Mary Mason Lyon (/ˈlaɪ.ən/; February 28, 1797 – March 5, 1849) was an American pioneer in women's education. She established the Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts, (now Wheaton College) in 1834. She then established Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1837 and served as its first president (or "principal") for 12 years. Lyon's vision fused intellectual challenge and moral purpose. She valued socioeconomic diversity and endeavored to make the seminary affordable for students of modest means.
Portrait of Mary Lyon, 1832
|1st President of Mount Holyoke College (Founder and Principal)|
|Succeeded by||Mary C. Whitman|
|Born||February 28, 1797|
near Buckland, Massachusetts
|Died||March 5, 1849 (aged 52)|
South Hadley, Massachusetts
|Resting place||Mount Holyoke College|
The daughter of a farming family in Buckland, Massachusetts, Lyon had a hardscrabble childhood. Her father died when she was five, and the entire family pitched in to help run the farm. Lyon was thirteen when her mother remarried and moved away; she stayed behind in Buckland in order to keep the house for her brother Aaron, who took over the farm. She attended various district schools intermittently and, in 1814, began teaching in them as well. Lyon's modest beginnings fostered her lifelong commitment to extending educational opportunities to girls from middling and poor backgrounds.
Lyon was eventually able to attend two secondary schools, Sanderson Academy in Ashfield and Byfield Seminary in eastern Massachusetts. At Byfield, she was befriended by the headmaster, Rev. Joseph Emerson, and his assistant, Zilpah Polly Grant. She also soaked up Byfield's ethos of rigorous academic education infused with Christian commitment. Lyon then taught at several academies, including Sanderson, a small school of her own in Buckland, Adams Female Academy (run by Grant), and the Ipswich Female Seminary (also run by Grant). Lyon's attendance at the then novel, popular, lectures in laboratory botany by Amos Eaton influenced her involvement in the female seminary movement.
In 1834, Laban Wheaton and his daughter-in-law, Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, called upon Mary Lyon for assistance in establishing the Wheaton Female Seminary (now Wheaton College) in Norton, Massachusetts. Miss Lyon created the first curriculum with the goal that it be equal in quality to those of men's colleges. She also provided the first principal, Eunice Caldwell. Wheaton Female Seminary opened on 22 April 1835, with 50 students and three teachers. Mary Lyon and Eunice Caldwell left Wheaton, along with eight Wheaton students, to open Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.
During these early years, Lyon gradually developed her vision for Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which would resemble Grant's schools in many respects but, Lyon hoped, draw its students from a wider socioeconomic range. The college was unique in that it was founded by people of modest means and served their daughters, rather than the children of the rich. She was especially influenced by Reverend Joseph Emerson, whose Discourse on Female Education (1822) advocated that women should be trained to be teachers rather than "to please the other sex."
Mount Holyoke opened in 1837: the seminary was ready for "the reception of scholars on November 8, 1837." Lyon strove to maintain high academic standards: she set rigorous entrance exams and admitted "young ladies of an adult age, and mature character." In keeping with her social vision, she limited the tuition to $60/year, about one-third the tuition that Grant charged at Ipswich Female Seminary, which was central to her mission of "appeal[ing] to the intelligence of all classes."
Lyon, an early believer in the importance of daily exercise for women, required her students to "walk one mile (1.6 km) after breakfast. During New England's cold and snowy winters, she reduced the requirement to 45 minutes. Calisthenics—a form of exercise—was taught by teachers in unheated hallways until a storage area was cleared for a gymnasium.
In order to keep costs low, Lyon required students to perform domestic tasks—an early version of work/study. These tasks included preparing meals and washing floors and windows. Emily Dickinson, who attended the Seminary in 1847, was tasked with cleaning knives. Though Lyon's policies were sometimes controversial, the seminary quickly attracted its target student body of 200.
Lyon anticipated a change in the role of women and equipped her pupils with an education that was comprehensive, rigorous, and innovative, with particular emphasis on the sciences. She required:
Conforti (1993) examines the central importance of religion to Lyon. She was raised a Baptist but converted to a Congregationalist under the influence of her teacher Reverend Joseph Emerson. Lyon preached revivals at Mount Holyoke, spoke elsewhere, and, though not a minister, was a member of the fellowship of New England's New Divinity clergy. She played a major role in the revival of the thought of Jonathan Edwards, whose works were read more frequently then than in his day. She was attracted by his ideas of self-restraint, self-denial, and disinterested benevolence.
Lyon died of erysipelas (possibly contracted from an ill student in her care) on March 5, 1849. Lyon was buried on the Mount Holyoke College campus, in front of Porter Hall and behind the Amphitheatre. Her burial site is marked with a granite marker surrounded by an iron fence.
Many buildings have been named in her honor, including Mary Lyon Hall at Mount Holyoke College. Built in 1897 on the site of the former Seminary Building, the hall houses college offices, classrooms, and a chapel. The main classroom building for Wheaton Female Seminary, originally called New Seminary Hall, was renamed Mary Lyon Hall in 1910 and still features prominently on the campus of Wheaton College. Dormitories named after Mary Lyon can also be found at Miami University, Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, Swarthmore College, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Mary Lyon Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington is named after her.
Vassar College, Wellesley College and the former Western College for Women were patterned after Mount Holyoke and Mary Lyon's work led to Ann Dudin Brown founding Westfield College in London. Oklahoma's Cherokee Female Seminary (now Northeastern State University) acquired its "first faculty for their female seminary from Mount Holyoke, [and] also used the Massachusetts school as a pattern for the institution they established."
| President of Mount Holyoke College (Founder and Principal)
Mary C. Whitman
Emma Hart Willard (February 23, 1787 – April 15, 1870) was an American women's rights activist who dedicated her life to education. She worked in several schools and founded the first school for women's higher education, the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York. With the success of her school, Willard was able to travel across the country and abroad, to promote education for women. The Troy Female Seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in 1895 in her honor.Erysipelas
Erysipelas is an acute infection typically with a skin rash, usually on any of the legs and toes, face, arms, and fingers. It is an infection of the upper dermis and superficial lymphatics, usually caused by beta-hemolytic group A Streptococcus bacteria on scratches or otherwise infected areas. Erysipelas is more superficial than cellulitis, and is typically more raised and demarcated. The term is from Greek ἐρυσίπελας, meaning "red skin".
In animals, erysipelas is a disease caused by infection with the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae can also infect humans, but in that case the infection is known as erysipeloid.Hartford Female Seminary
Hartford Female Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut was established in 1823, by Catharine Beecher, making it one of the first major educational institutions for women in the United States. By 1826 it had enrolled nearly 100 students. It implemented then-radical programs such as physical education courses for women. Beecher sought the aid of Mary Lyon in the development of the seminary. The Hartford Female Seminary closed towards the later half of the 19th century.
The school was first hosted in a third-floor room in a building at Main and Kinsley Streets in Hartford, then in the basement of the North Church. In 1827 the school moved into a new neoclassical building at 100 Pratt Street (41.7677°N 72.6751°W / 41.7677; -72.6751).Harriet Beecher Stowe taught at the school beginning in November 1827.Ipswich Female Seminary
Ipswich Female Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts, established in 1828, was a female seminary, an early school for the secondary and tertiary-level education of young women.
The school was founded as Ipswich Academy in 1828 by Zilpah Grant, with assistance from Mary Lyon. Grant had previously been a teacher and Lyon a student at an academy for female students in Byfield, Massachusetts. The school's focus was on preparing girls for careers as teachers and missionaries. It offered a "rigorous curriculum", including study of English, arithmetic, geography, chemistry, human physiology, history, the natural sciences, religion, vocal music, and calisthenics, and placed an emphasis on "standards of personal conduct and discipline". Teachers encouraged students in questioning and analysis, in addition to comprehension. As part of their preparation, students did practice teaching with guidance from a teacher. Enrollment averaged 116 students.Mary Lyon left as the principal in 1834 to begin a three-year effort that culminated in 1837 with the founding of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Grant retired from education in 1839, whereupon the school closed. In 1844 it was reopened by Eunice Caldwell Cowles, an Ipswich graduate, and her husband John P. Cowles, a minister. The school was renamed "Female Seminary" in 1848. It operated until 1876, by which time the increasing availability of public schools had reduced the need for schools of this type. According to Academy records, 88 of school's graduates went on to teach as educational missionaries in the western and southern United States.Lucy Weston Pickett
Lucy Weston Pickett (January 19, 1904 – November 23, 1997) was a Mary Lyon Professor and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Chair in Chemistry at Mount Holyoke College.
Her research on X-ray crystallography and ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy of organic molecules received numerous honors and was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society.Mary F. Lyon
Mary Frances Lyon (15 May 1925 – 25 December 2014) was an English geneticist, best known for her discovery of X-chromosome inactivation, an important biological phenomenon.Mary Lyon (disambiguation)
Mary Lyon (1797–1849) was a pioneering American educator.
Mary Lyon is also the name of:
Mary F. Lyon (1925–2014), English geneticist
Mary Lyon (writer) American columnist, political commentator and jewelry designerMary Lyon (writer)
Mary Lyon is an American columnist, political commentator and jewelry designer.Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College is a highly selective, private women's liberal arts college in South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States. It is the oldest institution within the Seven Sisters schools, an alliance of East Coast liberal arts colleges that was originally founded to provide women with education equivalent to that provided for men in the then men-only Ivy League. Mount Holyoke also served as a model for other women's colleges and is part of the region's Five College Consortium, along with Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The school was founded in 1837 by Mary Lyon as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Mount Holyoke received its collegiate charter in 1888 as Mount Holyoke Seminary and College and became Mount Holyoke College in 1893.
U.S. News & World Report lists Mount Holyoke as the 30th-best liberal arts college in the United States in its 2019 rankings. In 2011–2012, Mount Holyoke was one of the nation's top producers of Fulbright Scholars, ranking fourth among bachelor's institutions according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.Mount Holyoke is consistently named on "Most Beautiful College Campuses" lists, including The Huffington Post, The Princeton Review, and Architectural Digest. Its buildings were designed between 1896 and 1960. It has a Donald Ross-designed 18-hole golf course, The Orchards, which hosted the U.S. Women's Open in 2004.Murders of Katherine and Sheila Lyon
Katherine Mary Lyon (aged 10), and Sheila Mary Lyon (aged 12) were sisters who disappeared without a trace during a March 25, 1975 trip to a shopping mall in the Wheaton, Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.. Known colloquially as The Lyon Sisters, their case resulted in one of the largest police investigations in Washington Metropolitan Area history.
In 2013, a team of cold case investigators with the Montgomery County, Maryland, police made a break in the case. They focused on Lloyd Lee Welch, Jr., then serving a lengthy prison sentence in Delaware for child sexual abuse, the culmination of a long criminal record that had begun a few years after the girls' disappearance with a burglary arrest in their jurisdiction. In September 2017, Welch pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder for the abduction and murder of the two sisters. It had long been "one of the most high-profile unsolved cases in the D.C. area." The girls' remains have never been found.
Police records show that during the original investigation, Welch came forward a week after the girls' disappearance and falsely told a security guard at the shopping center visited by the girls (immediately before they disappeared) that he had witnessed another man abduct them there. The description Welch provided of the other man matched a description that newspapers and other media already had provided the public. According to that description, a conservatively dressed man had demonstrated a new type of audiocassette player at the shopping mall as children and teens, including the Lyon sisters, gathered near him. A short time after Welch told this story to the mall security guard trying to cast suspicion on the other man, he was questioned at a police station, failed a lie detector test, admitted he had lied, was released and was not questioned again until more than 38 years later.During the reopening of the case, police discovered that a mug shot taken of Welch in 1977 bore a strong resemblance to a police sketch of a possible suspect who had been seen staring inappropriately at the Lyon sisters in the shopping mall. Detectives began interviewing Welch in prison; he made statements that further implicated him although he continued to protest his innocence. One of his relatives told them he had helped Welch burn two heavy, bloodied duffel bags in Bedford County, Virginia. In July 2015, Welch was indicted and charged with the girls' murders there; he pleaded guilty to murder two years later. His uncle is a person of interest as well.Plymouth State University
Plymouth State University (PSU), formerly Plymouth State College, is a coeducational, residential university located in Plymouth, New Hampshire, United States, with an enrollment of approximately 4,200 undergraduate students and 2,100 graduate students. The school was founded as Plymouth Normal School in 1871. Since that time it has evolved to a teachers college, a state college, and finally to a state university in 2003. PSU is part of the University System of New Hampshire.
It was founded as a teachers' college, and it still retains a teaching program/major to this day. Since that time, however, it has diversified its academic profile, adding many new majors and fields of study. The school has become known in recent years for its meteorology program (Judd Gregg Meteorology Institute), and is also strong in business, visual and performing arts, interdisciplinary studies, and psychology. Also, new majors such as criminal justice and nursing have been added and other programs have increased their stature, especially the natural sciences with the creation of The Center for the Environment.
Plymouth State is one of 311 institutions of higher learning nationwide included on the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification. According to Carnegie, PSU was honored for "excellent alignment of mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement." Community service has long been a mainstay of the Plymouth State experience. The university's motto, Ut prosim (That I may serve), underscores the values upon which the Plymouth State University mission is built. During the 2009–10 academic year, PSU students contributed approximately 220,000 hours to service.
The campus has grown substantially in recent years with the addition of the PSU Ice Arena and Welcome Center, the Museum of the White Mountains, Enterprise Center at Plymouth, and ALLWell North, a 107,600 square foot academic and athletics facility that includes a 200-meter indoor track. Langdon Woods was one of the first collegiate residence halls in the U.S. to gain “Gold” certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Robert Frost, America's Poet Laureate, lived and taught at Plymouth from 1911 to 1912. The university's campus newspaper, The Clock, was the first college newspaper in the nation to have a Sudoku puzzle.
Plymouth State gained national attention in 1985 when Sports Illustrated featured PSU student and football player Joe Dudek as their favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Dudek, a running back for the Panthers, earned the attention for breaking Walter Payton's mark for career touchdowns.Republican motherhood
"Republican Motherhood" is a 20th-century term for an attitude toward women's roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. It centered on the belief that the patriots' daughters should be raised to instill the ideals of republicanism, in order to pass on republican values to the next generation. In this way, the "Republican Mother" was considered a custodian of civic virtue responsible for upholding the morality of her husband and children. Although it is an anachronism, the period of Republican Motherhood is hard to categorize in the history of Feminism. On one hand, it reinforced the idea of a domestic women's sphere separate from the public world of men. On the other hand, it encouraged the education of women and invested their "traditional" sphere with a dignity and importance that had been missing from previous conceptions of Women's work.The Genetics Society
The Genetics Society is a British learned society. It was founded by William Bateson and Edith Rebecca Saunders in 1919 and celebrates it's centenary year in 2019. It is therefore is one of the oldest learned societies devoted to genetics. Its membership of over 1900 consists of most of the UK's active professional geneticists, including researchers, teachers and students. Industry and publishing are also represented in the membership.
It is a registered charity that organises meetings to promote genetics, publishes primary research in genetics and supports students to attend meetings. It sponsors research through fieldwork grants and student bursaries, and promotes the public understanding of genetics.USS Lyon (AP-71)
USS Lyon (AP-71) was a ship of the United States Navy which played an extensive role in naval transportation during World War II. The Lyon was built as the Mormactide under a Maritime Commission contract by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Company of Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was laid down 21 August 1939, and was launched on 12 October 1940; sponsored by Gloria McGehee. On 20 August 1942, the ship was acquired by the Navy and was renamed the Lyon after Mary Lyon, the founder of Mount Holyoke College (then Mount Holyoke Female Seminary). (See also List of U.S. military vessels named after women.)
The Lyon was transferred for conversion to the Atlantic Basin Iron Works of Brooklyn, New York on 13 September 1942. The ship was commissioned on 16 September 1942, with Captain M.J. Gillan in command. After the ship's service in World War II, the ship was decommissioned on 3 May 1946, and was returned to her owners, Moore-McCormack Lines. In 1966 the ship was acquired by Grace Lines and renamed the Santa Regina.Wheaton College (Massachusetts)
Wheaton College is a private liberal arts college in Norton, Massachusetts. Wheaton was founded in 1834 as a female seminary. The trustees officially changed the name of the institution to Wheaton College in 1912 after receiving a college charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It remained one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United States until men began to be admitted in 1988. It enrolls approximately 1,750 students.
Wheaton College is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges by various publications. The student-faculty ratio is 10:1 and the average class size is between 15 and 20. It also has a reputation for athletics, ranking as one of the top NCAA Division III institutions in overall collegiate sports programs.Wildwood Cemetery and Mary Lyon Fisher Memorial Chapel
Wildwood Cemetery and Mary Lyon Fisher Memorial Chapel is a historic cemetery and chapel located at Lyons Falls in Lewis County, New York. The cemetery was established in 1906, and the chapel constructed in 1921. It remains an active burial ground containing 736 marked burials. The memorial chapel is a two-story, masonry building in the Late Gothic Revival style. It consists of a rectangular main section, measuring 19 feet by 24 feet, with a rear chancel addition measuring 9 feet by 15 feet. Also in the cemetery is a contributing plaque to Caleb Lyon Sr.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.Zilpah P. Grant Banister
Zilpah Polly Grant Banister (May 30, 1794 – December 3, 1874) was an American educator known primarily for founding Ipswich Female Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1828.
Zilpah Grant began teaching at the age of fifteen. Eventually she saved up enough money to enter Byfield Academy and study under the charismatic clergyman Joseph Emerson, a leading proponent of women's education. At Byfield, she befriended Mary Lyon, who later taught with Grant for several years.
From 1824 to 1827 (or 1828), Grant served as principal of Adams Female Academy at Derry, New Hampshire. She then founded Ipswich Female Academy. Grant's curricula at Adams and Ipswich reflected Emerson's influence; they blended rigorous academic studies, moral oversight, and teacher training. Grant expected students to study for the joy of learning, rather than working for grades or prizes. Mary Lyon was Grant's assistant and, later, principal at Ipswich until she left to found Mount Holyoke Seminary in 1834. 
On September 7, 1841, Grant married William B. Banister and moved with him to Newburyport, Massachusetts. She continued to be active to promote women's education, and published a pamphlet entitled Hints on Education in 1856.
Inductees to the National Women's Hall of Fame