FebruMary at MHC

Celebrating Mary Lyon's birthday all month long


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Adventures in Ohio – Mary Goes Global

Mary Lyon was seen in Dayton, OH, on Sunday, February 23, at a gathering of Dayton-area alumnae. 
Mary with Dayton alumnae

Mary Lyon with a gathering of Dayton-area alumnae. (From left to right): Pamela Tsang ’77. Jane Greiner ’49, Janet Beaven ’51, Lucy Anne McKosky ’69, Peggy Young ’78, Amber Todd ’05, Ellen Rice ’64, Bonnie Buddendeck ’66, and Joyce Young ’56 (in front).

The first photo shows (left to right): Pamela Tsang ’77. Jane Greiner ’49, Janet Beaven ’51, Lucy Anne McKosky ’69Peggy Young ’78,  Amber Todd ’05, Ellen Rice ’64, Bonnie Buddendeck ’66, and Joyce Young ’56 (in front).  In addition to posing with Mary, the group celebrated her birthday with the traditional Deacon Porter’s Hat.
The second photo shows Mary strolling past the house on College St. which was the home of Joyce Young’s great-grandmother. 
 Mary strolling past the house on College St.

Mary strolling past the house on College St. which was the home of Joyce Young’s great-grandmother.

Thank you for sharing your adventures with us!


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FINAL FebruMary Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our FebruMary contests!

After compiling all of the submissions for our final trivia  and “Where’s Mary ?” contests, we can announce our final set of contest winners!  Congratulations to Jennifer Moore ’12 who correctly identified Mary as being in the basement of Mary Woolley hall.

Congratulations are also due to Jennifer Adams ’00 who correctly guessed that it cost $15,000 to open the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 (Green, 1979, p. 156).

This was a particularly difficult question – many people know that Mary raised her first  $1,000 in the fall of 1834 from a group of women in Ipswich (green, p. 140) and that the town of South Hadley contributed $8,000 in order to become the location of The Seminary (Green, p. 126). *There is another source that states Mary raised $12,000 to establish Mount Holyoke, and Green states in another section of her book that the building committee needed to raise $10,000 before October 1st (p. 139), so we included all submission within $5000 as correct.

There were also a number of people who correctly identified that it was Mary’s ultimate goal to make the Mount Holyoke Seminary a permanently endowed institution, which required much more than just $15,000.

“Mary Lyon’s virtuosity in managing money as well as raising funds was probably not fully appreciated even by close friends during her lifetime.  …Although in her twelve years as principal she had regularly given away at least half her annual salary of $200, her personal estate was almost $2500.  By 1851 the Seminary had received gifts for land, buildings, and furnishings to a total of $68,500, all debts had been paid, and the trustees had in hand $1800 that could be invested.  The annual academic and domestic operations, for which Miss Lyon had from the first assumed both fiscal and administrative responsibility, were still covered by the student fee of $60 got the 40-week year” (Green, 1979, p. 344)

Jennifer and Jennifer each won a Mount Holyoke Alex and Ani bracelet.

Alex and Ani Bracelet

Final Contest Prize – Mount Holyoke Alex and Ani bracelet

Congratulations, and thank you again to everyone who took part in our many FebruMary contests, events, and activities!


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Fourth FebruMary Contest Winners!

After compiling all of the submissions for our fourth Trivia Tuesday and “Where’s Mary ?” contests, we can announce our next set of contest winners!

Congratulations to Carolyn Dorais ’68, the winner of our fourth Trivia Tuesday, and Kate Lowry ’15, the winner of our fourth “Where’s Mary?”! They both won a warm Mount Holyoke sweatshirt blanket!

Fourth Contest Prize

Mary modeling our fourth contest prize – a beautiful (and warm) MHC sweatshirt blanket.

The answer to this week’s Trivia Tuesday question: Without exception, everyone should come for the opening day and bring with her a Bible, a dictionary and an Atlas  (Green, 1979, p. 120).  That said, as many people mentioned, there was actually a fourth requirement – two spoons!

The answer to this week’s “Where’s Mary?”:  She is in the tower room in Clapp!

Thank you to everyone who participated this week. You have one more opportunity to test your knowledge and win some great Mount Holyoke prizes!  Check out our final contests and submit your answers!

You can submit your answers by commenting on our Facebook posts, replying  on Twitter, commenting on the corresponding posts on the website OR emailing them to Beckie Markarian: rjmarkar@mtholyoke.edu.  The winners are randomly selected from all correct answers submitted by Thursday evening.


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Final FebruMary Fact of the Day – Feb. 28

Did you know that students had to cook for guests before commencement ceremonies?

“The anniversary on August 23 went off in fine style.  Public examinations were held Monday afternoon and Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Wednesday more than half the students attended commencement at Amherst College, while the rest stayed home to prepare for the 40 dinner guests — trustees, ministers, others — invited to eat with the students before  the exercises Thursday afternoon” (Green, 1979, p.191) .

While there were many differences between the first commencement ceremony and the ones we experience now, 176 years later, there are also some striking similarities.

… The procession from the Seminary to the church was led by the trustees and the speaker, followed by Miss Lyon and the other teachers, the three graduating seniors, and the rest of the school.  All the girls wore white, were bareheaded, and carried parasols.  …The diplomas were presented by Mr. Condit, as secretary of the board, “in his neat, elegant manner”; these parchment evidences of achievement were in English, not Latin, and illustrated a favorite verse of Joseph Emerson which was also on the Seminary seal, “That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace” (Psalms 144:12)” (Green, 1979, p. 191).

FebruMary facts come from the book Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke, Opening the Gates, by Elizabeth Alden Green.

Green, E. A. (1979). Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke: Opening the gates. Hanover, N.H: University Press of New England.


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FebruMary Fact of the Day – Feb. 27

Most people know that Mary Lyon has a connection to Wheaton College, but did you know that she helped establish Wheaton Seminary while she was launching her own campaign for Mount Holyoke?

Talk about multitasking…

“A prosperous citizen of Norton, Massachusetts, Judge Laban Wheaton, resolved to build a memorial to his only daughter, who died March 1834, and was persuaded by his daughter-in-law to make it not a statue but a first-rate school for girls.  Since Judge Wheaton was then 80, the detailed planning was handled mainly by his son and daughter-in-law, who sought Mary Lyon’s advice on all sorts of matters. Whether it was a copy of her first appeal, issued in February 1834, that made the initial contact is not recorded.  All parties must soon have discovered that Mary Lyon’s own project has too many unusual features to be absorbed by the Wheatons but that her judgement of people and her skills of organization were highly valued” (Green, 1979, pp. 162-3).

FebruMary facts come from the book Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke, Opening the Gates, by Elizabeth Alden Green.

Green, E. A. (1979). Mary Lyon and Mount Holyoke: Opening the gates. Hanover, N.H: University Press of New England.