Septermber 21, 2012
Abbot Academy Principals 1829-1857
Charles Goddard 1829-1831 Charles Goddard, first Principal of Abbot Academy, could be frequently found sitting in an art classroom of Abbot Hall, surrounded by sharpened colored pencils, drawing boards and wooden stools. In addition to his role as the first headmaster of the Academy, Goddard instructed young women in drawing. Prior to the Academy’s opening, the school characterized Goddard as an individual whose “character, education, manners and experience would inspire confidence in all,” according to “Academy Hill: The Andover Campus, 1778 to the Present.” Under Goddard, Abbot taught English, history, geography, mathematics, chemistry and both ancient and modern languages. Goddard’s passion for teaching was evident in his lessons, which motivated his students to learn. Mary Ann Durant Bullard AA’37 described his attitude as “wide awake, almost sportive,” as written in “A Singular School.” Though he served as Principal for only two years, Goddard’s tenure shaped the face of Abbot and laid the foundations for a school that would endure for more than a century.
Reverand Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth 1838-1839 Reverend Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth, fourth Principal of Abbot Academy, was also a clergyman, teacher and beekeeper. Born in Philadelphia, Langstroth graduated from the Divinity School at Yale University in 1831 and taught there before moving to Andover. During his time as Principal, Langstroth also served as a pastor at Andover’s South Congregational Church. Known as the “father of American beekeeping,” according to “A Singular School,” Langstroth received the first United States patent for a beehive design that most beekeepers still use today. After two years as Principal, Langstroth retired to work full time at his parish.
Reverand Samuel Lamson 1832-1834 In the dim hours of the morning, a buggy full of enthusiastic Abbot Academy students rattled down a dirt road headed toward the ocean. During his tenure, Reverend Samuel Lamson, second Principal of Abbot Academy, began organizing off-campus excursions for students, including one to the nearby beach. Some trips left campus as early as four o’clock in the morning, but they always drew a throng of eager students. In his two years as Principal, Lamson was known for his compassion towards students. In “A Singular School,” M. Carey Thomas, the first female President of Bryn Mawr College recalled, “Of all the teachers, no one knew so well as [Lamson] to reach the conscience in matters generally considered too trivial.”
Reverand Timothy Dwight Porter Stone
1853 After the resignation of Reverend Asa Farrell in November 1852, Abbot Academy was at a loss for leadership. Peter Smith Byers, Phillips Academy faculty member, was asked to fill the slot of school principal in the fall. After receiving the invitation, Byers surveyed and observed the school. Unfortunately, what he found did not live up to his expectations. Before he had even served one day as principal of the academy, Byers turned down the offer and abdicated his position as president, according to Lloyd.
1835-1838 Sharing his love for astronomy and meteorology with many students, Reverend Samuel Gilman Brown, third Principal of Abbot Academy, helped integrate the natural sciences into Abbot’s curriculum. Brown, who served as Principal for three years, was known for his kind, understanding and daring character. His scientific knowledge benefited students in more ways than one, as one Abbot alumna said in “A Singular School,” “I had been terribly afraid of lightning till Mr. Brown gave us a lecture one evening.” Brown was one of the most beloved principals because he understood the needs of young girls. In “A Singular School,” an alumna is quoted: “We caught his enthusiasm, and strove to study well so as to not disappoint him.” Brown exuded passion in all the subjects he taught, which ranged from astronomy to English literature.
Reverand Asa Farwell
Reverend Timothy Dwight Porter Stone, fifth Principal of Abbot Academy, was known at the school as a cheerful man who kept the Academy in “perfect order,” as Julia Ann Pierce said in “A Singular School.” Stone, a graduate of Andover, was a vivacious man who brought new ideas to Abbot. Most notably, he opened an Abbot Commons in Davis Hall. While he was at the school, he managed to balance being a writer, father and a landlord for Abbot boarders. Desiring that Abbot Academy prepare young women for the teaching profession, Stone implemented a three-year course called “The Abbot Female Seminary” as one of the school’s main offerings. “All the studies here [are designed to] render Young Ladies qualified to impart as well as to acquire knowledge,” Stone is quoted in “A Singular School.”
Nancy Judson Hasseltine 1854-1856
Peter Smith Byers
Reverand Samuel Gilman Brown
Nancy Judson Hasseltine, seventh Principal of Abbot Academy, increased Abbot’s reliance on women as the first female Principal of the Academy. Hasseltine formally severed ties with the Andover Theological Seminary and stopped allowing Abbot students to attend lectures at Phillips Academy. The young Principal made many changes to the school during her two-and-a-half year tenure. Smith Hall, the school’s first dormitory, was built and opened in 1856 after Hasseltine asked the Trustees for a school dormitory. On top of teaching up to six hours a day, Hasseltine managed to strengthen the English curriculum, supervise her assistants and keep the business affairs of the school organized. People said that Hasseltine “taught everything as if it were her favorite study” and possessed “a tremendous sense of duty,” according to “A Singular School” by Susan McIntosh Lloyd.
Articles by Rani Iyer, Andrew O’Brien, Ian Whittall, Anika Kim, Rhaime Kim and Rebecca Cheng. Photos by Stephen Moreland. Sources: “A Singular School: Abbot Academy 18281973,” by Susan McIntosh Lloyd Sequal to Annals of Fifty Years: A History of Abbot Academy,” by Philena McKeen “Abbot Academy Sketches,” by Katherine R. Kelsey
Reverend Asa Farwell, sixth Principal of Abbot Academy, led the school for ten years, a longer tenure than any previous Abbot Principal . Farwell was also one of the last of two men to serve as Principal of Abbot until 1968. During his time as Principal, Farwell started a small riding school in Draper Hall to benefit the Abbot students. He emphasized the importance of physical activity in daily life. “Walking in the open air and riding on horseback, is regarded as highly useful not only in affording a pleasing relaxation … but in avoiding those diseases to which the studious are always exposed,” wrote Farwell in Abbot Academy’s 1844-1845 catalogue, according to “A Singular School.” Farwell was fired from the school in September of 1848, after 27 Abbot students and 10 of their fathers petitioned for his removal because he was “wholly lacking in that gentlemanly deportment and refinement of manner which are best calculated to make favorable impressions in the formation of female character,” according to a “A Singular School.” Born in Dorset, Vermont in 1812, Farwell was educated at Burr Seminary, Middlebury College and the Andover Theological Seminary.
Maria Jane Bancroft Brown 1856-1857 Maria Jane Bancroft Brown, eighth Principal of Abbot Academy, encouraged the young women of Abbot not to fight against inequality of power but to be a “co-operating power,” according to “A Singular School,” by Susan McIntosh Lloyd. “[Brown] advised her graduating Seniors to welcome the difference between their own futures and the ‘active life’ open to male graduates of ‘classic halls,’” wrote Lloyd. Maria Jane Bancroft Brown taught female students in Virginia prior to being appointed as Principal of Abbot Academy. Brown also taught at Exeter, Northampton, Norton, Springfield, Brunswick and Lawrenceville. Her haughty and cultured demeanor incited both obedience and admiration amongst her students. Brown served as the Principal of Abbot for only a little bit over a year. Eventually, she resigned for a position at a school in the South.
September 21, 2012
Abbot Academy Principals 1857-1973
Emma L. Taylor 1857-1859 Emma L. Taylor, tenth Principal of Abbot Academy, arrived at the school in the fall of 1857 with many expecting her to live up to her great name. Taylor was the sister of Samuel H. Taylor, who was described as a “prince among teachers” in the “Annals of Fifty Years: A History of Abbot Academy, Andover, Mass., 1829-1879” by Philena McKeen and Phebe Fuller McKeen. The trustees of Abbot felt that by having Taylor serve as Principal, they had “secured one of the seed royal” in education, wrote the McKeens. She ultimately did live up to her brother’s reputation, matching him “in literary tastes, in kindness of heart, in cordiality of manners [and] in sincerity of Christian character,” wrote the McKeens. Before coming to Abbot, Taylor, who graduated from Mt. Holyoke Seminary in 1845, had acquired experience teaching in Derry, New Hampshire, St. Johnsbury, Vermont and Stanstead, Canada. After spending two years at Abbot, Taylor resigned from her role to return to Derry, where she continued teaching at Adams Academy. In 1878, she and her sister, Horace Fairbanks, moved to a secluded cottage in St. Johnsbury, where Taylor lived until her death on December 3, 1886, according to “Abbot Academy Sketches” by Katherine R. Kelsey.
Emily Adams Mean 1898-1911
Emily Adams Means, twelfth Principal of Abbot Academy, sipped tea while chatting in Italian with her students about how a lady must behave during tea-time. Means increased the prestige of the Academy by maintaining a strict campus atmosphere. Means graduated from Abbot in 1969, and although Abbot was a college preparatory school, Means decided to travel instead of continuing her education. When she returned to Abbot Academy to teach foreign language before becoming Principal, she brought an attitude against attending college. “A profoundly independent person, [Means] saw no reason for most young women to continue to depend upon formal institutions of the credentials they conferred: Abbot Academy would be sufficient,” wrote Lloyd in “A Singular School.” Means was a person of few words and powerful opinions, and in being so she accomplished the construction of several new buildings, attachments and renovations by convincing trustees that proper facilities were necessary for a proper education. She also adjusted the curriculum to suit the college entrance exams, despite her attitude towards college education. Means strengthened both the science and history departments in addition to maintaining rigorous academic standards. Means found it necessary to provide a proper social education, so she permitted neither gossip nor shop talk in any language during meals or other social events. Yet, most of the girl looked up to Means and followed the severe rules she enforced. “There was much else to admire - and much to criticize. Her great quality, inspiring to some, to others rather terrifying, was her power to discern the best in people; and to tolerate nothing less,” wrote Lloyd.
Mary Hinckley Crane 1955-1966 As fifteenth Principal of Abbot Academy, Mary Hinckley Crane discussed current national trends with her English students, encouraging forward thinking at an academy where tradition and history shaped the curriculum. Crane also pioneered several initiatives at Abbot Academy. As Chairman of the Teacher Recruitment Committee of the National Association of Principals of Schools for Girls, Crane invited more male teachers to join the predominantly female staff in order to create balance within the faculty. Crane also sought to provide more freedom to the students by extending lights-out for Seniors, decreasing censorship of telephone calls and allowing girls to sit with the boys during the second half of a football game. As principal, Crane pushed Abbot Academy to put the school on a track more focused on forward thinking, a model that Phillips Academy retains today.
Philena McKeen 1859-1892 After searching high and low for devoted women with no plans of marriage, the trustees of Abbot came upon the perfect duo of the McKeen sisters, Philena McKeen, 37, and Phebe McKeen, 28, for the positions of Principal and assistant Principal. The two were apparently so perfect for the job, they came to be known collectively as “the binary star,” according to “Sequel to Annals of Fifty Years: A History of Abbot Academy” by Philena McKeen. In 1892, Abbot Academy students raised money for the construction of McKeen Memorial Hall, named in Philena’s honor. As Principal during the Civil War, Philena McKeen led the school in support of the Northern Cause, spending all Wednesday and Saturday afternoons sewing uniforms and rolling bandages for the Phillips Academy Ellsworth Guards, a military company consisting of many Academy boys. Philena McKeen considered knowledge of French and German to be a necessity for all “sophisticated ladies,” so she greatly expanded the German and French department, while the science and math facilities were “pathetic.” The expanded modern language department outshone that of Phillips Academy, which would not offer modern language until the mid 1870’s. The McKeens considered housework to be just as important as school work, requiring students to change guest beds while being quizzed on literature such as Butler’s “Analogy.”
Bertha Bailey 1912-1935 Bertha Bailey, thirteenth Principal of Abbot Academy, smiled as all of the Abbot girls eagerly lined up to sign a form of personal contribution of service during all school meeting in fall of 1917. Bertha Bailey, or “Big Bertha” as most students affectionately called her, led the school to a time of great expansion and enthusiasm from 1912 to 1935. Bailey was known for enforcing the rules and demands of the school more thoroughly than any other principal. “As soon as she arrived, she made clear how high and how detailed were her expectations,” wrote Susan McIntosh Lloyd in “A Singular School.” Bailey’s time at Abbot coincided with both World War I and a dramatic increase of high school enrollment nationwide. Bailey made an effort to maintain structure during this time by convincing most Abbot students to sign a form that bound them to keeping personal hygiene and efficiency. “Students felt free to come to Miss Bailey in time of trouble, whether the trouble began with the school or with themselves. [She] was ready equally to listen to a problem or a joke,” wrote Lloyd.
Eleanor Morin Tucker 1966-1968 Under Eleanor Morin Tucker’s leadership, Abbot and Phillips Academy students joined on stage to perform a joint production of “King Lear.” As Instructor in Chemistry and Mathematics, Director of Studies and College Counselor, Tucker devoted 30 years of her life to Abbot before becoming Principal. During her two-year tenure as Principal, Tucker initiated discussions about the joining process between the two institutions. In addition to collective theater performances, Phillips Academy invited Abbot students to Cochran Chapel and sponsored joint dances and concerts for the two schools. Phillips boys and Abbot girls worked together in a community service project as well, tutoring students in Lawrence. Tucker took on the responsibility to steer the institution in a new direction.
Laura Sophia Wastson 1892-1898 Laura Sophia Watson paved the way for ambitious young girls looking ahead to college careers after high school. As a stipulation in her contract of a $1,200 annual salary, she demanded the institution of college preparatory courses to give the Abbot students an opportunity to attend more liberal colleges in a time when few women held beyond a high school degree. Prior to Watson’s tenure, only 26 Abbot alumnae, a mere 0.009 percent of all past Abbot students, went on to graduate from a four-year college. Just six years after her tenure as Principal of Abbot and the creation of college preparatory classes, that number jumped to 46 alumnae. Watson not only prepared her students academically for college but also made it her business to ensure that they successfully matriculated. Watson went out of her way to persuade many of the northeastern colleges of the time to accept Abbot students based solely off of a certificate of recommendation from an Abbot Academy faculty member.
Marguerite Capen Hearsey 1936-1955 Creating many new courses and choosing teachers personally, Marguerite Hearsey, fourteenth Principal of Abbot Academy, worked to create the most specialized and best learning environment possible at Abbot from 1936 to 1955. Hearsey added several courses in subjects such as history and business in order to ensure that every student could focus more on a specific area of study they enjoyed. “The key to education is teachers who know their subjects, [Hearsey] said, not cram courses or pedagogues trained in normal school,” wrote Susan McIntosh Lloyd in “A Singular School.” Although Hearsey faced the setbacks brought with World War II, the student body expanded to an alltime high in her time as Principal, and the college admission rate increased. “Miss Hearsey’s efforts to attract interesting applicants brought a brighter, more various group to the school than ever,” wrote Lloyd. Hearsey made an effort to know every student at Abbot. Her effort went beyond her personal “good night” to each girl, as she often chatted with her students during all times of the day and helped individual girls with personal issues.
Donald Gordon 1968-1973 During his leadership from the late 60’s through the Phillips Academy merger, Abbot Academy looked up to Donald Gordon’s six-foot, seven inch frame throughout the uncertain period at the school. Gordon led Abbot through the political controversies that overwhelmed the nation during his first few years as Principal. A progressive leader, Gordon modified Abbot’s outdated policies by raising teachers’ salaries, expanding Abbot’s scholarship program, hiring a full-time professional business manager and changing Abbot’s long-standing traditional dress code. While he used his position to affect change within the school, he prioritized building trustful relationships with his students.
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CXXXV, Issue 16: Abbot Academy Principals