Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College History



  • 1800-  Introduction

    The Wheaton College History explores important Wheaton events and people from its establishment in 1834 until the present. Topics include major events, prominent faculty, students and alumnae/i, architecture, speakers, and the Wheaton family. For navigation instructions » More »
  • Wheaton Inn/ Mansion House, date unknown

    1819-1965 Wheaton Inn / Mansion House

    Built in c. 1750, Judge Laban Wheaton, founder of Wheaton Female Seminary, purchased the house in 1819 for his home. Formerly located on the southeast corner of Routes 123 and 140, the house was used as an inn (the "Mansion House") by the 1830s, and was called the "Wheaton Inn" in the 20th century. It was razed in 1965. More »
  • Wheaton Homestead, date unknown

    1829-  Presidents' House / Wheaton Homestead

    Built in 1829 by Laban Morey Wheaton for his bride Eliza Baylies Chapin, the house became the College President's residence upon the death of Eliza Wheaton in 1905. More »
  • Mary Lyon, date uknown, copyright: Mount Holyoke College

    1830 Mary Lyon

    Mary Lyon was a pioneer in American education who acted as a consultant to the Wheaton family at the founding of the Seminary and established the curriculum. More »
  • 1834 Wheaton is born

    Eliza Wheaton Strong, the only daughter of Judge and Mrs. Laban Wheaton, dies at the age of 39, on March 25. Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, daughter-in-law of the Judge, convinces him to found a female seminary in memory of his daughter. More »
  • The Sem, 1935

    1834-  The Sem / Seminary Hall / 3 Howard St.

    Built in 1834 on the site where the north wing of Mary Lyon Hall now stands, Seminary Hall was the original classroom building for Wheaton Female Seminary. It was moved and re-purposed several times. In 1933 it was moved to its present location on Howard Street. More »
  • Eunice Caldwell

    1835-1837 Eunice Caldwell

    While developing Wheaton Female Seminary’s original academic plan, Mary Lyon also recommended the school’s first principal. She chose her colleague Eunice Caldwell, a fellow teacher at Ipswich Female Seminary, a school that followed a rigorous academic plan similar to the one Mary Lyon created for Wheaton Seminary. More »
  • 1835 Wheaton Female Seminary advertises for students; opens its doors

    On January 23, the first public announcement of Wheaton Female Seminary appeared in the Boston Recorder. More »
  • Old Metcalf Hall, 1929

    1836-1934 Old Metcalf Hall / Boarding House

    The first, and until 1901 the only, dormitory at Wheaton, the Boarding House was begun in 1836, "talked into existence" by Mary Lyon, encouraged by Eliza Baylies Wheaton. Until its construction, students boarded with the Wheaton families and with other families in Norton Center. The original boarding house, named in memory of Caroline Metcalf, principal from 1850-1876, in 1901, was demolished in 1932-33. A dormitory replacing it in 1933 was again named in her memory. More »
  • 1837 Seminary changes its name

    Judge Laban Wheaton conveyed the deed of Seminary Hall to the Board of Trustees, noting the change in the school’s name from Norton Female Seminary to Wheaton Female Seminary. More »
  • 1837-1838 Susan Palmer

    Susan Palmer, the one remaining full-time teacher at Wheaton following Eunice Caldwell’s departure for Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary, served as head teacher during the winter term of 1837-1838. More »
  • 1838 Wheatons adopt Laban Wild

    Childless after nine years of marriage, Eliza Baylies Wheaton and Laban Morey Wheaton adopted his young cousin Laban Wild (1835 - 1853). More »
  • 1838-1840 Eliza R. Knight

    Eliza R. Knight, from Ipswich Seminary, became the principal of Wheaton Female Seminary in 1838, remaining until 1840. Miss Knight chose the Seminary motto, “Who drinks will thirst for more” (John 4:13), and designed a related seal containing a fountain. More »
  • 1839 Seminary gets its first piano

    Fanny Morey Wheaton, wife of Judge Laban, donates the Seminary’s first piano. More »
  • 1839 The Seminary's first graduates

    Judge Wheaton presents the Seminary’s first degrees to four graduates. More »