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Adams Female Academy Collection, 1824-[present] (Bulk: 1824-1827)
1 box (2.5 linear in.).
Collection number: MS 0503 (LD 7093.38 A4)

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.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

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.

This collection is organized into six series:

  • Trustee Records
  • Catalogs
  • Compositions
  • Records for students
  • Historical Information
  • Postcards

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:


Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Adams Female Academy Collection, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form:
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Banister, Zilpah P. Grant (Zilpah Polly Grant), 1794-1874.
  • Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849.
  • Adams Female Academy (Derry, N.H.)
  • Education - New Hampshire - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • English language - Study and teaching - New Hampshire - Derry.
  • Schools - New Hampshire - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Young women - Education - New Hampshire - History - 19th century - Sources.

  • Adams Female Academy (Derry, N.H.)

Genre terms
  • Corporation records.
  • Postcards.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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