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Litchfield Female Academy collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Litchfield Female Academy Institutional Records

Student Papers, Records, and Documents

Pierce Family Papers

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel Papers

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Litchfield Female Academy collection, 1787-1927 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Lee S. Cook

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Collection Overview

Title: Litchfield Female Academy collection, 1787-1927Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Primary Creator: Pierce, Sarah (1767-1852)

Other Creators: Brace, John Pierce (1793-1872), Litchfield Historical Society, Vanderpoel, Emily Noyes (1842-1939)

Extent: 11.67 Linear Feet


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].

Date Acquired: 01/01/1890. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Brace, John Pierce, 1793-1872, Litchfield (Conn.) - History, Litchfield (Conn.) - History, Litchfield Female Academy (Conn.), Pierce, Sarah, 1767-1852, Private schools - Connecticut - Litchfield - History, Schools, Women - Education - Connecticut - Litchfield - History

Forms of Material: Account books, Autograph albums, Correspondence, Diaries, Exercise books, Notebooks, Receipts, Rewards of merit

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Biographical Note

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

Subject/Index Terms

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

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: 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).

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Source: Gray, Jane (Loring), Mrs. Asa

Acquisition Method: Donated

Separated Materials:

Catalogues for 1824, 1825, 1826 & 1830 are housed in an oversize box.

Daguerreotypes and photographs of portraits of Sarah Pierce, Mary Pierce, John Brace Pierce and other Pierce family members are shelved in separate boxes.

Framed documents housed in Curatorial Center.

Original/Copies Note: Transcriptions are available for some documents. For more information please see http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

Related Materials: Benjamin Tallmadge Collection, Pierce Family Correspondence, Reeve Collection, Wolcott Family Collection, Elihu Harrison Business Papers, Grant Papers. For more information please see http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

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.

Preferred Citation: Litchfield Female Academy collection, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, 7 South Street, P.O. Box 385, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.

Processing Information: This collection consisted of three primary collections: The Litchfield Female Academy: Sarah Pierce; and Emily Noyes Vanderpoel. Over the course of time, these collections had been mingled and rearranged so that it was not possible to distinguish the original location or source of many of the materials.  Other documents were filed in Miscellaneous Manuscripts.

Finding Aid Revision History: Previously, item level descriptions were made for the card catalog. These are still available.

Other Note:

Material objects related to the Litchfield Female Academy include needlework, watercolors, watchpapers, maps, items belonging to Sarah Pierce, etc.  Contact the Museum Curator for further information.

This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

Other URL: http://www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Litchfield Female Academy Institutional Records],
[Series 2: Student Papers, Records, and Documents],
[Series 3: Pierce Family Papers],
[Series 4: Emily Noyes Vanderpoel Papers],

Series 3: Pierce Family PapersAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Brace, Emma P, 1843 Apr 19Add to your cart.
Testimonial from Hartford Female Seminary that she is entitled to First Rank in Senior Class. Signed by J.P. Brace.
Folder 2: Brace, James, 1811Add to your cart.
Two letters dated 1811 Mar 14 and 1811 Apr 2 from Litchfield (Conn) to his son John P. Brace in Williamstown (Mass) with information about school costs and advice to John about maintaining his health.
Folder 3: Brace, James P, 1847 Jul 10Add to your cart.
Letter from J.P. Brace in New Milford to Solomon Porter inquiring about finding for place for his youngest son James in Porter's business. Also whether there is employment for J.P. Brace in a proposed Hartford high school.
Folder 4: Brace, John P, 1829 Dec 21Add to your cart.
Address delivered before the Temperance Society of Litchfield (Conn.)
Folder 5: Brace, Jonathan & Brace, Frances Ann, 1815-1822Add to your cart.
[Correspondence] Photocopies of letters from Jonathan Brace 1815 Oct 24 and 1818 Oct 21 to his granddaughter Frances Ann in Hartford; and 1822 Jul 24 and 1822 Oct 15 from Hartford to Frances Ann in Litchfield. Two letters from Frances Ann to her grandparents dated 3 June 1822 and 1822 Aug 15 from Litchfield whilte she was a student at Miss Pierce's School.
Folder 6: Brace, Susannah (Pierce), Mrs. James, 1811-1814Add to your cart.
Four letters from Litchfield (Conn) to her son John Pierce Brace in Williamstown (Mass) with news of family and friends.
Folder 7: Croswell, Ruth Pierce, 1899 AugAdd to your cart.

Typed transcript of a newspaper article "Two Memorable Women: Ruth Pierce Croswell" written by Henry Brace, New York August 1899.

Handwritten notes about members of the Pierce/Croswell family.

Folder 8: Croswell, Thomas, 1792 May 31Add to your cart.
Letter from New York to Ruth Pierce Croswell (Mrs. Thomas) with news of his travels.
Folder 9: Loring, Anna (Brace), Mrs. Charles, 1818 Aug 3Add to your cart.
Letter from Boston to her brother John P. Brace in Litchfield with general news and inquiring about Litchfield and his lady friends.
Folder 10: Pierce, James, 1813 Jul 21Add to your cart.
Letter to Sally Pierce in Litchfield with a note from Mr. Wilkes requesting his friends in Litchfield find a room for  Mr. Bossange, a young gentleman from France.
Folder 11: Pierce, Jonathan, 1787Add to your cart.
Two letters dated 1781 Jan 4 and 31 Dec from New York to his sister Ruth Pierce.
Folder 12: Pierce, MaryAdd to your cart.
Letter dated Litchfield Aug. 19 to Charles G. Loring in Boston with news of friends and family.
Folder 13: Pierce, Sarah, 1800-1844Add to your cart.
5 letters to Ruth (Pierce) Croswell, Mrs. Thomas, who was Sarah Pierce's sister.
Folder 14: Pierce, Sarah. Memorial, 1934Add to your cart.
Information about the Sarah Pierce Memorial tablet and boulder dedicated August 13, 1934. Includes documents from The Mary Floyd Tallmadge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; a speech by Alain C. White; and history of the memorial.
Folder 15: Pierce family, 1752-1803Add to your cart.
"Memorandum of John Pierce family" dated 26 Jun 1807.
Folder 16: Rogers, Anna P, circa 1829Add to your cart.
Letter to Sarah Pierce dated New York Jan. 27 [1829] [note: the year was determined using a perpetual calendar] announcing the birth of a daughter and reminiscencing about Litchfield.
Folder 17: Shedden, Julia, 1807 May 13Add to your cart.
Letter from Julia Shedden and E. Johnson to Abel and John P. Brace.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Litchfield Female Academy Institutional Records],
[Series 2: Student Papers, Records, and Documents],
[Series 3: Pierce Family Papers],
[Series 4: Emily Noyes Vanderpoel Papers],

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