Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LYON, Mary, educator, born in Buckland, Massachusetts, 28 February, 1797 ; died in South Hadley, Massachusetts, 5 March, 1849. Her early education was received at district-schools, and in 1814 she began to teach at Shelburne Falls. At the age of twenty she became a pupil at the Sanderson academy in Ashfield, where she studied twenty hours each day, and in three days committed to memory Adams's Latin grammar. In 1821 she entered the school of the Reverend Joseph Emerson at Byfield, near Newburyport, and in 1824 studied at Amherst, under Professor Eaton, to become qualified for giving experimental instruction in chemistry. From 1824 till 1828 she assisted Mrs. Grant in the Adams's female seminary in Londonderry, New Hampshire During the winter, when this school was closed, owing to the severity of the climate, she taught in Ashfield and Buckland, and subsequently at Ipswich. Her great work was the founding of Mount Holyoke seminary, at South Hadley, Massachusetts, on 8 November, 1837, and from that date until her death she served as its principal. One feature of her system, to which there was much opposition, was that the entire domestic labor of the institution was performed by the pupils and teachers, in order to promote interest in these tasks. In the course of her life Miss Lyon instructed more than 3,000 pupils, many of whom became missionaries. She published a pamphlet entitled "Tendencies of the Principles embraced and the System adopted in the Mount Holyoke Seminary" (1840), and also the " Missionary Offering" (Boston, 1843). See " Power of Christian Benevolence, illustrated in the Life and Labors of Mary Lyon," by Edward Hitchcock (Northampton, Massachusetts+ 1851), and "Recollections of Mary Lyon," by Fidelia Fiske (Boston, 1866).
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