|Oread Institute (1849-1881)|
Oread Institute was built by Eli Thayer of Worcester on a piece of land known as “Goat Hill” off Main Street in 1849. The Oread offered three levels of instruction: primary, academic and collegiate. The four-year collegiate program offered a classical, college-level curriculum and is thought to be the first institution of its kind exclusively for women in the country. It was modeled after the program at Brown University, Thayer’s alma mater. The Oread taught women students for 32 years, from 1849–1881. Laura C. Spelman, later the wife of John D. Rockefeller, and her sister Lucy M. attended Oread in 1858. It later became The Worcester Domestic Science Cooking School (1898–1904) where, it is reputed, shredded wheat was invented. The Oread was razed in 1934.
Oread graduates & administrators
Helen Louise Kendrick Johnson (1844–1917) Hamilton, New York. Attended Oread 1863–1865. Wrote several children’s and travel books and, in 1897, Woman and the Republic, a collection of articles and arguments against woman suffrage. During 1894–1896 she edited the American Woman’s Journal and was founder of the Meridian Club in 1886 and the anti-suffrage Guidon Club in 1910 in New York City.
Abby Leach (1855–1918) Educator born in Brockton, MA, attended Oread 1869–1871. Graduated in 1871. Taught at the Oread from 1873–1878 and from 1876–78 was the “preceptress.” She took private instruction in Greek, Latin and English from Harvard professors in 1878 and was one of the first students enrolled in classes opened to women in 1879 at the “Harvard Annex,” which would later become Radcliffe College. In 1883, she became instructor in Greek and Latin at Vassar College. She became an associate professor in 1886, and full professor and head of the Greek department in 1889. She remained at Vassar for the next 29 years. She was president of the American Association of University Women 1899–1901.