Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Have you ever wanted to have automatic admission to an excellent college?
If so, then you might have enrolled at the Longmeadow Family and Day School for Girls.
In 1886, a four year college preparatory school for girls was proposed to open in Longmeadow. While not exclusively connected to Wellesley College, an official board of visitors from the Wellesley faculty would supervise instruction. Pupils completing the course would be received at Wellesley College without further examination. Mrs. D. T. Smith of Longmeadow and Miss Ella F. Prout (a Wellesley graduate) would serve as associate principals.
The school was to be housed at the home of Mrs. D. T. Smith (796 Longmeadow St.), which was lauded as “pleasant, commodious and well arranged, thoroughly heated and ventilated and the drainage is perfect.” Girls would be welcomed into the family of the principal and would be expected to fit within the regulations of the family “to promote mutual courtesy and self-respect, and to insure habits of self-control and thoughtfulness for others.”
The curriculum included algebra, geometry, English, geography, history, Latin, Greek, French, and German. The cost for a 36-week school year (tuition, board, room, and utilities) was $400. Instruction in music, painting, and elocution were available, but not included in the basic cost. There was a $20 annual charge to use the piano. This school appears to be modeled on Dana Hall School, which is located in Wellesley, MA. Dana Hall School was founded in 1881 to provide young women with the rigorous mental training that had long been available to men. Early students of Dana Hall School were guaranteed admission to Wellesley College without further examination if they completed the course of study. Why would Wellesley College be interested in establishing a college preparatory school in Longmeadow? Because Longmeadow families believed that educating their daughters was important. Since 1841, young women from Longmeadow had headed up the valley to South Hadley to be educated at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Twenty-eight young women from Longmeadow and East Longmeadow, many with the last names of Bliss, Colton, Burbank, White, Pratt, Goldthwait, and Hooker, attended the school in the 1800s. While some married shortly after graduation, most shared their learning by teaching in schools throughout the country. Annie Bradford Coomes was the first Longmeadow young woman to attend Wellesley College. Perhaps she helped develop the Longmeadow Family and Day School for Girls by connecting her friend, Mrs. D. T. Smith, and her classmate, Ella F. Prout, with the Wellesley College faculty. Dana Hall School is still flourishing in Wellesley, MA, but we can find no record that the Longmeadow Family and Day School for Girls ever had any students. When it was time to go to college, Grace T. Smith, daughter of Mrs. D. T. Smith, continued the town tradition and attended school at Mount Holyoke College.
Springfield Republican May 7, 1886
Wellesley College Bulletin, Wellesley College Record 1875-1912
Dana Hall School website
Catalogue of the Memorandum Society, of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, for Thirty Years, Ending 1867
Catalogue of the Memorandum Society, of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, for Five Years 1867-1872
General Catalogue, Mount Holyoke Seminary 1837-1887
General Catalogue of Mount Holyoke College, 1837-1924
Longmeadow Historical Society archives
Contributed by Elizabeth Hoff, Board Member, Longmeadow Historical Society
Originally published June 4, 2020