Grove Female Seminary

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Grove Female Seminary 1859.jpg
  • Grove Female Seminary
Educational Services
  • Colleges / Universities / and Professional Schools
Trading names
  • Mrs. Pope's Seminary at Wooster
  • Seminary
  • 1853
  • Date unknown
Key Persons
Key Persons
  • Eleanor Sturdevant, Principal of Primary Department and Vocal Music Faculty 1859
  • Cara L. Lehman, Teacher of instrumental and vocal music Faculty 1859
  • C. Rudloff, Teacher of instrumental music Faculty 1859
  • C. E. Reimensnyder, Teacher of mathematics, natural history, Faculty 1859
  • Sarah J. Black, Teacher of physiology, astronomy, Faculty 1859
  • Joshua Smith, Teacher of guitar Faculty 1859
  • Benjamin Pope, Superintendent and teacher of Latin and German Faculty 1859
  • Elizabeth M. Pope, Principal and teacher of painting, drawing, embroidery, mathematics, Faculty 1859
    • Wooster, 44691, Ohio

Located on the northeast corner North and Market Streets, Wooster, Ohio.

The Grove Female Seminary was a learning institution which operated under various names and under various administrators in Wooster, Ohio from 1840 to circa 1870. Through the years since its founding in 1840, it was known as the Wooster Female School, the Wooster Female Seminary, Grove Female Institute, and Grove Female Seminary.

The school operated under the name Wooster Female School from 1840 to 1842. This school was established by Reverend Joseph McKee, and the first session was advertised as beginning on May 4, 1840, lasting 22 weeks, and was to be held in the Eberman building on East Liberty Street. Among the classes that the school offered were preparatory classes in spelling and reading; elementary classes in English grammar, geography, arithmetic, and writing; advanced classes in mathematics, natural and moral sciences, and rhetoric; as well as classes in French and drawing. Board and tuition inclusive of all classes except French and drawing was $20. The school’s name was changed to the Wooster Female Seminary during 1842, probably at the beginning of the Summer session.

The school operated under the name Wooster Female Seminary from 1842 to circa 1850. The superintendent was Reverend Joseph McKee, and his wife was the principal instructor. The school held a summer term (generally beginning in May) and a winter term (generally beginning in November). Each term consisted of two quarters, and each quarter lasted eleven weeks. Public examinations were held at the end of each term. Among the classes offered were basic courses in reading, spelling and geography ($3.00 tuition per quarter in 1842); philosophy, chemistry, botany, astronomy, logic, etc. ($5.00 tuition per quarter in 1842); French ($4.00 tuition per quarter in 1842), and music/piano ($8.00 tuition per quarter in 1842). A Latin and Greek class was added in 1844 ($4.00 tuition per quarter in 1844). A letter to the editor of the Wooster Democrat in 1844 mentioned that the number of students had grown to as many as 40 to 50 students per session. In 1845, boarding was offered at the Seminary at the price of $1.25 per week. In a May 1848 newspaper advertisement for the school, “Mrs. S. E. McKee” was listed as Principal and “Miss Elmina Smith” as Assistant. In an October 1848 advertisement, Mrs. McKee continued as Principal, with “Miss C. Rex” as Assistant. In July 1849, the school came under the supervision of “Mrs. E. M. Pope”.

The school operated under the name Grove Female Institute from circa 1850 to circa 1868, with Rev. Benjamin Pope as Superintendent and Rev. Mrs. Elizabeth Pope as Principal. The scholastic year was divided into three terms of fourteen weeks each. In 1854, primary classes were $3.50 to $4.00 per term, junior classes were $5.00 per term, middle classes were $6.00 per term, senior classes were $7.00 per term, music/piano was $10.00 per term, and board/tuition/washing/light/fuel, etc. was $40.00 per term, exclusive of languages and “ornamental” branches (e.g. painting and drawing). In a newspaper notice about the Institute’s recently published catalogue and circular for the year ending April 1855, it was mentioned that 114 young women attended the school in the past year, many pursuing Junior and Senior studies, with some 34 taking music lessons. Rev. Benjamin Pope was Superintendent and taught Latin and German, while Mrs. Pope was Principal and taught higher mathematics. There were five assistant teachers and a Domestic superintendent at that time. “The Institution is located on a slight eminence on North Liberty Street. It is pleasantly shaded by trees and occupies the centre of an entire block of lots (180 feet square) affording sufficient room for exercise and recreation.” In 1856, board and tuition were raised to $42.00 per term, with music on the piano an additional $12.00. Day students could attend classes at a tuition of from $3.50 to $7.00 per term. The Music Department came under the care of “Prof. C. Rudloff”.

In the Fall 1858 term, a “Dr. L. Firestone”, “favorably known to this community, and throughout the State as a scientific and practical Anatomist and Physiologist” was to deliver a regular course of lectures on those subjects, and a “Monsieur Subit” was to give instruction in French. Beginning in Fall 1859, the school year was divided into two sessions of 21 weeks each, with each session divided into two quarters, instead of the previous three terms of 14 weeks each. Board and tuition per quarter were $32.00 (exclusive of the extra branches), or $128.00 for an entire school year. Day students could attend classes at a tuition of from $3.00 to $5.50 per quarter, with piano instruction an additional $9.00 per quarter.

In 1861, the companies of Colonel de Courcy’s 16th Regiment assembled in front of the Grove Female Institute as they marched through Wooster on their way to Camp Dennison for training, each company giving three cheers “for the ladies of Wooster, who, on various occasions, had manifested their patriotism, and care for the volunteers, by preparing Hospital stores, clothing, food, &c., for the Regiment.”

Among the teachers in 1863 were “Mrs. W. W. Firestone” who was a musical instructor, and a “Miss Holbrook” and “Emily K. Howard”, who were assistant teachers.

In December 1865, the Grove Female Institute was advertised for sale by Elizabeth Pope. In August 1866, a notice in the Wooster Republican announced that the Fall Session would begin on September with “Miss E. W. Robb” as Principal.

The school operated under the name Grove Female Seminary from circa 1869 to circa 1870. It appears that about this time, the Seminary was moved to a new building. A notice in the January 27, 1870 edition of the Wooster Republican announces that the Seminary “will remove in February, to North Market St., opposite the Baptist Church.” “Miss E. W. Robb” was Principal, with Martha A. Webster as music teacher. Miss E. W. Robb continued as a teacher until her resignation in August 1870. She had accepted a teaching position at the High School in Akron, Ohio [1]. About one month later, there was an article stating that Miss S. W. Robb will continue the primary and intermediate class [2]. These could be Sarah Robb, age 22, School teacher and Lizzie Robb, 17, School teacher who are residing at the American Hotel in Wooster, Ohio in 1870 [3]

In the Wooster Republican on 23 Jun 1897, Mary E. Gordon wrote an article mentioning that she and Mrs. B. I. Loomis (then Miss Hannah Porter) were students of Mrs. Elizabeth M. Pope during the 1875-1876 school term.

In the Wayne County Democrat on 19 May 1880 on page 3, there was a gathering at the "Pope Seminary Building". It appears that Grove Female Seminary continue to operate many years following the move to the corner of N. Market St. and Larwill St., across from the Baptist Church.

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External Links

  1. Wooster Republican 4 Aug 1870 p. 3
  2. Wooster Republican 1 Sep 1870 p. 3
  3. 1870 US Census, Wooster Ward 1, Wayne County, Ohio, page 419 (stamped number)