Left: The first General Catalogue 1816-1880 includes the names of these four young women, class of 1816. Right: Otis Hutchins, a Dartmouth graduate, was the first principal of KUA (1815-1819).

The First Academy was dedicated on January 9, 1815, and classes began the next day. According to the first catalog, “The number of pupils present, says the first Principal, was the Scripture number, seven.” It is generally thought that the first young women to study at KUA were enrolled after Hannah Kimball provided funds for a separate but equal Female Department in 1839. However, we can see from this catalogue that a few women were enrolled at KUA from the first year. In the spring of 1816, six young men received KUA’s first graduation certificates. Nine other students had attended: five were young men who did not complete the course requirements and four were young women. These women may or may not have completed the courses, but would not have received certificates simply because the Academy, at that time, only recognized male graduates. Young women continued to attend the Academy, but it was not until 1848 that the first two women received graduation certificates.

In the same catalog, the first Principal, Otis Hutchins, an 1804 graduate of Dartmouth College, was described with somewhat “faint praise” by the fourth principal, Cyrus Smith Richards, KUA Class of 1831, when he described him as a man of “undoubted ability and superior scholarship; greatly respected by the citizens of Meriden, and beloved by all his pupils. The reason assigned by the trustees for his early dismissal was, that he lacked organizing ability. His classifications and general arrangements were often sadly at fault; so that he and his teachers were often working at a great disadvantage. Still, his administration, of four years, was very useful, with an encouraging patronage.” Richards, also a Dartmouth graduate, class of 1835, served KUA for 36 years (1835-1871) and his administration was considered very “useful,” indeed.

Question of the week: Can you find the names of the first couple to have met at KUA?

Answer to last week’s question: The 21st century name of the student newspaper is The Claw. I believe it comes from the school mascot, the Wildcat, an animal with great and industrious claws.