Monday, March 28, 2011

Oswego College for Young Ladies

Oswego College (1891)

Oswego College for Young Ladies

Location: Oswego, Kansas, USA

Founded: Incorporated December 23, 1883. School opened on January 14, 1886.

Closed: Dates differ, but probably around 1910. Presbysterian records for the school extend until 1924.

There were apparently no more than three women's colleges that ever operated in the state of Kansas. (The College of the Sisters of Bethany is discussed in the post below this one.) St. Mary College is now co-ed. Oswego College for Young Ladies is the third, and like the College of the Sisters of Bethany, is now lost.

Oswego College was organized by Presbyterian clergy (all men) in Neosho County, and was under the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian Synod of Kansas. The school opened in a single "large brick residence," with Miss Louise Paull serving as principal. (Of course, a man was appointed as president.) Miss Paull continued in charge until the close of the spring term, in June 1887. Miss Susan H. Johnson was thereupon elected principal, and she served until the spring of 1893.

Just after Miss Paull left in the summer of 1887, a "fine" three-story frame building was built "at a cost of about $12,000, exclusive of furniture." The new building contained "chapel, recitation rooms, library, dormitories, dining room and kitchen."

It was not until 1898-99 that a woman, Miss Delia Proctor, succeeded to the college presidency. She was succeeded by Miss Margaret L. Hill, who served one year.

By the turn of the century, the College had developed into three departments: the preparatory or high school, the seminary ("which has a four-year preparatory course, with a fifth devoted to special subjects"), and the "college department, where courses were planned with special reference to subjects which represent the leading vocations for women, such as home economics, education, business science, art and crafts, music, etc."

However, by this time it was already clear by this time that the school had been mismanaged financially--probably for years. By the close of the school in 1900, the board of trustees "did not see their way open to provide a faculty for the next year," and the school was temporarily closed. Somehow, the school was able to muster some additional funding, but it continued to operate for just another decade or so.

Photo: "Oswego College, 1891."

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