Following the disastrous fire of 1824 that destroyed the first class building, the trustees quickly made plans to rebuild and by the end of the following summer of 1825, a brick building was ready for classes to begin that autumn. Although described as a small structure, according to the oldest existing school catalogue (attached), printed as a broadside and dated October 1825, it provided classroom space for 86 students. You’ll notice that there are 18 women listed under the simple heading, LADIES, but under GENTLEMEN, it shows that 29 studied in the Classical Department and 39 in the English Department. Individual classes, senior, middle and junior, were not listed for men until 1840 and for women, 1848.
By 1828, catalogues began to list women as well as men in the English Department. In May 1836 and 1837, a few women had asterisks by their names denoting that they had chosen to study the classics. One of them, Mary Frost, of Meriden, NH, class of 1840, was a relative of Dr. Frost whose former home is now the KUA residence of the Howe Dewdney Family. In 1841, Mary’s classmate, Malvina Chapin of Newport, NH, also a classics student, studied at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary which became Mount Holyoke College and is Ms. Howe’s alma mater.
From the early catalogues, broadsheets and school directory (1815-1880), we know that although the Academy was founded by a Council of Churches with the stated purpose, “To assist in the education of poor and pious young men for the gospel ministry;…”, women had always attended classes at KUA. Often left off when being quoted is the second part of the sentence, which is important to know as it shows a willingness and desire of the founders of KUA to also offer a liberal education to those not choosing the ministry. The sentence ends, “…and such others as may be admitted by the trustees, subject to pay tuition.” Such as women, perhaps!
For those of you who might be interested in exactly what the students studied in 1839, I’ve included below the subjects, without textbooks, as they appeared in the catalogue.
English Department: (Both departments required three years of courses.) “It is hoped that the advantage of such an arrangement will be sufficiently obvious to all, who aim at a thorough English education, to secure a general conformity.”
First Year: Grammar. Mental Arithmetic. Geography. History of New Hampshire. History of the United States. Written Arithmetic, commenced. Book-Keeping by Single Entry.
Second Year: Grammar, reviewed. Written Arithmetic, finished. Natural Philosophy. Watts on the mind. Chemistry. Rhetorick. Algebra. Book-Keeping by Double Entry. Astronomy.
Third Year: Intellectual Philosophy. Political Class-Book. Surveying. Geometry. Botany. Physiology. Natural Theology. Natural Philosophy. Moral Philosophy. Composition and Elocution through the course in both departments.”
Classical Department: “It is believed that this time, in a majority of cases, is quite short enough to meet the present academical requirements, and to lay a safe and thorough foundation for future progress.”
First Year: Latin Grammar. Latin Reader. Andrews’ Latin Exercises. Nepos, or Caesar. Sallust, commenced. Greek Grammar, commenced. Greek Lessons. Latin Dictionary.
Second Year: Greek Grammar, continued. Greek Exercises. Xenophon’s Anabasis, commenced. Cicero, commenced. Written Translations from Latin and Greek into English.
Third Year: Cicero, completed. Virgil. Xenophon, completed, Greek Testament. Algebra. Arithmetic reviewed. Rhetoric. Ancient Geogrphy. Written Translations from English into Latin and Greek. A brief course of Reading commencing with the first year, embracing History, works of Taste, models of Style, &c.”
Images: The Second Academy Class Building c. 1825, School Catalogue 1825 printed as a Broadsheet