Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
College History



  • 1844-1878 First Gymnasium

    In 1844, a small gymnasium was built between Seminary Hall and the Boarding House (Old Metcalf Hall). It is believed to be the first freestanding gymnasium built at any women's college in the U.S. In 1878, Mrs. Wheaton donated the gymnasium to the Trinitarian Congregational Church, where it was added to the southeast corner and served as the vestry. Renovations of the Church in 1963 included moving this little building to its present location facing Pine Street; it is now called Sweet Hall. More »
  • 1850-1876 Caroline Cutler Metcalf

    Mrs. Caroline Cutler Metcalf was one of the few truly historically influential members of the Wheaton community. Hired in 1850, at age 41, to replace Margaret Mann, she remained at Wheaton for 26 years, providing superior leadership until 1876. More »
  • 1870 Wheaton Alumnae Association founded

    The Wheaton Seminary Alumnae Association held its first meeting after graduation exercises on July 13. Mrs. Metcalf was elected the association’s first President. Plans for the association were formulated in 1869 by the Class of 1870. More »
  • 1870 Professor J. Lewis Diman, Commencement speaker

    Professor J. Lewis Diman, D.D., Professor of History and Political Economy at Brown University, gave the Commencement address. More »
  • 1871 Wheaton welcomes male students

    Mrs. Metcalf tutors Harry Cobb, son of the Steward and Horsemanship teacher. He is the first of about ten young Norton men who enroll during the period of 1872 to 1878, to prepare themselves for admission to college. None of the males receive degrees from Wheaton. More »
  • 1871 Reverend Albert H. Plumb, Commencement speaker

    The Reverend Albert Hale Plumb, D.D., of Chelsea, Massachusetts, gave the Commencement speech. An alumna would later write, “We shall never forget Dr. Plumb’s impressive messages to us on Commencement days. He taught us how to live, and I say it solemnly, knowing his splendid victory over prolonged suffering, he taught us how to die.” More »
  • 1872 Reverend George Harris, Commencement speaker

    The Reverend George Harris of Providence, Rhode Island spoke at Commencement. The Rev. Dr. George Harris, D.D., LL.D. (1844 – 1922) was born in East Machias, Maine, graduated from Amherst College in 1866 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1869, and was ordained the same year. On 24 December 1873 he married Jane Anthony Viall of Providence, RI. More »
  • 1872 Reverend Alfred Emerson

    The Rev. Alfred Emerson (1812-1896) served as Wheaton Seminary Trustee from 1872 to 1893 and Treasurer from 1880 to 1891. He and his wife were among Eliza Baylies Wheaton's closest friends and advisors. Emerson provided fundamental leadership for the Seminary during the later part of the nineteenth century. More »
  • 1873 Courses offered to alumnae

    A program of continuing education through home study is offered to alumnae in the subjects of literature, history, natural science, music, and drawing. More »
  • 1873 Reverend E.B. Webb, Commencement speaker

    Reverend E.B. Webb of Boston, Massachusetts, offered the Commencement address. More »
  • Annie Austin Emerson, 1871, photographer: Frank Rowell

    1873 Annie Austin Emerson

    Annie Austin Emerson, W1871, taught in the mathematics and English branches in 1873 and 1875-76. More »
  • 1874-1917 Observatory/ Cheese Box

    In 1874, to celebrate the Seminary's 40th Anniversary, Mrs. Wheaton purchased a 4" refracting telescope (which is in the Archives) from the famed London firm of John Browning. Local workmen built a small observatory to house it. More »
  • 1874 Reverend Alexander Twombly speaks at Commencement

    Reverend Alexander Twombly of Boston, Massachusetts speaks at Commencement. More »
  • 1875 Scholarship money raised

    Alumnae raise money for scholarships for the first time, establishing an endowment of $10,000 in honor of Principal Caroline Cutler Metcalf’s 25th anniversary. More »
  • Seminary students on upper campus, circa 1900

    1875 Wheaton Seminary rules

    Student, Amelia Pond compiles a list of "Rules and Regulations of Wheaton Seminary," which can be considered typical of seminary life. More »
  • 1876-1879 Ellen M. Haskell

    Named the 8th official principal of Wheaton in 1876, Miss Haskell brought a different approach and demeanor to the school. Students remembered her as a “Christian Gentlewoman,” carrying herself with elegance and charm. More »
  • 1876 Reverend Michael Burnham speaks at Commencement

    Reverend Michael Burnham of Fall River, Massachusetts speaks at Commencement. More »
  • 1877 Reverend John L. Withrow speaks at Commencement

    Reverend John L. Withrow speaks at Commencement. More »
  • 1878 Photographer visits Wheaton

    A traveling photographer visits Norton, taking numerous pictures of Wheaton buildings and students’ room. More »
  • 1878 Sports thrive at Wheaton

    Students practice archery for the first time. More »
  • 1878 First Class Day held

    The first Class Day is held. More »
  • 1878 Reverend Daniel Merriman speaks at Commencement

    Reverend Daniel Merriman Pastor emeritus of Worcester, Massachusetts speaks at Commencement. More »
  • 1879-1880 Martha W. Sprague

    Hired in 1879 with the help of a commercial employment agency, Martha Sprague‘s tenure as principal seemed doomed from the start. More »
  • 1879 Reverend Reuen Thomas speaks at Commencement

    Reverend Reuen Thomas speaks at Commencement. More »