 
applicants each year than could be accommodated. 

The Rockford Register for September 5 , 1867, speaks 
thus of its accomplishments: 

"In these times of progress and of free discussion, 
we talk and hear mueh of 'Woman's Influence, 1 of its 
circumscribec4limits,and small results. But we think 
that Rockford 1 Female Seminary is of itself a most 
tangible evidence of what the influence of woman may 
do, when energy of purpose and capacity af mind are 

"Who can tell the good that this noble Institution 
has accomplished. Through it the fame and name of our 
Forest City has been spread far and wide. Fuom the 
East, where the peaceful Hudson flows, to the wild West 
where flows the Or eg on, graduates of this Institution 
have gone to act their part in life's great drama 
and rear up the future rulers of this great land. 
And not (of) this country alone, but others also. Onl.y 
a few months since, a lady spoke in a leading Church 
who went straight from the Seminary to 'India's Coral 
Strand T _to tell the story of the Cross. And this is 
not a solitary instance, as many of our patrons know. 
We are proud of the fact that one of the most deserv- 
ing Institutions of Learning in the West, is located 
at Rockford, and earnestly hope that the Female Semi- 
nary may continue to prosper in a manner commensurate 
with its merits." 

Flowery as the language is, the praise is not too 
eloquent as any one who has known the history of the col- 
lege can attest. The fact remains that from its begin- 
ning the Seminary has exerted a powerful influence in the 


The New College, 1870 to 1884 

The n^xt period in the history of the Seminary, from 
1870 to 1884, the year of Miss Sil^s resignation, was ex- 
tremely important and fraught with difficulties. The in- 
stitution had come safely through the Civil -War period, 
hut it seemed as if it had exhausted every resource to do 
so. The plant had "been greatly enlarged and improved. 
Changes had been made, slowly to be sure, to build up the 
course of study. More students than could be accommodated 
were applying for admission. To take care of them the con- 
nections between Middle and Linden Halls was built in 1871. 
The situation, however, was serious. How serious, it is 
difficult to realize. Or rather it would be had we not a 
letter of Miss Sill's to the Trustees which illuminates 
it for us. 

"July 8, 1871. 

"To Messrs. Emerson, Robertson, and Sanford, 

"I accept the situation, with its marked sig- 
nificance. I beg leave to ask one question, 

M| Has Rockford done more for the Seminary, 
than the Seminary for Rockford?* 

"Will the Executive Committee please accept 
two facts for prayerful consideration . 

"First, The rising di s sati sf act ion of our 
young ladies at the thought of the Railroad cros- 
sing our grounds is an index , and unless there 
shall be more marked improvement in our halls and 
on our grounds, during the vacation, than I have 
dared suggest, we may as well close our doors in 
the Pall. 

"Second, The present Faculty is a Unit , and 
we .have too great interest in the Seminary to stay 
and see it die, ! for not (to) grow is to die*, • 


"I will defer publishing the circular for the 

"This Institution has a history which is sa- 
cred, whether or not appreciated or' whatever may"~be 
its future. 

"Your Principal claims to have done her duty 
and therefore leaves events with God." 

There is scarcely need for comment, so succinctly has 
Miss Sill stated the case. Nor is it necessary to linger 
upon the pain it must have caused her. It rings out in her 
words, --"we have too great an interest in the Seminary to 
stay and see it die." Through this crises, as through 
every other, her deep faith supported her. "Your Principal 
claims to have done her duty and therefore leaves events 
with God." 

That the situation was not improved directly and that 

there was concern over it outside the immediate circles of 

the institution, is evidenced "by a comment in one of the 

local papers two years later: 

r - r "we now come to say that in the opinion of 

the faculty, trustees and friends of the institution, 
a crisis has been reached in its history, where it 

must speedily advance or it will retrograde, 

Shall Rockford Seminary advance and keep pace with 
the progress of the age, or shall its doors be closed 
and it live only in past history?" (]) 

It would seem that this last query implied undue a- 
larm. The doors of the Seminary never were closed, Jtar is 
there any other indication that they might have been closed, 
though such procedure was frequent in small pioneer col- 

(1) Rockford Register , May 30, 1874. 


leges in the Mid-West. Miss Sill, whatever her colleagues 
might have done, would scarcely be the one to allow them 
to be closed without making a strenuous effort to keep 
them at least ajar. 

The railroad to which the young ladies were so op- 
posed, did go through the Seminary grounds at the foot of 
the bluff on the edge of the river. The Executive Committee 
had, on the day before Kiss Sill's letter, acted favorably 
on the petition of the Rockford Central Railroad to build 
the tracks along the river, conditioning that the company 
would construct their culverts under the track so that 
the bank would not wash away, would maintain the slopes 
in good order, and construct and maintain forever "a 
close board fence six feet high which (should) not be 
above any part of the Seminary grounds. "(1) 

What the railroad paid the Seminary for this privi- 
lege, is not recorded. It could not have been a great 
deal. Miss Sill's displeasure, expressed in her letter to 
the trustees, can be explained in this way. The railway 
company had the legal right, which it threatened to exer- 
cise, (2) to take the property by "eminent domain" pro- 
ceedings, and to accept in return the award of a jury as 
to the sum to be paid the college therefor. It v/ould 
seem from the records that what actually happened was that 
the trustees made a somewhat loose agreement to let the 

road to through without "eminent domain" proceedings In 
TT) Minutes of the Executive Committee, July 8, 1871. 
(2) Mrs. C. P. Brazee, 1855. 


the court, and that they failed to receive proper compen- 
sation at the time. , However dissatisfied any one 
might "be, the trustees probably could not have prevented 
the road from ultimate success in getting the right of 
way; but they certainly could have put up more of a fight 
than they did. There was a great deal of bitterness among 
members of the Board itself, and between the Board and 
others connected with and interested in the Seminary, (1) 
The "marked significance" of the situation to which 
Miss Sill refers lies probably in the fact that the action 
of the Board was contrary to not only her wishes, but to 
the wishes of many others. One might surmise — it would 
be difficult to prove — that her question: "Has Rockford 
done more for the Seminary, than the Seminary for Rock- 
ford?" was the outcome of an argument in the Board that 
the Seminary ought to do something for the town by help- 
ing the railroad into the city. There were those on the 
Board who held that opinion. (2) 

In the first two years of the next decade the question 
of the railroad came up again. In June, 1880, the Execu- 
tive Committee was instructed "to confer with the pro- 
prietors (as soon as it shall be settled who such pro- 
prietors are) concerning the conditions upon which a right 

(1) Mrs. C. P. Brazee, 1855. 

(2) Ibid. 


of way would be granted," the road having changed manage- 
ment. (1) After two years of unsuccessful conferences, (2) 
during which the committee was instructed to take legal 
proceedings to enforce the rights of the Seminary, the mat- 
ter was at last settled, (3) and the Chicago and Iowa Rail- 
road (now the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy ), then us- 
ing the ground, paid the Seminary $1000. (4) 

Financing the Seminary. 
In order to maintain the advances the Seminary must 
make to keep "pace with the progress of the age," it was 
necessary that money he raised to finance them. The fi- 
nancial needs of the institution were "becoming steadily 
greater and more complex. The trustees were faced with 
the fact that a hitherto -undreamed-of sum of money must 
be forthcoming to carry on the work of the institution. 
In 1873 they went on record as attempting "during the pre- 
sent year a more full endowment of the institution and 
most earnest efforts (were) to be made by the Executive 
Committee to secure $50,000 for this purpose as formerly 
inaugurated." (5) Though some years passed before this 
objective was accomplished, the goal was constantly be- 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, June 22, 1880. 

(2) Ibid, June 10, 1881. 

(3) Ibid, June 21, 1881. 

(4) Ibid, June 20, 1882. 

(5) Ibid, June 24, 1873. 


fore the group. In 1874 Miss Sill appeared before the 
Executive Committee, and expressed the opinion that "a 
good liberal amount must be secured in Rockford before 
any encouragement (could) be expected abroad even among 
personal friends of the Institution." (1) It would seem 
that the community was not responding so generously to 
the appeals of this drive as they had previously. An 
article in the Rockford Register for July 4, 1874, hint- 
ed that the Seminary should be self-supporting, that the 
management was poor. The charge was, of course, absurd. 
Educational institutions are seldom self-supporting. The 
fees in the Seminary, moreover, were extremely low. (2) 
The institution has never departed from its original poli- 
cy, --that it was founded to give worthy young women of 
limited means an opportunity to secure a higher education 
at the lowest possible charges. Every thing possible was 
done to aid these young women. Loans and scholarships 
were always available. A young woman was allowed a reduc- 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, June 24, 1873. 

(2) Minutes of Executive Committee, May 12, 1874, set 
board as $170 per year; $110 for ministers' daughters. 
Records of Board of Trustees, June 23, 1874, allow ed 
$30 reduction for domestic duty. Mrs. L. C. Jones, 
1878, says that "the domestic duties, which were 
systematized, and divided among the girls, consisted 
of sweeping the halls, ringing the bells, washing the 
dishes, caring for the silver, making bread or cake 

or pies. Each of the duties was assigned to one girl 
or, where necessary, to a group. The heavy work was 
done by paid employees." 


tion of #30 for domestic duty in the industrial depart- 
ment, a reduction on laundry of twenty-five cents per 
dozen pieces if she did her own ironing, (1) a reduction 
of $10 for not using tea and coffee. (2) 

Fortunately all were not of the opinion voiced in the 
press. In 1873 the Department of Natural Sciences re- 
ceived a gift of $1000 "from a gentleman who though emi- 
nent in the busine?s circles of the country, yet finds 
time for the delightful labors of the Scientific." And 
there was another gift of $900 from an unnamed friend, 
Mr. E. N. Blatchford, "a considerate friend and trustee," 
presented the Institution with a valuable set of Zell ! s 
Encyclopaedias. (3) 

In the spring of 1875 the Rev. Hiram Foote was en- 
gaged by the Seminary (4) at a salary of -$500 for six 
months to raise money for the endowment. (5) He had been 
interested in the institution from the date of its incep- 
tion, and had been a member of the Board since 1852. Mr. 
Foote had wide influence in the section. He had scarcely 
begun his work before he made an address to the Congrega- 
tional Association of Illinois at its annual convention, 
and made known to the members th e m o mbers the needs of the 
Seminary. (6) 



Catalogue, 1873-1874, p. 29. 

Catalogue, 1874-1875, p. 27. 

Rockford Seminary Magazine , Oct. 1873, p. 37. 

Records of Board of Trustees, Apr. 2, 1875. 

Minutes of Executive Committee, Apr. 15, 1875. 

Rockford Register, June 4, 1875. 


Though money came very slowly, it came steadily. It 
is impossible to trace the growth of the funds as there 
seerr to have been no records kept. Until 1381 no great 
interest was shwwn in the endowment. That year the teach- 
ers subscribed $1000 "toward the erection of an Art 
Hall." (1) This offer seamed to stir up matters. The 
communication was referred to the Executive Committee 
which was to consider it "and do what (could) be done to 
meet the needs of the institution." (2) 

What, if anything, was done, is doubtful. At the an- 
nual meeting of the Board three year sVater (1884) a report 
was made that the subscriptions already received amounted 
to $20,707. "More or less promise of other sums (was) not 
included in this statement." It was voted at this meet- 
ing that "some agency for a general effort to secure the 
full $50,000 contemplated" be employed. The Executive 
Committee was authorized to "hypothecate subscription 
notes or to mortgage a part or the whole of the Seminary 
property to secure funds for use as (might) be needed. (3) 

It would seem that about this time Mr. W. A. Talcott 
was infusing the project with new life. The Rockford Re - 
gister for June 21, 1884, of tho time speaks of him as 
working the matter up and of having accomplished a great 
deal. In the college safe there are scores and scores of 

(1) ecords of Board of Trustees, June 10, 1881. 

(2) Ibid, June 21, 1881. 

(3) Records of 3oard of Trustees, Annual meeting, (not 
dated), June 1884. 


letters written by him during this time, asking for aid 
and for recommendations as to the worth of the Seminary, 
and following up possible contributors, letters written a 
little later, advising Miss Hillard as to the best means 
of securing funds and introducing her to people or* means. 
He gave without stint of his time and energy. With this 
new impetus the financial safety of the Seminary was as- 
sured. The institution could not, with these resources 
at hand, fail to expand. 

Changes in aspects of the Seminary* 
Difficult as these years were, however, the Seminary 
was gradually taking on the aspects of a college. Far- 
reaching changes were being made in the -"-curriculum, -"-stu- 
dent activities were becoming more organized and of a more 
significant character, and most important of all the#-x-alum- 
nae were becoming conscious of themselves as a group and 
aware of their influence. 

Indeed, too, the very word college, or at least the 
idea, began to creep into the minds of those associated 
with the institution. The Rockford Register (June 6, 1874), 
in discussing the needs of the Seminary and. exhorting the 
citizens of Rockford to support the $50,000 campaign in- 
augurated some time pre ious, ventured the question: Why 
not make the Seminary a college. Two years later, in a 
meeting of the Executive Committee, Miss Sill spoke about 

-;:- See appendix, pp. 308-327. 
•*#See pp. 198-208. 


changing the name and the course of study. (1) Within 
the next month a committee composed of Messrs. Robertson, 
S-nford, and Lathrop, was appointed "to examine and re- 
port upon the legality and expediency of changing the 
name 'Semi nary 1 to * College. 1 " (2) 

This idea seems not to have matured rapidly. What 
the deliberations of the committee were, v/e are unable to 
say as their subsequent records, as well as those of the 
Board, are silent. The change in name from Rockford Fe- 
male Seminary to Rockford Seminary, however, was not ef- 
fected until June 21, 1887. (3) This document was sub- 
scribed and sworn to, it i s interesting to note, before 
Miss Julia C. Lathrop, notary public, daughter of the Hon. 
William Lathrop and Adeline Potter Lathrop, of the class 
of 1854. And the change to Rockford College was not made 
until December 6, 1892. (4) 

Despite the disfavor with which many looked upon the 
name t co liege , the change was inevitable. Vassar had 
adopted the obnoxious term from its beginning, January 18, 
1861, though the term ,£ej2iale, equally obnoxious to us to- 
day, was retained in the name. (5) Welle si ey, although 

(1) Minutes of the Executive Committee, May (?.), 1876. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 21, 1876. 

(3) Certificate of Change of Name from. Rockford Female 
Seminary to Rockford Seminary. Copy of original §&£. 3Hd 
cument, sworn to by Secretary of State. See Appendix, pp. 

(4) Certificate of Change of Name of Corporation from Rock- 
ford Seminary to Rockford College. Copy of Original 
document sworn to by Secretary of State. See Appendix, pp. 

(5) Monroe, Cyclopaedia of Education , Vol. V, p. 706. ^h-w 


chartered as Wellesley Female Seminary in 1870, by a special 
enactment of the legislature of Kassachusetts, had its name 
changed to Wellesley College. (1) The connection between 
Rockford and these two institutions was strong. 

The Curriculum: the degree of A. B. 
In commenting upon the new course of study inaug- 
rated by the trustees in the spring of 1871, the Rockford 
Register (for October 7, 1871), speaks of its similarity 
"to that of Vassar College." The distinctive features 
of this new course were the enlargement of opportunities 
for the study of modern language and the discontinuance 
of the normal course as a distinct course. For those who 
wished to prepare themselves for teaching a normal class 
was provided. (2) The changes which were made in the- col- 
legiate course strengthened it. In the junior year French 
and German were offered as optional studies, French was re- 
quired in the junior middle year, German in the senior middle 
year, and French or German in thefeenior year. The number 
of courses in mathematics, English, and Biblical history 
was increased. The work in Biblical history was more de- 
finitely outlined, and there was more emphasis on English 
literature. Astronomy was offered as an elective in the 
senior middle year, and Greek was required in the last two 

(1) Monroe, Cyclopaedia of Education, Vol. V, p. 758. 

(2) Records of Board of Trustees, June 27, 1871. 


years of the course, (1) 

These changes were only the beginning of far-reaching 
ones. In 1876 again a committee was appointed, composed 
of the president of the Board, Miss Sill, and the Rev. 
Wilder Smith "with the authority to make such, changes as 
they deem(ed) advisable." (2) The effect of these changes 
was favorably commented upon early in the autumn term by 
the Rockford Register (November 9, 1877), Though there 
was about the usual number of students enrolled, they were 
thought to be of "a more advanced standing than in for- 
mer years." Then, too, a significant bit of progress was 
noted: the senior class was "much larger that for several 
years past." The article went on to praise "the wisdom 
of the trustees shown in the recent change and the ad- 
vances in the course of study, corresponding to the in- 
creasing demand both East and West, for a complete college 
education for young women." 

There is the crux of the whole situation, — " bhe de- 
mand for a complete college etducation for young women." 
Not only was the seminary forced to meet the changed 
situation, but it was forced to do so immediately. Stu- 
dents had been going East to Vassar for their last two 
years because at Rockford they could not get the courses 

(1) Catalogue, 1871-72. During the next several years, 
while this new course was being tried out, there were 
minor changes. See program for 187' -77, appendix, pp. 

(2) Records of Board of Trustees, June 27, 1876. 


they wanted. If the Seminary were to remain strong through- 
out the four years, these students must be held "by the at- 
tractions of courses equivalent to those given elsewhere 
and the granting of degrees. 

The Rockford Seminary Magazine (for October 1877), in 
commenting upon the situation mn a slightly humorious vein, 
brings home to us the glamor that the Eastern institutions 
cast around their attendan ts, which perhaps was somewhat 
responsible for students leaving: 

"Goldsmith's picture of gazing T rustics ranged 
about; T to ad ire the village teacher because his 
wee 1 small head could carry all he knew, 1 will grow 
dim on our campus compared with the picture we draw 
in our ^ind's eye of the return to our midst of a 
brace of scholastics from the classic halls of Vas- 
sar and Wellesley." 

Among these returned "scholastics" were Julia Lathrop, 
Vassar, 1880; Agnes HealJ, Vassar, 1881, and Adeline 
Emerson, Wellesley, 187?. 

Under the changed conditions, the matter of granting 
degrees was realized to be of the utmost importance, and 
was fully threshed out. The catalogue of 1880-1881 car- 
ries the statement that "those completing either of the 
full courses of study, including optional studies and a 
sufficient n mber of electives, will receive the degree 
of A. B." The courses were the literary and the scien- 

"Gl I 1 Cb« 

On June tenth, l88t, there was a special meeting of 
the Board to discuss the question of increasing the time 
and the amount of study to warrant the granting of de- 


grees. The special committee on the subject reported that 
they advocated "an increase of one year in (the) prepara- 
tory department, (making three years) and three elective 
courses, --the Classical, Scientific, and Literary, and the 
granting of the degree to those who completed any one of 
them," This report was unanimously adopted. It was also 
voted to call the four years of the course the freshman, 
sophomore, junior, and senior years. (1)* 

The Rockford Register , the next morning, June 11, 1881, 
expressed the opinion that these changes placed the insti- 
tution on a par with Eastern colleges. The committee had 
spent two years working out the courses. 

The first degrees were awarded the following June. 
The degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred upon the Misses 
Julia Evangeline Gardiner, of the class of 1882, Harriet 
Elizabeth Wells, 1882, Catharine Waugh, 1B82, Laura Jane 
Addarns, 1881, Helen M. Harrington, 1881, Mary E. Holmes, 
1868, and Laura Isabel Rose, 1872. The degree of M. A. 
(honorary) was conferred upon Miss L. M. Smith, 1867; 
Miss Caroline A. Potter, 1855; Mrs. Marie Thompson Perry, 
1863, and Mrs. Fannie Jones Talcott, 1860. (2) The fol- 
lowing June Miss Mary E. B. Norton, a teacher in the Sem- 
inary from 1859 to 1875, and Miss H. A. M. Reed, of the 
class of 1859, were also given honorary Master's degrees. (3) 

(1) Records of Board of Trustees, June 10, 1881. 

(2) Ibid, June 20, 1882. 
(5) I id, Jums 21, 1883. 

* &ee course of studies for 1880-81, appendix, pp. 


This departure was important in enabling Rockford to take 
its place with other degree -granting institutions. 

Then, too, there was another aspect to the occasion. 
Mrs. Brazee told me when I last talked with her, that just 
before Mrs. Talcott's death in the spring of 1925, she and 
Mrs. Talcott were speaking of this particular commencement. 
Both were of the opinion that Miss Sill felt the granting 
of these degrees a r alization of her aims for the Seminary. 
When the time came that she considered the institution 
ready to grant degrees, she looked about her, and she de- 
cided that these four graduates of the Seminary had mea- 
sured up to the standard she had set for the M. A. de- 
gree. During her course Mrs. Brazee had done a great 
deal of uro rk beyond that required for the Seminary diploma, 
and she had taught in the Seminary for some years. 

While the trustees and faculty had been giving their 
attention to the academic side of the institution, the 
students and alumnae had been active in other directions, ■* 
the undergraduates in organizing student activites and the 
graduates in extending their influence for the improvement 
of the Seminary. 

Changed character of commencement.. 
It would seem, too, that during these years the clos- 
ing exercises were changing in character. The old term, 

■k- 6ee supplementary chapter, "Activites and Social Life 
of the Students." 


"anniversary " gradually fell into disuse, and passed from 
the Seminary vocabulary toward the last of the seventies, 
its place being taken by the term "Commencement," in vogue 
in other institutions. 

The tedious character of the exercises was commented 
upon in 1873 by the daily press. "The protracting of the 
exercises at the Seminary Wednesday from early morning to 
near two in the afternoon, with a march meantime some 
blocks to a church, when the mercury in some shaded places 
was already over one hundred and when the young ladies 
were already worn out by a long succession of addresses, 
examinations, rehearsals and the entertainment of guests, 

is sharply criticized. The friend? of the eloquent 

speaker, whose strong words were almost thrown away upon 
a thinned and exhausted audience, before whom he was re- 
quired to begin his work later than the usual dinner hour, 
feel as though a wrong was done to any man who is invited 
to address those who gather on these occasions, with op- 
portunity only to be voted a bore. It has been bad enough 
in former years. The intensifying of the fatigue, and of 
the obscuring of the speaker of the day that grew out of 
this year's excessive heat, will doubtless lead to reform, 
and if an address must be made an afternoon or an evening 
will probably be devoted to it." (1) 

(1) Rockford Daily Register , July 4, 1873. Reprinted 
from the Chicago Journal. 


Indeed these programs must have been arduous for par- 
ticipants, who must "pack trunks and hurry away for their 
homes" to "the care of nursing mothers, who doubtless be- 
gin to think that hard study is ruinous to health." (1) 
There were public examinations of the preparatory*"and 
collegiate departments, (2) the latter consuming two days, 
Monday and Tuesday, on Sunday morning the baccalaureate 
sermon, and orpunday evening the address before the Society 
of Missionary Inquiry; Tuesday evening was given over to 
the alumnae meeting and supper, and on Wednesday were held 
the closing exercises with another address. (It was not 
until 1882 that the public examinations were dispensed 
with by a vote of the faculty. (3) ) Each of these -events 
was lengthy and elaborate. 

In 1876 the conservatory concert was added to the 
events of the season. It was held in the Second Congre- 
gational Church, and was elaborate in character. This 
commencement was significant as it marked the twenty- 
fifth anniiversary of the Seminary. 

Three years later the date of the exercises was changed. 
to the second Wednesday before the fourth of July. (4) 

(1) Rockford Daily Register , July 4, 1873. Reprinted from 
the Chic a go Journa l. 

(2) Rockfor d Seminary" Magazine , June 1873, p. 36. 

(3) Records of Board of Trustees, June 29, 1882. 

(4) Ibid, June 25, 1879. 

# These were held Sunday afternoon. 


This change would greatly reduce the strain on all con- 
cerned if the weather were seasonable. 

The commencement exercises of 1881 perhaps merit a 
word. As one reviews the anniversaries of preceding years, 
they seem very much alike. The only differences lie in 
the names of the speakers; for even their themes were sim- 
ilar. It would seem that the Class of 1881 was unusually 
progressive. The exercises were invested with a new qual- 

It may have been that this class had felt more strong- 
ly than preceding classes the bond that held their together. 
It may have been that the changing character of the woman 
student, was revealed in these graduates. In the chal- 
lenge which Jane Addams, Rockford's most distinguished 
alumna, throws out, there is a rephrasing oT the meaning 
of Rockford: 

"If you are tempted to flag and grow weary of 
'bread-giving, 1 remember the sixteen girls of T 81 
who believe ana expect high things of you. We stand 
united today in a belief in beauty, genius, and 
courage, and that these can transform the world. If 
you each are true to these beliefs and never lose con- 
fidence in your possibilities, then the class of '81 
will be undivided throughout their lives. Then old 
class loyalty and helpful friendships will never be 
withdrawn. So to you, my friends, I will only say, 
! God be with us,* which is an older and better form 
of 'good bye'". (1) 

"We stand united today in a belief in beauty, genius, 

and courage and that these can transform the world," Jane 

Addams and countless other Rockford Seminary girls have 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette, June 22, 1881. 


shown the power of this belief in their own lives. Miss 
Sill builded even better than she knew. 

In Miss Addams* plea to the trustees for the new col- 
lege there is the same high note: 

"Rockford Seminar;/ from its organization has pos- 
sessed a legal cherter, but has never yet been dis- 
tinctly recognized as a college, nor its alumnae re- 
ceived as college graduates. Do not now, we beg of 
you, stint this ewly awakened life through want of 

encouragement or funds. And in your future appeals 

to your alumnae for assistance and support, may you 
never find the class of ! 81 disloyal to their alma 

It may be added here that Miss Addams returned to her 

alma mater in 1882 to receive her A. B. degree, the first 

year the degree was granted. 

Alumnae activities. 

This newly awakened life "so joyously felt by the 
undergraduates was animating the alumnae. They, too, were 
beginning to organize, and before 1883 there were t*wo 
strong local associations, the one in Chicago-* and the 
other in Minneapolis. The Chicago group from the begin- 
ning was imbued with the idea of service. "The asso- 
ciation was formed solely for the purpose of making us 
stronger to do something r — We never met without expecting 
to make a return to our beloved school," writes one of 
the charter members. (1) 

Even those ??irls who were not graduates felt the 

(1) Mrs. Mary G. Wells, a student in the early sixties. 
-;:- See appendix, pp. 276- 279 • 


serious purpose of the group, and became earnest workers. 
They had learned of the sacrifices of Miss Sill, and were 
inspired by her example. (1) 

In the early years of its existence the association 
devoted its meager proceeds to the library and the art 
department. (2) At the first -eeting Mrs. Claflin gave 
$100 toward the endowment fund. (3) Early in its history 
the association raised the scholarship fund which now sup- 
ports a Chicago student, and is known as the Chicago -Rock- 
ford College Association Fund. (4) The principal today / 

to ?i700C, This was a difficult task, and took some time. 
Several entertainments were given "to swell the fund. At 
the time it was intended for the use of the daughter of 
a minister. (5) 

Since its organization the association has maintained 
the custom of the annual banquet. (6) On December 29, 1924, 
it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary at the Great Northern 
Hotel in Chicago. Several of those present had been at 
that first meeting, and greetings came from many others, as 
well as greetings in person or by letter from all but one 
of the living presidents. The group has always shown a 
lively interest in the college, and has responded generous- 

(1) Mrs. Mary ..'Cr» Wells, a student in the- early sixties. 

(2) Mrs. Mary Wells and Mrs. W. E. Smith. 

(3) Rockford Daily Register , Jan. 8, 1874. 

(4) Mrs. Mary Wells. 

(5) Ibid. 

(6) At the 10th reunion, in Keb., 1884, the Rockford Re- 
gi ster tells us, a committee was appointed to draft 
a" "constitution and by-laws. 


•ly to every demand made upon it. 

Although forced somewhat later, the founding of the 
Minneapolis Association falls in this period. The group 
had been meeting informally for some time, and on June 
eleventh, 1883, a permanent organization was formed. Up- 
wards of 500 former students of the college were living in 
Iowa and Minnesota. Mrs. Nathan Ford was chosen the first 
president, and the other officers were Mrs. Robert Hagar, 
first vice-president; Mrs. A. F. Foster, second vice-pre- 
sident; Miss Mary Carson, secretary, and Mrs. T. A. Bart- 
lett, treasurer. Miss Sill end Miss Lucy Smith, a member 
of the faculty, were present at this meeting. (1) 

While these local groups were forming, the alumnae 
as a body were becoming more closely affiliated. They had 
met at intervals for reunions, and had been in the habit 
of coming back in June . Early, how early I am unable to 
say except that it was after 1864, a constitution had been 
drafted for the Forest Hill Alumnae Association. ■» So far 
as I know, this is the first constitution drawn up by the 
alumnae. It is in long hand on a piece of letter paper 
with an impressed "A" at the top of the first sheet, and 
it is signed by Miss Mary Ashmun, a graduate of the Sem- 
inary in 1864. The paper has lain untouched in the col- 
lege safe for many years. 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette , June 15, 1883. 
* For a copy of this dodument and other documents per- 
taining to the Alumnae Association, see appendix, pp. 



Constant references to the alumnae in the Rockford 
papers in the 1870* s point to increasingly strong organi- 
zation and influence. Within a decade, from 1872 to 
1882, the alumnae accomplished two important objects: first, 
they inaugurated and completed the Sill Endowment Fund; 
secondly, through their influence women were admitted to 
membership on the Board of Trustees, heretofore restricted 
to men. 

In 1872, at the annual meeting of the alumnae asso- 
ciation, it was 

"Resolved, That the Alumnae of Rockford Female Sem- 
inary endeavor to raise the sum of $10,000 before 
June 24, 1876, as an endowment fund for the Princi- 
palis chair in said institution; the income to be, 
devoted to the personal use and benefit of the pre- 
sent Principal during her life time." (1) 

Work was immediately begun on the fund, and at the 
next mnnual meeting, June 24, 1873, $2,000 had been sub- 
scribed toward the fund. (2) 

The efforts of the alumnae along this line received 
considerable attention from the press. Two Chicago pa- 
pers, the Alliance and the Standard , aside from the many 
references in the Rockford papers, commented upon the pro- 
ject, and especially upon the unusual character. "So far 
as we are informed, this is the first effort of the kind 
undertaken by a school distinctively for women* --In order 
to make the Alumnae Association financially responsible, 

(1) Rockford Seminary Magazine , Jan., 1875, p. 71. 

(2) Rockford Daily Register , Tune 25, 1873. 


it has been incorporated-,-"- and every dollar paid toward 

the endowment is made to pay interest immediately, and thus 

rapidly swell the fund." (1) 

June, 1876, saw the pledges completed, At the annual 

meeting the following resolution was adopted: 

"Resolved; That the members of the Alumnae Association 
return their heartfelt thanks to the many friends who 
have so kindly expressed their interest and good will, 
and so generously contributed to the Sill Endov/nent 
Fund, May they receive in their own souls a hundred- 
fold for what they have done," (2) 

The treasurer's report at the annual meeting of the 
association, held June 28, 1877, shows that the amount col- 
lected and loaned at ten per cent (interest semi-annual) 
was $7921.61; individual notes of subscriber s--a few of 
which were drawing interest--amounted to $1887. Besides 
these sums the association owned four lots of land, three 
in Rockford and one in Charles City, Iowa. There were al- 
so on the books $327 in unpaid subscriptions most of them 
made since the starting of the project. It was the plan 
of the Association to transfer the funds to the trustees 
as soon as the full amount had been accumulated. (3) 

At the commencement exercises in 1878, after the 
diplomas had been awarded, the fund was presented in be- 
half of the alumnae by Mrs. Seely Perry to Prof. Joseph- 
Emerson who received it in behalf of the Board of Trus- 

(1) Chicago Alliance, reprinted in Rockford Gazette, Jan. 2, 1875 # 
(2)Records of Alumnae Association, June 28, 1876. 
(3)Records of Board of Trustees, July 1, 1877. 
-«- See appendix, pp. 3^7-368. 


tees, to be held by them In trust. The complete list of 
the monies and properties transferred is recorded in the 
minutes of the Board. The total amount, including unpaid 
subscriptions of $130, was $12,012/16. 

The principal of the fund was to be kept "intact 

and at interest loaned upon good security real or personal." 
Except for such sums as might be necessary to pay taxes 
on the properties involved, the income of the fund was to 
be paid each year, to Miss Sill, "the honored founder and 

Principal during her life, as an expression of the high 

esteem and tender love which her former pupils and friends 
bear toward her for her long years of self-sacrificing de- 
votion to the interests of Rockford Female Seminary and to 
the education of the many women who have been under her 
charge during these years;" and after her death the income 
of the entire fund was to be "devoted to the support of the 
Principal's chair" of the Seminary. (1) 

The trustees, through their president, Prof. Joseph 
Emerson, expressed their "high appreciation of the Alumnae 
Association in thus showing their love and respect for one 
to whom they owe(d) so much." (2) 

No sooner was the Sill Endowment Fund completed than 
the alumnae began to turn their thoughts in another direc- 
tion. At the business meeting of the alumnae association 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1878. 

(2) Ibid, June 26, 1878. 


in 1880, held after the alumnae banquet (which was con- 
fined strictly to the alumnae) two resolutions were passed, 
the one to raise $300 to beautify the seminary grounds and 
the second, which was so startling in character, to appoint 
a committee to confer with the Board of Trustees, asking 
for an alumnae trustee. The committee appointed consisted 
of three ladies whose husbands were on the board, --Mrs. Wil- 
liam Lathrop, Mrs. D. S. Clark, and Mrs. Clara Sanford. 
Despite the fact of their nearness to the Board, the pro- 
posal of these ladies did not meet with the hearty response 
one mi:2ht expect. (1) In due time the Board was approached, 
and at the annual meeting of the trustees, on June 10, 1881, 
the communication from the alumnae "reoue sting the appoint- 
ment of one or more ladies on the board of trustees," was 
referred to a special committee composed of Mr. Lathrop and 
Mr. Foote. (2) 

The communication in question requested the presence 
of these ladies on the board "in view of the practical in- 
terest taken by the women of this generation in the general 
cause of education, evidenced by their large donations and 
bequests to both male and female colleges, and by their un- 
wearying labors in every department of educational work; 
in view of the fact that our own Alma Mater owes its life 
to the strong heart and brain of a consecrated womanhood 

(1) Records of Alumnae Association, June 23, 1878. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 10, 1881. 


and that its ideal is that of a school where woman shall 

be fitted for every place in life." This letter is not 

recorded in the minutes of the Board, (1) 

At the meeting of the Board a little more than a week 
later, June 21, the Hon. William Lathrop brought in a re- 
port for the special committee, composed of himself and 
Mr. Poote, recommending that as there were "no legal ob- 
stacles to women's occupying the position of trustees, 
and inasmuch as the institution is solely for the education 
of women, your committee thinks that there is an eminent 
propriety in giving women such representation and would 
recommend that three discreet and competent members of the 
alumnae be selected to fill existing vacancies on the 
Board." (2) 

The recommendation, from, all reports, precipitated 
and earnest discussion. There were some who favored the 
measure and others who were bitterly opposed. The discus- 
sion is not included in the minutes of the Board. One 
hears fragments of it, however, even now from still in- 
dignant alumnae. 

On the motion for adoption, a substitute motion was 


"Whereas, the settled policy of this institution has 
been to commit the educational work, the training 
and discipline of its pupils and its internal ad- 
ministration and government to the faculty of teach- 

(1) Rockford Register, June 11, 1881. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 21, 1881. 


ers, constituted of women, and to leave its business 
arrangement to a board consisting of men, (1) 

" Resolved ; That the Secretary of the Board be instruct- 
ed to acknov. r ledge the receipt of the communication, re- 
lative to the appointment of ladies on the board and 
to inform them that, s s their request involves an im- 
portant change in the policy of the Seminary, the Board 
have deemed it best to defer final action upon the mat- 
ter until our next annual meeting," (2) 

This resolution was adopted. It was not easy to change 
the policy of more than thirty years, and presumably it was 
not easy for some of the members to witness the admission 
of women to the Board, The question must be given "deli- 
berate consideration" and the Board come "to a harmonious 
conclusion,." (3) 

When the decision of the Board was communicated to the 
alumnae, they resolved that the receipt of the communica- 
tion be acknowledged, 

"They disdain( ed)-»- any desire for a change in the 
membership of the board as (should) in any degree im- 
pair the harmonious and efficient action of all the 
members of the board of trust, and of the patrons of 
the institution in carrying on the work as success- 
fully in the future as in the past, and therefore 
(did) not desire to make any change in said member- 
ship unless there (could) be perfect unanimity among 
the board itself." (4) 

The alumnae had the best interests of the Seminary at 

heart and would not under any circumstances imperil the fu- 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette , June 23, 1881. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 21, 1881, 

(3) Rockford Daily Gazette , June 23, 1881. 

(4) Ibid. 

* Common expression at this time, Mrs. Brazee tells me. 
It was, however } as used by the alumnae, changed with 


ture of the institution "by their presence on the Board, 

It is plain to "be seen that they did not consider that 

there was any grave danger in their admission. 

After a year ! s deliberation, serious deliberation we 

are to assume, a new query it would seem though the special 

committee had brushed aside the question, occurred to a 

certain group. The point raised concerned the legality 

of electing women to the Board. A compromise was reached 

by the members whereby women were to be elected honorary 

members. The following resolution was adopted June 20, 1882 

"Whereas, serious doubts exist in the minds of some 
of the board as to the legality of electing ladies 
• to this board: Therefore, 

"Resolved: That the Alumnae be invited, in response 
to their communication, to nominate such a number 
of ladies as they think proper, to act in connec- 
tion with the principal as Honorary Members of the 
Board, to be present at its meetings and aid us by 
their counsel, co-operation, and influence." (1) 

It was then voted that the Executive Committee be 
given power to act for the board in "confirming such no- 
minations as (might) be made by the Alumnae to honorary 
membership in accordance with the above invitation." (2) 

Though the "above invitation" was far from being 
spontaneous and though"Honorary Member ship" did not give 
any real power, as it withheld the privilege of voting, 
the alumnae had gained a wedge. 

Another year went by before the action of the Board 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 20, 1882. 

(2) Ibid. 

bore fruit. Three years had elapsed since the movement 
was initiated. On May 10, 1883, there were present at a 
special meeting of the Board as honorary members, five 
"discreet and competent" ladies, --Miss Sill, Mrs. Seely 
Perry, Miss Jane Addams, Mrs. David Keyt, and Mrs. V/. A. 
Talcott.(l) Mrs. Talcott remained a member until her 
death. They had been nominated by the alumnae, and their 
nominations had been confirmed by the Executive Committee 
of the Board. So helpful was the "counsel, co-operation 
and influence" of these good ladies and their successors 
that there is now no question as to the advisability and 
legality of the membership of the "female persuasion." 

The importance of the work of organization being done 
by undergraduates and graduates alike during this period, 
cannot be too highly stressed. 

Improvements in the plant, 1870-1884. 
During these years, the Seminary, though not enjoying 
a period of expansion, was not retrogressing in any de- 
partment. Except for the connection between Middle and 
Linden Halls, no new buildings were erected. Prom the 
tone of Miss Sill's letter to the trustees in 1871 (quoted 
earlier in this chapter) there was pressing need for at- 
tention to the plant. That this letter produced results 
is evidenced by the action of the Board in voting "that 
the Executive Committee be instructed to take into con- 
(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, May 10, 1883. 


sideration the improvements necessary for the physical com- 
fort of the Institution, with power to act according to 
the necessities of the case and the means at command." (1) 

Though changes were made slowly during the next de- 
cade or more, probably because of lack of funds, the plant 
was greatly improved. In the summer of 1871 the Executive 
Committee was authorized to borrow a sum not exceeding 
$4000 to ©rect the west connection between Middle and Lin- 
den Halls and to make repairs, the bonds and monies of the 
scholarship fund being put up as collateral. (2) The next 
year it was decided that as soon as money could be secured 
for that purpose "porticoes for the buildings" be erected 
and the grounds fenced in. (3) The question of lighting 
and heating was referred to the Executive Committee. (4) 
That autumn, gas was installed in the public rooms and halls, 
and the day students were provided with pleasant rooms, 
thus, "obviating a long standing objection" that they did 
not have a suitable place to study. (5) 

During the summers of 1875 and 1877 extensive improve- 
ments were made. From the Seminary Magazine , (for November 
1875, page 186), we gain an idea of the impression the 
changes of that summer made upon the returning students: 

(1) Minutes of Executive Committee, July 22, 1871. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1872. 

(3) Record of subscriptions. 

(4) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1872. 

(5) Rockford Register , Aug. 31, 1872. 


"In the large connection rooms are nicely ar- 
ranged bath rooms. Peeping inside we see a toilet 
stand, mirror, chair, and most essential a bath tub 
of the latest style . Passing into the kitchen we 
note the absence oi 1 the tanks of old time terror; 
their places being taken by easily working faucets. 
The carpenters, with their noisy hammers, are just 
finishing the new walks and outside repairs. 

,f, come to Middle Hall, 1 says one, 'to see the 
school-room; ! but who would recognize the old recita- 
tion room in these tinted walls, bright carpets and 
dark double doors. Prof. Hood's old room we find to 
be the second reception room, his office now being 
in the new south room; Miss Hood has removed to the 
room next; the bright sunny atmosphere will doubtless 
act as a brooding Orpheus. 

" 'But where are the day scholars to be? 1 we ask, 
and for answer are led to the cottage, (on the west 
side of the campus); of which the lower part is fit- 
ted up for their use. 

"Good news for the gymnasts. The gymnasium is 
to be renovated with fresh paint, paper, curtains, 
et cetera, so as to make a much pleas a^ter place for 
our exercises. Under our enthusiastic teacher, the 
practice is entered into with much enthusiasm and no 
little amusement. And when the bright new suits make 
their appearance, we shall doubtless enjoy the hour 
even more. " 

It would seem that putting the day students in the 

cottage was not the wisest course. Three years later the 

trustees were disturbed as to the best way to provide for 

them. It was decided that as their studies needed "to be 

pursued under the watch and care of a teacher, the best 

plan "would be to make a school room in the cottage by 

throwing t ir o or perhaps three rooms together." (1) The 

day students were required, whether or not their classes 

were over, to remain for late afternoon chapel. It would 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 26, 1878. 


seem that they occupied the interval between their last 
academic appointments, and the chapel hour, — and some times 
that hour itself , --in more or less hilarious pastimes and 
often in candy -making. As the main buildings were too far 
removed for the noise to carry, the authorities for some 
time remained in ignorance of much that was happening. (1) 

In 1880 the buildings, although much had been done, 
were evidently in a sad condition. The Executive Commit- 
tee was instructed "to erect new steps to the west build- 
ing with a suitable porch on the north side, to provide 
room for the necessary storage, to provide blinds where 
they (were) needed on the chapel, and to see that the drains 
were in good order, at the earliest moment (they could) see 
their way clear." They were also instructed "to appropriate 
two rooms on the lower floor back of the parlor f 'or the 
use of the library." (2) 

That summer extensive repairs and changes were made. 
The main entrance was altered, and the walls and ceilings 
plastered and hard finished, the wood work was painted, 
and new carpets were laid on the first floor. The second 
and third floors were entirely renovated. On the rear 
of the third floor, recitations rooms were made. The cab- 
inet, "filled with rare and valuable cages of stuffed 
birds, cases of shells, and valuable geologieal specimens," 

(1) Mrs. Myrta A. Bartlett, 1878-1882. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 22, 1800. 


was removed to a room on the front of the "building. There 
was kept "the French manikin, which was purchased especial- 
ly for the institution in Paris." The west wing and the 
chapel were entirely renovated, water was carried to the 
attic, additional bath rooms were installed in the connec- 
tion between Main and Linden Halls, and fire escapes, giv- 
ing four exits on each hall 9 were provided. (1) But the 
greatest achievement of all was the class parlors, request- 
ed by the class of 1881. (2) What innovations that class 
made I It would seem that there was no end to them. The 
parlors which were on the north side of the Linden connec- 
tion, were luxuriously furnished. The floor was covered 
with a "handsome Brussels carpet" in which were "quite 
prominent the class color--poppy red, and little of the 

gold of the Juniors. -The walls were hung with rich 

dark paper, sprinkled with the sheaves of the * 3read- 
givers.'" There were a large chair, a library table, "a 
very handsome article of furniture, the gift of Miss Sill," 
ottomans, smaller chairs, and a sofa. Soft and rich cur- 
tains hung at the windows, and the room was heated by a 
large coal stove. (3) 

The following year the alumnae went on record as ready 
to co-operate with the Board in raising funds for a science 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette , Sept. 10, 1880. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 22, 1880. 

(3) Rockford Seminary Magazine, Nov., 1880, p. 36. 


building , (1) and that same year the faculty pledged 
$1000 toward its erection. (2) This project was accom- 
plished early in the nineties, and was named Adams Hall, 
in honor of Mr. John Quincy Adams, of Wheaton, Illinois, 
who gave so generously to it. 

In 1882 a steam heating plant for the entire build- 
ing was installed, paid for by "the $1000 paid by the 
railroad (for the light of way along the western edge of 
the campus) with such o ther sums as" the trustees were 
"able to command, including what might be able to borrow 
on real estate security." The plant cost $5500. This 
improvement had been under consideration for some years. (3) 

Additions to tiie equipment, 1870-1884. 
Aside from these improvements in the plant, additions 
were made to the equipment. The library was constantly 
being enlarged by donations and purchases. It had been 
begun in 1850 with the proceeds of a fair held by the 
girls. Mrs. Zilpah Grant Bannister, Mr. Abner Kingmarj, 
and Mr. John C. Proctor, made large gifts to it. (4) In 
1882 Miss Jane Addams gave $1000 to be used fbr the li- 
brary, "with the stipulation that it be spent for scien- 
tific books." It was the first gift she made from the 

(1) Records of Alumnae Association, June 22, 1881. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 10, 1881. 

(3) Ibid, June 20, 1882. 

(4) Historical Sketch f p. 9. 



money inherited at her father's death the year she was 
graduated. (1) The cabinet, too, had "been greatly aug- 
mented. It had been began in the early days by the gift 
of a few duplicate specimens sent by Beloit College and a 
special donation from the state, illustrating the geology 
and paleontology of Illinois, Here again Mrs. Bannister 
had been a generous donor. In 1876 it comprised 900 
geological and zoological specimens and 1000 botanical, 
native and foreign. (2) The class of 1875 was the first 
to have an individual outfit for chemistry. (3) In 1880 
a valuable addition was made to the mathematics department 
in the form of "a Macivar Tellurian Globe," a working 
model of the earth in relation to the sun. (4) 

Teachers' salaries. 
During the period the salaries of the teachers came 
twice under consideration. In April, 1875, the Board 
raised the question of the practicality of increasing 
salaries, "especially of those (teachers) residing in 
the building." It was hoped at this time that the fi- 
nancial resources of the Seminary would stand the add- 
ed strain. (5) At the annual meeting of the Board in 

(1) Addar.s, Tw enty Years at Hull House , p. 62. 

(2) Historical Sketch , p. 9^ 

(3) Mrs. Loretta Van Hook, 1875. 

(4) Rockford Register , January 9, 1880. 

(5) Records of the Board of Trustees, April 2, 1875. 


July Miss Sill was given a $100 increase, and the salaries 
in the departments of natural science, mathematics, and 
ancient languages were raised to $500. (1) The records 
do not say whether board in the institution was allowed, 
but it is probable that it was. Three years later the 
salary scale was revised. To the principal was given the 
income of the Sill Endowment Fund, board, and $500, The 
salaries of the heads of the departments of ancient lan- 
guages and mathematics were placed at $500 with board, and 
the teacherships of English literature and history, and of 
French and German were placed at $500, "the contract in the 
last two not to include a turning over to the Seminary of 
the proceeds of teaching outside the institution." The 
teachership of rhetoric and English language was fixed at 
$5300 and board, and that of the natural sciences at $400 
and board. The sanitary department was discontinued, and 
the duties of the position were assumed by the teachers in 
the halls in lieu of cash reductions in their salaries, (2) 

Scholarships . 
The catalogue of 1883-1884 contains the first refer- 
ence to a scholarship, offered by the institution. Indi- 
gent students had been aided hitherto by funds from the 
Student Aid Society, scholarships given by individuals, 
and loans from Miss Sill. The scholarship to cover board 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1875, 

(2) Ibid, Apr. 2, 1875. 


and tuition, was offered "to encourage a full course of 
study," and it was "to be given to the student who (passed) 
the "best examinations for admission to the freshman class 
in either course for a degree in September, 1884." A se- 
cond prize was offered, — one year's instruction in instru- 
mental music. In September, 1884, a similar prize of a . 
year's board and tuition was to be offered "to the one do- 
ing the best work in Latin, Greek, and mathematics in the 
freshman year of the classical course." These "prizes" 
were offered not only to help worthy students but also to 
stimulate a deeper and more serious interest in the work. 

Music department* 
During these years the music department which had been 
re-organized in 1875 in "conservatory form," was progress- 
ing rapidly. Three years later an effort was made to in- 
crease its influence in the town. A statement was ordered 
published by the Board that both male and female students 
were received in the department. (1) At that same meet- 
ing it was voted that the musical graduates hereafter 
should receive diplomas from the conservatory of music, 
signed by "the President, Principal, and the Director of 
the Conservatory." (2) The first of these two changes en- 
larged the work of the department, and the second set a 
stamp of value upon the work. 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1875. 

(2) Ibid. 


The period closed with a new spirit inspiring the in- 
stitution. It i s true that the plant had not been greatly 
improved that there had been no marked growth in atten- 
dance, that the resources had not been materially increased. 
There had been, however, a far more significant change. 
Although the institution still bore the name Seminary, it 
had passed from the seminary to the college stage. There 
had been important changes in the curriculum and the aims 
which had enabled it to take its place with Vassar and 
Mount Holyoke and the newly founded Wellesley. It was a 
woman's college with all that the term connotes of breadth 
of view and the splendor of high idealism--a woman ? s col- 
lege with its roots reaching deep into a glorious past, a 
past in tftiich sacrifice, faith, and vision were the sus- 
taining powers. 



Miss Sill's Resignation and Last Years 

On January 30, 1884, Miss Sill tendered her resig- 
nation to the Board of Trustees, (1) She had asked for 
leave of absence in 1883, and though she had not been 
away continuously the first semester that year, she had 
gone at intervals to missionary meetings, alumnae gather- 
ings, and on visits to her niece in Ridgeland for much 
needed rest. Miss Sarah A. Jenness had come from Abbot 
Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, to relieve her of some 
of the duties of the principalship. (2) 

That her resignation had for some time been contem- 
plated we know from her letter of resignation: 

"I have for a long time past contemplated 
severing wholly my connection with this institution 
over which I have presided, laying down the re- 
sponsible and honorable work you have committed to 
me, and have only delayed doing so in hope of see- 
ing it on a better financial basis before leaving 
it. "(3) 

She felt the strain of the work becoming heavier, and she 

wanted freedom so that she might devote her time to other 

interests . 

After "a long and full conference" the Board took 

action on the letter, accepting her resignation to take ef- 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, February V, 1884. 

(2) Rockford Register, November 14, 1883. According to the 
records of the Abbot Academy Alumnae Association, Miss 
Jenness was a graduate of Abbot in 1864 and of Boston 
University School of Medicine in 1889. 

(3) Records of the Board of Trustees, February V, 1884. 


feet at the end of the semester or the end of the year.(l) 
Later she was asked to "retain the personal charge of 
the Senior class studies" until the end of the year, which 
she did. 

It is interesting to note that one of the last steps 
she took before her resignation, was to place before the 
Board of Trustees, at a special meeting on June 10, 1883, 
her views on the condition of the Seminary, and these 
viev/s had largely to do with its financial condition. (2) 
Unfortunately her stat merit is not recorded. As a result 
a conference was held immediately, and it was voted 

1. "That there i shall "be a reduction of terms to 
students for board and general tuition, 

2. "That we have a public meeting in behalf of 
the Seminary, if circumstances will justify it, 
and that the ladies who are honorary members of 
board be appointed to ascertain that fact, by 
seeing leading persons of the town and by getting 
them committed to the movement (to raise the 
$50,000 contemplated) so far as speaking and 
co-operation is concerned." (3) 

The first action was designed to keep the oppor- 
tunities open to girls who could not afford a college 
education but who would benefit by it. In regard to the 
second point nothing was done, Mrs. Seely Perry reporting 
at the annual meeting on June 24 that the time was not 

auspicious for a public meeting. From this time on, how- 
ever, it seems that the endowment v/as pushed v/ith greater 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, February 7, 1884 

(2) Ibid, June 10, 1883. 

(3) Ibid. 



The alumnae banquet of 1884, held directly after 
the commencement exercises, was an occasion of great 
significance. The alumnae must have felt strongly what 
Mr. Goodwin has so fittingly remarked in his Memorial 
Volume (page 31) as being true of Miss Sill v/hen she 



'"it is said of one of England's greatest men 
that 'nothing so became his life as the leaving 
of it. ! "(l) 

After thirty-five years of labor, years in which her 
whole life had been a part of the Seminary, she was 
leaving it, and yet leaving it with the dignity and 
grace with which she did all things. The work was by no 
means finished, but finished it never could be. And her 
part in it was not small. She had set upon it the seal 
of years lived in earnest work and prayer, and as her in- 
fluence had moulded it, so it was to go on — giving, as she 
had given of her life, its best to each generation. Few 
women are privileged to leave so mighty a monument. 

After the dinner was over, Mrs. William Lathrop in- 
troduced Miss Sill, who spoke for the last time as their 
beloved principal, to the alumnae: 

"Mrs. President and Dear Friends: 

"There are times when silence speaks with a 
greater power than words. There are occasions 
when the heart is too full for utterance, yet 

(1) Macbeth, Act I, sc.4, 1.8. 


gratitude and love must unseal the lips. As I 
have taken the hand of each and looked into your 
faces once more, the years have vanished, and you 
are the same dear girls as when you met in my 
room. It is true some of you left the old home- 
stead some time ago to do the work given you to 
do, and you have won laurels for your alma mater, 

n You have been remembered at the family 
altar, and we gladly welcome you home again, 
laden with sheaves. You have 'fought a good 
fight J and have grown strong. Others of the 
younger daughters have but a shadow of care upon 
their faces. You are eaually welcome, and es- 
pecially welcome our younger girls, who are so 
often the pets of the household. 

"Changes you see for the better, changes you 
know must be made, and we may not lift the veil 
of the future. God has mingled the contingent 
and certain in all human affairs to lead us both 
to act and to trust. Whatever may be the changes, 
let your love for the Seminary which gave you 
fostering care be unchanged. Duty sometimes has 
a stern voice, and calls for sacrifices to bring 
about the greater good, and they must be made. 
Through death comes life. I have labored to secure 
the Seminary permanency; have tried to lay well 
the foundation, keeping ever in view a high ideal 
to be some time reached; and working toward such 
an end through all these years. There has been 
precious fruit by the way, and through li fc ht and 
darkness, through storm and sunshine, the burden 
has been lightened, because the work has been a 
labor of love, which saw great possibilities for 
good. Love for the cause of Christian education 
of young women, and you know love is its own re- 

"Through all the past the alumnae have been 
my strength and support in many ways, and today I 
thank you in my heart of hearts in a deeper sense 
than words can express. The endowment fund was an 
expression of love in a two-fold sense — love for the 
institution and love for your teacher, and every 
token of love and affection has brought me comfort, 
and given me sometimes, as it seemed to me, a new 
lease of life, and often filled my eyes with tears. 

"Wherever I may be I cannot be separated from 
Rockford Seminary. Think of me as always here, for 
'wherever the treasure is, there will be the heart 
also. 1 Once more I say love unites, and so I cannot 


be separated in spirit from the institution any 
more than I can from you. Love and deep interest 
annihilate time and space, and must be an eternal 
bond of union. Come home then annually, to mark 
the onward progress of your Alma Mater, and ever 
pray that the Divine presence may always abide 
here, giving true wisdom to all. w (l) 

After Miss Sill's speech there were toasts, and a 
purse of $200 was presented to her. At the alumnae 
business meeting the association resolved to raise 
§5000 within the next five years, the interest of which 
was to be applied to the principal's salary. (2) In the 
evening there was a large reception for Miss Sill in the 
Seminary parlors. And so the Commencement of 1884 closed. 

On August 12 a special meeting of the Board of 
Trustees v/as called to elect a successor to Miss Sill, 
and Miss Martha Hillard was unanimously elected principal. 
Miss Hillard was well fitted by temperament and training 
for the task. (3) The daughter of a Connecticut clergy- 
man(4) and a near relative of Professor George Hillard 
"whose school books (were) in use all over the land, and 
whose authority in educational matters (had) never been 
questioned, outranked only by the late Horace Mann in the 
old Bay State," (5) she came of a family of strong scho- 
lastic traditions. She was educated at a New England 
academy, and went to Vassar, from which institution she 

(1) Rockford Daily Register , June 26, 1084. 

(2) Records of Alumnae Association, June 26, 1884. 

(3) Records of the Board of Trustees, August 12, 1884. 

(4) Jubilee Book , p. 18. 

(5) Rockford~DaTly Gazette, June 28, 1884. 


was graduated in 1878. She had taught three years in 

the common schools, and for an equal number of years 

had been an assistant in mathematics at her alma mater. 

The future of the seminary looked very bright under Miss 

Hillard. And indeed her administration proved to be as 

successful as the friends of the Seminary anticipated, (l) 

her personal magnetism and intellectual strength making 

her beloved by all. (2) 

It was no easy task for Miss Sill to retire, but she 

met the situation with dignity and fortitude. Mr. Goodwin 

in his Memorial Volume (page 32) comments upon her attitude 

in the following paragraph: 

"That this retirement from the activities and 
occupations of a life-time, though unavoidable and 
voluntary, should be a severe trial to Miss Sill 
was inevitable from the constitution and quality of 
her mind. She, whose life was labor and whose joy 
was imparting and doing good, to find herself with 
nothing to do; she whose mind and will had been the 
directing and moving force of the Institution which 
she had founded and built up, to quietly resign her 
place to others; she who had taught for more than 
forty-five years, and had lived surrounded by a 
circle of admiring and devoted pupils, to live 
henceforth outside the circle, a passive spectator, 
and no longer the center, of this young and growing 
life — was perhaps the hardest and severest trial of 
her life. But she met it with rare fortitude and 
serenity. She accepted the situation, as she had 
all others where Providence had placed her, as that 
which her Heavenly Father had appointed, and there- 
fore what was best . But her interest in the Semi- 
nary, as the child of her love and care, suffered 
no abatement, and she still sought diligently to 
know how she could best promote its welfare and do 
good to the young minds and hearts she could no 
longer control and teach." 

During the next five years she did much "for the 

school" in various waysr-by keeping in touch v/lth the 
TD Jubilee Book , p. 18. . 

(2) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 


alumnae, helping with the work of the Student Aid and 
Missionary Societies, and "beginning the art collection. ( 1) 
She wrote "hundreds and hundreds of letters to the alumnae 
binding their hearts to her and the Seminary, interesting 
them and acquainting them, and many other friends besides, 
with the needs of the institution, and she visited many 
of the alumnae in their homes. "(2) Her visits to alumnae 
associations were always eagerly anticipated. The year 
after she resigned she was present at the January meeting 
of the Chicago association. (3 ) At this meeting the group 
was organized as the Rockford Seminary Reunion Associa- 
tion, with as its purpose "the continuance of interest in 
the oeminary and in each other." There were to be offi- 
cers who would arrange the reunions, and provisions were 
also made for a yearly banquet in Chicago on the third 
Friday of January. (4) Miss Sill talked on The Old Home - 
stead and Miss Hi Hard on Tomorrow the Child of Yester - 
day . In November, 1887, she,with Miss Hillard,Miss Sarah 
Anderson, and Prof .Hood, was present at the organization 
of the Iowa Association in Cedar Rapids and of the Free- 
port, Illinois, Association. At this time she visited 
many of the alumnae in Iowa.(j?) 

(1) Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. L. Van Hook, June 17,188?. 

(2) Mrs.Liary Clark Wadsworth, 1884. 

(3) Rockford Daily Register, Jan. 17, 1885. 

(4) PampMet in college safe. 

(3) Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. L. Van Hook, Mar. 3, 1 888 . 


In June, 1888, she appeared before the alumnae for 
the last time. She had returned to the Seminary from 
Ridgeland just before commencement. "Every heart throb- 
bed as they heard again her voice telling of the hidden 
history of the Seminary, its aims, its trials, its 
triumphs; and heard her plead that, as the workers 
changed from time, each alumna should do her full duty 
in making real that high ideal of intellectual culture 
coupled with purest and truest moral and Christian 
growth." (1) 

In 1885 a new organization was formed, the Student's 
Aid Society. This was an outgrov/th of the old organiza- 
tion, the Rockford Education Society, whose purpose, too, 
was to aid worthy but needy students. All the money 
raised or given to this society was to be used for stu- 
dents; the expenses were to be borne by the Seminary. 
The officers were Mrs. W. A. Talcott, president; Miss 
Sill, corresponding secretary; Miss Sarah Anderson, 
treasurer, and Mrs. D. S. Clark, recording secretary i 
Besides these officers there were several vice-presi- 
dents, one in charge of the work in each state, and a 
Board of Managers, composed of five members, by whom, 
with the officers, the society was governed. A great 
part of Miss Sill's correspondence pertained to the work 
of this organization. (2) 

(1) Rockford Register, June 24, 1888. 

(2) According to the Rockford Weekly Gazette , June 20, 
1887, twelve students had been assisted to the 
amount of §862. 78 and $1200 had been invested. 


Aside from assisting with, the home missionary so- 
ciety, she often represented the Seminary at the meetings 
of various larger organizations. Her missionary zeal, 
even after a space of more than forty years, seemed to 
have abated not a whit. While she was exceedingly 
interested from an art point of view in the art gallery 
which she had begun "with photographic views at Rome of 
the- old masters of statuary, architecture, and painting, n 

there was the hope, she wrote Mrs. Van Hook, that 
these collections might have a secondary effect. (l) 
She goes on in this same letter to tell her that she has 
views from the Sandwich Islands and India, the gifts 
of former students in the missionary field, and is hoping 
for some from Japan, Turkey, and Persia, remarking that 
"these are especially of missionary interest to the 
girls'." At the time Mrs. Van Hook was in Persia. 

It would seem that her health, none too robust, 
must have suffered acutely from the demands upon her time 
and health which these various activities made. It must 
have been her wonderful spirit and her interest in people 
which kept- her buoyed up* 

That her spirit was as beautiful as ever, --hopeful, 
sympathetic, interest edy-we know from her few letters 

v/hich have' survived. There was in them always an alert 

(1) Letter of Miss Sill to Mrs. L. Van Hook, June 14,1387. 


interest in what was going on in the Seminary; she was 

constantly thoughtful of the affairs of others. While 

she was in fact removed from her own work, it would 

seem that she never felt really apart from it. The habits 

of thought of the teacher were still a part of her. In 

a letter again to Mrs. Van Hook, March 3, 1888, she says: 

"Do not' all teachers feel alike in many things? 

How can they but feel a deep interest in the souls 
being developed for time and eternity? It is a 
glorious work and we influence by what we are." 

This power to project herself into the lives of others, 

always so strong in her, sustained her. 

But greater than her interest in the art gallery, 

the alumnae, foreign missions, even the Seminary itself, 

was her interest in little Robert Sill Chapman, the 

son of Mrs. Amelia Hollister Chapman, her sisters 

daughter, who had been like an own daughter to her. After 

her retirement she spent a good deal of time in Ridgeland 

with this niece, — Minnie, she affectionately called her, — 

as Mrs. Chapman was not well. There are constant references 

in her letters to her and to little Robert, who was born 

February 2,. 1884. His development was a constant source 

of wonder to her. Every childish prank as he grew into 

babyhood further endeared him to her. Those years must 

have been hapoy ones, now in Ridgeland and now at the 

Seminary, where she was loved by those who knew her and 

reverenced by the new girls as she moved silently through 

the halls. It was a momentous occasion when a student was 

asked to her rooms and shown her collection of curios or 


told about the old seminary. 

And as the years passed, she saw many changes which 
must have been highly gratifying to her who had always 
looked into the future with such strong faith. The plant 
was greatly improved. At her resignation about $25,000 
of the $50,000 contemplated had been raised. That fall 
a new brick addition had been built, plumbing installed, 
electric bells, a post office, and telephone and tele- 
graphic connections. ( l) The following year aside from 
other improvements, the chemistry laboratory was moved to 
the basement into larger and better quarters, and a 
physics. laboratory was prepared. (2) 

She had always been greatly interested in physical 
education, and she lived to see Sill Hall built, in 
which was a gymnasium furnished with all the best and 
latest equipment for the work and under the care of a 
specially trained director, presumably a Sargent School 
graduate as she worked on Dr. Dudley A. Sargent's prin- 
ciples and used his apparatus • (3) 

Sill Hall, which was begun in August, 1886,(4) was 
dedicated January 14, 1887, with a banquet and public 
exercises, ( 5) the program of which was as follows: 

(1) Rockford Daily Register , Aug. 1, 1885. 

(2) ' Rockford Daily Gazette, Sept. 22, 1885. 

(3) Rockford Daily Register , Dec. 14, 1886. 

(4) Ibid, Aug. 14, 1886. 

(5) Ibid, Jan. 11, 1886. 


Prayer Rev. Hiram Foote 


Dedicatory Address Prof , Joseph Snerson 

Piano Solos Miss Elizabeth Blake 

The Hon oral) leness of 

Our Pa&t Mrs. George Pratt 

Songs Glee Club 

Piano Solo Mary Roxy Wilkins 
A College Education 

for Our Girls Dr. F.A.Noble, of Chicago 

The new hall, which was pronounced "perfect in every 
detail, "contained besides the gymnasium "whose apparatus 
and appointments (were )as complete as any of the Eastern 
gymnasia, "^practice and recitation rooms for the music 
department and several music studios. It was lighted by 
gas and heated by steam. ( 1 ) 

The Seminary was now generally considered as being 
established as/college. In 1886 the first class to en- 
ter and to complete the four-year college course since 
the practice of giving diplomas had been adopted, was 
graduated. There were eight graduates, five of whom were 
given degrees, and eight in the music course. (2) Dr. Lyman 
Abbott gave the commencement address. (3) 

In 1888 the Seminary awarded the only two M. A. de- 
grees ever given for work, to Miss Catharine Waugh(now 
Mr s.Frank H.McCulloch) ,of the class of 1 88 2, and Miss 

(1) Rockford Daily Register, Jan. 1 5 T 1887. 

(2) Rockford College Bulletin, 1 921-1 922 . 

(3) Rockford Weekly Gazette . June 30,1886. 

The exercises were held in the chapel, which was beau- 
tifully decorated: "on one side was a bark under fulx 
sail, its mast and sail adorned with blossoms. An arhh 
of daisies was sprung over the center of the stage, 
and from it hung suspended the figure '86, made from 
pansies. " 
■% The story is told of a gentleman from Texas who wanted 


Mabel Hurd Walker (now Mrs. Charles E. Herrick), of the 
class of 1886. Both Mrs. McCullOfcJs, and Mrs. Herrick 
are at present members of the Board of Trustees. whether 
the requirements as set for these young women were made 
to fit the individual cases, it is impossible to say. 
There seems to be no record beyond the fact that the de- 
grees were granted. Mrs. McCulloch had been graduated 
from the Union College of Law (in Chicago) in 1886, and 
had b ■■- n admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of 
Illinois that year. She offered her lav/ training, two 
years of professional work, special work in economics, and 
a thesis, Woman's Wages , and she took an examination. ( 1) 
Mrs. Herrick did special work with the teachers of Greek 
and German, wrote a thesis, and took an examination. 
Her thesis and examination paper were sent to Beloit, and 
were corrected by a committee there. (2) 

Most important of all, however, was the work done for 
the endowment fund. As has been said before, Mr. \7. A. 
Talcott was indefatigable in his efforts for the fund. 
Miss Hillard went East on trips to secure money. Her work 
was well systematized; she kept records of possible donors, 
classifying them carefully as to their ability to give and 

to choose a school for his daughter where the best ad- 
vantages for bodily training were given. He went to 
Boston, and there consulted the late Dr. Dudley A. Sar- 
gent, founder of the Sargent Normal School for Physical 
Education, who recommended hockford. 

(1) Mrs. Catharine waugh McCulloch 

(2) Mrs. Charles E. Her 'dele. 


the probability of their giving. She secured and re- 
corded letters of recommendation from many prominent 
people; Mr, Shelby M. Cullom, United States Senator 
from Illinois; Mr. Benjamin R. Sheldon, a member of the 
Supreme Bench of Illinois; Rev. Washington Gladden, of 
Columbus, Ohio; Rev. David Swing, of Chicago; President 
A. L. Chapin, of Beloit College; Mr. Alexander Kerr, of 
Madison, Wisconsin; Mrs. Charlotte Emerson Brown, of 
East Orange, New Jersey. Appeals were made to individuals 
who were known to be philanthropic . (1) Editorials were 
published in New York and Chicago papers. All this pub- 
licity bore fruit. It is sad to think that Miss Sill 
could not have known of the biggest gift. Just after 
her death, in June, 1889, through the efforts of Miss 
Jessie Spafford, a teacher in the Seminary, Mr. John 
Quincy Adams, of Wheat on,- Illinois, gave to the Seminary 
the sum of $15,000 on condition that the city would raise 
a like sum, for a science building. Later Mr. Talcott 
persuaded Mr. Adams to will $50,000 to the Seminary. (2) 
When the matter was put to the alumnae, that June they 

(1) An appeal was made to John D. Rockefeller for $1000. 
A letter from him in the college safe carries the 
message that he regrets not being able to help the 
fund. It is interesting to know that since then 
the Rockefeller Foundation has made extensive gifts 
to the college, one to the recent endowment fund for 
v 135,000. 

(2) Miss Emma Enoch, financial Secretary, Rockford College 


resolved to raise one-fifth of the amount set for Rock- 
ford, and before the meeting adjourned, they had pledged 
$845.(1) The end of the $50,000 campaign was in sight. 

In the spring of 1888 Miss Hillard after a successful 
administration, resigned to become,. on August 22, the wife 
of Mr. Andrew McLeish, of Chicago. (2) Since her resig- 
nation, she has always been interested in the college, and 
at one time served as a member of the Board of Trustees. 

Her place was filled by Miss Anna Bordwell Gelston, 
the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman in Michigan. 
She was principal from 1888 to 1890. Miss Gelston had 
been graduated in 1881 from Michigan in the scientific 
course, and had been recommended for the position by Pres. 
Angell. She had taught at YJ'ellesley, and had been offered 
the chair of English Literature there, but had refused 
it. When she came to Rockford, she had just returned 
from England where she had been studying for tv/o years 
at Oxford. The trustees were highly impressed by her 
qualifications. (3) .During her tv/o year ! s service, she 
lived up to their expectations and to the glowing reports 
of her in the press. 

So during the five years of her retirement, Miss 
Sill saw the principalship pass from Miss Hillard to Miss 

(1) Rockford Morning Star , June 27, 1889. 

(2) Rockford Daily Register, Aug. 23, 1888. 

( 3 ) Rockford Daily Register , Rockford Daily Gazette , 
May, 14, 1883. 


Gel st on, both finely endowed and equipped women who 
carried on her work to the best advantages of the Semi- 

In the spring of 1889 Miss Sill ! s last surviving 
brother, his wife, and two children died, within a few 
weeks of each other. The anxiety and shock undoubtedly 
shortened her life. She was with Mrs. Chapman at the 
time, and was attacked by the same disease, pneumonia. 
Careful nursing, however, pulled her through, and she 
seemed to be regaining her strength when suddenly little 
Robert was snatched away after an illness of a few days. 
This second shock was too much for her. The doctor 
advised her to return to Rockford as soon as she was 
able. This she did about the middle of May. Though she 
was calm and cheerful as always, the lightness was gone 
from her step and the life from her eyes. She went about 
the halls as usual, drove a few times with friends, and 
saw callers at the Seminary. About ten days before her 
death she became confined to her room. Founder's Day 
came and went, and she saw no one. To her great disap- 
pointment none of the old friends came to her. She could 
hear them in the halls and about the grounds, (there was 
a reception for the townspeople), and she lay there, 
thinking that she was forgotten. She did not know that 
the doctors had given orders that she see no one. They 
realized that the end was near. She was strongly 
desirous of recovery, and when she asked their frank 


opinion regarding her condition and they gave it to her, 
she received it calmly and silently. She gave no 
directions as to her funeral or natters in which she was 
interested. (1) 

The few remaining days of her life she spoke little. 
It seemed as if her mind had already been released. On 
Tuesday, June 18, about six-thirty, she slipped quietly 
away. (2) 

The funeral services*in the chapel on the twentieth 
were simple as she would have wished. There was no note 
of sadness about them as there were none of her immediate 
family to mourn her, only a sister of advanced years in 
New York State. It was not as if she were leaving some 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 

(2) Announcement to Alumnae and Friends of Rockford 
Seminary, Miss Anna B. Gelston. 

# Mrs. E. L. Herrick, and Rockford Daily Register , 
June 21, 1889, and June 14, 1889. 

The services in the chapel were composed of two 
selections from the scriptures by Dr. Barrov/s, two 
hymns by the congregation, a solo, Asleep in Jesu3 , 
a simple prayer by Rev. Mr. Goodwin, whose church 
Miss Sill had attended and who had been a trustee 
of the Seminary since 1853. At the grave there was 
an equally simple service: her favorite hymn, 
Father, Whate'er of Earthly Bliss , a selection from 
the scriptures by Dr. W.M. Barrows, and the bene- 
diction by the Rev. W. W. Leete. 

The bo$y was interred in the West Side cemetery 
in a grave lined with flowers. For the brief time 
of the services, the clouds of the morning lightened, 
and the rain ceased. It had been first suggested 
that her burial place be on the campus ; but that 
plan was not pursued. The trustees bought a lot 
in the West Side Cemetery, known as the Seminary 


one dependent upon her. Those who attended felt that 
they were privileged to witness a ceremony in which all 
the beauty and the dignity of her life were expressed. 
It was alrost as if already she "belonged to the a&es." 
The chapel platform was banked with flowers. On the 
casket v/ere two sago palms, emblematic of victory, and 
on her vacant chair which stood in its accustomed place* 
a wreath of white flowers. There were present scores 
of people, --friends, alumnae, trustees, students. (1) 

Within a short time a fund of $1000, the records 


of which are in the college safe, was started to erect 

a monument over her grave in the West Side Cemetery. 

A simple shaft of Montello granite (from Wisconsin) marks 

her resting place. The inscription reads: 

"Anna Peck Sill 

Pounder of 
Rockford College 
August 9, 1816 
June 18, 1889." 

At a luncheon and memorial service held by the 

alumnae on June 19, plans v/ere made to raise a memorial 

fund which v/ould be given to the Student Aid society. (5) 

lot. The pall bearers were Messrs. T. D. Robertson, 
G. A. Sanford, D. N. Hood, r. h. Tinker, Seely Perry, 
William Lathrop, Henry Freeman, and Dr. D. S. Clark; 
Mesdames E. L. Herrici, E. H. Baker, David Mead, Caro- 
line Potter Brazee, E. T. Cleveland, E. P. Thomas, 
Stephen Caswell, and Miss Mary E. Preston. The alumnae 
were present in a body, and acted as honorary pall bearers. 

(1) Mrs. E. ». Herrick 

(2) Erected in 1894. $928* 14 contributed. Miss Mary 
E. Holmes , treasurer, and then Mrs. Clarai G. Sanford. 
Correspondence and bills in the college safe. 

(3) Rockford Daily Register, June 19, 1889. 


The commencement exercises were only, a week away. 
It was a question as to what should be done in regard 
to them. Finally it was decided that she would like 
them to go /as if nothing had happened; only the class 
'play was omitted. (1) The baccalaureate services were 
held on June 23, at which Mr. Goodwin delivered an ad- 
dress on woman suffrage, and commencement day was on the 

At the commencement exercises the largest class since 
the Seminary had been raised to collegiate rank was grad- 
uated, fifteen in number. Seven bachelor's degrees were 
awarded. (2) That evening at the alumnae dinner a memo- 
rial service took the place of the usual toasts. Among 
those who spoke were Mrs. C. A. Brazee of the class of 
1855; Mrs. Seely Perry, 1863; Mrs. Dexter S. Clark; 
Mrs. George Pratt, 1860, and Miss Adelaide Olmsted, 1889. 
Mrs. E. T. Cleveland, 1858, read a memorial poem written 
by Mrs. Jennie G. Forbes, 1858.(3) 

Each year on alumnae day a simple service is held 
at the grave of Miss Sill, and the alumnae renew their 
pledge of faith to her and to the college. Those who 
knew and loved her are growing fewer in number as the 

(1) Miss Ama Taylor, 1889. 

(2) Rockford College Bulletin , 1921-192^, 

(3) Rockford Morning Star , June 27, 1889, 


years go by, but their loyalty is undimmed by the 
passage of time. When they come back to the old halls 
and mingle with the gay commencement throngs, it is 
as if she were sending a message to us down the long 
years. What a privilege it is to touch lives with 
them, --these students of the old Rockford who caught 
a glimpse of her vision-splendid, and are passing on to 
us the precious memory of it! It is for us to catch 
the gleam and keep it in our hearts. So long as we do, 
the old Rockford will live in all the glory of its 
early days, and give of its precious heritage to the 
new Rockford. 




Chapter I 
The Trustees of "Miss Sill»s School" 

Although "Miss vSill f s School" was begun as "an in- 
dependent enterprise/! (1) it had the earnest support as 
well as the patronage of the village. The Board of Trus- 
tees, several of whom had been present at some or all of 
the conventions to found Beloit College and the Seminary 
and were among the incorporators of the Seminary, was com- 
posed of the Rev. L. H. Loss, Rev. J. C. Parks, Jason 
Marsh, Bela Shaw, S. M. Church, Anson Miller, T. D. Ro- 
bertson, C. A. Huntington, E. H. Potter, Asa Crosby, and 
Dr. George Haskell. (2) 

An interesting group, and a picturesque one, too, 
were these men. The Rev. Mr. Loss came to Rockford to be 
pastor of the First Congregational Church when the new 
building was erected on the corner of South First and 

Walnut Streets. Here he remained until he left the vil- 
lage in the autumn of 1849 (3) to go to Joliet. (4) In 
1850 we find him occupying the pulpit of the Third Pres- 
byterian Church, of Chicago, and expressing pronounced 
views in favor of abolition. (5) Mr. Church speaks of 
him as a "man of ability and thorough education." He 
died In Marshalltown, Iowa. (6) 

That Miss Sill depended upon him for advice and 
spiritual comfort we know from what she wrote at Mr. 
Loss 1 departure: 

"I feel that I shall indeed be shut up to the 
faith , and left to trust in God alone ror tne pro- 
secution of this work. And thus it has always been 
when I began to lean on earthly props. T feel that 
God would discipline me to faith. My desire for 
usefulness is an insatiable thirst which increases 
as the field widens before me. It seems to nerve 
every energy of my being, but how shall I attain 
the desired object? Oh, for more holiness of heart, 
for entire consecration to Godl What can I, a 
feeble finite creature do? I feel in want of all 
things. How much wisdom, prudence, zeal, tem- 

(1) Eeport appended to Catalogue of 1860-61, p. 30. 

{2 ) Church, The History of Rockford, p. 94. 

(3) ibid, p.-gr; 

(4) Moses and Kirkland, The History of Chicago , 
vol. II, p. 332. 

(5) Ibid, p. 17. 

(6) Church, The History of Rockford, p. 94. 

<■ » 


pered with moderation, is requisite to fill my sta- 
tion! I do see and feel the leading, guiding hand 
of my heavenly Father reached down to help, and this 
does sustain me. I am sure of this--yea, as sure 
as though it were visible to the senses. Then what 
need I fear though he take away all earthly sup- 
port? Only, God, extend my influence for good, 
make me more prayerful, more and more devoted to 
humanity." (1) 

The Rev. J. C. Parks was another of the incorpora- 
tors; but no data concerning him are available. 

Mr. Jason Marsh was born in Woodstock, Vermont, in 
1807. Y/hen he was sixteen, he moved to Saratoga, New 
York, (2) and eight years later, he was admitted to the 
bar and began to practice in Adams, Jefferson County, 
New York. He was the brother-in-law of the three Spaf- 
ford Br others, --Charles, Amos, and John, all of whorn 
were good friends to the Seminary, --and came with them 
to Rockford in 1839. 

Here he was a valuable and active member of the com- 
munity, taking an interest in various civic enterprises 
and social activities. He served in the Civil War, and 
was wounded at the battle of Missionary Ridge. (3) 

That he was, as Mr. Church has said, M a bold, daring 
man, a fluent speaker, ready for any emergency, and well 
adapted to a new country, 11 is proved by his action at the 
mob trial of David and Taylor Driscoll, frontier bandits 
and the murderers of John Campbell, the Captain of the 
Regulators. When the arrangements for the executions had 
been made, Mr. Marsh proposed to Mr. Charles Latimer, who 
was in charge of affairs, that he be allowed to defend the 
prisoners. (4) We have the testimony of Mr. Ralph Chaney, 
who was present, "That he did himself credit, and full jus- 
tice to the prisoners." (5) 

Mr. Marsh spent the later years of his life on a 
farm in Durand, Illinois, and died in Chicago in 1881.(6) 

(1) Goodwin, Memorial Volume , p. 16-17. 

(2) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 91. 

(3) Ibid, p. 119. 

(4) Ibid, p. 88. 

(5) Ibid, p. 179. 

(6) Ibid, p. 179. 


Judge Bela Shaw, who came to the community in 1038,(1) 
also took a prominent part in its affairs. His home on 
East State Street was one of the most imposing in the vil- 
lage. He was born in Dighton, Bristol County, Massachu- 
setts, and died in Rockford May 31, 1865, at the age of 
s'eventy-eight . He went early to Windsor County, Vermont, 
and then to Canada, where he was involved in the troubles 
of the Patriot War. To escape these he came to Rockford, 
where he made a place for himself, serving as judge of 
the probate court and for some years as first supervisor 
from Rockford after the organization of the county under 
the township organization laws. To this office he was 
re-elected several times without opposition. (2) 

Another of these trustees was Anson Miller, (son of 
Luther Miller, of Connecticut ), (3) a prominent lav/yer 
and politician not only in Rockford but in New York State 
whence he had come. He was postmaster under Lincoln, a 
probate judge, (4) and in 1864 one of the presidential 
electors, and a member of the state legislature. (5) Mr. 
Church describes him as "one of the old-time characters, 
dignified, slightly pompous, with a fund of good stories 
which he could relate ad libitum". (6) 

In 1871 he went to California, where he died twenty 
years later at the s ge of eighty-two. (7) 

Mr. T. D. Robertson was another substantial citizen 
who took an active part in the affairs of the community. 
His early life was full of color and romance. Born in 
Scotland in 1818, he moved to London when he was small, 
and went to school on the Island of Sheppey. With his 
brother he subsequently published a magazine, known as 
The Mechanic's Magazine. 

He came to Rockford in 1838, and studied law there 
and at Madison, Wisconsin. He was admitted to the bar, 
and became a prominent practitioner and business man. 
With John Holland he opened the first banking house in the 
city. This was in 1848. Prom then on he gradually re- 
linquished his law practice, and devoted his time to bank- 


Church, The History of Rockford , p. 130. 
Rockford Register , June 5, 1865. 
Rockford Forum , "Aug. 14, 1844. 
Church, The History of Rockford , p. 206. 
Ibid, 206. 

Ibid, 206 
Ibid, 169 
Ibid, 206 


ing and real estate, (1) He was a trustee of Rockford 
Seminary from 1850 to 1901, and, for many years, of Be- 
loit College also. 

Mr, C. A. Huntington came to Rockford from Racine in 
1845, and on November 5 of that year opened his academy, 
which he conducted until 1849. He and Robert Barnes, that 
same year, established the first book store in the city. 
From 1850 to 1857 he served as school commissioner * for the 
town. He remained in the town until 1864 when he moved to 
the Par West. (2) 

Among families whose members have continued their ac- 
tive interest in the Seminary and the College down to the 
present, was that of Mr. E. Hubbell Potter. His daughter, 
Mrs. Adeline Potter Lathrop, was valedictorian o f the 
first class. Her daughter, Miss Julia Lathrop, attended 
the college, and has served as a trustee, and her son, 
Mr. Edward Lathrop, is now president of the Board of Trus- 

Mr. Potter was a native of Fairfield County, Connec- 
ticut. When he was about seventeen years old, he ,vent 
with his parents to western New York State. At Medina he 
met Samuel D. Preston with whom he subsequently came to 
Rockford and went into business. His interest was not con- 
fined to the foundation of the Seminary, though in this, 
particularly as he had daughters to educate, he was vital- 
ly interested. He was active in church and civic affairs, 
too, and served the town in various capacities. (3) 

When Dr. Goodwin prepared a memorial address on the 
fiftieth anniversary of the First Congregational Church, 
(Mr. Potter became a member in 1837, the year it was or- 
ganized), he spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Potter, re- 
ferring to him as "indeed a pillar both of the church and 
the community whose firmness and solidity of character no 
force of circumstances or the opinions of others could 
shake." (4) Rockford was fortunate in having Mr. Potter 
and other men of hi s type in the days when the foundations 
of the city were being laid. 

The Hon. Selden M. Church was a native of New Eng- 
land. The year that he was born, 1804, his father moved 
to New York State. Most of his boyhood and young manhood 

(1) Church. The Hie forv of Rockford * p. 121. 

(2) Ibid, 275. 

(3) Ibid, 48. 

(4) Ibid, 287. 


he spent in farming. When he was twenty-four years old, 
he became a teacher in the public school system of Cin- 
cinnati, one of the first teachers after the system was 
organized. The next year he returned to New York state, 
to Rochester, where he engaged in the mercantile busi- 
ness in which he continued. (l) In 1835 he came to Chi- 
cago with a team. Prom there he went to Geneva, Illinois, 
and the next year, in the autumn of 1836, came to Rock- 
ford. (2) 

The first few years in the town he spent in getting 
out logs and disposing of them to the mill men, and in 
clerking for Germanicus Kent. (3) In 1839 he was appoint- 
ed county clerk, and in 1840 postmaster. Prom then on he 
took an active part in the life of the town. (4) 

Mr. Asa Crosby, who was one of the earliest settlers, 
lived in Rockford for many years, and was known as a good 
citizen. On May 19, 1837, two weeks after it was organ- 
ized, he became a member of the First Congregational 
Church. (5) Pie served, as juryman at the first court ses- 
sion, held at the home of Daniel Haight on the East Side. (6) 
Dr. Goodwin spoke of Deacon Crosby in his address on the 
fiftieth anniversary of the church as "one of those si- 
lent, modest, thoughtful and steadfast souls whose power 
lies in their character rather than in what they say and 

About Dr. George Haskell there is a mantle of ro- 
mance; he is immortalized as the schoolmaster in Whit- 
tier's Snow Bound . 

His home was on the west side of the river, on a rise 
of ground sloping to the 'west, south, and east, with an 
unobstructed view of the surrounding country. Here he 
planted mulberry trees and bred silk-worms, the first silk- 
raising venture, I dare say, in the section. Mr. Church 
describes a visit to the Haskell home, when he found Mrs. 
Haskell and her daughter knitting silk stockings for 
themselves from silk which they had prepared. (7) 

(1) The History of Winnebago County 1877 p. 472. 

(2) (jhurch, The History of Rockford , p. 41. 

(3) The History of Winnebago County p. 472. 

(4) Church, The History of Roclcford , p. 87. 

(5) Ibid, p. 100. 

(6) Ibid, p. 100. 

(7) Ibid, p. 115. 


Dr. Haskell was the son of Samuel Haskell, of Har- 
vard, Massachusetts, and later of Waterford, Maine. He 
was born in Harvard in 1799. After his graduation from 
Phillips Exeter Academy, he entered Dartmouth College in 
1823, where for two years he studied for an A. B. degree. 
He then transferred to the medical school from which he 
was graduated in 1827.(1) 

During his college course, he taught school (as was 
the custom with so many Dartmouth students.) One term he 
was in East Haverhill, and had as a student John Green- 
leaf Whittier. So great was his impression upon the poetr 
in-embryo that Whittier afterwards made him the hero of a 
poem that was destined to be read at every fire-side and 
learned by children for generations. 

Samuel T. Pickard in Volume I, page 34, of his Life 
and Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier , alludes thus to 
Dr. Haskell: 

"Until near the end of Mr. Whittier 1 s life, he 
could not remember the name of this teacher whose 
portrait is so carefully sketched, but he wl.s sure 
he came from Maine. At length he remembered that 
the name was Haskell, and from this clue it has been 
ascertained that he was George Haskell, and that he 
came from Waterford, Maine." 

In a later chapter ,( page 41, ) Mr. Pickard quotes the 
poet as saying that "only two of the teachers who were em- 
ployed in that district during his school days were fit 
for the not very exacting position they held." 

Dr. Haskell began his medical practice in East Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts, in 1827. In 1831, after a year in 
East Cambridge and two in Ashby, Massachusetts, he came 
to Illinois where he lived, first in Edwardsville, then 
in Alton and Rockf ord, until 1866 v/hen he moved to New 
Jersey. In Alton he was active in the founding of Shurt- 
leff College, and was a trustee and treasurer. 

In 1857 Dartmouth conferred upon him the degree of 
A. B. as of the class of 1827. He died in Vineland, New 
Jersey, in 1876. 


His nephew, Rev. Dr. Samuel Haskell, of Kalamazoo, 
Michigan, characterizes his as "a man of scholarship, and 
enthusiasm, a friend of struggling students, many of whom 
he befriended in his home and with his means. "(2) 

(1) Church, The History of Rockf ord , p. 115. 

(2) Pickard, Life and Letters of Whittier, pp. 34-35. 


Mr. Church says that from the time of his arrival in 
Rockford (He was forced to leave Alton because of his 
strong anti-slavery opinions)*- to his removal twenty-eight 
years later, he was "a broad-minded representative man of 
affairs." His various activities in the religious and 
civic enterprises of the city would bear out that state- 

These then were the men who co-operated with Miss 
Sill in her new and momentous enterprise. Practical, 
wise, and God-fearing — it is no wonder that they builded 
wisely and substantially. That they did is attested by 
the fact that the college has endured through more than 
seventy years, always true to the ideals they held^-- 
a broad cultural course of collegiate standards for 
the women of the "northwest." 

Pickard, Life a nd Letters of Whittier. pp. 34-35. 


Chapter II 

Early Subscriptions 

.» Among the records of Rockford College is an old blank 
book. Its jjages are yellow and brittle, and much of the 
writing is so dim thai it is illegible. It is, however, one 
of the most valuable documents in the possession of the 
college, for it contains a record of the early subscriptions 

The first subscription is dated 1850. It totalled 
$3915. The amounts given ranged from $5 to $400. There 
were many gifts of $25, $30, and $50, and several for $100, 
and one for $200. As all are checked and receipts for 
many are recorded, it is to be assumed that all or nearly 
all the money, was collected . 

The second subscription is not dated, but as the third 
subscription was for the second builaing, Linden, begun in 
1854, it must have been for the first building. There were 
eighteen subscribers, and the amounts ranged from $10 to 
$600. Whether the full amount pledged, $21 95, came to the 
Seminary or not is uncertain. 

The first ladies 1 subscription to be recorded must have 
been about 18^4, as one of the donors was a teacher who 
was at the Seminary only that year. Gifts came from all 
the nearby towns, — Belvidere, Ottawa, Elgin, Joliet, Chicago, 
Galena. Sewing circles contributed generously, and so did 
the teachers. It seems that they must have turned back in- 
to the institution the greater part of the meager salaries • 
Miss Sill»s gifts reached amazing totals .( 1 ) 

A perusal of the old records is reveali_.g,not only as 
bearing evidence of the personal concern of Rockford for 
the project, but also as suggesting the wide-spread inter- 
est of 6ther sections. One set of subscriptions from 
Masschusetts amounted to $6695.44. There were donors from 
Boston, Amherst, Springfield,Newburyport, Manchester, Salem, 
Spencer,Andover, Mount Ho lyoke, Cambridge, Worcester, West- 
f i exd , Wes tboro , Long Meadow , Enf i eld , Oxford , Emery , Ware , and 
Bradford. The Bannisters, --Mrs. Zilpah Grant Bannister, 
her husband, and his family, — gave generously of money auu 
u>jks and specimens for the Tt cabinet,so generously in fact 
that the second building was named for their Newburyport 
home, Linden Hall. "(2) 

(1) A small book in the college safe records the gifts 
of the teachers. 

(2) Historical Sketch, 1876, p. 7* 


There were contributions, too , from New York State, from 
Rhode Island where the ladies collected $190, from New Jer- 
sey, Ohio (a gift again from the ladies, this time of $220), 
frog* Maine, and from Wisconsin. A gift of "sundry subscrip- 
tions, "amounting to $11 7*59, came from Miss Nancy Emerson 
in Virginia. It would be interesting to know if she were 
the daughter of Rev. Joseph Emerson ,of Byfield,and later 
of Saugus, Massachusetts, and Wethersfield, Connecticut. 
His daughter( 1 )was a teacher, and from the letters quoted 
in Rev. Ralph Emerson f s life of his distinguished brother,(2) 
we learn that she was a migratory sort of person. She 
taught not only in her father's school, but at various oth- 
er places. We find her in Ipswich; in Boonville.New York; 
in Bath,Maine;in Saugus, Massachusetts. 

Later donors whose names are well known were Mrs. Walter 
Baker, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Mr .Henry Fowle 
Durant,the founder of Wellesley. Miss Sill's faith in 
Providence, Rhode Island, was justified by a gift of $1410 
in 1865. A year later a gentleman in East Orange, New 
Jersey, gave $1000, up to that time the largest single 

All these years the people of Rockford were giving 
more liberally than their means, in some cases too scanty, 
would seem to permit, and practicing the strictest econ- 
omy to do it. By 1864 the records show that $13,711 
had been raised in Rockford. Included in these figures 
were eighty acres of landdisted at $800)given by W.H. 
Towns end. 

Here the record stops. So far as I know there are no 
other reoords of subscriptions from those early days. 
The amounts seem small to us who are used to thinking of 
college "drives "in terms of millions. Most of these gifts, 
however, meant some personal sacrifice, and many of them 
meant the utmost self-denial, for Rockford was still a 
pioneer town. 

(1)Nancy Emerson, daughter of Joseph and Eleanor Reed 

Emerson, 1806-1864. Emerson genealogy .!). 219. 
( 2 )Emer son. Re v.Ralph f The Life of Joseph Emerson. 


Chapter III 

Among the Early Teachers 

Important as are endowment and buildings, it goes with- 
out saying that the teaching staff of an institution is of 
greater importance, Rockford had little of money in those 
early days and the equipment was most meager ;but she had 
a faculty endowed with intellectual keenness, sympathy, 
belief in their task, and an indomitable spirit , without 
which the finest plant architects c^n conceive and the 
millions indulgent patrons can bestow are nothing. If you 
have ueen privileged to know some of these early teachers 
or talk to the alumnae about them, you can not fail to be 
impressed by their earnestness ;you catch something of the 
fire, reflected though it is, at which those early students 
so long ago received their inspiration. Without them 
Rockford could not have endured. 

With Miss^Sill came Miss Hannah Richards whom she had 
known in ^ew *ork State, and in Rockford already, as has 
been said before, was Miss Eliza Richards, a remarkable 
teacher of little children. (1) The latter had almost tone 
entire control over the primary department. When she be- 
came Mrs .Holmes within the first year, her younger sister, 
Malinda came to take her place. Although the Richards 
"girls" were well known and loved in the community, it was 
of Malinda that we know most. She was, as were her sister 
and her cousin, educated at Carey Female. Seminary, where 
she met Miss Sill. The little girls loved this pretty 
young teacher who brought so many new ideas and ways of 
doing things. (2) She was popular in the community, too, 
where she was considered quite a belle. (3) In 1 8^2 she 
left the Seminary to become Mrs. William Hervey. Through 
all the years, she kept in touch with Mrs.E.L.Herrick and 
with the Seminary, Mrs'.Herrick was one of her colleagues 
and closest friends. 

At her death in the sprindof 1?2^ one of the Dubuque 
papers said of her: 

"She was always young, always ready to absorb 
new ideas. She wrote gracefully of herself, and many 
of her charming poems reflect her serenity of soul, 
her joy in nature, her love for others, and her spirit- 
ual beauty . " 

Mrs. E.L.Herrick came to Illinois in 18^T with her 
sister and brother-in-law who was dftiome missionary to 
Twelve-Mile Grove (now Seward ), Illinois. She met Miss 
Sill who asked her to come to the Seminary to teach math- 
ematics. This she did at the munificent salary of $4.U0p g 

\ l l Mrs. Katharine Keeler. 

(2) Mrs. Caroline Potter Brazee.1855. 

(3) Mrs.E.L.Herrick. 


week and board. After three years she returned to the 
East, and the following January she came back to Rockford 
ao the bride of Mr. E.L. Herrick. ( 1 ) Since then she has 
lived in the neighborhood of the college, and has been 
closely identified with it in many ways. Her daughter, 
Miss Eliaabeth Herrick,was a. teacher of French for many 
years. Mrs.Herrick was a close friend of Miss Sill until 
the latter 1 s death. 

Mrs, Herrick was born in Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1828, 
and was reared there. When she was sixteen years of age, 
she went to Leicester Academy, where she was graduated. ( d) 

She was Mrs. Warrens first teacher, and one of Mrs. 
Brazee's early teachers. Of her ^rs.Brazee says: "She had 
great power to lead her pupils out." Once in a geometry 
class she gave Mrs.Brazee a problem to demonstrate. -Mrs. 
Brazee went to the board, and when she finished, Mrs.Herrick 
said to her, "Well, you got there, but by no route that I 
ever heard of." Always wise in her methods of correctiilg, 
patient with students in their difficulties, and ever sym- 
pathetic, she won the love of all who knew her. Her inter- 
est in the college, her capaeity for friendship with this 
present student body, and her genial personality, h«ve made 
her part of the living Rockford. I cannot express the 
debt of gratitude I owe Mrs.Herrick for her friendship, 
her sympathy, and her interest and help in this piece off 

From Masschusetts,too,Sturbridge t in 18^5-18^6, came 
Miss Helen m. Carpenter, a graduate 6"f Mount Holyoke. It 
was her first teaching position. (3) &er coming was made 
much of by the press. Why she stayed only the one year 
we do not know. Fresh from contact with many of the asso- 
ciates of Mary Lyon, she brought new ideas and inspiration, 
Holyoke Wets held in high esteem. 

Closely associated with Miss Sill were Miss Caroline 
Bodge, of Rochester, N.H.,( 1855-1863) and ms3 ^^ L - 
Crowell, of Essex, Massachusetts, ( 1837-1 863). When Miss 
Bodge left to become principal of Fox Lake Seminary ^-Caf- 
*terwards Downer College )Miss Crowell went with her. (4) 
Miss Crowell came to the Seminary in April, 1837, to teach 
history and English language .( 3 ) . Miss Bodge taught 
mathematics and natural philosophy, and was in charge of 
the £>atin department. 

(1 ) Mrs. E.L. Herrick. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Letter from the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Office, Aug. 18 , 


(4) Scrap Book. 

(3) Records of the tfoard of Trustee , Apr. 14, 1 837. 
-ft- Jubilee Book. p. 55. 

* • 


Within less than a year after she left Miss Bodge 
died, March, 30, 1863. A clipping in the scrap book speaks 
of her w as a Christian woman. Her religion was the re- 
ligion df principle. It was the feeling of all her co- 
laborers, of all under her care, of all who knew her, that 
she meant to do right ;to be just f in little things as well 
as great; * .just to all,— and to be uniformly governed by 
Christian principles. She was a self-reliant woman in a 
good sense, and had faith in God. What she saw for her to 
do, she did with her might, and the rest she was willing to 
leave with God." 

A former student, Mrs. Phoebe L. Woods, of the class 
of 1865, writes of Miss Bodge as follows: 

"She had a strong personality, honesty, justice 
stamped on her face. Love also was there longing to 
be reciprocated. Stern and cutting was her look when 
a pupil shirked her work or duty, but to my girlish 
mind she was unspeakably adorable when she gave a word 
or look of approbation. Then the light in her plain 
face brought out a winsome beauty. Like Miss Sill she 
had a great soul, and was a natural leader. It was not 
not strange that such a woman, in time, should find a 
place to exercise her ability. She accepted an offer 
to become president or principal of Pox Lake Seminary, 
a new girls' school located at Pox Lake, Wisconsin. 
She took two or three of our teachers. I think one 
was the quiet and refined Miss Crowell, another Miss 
Clara Strong, a graduate in the music department, 
later married to a Micronesian missionary, Rev. Doane, 
through the introduction and influence of Miss Sill 
who delighted to have any of her girls enter foreign 
mission work. Spending one summer in a Wisconsin town 
near Pox Lake. I attended the commencement exercises 
of Miss Bodge 's school, and learned that she had found 
her right place." 

Miss Mary White, of Grand Haven, Michigan, a cousin 
of Pres. Chapin, of Beloit,(l) who "had been for some 
months a teacher in the institution} 1 was in July, 1854, ap- 
pointed to the Department of Mathematics and Natural 
Science. (2) She is said to have been "a friend and former 
associate of Mrs. Bannister and Mary Lyon." (3) Mrs. Woods 
remembers her as an older woman, a sweet gentle lady of 
great refinement." p r of . Joseph Emerson said that she 
"gave the Seminary the benefit of her rich natural gifts, 
and of a culture and experience intellectual and spiritual, 
from the circle which gave Mary Lyon to the world. "(4) 

(1) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. 

(2) Pres. Lucius Chapin 1 s address, 1861; Mrs. E. L. Herrick; 
Ro ckf ord Agister, July 20, 1861. 

(3) Scrap Book. 

(4) Quarter Centennial Address, Joseph Emerson, p. 13. 


When she resigned from the Seminary in 1864 the Board 
passed the following resolution: 

"Resolved, That in accepting Miss Mary A, White's 
resignation, of her two-fold trust in Rockford Female 
Seminary ,(Miss White was accountant and teacher^, the 
Board of Trustees record their high appreciation of 
the exceedingly valuable services which she has ren- 
dered this institution during the ten years of her 
connection with it, and their regret at the necessity 
which constrains her now to withdraw from this field 
of labor. 

"Admitting the force of the reasons given for taking 
this step, and also grateful for all that her faithful, 
self-sacrificing efforts have done for the cause of 
Christian female education here, our best wishes and 
prayers will follow her, in whatever sphere she may 
spend her future years of life. n (l) 

In 1858 Mr. Daniel N. Hood, the first male member of 
the faculty, came to the Seminary. He was head of the 
music department until 1895 when he resigned and returned 
to the East. Under his leadership the department became 
exceptionally strong. Mrs. Chandler Starr in her address 
at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the granting of the 
charter to the Seminary, February 25, 184V, attributed the 
fact that Rockford is known as a musical center to Prof. 
Hood. The charter members of the Mendelssohn Club, founded 
in 1884, were mostly his pupils. 

Not only was he popular at the Seminary but also in 
town. Of a genial disposition and a pleasing personality, 
he made friends easily, and was at home in any sort of 
company. It was one of his jokes that Miss Sill had him 
on this entirely female faculty because "she liked to have 
a man around . w He had many town contacts both in and out- 
side of musical circles. He was of a small group which 
met and studied contemporary literature. He directed fre- 
quent concerts and operettas for charitable purposes, he 
was director in 1875 of the Rockford Musical Association. (2) 
But greatest of all was his interest in church music. At 
one time he was director of a choir of forty-five voices 
in a Chicago Church, which Prof. J. A. Butt erf ield, who 
was said to be at the head of his profession in the West 
as a conductor and drill master, pronounced the best choir 
in Chicago. (3) 

Prof. Hood was ninety-two years old in September, 
1925. Until 1924 he enjoyed very wonderful health. At 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1864. 

(2) Rockf ord Register, Nov. 5, 1875. 

(3) Ibid, Nov. in, 1^/5. 


his ninetieth, birthday party he played the piano beauti- 
fully. He displayed unusual talent in early childhood. 
At six he could read music, and he played the organ in 
St, Peter's Church in Salem, Massachusetts, when he was 
fourteen. His father was a clergyman, and although he 
was very musical himself, he put many obstacles in the way 
of his son's adopting music as a profession, saying he 
would as soon see him a dancing master. 

He came to Rockford because of ill health. The 
doctor feared trouble with his lungs, and advised that he 
seek a drier climate. He was in New York, studying and 
playing the organ, where he had a splendid position and un- 
usual prospect 3. w He played in Dr. Storr's church before 
he was eighteen. His career would have been very dif- 
ferent if he had remained in the East." As it was, he 
has always felt "that he has helped a little in raising the 
taste for good music" in this section, (1) 

Mrs, Brazee speaks of Prof. Hood as a "sensitive 
musician, with a keen appreciation of the power of music 
to express emotion." His complaint in recent years has 
been of the decline of church music. 

Another dearly beloved teacher was Miss Mary E. B. 
Norton who came to the Seminary in 1859. Except for brief 
periods when she was granted leave of absence for her 
health(2) and for a trip to Europe with a class of young 
ladies, (3) she remained there until 1875. In 1886 she 
went to the Pacific coast, and before any textbook in the 
flora of that region had been written, did extensive study 
in botany. For a number of years until her resignation in 
1916, she was curator of a "small but fine museum that 
she had been instrumental in starting and developing. "(4) 

Miss Norton was "beloved of all, the friend and 
intercessor of every wayward girl. Her natural history 
classes were so stimulating that her enthusiasm was con- 
tagious." Her students took a great deal of interest in 
their herbariums, and were always eager to take long v/alks 
to get specimens. (5) A student who was long in foreign 
countries speaks of the pleasure that her work with Miss 
Norton gave her, of the habit she formed under Miss Norton 
of noticing the flowers about her. (6) she was not only 
a superior teacher in botany and science, "But her high (7) 
ideals as shown in her daily life made her influence great." 
She was greatly loved. 





Mrs. Jeremiah Campbell, his daughter. 

Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1867. 

Rockford Register , July 2, 1875. 

Mrs. Sarah Anderson Ainsworth, 1869. 

Mrs. T. G. McLean, 1867. 

Mrs. Loretta Van Hook, 1875. 
Mrs. Martha Howard Wells, 1866. 


Mrs .Martha French G-oodwin was a member of the faculty 
at two different periods , before her marriage in 1 854-1 8.5.5 
and afterwarus in 1874-1875. In November, 1 B7 5, she resigned 
to go to Olivet , Michigan, ( 1 )as Dr. Goodwin had been elected 
to the presidency of Olivet College. Mrs. Goodwin, the daugh- 
ter of a physicial,was born in New Hampshire, in 1826, and 
received her education in -New England. On account of frail 
health in 1851 she want to Mobile, Alabama, where she taught 
for three years in a iuuiily school. In 1853 she came to 
Rockford as instructor in music. There she met and mar~ 
ried Dr. Goodwin. Later from 1872 to 1 874 she was in Eu- 
rope. Upon her return she was elected to the college fac- 
ulty to teach literature, history, and art. (2) 

During the intervening years she had been in close touch 
with the Seminary. She loved Rockford and "everyone in it, 
— the very stones of the street are dear to me; "she said on 
leaving to go to Olivet. (3) But her time there was short, 
for the next March she died . -tier body was brought back to 
Raokford for burial, and the funeral was held in the Semina- 
ry chapel. (4) 

Mrs. Goodwin was dearly beloved as a teacher and a friend 
Miss Sill in the history of the Seminary which she pre- 
pared for the United States government in 1 876, spoke of her 
"rare and dazzling "powers as a conversationalist ,her wide 
social life t her busy intellectual life, her brilliance, and 
her "powerful intense nature. "(5 )As a teacher she was unus- 
ually successful. She never used a text book; she depended 
upon "infusing enthusiasm and ideas. "(6) One student, in 
commenting upon her pedagogical powers, spoke of her abili- 
ty to arouse in her students permanemt interest: 

"Mrs. Goodwin had personal charm which endeared 
her to every one. She was my teacher in the history 
of art, and the first time I was in London a trip to 
Kensington Museum to see the Cartoons of Raphael I re- 
garded as my most important sightseeing expedition. 
In Florence a pilgrimage to Santa Maria Novello to look 
upon Cimabue s Madonna was inspired by the same mo- 
tive, and an enthusiasm which became a restful recrea- 
tion in periods of relaxation and led me into byways 
as well as to centers of art in crossing and recrossing 
Europe, began with trying to see with my own eyes what 
she had taught was to be found in pictures. "( 7 ) 

(1) Minutes of the Executive Committee, Nov. (?), 1875 • 

(2) Historical Sketch . 1876. pp. 21 5-21 7. 

(4) Rockford Register f May 24,1876. 

(5) Historical Sketch , l876 f p. 219. 

(6) Ibid, p. 220. 

(7) Mrs.Loretta Van Hook, 1875. 


In his quarter-centennial address (page 131 )Prof. Joseph 
Emerson made the most significant remark concerning her I 
have round or heard; 

"Mrs. Martha Goodwin. Surprising as is the record of 
the amount and effectiveness of the work done by her, 
we must still question if she were not worth more by 
what she w*s than by what she did." 

Among the teachers of sixties were M iss Siffie D. Strong, 
the sister of Miss Clara who left the Seminary to go with 
Miss Bodge and Miss Crowell to Fox Lake. She, too, was a 
graduate of the Seminary, in the class of '62, and taught for 
four years after graduation. She married Rev. Jerome Davis, 
and went to Japan with him as a Missionary. ( 1 ) 

Then there was Miss Mary Ashmun,of Rural, Wis cons in, pro- 
gressive and original in her ideas and teaching methods, 
with a large and loyal following among the girls. (2) She 
was a teacher in the normal and preparatory departments 
from 1864- 18 66, and instructor in mathematics from 1 866— 
1868. ^ 

But the two outstanding teachers of the decade were 
the Emerson sisters, Charlotte and Elizabeth. They lived 
in town, and drove over to the Seminary so that they were 
not in so close contadt with the girls. (3) Charlotte was 
the dauglrteriof Ralph and Eliza (Rockwell ) Emerson, and the 
sister of Prof .Joseph Emerson, of Beloit. She was born in 
1838 at Andover, Massachusetts, and waa educated at Abbott 
Academy in Andover, She later taught at a seminary in 
Montreal.P.Q,.,(4)and from 1865 to 1869 at Rockfprd, (3 ) 
and again from 1877 to 1879. French and German after sever- 
al years of study abroad. (6) July 27,l880,she married Rev. 
William Bryant Brown, of -New York, Secretary of the Ameri- 
can Congregational Union. (7) 

Her talents were varied. As a teacher she was excep- 
tionally successful. One of her students, Mrs. Martha 
Howard Well, speaks of her as follows: 

"She was my elocution teacher, and drilled us for 
our commencement appearance. It was then the custom 
to have students deliver their own papers. This tea- 
cher was a talented, a brilliant woman. She was elec- 
ted the first president of the General Federation of 

(1) Mrs.T.S.Mc Lean, l867;Mrs. A. D.Adams, 187®. 

(2) Mr s.T.G. McLean. 

(3) Mrs. Martha Howard Wells, 1 866. 

(4) Emerson Gene a logy ^. 325. 

(5) Rockford catalogues. 

(6) Ibid. 

(7) Emerson Genealogy , ft. 3 23. 


Women's Clubs, a position sne held four years." 

Elizabeth Emerson who was on the faculty two years, 
1863 to 1865, later married Rev. Humphrey, of Oak Park.(l) 
She, too, was the teacher of Mrs. Wells, who says, 

"She was my instructor in literature, a person of 
great refinement and culture, from a long line of 
distinguished ancestors. She was well read, and had 
such a wealth of knowledge from which to draw. In 
the formative condition of our taste for reading we 
could not have had a better teacher. She also taught 

Another member of the Emerson family was Elizabeth 
Haven who taught in the normal and preparatory department 
from 1867 to 1871. She was the daughter of Joseph and 
Mary (Emerson) Haven, and the granddaughter on her mother's 
side of Ralph and Eliza (Rockwell) Emerson. Her mother 
had been a pupil of Joseph Emerson . in Weathersf ield, 
Connecticut, and of Mary Lyon and &ilpah P. Grant in 
Ipswich, probably when the family was living at Newbury - 
port. She herself was a graduate of Chicago High School. (2) 

The seventies and early eighties hold a wealth of names 
for us. There was the brilliant superintendent of schools 
in Winnebago County, Mrs. Mary L. Carpenter who taught in 
the normal department, "especially the art and theory of 
teaching. "(3) She had been trained for the work through 
her experience as principal of various girls' schools and 
her experience in supervising. Then there was Miss Sarah 
Clapp, of the class of 1877, who left in 1880 to go to 
Kalgan, China, between Peking and Kiahta.(4) She later 
married Rev. Chauncey Goodrich, and remained in China until 
her death in 1923. And Miss Kate and Miss Lucy Smith, 
"strong souls both of them. "(5) It is of the latter that 
we hear the more. She was both teacher and nurse. "Tall 
and slim, clad in black" one student remembers her moving 
about the Seminary, administering, in the frequent cases 
of hysteria with which young ladies were afflicted in those 
days, hyocyanus, which the girls called "Have mercy upon 
us." (6) She v/as loved by all though she would not always 
excuse the girls from church and meals. (7) "Her mild 
loving reproof was often more effective than Miss Sis stern- 
ness. "(8) 



Mrs. Martha Howard Wells. 

Emerson Genealogy , p. 318. 

KocKrora Journal ," Aug. 22,1874. 

Letter from Miss Sill to Mrs. Van Hook, March 18, 1880, 

Mrs. Mary Wadsworth Clark, 1884. 

Mrs. T. G. McLean. 

Mrs. Albert Durham, 1870. 

Mrs. C. L. Jones, 1878. 



Miss Helen S. Norton wao twice at the Seminary during 
this period, once in the early ' 70 f s for two years and a- 
gain in 1880 At that time Miss Sill wrote to Mrs. Van Hook 
of her as an experienced teucher and a graduate of Mount 
Holyoke. -^ut she goes on to say, "I doubt if she stays with 
us. per heart is in Turkey, ana she may go as a mission- 
ary next fall."(1) It is doubtful if she did go, though she 
was deeply interested in missionary work, and travelled 
widely. In a letter written from Lansing, Michigan, May 17, 
18 76, which I found in the college safe, she speaks of her 
life at the Seminary and of her attachment for Mrs, 

Miss Norton was born at Dexter, Michigan, May 28, l839,and 
died at Howell, Michigan, February 29,1923. When she was a 
child, her family moved to a farm in ^rion township. She 
attenued school at Buffalo and at Alexander, New York, ana 
she later attended and graduated from Mount Holyoke. -*She 
taught in Howell, Michigan, and Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. For 
five years she was a missionary in Hawaii, and for a number 
of years she was a representative of the missionary board 
among the colored churches in the south. (2) She was wide- 
ly travelled, and and made several trips abroad and one a- 
round the world, always bringing back interesting stories 
of her experiences. (3) 

Another teacher whom the students loved for her kind- 
ness and sympathy was Miss Catherine Dorr, of Dansville,New 
York, who rounded the out a full decade of service, from 
1868 to 1878. Learning of the financial difficulties of 
one young woman, she lent her money for clothes for com- 
mencement. The amount was not large, but a "white gown, 
sash, gloves, and a fan were indispensable "to the student. (4) 
Another student tells of her admiration for Miss Dorr, "an 
excellent teacher of mathematics, "because she was "informed 
of her contributions to the Atlantic Monthly. "(3) 

(1) Miss Sill to Mrs. Van Hook, Mar. 18 ,1880. 

(2) Newspaper clipping lent to me by a grand-niece, Miss 
Ruth Yerkes,a student at Rockford, 1 924-23. 

(3) Miss Ruth Yerkes. 

(4) Miss Mary P.Wright. 

(5) Mrs.Loretta Van Hook. 

# The office of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association 
gives the following information about Miss Norton: 

"Helen S. Norton, Mount Holyoke, 1863. M.A.1901, 
Wheaton College; student 1879 University of 
Michigan. 1892-93 University of Wisconsin; tea- 
cher 1866-68 wheaton College, 1870-72, 1079-80, 
Rockford College ; clerk Auditor General's Office 
1873-76 Lansing, Michigan ;principal 1880-84 
Kawaiahao Seminary, Ho no lulu, Hawaii ;prof essor 
1905-09 Presbyterian College, Florida. Died 1923 
at Howell, Michigan." 


Miss Mary Holmes, whose name has come down to us as 
being an enthusiastic teacher of science, is credited with 
having a Ph. D. degree. (1) Whether or not that is true, 
she did have an excellent reputation as a scientist. Her 
classes in chemistry seem to have been unusually well con- 
ducted, and her methods advanced. She lectured in and 
around Rockford, and in 1889 she was elected a fellow of 
the Geological Society of America. (2) Thirteen years 
earlier the Seminary Magazine spoke of hers and Miss Mary 
E. B. Norton's attainments. Her researches, they said, 
"find appreciation beyond the limits of Rockford. In a 
catalogue of Illinois plants, published this year by Harry 
N. Patterson, her name stands third upon the list of bo- 
tanical authorities, no other lady's name appearing except 
that of Miss E. B. Norton. "(3) 

Miss Sarah P. Blaisdell, of Lebanon, New Hampshire, 
the sister of Mr. James J. Blaisdell, one of the early 
teachers at Beloit,(4) was one of those most dearly loved. 
Stern, with a strong sense of justice, and with deep sym- 
pathy, she made an enviable position for herself. It is 
possible to quote only a few of the tributes of the alum- 
nae to her: 

"She had the wonderful endurance of the pioneers." (5) 

"She was most feared, but by those who knew her 
intimately, greatly beloved. She was strict in ad- 
ministering rules, although she did not believe in 
having them-* — She v/as very just and impartial in 
her rulings. "(6) 

"Miss Blaisdell was another teacher whose ideal 
was perfection. Not an a or a the could be dropped 
or changed in place in tEe long scripture lessons to 
be committed to memory by her classes, and Latin 
translations must be made with the same exactness, but 
her criticisms though unsparing were kindly unless 
the error was manifestly the result of indolence or 
negligence, and she could stimulate industry as well 
as weed out faults. With those who v/ere ready to put 
their shoulder to the wheel she was ready to lift, and 
her help retained its lifting power on through the 
years. She too enjoyed a joke, and had love and sym- 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette, June 21,1888; Rockford Morning 

star> May 26, 1889. I : ~^ 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) April, 1876. 

(4) Mrs. A. D. Adams. 

(5) Mrs. Mary Clark Wadsworth. 

(6) Mrs. C. L. Jones. 


pathy which many of her pupils and friends prized 
highly. "(1) 

"And how can I sound the praises of Miss Blais- 
dell — perhaps just the opposite from Miss Norton — with 
her strict sense of justice, the disciplinarian of the 
faculty, hut respected and loved by all who knew her 
best. It was to her we had to take our monthly report 
books to be examined. These report books were the 
despair of the girls, especially the younger and more 
careless ones. But if the system of checking up ex- 
penditures has been of as much value to others as to 
the writer, all the petty details involved will be 
forgiven." (2) 

Miss Blaisdell resigned on account of ill health in 
1881. The Board passed a resolution on her "ability as a 
teacher and as a Christian lady," and "her unselfish bear- 
ing in her intercourse with her associates, her excellent 
influence over the young ladies, her faithfulness in the 
discharge of all the duties placed upon her. "(3) 

Miss Jane Addams in her valedictory spoke of her 
as follows : 

"You are about to sever your connections with 
Rockford Seminary, and crowned with your seventeen 
years of work, to go forth with our class. To you 
is due the highest meed of our praise. For if in 
future years any of us stand firm where it would be 
easier to fall, if we are moved by principle while 
those around us are swayed by impulse, in short 
if we are in any degree true to your teachings and 
at length attain the character you have so care- 
fully trained us in and so constantly shown us — 
to you will redound the glory of that character. 
With' the hard lessons in Latin and Greek, y6u have 
taught us the harder lessons of thoroughness and 
uprightness." (4) 

Among the women of Rockford who have been influential 
in the community over a long period of years is Mrs. 
Caroline Porter Brazee, a member of the teaching staff 
for eleven years, from 1872 to 1883. She has been prom- 
inent in educational circles, and active as a leader and 
founder of literary clubs. She has been a member of the 
Monday Club for many years, and in 1892 she founded the 
Literature Departments of the Illinois Federation of 
Women 1 s Clubs and of the Rockford club. As a teacher 
she had marvellous gifts. "It was not the m a s sin g^ J3f__ 
TT) Mrs. Loretta Van Hook. 

(2) Mrs. T. G. McLean. 

(3) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 21, 1881. 

(4) Rockford Register, June 22, 1881. 


bare facts for which she strove but the mental evolution, 
the knowledge that comes from thoughtful investigation and 
individual development . "(1) She was not only a teacher 
but a student as well, with a student 1 s inspiration and ex- 
alted viev; of life, and with a Puritanic conception of her 

Mrs. Brazee was born in Rockford, the daughter of 
a Presbyterian clergyman. She was one of Miss Sill's 
earliest pupils, being present the day Miss Sill opened 
her school, and was graduated in the second class, the 
youngest girl in the group. At this time, April, 1926, 
she is the oldest living graduate of the Seminary. 
Before coming to the Seminary to teach, she had had ex- 
perience in Joliet and Missouri, and had prepared herself 
with especial pains to teach history and literature. 
She came to the Seminary with sympathy and understanding 
for Miss Sill's aims, and with a splendid equipment. 
Popular always with her associates and students, she 
was equally sought in the town for her intellectual and 
social gifts. She was a frequent lecturer at both for- 
mal and informal affairs. She resigned in 1883, and the 
next year became the wife of Col. C. M. Brazee. 

Mrs. G. E. Newman, of the class of 1884, says of her: 

"She W'^s a vital part of the Seminary when I 
was her pupil, and though I have not seen her for 
many years, I love her still and should feel it a 
privilege to live hear her." 

And Mrs. Mary Wadsworth of the same class speaks 
thus : 

"She was one of the strong-.- st spirits Miss 
Sill ever had to aid her. A born teacher and mol- 
der of minds, always bringing out the best in every 
girl and making her ancient history so vivid and 
real that we never knew what time meant in her 
classes, only that the hour was all too short. 
Even now more than forty years after, the things 
Miss Potter said to me come to me over and over 

again when I need them most. She like Miss Sill 

never lost her vision." 

She never lost her vision. The same comment might 
be made of many of the others. Of course it would be 
absurd to assume that all Rockford Seminary teachers 
were endowed with patience, a love of their task, vision. 
They were not. A discouraging number came and went 
yearly. Often there was lack of sympathy as well as 
inefficiency. Pioneer conditions were difficult. Many 
(1) Alumnae Notes, Mar. 15, 1924. 


had not the hardihood to stand them. But there were 

enough of these staunch souls through the years, enough 

with the precious gift of imagination, to keep the dream 


Chapter IV 
Among the Early Trustees 

On February 25, 1847, the charter of Rockford Female 
Seminary was passed upon by the legislature of the state. 
By that act of incorporation "Aratus Kent, Dexter Clary, 
S. Peet, Flavel Bascom, C. Waterbury, S. D. Stephens, 
A, L. Chapin, R. M. Pearson, G. W. Hickox, A. Raymond, 
C. M. Goodsel, E. H. Potter, L. G. Fisher, W. Talcott, 
Charles S. Hemstead, Samuel Hinman' : .' were "constituted a 
body politic and corporate" with "all obligations and pri- 
vileges incumbent upon a board of trustees f " including 
that of conferring on those whom they mignt deem worthy 
all such honors and degrees as are usually conferred in 
similar institutions." (1) 

A history of Rockford Female Seminary would be incom- 
plete without a brief account of some of these gentlemen 
and others of the early trustees. Some were clergymen 
and others laymen, an equal division on this first Board. 
All, however, were bent on the same purpose --that of pro- 
viding for their daughters and the daughters of the re- 
gion, the educational advantages they would have had had 
their families not moved westward. And their standards 
of female education were high. 

Pres. Chapin, in speaking of the founders in his 
quarter-centennial address, delivered at Rockford on 
Founder's Day, 1874, said: 

"This Seminary was founded in prayer and faith 
and Christian sacrifice, with the earnest desire that 
it might help to form noble Christian women, with 
cultivated minds, pure hearts, refined manners, and 
an enlarged view of Christian benevolence." 

It is significant to note 1hat in the beginning the 
active part of the women in this enterprise was an incon- 
spicuous one. They came forward, however, when they were 
needed. But it was the men who attended almost countless 
conventions, travelled hundreds of miles in good weather 
and bad under the most difficult and discouraging cir- 

Different is the early history of this Seminary from 
that of Mount Holyoke whose founder with her old green 
carpet bag travelled up and down New England to gather 
her initial fund of $2,000. It came slowly, and often in 

(1) An Act to Incorporate the Female Seminary, Sec. 1. 


pennies, for the most part from the women who shaved their 
household expenses as thin as they could to do their hit. 
The men sat back and smiled, or scoffed, a bit terrified 
perhaps as to the possibility of going without their pud- 
dings and pies if the women took to "book larning # T . T 
There were some to be sure, splendid soulsl who had faith 
in Mary Lyon and her project. 

How different these good gentlemen of the Northwest I 
Rockford Female Seminary was an expression of the ideals 
of the community." Mrs. Caroline Potter Brazee in speak- 
ing at the alumnae banquet in June, 1925, told of a young 
eager girl who had a short time before come to her to hear 
the old? old story of the early days. When Mrs. Brazee 
told it, the girl ! s eyes were shining as they well might 
have been. 

"Why, Mrs. Brazee, your fathers and mothers were do- 
ing just what ours are doing, --giving you the best they 

Quite incomprehensible it was to her that mothers and 
fathers have not changed. Neither do ideals when they are 
the finest. "The ideals of Rockford College are the same 
today as they were seventy years ago," said the speaker. 
And this to a table of sweet girl graduates, the class of 
f 25: "We are giving our daughters the best we know." 

Most prominent among the incorporators was the Rev. 
Aratus Kent, a brother of German! cus Kent, the first set- 
tler of Pockford, and often called the Father of Rock- 
ford Female Seminary, "for to him more than to any other 
man, it owes its inception and development." He was born 
January 15, 1794, the son of John Kent, a merchant of 
Suffield, Connecticut, and of the family of the famous 
Chancellor Kent, of iM ew York. He fitted for college at 
Westfield Academy, and at nineteen entered the sophomore 
class at Yale. At this time there was unusual religious 
interest among the students. Within a few years the famous 
Yale Band under the leadership of Rev. Theron Baldwin 
came to southern Illinois to do their work. Mr. Kent 
united with the church under Pres. Dwight, August 15, 
1815. The next year he was graduated from Yale, and sub- 
sequently spent four years in New York, pursuing his theo- 
logical studies. The twentieth of Xpril, 1820, he was li- 
censed to preach by the presbytery of New York. From 
1822 to April, 1823, he studied at Princeton Theological 
Seminary, and he was ordained January 26 at Lockport, 
New York. 

Shortly after this he applied to the American Home 
Missions Board for "a place so hard that no one else would 
take it," and he was sent to Galena, a mining town in 


western Illinois, where he worked most effectively. On 
October 23, 1831, he organized the Presbyterian Church 
there. (1) We find him active, too, outside the immed- 
iate community. He was one of the most active of the 
founders of Beloit and Rockford Colleges, and was the 
president of the Board of Trustees of the Seminary until 
his death. In 1853, May 26, we find him occupying the 
pulpit of the inchoate Presbyterian Church in Chicago, 
Tradition has it that he chose for his text verses 24 to 
26 of the Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews. It was the se- 
cond Presbyterian service in Chicago, and was held within 
the stockade. (2) Two years later, in June, he conducted 
a religious service at the home of his brother, the first 
held in Winnebago County. It i s said that every soul in 
Rockford was present. (3) 

In 1868 while he was on a missionary trip to Minne- 
sota, he was exposed to a severe rain and wind storm f and, 
being tired, he was taken ill with pneumonia, and died 
November 8, 1869. He was the first pioneer missionary 
in Illinois north of the Illinois River. (4) 

The Rev. G. P. S. Savage, D. D, at the semi-centen- 
nial anniversary at Beloit, said of Mr, Kent: 

He was a "man of unbending integrity and of un- 
yielding principles; a strict economist, yet pub- 
lic-spirited, generous and self-sacrificing f or t he 
good of others." 


At his death the Board of Trustees of the Seminary 
ed the following resolution: 

"It having pleased divine Providence since our 
last meeting to remove by death Rev. Aratus Kent, the 
honored President of the Board, and one of the Ba- 
thers and Pounders of this Institution, we desire to 
place on record our profound sense of the loss which 
the Seminary has sustained in this removal of its 
Official Head, and our appreciation of the wisdom, 
fidelity, and untiring devotion which have character- 
ized his relation to it for so many years of its 
history. We bless God for the many prayers, coun- 
sels, and self-denying labors given by him in its 
behalf; and that he was permitted to witness, as 
well as to contribute so largely to its growing suc- 

(1) Clipping in Scrap Book; Church, The History of 
Rockford , p. 294. 

(2) Moses and Kirkland, The History of Chicago , p. 374. 

(3) Thurston, Early Days in Rockford , p. 63. 

(4) Rockford Gazette, Dec. 31, 1868; Ibid, Nov. 18, 1869. 


cess and prosperity. 

"And we hereby tender to his afflicted family our 
heartfelt sympathy in their bereavement, mingled with 
our congratulations in the blessedness of the rest into 
which he has entered, and the abundance and precious- 
ness of the works that do follow him." (1) 

From Galena, too, came C. A. Hempstead, a lawyer of 
some prominence during the early days. He was active in 
the boundary conventions which were so numerous in the 
early forties, and was president of one of the meetings. (2) 

Beloit had three representatives on the Board, --Rev. 
Dexter Clary, Mr. L. G. Fisher, and Rev. A. L. Chapin. 

The Rev. Mr. Clary was born i n Concord, Massachusetts, 
in 1798. Shortly afterwards his parents moved to Jeffer- 
son County, New Yor]£, where he grew up. As an evangelist, 
he took a prominent part in the great revivals of 1830- 
1840, and he brought West with him the fervor and enthu- 
siasm of those days. (3) He was a member of the Congre- 
gational council about 1849, and was a clergyman in Beloit 
for any years. (4) With the founding of both the Col- 
lege and the Seminary he was closely identified, serving 
on the Board of the latter institution from 1850 to 1856. 
For twenty jrears he was superintendent of home n\ s, 

giving always "wise and untiring service" here as every- 
where. Father Clary, as he was affectionately called, 
died June 18, 1874, just at the commencement season. Many 
were the tributes at his death. The Seminary Magazine 
says he was "courteous at all times to all classes of 
people; he was a rare specimen of the old school Chris- 
tian gentleman. (5) Ar. old newspaper clipping in the 
college scrap book speaks of him as an "efficient worker 
and an earnest preacher, a man of deep and positive con- 
victions." He had had a thorough business training and 
seemed to be unusually successful in every thing he un- 
dertook. The "fullnessV)f his sympathy, the overflowing 
kindness of his heart, "^his deep tenderness with children, 
-were other characteristics remarked by those who knew him. 

In' his semi-centennial adress at Beloit College, 
Rev. G. F. S. Savage in speaking of the founders of Be- 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 28, 1870. 

(2) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 29. 

(3) Rockford Seminary Magazine, July, 1874, p. 38. 

(4) unurcn, The history or KocTford , p. 308. 

(5) Rockford seminary .Magazine, July, 1874, pp. 39 and 56. 


loit refers to Mr. Clary in the following paragraph: 

"With conscientious fidelity and promptness did 
he discharge the responsible duties devolved upon him, 
and in manifold ways to the extent of his ability 
did contribute essentially to its (Beloit f s) growth 
and prosperity," 

Mr. L. G. Fisher, "to whose influence, gifts, and 
personal sacrifices, the College (Beloit) is largely in- 
debted for its location, and whose valuable services as 
a trustee were continued to the end of his useful life,"(l) 
was spoken of in the baccalaureate sermon at the semi- 
centennial of the College as a -an of influence in the 
community. Before the first building was finished the 
boys recited in his house down by the river. (2) 

Of the three gentlemen, however, Rev. Aaron Lucius 
Chapin was the best-knovm. As president of Beloit for 
thirty-seven years, he stood in the same relationship to 
the College in which Miss Sill stood to the Seminary. He 
was born February 6, 1817, in Hartford, Connecticut, the 
son of Laertes and Laura (Colton) Chapin, After his 
graduation from Yale in 1837, he went to Union Theologi- 
cal Seminary. Subsequently he was a professor in the 
New York State Institution for Deaf Mutes, (3) and clergy- 
man of the First Presbyterian Church in Mi 1 wake e. (4) He 
came to Beloit in 1849. As editor for many years of the 
Congregational Review , (5) at one time one of the editors 
of the ChristiarT^eraid , (6) and author of The First 
Principles of Political Economy , (7) he gained a more than 
sectional reputation. 

He died July 22, 1892, in Hartford, Connecticut, (8) 
at which time he was still a member of the Board of Trus- 
tees of Rockford Seminary. 

Of fine parts, gracious personality, integrity, and 
moral earnestness, Dr. Chapin won the love and respect 
of all who knew him. In his address at the unveiling of 




Semi -Centennial Document, p. 4. 

Horace White, Semi -Centennial Address. 

Chapin Book . Vol, I, p. 931. 

Apple ton, Cyclopaedia of American Biography , Vol. I, 

p. 579. 

Chapin Book, Vol. I, p. 931. 

Moses and Kirkland, History of Chicago , Vol. II p. 27. 

C hapin Book, Vol. I, p. 931. 

- ' l , - . : - . 


the bust of Dr. Chapin at the semi-centennial exercises 
at Beloit, Prof. Joseph Emerson, speaks of his eminent 
colleague with high praise: 

"For forty years, Dr. Chapin was a part of the 
best life of this community; for forty years the Col- 
lege was his life-n--His devotion was supreme and 
exacting. He never spared himself when duty called." 

The Rev. Flavel Eascom, a Congregational clergyman in 
Chicago, was another of the incorporators. He was born 
June 8, 1804, at Lebanon, Connecticut. His childhood and 
youth until he was seventeen were spent on a farm. He was 
prepared privately for Yale, from which institution he was 
graduated in 1828. The follOY^ing year he was principal of 
an academy in New Canaan, Connecticut. From 1831 to 1833, 
he was a tutor at Yale, and in the latter year he became 
a member of the Yale Banfi, and came to Illinois under the 
Home Missionary Society. For five years he did pioneer 
work, mainly in Tazewell County, though two years he was 
in Northern Illinois as a home missionary agent, explor- 
ing new settlements, organizing churches, and introducing 
home missionaries. For ten years, 1839 to 1849, he was 
pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Chicago, and for the 
next seven years he was in charge of the First Presby- 
terian Church at G-alesburg. For the fourteen years suc- 
ceeding until his resignation in 1870 from the church in 
Hinsdale, he served in various churches. After 1870 he 
was engaged in filling vacancies and helping destitute 
and weak churches. N 

His interest in education was not confined to the work 
he did at Beloit on whose board he served for some years 
and in recognition of which service, Beloit in 1869, con- 
ferred upon him the degree of D. D. He was also a trus- 
tee of Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, for twenty- 
five years. (1) 

Dr. Bascom was a man of more than ordinary promi- 
nence. He was one of the editors of the Western Herald 
in 1853. (2) He gave the sermon at the organization of 
the Plymouth Church i n Chicago, December 1, 1852 (3) 
and before that, in 1833, he had preached at Fort Dear- 
born. (4) 

In his semi-centennial address at Beloit the Rev. Mr. 

(1) Andreas, The History of Cook County , p. 245. 

(2) Moses and Kirkland, The Hi storyor^Chicago , vol.11 
p. 27. 

(3) Ibid, p. 339. 

(4) Ibid, p. 339. 


Savage spoke of him, Calvin Waterbury, Jedediah Stevens, 
and Ruel M. Pearson as "efficient, genial, wise-hearted 
man, who contributed much by their cousels, prayers and 
influence to the success of the enterprise (Beloit)." 

Among the most interesting of the group is Rev. Ste- 
phen Peet, beside whose sick-bed in a stateroom aboard 
the steamer Chesapeake on their return journey from Cleve- 
land in 1844, according to Pres. Chapin at the induction 
of his successor, Pres. Eaton, the group met and "com- 
muned together," and it was there that the College was 
conceived. He has been called the "chief founder of Be- 
loit." (1) That he was influential in the early history 
of the College we know from tradition and history. At 
the time that the site was chosen, he secured two gifts, 
one from a New York gentleman of flOOO and the second 
from a Connecticut gentleman for $510,000. Both were in 
western lands. (2) 

He too was a Yale graduate, (3) and was led to Illi- 
nois by the prospects of a wide field for service. As 
deep as his interest in the founding of the College and 
the Seminary, was his interest in the plans for the Chi- 
cago Theological Seminary. 1854 saw him installed in a 
pastorate in Batavi&r , Illinois, and devoting a great deal 
of time to the new enterprise. (4) He was the first agent 
of the Board of Directors and Visitors. Unfortunately he 
was not privileged to see the completion of his plans. 
He died suddenly of a fever , followed by pneumonia in 
1855. (5) He had also served in 1853 as one to the edit- 
ors of the Western Herald . (6) 

Of his work and character his colleagues had the high- 
est praise. He is mentioned in the semi-centennial vol- 
ume of Beloit College as a pioneer of "practical saga- 
city." He had visions, but he was not visionary. The Rev, 
Mr. Savage referred to him as "a man of Cod, fertile in 
plans and resources and characterized by sound judgment, 
good common sense, and executive ability." 

Another of the incorporators was Mr. E. H. Potter, a 
trustee of "Miss Sill's School." His life has been 
touched upon in the chapter, "The Trustees of Miss Sill's 
School," He was a member of the Board of the Seminary 

(1) Dunning, Congregatio nal! st s in America, p. 373. 

(2) Pres. Chapin, Address at the Induction of Pres. Eaton. 

(3) Prof. R. C. Chapin, Semi -Centennial Address at Beloit. 

(4) Illinois Society o f Church History , p. 121 

(5) Punchard, History of Congregationalism , Vol. V, p. 291. 

(6) Moses and Kirkland, The History of~5nTcag o, Vol. II 
p. 27. 



and treasurer of the Board until his resignation in 1858. 

Mr. Samuel Hinman who was the superintendent of the 
first building at Beloit in 1847, at a yearly salary of 
$500, on which he had to support a family of ten children, 
was another of the incorporators. He married a Mrs. White, 
in 1845, and in 1847 they came back to Beloit from Wauke- 
sha, Wisconsin, where they had been on Mr. Hinman 1 s 
farm. (2) 

Prom Rockton came the Hon. Wait Talcott, the son of 
William Talcott of Hebron, Connecticut. He was born in 
1807, and came to Rockton in 1838. In 1854 he removed to 
Rockford where, with his brother, he became interested in 
the develppment of the resources for water power which 
the Rock River offered and which have contributed large- 
ly to its growth as a manufacturing center. He was pro- 
minent in the affairs of the community, serving in 1854 
as senator from the district and for five years as com- 
missioner of internal revenue for the second Congression- 
al district to which post he was appointed by Lincoln, 
August 27, 1862. (3) Mr. Talcott resigned from the 
Board in 1857. (4) 

Arnon^ other early trustees was Dr. Lucius Clark, who 
was much at the Seminary in the very early days, and was 
for many years the physician. He was greatly beloved in 
the community not only for his skill as a physician but 
also for his fatherly kindness and benevolence. Those 
who knew him speak especially of his social qualities: 
"his social nature overflowed and infected all other 
natures." He was "abounding with humor," and was "steeped 
always in love and tenderness." There was deep sincer- 
ity, too, in his religious life. Dr. Clark was one of 
five sons in a family of seven who became physicians. An- 
other brother, Dr. Dexter, practiced in Rockford and was 
a good friend of the college. (5) 

Dr. Lucius Clark was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, 
June 10, 1813, and was e due p. ted there. His medical train- 
ing he received at Berkshire Medical College (in Massa- 
chusetts) and Geneva (New York) Medical College. He re- 
ceived the first diploma given by the latter institution. 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, Apr. 14, 1858. 

(2) Semi -Centennial Address at Beloit, Horace White, 
his stepson. 

(3) Church, The Hi story o f Rockford , p. 554. 

(4) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 9, 1859. 

(5) Mrs. Mary Clark Wadsworth and others. 



For ten years he practiced in western New York, at 
Marion and other places, and he came to Rockford in 1845. 
He ranked high here in his profession, and was a member 
of the American Medical Association and the Illinois State 
Medical' Society* He was a member of the Board of the Semi- 
nary until 'his death November 5, 1878, and was vice-presi- 
dent from 1875 to then. (1) 

Mr. John S. Coleman was elected to the Board July 8, 
1858, to fill the place left vacant by Mr. Wait Talcott. (2) 
Prom then until his death ir- 1864 he served as treasurer 
of the Seminary. (3) Mr. Coleman was a native of Delaware 
County, New York, and came to Rockford in 1851. (4) He 
was a partner of Melancthon Starr in Robertson, Coleman 
and Company, a private banking concern. (5) 

Mr. John Edwards who died while still a member of the 
Board in June, 1871, came to Rockford in 1851, and in 1855 
was elected a trustee. He, as were so many of the citizens, 
was a New Englander, born in Acton, Massachusetts, in 1800. 
He was a brother-in-law of Dr. Haskell. Mr. Edwards was a 
man of the finest principles, "an upright and worthy gentle- 
man*" As a business man, he was progressive and success- 
ful. (6) He was the first pine lumber dealer in the city, 
and he was one of those who constantly urged the develop- 
ment of the water power. The last year of his life he was 
the agent for the Seminary. (7) 

Then there was Prof. Joseph Emerson, of Beloit Col- 
lege, who became a member of the Board in 1854, and served 
until his death in 1901. At the death of Rev. Aratus 
Kent in 1870 he was elected president of the Board. Prof. 
Emerson was a nephew of the Rev. Joseph Emerson, the teach- 
of Mary Lyon, and a son of the Rev. Ralph Emerson, the 
author of the Rev. Joseph Emerson's biography. He was 
born in Norfolk, Connecticut, ±n May, 1821, and was pre- 
pared for Yale, where he was graduated in 1841, at Andover. 
He taught in New London, Connecticut, and studied the- 
ology at Andover and Yale. Prom 1844 to 1848 he was a 
tutor at Yale, and in 1848 he was elected professor of 
Latin and Greek at Beloit. In 1856 he was elected pro- 
fessor of Greek, in v/hich capacity he served the college 

(1) Rockford Weekly Gazette, Nov. 13, 1878. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 8, 1858. 

(3) Ibid, July 6, 1864. 

(4) Church, The History of Rockfo rd, p. 543. 

(5) Ibid, p. 276. 

(6) Minutes of the Executive Committee, June 22, 1871. 

(7) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 280. 


until his death. He held the degrees of D. D. from Yale 
and LL. D. from Beloit. (1) 

The fiftieth anniversary of Prof. Emerson's appoint- 
ment to Beloit was observed in May, 1898, That year at 
commencement a building was erected for the women's de- 
partment. In accordance with the wishes of the donor, it 
was named Emerson Hall. Dr. D. K. Pearson said at the 

"I name ii is building Emerson Hall. The Emerson 
family were friends of Mary Lyon in her days of strug- 
gle and triumphs for female education, and Prof. Emer- 
son for whom this building is named has been connect- 
ed with Beloit Collage for fifty years, and has given 
the strength of his noble manhood for the upbuilding 
of this college, and to him we dedicate this building 
as a slight acknowledgment of his great service and 
worth to Beloit College. May the Mary Lyons and the 
Frances Willards of the future receive their high 
ideals from this seat of Christian education. I pre- 
sent this building to the use of the women of the 

Prof. Emerson was twice married, the first time in 
1852 to Mary Cordelia North, a native of New Britain, Con- 
necticut. She died in Beloit in 1879. His second mar- 
riage in July, 1884, was to Miss Prances Helen Brace, of 
Rochester, New York, who, it is interesting to note, re- 
ceived part of hor education Phipps Union Seminary where 
Miss Sill at one time taught. She also attended 3araboo 
Seminary and Milwaukee College, Wisconsin, where Mary 
Mortimer did such excellent pioneer work. Miss Brace 
taught history and art in Milwaukee College, and art and 
literature in Gannett Institute in Boston, and was pro- 
fessor of English Literature at Wellesley College. She 
was the founder and organizer of the art department and 
gallery at Beloit. (2) 

Prof. Joseph Emerson's father, Rev. Ralph Emerson, 
came to Rockford in 1859, and served as a member of the 
Seminary Board from 1860 to his death in 1863. He was 
born in Hollis, New Hampshire, August 18, 1787. He was 
graduated from Yale in 1811, and studied theology at An- 
dover from which institution he was graduated in 1814. 
Three years later he married Eliza Rockwell, of Cole- 
brook, Connecticut. They subsequently lived at Norfolk, 
Connecticut, Andover and Newburyport, Massachusetts. (3) 

(1) Emerson Genealogy, pp. 319 — 320. 

(2) Ibid, p. 530. 

(3) Ibid, p. 220. 


In 1830 they went to Andover (1) where for the next twenty- 
five years he taught at the Theological Seminary. (2) 
While he was in Norfolk, he taught Miss Zilaph Polly Grant, 
and. at Andover he taught the Rev, Stephen Peet. (3) 

At his death the Board passed the following resolu- 

" Resolved , That we deplore in common with the 
friends of Christian Education throughout the country 
the decease of this eminent and good man; and that 
we record our grateful appreciation of the kindness 
and wisdom which characterized his intercourse wL th 
us and the warm paternal interest which he ever mani- 
fested towards this Institution." (4) 

Another son was Ralph Emerson, Jr., a member of the 
Board from 1870 to 1901. He was horn in Andover in 1831* 
In September of 1858 he married Miss Adeline Elizabeth 
Talcott, daughter of the Hon. Wait and Elizabeth Anna 
(Norton) Talcott, a native of Oneida, New York. Mrs. Emer- 
son had been graduated from Rutger's in 1856, and had 
taught in Rockton and Rockford before her marriage. The 
Emerson Genealogy says of her, 

"By reason bf her culture, catholic spirit, and 
executive ability, she had been repeatedly called 
upon to occupy, for long periods of time, positions 
of great importance in philanthropic, patriotic and 
social organizations, not only in the city, but in 
the state and national organization s, representing 
some of them as delegate at international conven- 
tions in Europe and elsewhere." 

Mr. Emerson taught in New England before coming in 
1851 to Bloomington, Illinois. He continued the study 
of law which he had previously begun. At this time he 
met Abraham Lincoln, upon whose advice to enter business 
he came to Beloit, and in 1852 to Rockford. Here he was 
the first hardware merchant in the town. Later he became 
a manufacturer. At his death one of the city papers made 
the comment that he had been connected with forty dif- 
ferent enterprises, and commented upon him in the fol- 
lowing manner: 

"Old citizens remember who it was that rescued 
the ebbing infant industries of Rockford during the 

(1) Memorial Volume of Prof. J. Emerson , p. 18. 

(2) Rockford Register , Dec. 17, 18751 

(3) Memorial Volume of Prof. Emerson , p. 18. 

(4) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 1, 1863. 


fifties, when they seemed likely to be crushed out 
by wealthy rivals in other places; nor have residents 
forgotten how, while other concerns have dropped in- 
to oblivion, every enterprise, fortunate to have 
Ralph Emerson for its directing spirit, weathered every 
financial storm," (1) 

Rev. Joseph Emerson, the son of Rev, Daniel Emerson, 
a cousin of Ralph Emerson, of Rockford, and a second cous- 
in of Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a member of the Board for 
six years, from 1854 to I860. He was born in 1808 at Dart- 
mouth, Massachusetts, and died in 1885 at Andover, Massa- 
chusetts. He received his education at Dartmouth and 
Yale Colleges, spending two years in each institution. 
He was graduated from *ale with the class of 1830, and 
from Andover Theological Seminary five years later. He 
was ordained in 1836 at Francestown, New Hampshire, and 
entered the service of the American Education Society, 
He continued in this work until 1849, when he engaged 
with the Western College Society. He resigned from this 
organization, and in 1854 came to Rockford as pastor of 
the Second Congregational Church, where he preached for 
five years. Prom 1859 to 1871 he was secretary of the 
American and Foreign Christian Union, and from 1871 to 
1875 secretary of the American Board of Christian Foreign 

The class of 1830 at Yale spoke of him in 1871 as 

"His labors have been eminently successful in 
these various posts of usefulness, and he has reaped 
a rich reward in the advancement of education and of 
religion throughout the country and the world, through 
the agencies and instrumentalities which he has set 
to work. He has in this accomplished great good and 
secured most important results," (2) 

The Rev, Hiram Foote, who served the Seminary as trus- 
tee from 1852 to his death in 1889 and at various times as 
financial agent, came west in 1837, and was deeply inter- 
ested in the project of the Seminary from the beginning. 
Comment upon his >/ ork and his relationship to Miss Sill 
has been made in earlier chapters. Aside from his in- 
terest in Rockford and Beloit, he was deeply interested in 
the founding of Chicago Theological Seminary, (3) and was 
one of the incorporators, (4) His work for Rockford 

(1) Emerson Genealogy , p, 321. 

(2) Ibid, pp. 315—316. 

(3) Illinois Society of Church History , Congregational, p. 13. 

(4) Ibid, p.22. 


Seminary was very successful, both because of his per- 
severance and his wide acquaintanceship. In 1864 the 
Board passed the following action: 

"That this board recognize with thankfulness 
the favor of Providence thus far shown to the ef- 
fort for the enlargement and endowment of the Sem- 
inary under the charge of Rev. Hiram Foote, and ap- 
prove of the earnest prosecution of the effort under 
such arrangements as shall be adopted by the Exe- 
cutive Committee ." (1) 

Charles H. Spafford, who with Mr. Potter and Dr. Lu- 
cius Clar£, mortgaged his home for the Seminary, was on 
the Board from 1851 to 1856. The son of Dr. John and Lucy 
(Moore) Spafford, he was born at Adams, Jefferson County, 
New York. He received his college education, that of a 
lawyer at Castleton, Vermont, and in 1839 came to Rock- 
ford. He was active in community affairs, serving in 
various capacities, as postmaster, circuit clerk, and re- 
corder. He also was a member of the banking firm of 
Spafford, Clark and Ellis. Miss Sill had the utmost con- 
fidence in his judgment, and seldom took a step of im- 
portance in the early days without consulting him. His 
little daghter. Carrie, was one of the first pupils in 
the school. (2) 

Rev. Henry M. Goodwin, the husband of M rs. Martha 
French Goodwin who was a member of the faculty, "a most 
remarkable man, far in advance of his time," (3) was a 
trustee for forty years, 1853 to 1893. He also was a 
graduate of Yale, and came to Rockford in 1850, to the 
First Congregational Church, his first charge. (4) A 
firm friend of the community and the Seminary through 
all those years, his influence was wide and deep. He 
"helped greatly to make the Seminary the great power it 
was, and as a college, it will be." Mrs. Mary Earle 
Hardy, of the class of 1867, in speaking of Mr. Goodwin 
said, "I have seen a light on Rev. Henry M. Goodwin 1 s 
face as he went up the aisle to his pulpit that was more 
of heaven than of earth." 

Another of the trustees, Mr. Charles Williams, 
mayor of Rockford from May 2, 1864, the only mayor to 
be re-elected four times, and the war mayor, (5) was 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 6, 1864. 

(2) Mrs. C. H. Godfrey, Music Departement, 1879. 
(3)Mrs. Mary Clark Wadsworth. 

(4) Mrs. E. L. Herrick, 

(5) Church, The History of Rockford, p. 315. 

2 r 5 

a member of the Board from 1861 to 1876. He was a native 
of Massachusetts, and had come to Rockford in 1855. He 
was in the hardware business with his son, Lewis. (1) On 
account of his onerous duties in the community, he re- 
signed from the Board in 1864, but was asked to reconsider 
his resignation. (2) 

It is interesting to note that the incorporators 
were eight laymen and eight ministers, Congregational and 
Presbyterian. The denominatinnal distribution (four were 
Congregationalists and four Presbyterians), was accidental. 
The geographical distribution on the other hand was care- 
fully studied. There were eight gentlemen from Illinois, 
and eight from Wisconsin. (5) All these men, as were the 
many other trustees, were men of high principles, and men 
whose standards for the Seminary were the finest. More- 
over their interest was personal. Busy men in the lay or 
clerical affairs of the community as they were, they gave 
unsparingly of their time and energy. What an alumna 
said of one of them, may be said of all: they "greatly 
helped to make the Seminary the great power it was, and 
as a college, it not only will be, but has been." 

(1) Church, The History of Rockford , p. 362. 

(2) Records of the Board of Trustees, July 14, 1864. 

(3) Prof. R. C. Chapin, Beloit Semi -Centennial. 


Chapter V 
The First Meeting of the Chicago-Eockford Association 

Although for some time there had )een gatherings of 

the Greater Chicago girls to maintain the contacts made 
at the Seminary, the first formal meeting- of the group 
was not held until earl2/ in January, 1874. (1) From Mrs. 
.. !. Smith, of the class of 1865, a charter member of 
the association, we have the story in part of that me3t- 

"The recollections of the preliminary arrange- 
ments for that first meeting are very vivid in my 
mind, even after a lapse of fifty years. Tt was in 
the winter of 1874 that I hannened to be a luncheon 
guest at the home of Mrs. 3. G. Mitchell, wife of 
Dr. E. 0. Mitchell, of the Divinity School of the 
old Baptist University of Chicago. Dr. Mitchell and 
his wife had been residents of Eockford during- my 
girlhood, and he had been pastor of the State Street 
Baptist Church. 

!r At this luncheon I was the only representative 
of the college. Mrs . Mitchell turned to me and asked 
me. if I knew that Miss Sill and Miss Norton, one of 
her teachers, were spending the holidays in Chicago, 
and said, 'Wouldn't it be interesting to gather all 
the old Seminary girls that could be reached in the 
city or suburbs, and entertain them at the home of 
some member" 1 ' The idea arsneale:! to me, and I volun- 
teered to notify all that T could re ch, and carry 
out the suggestion. 

"The next day I drove around and secured the as- 
sistance of Mrs. Horace Too art (Emma Hastings), and 
we srent nearly the whole day in conference with Mrs. 
Oren Taft (Kittie Schlosser), Mrs.' P. F. Pettibone 
r Talcott ) , Mrs. Charles Earl (Ssnnie Brundy), 
and Mrs. ! ^oley (Emma Sdwards ) • 

"The interest increased with every call, and we 
five constituted ourselves a committee of arrange- 
ments, e list of invitations was to include every 
available name of former pupils, as well as Luates, 
and precluded the entertainment in any one home, so 
our committee overstepped the conventions of the day 
by assuming the prerogative of our college biethren, (2) 

'• 1 ) Mrs . Mary ^ . ..'ells , 1:66 , a charter memoer of the 

association . 
(2) The Beloit boys a short time before had held a oan- 

ouet in a hotel. 


and astonished the proprietors of the Grand Pacific 
Hotel by boldly enp-apinf? the narlors and dining room 
of that famous hostelry and ordering a sumptuous 
banquet for 'Ladies only. 1 It was the first -public 
dinner for a woman's college held in this country-- 
or any other so far as I know. — Cur husbands and 
male escorts were kindly permitted to call for us and 
enjoy a social hour, at the concl is ion of the oan- 

iet , a nrivilege not wholly appreciated we afterwards 
learned . 

"By six o'clock on the aus icious evening- aoout 
thirty or thirty-five enrer interesting 'women were 
settled at the banquet table. Mrs. Chetlain, wifa of 
Gen. Chetlain, was hostess, with Miss bill and Miss 
Forton. as the honored guests, T forgot who was 
toast mistress, but I remember quite well with what 
•perturbation one diffident member contributed her 
maiden effort at public sneakir 9 novelty of the 
occasion loosened the tongues of many gifted women 
present. Reminiscences of college days were freely 
indulged in, and startling episodes of daring ee- 
capades w ere unolushingly revealed for the first 
time in the -presence of the distinguished guests. To 
their credit, be it said, they received this belated 
evidence of the nerfidy of the former model students 
with more lenience--even enjoyment — than would have 
been possible if discovered earlier." 

An account in a newspaner (1) takes ur» the narrative 
•//here Mrs. Smith leaves it. There were sneeches by va- 
rious members of the group, --Mrs. S. J. Humphrey, Mrs. Ghet 
lain, Miss Mary : ^varts, (Z) Mrs. Gertie Ohamoerlain Smith, 
"the oldest nunil of the Seminary present," her mother, 
Mrs. Pettibone, Miss Mitchell, Miss Sill, (3) and Miss 
r orton. 

(1) Rockford Daily Register , Jan. 5, 1874. Reprinted from 
Chicago Tribune . 

(2) A pupil of Miss Sill's at Phimns Union Seminary, New 

(3) The Rockford Seminary Magazine for February, 1874, 

f -page 67) gives two fragments from Miss Sill's speech: 

"The ideal of Rockford Seminary has not yet oeen 
attained; out it seems to me, the inspiration gained 
from this hour will give it new -possiDilities . There 
remains much to be done to 'widen its influence as a 
College for .'/omen. 

"Rockford Seminary, in the future, must be what 
its pupils and friends will make it under God. My 
life is largely in the past, and my feet will soon 
falter; but a glorious ace of work is opening for wo- 


"The toast, 'The 3abies; God Bless Them, 1 was 
proposed, to oe answered by the lady possessing the 
greatest numoer of those jewels. The Cornelia of 
Rockford Seminary, with seventeen children, respond- 
ded in a very funny manner, (l) 

"Miss Norton then read a noera (2) corn-nosed for 
the occasion by Dr. Charlotte Wedgewood, and the hap- 
ry meeting was closed by singing, "Shall 7/e Gather at 
the River." 

Before the social hour, however, the alumnae hnfl 
"formed themselves irto a permanent organization," (3) 

man--for you here--and I sometimes long for a fresh lease 
of life that [ may enter more extensively into its suolime 
possibilities. Cherish the Institution --by your prayers, 
by your efforts, as a fountain of good. May it ever oe a 
pure, perennial fountain, whose streams shall water the 
earth, even its desert places, and make glad the City of 
Our Ood . May it oe said of each, when the Master calls, 
'She hath done what she could.'" 

fl) Rockford Daily Register , Jan. 5, 1874. Reprinted from 
the Jhicago Tribune . 

(2) Peace to all who gather here, 
Teachers and alumnae dear, 

3e to each a glad New Year! 

Changeful days have been for all 
Since v/e answered to the call 
Of roll in Char>el Hall. 

Since the bells disturbed the rare 
Sweetness of the morning air, 
Since we knelt in evening prayer. 

Happy New Year, friend, to thee, 
Here beside the inland sea, 
Tn this city, great and free. 

■» •» tm 

We the "old pirls" here tonight 
T hey "the girls" just out of sight, 
Waiting where there is no night. 

Greet our teacher all the same; 
Every country hears her fame, 
And the angels know her name. 

Long for us a leader still 

In the strife of good with ill; 

May she stand at Forest Hill. 

Rockford Daily Register , Jan. 8, 1874. 

(3) Mrs. V/. t.. Smith, 1865. 


and had elected the following officers for 1874: Presi- 
dent, Mrs, Gen. Chetlain; secretary, Mrs, W. E. Smith, and 
treasurer, Mrs, P. F. Pettibone. (1) 

It is difficult to know just who attended this first 
meeting, but from the newspaper accounts of the banquet 
and from the material contributed by former students and 
alumnae, at least a partial list can be made: Miss Anna 
P- Sill, Miss Mary E, B, Norton, Miss Sarah Anderson, 
Mrs. S. J, Humphrey, Mrs, E, C. Mitchell, Miss Mary Evarts, 
Mrs. Annie M. Chetlain, Mrs, Isaac Claflin, of Lombard, 
Illinois, Mrs. Walter Talbot, Miss Kate L. Smith, Mrs. P. 
B. Shaw, of Lawndale, Illinois, Mrs. George S. Wood, Mrs. 
W. E. Smith, Mrs. Edwin B. Newton, Mrs. H. T. Wooley, 
Mrs. P, F. Pettibone, Mrs. Albert Durham, Mrs. Joseph Lan- 
don, Mrs. 0. B. Taft, Miss Ellen Pettibone, Mrs. D. K. Mead, 
Miss E. Fannie Pierce, Mrs. Horace R. Hobart, Mrs. M. L. 
Swiney, Miss M. A. Hollister, Miss Celia C. Gilbert, 
Mrs. C. M. Earle, Mrs. Chamberlain, Miss Roland, Mrs. Mary 
A. Wells, and others. 

(1) Rockford Daily Register, Jan. 8, 1874. 


Chapter VI 

Tributes to Miss Sill 

This chapter, "Tributes to Miss Sill," scarcely needs 
an explanation. The expressions of love and appreciation 
it contains have been gathered from many sources extending 
over many years. They are concerned with her appearance, 
her character, her power as a teacher, her influence over 
students, but most important of all, it seem, are those 
which spea.k of her rare spiritual power and the meaning 
of the Seminary, for it was she who gave the Seminary 
meaning. Though Rockford is the expression of the commu- 
nity, founded and given material existence b,ythe community, 
it was Misspill who breathed into it a life-giving spirit. 

"Some of us like to remember that she never 
failed in the external ladyhood. Burdened with a 
thousand responsibilities, perpetually giving out of 
her small salary, she always beautifully and appropri- 
ately dressed from a wardrobe which though far from 
elaborate, was in its least detail finished as exqui- 
sitely as a bride's, strength and honor were the gar- 
ments of her soul, and her outward adorning shadowed 
them forth. "(1) 

"The influence of her character and the source of 
her power and influence were her great and lofty faith. 
Strong will, if it be not mere wilfulnesses the energy 
of a great soul inspired by a lofty idea and purpose, 
and sustained and re-icforced by the spirit of God, the 
only true source of all spiritual power. Hence, those of 
loftiest faith, have the strongest and most indomita- 
ble will, able to do and endure more than ordinary persons, 
though they be the gentlest and humblest of men, because 
this will is sustained and strengthened by divine 
springs, and so partakes of the divine power. 

"This soul power in Miss Sill was shown in the 
glow of her countenance, the thrilling yet gentle tones 
of her voice, the fervor and force of her whole being. 
You felt at once that here was one alive all through and 
all over, able to quicken life in all minds capable of 
being quickened. "(2) 

"The combined financial and executive burdens 

(1 )Mr~s\ E.T.Clark, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1 889 ;MejaoxiaI 

Volume. p # 62. 
(2)lScerpt from Funeral Address r Rev. H.M. Goodwin -. Memorial 

Volume .p. 50* 


which were laid upon her in the pioneer days of Rock- 
ford Seminary deprived her of the leisure for schol- 
astic work toward which her tastes drew her, but she 
felt it her duty to take up the work which lay near- 


est her hand, and this she carried forward with an 
energy, cheerfulness and persistence rarely excelle v 

"Her moral worth and Christian ideals and teach- 
ings; her great dignity and a personal magnetism, as 
pure, as it was powerful, swayed the minds of her pu- 
pils in a wonderful manner, while the warm regard in 
which she held them, and the genial welcome always 
given to those who returned, drew them to her by the 
ties of strong affection and reverence . " (2) 

"Endowed with an energy of will that rose super- 
ior to all obstacles, a resoluteness of purpose which 
no difficulties could daunt, and a faith that could 
remove mountains, and above all and under all and 
through all as an illuminating and guiding light, an 
ideal of the end to be attained, Miss Sill entered 
on the -' T ork of building Rockford Female Seminary 
when female education of a high order was almost a 
novelty r— True the idea had been born, or rather 
conceived simultaneously with that of Beloit College, 
as a twin-sister of that noble institution; but the 
embodiment of this idea in visible and tangible form, 
its nurture and growth as a living thing, had all 
to be undertaken and carried on, without resources, 
and almost wiSshout precedent, by the wisdom and 
energy, the faith and patience and perseverance of 
one woman. — 

"For years, she was the animating soul, the or- 
ganizing force, the controlling mind and will of the 
institution. When means and resources failed, and 
others were discouraged, she was never disheartened, 
but bravely put forth nev/ exertions, devising new 
measures, and resolutely pushing the enterprise a- 
long the upward grade her skillful and engineering 
mind had laid for it." (3) 

"Miss Sill had a generous heart, overflowing 
with love for all who would receive it. She made 

(1) Miss Mary E. B. Norton, Memorial Volume, 
pp. 68-69. 

(2) Ibid, 

(3) Excerpt from Funeral Address of Rev. H. M. Good- 
win; Memorial Volume, p. 48. 


companions of her girls, and was in sympathy with 
all their interests. During the long summer vaca- 
tion she visited those whom it was possible to visit, 
in their homes. She always held out a helping hand 
which reached even to foreign lands through the mis- 
sionaries whom she inspired." (1) 

"What supreme consecration was that of our dear 
dead we know full well, "but her zeal was never fan- 
atical. Her life was symmetrical, rounded, developed 
on all sides-* --"From the days in the first flush of 
early womanhood 

f When all her hope and all her pride, 
Were in her village school, f 

to those later ones when she knew her lines had gone 
out into all the earth, and her influence unto the 
ends therof , she never forgot that while a teacher, 
she was yet a woman, and owed womanly duty to so- 
ciety, the church, the world. "(2) 

"Miss Sill was our ideal, — so kind in all her 
corrections, so quick to see any worthy endeavor and 
to speak of it. She would always speak of a becom- 
ing dress. Yet she carried that far away pose and 
look as though wondering about the future develop- 
ment of the school. ' T (3) 

"Prom that year, 1352, until her retirement 
from active duties in 1884, hers was a constancy of 
devotion, a steadfastness of endeavor, and an un- 
swerving belief in the greatness of her calling that 
has seldom been equalled. A simple soul so far as 
the world goes, unsophisticated and uninformed as to 
many temporal matters, yet in her line of work there 
was heart, brain, enthusiasm and sincerity that were 
well-nigh unapproachable. In her every action there 
was a gravity that was almost solemn. She could not 
overestimate the importance of her charge, the far- 
reaching results of the Seminary training upon the 
character of the young ladies who came under its 
care. And yet there was a sweetness to her smile, 
a grace to her measure, a kindliness diffused from 
her whole being that won all hearts and made one 
happier for coming into her beneficent presence. 

(1) Mrs. P. L. Woods, 1865. 

(2) Mrs, S. T. Clark, Memorial Exercises, Jure 26, 1889; 
Memorial Volume , p. 61—62. 

(3) Mrs. A. D. Adams, 1870. 


"She taught many branches, especially those of 
the senior classes for years, but far above and be- 
yond all the training that they received from text 
books was the ineffable influence of her beautiful 
life and example, the high moral plane to which she 
exerted every energy to elevate her loved charges, 
the purity and womanliness which her teachings in- 
culcated — these were the tests of her nobility and 
beauty of character, and the fragrance of such mem- 
ories of their dead preceptress hundreds of women, 
mothers of families, teachers of culture and high men- 
tal endowment, maidens holding positions of merit and 
distinction — a multitude of cultivated women, call 
her blessed as the years roll by."(l) 

"Those v;ere days that tried the staunchest souls. 
If ever there was a brave, devoted, consecrated woman, 
entirely forgetful of self, in a place of public trust, 
Miss Sill was that woman. "(2) 

"Her work as a teacher , and the influence she 
exerted over the mind and character of her pupils was 
no less remarkable and successful. In this work and 
influence several characteristic qualities may be 

"First, a pure and ardent love of knowledge, of 
knowledge for its own sake and in all its departments. 
I remember once hearing her say that she was not con- 
scious of any preference for one science above another. 
All knowledge and all truth was attractive, satisfied a 
want and craving in her ever open and inquisitive mind. 
United with this v/as a deep and strong sympathy with 
the minds of her pupils in all their varied charac- 
ters and experiences and a sympathy no less with their 
trials and difficulties. A bond of attachment v/as 
thus formed between teacher and pupil, deeper than in- 
tellectual sympathy or that which mere instruction 
creates, v/hich knit the heart of one to the other in 
a spiritual union. 

"Noticeable also, v/as the maternal element of 
feeling which embraced all her pupils in an impar- 
tial love. The motherly care and tenderness with 
v/hich she brooded over her numerous charges often 
reminded one of the scriptural simile, 'As a hen 
gathereth her chickens under her wings; 1 and if any es- 

(1) Rockf ord Daily Register, June 18, 1880. 

(2) Mrs. Mary Clark Wads worth, 1884. 


caped her shelter and protection, it was not for want of 
love, but because the wings were not large enough to pro- 
tect them all. 

"I must not omit to mention her supreme regard to 
the spiritual and religious welfare of her pupils. 
This was the one essential point of culture to which all 
others were secondary'; rightly deeming a true Christian 
education to be a culture of the heart as well as of the 
intellect, and that faith in Christ and obedience to His 
commands, is the foundation of all right and pure and no- 
ble character. Hence, the Bible was made a text-book 
out of which lessons were daily learned, and its truths and 
principles enforced by both precept and example. As a 
consequence, nearly all her pupils were disciples in the 
school of Christ, or became so through her influence and 
tender personal counsel. T, ( 1 ) 

"The secret of her power as a teacher lay in her per- 
sonal power and influence; in the outflow of her spirit and 
character, and its inflow into the mind and heart of those 

open to receive it. 

"This personal power or the power of inspiration 
which belongs to genius, was in Miss Sill inseparable 
from the moral power seated in the conscience and heart. 
Loyalty to duty r as it was given her to see it, consecra- 
tion and steadfast fidelity to the work given her to do, 
this seemed to be the law and life of her character, and 
in the light of this principle all her acts and duties 
were performed. With such a purpose steadily pursued, 
with such a difficult work and such manifold and often 
incongrous and intractible elements to deal with, it could 
not be but that criticisms would arise and harsh Judg- 
ments be formed and sometimes uttered; and, moreover, even 
such a woman had her weaknesses and imperfect ions, because 
she was human. 1 f sometimes she was more tenacious of 
forms and precise technical rules of conduct than some 
would deem it necessary, it was the tenacity of a conscience 
wholly set in the ways of right, and fearing to let down 
the high standard of duty to which she clung. If her 
method of discipline sometimes was of a more legal than 
spritual order, and followed the letter of the law father 
than the spirit of the gospel, it was because the law of 
duty was supreme, and must be enforced outwardly by pre- 
cept and commandment until it becomes an inward 

( nExffPrptfl -evnm FutiptoI AftrJT»Pflfl ,Rftv.H.M. Goodwin, Memorial 
Volume . pp. 49- 50. 51-5 2. 


law of the heart. If she some times seemed actuated by- 
policy and expediency, leading to management rather 
than simplicity in the attainment of ends, it was the 
wisdom of the serpent, which if not the highest wis- 
dom is often as needful in this world as the harmless - 
ness of the dove, and without which the highest aims 
and the purest and best endeavors would fail by be- 
ing impracticable. That she recognized and owned a 
wisdom higher than expediency, and obeyed a law more 
supreme than policy, is evinced by the maxim often 
heard from her lips — , Duty is ours, results are 
God's.*" (1) 

"She won for herself an enviable reputation as 
an able and accomplished teacher, and at the same time 
an uncommon tact at managing and governing those un- 
der her care, possessing the faculty of controlling 
those committed to her care, while the pupils did not 
seem to realize they were being controlled." (2) 

"Miss Sill as a woman, and as a teacher commands 
our admiration and respect. The responsible position 
assigned her in life, she filled with the highest 
credit, by unselfishly yielding all her powers for 
the well-being of others. In her work and in the 
familiar intercourse of daily life, her aim was to 
make manifest whatever of good there was and to give 
opportunity for the fullest development of true 
character in those who came under her influence." (5) 

"We used to smile at her oft repeated truisms, 
but they moulded and shaped us. Her f Whatever is 
worth doing at all, is worth doing well,* has many a 
time and oft redeemed our work. — 

"That plain, straight-forward, character-making 
assertion that 'We are what our most cherished 
thoughts make us, 1 has penetrated and renewed many a 
life to the core? 2nd urged it forward toward the 
ideal ewr just beyond. Her strength as a teacher 
lay not in tex+r-book lore and the ability to com- 
municate it to others, but rather in the spirit in- 
fused into her pupils. 

"She planted in them the deep conviction that 

(1) Excerpts from Funeral Address, Rev. H. M. Goodwin; 
Memorial Volume , pp. 49-50, 51-52. 

(2) A former student in New York, Memorial Volume , p. 24. 

(3) Miss Martha Lathrop, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1889; 
Memorial Volume, p. 66. 


true education was a life growth, for whose strength 
and vigor each one was. responsible; and this thought 

like the root in the rifted rock, T was so firmly 
set, that adverse winds and limitations of circum- 
stances only served to deepen it in the hearts of her 
girls. Find them wherever you may, with few, if in- 
deed any exceptions, they are growing as best they 
can — pushing out a lateral branch here, shooting up 
a terminal bud there, onward and upward — forward not 
backward. "(1) 

"To the grandest woman I ever knew, I owe my 
chance of completing my course of study. I had the 
desire a nd ambition , and she gave me the opportunity , 
and I owe her a debt of gratitude I can never forget. 
She certainly was and is my highest ideal of a grand , 
noble woman , never to be forgotten. Her character 
impressed itself upon all who came in contact with 
her. "(2) 

M I was barely sixteen, young for my years (hav- 
ing never been before away from home) when one gloomy 
night in November (with my mother) I came up the walk 
to Rockford College. What was our surprise to see a 
lighted candle in every pane of the windows ^r. I iddle 
and Linden Halls. One window only was darkened with 
just enough light to display a little dried mackerel, 
for the joyful news had just been received that Lin- 
coln had been elected and McClellan defeated. As we 
entered the hall, Miss Sill came to meet us, and ne- 
ver shall I forget the impression her kindly royal 
womanhood made upon me. The graciousness with which 
Miss Sill dispelled my homesickness, and the ease 
and love with which she ruled our girlish empire 
keeps her in my mind as an example of noble, royal 
womanhood. Again I think of her, as we seniors 
listened to her lectures on Mental and Moral Philo- 
sophy, Evidences of Christianity, Butler's Analogy, 
and so forth, which were a fitting close to the four 
years of daily instruction of our duties to God and 
man. I would call her an unusually successful teach- 
er. But these pictures fade compared with one that 
comes to my mind of her seated before a grate fire 
in our home in Minneapolis. The v/ay in which she 
held my infant daughter and cuddled the dear baby in 
her arms, gave me a new impression of my beloved Princ- 
pal as a perfect mother. True, no children of 
her own were given to her, but she has mothered 
thousands of girls during the formative period of 

their lives. So to Miss Sill I would like to pay 

JT) Mrs. Seely Perry, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1889; 

Memorial Volume , p . 59 . 
(2) Mrs. Daniel Pish, 1867, at Alumnae Banquet, 1916. 


the tribute of being a noble, royal woman, a pre-emi- 
nently successful teacher, and a perfect mother," (1) 

"Those who knew her in the early days, when the 
little prairie town greatly needed such formative in- 
fluence, well remember what a social power she was; 
how her presence at church and prayer service was an 
unfailing inspiration to her pastor, and how skill- 
ful an organizer and leader she proved in any under- 
taking she entered upon." (2) 

"\7e of those earlier days owe much to Rockford and 
have tried to make good use of all the worthy influence 
exerted there. "(3) 

"I had no parents to send me boxes, and I expect 
sometimes I was envious of the girls who received them. 
Miss Sill knew I was rather lonely. She so often 
seemed to take especial pains to have a little talk 
with me, and I always came from her room happier for 
her many kind words. "(4) 

"In my affection Miss Sill has a dearer place than 
even a beloved teacher, and it is very gratifying to 
know that there is a channel opened whereby we can ex- 
press our love in a tangible form. "(5) 

"We are almost hushed to silence when v/e try to 
conceive what may be your thoughts as you behold this 
Seminary, founded by your. faith, nourished by your 
prayers and self-denial, when today you sit as twenty- 
five years ago you sat to listen to the adieus of 
your first class, --and now your latest graduating class. 
We indeed cannot realize the darkness of the nights 
through which you have guided this enterprise, the sacri- 
fices you made with such devotion, not alone by sleepless 
nights and days of toil. And if on this glad anni- 
versary which ought to be the proudest our alma mater 
has ever seen, she can look with a mother ! s pardonable 
pride upon her children, we can return thanks for all 
this but to you. And as we go forth from your care 
(perhaps forever), we would remember your many kind- 
nesses, and would hope that in your memory of the 
class there may be that which shall be, in 

(1) Mrs. Daniel Pish, 186V, at Alumnae Banquet, 1916. 

(2) Mrs. E. T. Clark, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1889; 
Memorial Volume , p. 62. 

(3) Mrs. A. D. Adams, 1870. 

(4) Mrs. Albert Durham, 1870. 

(5) Letter of S. Madole to Clara Goodall, at the time of 
the raising of the Sill Endowment Fund. Not dated. 


part, a reward for the service of these years," (1) 

"Miss Sill, our honored Principal, your life has 
been one of constant endeavor and wise planning for 
others. By the mysterious lav; of culture which comes 
from giving each year, you have had more to give, 
richer blessings to bestow. Hence, we, your latest 
class, have received from your hands, not only the 
teaching and training which was our individual due, 
but we have come into the fullness of your life* 
Whenever we see how freely and how much you have 
given us and remember that we are but one class out 
of the thirty classes you have sent forth, then we 
gain a faint conception of the magnitude and worthi- 
ness of your life work. Bearing with this rich 
legacy the daily remembrances of noble purpose, the 
class of '81, the youngest of your many daughters, 
go forth, perchance to pay back again to the world, 
the much good they have done you." (2) 

"During our years here, Miss Sill has often been 
among us, and though we never knew her as a teacher, 
her kindly face and cordial greetings have ever been 
an inspiration. We feel grateful for the interest 
she took in us, who cannot claim the dear relation- 
ship of pupil. We always found a warm welcome when- 
ever we entered her room, and her calls upon us were 
esteemed a rare favor. 

"On one such occasion but a few months ago, I 
was especially impressed with her gentle words of ad- 
vice, and as she left my room, I wrote down a few 
sentences on the £Ly leaf of the book I was studying, 
thinking to preserve them as a memento of my senior 
year, not dreaming that they would be her last words 
to me. I can think of no more fitting tribute than 
to give these few words of her own, even though they 
lose half their force when separated from her quaint 
expression, and the loving spirit which shone from 
her face. She appeared to me the very embodiment of 
the thought which she told me had been the Seminary 
motto since its start :--' Decus 6t Veritas - 1 - 'Grace 
and Truth.' 

"The three brief sentences with which our talk 

(1) Valedictory, Florence E. Hyde, 1876; Rockford Sem - 
inary Magazine, Jan. 1877, p. 31. 

(2) Kiss Jane Addarns, Valedictory Address, 1831; Rock - 
ford Register, June 22, 1881. 


may be summed up, seem to me a key to the inner life 
of the one who spoke them: 

'Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it. 
'What the Lord wants you to do, He will give you 
power to do. .. 

'Let His Spirit be in you, and He will direct you.'(l) 

"She fills this, her home , today, and will con- 
tinue here an "inspiration and a benediction, and not 
here alone will her presence be felt, for who shall 
say that her freed spirit has not a wider range and 
more exalted service from the Master in influencing 
the hearts and lives of those still this side the 
veil, engaged in the warfare against ignorance and 
evil." (2) 

"The devotion and lasting reverence and affection 
of her pupils was one of the best proofs of her ster- 
ling character and sympathy. However they may have 
esteemed her when under her supervision, after grad- 
uation, their esteem ripened into reverence and love. 
And this love came back from far and near, wherever in 
the wide world they might be scattered, and settled 
like a crown of glory upon her head." (3) 

"Her power over her pupils was rare and marvelous. 
Day after day, by word, look, ani act, she forged the un- 
seen chain that at last she rivetted around them. The 
impatience of youth might seek to shake it off and 
break it; the pleasures of life and the dictum of the 
world might strive to undo its fastenings, but sooner 
or later, dislpyal legions would wheel into line and 
do valiant service in the cause of truth and right.— — 
It is not too much to say that her influence belts 
the earth; for it stirs in the heart of China, lives 
and thrills in the new life in Japan, does Zenana 
work in India, seeks to lighten the darkness of 
Persia., Turkey and the isles of the sea, dwells in 

(1) Miss Adelaide Olmstead, 1889, Memorial Exercises; 
Memorial Volume , p. 65. 

(2) Miss Martha C. Lathrop, Memorial Exercises; 
Memorial Volume p. 66. 

(3) Excerpt from Funeral Address, Rev. H. M. Goodwin; 
Memorial Volume, p. 52. 


England, France and Germany, and stretches across our 
own "beloved land from north to south and from ocean 
to ocean." (1) 

In her religious strmdard of faith and practice 
she held much to the Puritan ideals, and by some was 
she felt to magnify the law above the gospel Had she 
liv-d in the time of Savonarola, she would doubtless, 
in her younger days, have been a devoted follower of 
the great Florentine." (2) 

"We shall find the secret of her success in her 
single-hearted, untiring devotion to one great cause, 
in the giving of her all even as the candle gives 
forth itself in light; and as we walk among these 
dear old places, hallowed by her prayers and love, 
this thought is inseparable from them — T A life has 
been builded into these walls, 1 and they will hence- 
forth be eloquent to us of heroic courage, grand en- 
deavor and the 'faith that can move mountains;*" (3) ■ 

"The work of Miss Sill, in connection with Rock- 
ford Female Seminary was two-fold, requiring a two- 
fold, or rather manifold endowment of character. 
First--The outward and visible work of organizing, 
building up and establishing the Seminary on a solid 
and permanent basis. Secondly — The invisible, spiri- 
tual and moral work of teachin g, of training and mould- 
ing the mind and character of the pupils. Few are en- 
dowed with the qualities requisite for both kinds of 
work--with the executive and administrative ability 
needful for the first, and the intellectual and moral 
endowments necessary for the s econd?--None but those 
who have witnessed or borne a part in the first be- 
ginnings of a College or Seminary in a new western 
community, without endowment and with few friends oi» 
patrons, can appreciate the difficulties of the en- 
terprise, and only such can rightly estimate, the 
qualities of mind and heart able to meet and overcome 
them." (4) 

(1) Mrs. Seely Perry, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1889; 
Memorial Volume , p. 59. 

(2) Miss Mary E. B. Norton, Memorial Volu me, p. 69. 

(3) Mrs. Seely Perry, Memorial Volume , p. 58. 

(4) Excerpt from Funeral Address, Rev. H. M. Goodwin; 

Mrs. Seely Perry, Memorial' 
Excerpt from Funeral Addre 
Memorial Volume , p. 47-48. 


"For a young woman of brilliant talents and rare 
personal charm to consecrate herself to such an aim 
and ideal as this, is no slight commendation. That 
she realized this ideal in its perfection, would be 
too much to affirm, but that "she held it continually 
before her, resisting all temptations to lower or 
abandon it, that Rockford Female Seminary became what 
it was and is under her guidance and fostering care, 
is her enduring praise and memorial." (1) 

Next to the trial of relinquishing a position, 
long held, of high and honorable trust, is the at- 
tendant one of witnessing new methods and new ideas 
superseding those to which one f s life has been de- 
voted; of standing silent by, while the new age and 
its young and bold spirit irreverently rushes past 
the old--a trial which not only educators, but men 
of all professions who have lived for fifty years, 
are called to experience, --which is indeed the Pro- 
vidential law of growth and progress. Yet the same 
meekness of wisdom which submitted gracefully to the 
former, accepted silently without a sign of impatience 
or irritation the new regime with whatever of change 
it might bring. Her faith was so steadfast, her con- 
fidence so serene in the Divine guidance of the In- 
stitution in all its previous history, an'd in/the 
principles on which it was founded, that she could 
still trust it in His hands for its future career. 
Moreover, her silent and benignant presence, and the 
spirit of calm, sweet dignity and venerable repose 
that streamed from her, with all that it suggested 
of tried experience and matured wisdom, was itself 
a conservative power, the more potent because of its 
gentle and unobtrusive character. All felt the 
softening, subduing and hallowing power of her un- 
conscious influence, and deemed it a privilege to 
minister in any way to the wishes of happiness of 
one so worthy of their reverence and love." (2) 

"The interest in missions, so characteristic of 
her was by no means fostered merely by the knowledge 
that such an interest is greatly educative, and was 
of inestimable value to her students, but grew na- 
turally from her world-wide sympathies, and from 
that ! enthusiasm for humanity 1 which always possessed 
her, and, when at last, her long service ended, she 
laid down her work, with what marvelous adaptability 
she entered household life for the first time in many 
years, and proved herself the ever ready helper, the 

(1) Rev. H. M. Goodwin, Memorial Volume , p. 19. 

(2) Ibid, p. 33. 


nobly tender friend of childhood, the thoughtful 
nurse and care-taker, and ah J supreme test of 
character, the ever gracious and graceful guest in 
that large household where fb r five and thirty years, 
her will was law, her word control . " (1) 

"She never lost her eager love of knowledge, and 
in later years gave much of her scant leisure to 
study of the history of Art. She was fond of travel, 
and an eagerly anticipated guest in many homes from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, but latterly had 
postponed any long trip until her little Roteert should 
be older, Ahi she las gone on the fairest journey 
of all, and the little child she loved so well is 
with her forever," (2) 

"She was a teacher born. From girlhood her im- 
pulses were all toward helpfulness--toward upbuilding. 
Consecrated to a cause was not mere talk with her.--- 
To build up Rockford Seminary, to make it a center 
where young women, poor in everything but courage and 
ability, could find that mental and spiritual food 
and stimulus indispensable to their higher useful- 
ness, was her one thoughts— -The school was her child, 
her hope, her joy, her all. 

"Though her power as an organizer is often dwelt 
upon, and her great executive ability always recog- 
nized, her pupils wuld be reluctant to admit that 
anywhere but in her personal influence lay her 
mightiest work. Surrounded .by -aft atmosphere of 
simple dignity, which would effectually repel undue 
familiarity, she was in the class room, and in in- 
dividual intercourse, companionable and entertain- 
ing. She loved to teach, to come into -that direct 
communication with" her students for which the class- 
room affords the best opportunity, and burdened as 
she was by administrative affairs, she was never will- 
ing to relinquish the duties of instructress, declar- 
ing that this work freshened and heartened her for 
all the rest, 

"There was that about her which seemed to com- 
pel not only obedience, comparatively an easy mat- 
ter, but that answer of the soul to her desire which 
only an absolutely strong self -poised nature can 
draw forth. No one in the school but felt her 

(1) Mrs. E. T. Clark, Memorial Exercises; Memorial Volume , 
p. 63. 

(2) Mrs. E. T, Clark, Memorial Exercises, June 26, 1889; 
Memorial Volume, p. 63, 


through and through. 

"With all this virility of mind and soul, she was 
truly womanly. She loved pictures, flowers, and 
children most of all. Her fondness for her little 
nephew, Robert Sill Chapman, was something exquisite, 
and the child's death doubtless hastened her own." (1) 

"More than thirty years ago, when a half grown 
boy, I sojourned for a while in Rockford, and I came 
very directly under the influence of a teacher to 
whom I looked up with a boy's reverence and grati- 
tude. Here was the first human voice that ever, made 
a direct and personal appeal to me, seeking to turn 
my steps on the heavenward way. The school in which 
her services began, has prospered and increased in 
resources and power. It has been a signet ring on 
the hand of God, stamping its seal upon thousands 
of human characters. In myriads of happy homes, in 
places of honor and power, ; in lonely mission stations, 
in the darkened lands, this teacher's influence has 
been silently doing its beneficent work, through 
the hands and voices of a multitude who are today 
ready to rise up and call her blessed. And now, as 
wearied with the life march, she lays down the bur- 
den, borne so faithfully and so long, seeking rest 
and quiet for a little while before coming to the 
white-winged reaper, we can all of us look back 
across the years and say, 'Surely, judging by the 
standards of results achieved and harvests gathered, 
no life can be more noble or more fruitful than 
that of the teacher, who works in the love and 
spirit of the Master.'" (2) 

"A just estimate of the work that Miss Sill 
has accomplished would involve a full history of 
the Seminary of which she was practically the found- 
er, and for so many years, the honored Principal, 
and with which the' greater part of her life is 
identified. This is her monument; with this her 
name and memory will be as inseparably associated, 
as the name of Mary Lyon is associated with Mount 
Holyoke, its New England prototype." (3) 

(1) Mrs. D. S. Clar£, Rockford Daily Register , June 18, 1889. 

(2) Prof. Henry B. Norton, at that time "of the State 
Normal School of California, at the commencement 
exercises, 1884; Rockford Register , June 25, 1884. 

(3) Excerpt from the funeral Address of Rev. H. M. Good- 
win, Memorial Volume, p. 47. 


"I cannot close without a recognition of the 
kindly Providence of God in the time and place of 
her death. What place so sacred and so fitting in 
which to die, as here, in the sanctuary of her own 
room where she had so often communed with God in 
prayer; amidst these quiet rural shades, where she 
had often heard the voice of the Lord God walking 
in the garden in the cool of the day; and where 
the angels of God had met her and brought strength 
to her fainting heart when sinking under its bur- 
dens. And if we saw them not as they descended to 
receive her parting soul, they were visible to her 
enraptured vision, and she went forth gladly with 
them along and up the shining pathway of the skies. 

"What time, too, so fitting as this annivers- 
ary season, when the brightness and beauty of sum- 
mer is in the air and over all the earth, and the 
gladness of youthful enthusiasm is in all hearts; 
this coronal season which she had so often graced 
and honored with her presence and benedictions? 

"This event comes not as a shadow to darken 
and throw a gloom over this festive season, but as 
an aureole to hallow and glorify it, and shed over 
its festivities the sanctity of a celestial light 
and joy. Henceforth the presiding genius of the 
place will be not a visible presence but a guardian 
angel, whose benediction will be felt , not heard, 
and whose name will live not only in the se halls 
and rustic walks, and not alone in the marble monu- 
ment that shall cover her grave, but in the hearts 
and memories of her children and her children 1 s 
children to the latest generation. 

"Do we realize what a privilege we have today, 
that of contemplating a crowned life? Most work- 
ers who live even the allotted three score years., 
and ten, pass over to the other side leaving much 
unfinished, little of results which they can see 
and from which they can gain satisfaction. Our 
revered friend had the exceedingly rare privilege 
of seeing her work a success, of knowing she had 
builded like an immortal. We hold a memorial ser- 
vice today, but if sad at all it is because we 
bring ourselves into it. 

"We say justly that the woman whom we delight 
to honor founded this Institution, and by her pe- 
culiar abilities as a pioneer, she led it up near- 
ly to where it now stands. With pride we mention 
notable facts of self-sacrifice and energy; we re- 
call what she did toward raising money, her efforts 


to call in pupils, to maintain a corps of teachers, 
and in many other directions by which a school is 
built up and sustained. But the Institution is 
something more than these things. You may throw down 
these walls so that not one stone shall lie upon 
another, you may scatter her art-stores, her library, 
her furniture to the winds; you may send her pupils 
far and wide into other halls of learning; you may 
set each teacher at work a thousand miles from this 
spot, still there will exist in the world Rockford 

"It is a correlation of forces derived from the 
lives which have been given here. Each of us, sisters 

of the alumnae, is a part of this life. I believe 

there was a residue of life force left by us and 
experienced by each and all who come after us. Each 
pupil and teacher has given some life tov/ard this 
other force which we name the Institution. The 
strong life, the self-devoted life, the entire life 
which Miss Sill gave to the school makes her share 
in the Institution greater than any of ours. She 
gave it tone, and form and character, but we must 
ingore or forget our own share in it. It is dif- 
ficult in words to realize the actual existence of 
this force which is simply a spiritual entity. It 
exists in and with this school; but, again I 
say, if it were possible to destroy this school, 
still the Institution must forever remain a power. 
She who held the largest share in the Institution 
gave it to us. Do you remember how she said many 
time, 'My dear children of the Alumane, this In- 
stitution is yours; in the future, it must be what 
you make it . ,n (1) 

"Rockford Seminary has an endowment which few 
people who come in contact with her fail to perceive, 
but which no one realizes so vividly as her own 

children. All that is necessary is to voice what 

the Alumnae have in common; to articulate what I 
myself have felt more or less clearly since I was 
six years old v/hen on a momentous day I took my pen- 
nies from my tin bank and solemly gave them to my 
sister Alice, that she might put them into a carpet 
for the new chapel. It was the green carpet for 
the new chapel. Blessings on its memorv 1 

H We are all sensible of constantly looking for 
the distinctive trait, --the trend, the meaning of an 
institution. The mere congregating of people for 

(1) Mrs. C. P. Brazee, Memorial Exercises; Memorial 
Volume, pp. 56-57. 


study, the mere exhibition of talent and learning, 
fail to impress us. The accumulation itself, the 
result of a college course, is a mountain of mere 
straw and stubble, unless it is fused and held to- 
gether by a moral purpose. It must have an animus 
to keep it from reverting, from going back into the 
mere classics and mathematics of text-books. It i s 
not easy to establish such a thing. It can by no 
means be adventitious. It cannot be forced or im- 
ported. It must represent the strong convictions 
of at least one person, and the need of many others."' 

"The first students of Rock ford Seminary in- 
herited from their fa the rs and from the new country, 
the ambition and training to overcome difficulties. 
They came here to get so me thing --to add to their 
power, that they might have more to use. They were 
almost never impelled in those earliest years, by 
mere ambition, and even when moved by the pure love 
of study and desire for self -improvement, it was 
soon modified by more practical and beneficent mo- 
tives. It is interesting to trace this earliest 
characteristic under widely changed conditions. I 
have met my sisters in Dresden, in London and Chi- 
cago, still actuated by the primitive Seminary 
energy, curiously distinct and recognizable." 

"The early school stood for the intellectual 
certainly, not only professedly but vitally, when 
Rockford Seminary was the only institution in the 
vicinity which furnished to women the higher ad- 
vantages, and w hose corps of teachers, from that 
vague region, ! the East, 1 gave to many a girl her 
first glimpse of the larger life. But with the 
intellectual and religious was constantly combined 
the stirring, practical character, born of the 
condition of the country itself. The yearning of 
its young people to fulfill the lav? of mutual ser- 
vice, to yield to the strong impulse calling them 
to work was always recognized. It feave us from the 
first that balance in development \*iich the fore- 
most educators of England and America are now urg- 
ing. We have instinctively recognized this, and 
endeavored to keep it. From our scanty means we 
have put up a gymnasium, elaborate, out of propor- 
tion to other equipment, that the talk of manual 
labor which she urged upon students so long ago 
might well be continued after the best methods, our 
primitive energy still fostered. We are among the 
few colleges to have a night school (though many 
others are fast following) that the students may 
confirm by the deed those dreams of sacrifice and 
unselfish devotion of which young heads are full, 


and that they may test the practical religion and 
philanthropy which young people crave, and which, 
if they are allowed to live out freely, may "bring 
an answer to some of our most vexed social problems, 

"We believe that our scholarship is each year 
more thorough and fine. It is advancing, as it has 
always done, in proportion to our character, and is 
made a part of that. Dear friends, it may be that 
this is our one opportunity, our road to distinction. • 
We are Rockford Seminary with a history of forty 
years with our own characteristics, finer that any 
thing imitation can give* — It may be that our po- 
verty has preserved us from many good things-- se- 
cond-rate things — only that we might be able to cher- 
ish the best, that we might preserve our endowment. 
We have been too poor for much building. We shall, 
perhaps, never have a dining room with plate glass 
windows looking out upon the river and a huge side- 
board glittering with cut glass and silver. 

"We can be thankful for this, that we have 
never been buried under the second best, - an accum- 
ulation of merely good things. We have not been 
stuffed with a content and shallow pride; we have 
escaped the curse of self-satisfaction." 

"What is, after all, the office — the function 
of an institution like this, of the local college? 
Is it not to hold out to the eager young people of 
the vicinity its draught of water--rto give them to 
drink? The cup which has been given us to hold is 
plain and unadorned. What matters i t so that the 
water itself is pure? Colleges to the east and west 
of us may stretch forth a finer goblet, but they 
contain at best nothing better than what we may 
have,' and if the liquid they hold is contaminated 
by one drop of self -conceit or of worldly ambition 
which shall dazzle the drinker and turn his head 
with a sense of his own attainment, it matters 
little of what stuff the cup is made- -the plainer 
the better. I should really 'despair if this should 
be our fate. Nothing short of this can turn our 
future black." 

"From the very first we owe to her whom we 
mourn today with heavy hearts, the highest grace 
any institution can possess. Miss Sill gave it 
that strong religious tone which it has always re- 
tainedy--The spiritual so easily speaks over all 
other voices it arrests us at once. — -We are bound 
by the tenderest ties to perpetuate this primitive 
spiritual purpose--Miss Sill ! s life motive. It will 


be easy to do this — we cannot otherwise; it is as- 
sociated with this spot "by her long life and made 
bright by her gentle death. Why did Thackeray put 
dear old Col. Newcome into the Charter House School 
to die, but that he wished to give to his Alma Mater 
the most exquisite finish, the most consummate grace 
his genius could devise--to associate with it for- 
ever the passing from the earth of a gentle, unself- 
ish spirit whose work was finished? Providence has 
granted us this grace and whatever the future may 
hold for us. nothing can be finer than that we al- 
ready have." (1) 

(1) Excerpts from the alumnae essay of 
Addams; Memorial Volume , pp. 70-75. 

f 1889, Miss Jane 


Chapter VII 

Activities and Social Life of the Students 

One of the questions most often put to me, especially 
"by the undergraduates of the college, is: What did the 
girls useg to do for recreation? Did they ever have any 
good times? When I assure my inquirers that the girls of 
the ! 50 f s, 60 f s, 70*3, and ! 80 f s were very much like 
girls of today, and relate to them some of the stories 
the alumnae have told me, they are rather disconcerted. 
Some of them seem to wish they had been at the Seminary 
then— especially when they learn of the popularity of the 
"Sems" in town, and with their Beloit brethren. 

It goes without saying that life was much harder in 
those days. There were no conveniences, but the "students 
were not martyrs; they didn f t have conveniences at home." 
The food was simple and often poor. The problem of 
cooking for so large a number on a primitive wood stove, 
was not easy to solve. (1) They always had the same thing 
for the same meal on each day of the week. At each of 
the long tables in the dining room (which was in the base- 
ment of Linden) there were twelve girls with a teacher 
at each end who used to "dish up.* "it was not much 
work, for we were never asked what we would have. They 
simply gave us our allowance, and the girls passed it 
along at the table, and all was well," writes a student 
in the sixties. (2) At bed-time the lines "with pitchers 
and permission, filed out to the well for water, and a 
drink from those thick white pitchers was the most re- 
freshing of all drinks. "(3) The mail didn ! t come until 
about noon. It was brought by the Rev. Mr. Adams who 
"used to drive an old horse, and had a rickety old buggy." 
The letters were delivered from a table in the upper 
story of Middle, and "a crowd of girls was always there 
waiting for him" (4) — just as now. 

Simple the life was to be sure, but the girls who 
came to the Seminary did not mind' the scantiness. They 
had not been reared in luxury. Furthermore, as one 
graduate put it, they "were there for higher things. "(5) 
The student body was drawn from small towns and prairie 
homes. Indian girls were often present, and children 
of American parents born abroad. To many the Seminary 
simple though it was, offered refinements of living be- 
yond any thing to which they had been accustomed. "( 6) 

Loretta Van Kook, 1875. 

H. W. Kimball. 

Loretta Van Hook. 

H. W. Kimball. 

A. D. Adams, 1870. 

Loretta Van Hook. 














A poem written by Mrs, Abby Spare Evans, 1860, and 
read at the alumnae banquet in 1910, gives us a picture 
of this busy life: 

"Hark, my sisters, can you hear the calls 

Of the morning bells at half past five 

In the good old days of forty-nine? 

Girls, take out your shovels to get hot coals, 

And hurry to bathe in the closet so small. 

Move over, my dear, there's room for all. 

There were dishes to wash and halls to sweep 

And smoky lamps to fill. 

No time for gossip, no time to sleep." 

The half past five rising bell called the girls who 
helped with the breakfast. 

Discipline was very severe. Those late for break- 
fast had to report to Miss Sill on Fridays. "Had we been 
guilty of tardiness to meals or classes or been out of 
bounds without permission, or broken any rule, we were 
supposed to confess, and be excused, or if our excuse 
was not accepted, suffer a demerit," writes one alumna. (l) 
Each student had a little book*- into which were written 
the rules which she was to obey, and in which were re- 
corded offences and demerits for them. The girls also 
had to hand in accounts of their "personal expenditures, 
properly balanced. One student refers to this system 
"as a peculiar kind of honor system," and says it was 
called The Confessional. 

Mrs. Phoebe L. Woods speaks of the rules and the 
attitude toward discipline in the following terms: 

"It was against the rules to speak or even 
whisper during study hours, and our report books 
were weekly sent in and examined by the teachers. 
We had to report if these rules*- with any others 
were broken. Some of them I fear were mis re- 
ported, but a device to keep silence for study 
hours was necessary. 

"Oh, all this discipline! At times it was 
terribly hard, and even some of the "Good Girls" 
rebelled, broke rules, and did not report, put 
"Sundries" in their report books when they could 
not balance their accounts. They stole into 
chums 1 rooms in study hours, whispered, and 
abused the faculty, especially Miss Sill. But at 
heart they were good girls, were only tired out 
with months of wearing work and never-ending re- 
straint. We didn't know then how very necessary 

(1) Mrs. C. L. Jones, 1878. 
* See the book of Sarah P. Safford, herewith. 


all these regulations were to operate this little 
new and poor struggling institution in its efforts 
to live and become a great beacon light in the 
country where we were to live. Although as we 
left school and entered that of life's hard and 

strenuous discipline, although we forgot our 
Latin, mathematics and other studies, these hard 
struggles had prepared the way to overcome harder 
ones that must come to most of us. Ten years ago, 
when last I visited Alma Mater, I was pleased to 
note how the honor method had superceded the old- 
time government of rules and regulations, and 
thought if Miss Sill were alive and able to be 
at her old post, this new method of rule would 
be her way, for she always placed moral culture 
above the intellectual* Her rule commenced in 
primitive times. She used the wisest and best 
ways for the conditions. With Time's progress, 
better ways have come, thus showing our 
educators are doing their part in keeping pace, 
and credit should be given them" 

But girls will have their fun, whatever the age and 
however serious their thoughts and earnest their intents. 
"I was never in disgrace, but I had lots of fun," writes 
one alumna. (1) And still another: 

"There were two distinct make-ups in our 
class. One group never swerved to right or left 
from study, scholarship or obedience. The rest of. 
us never flunked or did any thing contrary to 
rules openly, yet we had many a good time on the 
sly." (2) 

This same student felt that the greatest hindrance 
to good times was the custom of putting new girls in 
with older girls. The older girls were afraid the later 
comers would tell on them. "When we were caught in any 
delinquency, we had to appear in Miss Sill's room one 
at a time, and answer charges, and we were given a 
psalm to learn. My children wonder at my knowledge 
of the scriptures." 

They had jolly good times together, and they had 
many town contacts which later later students were not to 
enjoy when the town grew. It would seem as we review 

(1) Mrs. A. D. Adams. 

(2) Mrs. George Dowman, 1867. 


the social life of the day that the resolution of the 
Board, "That the Executive Committee and the faculty be 
instructed to devise and provide some method for se- 
curing a greater degree of physical exercise and re- 
creation on the part of the pupils* TT . (1) was unneces- 
sary. Perhaps there was lack of exercise (girls were 
required to exercise only one-half hour a day) , but of 
recreation it would seem there was a superabundance. 

In the very early days the social life of the town 
centered around the Seminary. No town function was 
complete without its quota of H Sems" and faculty. When- 
ever there was any public affair, the girls were be- 
sieged with invitations. (2) A member of the faculty tells 
of the Ole Bull concert in the early fifties. A certain 
young man in the village asked her to attend with him. 
As his was her third invitation, she had to refuse him. 
She knew of a girl in the Seminary, however, who had 
not been invited, and suggested that he take her. When 
he did not respond with alacrity to the suggestion, 
she was puzzled and a little vexed. She understood, 
however, when shortly afterwards he asked her to marry 
him. (3) 

Ole Bull made several visits to the village. 
Adelina Patti came, too. Then there were many concerts 
by people less well known, and concerts of purely local 
interest. Sometimes the Seminary girls assisted at 
those in town, and often townspeople gave their services 
to the Seminary. This interchange of services, which 
was brought about largely by Prof. Hood, strengthened 
the bond between the institution and the village. His 
was no small influence in either place. Of gracious 
personality and social charm, he exerted an influence 
which it is hard to measure. It is not extravagant 
praise to say that what Rockford is today musically, 
it owes largely to Prof. Hood. 

One of these concerts, The Flower Queen , deserves 
especial mention. It was given in the early days of 
Prof. Hood's long regime. That it was a most ambitious 
affair, and that it was highly successful, there is no 
doubt. The press of the day describes it in the 
journalistic style of the times: 


Records of the Board 


Mrs. E. L. Herrick. 



of Trustees, July 4, 1860. 


"The impression of that group of youthful, 
graceful fair ones is too vivid, the echo of their 
sweet voices rings too clearly in our ears to allow 
a cold dissecting criticism. The stage was decorated 
with oaks and pines to represent a sylvan retreat; 
festoons and flowers adorned the curtains, walls, 
and chandeliers. The young ladies were elegantly 
dressed in costumes suited to the different floral 
characters they represented. 

"The Queen was Miss Kent, of Galena, as a 
rose, tastefully attired in a white muslin dress, 
with double skirt looped at the side with white 
roses. Her crown was handsomely gotten up, and 
was worn with true queenly grace. The singing 
was most delightful, filling the hall with clear 
gushing rivers of melody, and the solos showing 
many fine well-cultivated voices in the setting 
of beautiful music to the delight of the 
audience." (1) 

Mr. Hood was extravagantly praised, as were Mr. 
Baldwin and Mr. Custard, the assisting artists, al- 
though of course it was the young ladies who received 
most of the reporter's attention. 

Lectures were quite as much in vogue as concerts. 
Often there were series of lectures, given by local men 
for the benefit of the Seminary. The professors from 
Beloit were frequent visitors, as were friends from 
Chicago, clergymen from the community, and other well 
known men. Sometimes they came from greater distances-- 
from Madison, Wisconsin, the University of Iowa, and 
often from the East. Rockford, it seems, knew the best: 
Prof. Sanborn Tenney, of Williams College, who had 
given the Lowell Institute lectures in 1873, Bayard 
Taylor, Horace Greeley, Horace Mann, Starr King, Henry 
Ward Beecher, Bronson Alcott, Dwight L. Moody, Oscar 
Wilde, nicknamed "the Wild Wilde." Miss Sill fore- 
stalled criticism of Mr. Moody "by telling (the students) 
what he said when she asked him to speak, --that he was 
uneducated and unaccustomed to addressing young ladies 
and feared that his slips in pronunciation (would) 
prejudice them against his message." Miss M. P. Wright, 
who told me of Mr. Moody's visit ,says he was enthusi- 
astically received. 

These lecturers brought messages of all sorts. They 
told of the latest discoveries in the sciences, of their 
work in the foreign mission field, of the wonders of 
the far corners of the world. They talked on problems 

(1) Rockford Register „ June 11, 1859. 


of the day, on various cultural and ethical topics. 
And they often appealed directly to the students them- 
selves, — "The Ideal College Student, " "Schools and 
Libraries," et cetera. Bronson Alcott gave a talk 
on "Methods of Study, 7 illustrated by the education 
of his ov/n four daughters. And, to the delight of the 
students, he told of many of Louisa's experiences. 

It is said that Bayard Taylor was favorably im- 
pressed by Rockford, and the Seminary, too. It is 
highly probable that he did not quickly forget his re- 
ception when he came to lecture there. Accompanied 
by Mr. Chapman, he came to the Seminary to pay his 
respects to Miss Sill. As she was out, he was re- 
ceived by one of the younger members of the faculty. 
Ascertaining through the introduction and preliminary 
remarks that Mr. Chapman's companion had come from the 
river town below where Bayard Taylor had lectured the 
previous evening, the young woman asked him if he had 
heard Mr. Taylor. (She had not caught the stranger's 
name.) He said, "No, he hadn't." She said that it was 
a pity to have missed him. "No great loss," remarked 
the gentleman, "is that so? You know Mr. Taylor 
then?" was her query. At this point, to Miss Jones's 
embarrassment, Mr. Chapman interrupted. "Miss Jones, 
surely you don't understand. This _is Mr. Taylor." 
Miss Jones's eyes opened wide as she regarded her 
distinguished visitor, and stammered an apology. A 
few days later Mr. Taylor called, to make amends for 
his deception, and presented her with a poem in 
manuscript, dated March 11, 1854.(1) 

Besides the more or less formal contacts with 
the town people, there was a delightful informal re- 
lationship. Seminary girls were welcome guests in 
many homes for occasional family meals, soirees when 
groups (as whole classes) were entertained, and out- 
door affairs in the lovely gardens. A later student 
tells of a reception for Gen. Grant to which a group 
was invited. One girl became the envy of her mates 
because she had the opportunity of shaking hands with 
one of his aides. Even so slight a contact with the 
great man was considered an honor. (2) Often the whole 
Seminary was entertained by a group of townspeople at 
a sleigh ride, or, in the spring, at a carriage ride 
or boat trip. River trips were very popular. Some- 

(1) Mrs. E. L. Herrick, the young woman herself, told 
me the story. See Supplementary Volume, p. 21. 

(2) Mrs. J. Garvin, 1880. 


times the Beloit boys would be guests at these affairs, 
but oftener not. It was customary, however, to enter- 
tain together the seniors of both institutions. Then 
there were church socials which were always eagerly 
anticipated. At one of these an alumna tells of 
"transgress (ing) the laws of the Medes and the Per- 
sians in letting a worthy young man walk to the stile 
with (her). For this (she) was put under restrictions 
and told (she) could go nowhere without a chaperone 
for a definite time." Not only that. She had to ex- 
plain her misdeed, have a " big zero " put down in her 
report book, and no chaperone was given her.(l) 

Life inside the Seminary, too, contained, it would 
seem, plenty of diversion. There were receptions to 
the townspeople, "reunions for which the Seminary (was) 
celebrated." Often lectures were prefaced by these 
"reunions," and Pounder's Day was similarly observed. 
There was a social hour, and then at six o'clock a 
bounteous collation in the dining room where the young 
ladies served, and as the Register once put it, (2) 
"did honor to themselves and charmed all present, not 
only by their grace and beauty but by every polite and 
familiar manner that was displayed in waiting on the 
guests." After tea there was more social intercourse, 
followed by the entertainment of the evening, --a 
lecture, a concert, an open meeting of the Pierian 
Union, the joint organization of the two literary 
societies, the Castalian and the Vesperian. 

Pleasant as these occasions were, they were 
probably not so eagerly anticipated as the evenings 
when the girls had callers. In the very early days 
Friday evening was set aside as a social evening. 
The young men called, and the older girls entertained 
them in the parlors which were always full. There 
were no games; the evening was spent in conversation, 
but apparently it was pleasantly spent, and all con- 
cerned were satisfied by the unexciting diversion. (3) 
There are, ho?/ever, tales toldAnder the breath by 
alumnae which it ishardly well to repeat,— tales of 
girls descending from upper stories in clothes baskets 
for forbidden boat rides, of young men who haunted the 
edges of the campus for a glimpse of beloved ones and 
were taken to task for being hangers on. One such 

story has become part of the Seminary tradition. A 
certain young woman was out one evening, without 
chaperone or permission. She returned to the dormi- 
tory by her usual route — not the conventional way, 

(1) Mrs. A. D. Adams. 

(2) Rockford Register , Feb. 4, 1860. 

(3) Mrs. E. L. Herrlck. 


by the front door; rather by the kitchen window. The 
kitchen was in the basement of Linden, and the distance 
from the window sill to the floor being short, the 
descent was easy. She had forgotten, however, that a 
fresh tub of apple sauce had been made that day, and 
left uncovered under that very v/indow. The result was 
that for the next week the faculty ate apple sauce, but 
the girls did not. 

Though at times Miss Sill frowned upon the attentions 
of certain town swains, it seems that she always en- 
couraged the Beloit brethren. There is no doubt that 
she favored them. If any were embarking upon missionary 
careers and wanted wives, they came to Rockford, and in- 
variably they got them.(l) It would seem, from the 
frequency of their visits, they were all bent on ser- 
vice in the foreign field. They were invited to parties, 
they came upon the invitation of town friends, and some- 
times they came without invitations. Many romances were 
the result of these contacts. One member of f 70 tells 
of meeting her husband at her own graduation exercises-- 
a narrow squeak certainly--when the senior boys from 
Beloit attended in a body. (2) 

Mrs. Herrick tells of one occasion when the boys 
braved the wrath of their own particular gods to come 
to the Seminary: 

"In the early days of the Seminary it was 
the custom for the junior class of a nearby col- 
lege to come to Rockford Seminary for an evening 
of games and refreshments. It was the outstand- 
ing social event of the season, and was greatly 
anticipated by both schools. For days before the 
girls worked to make the bare walls more attrac- 
tive; there were committees appoint fid to make 
refreshments, and other committees for entertain- 
ment worked In secret session. The boys rented 
great sleighs, and spent the day decorating them 
so that they might arrive in state. 

"For many years the custom was carried on. 
Then one year on the day planned for the party, 
the president of the boys' school called the 
junior class together, and announced that for his 
own reasons he did not wish the boys to go down 
to Rockford as they had planned. The astonishment 
of the class could hardly be imagined. There 
had been no rumor that this was to come, and for 
some time there v/as considerable confusion. The 
sleighs had been ordered, and the plans were al- 
most completed. What were they going to do? 

(1) Mrs. Julia Warren, and Mrs. T. J. Mclean, 1867. 

(2) Mrs. Albert Durham, 1870. 


"Then followed a hurried and quite unexpected 
meeting of the junior class. With almost unanimous 
vote they decided to go as they had planned, even 
at the risk of being expelled as the president had 

"So they came down in gaily decked sleighs, with 
jingling bells and much merriment. There never had 
been such an evening, such delightful young ladies, 
such inducing refreshments. Finally the evening came 
to a close. After lingering goodnights, the boys 
drove off home — to expulsion. But v/hat was their 
astonishment when the president met them at the 
gate with a twinkle in his eye. *I just wanted to 
find out how much spunk you lads had--and I found 
out . I f m proud of your courage. 1 " 

The press in speaking of this "ancient and 
honored custom,! tells of the "jovial load" coming first 
to the Holland House, "where rubbers were doffed, shirt 
collars straightened up, hair perfumed, and whiskers 
combed before the boys fled along First Street with 
gladsome cheer to the home of the fair nymphs." After 
one or two hours of social intercourse in which "soft 
eyes looked love to eyes that spake again, each im- 
mortal junior seized his partner and made a bee line for 
the dining room," where supper was served by "the young 
nymphs in commendable style." There followed "a brisk 
promenade, a lively chat, and a hearty shake of the 
hands, with an occasional f And now farewell! f Tis hard 
to give thee up! f " — The interview closed, and "the 
gallant juniors turned their backs in flight"-- — "to 
the Holland House where at twelve they indulged in 
another supper." (1) 

Occasionally the Seminary shared in one of these 
romances. In her address at the alumnae banquet in 
1910, Mrs. W. A, T"&Icott tells of one of these Beloit- 
Rockford weddings: 

"In the evening the Seminary Levee was held 
in the chapel, which was very largely attended and 
one of the pleasantest gatherings of its kind ever 
held in the institution. A very great additional 
interest was created by the marriage during the 
evening, a member of the graduating class (1860) 
being one of the parties. The proper announcement 
would be as follows: 

(1) Rockford Register, Jan. 2, 1864, 


Married. — By the Rev. 0. P. Curtis, of 
Emerald Grove, Wisconsin, Rev. Watten 
Taplin, Graduate of the Theological 
Institute at Evanston, and Miss Julia 
Avery, of Emerald Grove, Wisconsin, 
Graduate of Rockford Female Seminary. 

Our class stood up with this bride when 
she was married, and the Beloit brethren were 
our escorts on that occasion. It made a very 
pretty wedding party." (1) 

Though most of the students were at home or visit- 
ing on holidays, there was plenty of fun for those left 
at the Seminary. Independence Day (the college was 
for some years still in session in July) v/as a gala 
day in town, and one of the features of it was a parade. 
Young ladies, two from each church, singing patriotic 
songs, rode on one of the "floats." Miss Sill had the 
privilege of choosing the two from the first Congre- 
gational Church, and she left the choice to the Floral 
Band. One year Mrs. Warren was one of the happy and 
fortunate girls chosen. (2) 

Thanksgiving evenings the girls who were left had 
a candy pull in the kitchen. That of 1878 must have 
been a jolly affair. The class of 1879, after various 
preparations, put on a stunt which they called in Miss . 
Sill to see. They had "dressed up," and they intro- 
duced themselves as 1879 in 1910. "Such a transfor- 
mation! All shades and gradations of social life were 
there exhibited. That fair haired studious girl had 
become a staid presiding elder's wife, and she showed 
in every movement that she had settled down to her 
fate with becoming resignation. That advocate and 
speaker on dress-reform, proclaimed her mission with 
much zeal. The German Professor's wife had much trouble 
keeping her dignity as old memories clustered around 
her, but with a little watchfulness she succeeded; the 
tiny blue bow which peeped out of her pocket led them 
all to fear that her marriage to that good old broad 
brim had failed to make her renounce entirely the 
pomps and vanities of this life. Mrs. John converted 
the group by her devotion to John and all his wishes, 
and sang touching ballads for the entertainment of the 
guests. Whatkrust have been Miss Sill's feelings to 
find that one of her flock had so far forgotten her for- 
mer teachings as to become an actress! Tell it not! 
One of the 'never married' related a touching narrative 
of her narrow escape, and received sympathy from all. 
Two had gone as missionaries and were prevented from 
attending the reunion. The appetite with which the 

(1) Alumnae Notes. June 1910. 

(2) Mrs. Julia Warren.- 


ancient ladies partook of the dainties prepared for 
them, reminded one of "Auld Lang Syne 11 at the Sem- 
inary." (1) 

Then very early there arose the custom of cele- 
brating Washington's birthday, today the most elaborate 
indoor party of the year. We find the first mention of 
it in 1876 though it probably was observed earlier. The 
press carries the announcement that it was "expected that 
the young ladies would appear in costumes characteristic 
of the times and persons, etc., to be represented in the 
different parts of the program." The party was in charge 
of the Pierian Union, and it was open to the public at 
an admission fee of twenty-five cents. The chapel was 
filled. The girls at the door were dressed in blue with 
white caps, and the walls were decorated with pictures 
pertaining to the history of the country. The program 
consisted of music and literary numbers. In fact it was 
the usual Pierian program. (2) 

As the years passed, the celebration became more 
elaborate. Some years the program varied slightly in 
character. In 1881 there was a lecture in the chapel by 
the Rev. A. S. Gardiner, of Lena, Illinois, on "Wash- 
ington and the Constitution." That year pictures of 
Martha and George Washington, the hatchet and the cherry 
tree combined with flags were used as decoration, chang- 
ing somewhat the emphasis. (3) 

By 1884 the occasion was one of great festivity; 
the press pronounced it "an unwonted sight." The 
entertainment was more social in character; it took the 
form of a reception. "Fresh young faces looked out from 
under mob caps, puffs, and powdered hair of a hundred 
years ago; gaunt robes patterned after great-grand- 
mothers ," contrasted with star-bespangled tarletons, 
while a liberal sprinkling of black coats of modern 
cut showed that the present generation had not entire- 
ly fallen out of favor." The senior president as 
Martha Washington, received; Prance, the statue of 
liberty, and "the immortal thirteen were there, appro- 
priately lettered, "and pages in pink and white. The 
decorations were of the stars and stripes, plants, small 
hatchets, and in chapel there was a huge fire-place with 
a crane and steaming kettle, and a flax wheel, A light 
repast of fruits was served. The day students presented 
Miss Sill with a basket of flowers. About a hundred 
guests were present, among whom were members of the 

freshman and senior classes at Beloit who had been en- 

(1) Rockford Register, Dec. 6, 1878. 

(2) TbTT. 

(3) Rockford Weekly Gazette, Mar. 2, 1881. 


tertained at tea by the Seminary seniors. So engrossed 
were they in the festivities that the warning bell had to 
be repeated several times before the guests left.(l) 

Of the informal good times which college girls so 
enjoy there were many. They used to make candy in boxes 
they had made out of foolscap paper. "If Miss Sill had 
known it, she would have been furious ." (2) Friday nights 
were gala times. The students congregated in each others* 
rooms, and ate popcorn, "or perhaps some smuggled sweets 
or a treat from home." (3) Sometimes there were parties 
in the gymnasium with games, and "a few square dances 
taught in calisthenics class, or the more daring would 
even waltz if some one would play for them." When a group 
was thus indulging, word would be passed about that some 
one was coming. Instantly the music would change, sets 
for a square dance would form. "Dancing at that time was 
looked upon with disfavor, and Kiss Sill was especially 
particular that no one should waltz. Some times she 
read---a poem in chapel the last line of each stanza of 
which ended with f prett; dancer, adieu. '"(4) 

These girls, too, tradition tells us, were not 
above playing pranks, one of the best known of which 
is the peppery-prayers one. Thus particular peccadillo 
found its way into the newspaper. 

"Some of the Seminary young ladies have been 
indulging In a practical joke. Last week Thursday 
was appointed as a day of prayer for schools and 
colleges, and in accordance therewith it was an- 
nounced that divine service would he held in the 
chapel, to which the public were invited. James placed 
the room in readiness and built up a good rousing fire, 
early in the morning, and left it to gain headway. 
During his absence two of the frisky damsels, the 
secret of whose names shall be forever sealed away in 
our heart of hearts, entered the chapel and quietly 
flavored the fire with a goodly sprinkling of pepper. 
When the audience began to arrive, it was astonishing 
what colds nearly all seemed to be suffering with. 
The dominies on the platform joined in the cough- 
ing chorus, while occasionally some louder voice 
would carry a solo obligato. The mystery was 
first solved by Rev. W. A. Spencer, who remarked 
that if this were a boys 1 academy, he should cer- 

(1) Rockford Re gist r , Feb. 23, 1884. 

(2) Mrs. T. B. Wells, a student in the ! 60's. 

(3) Mrs. G. L. Jones, 1878. 

( 4 ) Mr s . J . E . Newman . 


tainly believe some one had "been dosing the stove 
with pepper. The meeting proceeded, but the in- 
fectious coughs, which would die away into muf- 
fled smothered hems and haws and then swell into 
a volume that would drown the voice of the speaker, 
rather dampened the ardor of the disciples, 

"It was scarcely a commendable trick, but it 
was so ludicrous that the reverend gentleman who 
let the cat out of the bag was compelled to in- 
dulge in a hearty laugh at the affair. The of- 
fenders were discovered, or rather confessed under 
the pain of a guilty conscience, but what penalty 
they were compelled to suffer has not been learned." (1) 

The second prank seems to have belonged to every de- 
cade. Some graduates of the sixties claim it, while 
others say it was an old story when they came. Again 
there are those in the seventies who were sure that it 
happened in their time. It is known as the butter 
episode, and has been used in the Rockford College film. 
Butter in those days came in large wooden firkins, and 
sometimes it was rather strong. One tub which was less 
fresh than others and continued to be served despite 
the fact, incited a group more daring than the rest to 
action* Late at night they made their way to the kit- 
chen, dragged the heavy tub out, and rolled it down 
the river bank into the water. Though the incident 
caused quite a commotion at the time, the offenders 
were never found out. Mr. E. P. Catlin who was a boy 
at the time, fished out the butter and sold it for 
soap grease. (2) 

The week-ends were spent in various ways. If 
Saturday was all too short, Sunday it would seem was 
too long. But let a pupil of 1865 describe the week- 

"Saturday! I wonder sometimes how we would 
ever have caught up the odds and ends of our week- 
ly life without it. There was the room to clean, 
the individual hour allotted every inmate for the 
weekly bath (bathrooms were then as unknown as 
the automobile or airplane), the mending (this must 
be reported), the home letter, and then the ever- 
pursuing two week's essay. If shopping was de- 
sired, a teacher was assigned to accompany such 
girls to the commercial center and back again. 

(1) Newspaper clipping lent to me by Mrs. Amelia Hol- 
lister Chapman. 

(2) Mrs. E. P. Catlin. She places it in the ! 50 f s. 


This was not so long a procession or so imposing as 
that of Sundays when each girl was required to at- 
tend at least one service and Sunday School at her 
church. Sunday was a long day— such a long day. 
Up at the usual rising hour, breakfast, domestic 
and room duties, then preparations for church, and 
retirement hour for each pupil alone in her room 
in religious preparation for the day (during- the 
expulsion from her room the rendezvous sought was 
usually the library, the reading room, halls or 
chapel) and then the march for church began, after 
what seemed a week of hours since the rising bell. 
The return in the same marching order, was fol- 
lowed by dinner. We took our allotted places at 
the table with pit-pat in our hearts, for soon 
the examination would begin to determine our at- 
tention at church and the receptivity of our minds. 
We nudged our next companion (if she had attended 
church; to help us out on the text, and we did 
hope the senior at the table would be called on 
first to give a synopsis of the sermon so that 
when it came our turn we could say, n I can add 
nothing to what has been given," for the minister 
at our church gave such profound discourses, that 
to our undeveloped minds it was like reading 
hieroglyphics. We had much Sunday sickness, over- 
come by Monday morning, however, without medical 
attention or medicine — only a toast diet in our 
rooms. The school nurse was a wise and kind per- 
son. I think she fully understood our cases and 
was sympathetic !"(1) 

The late ! 70 f s and the early 80 f s brought several 
new forms of recreation,— the "class bum 1 ,* the chemistry 
soiree, and the Minnie R. Alogy rites, which seem not to 
have persisted long, interesting as they were. We find 
the first mention of the "class bum" in the Historical 
Sketch (pages 228 and 229) prepared by Miss Sill in 1876 
at the invitation of the federal government: 

"The little box stove being filled to its ut- 
most capacity with kindling donated by the generosity 
of the revellers, and the room heated until the 
thermometer stands at ! 99 degrees in the shade, we, 
satisfied, begin our fe"te. Newspapers cover the 
tables, and a sheet is placed artistically beneath, 
a la crumb cloth. Pure (stone) wash bowls stand at 
either end of the table, waiting expectantly, the 
one for popcorn, the other for candy which we now 
begin to manufacture. On one side is placed a huge 

(1) Mrs. Phoebe L. Woods. 


jar of jam and some very tempting cake over which 
Minn keeps a protecting eye, but no one knows 
whence it came. Yonder in a retired? nook sits 
our pensive Em, soap dish in hand eagerly picking 
the dainty particles from the mammoth bones of 
sardine with a crochet hook. Near the stove, Pan, 
one of our most worthy accomplices, stirs the 
mysterious mixture with a tea spoon, and while so 
doing the spirit of Shakespeare seems to hover 
around, and she mutters, 

f Double, double, tail and trouble, 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. 1 

"At last the damsel declares the substance 
candy, and cries, 'Flavoring, flavoring! 1 Tine 
and Clara rush frantically from the room. Soon 
Clara returns crestfallen and empty-handed. Fan 
still cries, 'Flavoring! 1 

"At this moment Tine enters, shouting, 
'Eureka, eureka!' and bearing triumphantly in her 
hands a bottle of paregoric! We look aghast; but 
Fan, not observing the label seizes the bottle 
with avidity and pours the contents into the 
seething mass. Epletives abound for the next five 
minutes, but candy we must have. 

"The corn popping over the gas, having been 
brought to a state of quietude by persevering Ida, 
nuts already cracked, are passed by the determined 
Lu, who at the same time "with smile that is child- 
like and bland," offers to each one a new and shin- 
ing hairpin. 

"We thirteen ( 'Alas! 'whispers Hat, 'an unlucky 
number!') now gather round the festal board. But 
a rustling is heard. 

The patter comes nearer, we jump to the floor, 

We say, 'Nov/ we hear her, 'as she taps at the door. 

She tells us quite plainly we've not counted 

the cost, 
We plead; but vainly, --our good name is lost." 

The "class bum" was a festivity belonging to the 
senior class, and was a custom observed for a good many 
years. The alumnae speak fondly of it as one of the 
favorite larks. 

The chemistry soiree had its beginning in 1879. 
The first year it v/as a demonstration of the work done in 
the course. Hydrogen and carbonic acid gases were manu- 
factured and explained. The characteristics of chlorine, 
sulphur, soda, cream of tartar, baking powder, and other 


chemicals were discussed, and illustrated. The young 
ladies showed the process of etching on glass for the 
admiring audience. The exercises ended with an essay- 
on petroleum and other oils. The entire performance was 
spontaneous; nothing had been prepared before hand. (1) 
The next year t^e affair assumed more elaborate pro- 
portions. The Seminary Magazine describes it at length, 
and speaks of the elaborate dinner in the dining room as 
a "new departure." There followed a social hour, after 
singing and praying, in the parlors, and then in chapel 
a long program. Many experiments were done, all of 
which were successful except the manufacuture of oxygen; 
its "failure being due to depending upon an ordinary gas 
jet to heat the retort, instead of a Bunsen burner. (2) 

The ceremony which seizes one's imagination, how- 
ever, was the cremation of Minnie R. Alogy,"a most im- 
pressive affair. Funeral ceremonies were held in one 
of the parlors in the evening — very little light, every 
effort made to produce somber and lugubrious effects by 
the use of black." This ceremony was in charge of the 
junior class. They invited the sophomores to attend. 
Each guest as she entered was given a program, long and 
impressing. There was a song by the junior class after 
which the junior president addressed the sophomore presi- 
dent, "resigning her honors and trials and dropping her 
mantle upon her successor, figuratively speaking." The 
"junior privates" then addressed the "sophomore privates, n . 
and the master of ceremonies initiated the "sophs" into 
the mysteries of juniordom. With their hands on a skull, 
the sophomores swore to many propositions--that they 
would learn every verse in Hebrews, give a junior ex- 
hibit, be reverential to seniors, learn the system, 
cleavage, and specific gravity of each crystal mentioned 
by dear departed Minnie." Headed by the pallbearers, 
"a mournful procession was formed, and, chanting a dirge, 
it moved through the halls and out to the gravel walk. 
There the beare'rs deposited the sad burden upon an im- 
posing funeral pyre which made quite a spectacular bon- 
fire in a circle about it, to do the last honors to 
Minnie and look for the last time upon her countenance. 
The undertaker then stepped forth, and delivered the 
funeral oration, saying among the many other things, 
'Minnie R. Alogy has told us of blow-pipe reaction until 
we wonder if she will decrepitate with a blue flame, or, 
fusing with alliaceous fumes, will yield a white globu- 
let to haunt us forever. ' Amid the groans and sighs of 
the juniors, the undertaker 'applied the torch, and the 
Pont if ex Minor delivered a poem enumerating the virtues 

(1) Rockford Register , Feb. 4, 1879. 

(2) Rockford Seminary Magazine, Mar. 1880, p. 88 


of the deceased, dwelling upon her great learning, her 
noble character, et cetera." (1) 

This ceremony was similar in character to collegiate 
ceremonies in many other institutions,— as "Math" burning, 
forensic burning, et cetera, whatever the hated subject. 
It seems that college life, in the passing of many time- 
honored customs, has lost much of its savor. There are 
none that take their places. Harmless these "stunts" 
are, perhaps a bit juvenile; but they do afford whole- 
some fun. 

It would seem, too, that these years brought a 
broader student life, and that student activities began 
to be more highly organized. We hear of the first field 
day in 1880, held on a Friday evening in the gymnasium. 
Groups and individuals took part, and prizes were given 
to the successful participants. The program was as 

Tug of war 

Hurdle race 

Twenty yards walking race 

Twenty yards running race 

Twenty yards running backward 

Throwing (Kohl) hammer 
Hop, skip, jump 
Sacque race 
Crack the whip 
Rope walking (1-g- inches above 

Prisoner's base 

Base ball match 



Section of 


of classes 


This in comparison to the modern indoor meet seems very 
simple. It must be remembered, however, that work in 
physical education was in its infancy. Girls were sup- 
posed not to be able to do strenuous stunts, nor was it 
considered quite ladylike even to want to do them. 
The tennis tournament in 1889 must have been an event 
of the utmost novelty. To us it is a hopeful sign, 
ridiculous as it would seem if we could witness it in the 
light of today's contests. (2) The presence of the 
"Sems" at a baseball game for the benefit of the hos- 
pital, however, is beyond all belief. This extraordi- 
nary event occurred in 1889.(3) 

(1) Mrs. E. B. Dodds, 1881. 

(2) Rockford Daily Gazette, June 8, 1889. 

(3) Rockford Morning Star, May 28, 1889. 


Although the theater was still frowned upon in 
1882, we find girls in great numbers attending the 
opera, a performance of the Chicago Church Choir Com- 
pany and Orchestra, in The Bells of Corneville. (l) 
The theater as an amusement was bound to come, however. 
In 1880 at the Tinker home Miss Charlotte Emerson's 
French classes gave a program which smacked of the 
dramatic. A play in French, Le Bracelet , was given 
in the mansion house. Then the company went across 
the suspension bridge to the Swiss chalet where Les 
Femmes Savants was given, and a second play by several 
gentlemen. TEe evening ended with French songs. (2) 
These productions, however, did not seem to break down 
the tradition immediately. It was not until at least 
several years later that girls appeared in plays which 
contained men's parts. Then the Vesperian society gave 
The Spanish Student by Longfellow in Sill Hall. As 
the authorities were unwilling that the w men M should 
wear male garb, they appeared in divided skirts that 
stopped at the knee.(3^he way was being paved, however, 
for the dramatic club of the present which is doing so 
much in the way of experimental work with the problems 
of stage craft and the production of the best modern 
plays. ' 

Another important activity of the 70 's and early 
80 ! s was the Rockford Seminary Magazine , which was 
published from January 1873. to December, 1883. 
was the forerunner of today's two publications, 
Purple Parrot , which appears weekly and carries 
college news, and The Taper, a monthly literary 
magazine. That it was papular in town we know from 
the constant references to its appearances and to 
its contents in the local papers. It was on sale in 
down town book stores and "found a place in many 
homes side by side with periodicals which make more 
pretensions to literary merit, but in some cases have 
much less. "(4) At various times the magazine was 
published once a month, once in six weeks, and 
quarterly. It was sponsored by the Pierian Union 
and was edited by Miss Caroline Potter, a member of 
the faculty. 

The literary societies, the Castalian and the 
Vesperian, which were largely responsible for the 
social life of the institution, were organized in 1856, 
and were abandoned in 1883. They were supplanted in the 

(1) Rockford Register, Mar. 7, 1883. 

(2) Mrs. Corirme Williams Douglas, 1880. 

(3) Ibid. 

(4) Rockford Register , Dec. 26, 1874. 


seventies by various organizations, and it would seem 
were no longer needed. The Rockford Seminary Magazine 
for March, 1883, comments in the following fashion on 
their passing: 

"No more can the Catalogue say, 'The students 

maintain two literary societies. 1 So long as the 

memory of the Seminary remains, so long will their 
memory live." 

nnd their memory does live in the hearts of their 
members. In almost any gathering of the older alumnae, 
there are flashes of the ancient rivalry. Where did you 
belong? in one of the first questions ]put to an unknown 
newcomer, anr" upon the answer depends, one way or another, 
the standing of the one challenged. 

The meetings of the societies were held Friday 
evenings . There were debates upon subjects which would 
astound even the most skilled debater, for there was 
no common ground on which to meet; there we^e literary 
programs, and there were those memorable occasions when 
the two societies joined, and gave a public entertain- 
ment to which the town was invited. There were musical 
numbers, recitations, selections from the poets, and 
more music. It is not necessary to say that the young 
ladies did exceedingly well, and their pictures in the 
old secretary in Middle Hall, so carefully collected 
by Miss Sill, and so dearly cherished by her, are proof 
beyond words that they were pretty and charming. We can 
see the town audience well represented even on stormy 
nights, leaving the Seminary on foot or in their car- 
riages, well satisfied with the evening. And we can 
hear a sigh of mingled feeling, as the last performer 
turns low the wick in her lamp, relieved that the evening 
is over and happy that it went so well. Lay the memory 
of the Pierian Union, and the dear girls who belonged 
to it, whether Castalian or Vesperian, never fade! The 
place of the two societies is now taken by the organiza- 
tion into two groups of the freshman and juniors, and 
the sophomores and seniors. These groups share the 
responsibility of the more important college functions. 

The zeal for missionary work which Miss Sill was so 
ardent to stimulate,* found expression in the Society 

# in A Letter to Our Old Girls , printed in 1882, Miss 
Sill speaks about those who had fe one into missionary 
work as follov:s: 

"Let us survey their various fields of labor. We 

count one in Jamaica, West Indies, one in Egypt, five 


of Missionary Inquiry, reorganized November fourth, 1875.(1) 
This association not only studied the problems connected 
with missionary work, but its members also expressed them- 
selves in practical ways. In the first year of its new 
existence they gave $162.30 to various worthy causes and 
sent three barrels of good clothing to the Nebraska suf- 
ferers. The work of this group has been expanded into 
that done 'by the several departments of the Young Woman's 
Christian Association. 

Pounder's Day which had been observed from the 
beginning and had been a more or less public affair to 
v/hich interested people in town were invited, had been 
gradually becoming more elaborate. There were music 
and speeches by prominent people, a reception in the 
evening followed by a banquet. Those who wished might 
inspect the plant in groups led by students. (2) 

It remained, however, to the class of '78* v/hich 
seems to have been an unusually energetic group, to 
change the character of this day slightly, and to in- 
stitute class day. (3) The chapel was elaborately 
decorated, and the program, which was lengthened by 
selections by the Rockford Band, was interesting and 
varied. (4) Tne innovation met with distinct approval. 
It was "after the manner of celebrating the day in male 
colleges," and placed "the Seminary on a footing with 
other collegiate institutions in respect to their 
closing exercises," the press felt. (5) 

in India, two in Burmah, including a teacher, four in 
China, two in Japan, one in the Micronesian Islands, 
three of our teachers in the Sandwich Islands, one in 
the New West educational field in Colorado, three among 
the Indians, and eight who are or have been among the 
Free dm en in the South, making the entire number thirty- 
seven. Seventeen of this number are graduates. Be- 
sides all these there are those who are wives of home 
missionaries in western frontier life, toiling with the 
same missionary spirit as on heathen ground. These all 
call for our sympathy and help." 

(1) Rockford Seminary Magazine, Nov. 1875, p. 316. 

(2) Rockford Register, June,~X8, 1878. 

(3) Mrs. C. L. Jones. 

(4) For full account, see appendix, pp. 406-409. 

(5) Rockford Register , June 14, 1878. 

V: It was they7 too, who rebelled against the con- 
ventional white dress for graduation, and after 
arguments with the faculty won their point— that 
they wear what they choose and what they could 



In line with class day was the junior exhibit, 
out of which undoubtedly grew junior day, now observed 
with elaborate ceremonies. It was the invention of the 
class of 1881 which seemed to have a genius for in- 
vention, and was celebrated April 20, 1880.*- 

The chapel was decorated with evergreen and stands 
of blooming plants. There were evergreen sprays over 
the doors and above the chandeliers which were "gay with 
tiny scarlet flags bearing the sacred symbol, ! 81; a 
silken banner with the same numeral was draped above 
the painting resting on an easel twined with ears of 
wheat, while a sheaf of the queen of cereals stood 
on one side of the rostrum, erect in its own perfect grace, 
and the class motto(l) (Breadgive^s) on a background of 
arbor vitae shone in the same golden grain." 

At eight the entire class, seventeen in number, 
with the exception of 1863 the largest to be graduated 
up to that time, ranged themselves on the platform and 
sang the class song. The class marshall then intro- 
duced the president, Jane Addams, who delivered the ad- 
dress of welcome, (quoted in part below) "every word of 
which (was) pitched to the key-note of the true intel- 
lectual progress of the time: 

"Friends and citizens of Rockford: 

"The class of 1881 has invited you this even- 
ing to the first Junior Exhibition ever given 
v/ithin the walls of Rockford Seminary. The fact of 
its being the first seems to us a significant one, 
for it undoubtedly points more or less to a move- 
ment which is gradually claiming the universal 
attention. We mean the change which has taken 
place during the last fifty years in the ambitions 
and aspirations of women; we see this change most 
markedly in her education. It has passed from 
the accomplishments and the arts of pleasing, to 
the development of her intellectual forces and 
her capabilities for direct labor.- 

"But while on the one hand as young women 
of the nineteenth century we gladly claim these 
privileges, and proudly assert our independence, 
on the other hand we still retain the old ideal 
of womanhood--the Saxon lady whose mission it 

was to give bread unto her household. So we have 

( 1) Miss Jane Addams, a member of 1881, in Twenty Year s 
at Hull House (p. 48) comments thus upon this motto: 
"Y;e took for a class motto the early Saxon word for 
lady (hlaefdige), translated into breadgiver , and thus 
we took for our class color the poppy, because pop- 
pies grew among the wheat, as if nature knew that 
wherev r there was hunger that needed food there 
* See program and libretto herewith. Full account, 

pp. 409-41 3- 


planned to be 'bread-givers f throughout our lives, 
believing that in labor alone is happiness, and 
that (as; the only true and honorable life is one 
filled with good works and honest toil, we have 
planned to idealize our labor, and thus happily 
fulfill woman's noblest mission. "(1) 

The high purpose voiced in Miss Addams' address 
had permeated the Seminary from the beginning. In her 
chapter on the college in Twenty Years at Hull House , 
she speaks of the "atmosphere of intensity." The in- 
spiration gained from their participation in the new 
movement of full college education for women, un- 
doubtedly spurred on this group of impressionable young 
women. Then, too, they were deeply influenced by the 
widening of the opportunities offered to women in the 
way of careers. It is significant that from this 
period two have achieved national recognition: Miss 
Addams herself and Miss Julia Lathrop, '76 to '78. 
Mrs. Catharine Waugh McCulloch, as a practicing 
lawyer in Chicago and as former vice-president of the 
National American Woman Suffrage Association and 
its legal adviser, has more than a sectional reputation. 
And there are others of the same period who have done 
excellent work, wherever they have found themselves. 

In the early '80's another important student 
activity had its birth, — the oratorical contest. This not 
only prepared the way for the later debating clubs 
(an important activity today), but it also brought 
the Seminary into contact with other institutions and 
before a wider public. 

In May, 1881, the Seminary was invited to send 
delegates to the College Press Association meeting 
at Jacksonville with the Interstate Oratorical 
Association. (2) This they did. We are fortunate to 
have an account of the experience of these delegates 
from the pen of Miss Jane Addams who was the orator 
of the occasion: 

would be pain that needed relief. We must have found 
the sentiment in a book somewhere, but we used it 
so much that it finally seemed like an idea of our 
own, although none of us had ever seen a European 
field, the only page upon which Nature has written 
this particular message." 

(1) Rockford Register , Apr. 21, 1880. 

(2) Rockford Daily Gazette , May 22, 1882. 


M In line with this policy of placing 
a woman's college on an equality with the 
other colleges of the state, we applied for 
an opportunity to compete in the intercol- 
legiate oratorical contest of Illinois, and 
we succeeded in having Rockford admitted as 
the first woman's college. When I was 
finally selected as the orator, I was some- 
what dismayed to find that, representing not 
only one school but college women in general, 
I could not resent the brutal frankness with 
which my oratorical possibilities were dis- 
cussed by the enthusiastic group who would 
allow no personal feeling to stand in the 
way of progress, especially the progress of 
Woman's Cause. I was told among other things 
that I had an intolerable habit of dropping 
my voice at the end of a sentence in the 
most feminine, apologetic and even deprec- 
atory manner which would probably lose Wo- 
man the first place. 

"Woman certainly did lose the first 
place and stood fifth, exactly in the dreary 
middle, but the ignominious position may not 
have been solely due to bad mannerisms, for 
a prior place was easily accorded to William 
Jennings Bryan, who not only thrilled his 
hearers with almost prophetic anticipation 
of the cross of gold, but with a moral ear- 
nestness which we had mistakenly assumed 
would be the unique possession of the 
feminine orator. 

"I so heartily concurred v/ith the de- 
cision of the judges of the contest that it 
was with a care-free mind that I induced my 
colleague and alternate to remain long 
enough in "The Athens of Illinois," (Jack- 
sonville),, in which the successful college ,> 
(Illinois College), was located, to visit 
the state institutions, one for the Blind 
and one for the Deaf and Dumb. Dr. Gil- 
lette was at that time head of the latter 
institution; his scholarly explanation of 
the method of teaching, his concern for his 
charges, this sudden demonstration of the 
care the state bestowed upon its most un- 
fortunate children, filled me v/ith grave 
speculations in which the first, the fifth, 
or the ninth place in an oratorical contest 
seemed of little moment. 


"However, this brief delay betv/een our 
field of Waterloo and our arrival at our 
college turned out to be most unfortunate, 
for we found the ardent group not only ex- 
hausted by the premature preparations for 
the return of a successful orator, but 
naturally much irritated as they contem- 
plated their garlands drooping discon- 
solately in tubs and bov/ls of water. They 
did not fail to make me realize that I had 
dealt the cause of woman ! s advancement a 
staggering blow, and all my explanations of 
the fifth pla^e were haughtily considered 
insufficient before that golden Bar of 
Youth, so absurdly inflexible." (1) 

In June, shortly after the return of the Jackson- 
ville delegates, there was a preliminary contest to see 
who would be the representative if the Seminary was ad- 
mitted to the state contest, and in October Miss Minnie 
Marks, 1882, Miss Mary Waddell, 1883, and "Miss Kittle 
V/augh, orator," 1882, went to Bloomington. At a busi- 
ness meeting Rockford and three other colleges were re- 
jected, but the Seminary girls would not take no for an 
answer, and after a reconsideration, Rockford was ac- 
cepted by a vote of nine to twelve. (2) Of one of these 
young women (Mrs. Catharine V/augh Mc Culloch) who brought 
the group to terms, Miss Addams speaks as follows: 

"My companion in all these arduous labors 
(referring to advanced study in mathematics) 
has since accomplished more than any of us in 
the effort to procure the franchise for women, 
for even then we all took for granted the 
righteousness of that cause into which I had 
at least merely followed my father's conviction. 
In the old-fashioned spirit of that cause I 
might cite the career of this companion as an 
illustration of the efficacy of higher math- 
ematics for women, for she possesses singular 
ability to convince even the densest legis- 
lators of their legal right to define their 
own electorate, even when they quote against 
her the dustiest of state constitutions or 
city charters. "(3) 

The following May, in 1882, there was another 1 con- 
test at the Seminary, this time to see who v/ould go to 

(1) Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House , pp. 54-56. 

(2) Rockford" Daily Ga zette, May 22, lg82. 

(3) Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House, p. 54. 


Chicago in the autumn, against the boys. The affair ex- 
cited lively interest both in the Seminary and in the 
town. Prizes were given, and the speeches were inter- 
spersed with music. The four competitors who ranked 
highest were, in order, Miss Carrie Hewitt, Miss May 
Brown, Miss Etta Hathaway, and Miss Helen Gregory. The 
judges were Miss Julia Lathrop, Rev. Wilder Smith, and 
Prof. A. W. Burnett. (1) 

The intercollegiate contest took place in Central 
Music Hall in Chicago. There were delegates from the 
Industrial College at Champaign, the University of 
Chicago, Lincoln University, Knox College, Monmouth, 
and Wesleyan University at Bloomington. Miss Carrie 
Hewitt, speaking on Our Duty to the Indians , represented 
Rockford. (2) 

In a letter to the Rockford Daily Gazette (October 
10), a Seminary girl describes the affair. This letter 
is quoted only in part: 

"So Thursday morning at ten (October 5) 
seventeen energetic young women, all in bright 
array went to Oak Park as the guests of Miss 
Minnie Marks, f 82. We made quite a lively 
party when all assembled, for five members of 
the class of f 32 who always have the Seminary 
in a warm corner in their hearts, and three 
teachers, and the girls that came in at dif- 
ferent times made a delegation of thirty." 

It would seem that the girls were treated royally, 
A reception was given for them on Thursday at the 
university rooms, and the committee attended to their 
every want. The writer in a most naive fashion goes 
on to say that "indeed they could not have found a 
better place for their attentions, for when we were all 
fixed up in our white dresses, with the blue shoulder 
knot representing our school, we ourselves thought we 
were a pretty good looking set of girls, and some of 
the other folks thought so, too." 

Miss Mary Waddell, the vice-president of the as- 
sociation, on account of the illness of the president, 
presided at an impromptu business meeting. "It v/as 
quite an honor to have our girl preside in such a place. 
The two delegates, the Misses Lizzie Stanbridge and May 
West, called forth many complimentary remarks for their 
action in the business meeting." 

(1) Rockford Daily Gazette , May 22, 1882. 

(2) Rockford Register, Oct. 7, 1882. 


Of the fate of Miss Carrie Hewitt's plea for the 
Indians, the writer says nothing. It is to be sup- 
posed that Rockford went down to defeat against the male 
opponents. However that may be, it was a glorious af- 
fair for all concerned, and an important one for the 
Seminary, for it was voted that the next contest be held 
in Rockford. 

Accordingly the next autumn the masculine members 
of the association, came to Rockford. The Rockford Re - 
gister for October first tells us that two hundred were 
expected, and nine colleges were to compete for prizes 
of $75 and $50. The winner was to represent the state 
in the interstate college contest. The convention took 
on a more or less social character. In addition to the 
contest itself at the Opera House on October 5, there 
was a baseball tournament, (four colleges competing), 
morning and afternoon. The Seminary seniors gave a ban- 
quet to the guests at the Holland House, on which to 
their dismay and to that of the town, they came out, 
$125 short. It was hoped by the press that the men 
would not allow their fair hostesses to bear this bur- 
den. Evidently they did, for only by heroic measures- 
fairs and other social functions— was enough raised to 
meet it. 

The Rockford Register reports the event in the 
journalistic style of 1883: 

"This morning (Thursday, October 4) the 
streets began to assume a very dudeish ap- 
pearance. Slickly attired young men, tagged 
labelled and sealed 'college boys 1 with plu& 
hats down under the nose and fly canes made 
themselves numerous on the streets and took 
in the sights afforded by the city." 

Including the baseball players there were sixteen 
from Knox. They did not look as if they could do much 
upon the diamond, the account goes on the say, but ap- 
pearances might be deceptive. They looked like "soft- 
handed college students." 

The banquet, despite the rain was a triumph. The 
gay group rode to Holland's in "chartered omnibuses", 
and laughed out of the windows at the drizzling drops." 
Happy were the "female persusasion" with their gallant 
escorts, escorts of all kinds, "tonnily togged students" 
and those who were "pigeon-toed." On the whole, however, 
they were "good-looking and we 11 -behaved." 

For two hours the young people enjoyed social talk 
in the parlors, and at the fashionable hour of ten, they 


sat down to "tables tastily spread with white table 
linen and a glittering array of good things. Great heaps 
of tropical fruits, palatable dishes garnished with green 
sprigs, fancy figures in ice cream, beauteous results of 
the pastry cook's art, and high standards bearing pyra- 
mids of fruits, candies, nuts and tissue caps done up in 
a fancy shape." 

The Seminary did nothing by halves, as the menu 
shows: escalloped oysters, chicken mayonnaise, shrimp 
a la Tartare, lobster a la Amerique, sandwiches, cold 
ham, chicken, and buffalo tongue, five kinds of cake, 
six of fruit, wine jelly, ice cream, biscuit glace, 
pineapple ice, nuts, raisins, candy, coffee, and choco- 
late. One wonders that the deficit was only $125. 

One hundred were present. The guests were greeted 
by Miss West, president of the Oratorical Society, and 
the toastmaster was from Knox. After the banquet came 
the toasts, --toasts to the Seminary, to the contestants, 
to the various colleges. Among the cleverest was Mr. 
Sisson's, of Knox, to the base-ball team of his alma 

"May their diamonds never be wanting, may 
they never meet a base man; may their work ever 
be in the right field; their Knox bring them 
good luck and their game of life end in a tie." 

The gay affair did not end until one in the morn- 
ing. The reporter's comment on the behavior of the 
girls assures us that the evening was entirely pleasant 
and successful: they "appeared to be doing their pret- 
tiest and improving each shining hour."(l) 

The next evening, (another drizzling one) though 
highly important as the reason for this gathering must 
have been an anti-climax, it seems. The contest took 
place in the Opera House. There was music by Dedrick- 
son's Orchestra (which appears to have supplanted the 
Rockford Band, so popular in the early days) and a 
male quartet. Prayer was offered by the Rev. J. K. 
Fowler; and J. E. Browning, of Knox, presided. The 
colleges competing were Illinois College, Lincoln 
University, Knox College, The University of Chicago, 
Champaign College, Wesleyan, Monmouth, and Rockford, 
whose representative, Miss Anna Baume, 1885, was the 
only girl. She had been slightly ill, and was not 
looking her best. (One does not wonder when one con- 
siders the dissipation of the previous evening.) 
"Attired in a becomingly arranged white satin dress, 

(1) Rockford Register , Oct. 5, 1883. 


red satin waist and a bit of lace about the throat, 
she .nade a favorable, not to say heart -crushing ap- 
pearance, and certainly proved that she was fully as 
accomplished as fair."(l) Her speech, To What End? , 
had won a prize of $25 at an open meeting at the 
Seminary in May, 1883.(2) There was profound si- 
lence during her "telling delivery." "The reveren- 
tial almost fearful manner in which the doubting lips 
wailed out the ! Wherefore?, Wheref ore?, f was excep- 
tionally good; her carriage on the stage was easy 
and graceful, and her gestures quite perfect." But 
the judges awarded her only second prize. Knox car- 
ried away the first. (5) 

For the next year or so the society seems to have 
been in a flourishing condition. Meetings were held in 
chapel at four o 1 clock on alternate Thursdays, The pro- 
grams included orations and essays. (4) It would seem 
that the organization went to pieces when the sopho- 
mores withdrew in April, 1884, though it is said that 
the meeting was a success in spite of this fact. (5) 

Short-lived as the activity was, it had its 
merits. It not only stimulated an interest in public 
speaking, bul3it also brought the Seminary into contact 
with other institutions in the state. It is not to be 
supposed that clear and logical, or rapid thinking 
were developed, as in the debate. The speeches were 
prepared and were, for the most part, stilted and stereo- 
typed. The exercise, however, seems to have been a 
great advance over the old Pierian essay and oration. 

During this time there were two other organizations 
which should be mentioned. The fact that even the pre- 
paratory girls had a club, shows the tendency toward 
the organization of student activities as being es- 
pecially strong. The Crescent Club came into being in 
1883. It was in the nature of a literary society, and 
held its meetings alternate Friday evenings. It was 
active for two years. (6) 

The Glee Club which had sung from time to time 
during the preceding years, (it seems never to have had 
a prolonged existence at any period), was re-organized 
in the spring of 1884, and sang at the Easter services 
at the close of the winter term, again at Sunday de- 

(1) Rockfo rd Re gister, Oct. 6, 1883. 

(2) T5I3Z 

(3) Ibid, Oct. 6, 1882. 

(4) Ibid, Nov. 23, 1883. 

(5) Ibid, Apr. 17, 1884. 
(6( Ibid, Nov. 23, 1883. 


votions,(l) and at the Oratoricals, April 10.(2) Ex- 
cept for brief intervals of inactivity, it has been an 
important part of the college life since. Today its 
aim is that of the best college glee clubs, to produce 
only the best choral music. 

Another college custom universal today is the ob- 
servance of the day of prayer for colleges. We find 
the first mention of its observance in the Seminary, 
January 29, 1876. Nearly all the pastors of evangelical 
churches in the city were there to participate. (3) 

Simple, and somewhat tedious as it may seem to us 
today, student life in the early days had its merits. 
The Seminary girls did not live in an age of elaborate 
pleasures, nor in an age when speed was the byword. 
Their carriage rides, gymnasium parties, Minnie R. 
Alogy rites, chapel entertainments, et cetera, seem to 
the modern college girl unexciting, --quaint, one of 
them expressed it. It was a life, however, in which 
good fellowship, and loyalty, and friendship played a 
large part. 



Rockford Register , Apr. 17, 1884. 
Rockford Daily Gazette , Apr. 17, 1884. 
Rockford Register , Feb. 4, 1876. 


LCopy of Deed of Site 

2. Charter 

3 .Amendments to Charter, 1857 

4 ♦Constitution 

5. Certificate of Change of Name from 

Rockford Female Seminary to Rockford Seminary 
6. Certificate of Change of Name from Rockford 

Seminary to Rockford College 


Copy of Deed of Site of 
Rockford Female Seminary 

Buel G. Wheeler ) 

to ) 

Trustees of Rockford) 

Female Seminary ) 

This indenture made this twenty 
third day of October in the year of our Lord one 
thousand eight hundred and fifty Between Buel, G. 
Wheeler and Harriet L. Wheeler his wife of the Town of 
Rockford County of Winnebago and State of Illinois of 
the first part and the Trustees of the Rockford Female 
Seminary of the Town County and State aforesaid, of 
the Second part Witnesseth that the said party of the 
first part for and in consideration of the sum of five 
hundred and fifty dollars to them in hand paid the re- 
ceipt of which is hereby acknowledged have granted 
bargained sold conveyed and confirmed and do hereby 
grant bargain sell convey and confirm unto the said 
party of the second part and to their successors in 
Office forever all those tracts or parcels of land sit- 
uate and being in the Town of Rockford County of Win- 
nebago and State of Illinois and known and described 
as follows to wit; South Park Lots No, eight and nine, 
and the west one and three fourths acres of south Park 
Lots No. ten all of said lots being on the east side 
of Rock River in said Town of Rockford, Together with 
all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging 
or in any wise appertaining, To have and to hold the 
above described premises unto the said party of the 
second part and to their successors forever and the 
said party of the first part for themselves and their 
heirs executors and administrators does covenant and 
agree to and with the said party of the second part their 
successors and assigns that they are well seized of the 
premises above conveyed as of a good and indefeasible 
inheritance in the law in fee simple and that the said 
premises are clear of all incumbrances whatsoever. 
And the said party of the first part the aforesaid 
premises unto the said party of the second part and their 
successors against the claim or claims of all and every 
person whomsoever do and will warrant and forever de- 
fend by these presents. In Witness whereof the said 
parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands 
and seals on the day and year first above written. 
Executed in presence of 

C, H, Spafford Buel G. Wheeler (Seal) 

Harriet L. Wheeler (Seal) 

Acknowledged by C. H. Spafford, Clerk of the Circuit Court 
the 22nd day of October A. D. 1850 


An act to incorporate the Rockford 
Female Seminary (1) 

Sec. !• Be it enacted by the People of the State of 
Illinois represented in the General Assembly, that from 
and after the passage of this act, A. Kent, D. Clary, S. 
Peet, P. Bascom, C. Waterbury, S. D. Stephens, A. L. 
Chapin, R. M. Pearson, G. W. Hickcox, A. Raymond, C. M. 
Goodsel, E. H. Potter, L. G. Fisher, W. Talcott, Chas. S. 
Hemstead, Saml, Hinman and their successors be and they 
are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate to be 
styled the board of "Trustees of the Rockford Female 
Seminary," and by that name to remain in perpetual suc- 
cession with full powers to sue and be sued, plead and be 
impleaded, to acquire, hold and convey property real and 
personal, to have and use a common seal, to alter and 
renew the same at their pleasure, and shall be in law 
capable of holding by purchase, gift, grant, devise, be- 
quest, or otherwise, and of selling or leasing any estate, 
real or personal, to make and alter from tire to time 
such by-laws as they may deem necessary for the good 
government and success of said institution, officers and 
servants. Provided such by-lavs are not inconsistent with 
the constitution and lavs of the United Spates and of this 
State, also to have power to confer on those whom they may 
deem worthy all such honors and degrees as are usually con- 
ferred in similar institutions. 

Sec, 2, That the said institution shall be located 
in the Town of Rockford and shall be erected with accommo- 
dations sufficiently extensive to afford instruction in 
the liberal arts and sciences adapted to the highest or- 
der of female education. 

Sec. 3, That the board of Trustees shell have power 
to appoint a President, Vice-President and Treasurer and 
such agents as they may deem necessary, and shall fill all 
vacancies that, may occur in their own board, by resig- 
nation, death or neglect for more than one year to attend 
to the duties of the trust, also to appoint such officers, 
professors and teachers as the instruction and government 
of the institution shall require, and prescribe their 
duties and to remove any of them for sufficient reasons, 
also to prescribe and direct the course of studies to be 
pursued in the institution, and its departments. 

(1) The charter is copied into the records of the Board of 
Trustees, that volume in which the minutes of the - meetings 
to found the Seminary and Beloit College are recorded. The 
entry i s not dated. The originial charter given to the 
Seminary in 1847 was lost some time ago. iss Emma Enoch 
tells me that it was sent to Washington with an application 
for permission to use alcohol in the chemistry laboratory, 
and was never returned. Repeated efforts to find i t were 
made, not only at the time but for several years afterwards, 


An act to incorporate the Rockford 
Female Seminary 
( continued) 

Sec. 4. That the board of Trustees of said Female 
Seminary shall consist of sixteen members with power to 
increase their number to twenty-four, any seven of whom 
shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of busi- 
ness. Said board of Trustees shall hold their first 
annual meeting in the Town of Rockford, on the first Mon- 
day of June in the year eighteen hundred and forty seven, 
and afterwards they shall meet on their own adjournment, 
but in case of emergency, the President with the concur- 
rence of two Trustees may call a special meeting, or any 
five members may call such meeting by giving notice to 
each member at least ten days before the time of said 

Sec. 5. The Board of Trustees shall faithfully ap- 
ply all the funds by them collected or received accord- 
ing to their best judgement in erecting suitable buildings, 
supporting the necessary officers, instructors, and ser- 
vants, in procuring books and apparatus necessary to 
insure the success of said Seminary. Provided neverthe- 
less that in case any donation or bequest shall be made 
for particular purposes which accord with the designs of 
the Institution, and the corporation shall receive and ac- 
cept the same. Any donation or bequest thus made shall 
be applied in conformity to the conditions or designs ex- 
pressed by the donor. 

Sec. 6. That the Treasurer of the Institution shall 
always and all other agents when required, before entering 
upon the duties of their appointment, give bonds for the 
security of the corporation upon such conditions and in 
such penal sum, and with such securities as the board of 
Trustees shall approve, and that all process against the 
Corporation shall be by summons and the service of the 
same shall be by leaving an attested copy thereof with 
the Treasurer of the Institution at least thirty days 
before the return thereof. 

Newton Cloud, Speaker of the House of 

Representatives . 
Josepn B. Wells, Speaker of the Senate. 

Approved Feb. 25, 1847 
Aug. C. French. 

The college has certified copies of this document and of 
the certificates of change of name from Rockford Female 
Seminary to Rockford Seminary, and from Rockford Seminary 
to Rockford College. 


An act to incorporate the Rockford 
Female Seminary 


State of Illinois 


I, WILLIAM H. HIKRICHSEN, Secretary of the State of 
Illinois, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true 
copy of An Act entitled An Act to incorporate the Rock- 
ford Female Seminary, Approved, February 25th, 1847, 
the original of which is now on file in this office. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereto set my 
hand and affix the Great Seal of State, 
at the City of Springfield, this 25th 
day of November, A.D. 1893, 

Seal of the State W. H. Hinrichsen, 

of Illinois Secretary of State. 

Aug. 6th, 1818 


An act to amend an act entitled An Act to incor- 
porate the Rockford Female Seminary (1) 

Sec. 1, Be it enacted by the people of the State of 
Illinois represented in the General Assembly, that the 
board of trustees of the Rockford Female Seminary (a body 
corporate and politic) may, and they are hereby author- 
ized to borrow such sum or sums of money as may be neces- 
sary, upon such terms, for such time, and at such rates of 
interest not exceeding ten per cent per annum as they may 
find necessary to the wants of said Seminary, or desirable 
and useful for said Seminary to borrow to carry into ef- 
fect the object of the same, 


Sec. 2, The said beard of trustees are hereby author* 
ized to issue such personal securities, by way of promis- 
sory notes, bills of exchange, bonds of obligations in 
evidence of such loans; or of any present or future in- 
debtedness of the said corporation as they may find reces- 
sary in that behalf; and to secure the same by way of 
mortgage or mortgages, trust deed or trust deeds upon any 
of the lands of real estate or interest in lands or real 
estate of said corporation, as they may judge proper and 
as they may find necessary or proper in that behalf, 

Saml. Holmes, Speaker of the House of Rep. 
John Wood, Speaker of the Senate. 

Approved Jan. 50, 1857 
Wm. H. Bissell. 

(1) This act is copied into the records of the Board of 
Trustees, that volume in which the minutes of the meetings 
to found Beloit College and the Seminary are recorded. 
The entry is not dated. The amendments were accepted by 
the Board July 9, 1857, according to the records. 



State of Illinois 

SS Office of the SECRETARY OF 


I, WILLIAM H. HINRICHSEN, Secretary of State of the 
State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the foregoing 
is a true copy of An Act to amend an Act, entitled An Act 
to incorporate the Rockford Female Seminary. Approved, 
January 30th, 1857, the original of which is now on file 
in this office. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereto set my 
hand to affix the Great Seal of 
State, at the City of Springfield, 
this 25th day of November 
A. D. 1893, 

W. H. Hinrichsen, 
Secretary of State 


of the State 
6th, 1818. 




Article 1. 

This institution shall he known by the name of 
"The Rockford Female Seminary", 

Article 2. Obj ect . 

The object of the institution i s to unite the 
sympathies and efforts of the friends of christian educa- 
tion especially in the Presbyterian and Congregational 
connections of Wisconsin and Northornllllir.ois, in the work 
of providing an enlarged literary, scientific and christian 
education for young ladies. 

Article 3. Of the Board of Trust . 

Section 1. The supervision of the institution shall 
be vested in a Board of Trustees representing 
equitably the two sections of country and the 

o christian denominations united, in the enter- 
prise. The Board shall consist of sixteen mem- 
bers with power to increase their number to 
twenty -four . 

Section 2. Any seven members present at any meeting 
regularly convened shal 1 be a quorum for the 
transaction of business except a change in the 
constitution or the removal of permanent members 
of the faculty vh ich shall require an affirma- 
tive vote of a majority of the Trustees provided 
that new members of the Board shall be elected 
only at an annual meet: ng. 

Section 3. The Officers of the Board shall be a 

President, a Vice-president, a Secret ry and a 
Treasurer annually elected by a ballot "Those 
duties shall be prescribed by the by-la- _ s and 
an Executive Committee whose duties shall be 
prescribed by the constitution. 

Section 4. The Board shall have power to raise, hold, 
manage and disburse the funds of the Seminary at 
their discretion; to fill all vacancies in their 
own Board, to appoint such officers, instructors 

(1) opted by the Board July K , 1857, thirteen i -embers 

voting. Records of the Board of Trustees, July 10, 1857. 


and. agents as the interests of the Seminary 
may require: to prescribe their duties and to 
remove "any of them for sufficient reasons; to 
regulate the terms, vacations, and. course of 
study and instruction in the Seminary; to make 
and alter by-laws, and in general to adopt such 
measures not inconsistent with the constitution 
or act of incorporation a s in their judgement 
will promote the interests of the Seminary, 

Section 5. The Board shall annually elect by ballot 
from their own number ar Executive Committee 
nf not less than three --'hose - q uty it shall he 
to exercise a general supervision over the af- 
fairs of the Seminary, and to take measures for 
the advancement of its interests during the re- 
cess of the Board, They shall have power to 
transact all business except the appointment or 
removal of permanent officers or incumbering or 
alienating site of the institution. A majority 
of the Executive Committee shall constitute a 

iiorum for the transaction of business and they 
shall appoint a chairman and secretary and keep 
a record of their proceedings and report the 
same to the Board at their annual meeting. 

Section 6, The Board shall meet annually on the day 
of the anniversary of the Seminary, and at such 
other times as may be designated by their own ad- 
journment, or by the President with the concur- 
rence of two trustees, or by any five members 
upon notice given to each member of the Board at 
least ten days before the time of such meeting. 

Article 4, Of the Faculty. 

Section 1, The instruction, internal government and 
discipline of the Seminary shall be under the 
charge of a faculty consisting of the Principal 
and teachers of the four departments of instruc- 
tion — together with such other teachers as may 
at any time be fully employed in the institution 
of the Seminary, 



Section 2. The instruction of the Seminary shall be 
distributed into the following four departments, 
each of v/hich shall be in charge of a permanent 
instructor with such assistance as may be re- 
quired, viz., 1. Mental and Moral Philosophy; 
2. Mathematics and Natural Science; 3. History 
and English Literature; 4. Languages. 

Article 5, Of amendments to Constitution . 

This Constitution may be changed by vow of a ma- 
jority of all the members of the Board, provided that no 
such change shall be made except at an annual meeting, and 
after notice of such proposed change shall have been given 
either at a previous meeting or in writing to each member 
at least ten days before the time of the annual meeting. (1) 

By-Laws (2) 

Chapter I. Duties of the Officers of the Board . 

Section 1. It shall be the duty of the President and 
in his absence of the vice-president to preside at all 
meetings of the Board: to affix his name to all the di- 
plomas, obligations, contracts or other instruments is- 
sued by the Seminary, and perform such other duties as u- 
sually devolve on the President of a Corporate body. 

Section 2. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to 
keep a true record of all meetings of the Board; to affix 
his name and the seal of the Seminary to all the public pa- 
pers of the institution; to issue the call for all regular 
meetings of the Board, and to read at each annual meeting 
the proceedings of the meeting previous. 

(1) Adopted July 10, 1857. Records of the Board of Trus- 
tees, July 10, 1857. 

(2) The committee v/hich drew up the by-laws consisted of 
Prof. Joseph Emerson, Rev. H. M. Goodwin, Miss A. P. 
Sill, and Miss Mary A. White. According to the re- 
cords of the Board of Trustees, they were appointed 
<July 11, 1856. The by-laws were accepted by the Board 
and referred to a committee consisting of Rev. H. M. 
Goodwin, Rev. Joseph Emerson, T. D. Robertson, and 
the faculty on July 10, 1857. 



Section 3, -It shall be the duty of the Treasurer 
to keep an accurate account of the debts incurred and of 
all dues, credits, and other property of the institution, 
together with the current receipts and expenditures of 
each year, and report the same to the Board or to the Ex- 
ecutive Commit te whenever called for. He shall have power 
to take all measures necessary for collecting debts, con- 
veying property, investing funds subject to the advice and 
control of the Executive Committee, He shall have a gener- 
al over-sight and care of all the property of the Seminary, 
and shall give security in such sum as the Trustees shall 
appoint for the faithful discharge of his duties. 

Chapter II. Duties of the Faculty , 

Section 1. It shall be the duty of the faculty faith- 
fully to instruct the pupils in the different departments 
of Science and Literature committed to them severally by 
the Trustees, 

Section 2, The faculty are expected to exercise a 
thorough and parental supervision of the habits and deport- 
ment of the pupils, to inculcate lessons of morality and 
piety, and discipline example and moral influence, to stim- 
ulate them to the best and highest development of mind and 
character, and in general they may adopt such rules for 
the government and discipline of the pupils in accordance 
with the laws of the Seminary as the good of the pupils and 
the best interests of the institution may require. 

Section 3, The faculty shall hold stated meetings to 
consult together for the good of the Seminary, at which 
the Principal shall preside, and in her absence the sen- 
ior teacher present. No decision of the faculty shall be 
deemed valid unless made by vote and accorded. 

Section 4. The faculty shall present to the Trustees 
an annual report in writing of the general state of the 
Seminary, and also make such suggestions concerning all 
matters pertaining to the general interests of the Sem- 
inary as may appear to them suitable. 

Section 5. The faculty shall cause to be kept suit- 
able books in which shall be registered the name and age 
of each pupil with the name and residence of the parent 
or guardian, also the time of her entering and leaving 
the Seminary, her failures in attendance upon Seminary 
exercises and such censures as she may incur. They shall 
also keep a record of the scholarship of each pupil. 



Section 6. It shall be the duty of the faculty to 
communicate with the parents or guardian of the several 
pupils whenever cases arise which in their judgment call 
for such communication. 

Chapter III. Of the admission and dismission 

of pupils . 

Section 1. No person shall be admitted to the re- 
gular collegiate course under fifteen years of age; nor 
to an advance standing without a proportionate increase 
of age. 

Section 2. Candidates for admission to the Seminary 
shall present satisfactory testimonials of good moral 
character, and candidates for the collegiate course shall 
sustain an approved examination before one or more of the 
faculty in the studies pursued in the academical depart- 

Section 3. Persons accepted on examination shall be 
considered as on probation for six weeks. If the deport- 
ment of a pupil during this period is unsatisfactory the 
faculty may extend her time of probation, or terminate 
her connection with the Seminary at their discretion. 

Chapter IV. Of the Courses of Instruction . 

Section I. The course of instuction in the Sem- 
inary shall be distributed into three departments, em- 

1. A preparatory or academic course embracing 
two years of study and thorough train- 
ing in the elementary branches. 

2. A collegiate course extending for the pre- 
sent through three years of study in the 
classical and higher branches usually em- 
braced in a collegiate education for young 

3. A Normal or English course (Unclassified) 
designed for those who are unable to pursue 
the regular collegiate course; for those too 
who wish to qualify themselves as teachers of 
grammar schools. The studies in this depart- 
ment are for the most part optional, and re- 
cited in connection with those of the re- 
gular classes. 



Pupils belonging to this department on leav- 
ing the institution may receive testimonials 
according to their advancement, and amount 
of study pursued. 

Section 2. The course of instruction in the Seminary 
shall embrt ce the following branches of study, viz: The 
English and Latin languages, Orthography, Geography (An- 
cient and Modern), Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and 
Physiology, Chemistry, Botany, Geology and Astronomy, His- 
tory, Logic, Rhetoric, Criticism, Intellectual and Moral 
Philosophy, Natural Theology and the Evidences of Chris- 
tianity, Instruction may also^be given in the Greek, 
French and German languages; in Music, drawing and paint- 
ing, and other branches of learning as the interests of 
the Seminary and the good of the pupil may require • 

Section 3. The selection of text books, mode of in- 
struction, arrangement of the course of study, and . the 
appointment of all the exercises of the course shall be 
under the direction of the faculty, subject to the gener- 
al supervision of the Trustees. 

Section 4* At the close of the second term there 
shall be a public examination of each of the classes in all 
the studies of the two terms. At the close of the third 
term there shall be a public examination of all the classes 
in the studies of the summer term. 

Section 5, A committee of competent persons, not less 
than five, shall be annually appointed by the Trustees or 
Executive Committee to attend the examination at the close 
of the year, and report its character and results. If any 
person appointed shall fail of being present, the faculty 
may appoint someone to supply the vacancy. 

Chapter V, Of the Deportment of Pupils . 

Section 1, The behavior of the students in the various 
relations which they sustain as pupils, class and roommates, 
members of the family and instruction at large, is to be 
regulated by the plain rules of propriety, morality and 
christian courtesy. 

Section 2. As it is the general design of the Semi- 
nary to secure the highest degree of mental and moral im- 
provement by means of study and appropriate discipline, 
whatever in the deportment or habits of a pupil tends to 
defeat this design shall be deemed properly within the con- 
trol of the officers of the institution. 


Section 5 . Any damage done to the furniture of 
rooms or table, or to any part of the building of the in- 
stitution, is to be reported without delay, and charged 
in the bills of the pupil causing such damage. 

Section 4 * All transgressions of the laws and 
omissions of duty, including all culpable failures in at- 
tendance upon exercises, shall be carefully noted and re- 
gistered by the faculty, and in general such course of 
discipline pursued as the faculty may judge proper. 

Section 5. No pupil shall be permitted to con- 
tract debts without a written permission from her parent 
or guardian. 


Certificate of Change of Name of the corporation or- 
ganized under the act of the Legislature of Illinois, ap- 
proved February 25, 1847, and entitled, "An Act to in- 
corporate the Rockford Female Seminary" from Board of 
"Trustees of the Rockford Female Seminary", to "Rockford 
Seminary , * T 

Winnebago County 


I, Joseph Emerson, President of the Board of Trustees 
of the Rockford Female Seminary, do hereby certify that 
at the regular annual meeting of the Trustees fore-said 
corporation, (for the year 1887) this day held at its 
school building in the City of Rockford, Illinois, the 
question of changing the name of the corporation from 
Board of "Trustees of the Rockford Female Seminary" to that 
of "Rockford Seminary" was duly submitted by a vote of 
the Trustees, a quorum being present and that thereupon 
more than a majority of all the Trustees of the corporation 
voted in favor of such change of naree, and then and there 
the name "Rockford Seminary" was adopted as the name of 
the corporation. 

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my 
name, and caused to be affixed the seal of the corporation. 

Done at Rockford, Illinois, this 21st day of June 
A.D. 1887. 

Joseph Emerson, President 

(Seal) Seal of corporation 

Attest. Frank P. Woodbury, Sec'y. 


: SS 
Winnebago County : 

Joseph Emerson being first duly sworn upon oath 
says that he is President of the Board of Trustees of the 
Rockford Female Seminary, and that the foregoing certifi- 
cate by him subscribed is true in substance and in fact. 

Joseph Emerson 

Subscribed and sworn to before me, at Rockford, this 
twenty-first day of June A.D. 1887. 

Julia C. Lathrop, Notary Public 


Filed June 24, 1887 
Henry D. Dement, 
Secretary of State 


State of Illinois 


Office of the SECRETARY 

I, WILLIAM H. HINRICHSEN, Secretary of State of the 
State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the foregoing 
is a true copy of the certificate of change of name from 
Board of Trustees of the Rockford Female Seminary to 
Rockford Seminary. Piled June 24, 1887, the original of 
which is now on file in this office. 

Seal of the 

State of 
Aug. 6th, 1818 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereto set my 
hand and affix the Great Seal of 
State, at the city of Springfield, 
this 6th day of December A.D. 1893. 

W. H. Hinrichsen, 

Secretary of State 


of change of name of corporation 
from Rockford Seminary to Rockford College 


: SS 
Winnebago County : 

I ^Goodyear A. Sanf ord, Vice-President and acting 
President of the Board of Trustees of the Rockford Seminary, 
do hereby certify that "Rockford Seminary" is the present 
name of the corporation organized and existing under the 
act of the Legislature of Illinois, approved February 24, 
1847, and entitled, "An act to incorporate the Rockford 
Female Seminary , and I further certify that at the 
regular annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of said 
Corporation, held at its school building in the City of 
Rockford, Illinois, June 14, 1892, the question of chang- 
ing the name of said Corporation from Rockford Seminary to 
that of Rockford College was duly submitted to a vote of 
the Trustees of the corporation more than a quorum being 
present, and that thereupon it was unanimously voted by 
the Trustees present that the name of the corporation be 
changed from "Rockford Seminary" to "Rockford College. ,f 

In Testimony Whereof , I have hereunto subscribed my 
name and caused to be affixed the seal of the corporation. 
Done at Rockford, Illinois, this fifteenth day of June, 

Goodyear A. Sanf ord— 

Attest: William A. Talcott— Secretary 
and Seal of Corporation (Seal) 


: SS 
Winnebago County : 

Goodyear A. Sanf ord of said County and State, being 
first duly sworn, upon oath sayst that he was at the date 
of the foregoing instrument and still is the Vice-President, 
and acting President of the Board of Trustees of said 
corporation, and that the foregoing certificate of change 
of name by him subscribed is true in substance and in fact. 

Goodyear A. Sanf ord 

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 17th day of 
September, 1892. 

George L. Woodruff, Notary 
(Seal) Public 

Filed Sept. 22, 1892 
I. N. Pearson, 

Secretary of State. 


of change of name of corporation 
from Rockford Seminary to Rockford College 



State of Illinois 


I, WILLIAM H. HINRICHSEN, Secretary of State of the 
State of Illinois, do hereby certify that the foregoing 
is a true copy of the certificate of change of name from 
Rockford Seminary to Rockford College. Piled, Sept. 22, 
1892, the original of which is now on file in this office 

my hand and affix the Great Seal 
of State, at the city of Spring- 
field, this 6th day of December 
A.D. 1892. 

W. H. Hinrichsen, 
Seal of the State of Secretary of State. 

Aug. 6th, 1818. 


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to 1885. These progaams are taken direotly from the 
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Photostatic Copy of Course of Instruction, 1 8^4-1 855 





First Series 

Second Series 

First Series 

Second Series 

First Series 

Second Series 

Junior Year 


Constitution of U.S. 
History of England 


Ancient Geography 
History of Greece 
History of Rome 

Junior Middle Year 


Latin Brpse Composition 

Algebra, (U. Ed.) 



Latin Prose Composition 
Natural Philosophy 
Natural History 

Senior Middle Year 

History of France 


French or German 


Student's Hume 



Ware's Smellie 

Youman ' s 


Geometry and Trigonometry Davies' Legendre 
Senior Year 

First Series 

Second Series 

Mental Philosophy Haven 

Moral Philosophy Haven 

English Literature Botta 
French or German 

Evidences of Christianity Hopkins 

Analogy Butler 

Geology Wells 
French or German 


First Series 

Second Series 


English Language 

Natural History 

Conic Sections 

French, German, or Greek* 



M e nt al Phi 1 o s o phy 

History of Civillzati' Guizot 

Astronomy (College Edition) 

Church History 

French or German 

*0r McCosh on the Divine Government. 

Penmanship, Composition, Rehearsals, the Critical Reading 
of the English Poets, Vocal Music, and Bible His to it, are 
pursued throughout the Course. The Bible is made em- 
phatically the Text Book, from which are drawn daily 
lessons of Moral and Religious instruction. 


Reading, Orthography, Penmanship, Mental Arithmetic, 
Written Arithmetic, Modern Geography, English Grammar 
and Analysis, History of the United States, Punctuation 
in Quackenbos* Rhetoric, Physical Geography, Elementary 

First Series 

Junior Year 
Review of Modern and Physical Geography 
with reference to Teaching 
ap Drawing 
Review of Arithmetic 

Second Series 

Review of English Grammar and Analysis 

Of Erg - 3h Language 
Review of History of United States 
Constitution of United States and 


First Series 

Second Series 

First Series 

Senior Year 
Elements of Mental and Moral 

Anatomy and Physiology 

Anatomy and Physiology continued 



Optional Course 



Second Series Zoology or Botany continued 

Natural Philosophy 
Hi gher Ma themati c s 

Special attention will be given throughout the Course 
to the Theory and Practice of Teaching, and the School 
Laws of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, A thorough drill 
in Penmanship and Elocution will also he had, together 
with Composition, Rehearsals, Critical reading of the 
Poets, Vocal Music and Biblical Instruction. The text 
books in the branches pursued are the same as those in the 
Collegiate Course, with "the exception of Mental and 
Moral Philosophy. Those completing this course of In- 
struction will receive a Diploma to that effect, having 
the signatures of the Officers of the Institution. 

Commercial Book-keeping 

A regular Course of Instruction in Commercial 
Book-keeping is also given to all who desire, without 
extra charge . 


This is a regular Course of Lectures upon Chemistry, 
Natural Philosophy and the Natural Sciences designed to 
be given, also occasional Lectur s upon other interesting 


This Institution furnishes superior facilities for 
a thorough Musical Education. This department is under 
the charge of Prof. Daniel N. Hood, an experienced teacher, 
whose continued success evinced his eminent qualifi- 
cations for the position. Special attention is given to 
such as are desirous of preparing themselves to become 
teachers, the necessary qualifications, being well 
trained hands, a knowledge of the formation of the hand, 
and the correct method of developing the fingers; and 
such theoretical knowledge as shall enable the pupil to 
dissect properly the study of the piece used, that she 
may thoroughly understand the work to be accomplished. 
The absence of either of these requisites seriously impairs 
the capability of a teacher. 

That there is a lack of properl ; qualified Teachers in 
the Northwest, there can be no question. The design of 
the Musical Course i s to prepare those desiring to teach, 
in such a manner that they may be able to labor intel- 
ligently, and consequently efficiently. 

The course of instruction will include Organ, Piano 
and Guitar Music, the Cultivation of the Voice, Thorough 
Bass, and Musical Composition. 



It is the airr, of the Institution, in making per- 
manent such a Department, to aid in forming a pure 
and elevated taste in regard to music, to give it its 
true place in the formation of character which can only 
be done by thorough instruction in its principle and 
practice. Music thus becomes a mental discipline, and is 
not only a source of pleasure, but a means of refinement 
and elevation. 

In the course of study will be used — 

For the Piano 
Richardson's New Method 

Velocite Studies, Etudes, &c, by Czerny 
Studies by Concone 

n * Moschelles 
w H Cramer 

With a judicious use of such pieces as are cal- 
culated to elevate the taste and to cultivate a good 

style in playing. 

For the Organ 
Rinks 1 & Schneider's Schools. 

For the Voice 
Bassini's Method and Concone f s Exercises. 

Musical Theory, Thorough Bass, and Composition 

Knorr's Guide 

Marx's Theory of Music 

Weber's * * * 

The Department is furnished with Steinway & Son's 
and other celebrated Pianos, and one of Mason & Hamlin's 
largest Organ Harmoniums, with two Manuals, twelve stops, 
and Pedal Bass, giving every requisite for acquiring the 
touch and use of the Organ for church service. 

Advanced Pupils can become regular members of the 
Musical Course of the Institution, without pursuing the 
Collegiate or Normal studies, but they will be required to 
attend to all the general exercises of the School, 
Rhetorical and Biblical, and to conform to its rules 
and regulations. All such are requested, if possible, to 
bring their own pianos. 

Those who complete the entire Course of Instruction, 
and are qualified as Teachers of Music, will receive a 
Diploma to that effect, signed by the Officers of the 



Excellent advantages are also afforded in this 
Institution for Drawing and Landscape Painting in Oil 
Colors, end designing or sketching from Nature. This 
Department is under the care of George J. Robertson, an 
Artist of known reputation. Pew perhaps realize the 
benefit of this Art, in cultivating the habit of the observa< 
tion, in refining the taste, and increasing the love for 
the beautiful in Nature. 

Special attention will be given to those preparing to 
Teach, and Pupils may enter this Department as in Music, 
without pursuing the Collegiate and Normal studies, and 
will be subject to the same regulations. 



Junior Year 

LATIN — Latin Grammar and Reader, Latin Prose Composition 

(Harkness ). 
MATHEMATICS— Practical Arithmetic (Robinson )from percent- 
age ; Elementary Algebra (Robinson ) . 
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY— (Warren) --Grammatical Analysis of the 
English Language, Composition Exercises and. Elo- 
GERMAN andFRENCH-40ptional.) 
BIBLE HISTORY— Continued. 

Senior Year 

LATIN — Caesar and Latin Prose Composition. 

MATHEMATICS— Higher Arithmetic (Robinson) . 

HISTORY — General Outlines ; Zoology, (Tenney). American Lit- 
er^ ture,Kord Analysis. Composition Exercises and 

GERMAN ana FRENCH— (Optional ). 

First Year 
First Seties Second Series 

Latin, Virgil, Aeneid and Latin, Virgil, Eclogues and 

Eclogues. Georgics. 

Latin Prose Composition. Continued 

Natural Science — Physiology . (Wood) 

and Hygiene (Hut chins ) Natural Science — Botany 
with lectures. Mathematics --University 

Civil Government (Towns end ) Rhe'toric— Literature, 

Critical Reading oi' the 
poets .continued. 

Greek, French or German Continued 

Ancient History OLabberto^s 

Outlines ) 
Literature, Critical Reading — 

Selections from Goldsmith, 

Wordsworth and Tennyson (weekly ) 
Bible History--Genesis, Exodus, and Continued 
the Gospels. 

Second Year 
Latin, Cicero, Orarions and Mathematics — Geometry 

Essays. (Elective ), Trigonometry 

(Olney), Natural Phil- 
Latin Prose Composition. osopny. 
Mathematics- -Geometry (Loomis ) Greek.French or German 




Second. Year 

Natural History (Elec- 
tive ) . 

Greek, French or German 

History of English Language — 
Critical Reading of 
selections from Shake- 
speare, Macauiay -i other 
standard writers. 

T 'odern History (Labberton* s 
Outlines) , 

Literature, Critical Read- 
ing of Shakespeare, etc. 

Bible History — Acts of the 
Apostles with reference 
to Ecclesiastical Historv. 

Bible Hi story- -Joshua, Judges 
and Monarchy to the death 
of Solomon. 

Junior Year 

First Series 

Latin, Cicero, DeAmicitia . Latin 
Prose. ~i 

Natural Science — Chemistry 
(Eliot & Storer's) with' 

and Calculus, Olney 
(Elective) . 

Greek, French or German 
(Elective) . 

Literature--English Lit- 
erature , Anglo Saxon, 
1 (Elective ) , Griti cal 
Reading of selections from 
Milton, Young, Spen- 
ser, and other Poets. 

Second Series 

Horace, Latin Prose Com- 

Chemical Analysis, Miner- 
alogy, Astronomy or 
Botany(Elective) . 


Rhetoric, Literature, con- 

Bible History — Monarchy from 
the death of Solomon to 
the dispersion of the 
Jews, Romans or Hebrews. 




Senior Year 

Latin, Tacitus (Elective ) . 

French, German or Greek 
(Elective) . 

Mental Phi lo so phy (Haven ) , 
Evidences of Christ- 
ianity (Hopkins) • 

Literature — Ancient Lit- 
erature, with Critical 
Readings of English 
Dramatists, and Trans- 
lations, from the Clas- 

Bible Historv — Jewish His- 
tory, Prophecy of the Old 
Testament, Book of Reve- 
lation, References to 
Church History, 

Ex e " c 1 s e s i n Engl i sh C om - 

position extend throughout 
the course. 

Moral Phi losophy (Haven ) . 

Analogy (Butler) . 

Reading from the Poets, con- 
tinued, Comparative Lit- 
erature of Modern Europe 



Greek, French and German Courses of Study 

Greek Course 

First Year 

Greek Lessons (Crosby) 
Greek Grammar (Crosby) 
Anaba s i s— Ken ophon 
Exercises in Composition 

Third Year 

Greek Grammar (Crosby) 


Greek Drama 

Exercises in Composition 

Second Year 


Memorabilia— Xenophon 
Iliad— Homer 

Fourth Year 



First Year 

French Course 

Second Year 

Grammar (Otto) 

C or inn e( Stael) 


Dictations, Conversations 

Third Year 


La France Litteraire,Herrig 

and Bungay 

Fourth Year 

Grammaire Francaise de Boniface, Continued 
Modern Authors 9 Classic Authors, 

Formation de la Langue Francaise, Conversation, Essays, etc. 
Histoire de la Litterature 

German Course 

First Year 

Grammar- - ( Ott o ) , 
Ma rchen- -Anders on , 
William Tell— Schiller, 
Dictation, Conversation, etc. 

Third Year 

Pralitscher Kursus der 

Deutschen Sprache— Heidner, 
Wallenstein's Tod— Schiller, 
Iphigenie auf Tauris— Goethe, 
Egmont - -Goethe , 

Second Year 


Nathan der Weise— Lessing, 
Die Piccolomini — Schiller, 
Poems— Goethe, Uhlan d, etc. 
Translations from English 
into German. 

Fourth Year 

Faust— Goethe, 

History of German Literature, 



First Year 

Latin--Grammar and Reader, Latin Prose Composition(Harkness) ♦ 
Mathematics-- Arithmetic (oiney) . 

Hi story--Hi story of the United States (Barnes) ; Physical Geog- 
raphy (Warren) ; Grammatical Analysis of the English 
Language and Composition Exercises. 

Bible Study- -Patriarchal Period, Genesis, Outline of Christ »s 


Second Year 
Latin--Caesar, Virgil (Aeneic) and Latin Prose Composition. 

Greek, French, or German (Optional). 

thematics — Algebra (01ney ! s Complete) . 

History — General Outlines of History; Composition Exercises. 

Bible Study — Israelites in Bondage, Deliverance and Wandering 

(Exodms and Numbers), Miracle s of the Gospels. 

Third Year 
Latin--Virgil, Bucolics, Georgics and Cicero 1 s Orations, 
Latin Prose Composition. 

Greek, French, or German ( Opti o nal ) . 

Mathematics--Plane Geometry (Olney) four books. 

Natural Science — Physiology and Hygiene with Lectures, 

Zoology(Tenney) . 

History and Literature — Civil Government (Town send) # 

Rhetoric and A: erica.n Literature — Composition Exercises. 

Bible Study — Entrance and Conquest of Canaan, Deuteronom:/- 

and Joshua, James 1 Epistle. 


Freshman Year 
rst Semester Second Semester 

Latin — Cicero's Orations, Latin Livy (Optional). 



First Semester 
Prose Composition. 

Greek, French, or German 

Mathematics — Plane Geometry, 
Solid G-eometry ( Optional ) 

Hisiory and Literature — 
Ancient History, Critical 
Reading—Selections from 
Goldsmith , Wordsworth , and 

Bible Study--(Rule of the 
Judges ) Judges ,Ruth, 
First Samuel, Acts. 

Natural Science --Botany 

Second Semester 


University Algebra, (01- 
ney) (Third part) 

Continued - 


Sophomore Year 

First Semester 

Second Semester 

Latin — Cicero . De Senectute . 
Latin Prose. 

Greek, French, or G-erman. 

Mathematics — Natural 


Plane Trigonometry and 
and Calculus, 

History and Literature — 

Modern History; 
Critical Reading from 

Shakespeare ,Macaulay 

and other standard 


Bible Study-- (Kingdom), First 
and Second Samuel, Kings 
and Chronicles, Parables 
of Our Lord. 

Junior Year 

First Semester 

Greek, French, or German 

Mathematics — Astronomy, 

Analytical G-eometry ( Optional ) 



Second Semester 

Higher Astronomy (Elec- 



Junior Year (continued) 

First Semester 

Natural Science — Chemistry. 

History and Literature—Rhetoric 
(Bain), Critical Reading from 
Milton , Young , Spenser , etc • 

Bible Study— (Captivity )Ezra, 
Nehemiah, Leviticus and 

Senior Year 

First Semester 

Mental Philosophy, Logic, Evi- 
dences of Christianity. 

Latin--Tacitus (Optional ) 

French or German, 

Literature- -Ancient Litera- 
ture, Critical Reading of 
Dramatists and Translations 
from the Classics, 

Bible History and Prophecy 
of the Old Testament, 

Second Semester 

Mineralogy , Chemical 
Analysis, or Higher Bo- 
tany (Elective) 

Mediaeval History or 
Anglo -Saxon 


Second Semester 
Moral Philosophy, 



Natural Science- 
Geology . 

Exercises in composition throughout the course. 


Freshman Year 

First Semester 

Latin or French (Optional) 

Mathematics — Plane Geometry, 
Solid Geometry and Calculus. 

German ( Opti onal ) 

History and Literature — 
Ancient History 

Critical Reading — Goldsmith, 
Wordsworth and Tennyson, 

Second Semester 

University Algebra (Third 

German or French 



Bible Study— Rule of the 

Judges, Judges, Ruth, First 
Samuel, Acts, 

Natural Science—Botany 
Sophomore Year 
Mathematics- -Natural Philosophy Plane Trigonometry, Spher- 
ical Trigonometry, Cal- 
French or German Fr or German 

Natural Science --Chemistry 

Modern History, Critical Read- 
ing—Shakespeare , 
Macaulay, etc. 

Chemistry (Optional) 


Bible — Kingdoms — First and 

Second Samuel, Kings and 

Chronicles, Parables of 

Our Lord. 

Junior Year 
Mathematics— Astronomy, Analytical Higher Astronomy (Optional') 

Geometry (Optional). 

French or German, 

Natural Science — Higher Physiol- 
ogy (Optional) 

History and Literature— Rhetoric 
Critical Reading 

Bible Study, (Captivity)Ezra, Ne- 
hemiah, Lev:i ticus and Hebrev/s. 

French or German 

Mineralogy, Higher 
Botany ( Opti onal ) 

Mediaeval History or 




Senior Year 

First Semester 

Mental Philosophy --Logic, Evidences 
of Christianity. 

German or French 

Literature--Ancient Literature, 
Critical Reading of Dramatists 
and Translations from the 

Bible Study — History and Pro- 
phecy of the Old Testament 
and Book of Revelations 

Second Semester 

1 oral Philosophy 
An al o gy ( Bu 1 1 er ) 


Natural Science-- 


Exercises in Composition throughout 
the year 


Freshman Year 

Cicero's Orations(Optional) 

Mathematics — Plane Geometry 
and Solid(Optional) 

History and Literature — 
Ancient History 

Critical Readings --Goldsmith, 
Wordsworth, and Tennyson. 

Bible Study-- (Rule of Judges) 
J udge s , Ru th , I Samue 1 , Acts. 

Latin and French (Optional) 

University Algebra, Third 
Part (Elective) 




Natural Science--Botany 


Sophomore Year 

Mathemat i c s — Natural Phi lo sophy 

History and Literature--Modern 

Critical Reading of Shakespeare, 

Macaulay and other standard 


Plane and S pheri.QgO. Trigono- 
metry (Optional ) and Calculus 

History of English Litera- 


Sophomore Year 
(continued 1 


Fir st Semester 

German or French, 

Bible Study-- (Kingdoms) 
I and II Samuel, Kings 
and Chronicles, Para- 
bles of Our Lord. 

Sedond Semester 

Junior Year 

Natural Sciences — 
Chemistry: Higher Phil- 
osophy (Optional ). 

Mathematics --Astronomy. 

Chemical Analysis, Min- 
eralogy, and Higher 

History and Literature — 

Critical Reading — Milton, 
Young , Spens er , etc • 

Mediaeval History, An- 
glo -Saxon , His tory 
of Art by Lectures, 


French or German. 

Bible, Captivity. Ezra, 
Nehemiah, Leviticus ,and Hebrews. 


Senior Year 

Mental Philosophy — Haven. Evi- 
dences of Christianity ( Hop- 

Moral Phi losphy, But- 
lers Analogy. 

French or German. 


History and Literature — 

Ancient Literature, 
Critical Reading tff the Daam- 

atists and Translations from 

the Classics. 

Comparative Liter- 
ature of Modern Eu- 
rope by Lectures. 




First Semester 

Senior Year 
(continued ) 

Bible Study — Jewish History and 
Prophecy of the Old Testament, 
with the Book of Revelations. 

Second Semester 

Natural Science- 


Exerciese in English Composition throughout the Course, 


1 . Organization of the Alumnae as a Body 

a. Constitution of Forest Hill Alumnae Association 
(Copied from original document in college safe.) 

b .Application for Charter 

(Copied from alumnae records,) 

c. Charter 

(Copied from alumnae records.) 

d. Constitution, June 22, 1 88 1 . 

(Copied from alumnae records.) 

e.Constitution(revised)not datedjafter 1890. 
(Copied from alumnae records.) 

2. Speeches at Alumnae Banquets 

a. Poem by Mr .Horace Hobart,Beloit, i860 

(Delivered June 186?) 
b. Toast by Miss i«ary Ashmun,June 1 874 

( -Copied from original document in college safe.) 



Article 1. 
Article 2. 

Article 3. 

Article 4. 

Article 5. 

Article 6. 

Article 7. 

Article 8. 

Article 9. 

Article 10. 

The name of this organization shall be, 
The Forest Hill Alumnae Association. 

The object of this organization shall be 
to strengthen the bond of sympathy be- 
tween its members and keep fresh in their 
hearts their affection for their Alma 
Mater . 

The Officers of this Association shall be 
a President, Vice-President, Secretary 
and Treasurer, and a Committee on member- 

The duty of the President shall be to pre- 
side at all regular meetings of the 

It shall be the duty of the Vice-President 
to take the place of the President in case 
of the absence of the latter. 

The Officers of Secretary and Treasurer 
shall be combined in one person whose duty 
it shall be to take care of the money be- 
longing to the Association and keep an 
accurate account of receipts and expendi- 
tures of the same and do all other writing 
necessary to the Association. 



members of this Association 
be the graduates and present Faculty 
of Rockford Female Seminary". 

The Honorary members of this Association 
shall be the husbands of the Alumnae , for- 
mer or present teachers in Rockford Female 
Seminary, (not members of Faculty) , who 
shall be constituted by a vote of the 
majority of the active members present. 

Acting members shall be required to pay an 
annual fee of in order to defray the 
necessary expenses of the Association. 

The meeting shall be the evening 
each year. 



Article 11. The place of meeting shall be the of 

Forest Hill Seminary. 

All this is respectfully submitted by the com- 
mittee chosen for drafting a Constitution. 

Mary Ashmun (1864) 

P. S. - 

Article 12. The constitution shall be adopted and all 

amendments made by a vote of three- 
fourths of the acting members present. 



State of Illinois 
Town of Rockford 
County of Winnebago 

We, the undersigned, being citizens of the 
United States, desiring to form an association not for 
pecuniary profit, pursuant to an act of the General 
Assembly of the State of Illinois, entitled "An Act Con- 
cerning Corporations," approved April 18th, 1872, do 
hereby certify that the following is a true statement of 
the name or title by which such association shall be 
known in law. The particular business and object for 
which it is formed, the number of its managers, and the 
names of the same selected for the first year of its 
existence, viz: Name, The Alumnae Association of 
Rockford Seminary. Particular business and object, to 
strengthen the bond of sympathy between its members and 
keep fresh in their hearts an affectionate interest in 
their Alma Mater . 

Number of Managers - Ten: Names of managers 
selected for the first year. Mrs. Kate Kerr, Mrs. 
Martha Fitch, Mrs. Fanny Sabin, Mrs. Delilah Buckley, 
Mrs. Susie Campbell, Miss Marie Thompson, Miss Emma 
Spafford, Mrs. Eva Townsend Clark, Miss C. A. Potter and 
Mrs. Mary Hinman. 

(Mary E. B. Norton 
Signed by three private members - (Lucy D. Lyman 

(S. Adeline Lathrop 

State of Illinois 
Town of Rockford 
County of Winnebago 

I, H. N. Baker, Notary Public in and for Rockford, 
in said County in the State aforesaid, do hereby certify 
that Mary E. B. Norton, Lucy D. Lyman and S. Adeline 
Lathrop, personally known to me as the same persons whose 
names are subscribed to the foregoing certificate, appear- 
ed before me in person^and acknowledged that they signed 
said certificate in writing for the uses and purposes 
therein set forth. 

Witness my hand and seal this 29th day of 
December, 1873. 

Signed - H. N. Baker, Notary Public. 



Department of State 
George H. Harlow, Secretary of State 

To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting: 

Whereas, a certificate, duly signed and 
acknowledged, having been filed in the office of the 
Secretary of State, on the 31st day of December, A. P . 
1873 for the organization of 


under and in accordance with the provisions of "An Act 
Concerning Corporations," approved April 18, 1872, and 
in force July 1, 1872, a copy of which certificate is 
hereto attached. 

Now, therefore, I, George H. Harlow, Secretary 
of State, of the State of Illinois, by virtue of the 
powers and duties rested in me by law, do hereby certify 
that the said 


is a legally organized corporation under the laws of 
this state. 

In testimony whereof, I hereto set my hand and 
cause to be affixed the Great Seal of State. 

Done at the City of Springfield, this 31st day 
of December, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight 
hundred and seventy-three and of the Independence of the 
United States the ninety-eighth. 

George H. Harlow, 

Secretary of State. 


of the 


Whereas, we, the undersigned, have voluntarily, 
formed ourselves into an association, and, as in all or- 
ganizations it has been found to be the dictate of wis- 
dom, to adopt certain principles for the government of 
the members, and for an understanding of their respective 
duties and privileges; therefore, do we cheerfully sub- 
scribe to the following CONSTITUTION : 

Article 1 

Article 2 

The name of this organization shall be 

"The Alumnae 
Seminary. M 

Association of Rockford 

The object of the association shall be to 
strengthen the bond of sympathy between 
its members, and keep fresh in their 
hearts an affectionate interest in their 
Alma Mater. 

Article 3. 

Its members shall be the graduates of the 
Institution with their teachers, and such 
others as may be constituted members by a 
vote of the Association. 

Article 4. 

Article 5. 

Article 6. 

Article 7. 

The officers shall consist of a President, 
Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary, 
Recording Secretary and Treasurer, and a 
Committee on members, which officers shall 
be chosen annually, by a vote of two-thirds 
of the members present. 

The President shall preside at its meetings 
and in her absence the Vice-President shall 
take her place. 

The Corresponding Secretary shall take 
charge of the correspondence of the 

The Officers of Recording Secretary and 


Treasurer shall be combined in one person, 
whose duty it shall be to take care of the 
money belonging to the Association, to 
keep an account of its receipts and ex- 
penses, and to make a record of all its 
business transactions. 

Article 8. The Committee on members shall present 

such persons for membership as are proper- 
ly included in the design of the organiza- 

Article 9. The Officers of the Association shall con- 
stitute a Committee of arrangements to 
decide upon the time and place of the 
annual meeting and to transact other neces- 
sary business. 

Article 10. All who become active members, shall sign 

the Constitution and pay an annual fee of 
twenty-five cents, to be increased at the 
discretion of the association, and any per- 
son may become an Honorary Member, at any 
regular meeting, by a vote of two-thirds 
of the members present, but all such mem- 
bers have no vote. 

Article 11. It shall be the duty of all active members 

to attend its annual meetings, or instead 
to write a letter to the association, 
addressed to the corresponding secretary, 
to labor to promote the interest of the 
organization, and especially that of 
Rockford Seminary. 

Article 12. The President shall have power to call 

extra meetings, whenever in her opinion, 
and with the advice of the other officers, 
it shall seem necessary. 

Article 13. This Constitution may be amended at any 

annual meeting, by a vote of two-thirds of 
the members present. 

Amendment to There shall be one president and seven 
Article 4. Vice-Presidents, one of whom shall reside 

in Rockford, a Corresponding Secretary, a 
Recording Secretary, and Treasurer and a 
Committee of Membership. 


Amendment to 
Article 9. 

Amendment to 
Article 3, 

The Officers of the Association shall 
constitute a Board of ten managers to de- 
cide upon the time and place of the annual 
meeting, and to transact other necessary 
business ♦ 

Section 1. All graduates of the Colleg- 
iate Course of Rockford Seminary shall be 
considered members of the Association. 

Section 2. All other persons who have pre- 
vious to this date, June 22, f 81, been 
made members by vote of the Association, 
shall be continued in this membership. 



of the 

Article 1st. 

Article 2nd. 

Article 3d. 




(Name and Object) - Section 1. The name 
of this organization shall be the 
Alumnae Association of Rockford College. 

Section 2. The object of the Associa- 
tion shall be to strengthen the bond of 
sympathy between its members, and keep 
fresh in their hearts an affectionate 
interest in their Alma Mater. 

(Membership) - Section 1. The member- 
ship of the Association shall consist of 
the graduates of the institution, and all 
who were members of the Association pre- 
vious to June 22d, 1881. 

Section 2. All active members shall sign 
the constitution, 

(Officers, election and duties) - 
Section 1. The officers shall consist of 
a President, three Vice-Presidents, one 
of whom shall be from Rockford, Corres- 
ponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, 
Treasurer and Auditor. 

Section 2, These officers shall be 
chosen at the annual meeting by vote of 
two-thirds of the members present. 

Section 3. The duties of the President 
shall be to preside at all meetings of 
the Association, and to call special meet- 
ings when so desired by any three active 
members of the Association. 

Section 4. The 
form the duties 

Vice-President shall per- 
of the President in her 

Section 5. The Corresponding Secretary 
shall take charge of all the correspond- 
ence of the Association. 





Article 4th. 

Article 5th. 

Section 6. The duty of the Recording 
Secretary shall be to keep a correct 
record of all the business transactions 
of the meetings of the Association, and 
perform other duties usual to this 

Section 7. The Treasurer shall receive 
all monies of the Association, shall 
keep an account of receipts and expend- 
itures, and submit her report at the 
annual meeting. 

Section 8. The duty of the Auditor 
shall be to audit the accounts of the 

(Time of Meeting) - The regular meeting 
of the Association shall be held 
annually in connection with the Com- 
mencement exercises. 

(Amendments) - This constitution may be 
amended at any annual meeting, by vote 
of two-thirds of the active members 
present; notice of proposed change hav- 
ing been given at the previous annual 


1. There shall be an executive committee, consisting of 
five members who with the officers as ex officio members, 
shall make all necessary arrangements for the annual 

2. An annual fee of twenty-five cents shall be required 
of all members. 

3. A quorum to transact business shall consist of ten 
active members. 

J. Amanda Moore 

Lucy D. Jones Herri ck 

M. Marion Walker 

Abbie 0. Mead 

S. Adeline Potter Lathrop 

Fanny Jones Talcott 

May Brown Buckbee 

Mrs. E. Spare Evans 

Eliza Rose Cleveland 

Myrtle Atkins 
Sarah F. Blaisdell 
Mamie L. Wiggin 
Gertrude Felker 
Sarah N. Anderson 
C. L. Robinson 
Mary E. Preston 
Marie Thompson Perry 
Charlotte E. Wood 


Elizabeth Stanbri&ge Thiers 

Carrie Cleveland Gardner 

Grace D. Welty 

Mary E. Lowry 

Nellie M. Rose 

Camilla W. Fitch 

Louise Frisbie 

Eva Helm 

Marie P. Upson 

Frances Peck Burrows 

Mary P. Blount 

Mary I. Beattie 

Genevieve L. Welty 

Rose Marie Gyles 

Ama S. Taylor 

Emma L. Bushnell 

Mabel Walker Herrick f 86 

Eva Townsend Clark f 68 

Bertha R. Early 

Mabel Thomas 

E. Katherine Foote 

Alice May Dob son 

Caroline Potter Brazee 

Susanne Orton 

Carrie B. Blake 

Martha W. Nye '88 

Mary Roxy Wilkins '88 

Mary F, Howe '90 



Along a dusty, weary way 

A traveller plods one summer day. 

The sun is sinking toward the west, 

Hinting of night and home and rest; 

The path is winding, rough and steep, 

Tall woods encompass shadows deep, 

And the fair fields, late left behind, 

He fears he ne'er again shall find; 

When, gaining a commanding crest, 

The traveller turns, with swelling breast, 

And lo! adown the distant slope. 

A sight that kindles joy and hope! 

For, pictured through the quiet air, 

He sees his native village fair, 

And home, so sadly left, appears 

More lovely through the starting tears. 

Then, resting from the sultry heat, 

His thoughts revert in fancies sweet; 

He treads the wonted paths once more, 

And lives again the days of yore. 

So we, climbing life f s toilsome way, 

Stop and look backward here today. 

The misty curtain of the past 

Uprolls, and youth returns at last: 

We tread the school-day paths again, 

We see the forms, familiar then, 

We talk of youthful hopes and joys, 

And once again are girls and boys. 

Ages ago, when we were young 

And roamed the classic shades among, 

We from Beloit oft came down 

To visit you of Rookford town. 

As Freshmen gay o$ Sophs so bold, 

As Juniors spruce ot Seniors bold, 

Though suns did beat or storms did rage 

We made our frequent pilgrimage. 

w Qua drupe dan te put rem sonitu quatit ungula campum." 

So sang the poet of old 

Chanting the praise of his hero; 

(1) This poem was delivered to the alumnae of Rockford 
Female Seminary in June, 1869, and was printed in a 
local paper. The clipping was sent to 'me by Mrr . 
Amelia Hollister Chapman. It contained besides the 
poem a letter of thanks signed by Miss Sill, the 
teachers, and the alumnae, and a comment by the poet 
to the effect that the poem was written "hastily— 
largely in a single evening — and was not intended 
for the press." 


So roared the college boys bold, 

With the mercury down to zero. 
Steeds from the livery stalls 

Whose ribs plead mutely for corn, 
Vehicles lately the roost 

Of poultry now rendered forlorn, — 
Carried by these in state 

The class gallantly whirls 
Southward over the prairie, 

Bound to visit the girls. 
Oh, how the wind used to sweep 

Over that eighteen-mile path, 
Making our delicate forms 

The merciless sport of his wrath; 
And how we whistled and laughed 

As we urged our steeds along, 
And startled the wondering rustics 

With snatches of old Latin song.. 
How the frost nipped with glee 

At the tips of our innocent noses, 
Making them look, so to speak, 

Like beautiful, blushing roses. 
But stout were our hearts, and the glow 

That the thought of your glances fed, 
Kept out the cold from the breast 

Though it sometimes got to the head. 
So we thundered up to the door 

Of the Holland House, over the river, 
And feasted and beautified there 

And thawed out the wintry- shiver. 
And hither to Paradise came, 

And its doors opened wide to receive, 
And the girls met the boys with a smile, 

And they chattered you may v/ell believe. 
Again in the summer we came 

When the July sun beat hot, 
For it was Anniversary time- 
Could it ever be forgot? 
Then the white-robed maidens sat 

In the chapel, amid a throng, 
And their voices charmed our ears 

With essay, and poem and song, 
Till our hearts leaped out of our vests, 

As they looked so fair and good, 
And we longed here forever to dwell 

Like happy Professor Hood. 
And so the years rolled away, 

Till our classes, yonder and here, 
Finished their courses together 

And parted sometimes, with a tear, 
And we broke away from our moorings 

1 Neath Beloit and Rockford's lee, 
And, spreading our sails to the wind, 

Drifted out to the unknown sea. 


I wonder if the girls today- 
Resemble Rockford girls of old; 
Or if they frown on college boys, 

And, like ice Bream, are sweet, but cold? 
The times are changed of late, I know, 

And woman sigheth for her TT sphere; " 
But she can still coquette, I think, 

And heave a sigh and drop a tear. 
Those good old girls — I pardon crave; 

The girls are never, never old -- 
Haa no anxiety to vote 

As all the girls have now I'm told; 
And many of them have become 

The willing slaves of "tyrant man," 
And, daily, in their quiet homes, 

They wash the Jlfcte and scour the pan, 
And yet they were not weak of mind, 

If old reports can be believed, 
For once a well-filled butter jar 

Into the river's depths they heaved. 
Though it was powerful f thev .more strong, 

Thus vindicated woman's right 
To rule the kitchen and the roost, 

Or else if she is able--fight. 
Those girls of old, I'm sure, were dressed 

According to the latest style, 
And yet their garments, donned today 

Would make a modern school-girl smile. 
The bonnets which they used to wear 

Would quite eclipse your bit of lace. 
Their curls, I'm told, were all their own, 

And, oft, the color on the face'. 
They the long-forgotten arts 

Of how to bake and how to mend, 
And, honestly, I don't believe 

They ever had the Grecian bend. 

I wonder if the moonlight streams 

As brightly through the lovely grove, 
As yetirs ago, when girls ana boys 

Within its shadow used to rove; 
I wonder if the stars look down 

Upon the quiet earth as soft 
As when we sat and talked and sang 

Within the cupola aloft; 
If still pianos by the score, 

Jangle tumultuous through the ha^ls, 
And still peremptory, the bell 

To hourly recitation calls? 
Still on the peaceful air of night 

Do serenaderspour their strains, 
While white robed angels dimly seen, 

With soft applause reward their pains? 
songs of old'. still in our ears 

Your well-remembered music floats, 
And manly forms and J: aces fair 

Come from the distance on your notes. 


Ev'n now a flood of memories sweet 

Comes, till the eyes grow strangely dim 

When, in the quiet eve is heard 
This sacred and familiar hymn— 

"Silently the shades of evening 
Gather round my lonely door; 
Silently they bring before me 
Paces I shall see no more." 

Where are those sweet-voiced singers now? 

Though scattered far, still swells the song; 
Do its soft notes ev f n strike their ears 

Who chaunt amid the seraph throng? 
Ah! well I know, that time and space 

Can forge no fetters for the soul; 
That o f er the waiting spirit oft 

The surges of the past will roll, 
And well I know, when death is nigh, 

And faint the sounds of air I hear, 
Those strains, so full of faith and hope, 

Will echo on my failing ear. 
And who shall doubt that angel choirs, 

Hymning throughout the eternal year, 
Take up, sometimes, the sacred strains 

That cheered their struggling moments here? 

We're having tonight a reunion 

With those who used to come down 
From their bachelor dens in Beloit 

To seek wives in Rockford town. 
At least I know some of them did it, 

And they courted successfully, too; 
For I'm told that full ten pairs were married* 

Young ladies, there's comfort to you! 
If this is the kind of "reunion" 

Miss Sill has intended tonight, 
I am glad I was invited 

These rambling verses to write-* - 
For it gives me occasion to mention 

To the boys who lead bachelor lives 
That, judging from observation, 

Her young ladies make excellent wives. 
I know practice is better than precept, 

And that here I'm sadly behind; 
But all the girls were so enchanting, 

That I couldn't make up my mind, 
A diligence truly surprising 

The record of 1 Rockford. shows, 
For among the two hundred alumnae 

Full a hundred are wives, I suppose. 


The Beloit boys have been less successful, 
And, indeed, I have one class in view, 

Whose years out of college are nine, 
But whose Benedicts only two. 

I don ! t know what was the reason 

That such excellent fellows as we 
Never seemed to create an impression 

On the ladies we came to see; 
But it may be they wildly expected 

More excellent bargains to find; 
Poor things I I rather imagine 

That they afterwards changed their minds! 

Well, what have become of the hundreds 
That yonder and here came to learn! 
What work did they choose for their mission, 

Which way did their footsteps turn? 
What joys have their pathway illumed? 

What good have they scattered around? 
What heights of success have they mounted? 

What trials and toils have they found? 
If tonight we could join in a meeting 

With those hundreds known and unknown, 
What mem'ries would throng in that greeting, 

Of seasons forever flown! 
Come out of the distance and darkness, 

friends, whom we long to see! 
Come again to this spot familiar, 

To the days that used to be! 
I see them troop together 

Prom the corners of the land, 
Prom the islands of the ocean, 

Prom the tropics * golden strand. 
Yet these are not the faces 

That our memory looked to find, 
For we miss the youth and freshness 
That the years have left behind. 
These men so bronzed and bearded, 

Are not our college boys! 
These matrons, mature and sober, 

Have forgotten their school-girl joys! 
time! why have your fingers 

Furrowed these brows with care? 
years! why have you shadowed 

These faces that once were so fair? 
Turn backward your dial a moment, 

And again bring those seasons so bright 
When earth was a play-ground only, 

And our hearts were young and light. 


Ere we knew of the toil and trouble, 

Of the sorrow and strife, 
Of the bitter disappointments 

That must come into every life. 
Bring back! 0, bring back! the loved ones 

Who slumber beneath the sod, 
Who folded their hands so meekly 

And gave up their souls to God, 
See! from the quiet village church-yards, 

Prom the bloody fields of war, 
They troop forth in slow procession, 

They gather from afar, 
And their mild eyes look upon us, 

And their cold hands clasp in ours 
As they charge us to be faithful 

And treasure the passing hours. 
For life, they say, is fleeting, 

And our worthiest works appear, 
Only too small and feeble 

When the final hour is near. 
Yet they urge no useless sighing. 

They forbid not cheerful mirth. 
For the light heart best endure th 

The needful ills of earth. 
Only, they say, be earnest, 

Whatever your work may bej 
Labor for your God and your fellows 

And the harvest you shall see. 
Yet but few, and we thankfully own it, 

Of our numbers have passed away. 
And most are cheerfully doing 

Their varied work today. 
Some are beloved pastors, 

And some are pastors' wives; 
Some to the art of healing 

Have given away their lives; 
Some teach the young idea 

In its feeble attempts to shoot, 
And some will assist you, with pleasure 

In getting into a suit. 
In the newspaper treadmill are others 

Tramping their wearisome round; 
Some wade in political puddles, 

Or in mercantile currents are found. 
Mid the roar of the mighty city 

Some struggle to succeed, 
And others across their broad acres, 

Scatter the harvest seed. 
Some are bachelors crusty 

And carry their families , under their hats; 
And a few of the girls are beginning 

To care only for tea and for cats. 
Some for years have been staid, married couples, 

And some have just learned to rejoice 


In the pleasure of waking at mid-night 

To the sound of a still small voice; 
Not a few dwell quiet and happy; 

Their native homesteads by; 
And some in the Orient answer 

The Macedonian cry, 
Still bearing the heat and the burden 

With praise and with prayer, 
And leading her willing pupils 

To the fields of knowlege fair. 
Here one whom we honor labors 

With a zeal that few can know, 
Where she took up her whole life-work 

Pull a score of years ago. 
Her work is a work for the ages, 

Her mission a mission of love. 
And many souls shall glitter 

In her diadem above. 
As the circles on the water 

Stretch out to the farther shore, 
So her influence still shall roll onward, 

V/hen her earthly toils are o'er. 
The faces of other teachers 

Look in Son our mem'ries tonight, 
And a host of happy meetings 

Come back with the pleasant sight. 
A few still here sway the scepter 

As they did ten years ago; 
But others have gone, and are teaching 

Their own little schools, you know. 

So, scattered the wide world over, 

We gather the bitter and sweet, 
And I know that on this side the river 

We can never hope to meet. 
But I read of a great reunion, 

Where the scattered dust shall arise 
Prom the earth's remotest corner, 

At the trumpet from the skies. 
And I hope that they who before us 

And with us have gathered here 
And the hosts who are yet to follow 

Through many a rolling year. 
May all at last assemble 

On the great Commencement Day, 
At the call of the Higher Teacher, 

Nevermore from His School to stray. 

Mr. Horace Hobart,(l) Beloit College 1860 

(1) Mr. Hobart married Miss Emma Hastings, a student at 
the Seminary in the 1860 f s. 


Rural, Wise. 
July 11, 1874. 

My dear Miss Potter: 

Enclosed you will please find the toast and 
the reply as nearly as possible in the words of the 

I did not preserve either in writing; so that 
I give them entirely from memory. I have an impression 
that the second "place" in the toast should be "put." 
I hope you are well and enjoying your rest after the 
severe labors of another school year. I am not remark- 
ably well and strong. 

Goodbye. With love, I am 

Yours very truly, 

Mary Ashmun. 



Jerusha Jane Jones J May she not only find 
her place; but may some 19th century Solomon be found 
to place her in it. 


Jerusha Jane Jones! Heaven help her! For 
nearly six thousand years she has been wandering discon- 
solately up and down with this pathetic appeal upon her 
lips — M If there is a realm where woman can walk uncriti- 
cised, may some Solomon arise to show her what and where 
it is; for I, Jerusha Jane Jones, would go to the ends of 
the earth to be able to rise up and sit down, to put on 
my hat and take it off, to ride and walk, to read and 
talk, without having it continually sounded in my ears, 
"You are out of your sphere," or "You are not fulfilling 
the high destiny for which you were created." But all 
the Solomons in all their wisdom and in all their glory 
have been unable to solve the problem satisfactorily; 
and so in the middle of this 19th century Jerusha Jane 
Jones has changed her tactics, and in a fit of despera- 
tion has ceased to call upon the Solomons at all, but 
with the cry "Make way for liberty," has rushed into 
the field of action. When loi the clowds of Solomons 
on the right hand and on the left have parted before 
her oncoming footsteps, and gallantly lifting their 
hats, have made a place for her in their very midst. To 
be sure, it was not without some struggle that they have 
seen her working quietly by the side of her brother 
physicians in the hospital and in the dissecting room, 
with scalpel and knife in hand. And some have groaned 
in very anguish of soul as they have seen her ascending 
the rostrum and have heard her speak of "Righteousness, 
temperance and judgment to come," while others more 
emotional have, like Isaac when he saw his coming wife 
approaching, "lifted up their voices and wept" as she 
has thrown aside the domestic needle and has wielded the 
sword of the spirit from the sacred desk. 

But the struggles are dying away, the groans 
are vanishing into thin air, and the^voice of weeping is 
changing into shouts of joy as it is acknowledged^ that 
she does these things as well as some men l And now what 
is there left to be desired? Surely any reasonable be- 
ing ought to be satisfied. Jerusha Jane is permitted to 
teach, to preach, to practice law and medicine, and to 
be at the head of business firms. What can she ask for 
more? But Jerusha Jane Jones is irrepressible, and, the 


Haman at the court of Ahasuerus, none of these things 
will pacify her as long as the Mordecai of the right of 
suffrage refuses to do homage. But inasmuch as the 
radius of her "sphere" has been constantly increasing 
in proportion as she has shown a capacity to fill a 
gradually enlarging space, let her not doubt but that 
the privilege of voting will soon be thrust into her 
outstretched hand. And this the question of the ages — 
"What is woman's sphere?" shall be satisfactorily an- 
swered by the reply. Her sphere is any sphere that she 
can show that she has a capacity to fill. 


1 .Report of Second Examination Period, Feb. , 1 8^0 
(Copied from Rockford Forum , Feb. 1 3. 185QJ 

2. Valedictory, S. Adeline Potter 

(Copied from original document in possession of col< 
lege. ) 

3. Letter of Company A, 33d Regiment Illinois Volun- 
teers to the Seminary girls, 1862 
(Copied from Rockford Register. Jan. 1 1 . 1862. ) 

4. Account of Examinations and Anniversary Exercises, 

(Copied from Rockford Register .July 14,1 864 • > 

5. Account of Entertainmet Given by Pierian Union, 

(Copied from Rockford Register . Feb. 8 . 1878 . ) 

6. Account of First Class Day Exercises, 1 878 
(Copied from Rockford Register , June 12,1 878 • ) 

7. Account of First Junior Exhibition 

(Copied from Rockford Register f Apr. 21 r 1 880. ) 



At the late examination of the Rockford Female 
Seminary, a committee whose names are subscribed to the 
following Report, officiated by request as an Examining 
Board. Their report as the chairman remarked upon read- 
ing it, is summed up in a few words to give a conven- 
ient form for publication. Remarks more at length were 
made respecting the examination, by individual members 
of the committee, all of which were highly complimentary 
both to teachers and pupils. The examination continued 
three days, concluding on Wednesday evening with one of 
the most chaste, lucid and forcible addresses upon the 
subject of Female Education, that it has ever been our 
pleasure to hear. The tone and character of the address 
would have done honor to the President of an older college 
in an older and richer community. We rejoice at the 
spirit which has been aroused through the agency of the 
indefatigable exertions of those who have the superin- 
tendence of the Seminary; and we believe that this exam- 
ination is the beginning of greater things for this 


The Board of Visitors, called to attend the 
Examination of the Rockford Female Seminary, held on the 
4th, 5th and 6th of February, 1850, takes pleasure in 
making the following report: 

The examination in the several departments of 
study was full and thorough. It was conducted by the 
teachers with marked ability, and was sustained by the 
pupils in a manner highly creditable to themselves, and 
gratifying to the Board. 

We remarked particularly the admirable order 
exhibited in every department of the Seminary, clearly 
indicating a superior system of discipline. 

In the course of the examination, it became 
very evident, from the ready and practical knowledge, 
evinced by the pupils, that they had not only been dili- 
gent but had performed an unusual amount of hard labor 
in study, under judicious and energetic training. 

We were especially gratified in observing 
Moral culture everywhere harmoniously blended with the 
Intellectual — a feature more noticeable, because, 
unhappily, so rare. 

Deeming extended remarks on the details of the 


examination unnecessary, we conclude our Report with 
hailing this Institution as an efficient auxiliary in 
the great cause of education, and by recommending it to 
public confidence and patronage. 

John 0. Downer 
A, Kent 

0. A. Huntington 
Jason Marsh 
Anson S. Miller 
S. G. Armour. 



Dream-land! All have visited that fairy realm, 
and have often walked within its borders. We have enter- 
ed it when weary, full of sorrow, full of tears, and have 
laved the soul in joy and beauty, till its youthful 
freshness was restored. Every step of silent progress 
opened new and brighter scenes. Perhaps 'twas first an 
airy palace that spell-bound us — then, this melting in 
the ether was replaced by something real — love's most 
holy centre — birth-place of our finest joys — the living 
home of each childhood and the mother whom it sheltered. 

Soon this too has vanished, and another curtain 
raised. This view is a winter landscape — stainless in 
its snowy splendor — radiant in the streaming sunlight 
with most brilliant, flashing diamonds — 'tis but frost- 
work, and it disappears. Quickly comes a summer Eden, 
seeming perfect as the one of old, but too closely follow- 
ing its model, it shrinks from us, and is gone when we 
seek to pluck its tempting fruit. 

All these pass in quick succession, for in 
Dream-land time is measured by swift moments, not by 
hours. Happy dream life! Would each waking scene as joy- 
ous as thou art! Though sometimes thy gayest moods seem 
quite forgotten and thou wear'st a sombre shade — then, 
we think, 'tis but a dream, that soon is past. Thus thou 
art ever changing — we behold thee in thy varying forms, 
and call thee a kaleidoscope — and in this thine archtype 
is Nature. What a chameleon robe she wears! See her in 
her ever changing lights and shades! Now, she is calm 
and peaceful — her sunny, cheerful face, wearing a loving 
smile — her voice soft and mellow with the hum of busy in- 
sects and the song of a thousand birds. Suddenly a deeper 
stillness reigns — the voice is hushed — the brow is dark- 
ened — Nature seems breathless-expiring — then there comes 
a slight murmuring sound like a last-drawn sigh. It 
rises and swells, and we listen, but in vain, for the 
cadence. Higher, and still higher, rises the strain, till 
it is a wail, a shriek, a blast, a tempest. Nature still 
lives and from the myriad eyes, pour floods of sorrow 
down, bathing the world in grief, and all the trees, and 
every leaf and tiny flower weeps tears of sympathy. But, 
see! — the storm-cloud passes now — smiles take the place 
of tears, tears that resting on the cheek are shining 
pearls in the clear sunlight. Earth, fresh, from its 
baptism, rejoices in its almost pristine purity. Thus 
the shadows ever chase the light away, and the light suc- 
ceeds again the twilight shades, for "no night so dark 
but hath its morn. 1 ' 


The seasons, too, proclaim how suitable are all 
things here, for winter's binding chains of ice and snow 
are loosened by the soft and genial touch of spring and 
summer's flower — wreaths are soon ripened into autumn 
fruits. Nor is it days, or months and years, alone, that 
mark the fickleness of Nature — the hours, the moments, 
tell upon her every feature. Aurora never wakes to find 
a single flower, or blade of grass, unaltered from its 
form and hue of "yester-night." 

Just so, with man, his name is mystery — one 
which the greatest of his fellows hath not solved; nay, 
even to himself, he is unknown, incomprehensible. A part 
of Nature's self, he imitates her closely in her general 
variations, nor is he less the changeful in the hidden 
working of his inner, real life. f Tis there the elements 
are found to which, if some untoward breeze, fresh from 
the distractions of the outer world, find access, they 
are soon commingled, and the flame thus found increases 
in its power, till the whole vision is agitated with con- 
suming passions; — but when the south wind blows, it 
quickly soothes these angry spirits, by its magic — "Peace 
be still" — and their possessor drives them back to their 
dark home, deep in his heart. Oh! that he would ever 
strive to cast them out; just as he would from his pres- 
ence fling the fiery serpent, that was winding its huge, 
deceitful coils, close round some object that he dearly 

Man is not, nor can he, from his very constitu- 
tion, be other than a changeful being. Each precious, 
golden moment as it drops into his hand, finds him not 
the same as when its predecessor was received; for that 
was either wasted, perhaps worse than wasted, or else well 
improved, and this is moulded, colored — by the form and 
hue which was on that impressed. The laws of mind re- 
quire a constant progress; the law of sight demands that 
progress should be upward, still, and onward, — "we must 
keep abreast of truth". If we violate the moral precepts, 
still advancement we must v know, but the path is backward, 
downward; not the noble climbing upward, which our destiny 
would justify. Man, the inexplicable mystery, chooses be- 
tween right and wrong, truth and error; makes this choice 
his watchword, leading motto and governing principle of 
life; though not always conscious of direct volition, for 
'tis often done by more neglect of truth — by wandering 
thoughtlessly, slowly, but too surely, from the path of 
rectitude. He whose course in life is guided by the polar 
stars of sight, ever pressing onward with that star in 
view — he can partly estimate his rapid progress, and the 
bearing every footstep hath — looking at some point of 
past experience, he can trace the white and silvered line 


that his barque of life hath left, winding 'mong the 
shoals and quicksands of time's broad, deceitful sea — 
he discerns its steadily increasing brightness, as it 

'Tis the blessed gift of memory that enables 
us to look upon the portion of our life that's gone, but 
'tis judgment, reason's province to apply that knowledge 
now, and in the future. The past, perhaps, was a bright 
vision of pleasures unalloyed; of constantly expanding 
intellect, of the development of sensibilities, pure, and 
refined — victorious conflicts for the right, of frequent 
triumphs over wrongs; the present wears a dark and 
threatening aspect, so stem that one would scarcely 
seek to lift the future's veil, but for the strong and 
earnest hope of a chance view beyond. Set in that future, 
and none can tell how far hence 'tis removed, therewith 
a reward sure and unfading for all who will attain the 
prize. He who thinketh, doth it now — today; but the 
recompense is then, when the strife is at an end , when the 
goal at last is reached, then he wears the crown eternal. 

Many of our friends assembled here today, who 
have been longer on the battlefields of life, with others, 
far away, saw and felt how much of needed wisdom and of 
fortitude — how much that's necessary to promote the high- 
est destiny of man, could be acquired, and best acquired 
by proper early culture. 

The man, the world has given his boasted sight 
an educational pre-eminence; but to woman, though her 
sphere of influence is not less broad, yea — even more ex- 
tended — it is deemed "less education is required, indeed, 
none at all, except as she may be more useful, or pleas- 
ing with some culture, than with any empty head, and un- 
formed manners." But those whom now we greet as friends , 
formed to this rule an exception, noble in its single- 
handed charity. They saw the daughters of the prairied 
West thirsting, thirsting for codling draughts from 
learning's spring, — then their hearts were moved with 
true compassion, and they soon unsealed this crystal 
fountain. We have quaffed the soul-invigorating cup as 
we took it dripping from the sparkling waters; — and often 
as we drank, we thanked the givers of the blessing; — but 
today our hearts are welling up anew with gratitude, and 
our souls are full, too full of thankfulness, to express 
the half we feel. Yet, their memory will be held most 
precious — numbered with the unforgotten treasures of the 
past. And we give thern now a cordial welcome to this 
spot, where they behold the fruits of their benevolence; 
not that we think their work is altogether finished for 
many yet see only from afar the water gleaming in the 


sunlight, hear but the faint echo of their fallings; and 
hearts and wealth once opened, labors of love will not 
soon cease. 

But in our search for wisdom we were not left 
to grope our way alone — guiding spirits walked before us 
and beside us — led us f mong the varying paths of science — 
aided in developing our mental powers — bade us cultivate 
the flowers of feeling — warned us of the guise temptation 
wore — pointed up to that far heaven we may hope to gain 
at last. 

The first ray of light that glimmered on our 
pathway was reflected from a star that has ever since 
shone with undimmed lustre. , ' Tis she — that star — who 
spoke to us the first grateful words of kind encourage- 
ment who gave her hand with proffered aid, removing 
obstacles to constant progress. 'Tis she who has ever 
gone before us, been our friend, our counsellor, and 
guide — she has opened stores of knowledge that before we 
knew not to exist — she has wakened in our souls those 
latent feelings, roused those unformed desires that im- 
pelled us to go forward in the search for hidden truths, 
when perhaps we should have fainted, fallen in the way 
by the weight of trials we met. Nor has she forgotten to 
inculcate moral precepts to show that 'tis the Bible 
brings to woman her so large a share of influence, of 
education; and she has ever striven to awaken in our 
hearts emotions of true gratitude to God — the Author of 
our lives. 

We know, that though sometimes "amid her lassi- 
tude of toil" she may have thought "'twas all in vain," 
the hour will come when "He, whose wisdom cannot err, 
shall give to her the recompense of toil, that was, and is, 
and is to come." 

Other choice spirits have from time to time gath- 
ered round her, and each "has opened wide the coffers of 
her intellect, and given to eager minds the gleamings of 
her earlier years." The pioneers — the first companions 
of our honored principal, were only two in number, "but 
we loved them so." One has long since left our sorrowing 
land for a bridal home, but relentless death, envying her 
happiness, hath named her widow — and later still, hath 
made her childless — all alone. Memory loves to linger 
round her joyous past — but her present, dark, and drear, 
bids us shed the tear of sympathy. The other departed 
for a time, but we have recently been gladdened by the 
presence and invaluable teachings. All who have succeeded, 
and those now with us, have won a share of love, of con- 
fidence, and of esteem, and we can leave them, one and all, 


with many heartfelt thanks for all we owe to them, with 
earnest wishes for their best, their highest happiness 
and welfare. 

Those who in after years pursue a course of 
study in this Institution, may be favored with a body of 
Instructors, greater in number, and of whom the world 
may know more, of whom the clarion voice of fame may have 
spoken in a louder tone than of the names whose memory 
we cherish, but never will they find a band of teachers 
more noble, zealous and self-sacrificing than we have 
known. Years have they spent of patient, uncomplaining 
toil, regretting only, that the soul so strong in pur- 
pose, possessed so frail a power to do its bidding, but 
their reward is sure — 'tis that which "comes unasked to 
those, who, being good, do good, and trust in God." 

And now, "alas, the hour of parting casts its 
shadow o'er our band!" Many sweet and tender friendships, 
many lasting loves, and true, have been wakened, have 
been strengthened through these years of study, years of 
joy and sorrow too. Every term hath brought new scholars, 
both from far and near — East and West and North and 
South have been linked together here — hands have clasped 
in gaining knowledge, hearts have joined in doing good — 
friends have met and smiled — and wept — and parted, some 
dear ones have wandered onward to their home above the 
skies, where they dwell with God, their Father, Christ, 
their Saviour, Elder Brother. Others now are well ful- 
filling life's great destiny — laboring with true benev- 
olence in the world's broad harvest-field. 

But the year that ends today, breathes a fuller, 
richer strain. Its commencement found us here, where the 
clouds which had so long and darkly lowered rolled away 
and the sunshine, whispered to our hearts, in tones of 
pride, and joy, and love, touching here a cloud of sad- 
ness, bringing tears to every eye; yet perchance, some 
notes of gladness mingle with the parting sigh. "As 
angel-winged, how quickly sped those hours so passing 
bright," each one leaving on its outspread pinion some 
rich offering to our minds; but, "like meteor joys, too 
bright, on earth to last, their treasured memories 
linger with the past" — for, e'er many days had flown, 
one who had read with us from wisdom's hallowed page, 
bade her sorrowing sisters all farewell, and now, we 
trust, is resting on the plains immortal, waiting, 
watching for our coming. Sisters, thought you not when 
standing round her grave, if you had lain there, how the 
shadows would have deepened, had you felt that when those 
last, sad parting words were spoken — you should die — to 


be forgot! Then let us keep her memory ever fresh within 
our hearts, that if her spirit hover o'er us, she may- 
know we strive to keep the links remaining, unsullied in 
this mortal strife, to join with her in heaven, forming 
there a perfect chain. With chastened hearts, and 
saddened spirits, we returned from her grave, tread more 
softly our accustomed haunts, where we missed her laugh- 
ing step and love-lit eye. 

Again the hours sped on — time wrought his 
changes as of old — the winter came — its first month 
passed, and brightly dawned the morning of the glad New 
Year. Scarce thirty suns had rose and set ere darkness 
settled down upon our school. It seemed Egyptian night— 
so black — so hopeless, cheerless, rayless was the gloom. 
Pestilence arrayed itself in one of its most hideous 
garbs and stole into our very midst, fastened itself on 
one by all much loved, and scattered our happy band, 
following all with its fearful shadow. Long did life 
seem hanging by a brittle thread, but the crisis came, 
it passed — and she was spared to us. God had heard those 
earnest prayers in her behalf and stayed the power of the 
destroyer. Gladly we hailed the hour of our return, and 
when we came, many tears of sorrow and of joy mingled 
with our greetings — the joy of grateful hearts. 

Soon the spring breathed fresh upon the earth- 
then summer came, and with her magic touch opened the 
buds of spring to a more perfect beauty; it had its sul- 
try days, dragging so wearily, and casting their shadows 
on the hearts that anticipated the coming of this day. 
And it has come, and so far gone, and now the hour is 
here, when we, the class of fifty-four, would give to 
those who shall succeed us, one friendly word of coun- 
sel, and kindly as 'tis spoken, so kindly we trust that 
it will be received. 

Many errors we've committed, many idle words 
have spoken, many idle thoughts indulged, many trifling 
deeds have done — moments priceless as precious pearls, 
we have wasted, — so we look back upon them now, deep 
regrets our hearts are filling, and we each would warn 
you, with a sister's earnestness, to be guarded, ever 
watchful, lest some kindred, fault should lure you, and 
by strong temptation you be overcome. Cherish a true 
friendship for each other — let no jealousy creep in 
among you— bear always a constant apprehension of your 
time — of the privilege which you enjoy. Ever keep in 
mind, and let it be the promptor of each act, the watch- 
word of this Institution — "Excelsior." Lights and 
shadows .both have fallen on our pathway, but in leaving 
we would ask for you the sunshine only. 


And now, our brother-students we would welcome 
here today. Many glimpses have they taken into wisdom's 
labyrinth — they have known the joys and sorrows which a 
student life doth bring, and we feel we need not ask from 
them their sympathy — their presence here assures us it is 

And now, dear sisters, precious classmates, we 
would not go without expressing our deep grief that one 
who had walked with us these years, and who had longed 
to be among us now, was called at the commencement of 
this term, to watch beside the sick bed of a much loved 
father. Sorrowing she left us — still, we hoped that 
stern disease would relinquish soon its hold, and with 
returning health and vigor to that father, she, our 
sister, would return to us. But, alas! we waited for 
her coming, long in vain — then the sad, the mournful 
tidings reached us, and we knew that she was fatherless, 
an orphan child— and the world is cold and dark to such. 
When she came among us first, a stranger, sorrow had 
been filling then her cup — for her name was written 
Motherless — now, indeed, it is o' erf lowing, life must 
seem robbed of all its joy — very desolate must be that 
once so happy home. Still, as she looks upon its 
vacancy, and out upon the dreary earth, may she inly 
feel "There's nothing true but heaven, TT and may her 
heart be there, where, we trust her choicest treasures 

All of us have doubtless often wished to see 
and know the future of our lives — perhaps have marked 
out for ourselves a history, and have been moulding 
every present hour, so as best to aid in filling the un- 
written , but imagined pages of that future, nor has it 
been done with an unholy or ambitious thought, but with 
the firm conviction, that those whose life best answers 
life's great end, must ever keep that end in view — as a 
fixed, a constant purpose. 

One , we know, has long been looking at the 
mission field. When a child , her heart was moved with 
deep compassion toward the worshipers of wood and stone 
and daily, hourly, the desire has strengthened in her 
soul to tell the heathen mother on the Ganges and the 
devotee of Juggernaut, how freely Jesus will forgive. 
And thus she came to us, the prayer of her heart diffus- 
ing itself throughout her every action. With such a 
spirit in our midst, how could we fail to be inspired 
with like emotions, with the wish to go forth hand in 
hand, with her, to fulfil so glorious a mission. And we 
feel that she would ask, must go alone] Are there none 
of these, my classmates, friends, who will go forth as 


the blessed Saviour bade them, bear His image, and His 
cross, where the idol gods are worshipped, save the 
souls which He hath bought, and be content to feel their 
reward in the knowledge that angels rejoice in heaven 
even over one sinner that repent eth, and, that their 
labors are adding jewels to the Saviour's crown? 

Whatever shall betide her in the future, may 
she rest assured, through life's varied changes, our 
hearts will remain ever true to her we now so dearly 
love, and though she leave us here, she carries with her 
our sympathies and a deep interest in her welfare and 
highest happiness which years will not abate. 

Duty calls us all, and though we know the 
voice must be obliged, yet we fain would linger here, 

"Swift have passed the happy hours, 

In this garden of the heart; 
We have culled the choicest flowers — 
May their fragrance ne'er depart." 

The past had sorrows, rendering its joys the 
brighter for contrast, and the cup the present offers 
to our lips seems to us too full of sadness — but "in the 
misty future , the bow of hope is bright." The school- 
girl's flowers lie faded. "Woman's lot is on us now," 
and f tis hers to scatter richest flowers in the pathway 
to Heaven, to remove the hidden thorn, and place a 
wreath of roses in its stead, and we must have you to 
perform her richest mission. Though widely may our 
paths of life diverge, yet if all point toward the 
Celestial City — we may meet at last, around the 
Saviour's throne, each with the jewels she has brought 
to gem His crown. 

"Dear companions, now we leave you, 

All we would, we could not tell; 
Days of gladness, days of beauty, 

Cherished scenes, a long farewell; 
Wandering through life's varied stages, 

With our hearts still firm and true, 
We will trace on memory's pages, 

This our last, our fond 'adieu'." 

S. Adeline Potter. 
Rockford, July 13th, 1854. 



We cheerfully give place to the following let- 
ter, which speaks loudly in praise of the young ladies 
of Rockford Female Seminary. Since the commencement of 
the unnatural rebellion now raging in our land, their 
patriotism has often demonstrated itself in a manner like 
that recorded below, demonstrating their devotion to the 
cause, and carrying blessings to our soldiers in arms. 

Arcadia Seminary, Mo.) 
Dec. 16th, 1861. ) 

To the Ladies of the Rockford Seminary: 

Ladies: The members of Co. A, 33d Reg ! t. 111. 
Vol. , having been the recipients of many tokens of re- 
gard at your hands, would respectfully tender their sin- 
cere thanks for your kindness. The mirrors and "house- 
wives" (hussif s) , are just what many of us — we might say 
all of us — needed. Ah, ladies, you have no idea of the 
scarcity of "housewives" in Mo. The mirrors not only 
enable us to "see ourselves as others see us," but by 
their aid we can combine the mien of the true soldier 
with the dignity of the schoolmaster. The Socks made 
glad the "souls" (soles) of many of our number. "Uncle 
Sam's" will, we fear, be worn with feelings akin to dis- 
gust, at least while your donation is among "The things 
that are." We assure you, ladies, that the knowledge of 
their being knit by your own hands jLoubly increases 
their value. But we believe the most valuable part of 
your donation to us, was the library. Save a few news- 
papers, there is an almost entire absence of reading 
matter in camp. When off duty, we must do something. 
Our strolls through the country are almost entirely cut 
off, thanks to the marauding parties which infest the 
country, always on the alert for stray soldiers, and the 
advent of such an amount of valuable literature among us 
was the source of a great amount of pleasure and profit. 
If you could have seen the eagerness manifested to obtain 
a volume when their arrival was announced or if you could 
take a peep into our quarters and witness the evident sat- 
isfaction manifested in the countenance of those who 
daily forget the toils and hardships of camp life while 
perusing some of those well known pages, you would, we are 
sure, feel amply repaid for your trouble. We would not 
forget, among other things, to mention the excellent cake, 
made, as the note said, "by willing hands, but in haste." 


We concluded at once, from the quality of the cake, that 
it had better always be made in haste. Once more we 
would tender our sincere thanks, and be assured, ladies, 
that we shall ever hold the Rockford Seminary and its in- 
mates in the most grateful remembrance. Such tokens as 
we have received at your hands, enable us when almost 
discouraged at the prospect before us — almost sorry that 
we ever "enlisted" — to resolve to press on in the sacred 
cause in which we are engaged, knowing that our friends 
still care for us, and are interested in our success. To 
repay you, ladies, as far as lies in our power, we would 
pledge ourselves to stand by our glorious banner to the 
end, whether that end be victory or death. 

Permit us to subscribe ourselves ever your well- 

0. E. Wilcox, 
H. J. Dutton, 
G. Hyde Norton. 

For the Company. 



The opening service of the anniversary was the 
Bacculaureate Sermon on Sabbath evening, at Westminster 
Church, by Rev. R, H. Williamson, which was a very able 
and appropriate address, practical in its teaching and 
pleasant in its delivery. On Tuesday an address was 
given before the Ladies Literary Society at the First 
Congregational Church, by Rev. Wm. Merriman, President of 
Ripon College, Wis., which we did not hear, but it is 
well spoken of. 

The examination commenced on Monday morning and 
the young ladies of the Seminary have again reflected the 
highest honor upon the Institution and themselves. Where 
all was so well done it is difficult to single out the 
superlatively excellent. Miss Sill and her able assist- 
ants do not, evidently, favor the old system of parrot- 
like verbatim recitation. The answers were some of them 
of great length, usually given in language clear, con- 
cise and well chosen, while a quiet, self-possessed 
dignity of manner distinguished every recitation. The 
questions being drawn by lot just previous to recitation, 
gave no chance (if desired) for unfairness, yet with very 
few exceptions the greatest readiness was evinced on the 
part of the pupils. We are especially pleased with the 
prompt and skillful replies to questions in a number of 
instances volunteered by visitors, in one or two instances, 
drawing forth irrepressible applause from those present. 
The class in Butler's Analogy disposed of some knotty 
theological questions in a very logical manner, and 
evinced throughout a thorough acquaintance with the mas- 
ter mind of their author, and revealing a familiarity 
with profound philosophical discussion and nice meta- 
physical distinction which would do credit to the bar or 

The review of Ancient and Modern History by the 
Junior and Middle Classes, on Monday and Tuesday, showed 
a perfection of training in that department which justly 
won the admiration of all. While ancient dynasties, 
heroes and events seemed familiar as nursery tales, the 
present times was subject to. most searching criticism. 
The class seemed perfectly at home in the news and poli- 
tics of the day, animadverting freely upon the policy of 
the Emperor Napoleon placing Maximilian upon the Mexican 
throne , commenting upon recent hasty departure of 
Garibaldi from the Albion shores, and the knotty Schleswig- 
Holstein question, of which a contemporary jocosely re- 
marks, but one man, a German Professor, ever reached the 
bottom, and then went instantly mad. 

We cannot express too highly our approbation of 


the plan pursued of critical Bible analysis, for we 
remember that, rightly used, this knowledge is not only 
to subserve the highest good of the young ladies, in the 
fleeting life so brightly opening out before them, but is 
destined to weave for them the fadeless crowns of an 
immortal life. In Natural science, its students appeared 
not like those pursuing a task, but with evident relish, 
a delightful theme. The recitations in the languages and 
higher departments of mathematics served only still fur- 
ther to illustrate the admirable system of training pur- 
sued by our home institution. The exercises throughout 
were appropriately interspersed with music, calisthenics, 
rehearsals, and compositions. The musical department, 
under the supervision of Prof. Hood, evinced a high degree 
of excellence. 

The compositions were all of them creditable, 
and deserve something more at our hand than we are able 
to give — a passing notice. Some of them are not unlikely 
the forerunners of what, emanating from the same minds, 
shall constitute in part, at least, our future litera- 
ture. We should like to speak of them more at length, 
were it not that the editor's possibilities bounded by so 
narrow limits. 

The programme of essays by the Senior class, 
read on Wednesday and Thursday, was as follows: 


1. True Heroines scatter shining seeds for coming genera- 
tions to harvest; Laura A. Bliss, Constantinople, 

2. Mysterious; Francis A. Wi swell, Rockford. 

3. Marvels of Life; Mattie D. Anderson (Normal) 
Bloomfield, Iowa. 

4. Only Waiting; Eva F. Munson, Winchester, Tenn. 

5. The Fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling; 
Julia A. La Framboise (Normal) , Little Rock, Minn. 

6. Catch the Sunshine; Fanny E. Moss, Belvidere. 


1. Come and Gone; Maria Dearborn (Normal), Beloit, Wis. 

2. Wings for the Azure, but Boots for the Pavement; 
Sarah H. Bradley, Richland, Mich. 



3. What o'clock is it? Francis E. Schlosser (Normal) 
Freeport, 111. 

4. List to the Wind; Flora A, Wheeler, Dodgeville, Wis. 

5. We roam o'er boundless Ocean, have we a Guide? Mary 
B. Stevens (Normal) , Elmwood. 

6. God J Grant! Victory! Emma A. Allen, St. Louis, Mo. 

7. He only deserves a Monument who needs none; Ellen 
Pettibone, Rockton. 


1. Greeting; Mary Jessup, Rockton. 

2. We weave the web of our own Destiny; Libbie 0. Watson, 

3. A Poem — The Dying Patriot's Vision; Mattie M. Caswell, 

4. Annual paper. 

5. Night brings out Stars; Francis A. Peck, Richland, 


6. True Merit hath a Coronation Day; Mary A. Bliss, 
Constantinople, Turkey. 

7. Voices of the Times, with the Valedictory; Mary Ashmun, 
Rural, Wis. 

Music - Parting Song. 

The chapel on Thursday morning was densely 
crowded, as usual on such occasions. As heretofore, also 
it was tastefully ornamented with evergreens and pict- 
ures. On the west side was the motto encircling a 
beautiful National Flag, "In God is our Trust. "~ The 
other mottoes were the same as heretofore. The services 
were opened by the students reading a psalm in concert, 
followed with a chant, and prayer by Rev. A. Kent, Presi- 
dent of the Board of Trustees. Reading of Essays, inter- 
spersed with music followed in the order above indicated. 
On Wednesday we were only able to be present a portion of 
the afternoon, but listened to several fine Essays. "The 
Greeting" on Thursday morning was a fine production, in- 
troducing items of local interest, and briefly read. 

4 V 


No. 2 conveyed high moral sentiments, worthy 
of life-practice. 

No. 3 was a poem, smoothly following and of 
decided merit, showing a fine poetic imagination on the 
part of the writer. 

No. 4 was the annual paper read in a clear; 
vigorous style "by Miss Pettibone and Miss Bradley. Its 
articles were as follows: Editorial Introduction: 
"Lily's Death"; "Our trip to Beloit which did not take 
place;" "A tribute to the memory of Hon. Owen Lovejoy;" 
this was a poem — a fine production, doing credit to the 
writer and was a just tribute to that noble friend and 
advocate of human rights. "Letter dated Constantinople, 
July 4th;" "In Memoriam," in which a touching allusion 
was made to the death of loved students; "Oapt. Semmes," 
in which he was treated as a pirate, and the fervent 
prayer uttered that the fate of the Alabama might be a 
symbol of the fate of the Southern Confederacy. "Another 
one has Fallen," a brief poem in honor of our late fellow 
citizen John S. Coleman, a trustee of the Seminary. This 
closed the Annual Paper. 

No. 5 "Night brings out Stars," was a choice 
Essay, admirably read; some prominent names were men- 
tioned which had shone out in our past national history 
and in the history we are now making. 

No. 6 was well read, and a fine religious 
spirit pervaded it. 

At this point Rev. Mr. Kent presented Diplomas 
to the Graduates in Music Department, prefacing the pre- 
sentation with a few appropriate remarks. The names of 
the Graduates are as follows: 

Fanny L. Bundy, Beloit, Wis. 
Mary E. Daniell, Milwaukee, Wis. 
Lizzie C. Tucker, Monmouth, 111. 

No. 7 "Voices of the Times," with the Valedic- 
tory, was read with a voice slightly tremulous, but in a 
calm impressive manner, and was marked by strength of 
thought and elegance of language. The Valedictory was 
full of feeling and especially appropriate, a deep 
religious spirit pervading it. 

We regret our space does not permit more large- 
ly writing out the notes we took of the Essays read. The 
same excellence was apparent in their reading which we 
have observed on former Anniversary occasions at this 
Institution, indicating cultivation in this important 
and most difficult branch of education. There was in 
most of the readers a self-confidence and clearness of 
enunciation at once gratifying and creditable, and the 


thoughts were closed in terse and vigorous language. 

At the conclusion of the exercises at the 
Chapel a procession was formed which marched to the West- 
minster Church, where the closing oration was delivered 
by Rev. W. S. Curtiss, President of Knox College. His 
subject was "Beauty and Culture," and his address was in 
itself a gem of aesthetic excellence well adapted to the 
time and place. He showed the mutual dependence of 
beauty and culture the one upon the other, critically 
defined the terms, from Colo the original of culture, 
drawing a fine analogy of the development of the germ of 
beauty in the mind, calling the well cultivated mind a 
conservatory of fine arts. The essence of beauty he 
said existed in the mind, external beauty being but the 
embodiment of the internal thought. It was character- 
ized throughout by unusual purity of style and diction 
and should in some permanent form be given to the public, 
but space forbids further review. 

At the conclusion of the address the President 
of the Trustees presented the members of the Graduating 
Class whose names appear in the order of exercises above 
with their diplomas. The Benediction was then pronounced 
and the Anniversary Exercises closed. 

In the evening a Re-Union Sociable was held at 
the Seminary, which was largely attended, and was a very 
pleasant occasion. 

The Catalogue of the Seminary, just issued, 
shows a total list of students for the year of 303 — a 
larger number than in any preceding year. A vacation 
will now be had until September 22nd. 


Wooing of the Muse at the Seminary Last Night. 

The members of the Pierian Union could not 
have made a finer evening for their entertainment yester- 
night if they had had the doing of it themselves. The 
chapel was well filled with spectators. Conspicuous in 
the space before the rostrum was a little oval table, on 
which was a bouquet of pansies. Surrounding this table, 
and nearly covering it up with their bent and hovering 
bodies, were the three heavy reporters of the city, who, 
having become so weary with the arduous duties of their 
vocation, were obliged to charter a hack as a means of 
reaching the Seminary, while the representative of the 
Register, fresh and vigorous with a virtuous life, 
economically footed it, and when arrived took his place 
modestly among the common citizens. It was cheerful to 
see those three heavy reporters bend to their work over 
that little oval table. They must have taken notes 
enough for a six-hundred page volume. When they became 
out of breath from the violence of their effort they 
would thrust their beaks into the bouquet before them 
and refresh from its perfume. When these gentlemen of 
the press had got their legs properly adjusted under the 
little oval table, and had sharpened their pencils, 



First there was music by Misses Spafford and 
Tanner, who rendered Dorn's "Rayon du Soliel" with 
pleasing effect. The essay entitled "The Picture of our 
Lives," by Ellen G. Starr, was a carefully written and 
well read production. After music, by Lizzie L. Allen, 
there was an 


which discussed the "influence of literary style." It 
was participated in by Misses Ellen G. Starr, Kitty M. 
Dick, Corinne Williams, Lizzie W. Pomeroy, Jennie L. 
Addams, Kate L. Hitchcock, Lizzie A. Wright, Hat tie S. 
Leach, Laura Keeney and Laura J. Rezner. The colloquy 
was written by one or more of the students of the 
Seminary and was a thoughtful, critical production, and 
evinced a careful study of the authors discussed, includ- 
ing Carlyle, Emerson, Victor Hugo, and others. The dis- 
quisition upon Hugo was practically appreciative. The 


young ladies who engaged in the colloquy represented a 
tea-party, and while the conversation was in progress, 
refreshments were passed, and the representation moved 
off with becoming ease and naturalness. 

After a piano interlude "by Miss Lilly G. Beek- 


filed into the chapel and on to the rostrum to the time 
given by the piano, and proceeded to give a gymnastic 
exercise. They were all dressed in loose frocks gather- 
ed at the waist, and hanging to the ankles. They were 
well-formed, vigorous bright-eyed young ladies, and evi- 
dently enjoyed the exercise in gymnastics. The muscular 
movements are intended to strengthen the arms, the body 
and the lower limbs, and are most excellently designed 
for this most excellent purpose. The young ladies who 
attend the Rockford Female Seminary are certainly in no 
danger of growing weak and puny for lack of exercise, so 
long as this admirable system of physical culture is a 
part of the school ! s discipline. And the personnel of 
the institution evinces the benefits of the system, for 
the beauty and bloom and vigor of the "seminary girls" 
are the envy and admiration of the town. "The Benefits of 
Imitation" was another carefully prepared essay, written 
by Miss Stella E. Foote. Then came a song, "Beautiful 
Venice," by Misses Allen and Longley, which elicited 


and the two young ladies were persuaded thereby to repeat 
the musical gem. 

A drama came next, the parts in it being taken 
by Misses Kitty L. Tanner, Helen M. Butcher, Hat tie M. 
Ellwood, Addie M. Smith, Mary K. Wykoff , Mary A. Baker 
and Nettie Leonard. It represented a longing, sighing 
seeker after happiness, who was ministered unto by the 
other members of the company, under various guises, 
offering her everything that earth can afford, including 
love itself, but she rejects them all until Religion, 
beauteous in pure white and resplendent with stars and 
buoyant with wings, comes to her and crowns her with 
immortal happiness. (She crowned somebody else, but the 
reporter here has dropped a stitch in his reportorial 
knitting work) . A beautiful feature of the drama was a 
Cupid, with darts and wings, represented by little Mamie 


This drama closed the entertainment, which was 
very select, well executed, and highly pleasing to the 


Class Day Exercises 

The 25th class of the Rockford Seminary intro- 
duced a new feature yesterday by inaugurating their 
class day with its prophecies, presentations, poems and 
the like, after the manner of celebrating the day in 
male colleges. The chapel was tastily decorated with 
evergreens and flowers, with an arch in front of the 
rostrum, a shield and anchor, hanging from the center 
with the class motto, "True to Everything," inscribed 

A goodly number of visitors gathered in the 
chapel and awaited the opening of the exercises. 
Dedrickson's band gave an opening overture, after which 
the class marshall, Miss Kate A, Oarnefix, introduced 
the class president, Miss Lizzie V. Ide, who gave a 
short and appropriate address of welcome. The class 
historian, Miss Carrie Carpenter, was next introduced 
and many interesting extracts were read from their his- 
tory during the four-years course, with a number of in- 
teresting statistics, a few which we give: The age of 
the youngest member is 18 years 7 months, the oldest 23 
years 6 months, average 20 years 1 month; entire age 241 
years. Weight of the heaviest young lady 145 pounds; 
the lightest 98 pounds, average weight 120£ pounds, and 
entire weight 1443 pounds. Height of tallest 5 feet 7 
inches; shortest 5 feet 1 inch; total height of all 63 
feet 3 inches. One Foote has been added to the class, 
which, strange as it may seem, increased its stature 5 
feet. The class poem was then read by Miss Stella E. 
Foote, and was an excellent effort. Miss Kate L. Smith 
and Carrie A. Longley then favored the audience with a 
pleasing vocal duet, "The Lonely Bird." 

The presentation of relics and trophies to the 
Societies, with a strikingly sarcastic and humorous ad- 
dress, was made by Miss Julia E. Officer, the President 
of the Pierian Union. A storm beaten piece of rope with 
a wonderful history was the first relic. It landed at 
Plymouth Rock with our Pilgrim Fathers, was used to bind 
poor Captain John Smith. Pocahontas treasured it among 
her faded flowers and souvenirs of love until it was 
brought again to America by a Puritan emigrant. An 
aristocratic old Knickerbocker bought it at an immense 
price, because of its blue blood, and for years, it swung 
from the ceiling over the oaken table, holding the well- 
remembered lump of sugar which was passed from mouth to 
mouth. It next was found doing service as a tether rope 


for young Abe Lincoln's pet calf, and finally was used 
to rescue Kate Olaxton from the last fire. Truly a won- 
derful relic, and to be cherished most fondly. Letters 
accepting honorary membership to the society from 
Josephus Cook, Jeff Davis, Mrs. Brigham Young, No. 17, 
the Queen of the Sandwich Islands and others were also 
presented. The Scientific Society received several 
choice botanical specimens from the Pacific Coast, and a 
fragment of the celebrated Colorado petrified giant. 

To the dissecting club was presented a cele- 
brated Batrachian specimen or Horned Frog on a stick, 
alive and kicking. Miss Officer's entire address was 
replete with sharp and humorous allusions and was re- 
ceived with much amusement by the listeners. 

Miss Lillian G. Beckman appeared in the role 
of the mystic class prophetess, and rolled away the 
veil of the future, disclosing to the astonished vision 
of each member of the class her future lot and destiny. 
Upon going to the authorities, that is the young ladies 
themselves, the prophetess learned that each and every 
one were determined upon a life of single blessedness, 
to be devoted to the elevation and bettering of the 
entire race of mankind. One fear alone arose in the 
mind of the fair soothsayer lest they break their vow 
of celibacy and be like another one of the frail sex who 
"sighing and saying she would ne'er consent, — consented." 
As the scroll of the future unfolded itself before the 
vision of the Pythian oracle, the futurity of Miss Julia 
Officer was first revealed. She will 



will actually condescend to button-hole the potent ones 
for their influence; will be elected, will aspire to the 
speakership immediately, and will keep the members wait- 
ing fully five minutes for their speaker at every session 
of the Senate. Miss Lizzie Ide will devote herself 
closely to the pursuit of science, will take a trip to 
the North Pole, which she will discover to be 


instead of a pole, extending through the earth. With her 
customary tendency to rush to extremes, she will of 
course fall in and drop through space to the South Pole 
where she will telegraph her friends. In 1919 she will 
be cremated by a new and beautiful process, all in the 
interest of science. One young lady is destined for a 
celebrated phonographic prima donna. Miss Cora Shepard, 


distinguished now for her rigid Oalvanistic principles, 
will become a noted Universalist preacher. Miss Kate L. 
Smith will turn Quakeress and become Principal of a 
Seminary. The fates of the others were in like manner 
revealed, but interesting as the subject is, we have not 
space to dwell upon them. Miss Kate L. Smith gave the 
mantle oration to the Juniors, and gracefully elevated 
the mantle upon the shoulders of the tallest Junior in 
the class. 

After which the audience repaired to the cam- 
pus and surrounded a newly planted maple tree, and the 
class stone of 1878, while Miss Carrie A. Longley 
delivered the 


which was full of careful thought and beautiful senti- 
ments. The speaker dwelt upon women* s mission and power, 
quoting the lines from Lucile. 

"The mission of women on earth! to give birth 
To the mercy of Heaven descending on earth. 
The mission of women; permitted to bruise 
The head of the serpent , and sweetly infuse 
Through the sorrow and sin of earth's registered 

The blessing which mitigates all; 
Born to soothe and to solace, to help and to heal 
The sick world that leans on her." 

The entire exercises were of such an interesting 
character, and moved so quietly and smoothly that we wish 
a much larger number could have witnessed them. This 
new departure, and the enterprise of the class of f 78 in 
introducing it, deserves the highest praise and encour- 
agement. It places the Seminary on a footing with other 
Collegiate institutions in respect to their closing 
exercises, and we hope this new feature, which has been 
so wisely and so well inaugurated by the present class, 
may become a fixed institution, and the celebration of 
class-day may occur among the final exercises of each 
graduating class in the future. 


A Delightful Programme, Replete with Able 
Essays, Addresses and Music. 

"I would have all women desire and claim the 
title of lady, provided they claim not merely the title, 
but the office and duty signified by it." — Ruskin. 

In response to the graceful invitation issued 
by the Junior class of Rockford Seminary, a large 
audience gathered in the chapel last evening to attend 
the exercises of the first Junior exhibition ever held 
within the walls. The hall, spicy with evergreen, and 
bright with stands of blossoming plants, never looked 
better, the decorations being fitting and tasteful, with- 
out any overcrowding or ostentatious display. The ever- 
green arches over the doors, and sprays above the chan- 
deliers were gay with tiny scarlet flags, bearing the 
sacred symbol, '81; a silken banner with the same 
numeral was draped above the painting resting on an 
easel twined with ears of wheat; while a sheaf of the 
queen of cereals stood on one side of the rostrum, erect 
in its own perfect grace, and the class motto on a back- 
ground of arbor vitae shone out in the same golden 

Promptly at eight o'clock the class, numbering 
seventeen, ranged themselves in a semi-circle on the 
platform, and sang the class song which was printed on 
the dainty little programme, after which the class mar- 
shal, Miss Elwood, introduced the president, Jane Addams, 
who delivered the following address, every word of 
which is pitched to the key-note of the true intellect- 
ual progress of the time. 

1881 has invited you this evening to the 



ever given within the walls of Rockford Seminary. The 
fact of its being the first, seems to us a significant 
one, for it undoubtedly points more or less directly to 
a movement which is gradually claiming the universal 
attention. We mean the change which has taken place 
during the last fifty years in the ambitions and aspira- 
tions of women; we see this change most markedly in her 
education. It has passed from accomplishments and the 
arts of pleasing, to the development of her intellectual 
force, and her capabilities for direct labor. She wishes 
not to be a man, nor like a man, but she claims the same 
right to independent thought and action. Whether this 
movement is tending toward the ballot-box, or will gain 
simply equal intellectual advantages, no one can predict, 
but certain it is that woman has gained a new confidence 
in her possibilities, and a fresher hope in her steady 

We, then, the Class of 1881, in giving this 
our Junior exhibition, are not trying to imitate our 
brothers in college; we are not restless and anxious for 
things beyond us, we simply claim the highest privileges 
of our times, and avail ourselves of its best opportuni- 

But while on the one hand, as young women of 
the 19th century, we gladly claim these privileges, and 
proudly assert our independence, on the other hand we 
still retain the old ideal of womanhood — the Saxon lady 
whose mission it was to give bread unto her household. 
So we have planned to be "Bread-givers" throughout our 
lives, believing that in labor alone is happiness, and 
that the only true and honorable life is one filled 
with good works, and honest toil, we have planned to 
idealize our labor, and thus happily fulfil 


But if at any time we should falter in our 
trust, if under the burden of years, we should for the 
moment doubt the high culture which comes from giving, 
then may the memory of this evening when we were young 
and strong, when we presented to our friends a portion 
of the work already accomplished, and told them of the 
further labor we had planned for the future, then, I say, 
may the memory of our Junior exhibition come to us as an 
incentive to renewed effort. It may prove to us a vow 
by which we pledged ourselves unto our high calling; and 
if through some turn of fortune we should be confined to 


the literal meaning of our words, if our destiny through- 
out our lives should be to give good, sweet, wholesome 
bread unto our loved ones, then perchance we will do even 
that the better, with more of conscious energy and innate 
power for the memory of our Junior exhibition. 

Martha Thomas next gave 


"Magnus Imperator," with admirable pronuncia- 
tion, easy gesture, and a sympathetic expressiveness 
which almost deluded the unlearned unto the belief that 
they knew what she was talking about. After instrumental 
music on the grand new Decker piano, by Misses Huey and 
White, Miss Phila Pope came to the front in a most grace- 
ful and self-possessed manner with the Scientific Oration 
on "Mountains as a Means Toward Development." For the 
influence of mountains on character we naturally but mis- 
takenly are apt to look at the people who dwell within 
their shadow, and we find among them, as illustrated by 
the Swiss, not creative genius, not sublime endeavor, or 
mighty executive power, but a calm not unlike torpor, 
ennobled by the homely virtues of frugality, courage, 
endurance, and a steadfast fidelity; but it is the man 
who lives beyond the depressing influence of their awful 
loneliness and sterile heights who catches the true inspir- 
ation of the mountains. It is the French and Germans who 
have crossed the Alps into Italy. The earlier civiliza- 
tions found room enough in little Greece and Italy, but 
when luxury and wealth had wrought in them their strong 
though subtle deteriorating work, over the mountains 
swept the barbarian hordes full of that vital energy 
which was to transplant the glory of art and literature, 
and life, fast dying out of its early home, to make fruit- 
ful for ages that vast northern plain of which, at that 
time, the world first felt its need. 


the fundamental idea of civilization is progress, and to 
that progress mountains seem to have not a hindrance 
but an aid. 

Miss Atkinson then read an essay on Marie 
Antoinette, in French, "as it had been her mother tongue," 
with strikingly smooth and elegant pronunciation, followed 
by a tripping little French song, "Bal d'Enfants," by Miss 
Ella Huey. Next came the Ethical Oration on "Old Dreams 
Realized" by Miss Harrington. Though the old supersti- 
tious dreams have vanished, although no Pythagorean 
philosopher listens longer for the music of the spheres, 


and the Alchemists have ceased to search for the fabled 
elixir, yet we still have the ideal, and we can seek that 
higher enlightenment by which we may understand the 
riches already ours. 

Miss Browning then read a criticism on "Das 
Nibelungenlied," and Miss Adele Smith rendered a selection 
from Lysberg with grace and spirit. Miss Sidwell next 
gave a sparkling and witty essay on the "Reminiscences of 
a Junior," which was delightfully received by the audience 
Miss Kate Tanner, of Rockford, sang a fine selection, 
"Waiting Heart," and Miss Addams delivered the Greek 
Oration on 


The last oration of the evening, the Philosoph- 
ical was delivered by Eleanor Frothingham, on the "Last 
Great Empire." 

After a rapid historical survey of the great 
Empires of ancient and modern times, she went on to speak 
of the spirit of individualism that marks the present 
stage of progress. The British Empire is the last great 
attempt of the ages at the centralization of power, and 
its days are already numbered. Great Britain will find 
that gain of territory is often loss of strength, and 
that the mistress of the seas herself must bow before 
that perfect freedom whose dawn already breaks. 

The address, both in substance and delivery, 
was one of the most able efforts of the evening. After 
music by Misses Smith and Thomas the benediction was 
pronounced by Prof. Emerson, of Beloit College. The 
audience repaired to the parlors where the class held an 
informal reception and received the congratulations of 
their friends upon the 


of the first Junior Exhibition of Rockford Seminary. 

Rockford society cannot but be interested in 
these talented, self-possessed and self-respecting young 
women who, in dress, carriage and deportment, speak 
volumes for the value of the higher education, and when 
we learn , as we have done , from the faculty that the 
class originated and carried out their own plans without 
any assistance whatever, and that no one of them had ever 
attended a similar exhibition, our admiration deepens 
to surprise that everything should have passed off so 
delightfully. We trust that a custom so pleasingly 


inaugurated will live long, and after laughing over the 
saucey, witty and Sophomoric "mock programme," of last 
evening, shall look forward with pleasant curiosity to 
the Junior Exhibition of the class of f 82. 


I.Miss Sill T s Request for Leave of Absence, 1 883 
(Copied from Records of the Board of Trustees, ) 

2. Miss' Sill *s Letter of Resignation, 1884 

(Copied from Records of the Boaxd of Trustees.) 

3. Action of the Board on Miss Sill's Resignation 
4 .Miss Sil^s Appointment as Principal Emerita 

5. Announcement of Miss Sill's Death 
(See Supplementary volume, p. 48 . ) 

6. Resolutions of the Faculty at M iss Sill's Death 

7. Resolutions of the Trustees at Miss Sill's Death 


Miss Sill's Request for Leave of Absence, 1 883 • ( 1 ) 

To the Trustees of Rockford Female Seminary, Gentlemen: 

Within the last eighteen years this board has at two 
different times, voted to give me one year's absence with 
salary continued ;but the rest of vacation so far restored 
my health that each time I continued my work. I have 
not been absent, save for a few days at a time, during thir- 
ty-four years, except when in agency for the Seminary ;and 
I faave never been away for Commencement exercises. I have 
been teaching more than forty-five full years ,and for 
nearly forty I have had charge of a seminary as principal, 
thirty-four years in Rockford. May I then ask the favor 
of an absence, at my pleasure, one half of the next school 
year, and a freedom from the cares of vacation that I may 
seek rest and refreshment. If I may be allowed this 
privilege, then some one must be provided to do the cor- 
respondence of vacation and take up the department of Men- 
tal and Moral Philosophy for the time I am away and to 
aic! the faculty in general care that I may, for the time 
being, be quite free from responsibilities incident to 
my position. 

All of which I would respectfully ask as a favor. 

With sincere regards, 
Anna P. Sill. 
Rockford Female Seminary, June 19,1883. 

Copied into the Records of the Board of Trustees. 


Miss Sill's Letter of Resignation (1) 

Rockford Seminary, Jan. 30, 1884 

To the Board of Trustees of Rockford Seminary. 

Gentlemen: I have for a long time past contemplated 
severing wholly my connection with this institution over 
which I have presided, laying down the responsible and 
honorable work you have committed to me, and have only 
delayed doing so in hope of seeing it on a better finan- 
cial basis before leaving it. I have now come to the con- 
clusion that it is best that you commit the charge of this 
college for women to another presiding officer; and I do 
hereby resign to your honorable body all responsible connec- 
tion v/ith it, this resignation to take place February 13, 
1884, or June 25 of this same year, as may be the pleasure 
and according to the wisdom of your board. I heartily 
thank you for giving me one half year's absence at my 
pleasure which privilege I have taken as far as circum- 
stances would allow. If my labors close at the half year 
of connection with the Seminary, I shall be at liberty 
to travel and take some time for refreshment without having 
any responsibility of the institution. If you prefer the 
later date as named, I am ready to take up my entire for- 
mer work, or to take it up in part as it may seem to you 
best. Should you deem it wise to inaugurate an effort to 
raise funds for the better equipment and endowment of the 
institution without which it cannot advance to full suc- 
cess, I am ready to aid in such work until 1h e time above 
named. In leaving the Seminary to enter upon other use- 
ful work, let me sincerely thank you for all of your kind 
forbearance with my mistakes. I can only s ay I have given 
myself wholly to the work, not sparing time, strength or 
salary in order to take forward the interests of the 
Seminary; and I have endeavored to use with economy all 
the means furnished. I have aimed to keep my motives pure 
for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom. I need not say 
to you that I leave the dearest spot to me on this earth, 
where so many prayers have been offered, where I have 
passed through lights and shadows, struggles and conquests, 
where so many bright hopes of promise have been fulfilled 
in the lives of those who have been under my care, where 
in my room so many have consecrated their hearts to the 
Savior and found peace in believing, Aere so many have 
left their hallowed influence, who have entered into these 
labors; students, teachers, and trustees, and have now 
gone to their final reward above. No art gallery of 
portraits can recall such precious memories. May I be al- 
lowed in closing, to ask to keep this Seminary intact as 
a college for young women, and that 7/ou will see to it 

(1) Discussed at special meeting. Records of the Board 
of Trustees, Feb. 7, 1884. 


that ixs teachers have nut only cultivated intellects "but 
consecrated hearcs to Christ, that xhere may never be writ- 
ten on its walls T My glory hath departed.' This institu- 
tion was founded in prayer ;and prayer must give it vital 
life hereafter. 

Yours with sincere regard, 
Anna P. Sill. 


Action of the Board on Miss Sill's Resignation (1) 

Miss Anna P. Sill, the honored and only principal of 
Rockford Female Seminary, from July 15, 1852, to the 
present time, has notified the Board of Trustees that 
she has for s long time past contemplated the step of 
severir ho&ly her connection with this institution 
and -that she now resigns all responsible connection 
with it, this resignation to take effect either Feb- 
ruary 13, 18S4, or June 25. 


Miss Sill's labors in teaching for more than forty- 
five full years, over forty of which have been spent 
in the arduous and responsible position of a Sem- 
"nary principal, and nearly thirty-t" ? o years in the 
service of the institution, entitle her to the re- 
lief from care and responsibility which she thus re- 
quests, therefore 

Pie solved: 

That we, the trustees, of Rockford Female Seminary, 
hereby accept Kiss Anna P. Sill's resignation of the 
principalship of said institution, to take effect 
at the time of the annual meeting of the trustees, 
June 24, 1884. (Changed to June 25, 1884.) (2) 


That in behalf of the interests of the Christian Edu- 

tion of woman, to which this institution is organ- 
ically and historically devoted, we tender Miss Sill 
our earnest thanks for the self-denying industry, the 
fidelity and the unfaltering constancy with which she 
has devoted herself throughout her long, active and 
laborious career, this great end. 


That we hereby place on record our high estimate of 
the services to this cause, in carrying on the work of 
this seminary, in advancing its standing to a college 
basis, in building up its various interests by an un- 
sparing expenditure of her time, means, and personal 
effort both as a teacher and principal and also by her 
variou. and onntinuous endeavors in its behalf in 
every possible direction throughout the whole of its 
past history. 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, February 7, 1384. 

(2) Miss Sill was afterwards asked to "retain the personal 


Action of the Board on Miss Sill ! s Resignation 



That we cordially and gratefully appreciate her zeal 
for the religious welfare and progress of the Sem- 
inary, and, at her request, pledge ourselves that it 
shall be kept intact as a college for young women, 
founded in prayer and devoted to the spiritual as well 
as the intellectual training of its students. 


That we wish to express our appreciation of the loving 
work of the Alumnae Association and their friends in 
providing the Sill endowment fund of $12,000, the 
whole income of which is sacredly devoted to the use 
of Miss Sill during her life as an expression of the 
high esteem and tender love which her friends and her 
former pupils hear towards her for her long years of 
self-sacrificing devotion to the interests of Rock- 
ford Female Seminary and to the education of the many 
women who have been under her charge during these 


That this action of the board of trustees be spread 
upon its official records and communicated to Miss Sill 
by the secretary. 


charge of the Senior studies, which she had hitherto 
had in charge, until the end of the year. 


Miss Sill, President Emerita 
Letter Authorized by the Board of Trustees (1) 

Miss Anna P. Sill, 

Principal of Rockford Seminary, 

Dear Madam: 

In view of your many years of service in behalf of the 
cause of the Christian education of woman as represented 
in the founding and carrying ch of the ork of Rockford 
Seminary from its inception to the present time, the trus- 
tees of the Seminary desire to testify to their grateful 
and cordial appreciation of what you have done for the in- 
stitution and of the relation you have thus far sustained 
towards it as its first and only Principal. 

Therefore, inasmuch as you have resigned the active 
principal ship in order to carry out (as you inform us) 
your purpose "for a long time past contemplated, of sever- 
ing connection wholly with the institution," the trustees 
would notify you that you have been elected Principal 
Emerita of Rockford Seminary, the appointment to take 
place at the close of your term of active service. 

The trustees would also tender you the occupancy of 
the two apartments in which you have so long resided to- 
gether with your board and other incidental home expenses, 
during the term time, so long as such an agreement may be 
found agreeable to you and the board. 

The trustees would be glad to receive such co-operation 
as you may be willing to render towards improving the finan- 
cial basis of an educational fund, the need of which has 
been sorely felt, and in the general enlargement of 
pecuniary resources. But they do not wish you to feel 
under any obligation whatever in this direction, but to be 
perfectly Tree "from care and responsibility of every kind, 
to take the rest which your long continued and arduous 
labors entitle you to command. 

Hoping that this action will command itself to your 
favorable consideration and acceptance, I am, in behalf 
of the Board of Trustees of Rockford Seminary, 

Yours very respectfully, 
Frank Woodbury, 

(1) Records of the Board of Trustees, June 25, 1884. 


Letter of Miss Anna B. Gelston, Principal of 
Rockford Seminary at Mi3S Sill's Death (1) 

Alumnae and Friends of Rockford Female Seminary: 

After her long and useful life, our honored friend, 
ANNA P. SILL, has gone from us. At the Seminary in the 
room so dear to her by many associations reaching back 
forty years, she entered upon that part of her life v/hich 
though hidden from us, will go on throughout the eternal 

Miss Sill died at half -past six o 1 clock Tuesday morn- 
ing, June eighteenth, and will be buried from the Seminary 
Chapel on Thursday morning, June twentieth, at half past 
ten o'clock. 

Although having laid down her duties at the Seminary 
five years ago, she has since been an ever welcome guest 
with us, and with her saintly and dignified presence has 
been an inspiration to teachers and students alike. Her 
interest in the Seminary has never waned, and her prayers 
and efforts are a part of our richest treasure. 

It has been a beautiful ending of her life, that her 
death should be here where v/ork has been. She has gone 
to her rest and her works do follow her. "Whosoever shall 
lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall 
save it." "They that be wise shall shine as the bright- 
ness of the firmament; and they that turn many to 
righteousness as the stars forever and ever." 

Anna B. Gelston. 

Rockford, Illinois, June 18th, 1889. 

(1) Copy of letter printed and sent to the alumnae and 
friends of the Seminary. 


Faculty Resolutions on Miss Sill's Death (1) 

Since in the death of our former principal, Anna P. 
Sill, our Heavenly Father has called to himself a faith- 
ful servant and removed from our midst a noble life, we, 
the present faculty of Rock ford Seminary, wish to express 
our high appreciation of her character, and her long, ear- 
nest and far-reaching work. 

In the founding and building up of this seminary she 
showed great faith and strength of purpose, and recognized 
the responsibilities such a work imposed. In the affec- 
tionate regard of the alumnae for her we see the result 
of that strong personality which none who knew her could 
fail to recognize. 

Acknowledging the inspiration of her faith and cour- 
age, and realizing our privilege and responsibility in be- 
ing permitted to carry on her work, we would make this ex- 
pression of our esteem* 

Committee of the Faculty. 

(1) Rockford Morning Star, June 19, 1889. 


Resolutions of the Board of Trusties at 
Miss Sill's Death 

It having pleased Almighty God in his all-wise Providence 
to call home to her rest and reward Miss Anna P. Sill, the 
true Alma Mater P or foster mother of this Seminary, and for 
nearly 40 ye^rs its honored and beloved Principla,it is 
due to her memory and the Institution to which her life 
was aevottd to put on record the followin^pesolution. 

Resolve d. that in the work Miss Sill has wrought for 
Rockford Seminary we recognize with devout gratitude the 
wisdom and ordaining purpose of G-od in raising up such a 
woman, and endowing her so amply with the abilities and 
qualification requisite for so great and important an en- 
terprise. We also recognize with high appreciation the 
eminent intellectual ability, the earnest faith and devo- 
tion, the indefatigable patience,perserver.nce, moral ener- 
gy and distinguished success with which she prosecuted 
the work given her to do, in laying securely the foundations, 
intellectual, moral and spiritual ,of this Institution and 
in carrying it forward to its present advancement. 

While we mourn the great loss to this Seminary and the 
whole Community of her benignant presence and potent in- 
fluence, we acknowledge the good Providence of God in so 
long sparing her life and permitting her in its later years 
of retirement and release from labor, to enjoy in some 
measure the reward of her toil, and at last to die witnin 
the waXis of her beloved Seminary, surrounded by the friends 
and scenes and memories of the p^st. Truly it may be 
said of her, ,T She hatn done what she could--" She rests 
from her labors and her works do follow her. 

Resolved that a copy of this resolution be transmitted 
to the family and relatives of the deceased. 

Rockford Seminary, June 25 1b8? 

Copied from oirginal document in college Sc.fe. 




This early history of Rockford College grew indirectly 
out of a research course in the history of education which 
I took with Prof .A. 0. Norton, at Harvard, in the summenr of 
1921. I then investigated a number of early educational 
projects for the higher education of women, — Miss Pierce's 
School, Mount Holyoke,the work of Joseph Emerson. When I 
went to Rockofrd College in the autumn 01 that year, Mr. 
Norton oug&tsted that I study the Rockford case, and I 
have been gathering material for this manuscript ever 

It is impossible for me to name all those who have 
helped me in the writing of this thesis, but there are 
three to whom I am particularly indebted: — Mrs.E.B.Her- 
rick,who,as she herself said, has "told every thing"she 
knows about the Seminary;Mrs.C.P.Brazee,who has cleared 
up many points for me, and Miss Emma Enoch, for thirty 

years connected with the college, who has aided in me in 
my search for original manuscripts and has turned up 
many that are valuable. 

To all the others, too numerous to mention, who have 
helped me I here express my gratitude and appreciation: 
men and women who knew Miss Sill personally and were in- 
terested in tne early Rockford, members of their families, 
their children and grand children, alumnae and former stu- 
dents dJf the Seminary, teachers, and people having no affil- 
iation with it, — librarians, public officials, newspaper 
editors, and private individuals. I have met with a spi- 
rit of co-operation at every turn. 

Tnere is only one published history of the Seminary, — 
a report prepared by Miss Sill in 1 876 at the request of 
the United States government. It contains a brief hio- 
oorical sketch, excerpts grom the Seminary magazine, and a 
list of the early subscribers. I have used for background 
material various local histories, histories of education, 
genealogies and biographies, encyclopaedias and gazeteers. 
I have examined the Rockford newspapers from 1843 to 1889. 
The files in the Rockford Public Library are nearly com- 
plete. In some instances I have referred to the files in 
the various newspaper offices. I have read all manu- 
scripts bearing indirectly or directly upon the subject, 
but it is not unlikely that some writings have escaped 
me. I have also written to or interviewed scores of grad- 
uates and former students, besides many friends of tne 
Seminary. I was especially fortunate in having access 
to the material which is in the college. There is much 
extant, — the records of the Board of Trustees, incomplete 
records of the meetings of the executive committee, letters, 
notebooks, an old book containing the early subscriptions, 
a scrap book kept by Miss Sill, containing newspaper clip- 
pings, programs, letters, et cetera, photographs, files of the 


Seminary Magazine, four volumes of valedictories, et cetera. 

The sources for this history are classixied below. 
This bibliography does not take into account the great 
mass of manuscript material in the Rockford College ar- 
chives and elsewhere. So far as I know the list is com- 
plete though I may have inadvertently overlooked some 

Biographies and Genealogies 

Addams. Jane . Twenty Years at Hull House . New York,Macmil- 
lan Company, 1910. 

The Chapin Book of Genealogical Data. with Brief Biograph - 
ical Sketches of the Descendants of Deacon Samuel Chapin . 
compiled by Gilbert Warren Chapin. Hartford, Conn. pub- 
lished and copyrighted by the Chapin Family, 1924. 

Emerson. The Ipswich Emersons .A. D. 1636-1 900 . Compiled by 
Benjamin Kendall Emerson, assisted by Capt, George A. Gor- 
don, secretary of the Hew England Historic Genealogical 
Society. Boston, Press of David Clapp and Son,1900. 

Emer son. Rev. Ralph f The Eife of Joseph Emerson . Boston, 
Crockett and Brewster, 1834. 

Fiske. Fidelia. Recollections of Mary Lyon . Boston, Ameri- 
can Tract Society, 1866. 

Gilchrist, Beth Bradford. : The Life of Mary Lyon . Bos- 
ton and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 19 10. 

Goodwin, Rev. H.M., compiler and editor. Memoria] a r>f Anna P. 
Sill. First Principal of Rockford Female Seminary. 1 849-1889 . 
Rockford, 111., Daily Register Electric Print, 1889. 

Nor ton, Minerva Brace. A True Teacher :Mary Mortimer. New 
York, Chicago, and Toronto, Fleming H.Revell Compny, 1094. 

Pickard , Samuel . The Life and Letters of John Greenleaf 
Whittier , Vol . I . Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Com- 
pany, 1894. 

Histories , Encylopaedias , etc . 

Andreas. A. T. f The HiotorY_of Cook County r Illinois . Pub- 
lished by A.T.Andreas 


Appleton T s Cyclopaedia of American Biography . Wilson, J. G. 
and Fiske, John, editors. New Y rk,D.Apjjleton, 1891 • 

Church, Charles A.. The History of Rockford and Winnebago 
County, 1834-1861 . Rockford, 111., New England Society of 
Rockford, 1900. 

Dunning, Albert E. f The Congregationalists in America . 


Boston and Chicago, Pilgrim Press, 1 894. 

The Historioal Encyclopaedia of Illinois and the History 
of Winnebago County . Chicago.Munsell Publishing Company, 

A History of Winnebago County f Illinois, Its Past and Pres - 
ent. Chicago, H.F.Kett and Company, 1877. 

Illinois Society of Church History: Congregational * ChicagD, 
published vy the Congregational Society, (press of David 

Monroe .Paul, editor. Cyclopaedia of MuccToion . Vol.1. New 
York,Macmillan,1911 . 

Mo s es, Hon, John, andlxirkland, Major Joseph. The History of 
Chicago. Illinois f Vbi. II. Unsell and Company, 1895. 

Punchard , George r The History of Congregationalism from 
A.D.250 to the Present Time f Vol.V . Boston, Congregational 
Publishing Society, 188 1 . 

Reference and Ye^r Book of Winnebago County. Illinois. 
Compiled June 1,1 925, by Howard W. Short, County Clerk. 

Small, Walter Herbert. Early Hew England Schools. Boston, 
Ginn and Company, 1914. 

Thura ton. John. Early Days in Rocki'ord . Koo*iora.,Ill. , 
Press of the Daily Republican . 


Rockf ord Forum , Jan. 15.1 845-Feb . 4 . 1 846 : Jan. 3 . 1 847-Dec .51. 
1849; Sept . 24 , 1 §5 1 -Dec .28,1853- 

Rockf ord Gazette . Nov. 22. 1866-Nov. 26. 1868 :Nov. 28 . 1868-Dec. 
1 6,1 869 j Dec. 23, 1869-Dec, 29,1 970; Jan. 5, 1871 -Dec. 28, 1871; 
July 25 , 1 8 72-Dec . 26 , 1 872 : Jan . 7 , 1 875-Dec . 30 , 1 875 ; Jan. 6 , 
1876-Dec.21 , 18 76; Jan. 4, 1877-Dec. 27, 1877 ;Peb. 16 , 1873-Bec. 
25, 1878; Jan. 1 ,1879-Dec.31j880;jan.5,l88l-Dec.30,l88l; 
Jan.3,l882-Dec.30,l882;Jan.3,l883-Dec.31 , 1883; Jan. 2, 1884- 
Dec.31 ,l884;Jan.2,l885-Dec.31,l885;Jan.6.l886-Dec.31jil88£5 
Jan,1887-Dec.31 , 1 887; Jan. 3, 1888-Dec .31 , 1 888; Jan. 2, 1 889- 
June 29,1889. 

Rockford_Journal .Jan.4.l873-Dec. 27.1873 and Jan. 3, 1874- 

Rockf ord Morning Star f July 1,1888-June 30,1889. 

RockfordRegister .Feb. 21 , 1 857-Feb. 13, 1858 ;Feb. 20, 1858- 


Feb. 1 6,1 862-Feb. 7, 1863 ;Feb. 14,1 863-Feb. 6,1 864 ;Feb. 13,1 864- 
Jan.6,1. Q 73-i)ec.31,l875;Jan.6, 1876-Dec. 29, l876;Jan.5, 1877- 
Nov.30, l877;Dec.7, 1877-Dec.31 , l879;Jan.2, 1880-Dec.31 ,1880; 
Jan. 3,1 88 1 -Dec. 31,1 88 1; Jan, 3.1 88 2-Dec. 30, 188 2; Jan. 2,1 883- 
Dec.3l,l883;Jan.2,l884-Dec.31,l884;Jan.2,l885-Dec.31 ,1885; 
Jan.30,l8R6-Dec,31,l886;Jan.3,1 ) 87-Dec.31 , l887; J an.3 , 1888- 
Dec. 31 ,1888, and Jan. 2, 1889-June 29,1889. 

Rockford Republican. Jan. 3 , 1855-Sec 23, 1858, and Jan. 8,1859- 
July 24,1862. 

Rock River Democrat , June 8 , 1 852-Dec.30 , 1856 and Jan.3,1857- 

Winnebago Forum . Feb . 24 . 1 843-Dec .30.1 846. Name changed 
to Rockford Forum . Feb. 21 . 1844. 

Publications of Rockford Female Seminary 

Rockford College 

Alumnae ^otes . Published by Rockford College, Eockford, 111. 
December, March, June, 1915; June, 1916 ;April, 1917, and April, 

The Jubilee Book .compiled by Harriet W.Hobler, 1 882;Caro- 
line Potter Brazee, l8S5;Nellie R.Caswell, 1 38 0; Catharine 
Waugh Mc Culloch,M.A.T888;Mabel Walker Herrick,M.A.,l88P. 
Rockford, 111. ,Binner Wells Company, print ers, 1 9 04. 

Rockford College Bulletin . 1921 -1922. Alumnae Register, 
Vol. IV, No. 65. Published by Rockford College, Rockford, 111. 

Rockford College Brief Book. 1908 . Published by Rockford 
College , Rockford , 111 . 

Rockford Seminary f A Historical Sketch of. Prepared in 
compliance with an invitation from the Commissioner of 
Education rrepresenting the Department of the Interior in 
Matters Relating to the National Centennial of 1876. 
Rockford, 111. , Register and Company, printers and binders, 

Rockford Seminary Magazine, published by Rockford Female 
Seminary, Jan. ,1873-Nov. , 1883. Edited by Caroline Potter, 


Sill, Anna P.. A Letter to ^ur Old Girls . Chic ago, A. Chapman, 
printer, 1882." 

Interviews and Correspondence with the Following 


Mrs. Sarah JEnderson Ainsworth, 1 869, principal of Rockford 

* ■> 


4 29 

Seminary, 1890-1896;Mt. J. A. Bowman, Recorder of Deeds, Winne- 
bago County, 111. ;Mrs. Jeremiah Campbell, daughter of Mr. 
Daniel Hood jMrs.G.L. Castor, daughter of Mr. H.M.Goodwin; 
Miss Emma Enoch, financial secretary, Rockford College ;Miss 
Anna B. Gels ton, principal of Rockford Seminary, 1888-18^0; 
Mrs. E.L.Herrick, teacher, Rockford Female Seminary, 1 8 j? 2- 
l855;Miss Elizabeth Herrick, daughter of Mrs. E.L.Herrick 
and teacher, Rockford Seminary and College, 1887- 1902 ;Miss 
Mabel Johnson, secretary to the president, Rockford College; 
Mrs.Malinda Richards Hervey, teacher, Roukford Female Semi- 
nary, 1 85 0-1 852 ;Mrs. Andrew McLeish, principal of Rockford 
Seminary, 1884-1 q 88 ;Mr. Frank Scribner, pastor, Congregational 
Church, Janesville, Wisconsin ;Mrs. Henry D. Wild, daughter of 
Mr^H. M. Goodwin ;Miss L.M.Wingate, former resident of Rock- 
ford;Mrs.A.D.Adams,l870;Mrs.Myrta Agard Bartlett, 1878- 
1882;Mts. A.H. Blair, 1876;Mts. Caroline Potter ?razee,l855, 
and teacher in the Seminary, l872-l883; M rs.E. P. Satlin, a 
student in the early days and present the day Miss Sill 
opened her school ;Mrs.Almon Chapmon(MissSill' 3 niece), 
l865;Miss L rena Church, 1905, registrar of Rockford Col- 
lege and associate professor of English ;Miss Katherine 
Dickerman, l887;Mrs.E.B.Dodds, 1881 ;Mrs. Andrew Dunlap, 1 875 ; 
Mrs. Albert Durham, 1 870 ;Miss Minnie B.Fenwick, 1865 ; Mrs. 
Daniel Fish, i 867 ;Miss Katherine Foote, 1 879 , (daughter of 
Rev. Hiram Footei ;Mrs. James F.Garvin, l880;Miss Caroline 
Godfrey, granddaughter of M r. Charles Spaf ford; Mrs. Charles 
Godfrey, daughter of ^r. Charles Spaf ford, graduate in music, 
l879;Mrs.Mattie Green, 1 88 1 , teacher and resident graduate, 
l88 2-l882;Mrs.Mary Earle Hardy, 1 867 ;Mrs .Mabel Walker Her- 
rick,l886,M.A.,l888;Mrs,Carrid£ong-ley Jones, 1 878 ;Mrs. Kath- 
erine Keeler, daughter of Judge Selden Church, and a member 
of the kindergarten department in the early days ;Mrs.H.W. 
Kimball, a student in the early sixties ;Miss Mary.E.Lowry, 
l886;Mrs. Catharine Waugh McCulloch, 1882,M.A. , 1888 ;Mrs. 
T. G. McLean, l867;Mrs. G.E. Newman, l884;Miss Emma Pearson, 1872; 
Mrs. Sarah ^afford, 1 865 ;Mrs. B.W.Smith, 1872;Mts. Fanny Jones 
Talcott,1%2;Miss Ama Taylor. 1 889 ;Ifes* Loretta Van Hook, 
1875; Mrs .Perry C.Wadsworth. 1884 ;Mrs. Marie Tichenor Wads- 
worth, 1 8 73; Mrs .Mary Allen Warren, a student in the fifties; 
Mrs. T.B.Wells, a student in the sixties ;Mrs. J. E.Whitesells, 
1881 ;Mrs. Phoebe L.Woods, l865,and Mios Mary -fage Wright, 1 871- 





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