Litchfield Female Academy collection, 1787-1927
[Back to Formatted Version]
Brief Description: This collection documents the history of The Litchfield Female Academy, Litchfield, Connecticut. Early records refer to the Academy as Miss Pierce's School, Miss Pierce's Academy, and Sarah Pierce's Academy. In the collection are institutional records; correspondence, diaries, journals, school notebooks, and albums of students; papers of Sarah Pierce and the Pierce family; and correspondence of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel regarding her research for her books "Chronicles of a Pioneer School, from 1792 to 1833" , published in 1903 and "More Chronicles of a Pioneer School" published in 1927. Included in the institutional records are works written by Sarah Pierce and her nephew, John Pierce Brace.
Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Created by: Pierce, Sarah (1767-1852), Brace, John Pierce (1793-1872), Litchfield Historical Society, Vanderpoel, Emily Noyes (1842-1939)
Volume: 11.67 Linear Feet
Acquired: 01/01/1890. Gifts from Charles Mansfield (1890); Mrs. John A. Vanderpoel (1900); Dwight C. Kilbourn (1900); Miss Lewis (1911); Edgar Van Winkle (1913); Mrs. Morris Seymour (1914); Mrs. Edward Seymour (1916); Dr. John Buel (1916; Cornelia Rankin (1920); Lucy Brace Sadikoff (1920); Gertrude E. Welch (1920); Kate E. Westbrook (1928); Marcus Reynolds (1933);  Mrs. VanWinkle (1943);  Jane G. Cooke(1947); Elizabeth M. Hall (1950); Mrs. James Woodruff (1953); Dorothy Johnson (1954); Mrs. Floyd Vanderpoel (1954); Eaton Jone estate (1971); William Warren (1973); Mrs. Richard Brickley (1981); Museum purchase (1982); Mr. & Mrs. C. Minor Barringer (1993); Doris Townsend (1998); Chris Sinacola (2000); Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Bramley (2005); Charles Stookey (2006).
More information is available at

The collection is arranged in 4 series:

Series 1. Litchfield Female Academy Institutional Records

Series 2. Student Paper, Records, and Documents

Series 3. Pierce Family Papers

Series 4. Emily Noyes Vanderpoel Papers

This collection has been assembled from 3 collections: Litchfield Female Academy, Sarah Pierce, and Emily Noyes Vanderpoel. These collections had been assembled, re-assembled, and intermingled over many years with additions from many donors [see Acquisition Information -Accruals/Additions].

Biographical Note for Pierce, Sarah (1767-1852) : Sarah Pierce was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 26, 1767, the youngest of the 7 children of Mary (Paterson) and John Pierce. Her mother died when she was 3 years old and her father remarried. At the death of her father, when she was fourteen, Sarah and her sister Nancy went to New York City for a formal education. In 1792 she started teaching girls in her home and by 1798 the school became so successful that an Academy building was built. Her nephew John Pierce Brace became the director in 1827, but she continued to teach, focusing on her favorite subject - history. Sarah Pierce died in Litchfield on Jan. 19, 1852 and was buried in the West Burying Ground
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Brace, John Pierce, 1793-1872
Litchfield (Conn.) - History
Litchfield (Conn.) - History
Litchfield Female Academy (Conn.)
Pierce, Sarah, 1767-1852
Private schools - Connecticut - Litchfield - History
Women - Education - Connecticut - Litchfield - History
Genres/Forms of Material
Account books
Autograph albums
Exercise books
Rewards of merit
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Gray, Jane (Loring), Mrs. Asa  Donated
Other Formats: Transcriptions are available for some documents. For more information please see
Related Materials: Benjamin Tallmadge Collection, Pierce Family Correspondence, Reeve Collection, Wolcott Family Collection, Elihu Harrison Business Papers, Grant Papers. For more information please see
Related Publications:

The following publications at the Litchfield Historical Society provide additional information about the Litchfield Female Academy:

Books compiled by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel

  1- Chronicles of a Pioneer School, from 1792 to 1833; being the history of Miss Sarah Pierce and her Litchfield School.  Cambridge, MA, University Press, 1903.

  2 - More Chronicles of a Pioneer School, from 1792 to 1833; being added history on the Litchfeild Female Academy kept by Miss Sarah Pierce and her nephew, John Pierce Brace.  New York, Cadmus Book Shop, 1927.

  Books in the Library Collection of the Litchfield Historical Society include works by Sarah Pierce - "Universal History" (1811-1823); John Pierce Brace; and textbooks used at the Academy.

A catalogue written by Theodore and Nancy Sizer, Sally Schwager, Lynne Templeton Brickley, and Glee Krueger. Edited by Catherine Keene Fields and Lisa C. Kightlinger. - "To Ornament Their Minds: Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy 1792-1833". Litchfield Historical Society, 1993.

A thesis by Lynne Templeton Brickley - Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy, 1792-1833. A thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Education of Harvard University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education, 1985.

PreferredCitation: Litchfield Female Academy collection, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, 7 South Street, P.O. Box 385, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.
Finding Aid Revisions: Previously, item level descriptions were made for the card catalog. These are still available.