“By the Force of its Own Merits”

“By the Force of its Own Merits” is a one-day symposium on Friday, November 15th that will round out a two-year celebration of the Litchfield Female Academy, a progressive educational institution that instructed over 3,000 young women between 1792 and 1833.

“By the Force of its Own Merits” is a one-day symposium that will round out a two-year celebration of the Litchfield Female Academy, a progressive educational institution that instructed over 3,000 young women between 1792 and 1833. A diverse slate of presenters will discuss the structure and curriculum of the Academy, illuminate its role in the development of educational and social opportunities for women, and speak to the school’s legacy and relevancy within current scholarship.

Registration Required

Purchase Tickets Here

 

Session Schedule:

9:00 – Registration and Coffee

9:30 – Welcome Remarks

Sarah Pierce’s Female Academy

Catherine Fields, Executive Director, Litchfield Historical Society

10:00

The Litchfield Effect

C. C. Borzilleri, Program and Administrative Coordinator, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation

Litchfield-educated women pursued lifetimes of service to their communities and important roles in the typically male-dominated public sphere. Using the tools and lessons they gathered from Miss Pierce, they made an impact across the country on industries as varied as education, publishing, and women’s health. This talk will explore some of the stories recently uncovered about a few of the LFA’s most prolific graduates.

11:00

The Litchfield Female Academy and the Future of American Education

Mark Boonshoft, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History at Norwich University

American education transformed during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Literacy, numeracy, and the tools of citizenship became more accessible to more people. The Litchfield Female Academy and its alumni helped make possible this profound change in American life.

12:00 – Lunch

1:00 – Concurrent Sessions

12:30 – Walking Tour

Educator-led tour of Litchfield’s town center focusing on the history of the Female Academy and the daily life of its students. Includes a visit to the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School.

1:00 – Collections Focus

An in-depth look at important Female Academy materials from the archival and museum collections, facilitated by the Society’s Archivist and Curator. Includes a tour of the exhibition, By the Virtue of its Citizens.

2:00

The Book, the Needle, and the Pen… Connecticut Schoolgirls and Their Lessons

Susan P. Schoelwer, Ph.D., Executive Director, Historic Preservation and Collections and Robert H. Smith Senior Curator at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Academy has long and deservedly attracted the attention of both historians of female education and collectors of needlework, distinguished by its longevity and geographic reach, the number of students, its advanced curriculum, accomplished embroideries, and the extensive archive of surviving records and objects, carefully stewarded by the Litchfield Historical Society and brilliantly brought to light by the late Lynne Brickley. Broader studies of Connecticut needlework demonstrate the existence of countless other schools, some short-lived but others of many years’ duration. Glimpses of student experiences across the state provide illuminating comparisons to the lessons of Litchfield.

3:00

An Examination of Lucy Sheldon’s Music Books

Jewel A. Smith, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music

An examination of Lucy Sheldon’s music books offers a window into the music studied at the Litchfield Female Academy in the early nineteenth century, where young women were exposed to and participated in Litchfield’s upscale social culture. Sheldon’s books include diverse and up-to-date publications for the serious piano student, such as battle pieces, waltzes, sonatas, marches, sets of variations, and transcriptions, in addition to sacred and secular vocal music—all  representative as part of the education that prepared the students to enter genteel society.

4:00 – Reception

 

This program is generously supported by a grant from