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Adams Female Academy collection

Identifier: MS 0503

Scope and Contents

The Adams Female Academy Collection consists of trustee records, catalogs, compositions, record for students, historical information and postcards. The documents primarily date from 1824-1827 and provide information on the students, faculty, trustees and the Academy building. In the trustee records is a directive for employees which provides insights to the educational and moral principles of the institution. Also of note are contracts of employment for Zilpah P. Grant (later Banister) and Mary Lyon written by the Executive Committee. The catalogs list names of students and their home addresses, as well as the names of faculty and trustees of the Academy. There are thirty six compositions in the collection written by Mary Lyon's students on topics such as "Autumn", "Friendship" and "Wealth". Records for students list absences, tardiness, "failures in recitation" and subjects studied by each individual in 1826-1827. The history of the founding of the Academy is mostly documented in excerpts and material on the town of Derry. Also included in the collection is a postcard (five copies) showing the Academy building.


  • Creation: 1824 - 1830
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1824 - 1827

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical Note

Adams Female Academy opened in April of 1824. It was funded by a $4000 endowment from Jacob Adams in 1823. Located in Derry, New Hampshire, it was one of the first academies in New England devoted solely to the education of girls. Zilpah P. Grant (later Banister) was the first principal and Mary Lyon was her assistant. The Academy had a high reputation, attracting students from all over New England. The school remained open until 1886, then it was merged into the co-educational Derry School system in 1887.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half Hollinger box)

Language of Materials



Adams Female Academy. Founded in Derry, New Hampshire in 1824. Collection contains lists of students, teachers and trustees (1824-1827), letters by the Board of Trustees, compositions written by Mary Lyon's students, student records, historical information, and postcards. Primarily documenting the establishment and early years of the Academy. Also documents early teachers including Zilpah P. Grant Banister and Mary Lyon.

Adams Female Academy Collection, 1824-[present] (bulk 1824-1827)
Finding Aid
Edited Full Draft
© 2003
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA