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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND FEMALE SEMINARY

CLEVELAND FEMALE SEMINARY

The CLEVELAND FEMALE SEMINARY, a boarding and day school for girls, was a forerunner of colleges for women. Founded by Rev. Eli N. Sawtell, the seminary opened on 3 May 1854 (an earlier enterprise by the same name had been established in Apr. 1837). Rev. Sawtell had secured financial support from several leading citizens of Cleveland, including LEONARD CASE, JR., JAS. M. HOYT, John M. Woolsey, and Oliver Perry. Prof. SAMUEL ST. JOHN was chosen as the first principal. Located in a new $50,000 building on Kinsman Ave. between Wallingford Ct. (E. 45th Pl.) and Sawtell (E. 51st) St., the school initially enrolled 120 students, who paid an annual tuition of $300. The seminary had 2 major departments, Preparatory (which admitted girls under 12 years of age) and Academic (for those over 12). Emphasis was placed on teaching both languages and science, so that students could acquire a wholesome mental discipline. In 1865 a Telegraph Dept. was established to provide instruction in the principles of telegraphy for students in natural philosophy and chemistry. The seminary suffered financial setbacks in its early years and accumulated an increasing floating debt. In 1863 Prof. Solomon N. Sanford purchased the school, at which time it became a private enterprise. In 1868 the seminary opened a branch on Euclid Ave. for day students. That branch closed in 1874. It was reincorporated in 1871 as the Cleveland Seminary for Girls, at which time it acquired the rights and privileges of a college, including the authority to grant degrees. The school closed in 1883 as a result of continuing financial problems.