The following information comes from the Catalog for the Connecticut Literary Institution at Suffield of 1846. Several teachers are listed as “Female teachers.” The list is all women but we don’t know if they taught the women or both women and men. It is interesting that they earned less than men and they didn’t work for many years. The least paid men earn about 400 dollars. The highest paid man earned 700 dollars. The average woman earned 500 dollars. In today’s dollars that would be 11,573 dollars. Teachers were not paid well at Connecticut Literary Institution. There are also assistant teachers. We don’t know what assistants did compared to full teachers. It doesn’t seem like many teachers compared to today.
When I was researching and writing about my blog post “First Female Graduate of the Connecticut Literary institution, Today’s Suffield Academy,” I tweeted the archivist at the University of Connecticut Library and asked if they had any sources that would help me write the history of women in the early days at CLI. I was learning the story about how the women’s department began in the first building at CLI that later burned down. The women lived on the first floor; female teachers and pupils occupied 20 private rooms according the Sheldon’s history. When the women’s department opened on February 25th, 1846, there are 41 females who started the first term. I also researched about population of Connecticut and found the percentage of how many females came to Suffield Academy. Then I tweeted UConn Archives and asked them for help with any sources on the Connecticut Literary Institution. They reply the next day; they found out the book call “Suffield Academy Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, 1945.” This source did not help but they were helpful in giving us the information they had about Suffield Academy. They also looked up information about Suffield Academy on the Connecticut Historical Society webpage and tweeted back historic images of Suffield Academy. Interestingly, an important one they found was the picture of old Fuller Hall that included in the corner of the image the well that is now established in front of Memorial Building. I enjoy #doinghistory because I love working by myself and discovering new stuff.
Image from University of Connecticut Historical Society
Cropped image highlighting the well now in front of Memorial Building
(here is the well in the olden days- This fall it is seen again due to the new construction)
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.
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.