Emma Hart Willard Family Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
Emma Hart Willard was a pioneering advocate of educational equality for women. In 1821, she founded the first U. S. collegiate-level institution for women, the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York (now the Emma Willard School). Emma Hart Willard wrote geography and history textbooks that were widely used in schools at the time. She trained and influenced hundreds of teachers who spread her ideas nationwide. According to Emma Hart Willard's great-great-grandson, Amherst geology professor Edward S. Belt, "Emma Willard's perspective was rooted in patriotism and duty to country."
The Emma Hart Willard Papers document the professional activities and personal life of Emma Hart Willard, her son John Hart Willard, and the Willard, Scudder and Keyes families, spanning more than a hundred years, from 1801 to 1988. The bulk of the material falls into the period from 1820 to 1920. The Papers occupy approximately 8.5 linear feet of shelf space.
The breadth of Emma Hart Willard's career, professional activities and family life are represented in the Papers and reflect her multiple roles and interests as an educator in the field of women's education, a teacher, principal, writer, and mother and friend. Because of Emma Willard's overlapping professional and personal commitments, a researcher should check all series in the Papers for relevant material. These papers include professional and personal correspondence; published and unpublished works by Emma Willard; a collection of personal diaries kept during her lifetime; and letters to and from her family.
The Papers include material relating to Emma Hart Willard's son John Hart Willard, who succeeded her as principal of Troy Female Seminary, her grandchildren and other family members. Much of this material is personal correspondences, correspondence among family members, genealogical material, and information relating both to the schooling and professional lives of various members of the Willard, Scudder or Keyes families.
The Papers also include material on the Troy Female Seminary (and the Emma Willard School) when it was founded and run by Emma Hart Willard. This was the first U.S. college-level institution for women. Much of this material includes anniversary ribbons or programs, academic catalogues and bulletins, financial documents including leases, indentures, bills and invoices that pertain to the Troy Female Seminary.
This collection is organized into twelve series: