Women Activists Turned Teachers


Judith Sargent Murray (Mrs. John Stevens)

John Singleton Copley, Artist
Oil on Canvas

In 1802, Judith Sargent Murray, one of the most prominent proponents for women’s equality and female education in the Early Republic, helped her cousin, Judith Saunders, open the Ladies’ Academy outside of Boston. The school taught academics as well as domestic skills.

Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2000.6

Watercolor Miniature of Susanna Rowson, Left Profile

Unknown Artist
ca. 1790
Watercolor on Paper

In 1797, Susanna Rowson, a renowned playwright and novelist, opened the Young Ladies’ Academy in Boston. She taught at the school and remained its headmistress until 1822.

Susanna Rowson Papers, 1770-1879, in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library, Accession #7379--7379-c, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.