Port Royal Experiment


The U.S. Government and the Sea Island Slaves

In August 1861, at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Union General Benjamin Butler declared that the slaves who escaped and came into his lines for protection were contraband of war, a term commonly used thereafter to describe this new status of slaves, which meant that the Army would not return escaped [Read More ...]

Catherine Beecher


Writer and Advocate for Women's Education

Catherine Esther Beecher was a nineteenth century champion of education for women at a time when even wealthy women received minimal education. She educated herself through independent study, and established schools devoted to training women as teachers. Beecher believed that having women teach their own families was the basis for a well-ordered society.

Childhood [Read More ...]

Mary Jane Patterson


First African American Woman to Graduate from College

Mary Jane Patterson was the first African American woman to earn a bachelor's degree (Oberlin College, 1862). She became a successful teacher and was later appointed as the first black principal at America's first public high school for blacks (Preparatory High School for Colored Youth, Washington, DC, 1871). Patterson spent her career [Read More ...]

Ann Preston


First Woman Medical School Dean

Ann Preston (December 1, 1813–April 18, 1872) was a doctor and educator of women in Pennsylvania. One of the most notable achievements of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the 19th century was the role it played in the entrance of women into medicine. Ann Preston was one of those pioneer Quaker women doctors.

[Read More ...]

Laura Haviland


Founded First School for Children of All Races

Laura Haviland (1808-1898) was an American abolitionist, suffragist and pioneer social reformer who operated a station on the Underground Railroad in southeastern Michigan. Haviland also established Michigan's first school for children of all races. This post includes direct quotes from her autobiography, A Woman's Life-Work.

Early Years
Laura Smith was born [Read More ...]

Elizabeth Peabody


Founder of the First Public Kindergarten

Elizabeth Peabody (1804–1894), the oldest of the three Peabody sisters of Salem, was one of the most important women of her time. She was an educator and education reformer who opened the first kindergarten in the United States. Long before most teachers, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic developmental and educational [Read More ...]