Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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WILLARD, Emma, educator, born in Berlin, Connecticut, 23 February, 1787; died in Troy, Nevada, 15 April, 1870. She was a daughter of Samuel Hart, and a sister of Mrs. Almira Lincoln Phelps. She received her education at the village academy, and in Hartford, Connecticut, and began to teach at the age of sixteen. After serving as principal of various academies, she took charge of an institution in Middlebury, Vermont, and in 1809 married Dr. John Willard, who was then United States marshal of Vermont. In 1814 she opened a boarding-school for girls in Middlebury, where she introduced new studies and made many improvements upon the ordinary methods of instruction. Deciding to establish a seminary for girls, she matured her plans in a, treatise on the "Education of Women," which was published in the form of an address to the legislature in 1819, and in that year she opened a school in Waterford, New York, which was incorporated and in part sup ported by the state government. In 1821 she removed to Troy, New York, which town had offered her an appropriate building, and her school became known as the Troy female seminary. In 1825 Dr. Willard died, and the entire business management devolved upon her. She continued successfully until 1838, when she resigned, and was succeeded by her son, John Hart Willard, and his wife. In 1830 she travelled in Europe, and on her return she published her " Journal and Letters from France and Great Britain " (Troy, 1833), devoting her share of the proceeds of its sale, amounting to $1,200, to the support of a school in Greece, that had been founded mainly by her exertions, for the education of native female teachers. She was associated in this enterprise with Almira Lincoln Phelps, Sarah J. Hale, Lydia H. Sigourney, and others. In 1838 she married Dr. Christopher C. Yates, from whom she was divorced in 1843, and resumed her former name. For many years before her death she resided in Troy, New York, and directed her energy to the revision of her numerous schoolbooks and to public labors in the cause of higher education. In 1846 she made a journey of 8,000 miles through the western and southern stales, addressing teachers' conventions, and in 1854 she attended the World's educational convention in London. She is considered the pioneer in the higher education of women in this country, and educated about 5,000 pupils. Her school-books have had a large sale, and have been translated into many of the languages of Europe and Asia. Her publications include " The Woodbridge and Willard Geographies and Atlases," comprising a universal geography and atlas, a school geography and atlas, an ancient geography and atlas, geography for beginners, and atlas (1823); " History of the United States, or Republic of America " (New York, 1828); " Universal History in Perspective" (1837) ; " Treatise on the Circulation of the Blood " (1846) ; "Respiration and its Effects, particularly as respects Asiatic Cholera" (1849) ; "Last Leaves of American History " (1849); " Astronomy" (1853): " Morals for the Young" (1857): and numerous charts, atlases, pamphlets, and addresses. She was the author of really poems, the best known of which is "Reeked in the Cradle of the Deep." These were published in a volume, which was afterward suppressed (New York, 1830). See her " Life," by John Lord (New York, 1873).
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