Holyoke High School, First Graduation Class, 1865

by Laurel | May 1st, 2013

First Holyoke High School Graduating Class, 1865

First Holyoke High School Graduating Class, 1865

The first class to graduate after establishment of a regular course, although at various times between 1852 and 1865 pupils completed the necessary preparation and entered college or normal school, consisted of six young ladies depicted in the image above. These young ladies were Alice A. Wild, Imogene Heywood, Emma Loomis, Sarah Grover, Alice Emerson, and Maria Kelt. The fine character of these earliest of graduates of the Holyoke High School is apparent in their picture, an examination of their courses, their books, and a knowledge of the painstaking effort put into school work of that day leaves little doubt that all would have found themselves numbered among the honor students of today. Principal F. D. Douglass (M.A., Brown University) said of their graduation, “For the first time in the History of Holyoke High School a class of six young ladies received diplomas of graduation. By the generosity of a few citizens a handsome lithographic diploma has been obtained, and ought never to be dishonored by being unworthily bestowed.”

The Civil War has been a reason offered as a reason for all graduates of this class being young ladies, but this can hardly have been an important factor since four graduates of the next class, 1866, were young men.

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