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The following is a part of a collection of articles written by Karen Cuccinello of the Stamford Village library history room, mostly pertaining to Stamford, and originally submitted to the Mt. Eagle. We are pleased to share them here with all our Delaware County researchers.

Stamford Seminary

by Karen Cuccinello

The Stamford Village Library History Room has quite a large collection of Seminary documents, booklets and yearbooks. The following is a compilation of the holdings dating from the opening of the Seminary in 1849 through 1900.

The earliest documents from 1849 are three Certificates of Stock and one transfer of stock. They are each written on barely a third of a sheet of plain paper. Those that purchased the stock were Lewis Morton, William Mahan and Samuel B. Maynard, who later sold his stock to G.R. Gilbert (Mr. Gilbert also bought stocks from W.H. Marshall and Wm R. Beckley in 1864). Charles Griffin, the treasurer, signed all the certificates.

The next oldest documents are an 1851 “Order of Exercises for Annual Exhibition”, an 1852 advertisement for the fall term and an 1859 “Order of Exercises of Eclectic Society, Stamford Collegiate Institute”. The Exercise programs are printed on a single sheet of paper and folded. They must have been very long events as the 1851 program includes: a prayer, Distribution of Schemes, 15 recitations by different speakers (I believe all students), 8 listings for music, the reading of the Ladies Paper The Bouquet, the Gentlemen’s Paper The Eagle and a Benediction.

The following is a list of the other documents, programs and booklets, listed in chronological order, starting with the year 1872: Catalogue of The Judson Circulating Library (they were only open Monday through Saturday from 4-5PM), Public Exercises, Anniversary Excercises, Closing Exercises, University of the State of NY test in Geography, Jesse Gilbert’s report card in reading, spelling and general deportment, (following 1882 the programs are usually titled Stamford Seminary and Union Free School) Maynard Prize Contest in Essay and Recitation , Prize Contest in Oration and Declamation, Annual Circular, Primary and Intermediate Department Entertainment, Entertainment of the Junior Department, Entertainment of the Grammar and Intermediate Departments, Annual Commencement, Catalogue (of classes and teachers), Junior Entertainment, Class Day Exercises, Graduating Exercises Primary Department, Entertainment by the Students of the Seminary for the benefit of the Library and Entertainment by the Grades.

The following is from the 1899-1900 catalog, which was the schools 50th anniversary. The school was organized and conducted in 1849 by John G. Murphy in a building that became Benjamin McKillip’s blacksmith shop. In 1853 classes took place in a building on a site that later became the Hamilton house. S.E. Churchill bought the property in 1866 and conducted a prosperous school for seven years. During this time buildings were erected and Samuel Judson made a generous bequest for a library. The success of the school got a bit shaky in 1873 when Mr. Churchill sold a large part of the school property. The local citizens rallied to raise $10,000 to save the school and erected the school (pictured) in 1874 on land donated by Hon. F.R. Gilbert. The Seminary and the Union School were united in 1881. During the late 1890’s several thousand dollars were spent on repairs and grading the school grounds. They enlarged recitation rooms, new room for library (2,500 bound volumes), new chemical and physical laboratory rooms, large room for gymnastics and physical culture, black boards, toilet rooms, hot water heating system and ventilation system. Military drill was also made a part of the school curriculum and equipment was purchased for 35 men. Student organizations were: Students Association, Presto Club, Glee Club and Chorus Class.

The years 1900-1950 to follow.

submitted by Karen Cuccinello - posted to this website February 15, 2015


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