The First Female Graduate of the Connecticut Literary Institution (Today’s Suffield Academy).


         Image from Connecticut Literary Institution, Suffield Academy Archives

Hezekiah Spencer Sheldon’s History of the Connecticut Literary Institution lists the female students at CLI, which is today’s Suffield Academy. The school year opened on  February, 25th, 1846, and 41 females started the first term. Thirty three of the students were from Suffield. It is also interesting to look at their names. Many appear to be related; they may be sisters or cousins. These names also are from many famous families of Suffield Academy like: Bissell, Hathaway, Kent, King, and Loomis. Some of our buildings are named after these families. 

Image from CThumanities
Image from Suffield Academy Archives

In 1852, the first females were awarded diplomas. Five young women earned diplomas that year, including Lydia Fuller. I wonder if she was related to Fuller family who created Fuller Hall.

Driving Question: Is Lydia Fuller related to any of the Fullers in our community? What happened to her after graduation?

Skills Required: The next steps are to research these first female graduates and their families. I will use research skills and try to find out why they chose (CLI) Suffield Academy. I will also use Networking skills to find out why did their families choose to send their  daughters to high school in that time period? Another step is to understand why 41 females started in 1846, but there are only five graduates in the first graduations class in 1852.


1 thought on “The First Female Graduate of the Connecticut Literary Institution (Today’s Suffield Academy).

  1. chriscampbell89

    This is a great start to research on. You already found excellent evidence for your topic and I especially like how you noticed that they are all related. You should not assume that they are apart of the famous families because they share the same name. Another driving question would be what did Lydia Fuller do during her time in school.



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