First private school for blacks

After failing to move the legislature to extend public education to black children, Prince Hall invites black families to start a private school in his home. In 1808 the school moves to the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill.


School Districts Grow in Influence

School districts supported with local taxes grow in independence from the theocratic control of state government.


First School of Law

The creation of professional training programs such as Harvard Law School starts to refocus higher education from its orientation toward literature and classic languages.


First Free High School

Boston English School provides instruction in no language other than English. Its curriculum emphasizes math, logic, science and history with the goal of professional preparation.


First High School for Girls

Boston starts the first high school for girls.


Zephaniah Swift Moore

Amherst College

The Legislature charters Amherst College in 1825, four years after Congregationalist Minister, Zephaniah Swift Moore began instruction of its first class. This further exemplifies the role played by religious institutions in promoting higher education.


Lowell women workers

Women Workers - Lowell Mill System

New England women from around 15 to 30 years old are recruited to live and work in towns created around factories. For many women it provides access to education and opportunities which rural life could not provide -- but often at the price of working up to 14 hours, and sacrificing health, safety and personal liberty.


Education laws

Towns with more than 500 families are required to provide public English high schools, most of which in time come to replace their classical counterparts.


First School for the Blind in America

The Perkins School for the Blind, originally called the New England Asylum for the Blind, extends education to the disabled. It will be the home of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller - one of history's most effective and memorable champions of the disabled.


Population explosion

Fueled by immigration the population of Boston grows from approx 61,000 in 1830 to 362,000 in 1880.


Anti-establishment law

Massachusetts becomes the final state to end the support of an endorsed state religion.


Mary Lyons

First permanent women's college

Mary Lyons establishes the Mount Holyoke Seminary for women. By this time there are already 120 colleges for men in the United States; by then Harvard College is over 200 years old.


Horace Mann

First Board of Education in US

During its first twelve years, Horace Mann forges a consensus which doubles state funding to education and teacher salaries. Fifty new high schools are built, along with formal teacher training programs and school district libraries.


First State School for Teachers

Three young women report to a school in Lexington where they are tested and admitted to the first "Normal School", a state operated teacher training program.


Holy Cross

Benedict Joseph Fenwick, the Bishop of Boston, and Father Thomas F. Mulledy, establish the Jesuit-led College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.


Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell

On a clear autumn night in 1847, Maria Mitchell stands on her father's roof on Nantucket and discovers the star she is studying is an undiscovered comet. She is recognized as the first woman astronomer in America, and goes on to hold a professorship at Vassar from 1865 to 1888. She becomes the first woman to be admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


First graded elementary

Boston's Quincy Grammar School, located at 90 Tyler St., is the first public school which separates students by grade.


Roberts v. City of Boston

Benjamin Roberts sues the City of Boston to allow his daughter to attend a school reserved for white children. Though well represented by Charles Sumner, the case fails, creating a legal basis for Plessy v. Ferguson, which in 1896 extends the "separate but equal" standard nationally.


Public Library Enabling Act

Rev. John Burt Wight of Wayland proposes legislation to allow towns to tax for the support of local libraries.


Tufts College seal

Tufts College

A charter is issued to the trustees of Tufts College, representing the first venture into higher education of the Universalist Church, which had founded more than a dozen academies by that date. Tufts is the 163rd institution of higher education chartered in the United States. Their charter prohibits a religious test for either faculty or students.


School Attendance Law

Massachusetts is the only state to require school attendance prior to the Civil War. It requires children between ages eight and fourteen to attend three months of school. Towns rarely enforced this rule, but it popularizes the norm of schooling.


Elizabeth Palmer Peabody

First English Language Kindergarten in US

After working with Bronson Alcott at his experimental Temple School, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody begins a kindergarten program in Boston.


Civil War (1861-1865)

The Civil War quickens the pace of technical innovation and creates a desire for social change seen over the next half century.


National Academy of Sciences

President Lincoln establishes the National Academy of Sciences, in response to hundreds of inventions suggested by citizens to aid in the Union war effort.


UMass logo

University of Massachusetts Founded

Known as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, this Amherst program grows and later merges with the state normal schools to create a state-wide system of public universities, the University of Massachusetts.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The legislature incorporates MIT to be a society of arts, a science museum, and school of industrial science. It is granted land at Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay to build its first classrooms and museum.


US Dept Education seal

US Department of Education

The original US Department of Education is created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching to help the States establish effective school systems.


School Year Extended, Enforced by Truant Officers

The school year in Massachusetts expands to twenty weeks per year. State truant officers are hired to enforce attendance, towns are required to comply.


Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Swallow Richards

She is the first woman admitted to MIT, and the first woman to earn a science degree in America. Denied a doctorate due to her gender, she goes on to found the study of ecology, and discover the metal vanadium. Then applying principles of D67chemistry and ecology to domestic life, she establishes the study of "home economics".


Sophia Smith

Smith College

The bequest of Sophia Smith establishes Smith College. It is organized by her minister Reverend John M. Green as a non-denominational institution aimed elevating the lives of women in society.


Quincy method

Thirty thousand teachers come to see the educational approach developed in Quincy Massachusetts by its Superintendent, Francis W. Parker. Core to his approach is that learning should be less structured and more meaningful to students.


Elizabeth Cary Agassiz

Radcliffe College Opens

Radcliffe College has its beginnings in classes for women started by Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, 51, widow of the late naturalist Louis Agassiz. The school will not be recognized by Harvard until 1894. The two combine operations in 1999.


Wellesley College

Henry Fowle Durant, a lawyer, who after the death of his son takes up the ministry and gains a charter to begin Wellesley College. He serves as the school's treasurer, believing that a women's college should be administered by women.


Francis Bellamy

Pledge of Allegiance

In 1892, former clergyman Francis Bellamy authors the Pledge of Allegiance for a youth magazine published in Boston. In 1952 the phrase, "Under God," is added by a federal act.


First medical screening of students

Boston becomes the first city to introduce medical inspection in its public schools. In 1906 these health screenings are made compulsory.


Plessy v. Ferguson

Specifically referencing Roberts vs. City of Boston (1848), the US Supreme Court establishes the doctrine of "separate but equal." This concept holds that racially segregated public facilities of equal quality do not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Fannie Farmer

Fannie Farmer

Raised in Medford, Fannie Farmer attends Boston Cooking School, becomes its Director, and transforms the cooking world by introducing the set of standard measurements still used by cooks today.