BROWN, ANNE HATHAWAY (16 Mar. 1852- 6 Sep. 1928) was born in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Brown was the namesake and headmistress of HATHAWAY BROWN SCHOOL in Shaker Heights, Ohio, from 1886-1890.

Prior to becoming headmistress of Hathaway Brown school, Brown had studied in Germany. After she returned to the US she served as the head of a high school in Montclair, New Jersey, for six years. She also headed the college departments of two New York City girls’ schools. 

Brown was recommended for the position of Headmistress by a friend of Frances Fisher, the principal at the time. Brown purchased what is now known as the Hathaway Brown School in 1886 and moved to Cleveland. 

When Brown bought the school, it was known as Brooks School for Ladies. She renamed it “Miss Anne H. Hathaway Brown’s Boarding and Day School for Girls” and moved it from Prospect Avenue to 785-787 Euclid Ave. Brown advertised the school as efficient and comfortable, and stated that its purpose was to help girls “overcome faults of manner, and to develop into useful women.”

A highly educated woman herself, Brown said that one of the primary goals for the school was to “give its pupils the means for a liberal education and a cultivated home.” As such, Brown focused on creating a home-like atmosphere for the school and thoroughly teaching manners. The school itself, with decorated rooms, open fireplaces, and nice furniture was meant to serve as a model for the homes the girls would be expected to keep when married.

Brown introduced the school’s motto, “Non Scholae sed Vitae Discimus”, (we learn not for school but for life). Brown also chose the school’s colors, brown and gold, to establish Hathaway Brown as an institution “rooted in the earth, but reaching for the sun.” During Brown’s first year with the school there were seventeen students in residence, all girls. Brown hired two highly educated teachers, Sarah E. Lyman from Oberlin, and Cora Canfield from Vassar, who taught Latin. Brown herself was responsible for teaching Latin, German, and Math.

In 1890, Brown sold the school because she was getting married to Frank Galloway Sigler. At the time, it was expected that women would quit their careers after marriage. As a result, upon retirement, Brown sold the school to Mary Spencer, and moved back to Montclair where she was married on December 20th, 1890.

Brown passed away on September 6, 1928, and is buried in Essex County, New Jersey.

Grace Howard and Therese Ruane

Article Categories