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Byfield Seminary Collection, 1818-[present] (Bulk: 1818-1822)
1 box (2.5 linear in).
Collection number: MS 0516 (LD 7093.38 B9)

Byfield Female Seminary. Founded in Byfield, Massachusetts in 1806; moved to Saugus, Massachusetts in 1822 while Rev. Joseph Emerson was the principal. Collection contains catalogs of students, historical information, and a photograph of the school; materials date primarily from 1824 to 1827.

Terms of Access and Use:


Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

Biographical Note

Byfield Female Seminary opened in 1806 in Byfield Massachusetts. The Reverend Joseph Emerson, a Congregational pastor and teacher, was Principal of the Seminary from 1818-1821, when he moved the school to Saugus, Massachusetts. Pupils at Byfield Female Seminary included Mary Lyon, the founder of Mount Holyoke College, and Zilpah P. Grant Banister.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Byfield Seminary Collection consists of catalogues, historical information and a photograph. The materials briefly document the founding of the institution and its evolution from a seminary into a private residence. They also emphasize the influence of the school's principal, Joseph Emerson, and his educational principles on Mary Lyon, who attended Byfield in 1821. The catalogues dated 1818-1822 and 1821 list the names of students and their residences. Also included in the collection are a newspaper article dated 1966 and a magnet listing the activities celebrating the tercentenary of Byfield Church in 2002. The photograph is a picture of the Byfield Building dated circa 1900.

This collection is organized into three series:

  • Catalogues
  • Historical Information
  • Photograph

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


Preferred Citation

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

Byfield Seminary 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.

  • Emerson, Joseph, 1777-1833.
  • Lyon, Mary, 1797-1849.
  • Byfield Seminary.
  • Education - Massachusetts - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Schools - Massachusetts - History - 19th century - Sources.
  • Young women - Education - Massachusetts - History - 19th century - Sources.

  • Byfield Seminary.

Genre terms
  • Photographs.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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