Having been a teacher in her early life, it is not surprising that Hannah Kimball advised and encouraged her husband Daniel in his plans for an Academy in Meriden. After his death in 1817, Hannah remained in her home, known as the Kimball Mansion, and, according to tradition, “watched over the Academy with a lively and motherly interest.” In 1839 she fulfilled her own dream of providing for a more complete education for women by donating $1,250 and raising the same locally, in addition to a $10,000 bequest, in order to build a separate Female Seminary. She chose to build it on land 1/4 mile west of KUA, in an area behind Alumni Gym. In fact, bricks and other material had already been brought to the site when the KUA trustees and Principal Richards persuaded Hannah to combine the two schools under one roof, with one principal and one Board of Trustees to oversee both a Male Department and a Female Department. On May 8, 1839, the cornerstone of an addition to the current class building, soon to be known as the Third Academy, was laid.The last section of the School Catalogue, April 1840, is headed, FEMALE DEPARTMENT, and it states, “Young Ladies will enjoy all the privileges of the Institution with regard to Library, Apparatus, Lectures, &c; and also the benefit of instruction in the Male Department, in those studies which can be most successfully taught there. The course of instruction will have direct reference to those branches of female education that are solid and useful giving strength and discipline to the mind, and cultivation and direction to the moral feelings, and general character.” It further states, they will have their own boarding house for 40 to 50 “Ladies” and will be under the care of their teachers. “If practicable, the labor will be performed by the young ladies themselves, under the direction of a governess skilled in domestic economy. By this arrangement it is expected that the whole expense, exclusive of wood and lights, will not exceed $1.25 per week.”
In 1880 Principal Richards wrote, “A regularly organized Female Department went into operation in the autumn of 1840.” However, it is not until 1851 that evidence can be found in a program of music and speeches by male students, that females finally received diplomas. On the last page, just before the BENEDICTION, under the heading, DIPLOMAS CONFERRED UPON THE GRADUATING CLASS OF YOUNG LADIES, is a list of 10 ladies names.
Next Week: Principals and students of the 19th C.