Connecticut Literary Institution

Connecticut Literary Institution, Suffield Academy, artist rendering, 1878

In May of 1820, the Connecticut Baptist Education Society was established in Suffield, Connecticut (1). This society was geared to educate young men for the ministry.  The society secured funds twelve years later for a Literary Institution. Suffield and Bristol competed for a sum prize of five thousand dollars. The prize was to be awarded to the town that presents the best inducements. This award promised better education for the town who won. Martin Sheldon was the active leader of the Suffield committee and was able to secure five thousand dollars from the people of Suffield. The prize money was awarded to Suffield the following year and with the funds were able to build the Suffield Literary Institution. The place for this new institution was at one time the home to a settler in 1676, Sergeant Samuel Kent. I will investigate sources in Bristol to see if there is any more information to add to our school’s opening chapters of history.

  1. Source: Suffield Academy Archives

Skills required: This research requires looking at an old pamphlet documented and stored in the archives during the time the Suffield Literary Institution was built. An old book about the history of Suffield was discovered as well that reveals information about the origins of this event. Researching this requires patience and a keen eye for details.

Driving question: Why did Suffield win the competition against all the towns in Connecticut for a new institution?

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