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Records of the North-Western Female College

Identifier: 36/2

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Records of the Northwestern Female College date from 1855 to 1976 and comprise one linear foot of historical materials, minutes, correspondence, financial documents, and publications. Over half of the records date between 1855 and 1873.

Dating from 1860 until 1976, the histories comprise published and unpublished historical sketches of the Northwestern Female College, a few authored by William Jones' daughter Lydia Jones Trowbridge. One folder of reminiscences and biographies (1861-1935), containing some undated material, includes alumni recollections of the College, its faculty, and fellow students; as well as J. Wesley Jones' account of the College's founding and Trowbridge's biographical sketches of her father (College founder and president William P. Jones) and mother (College Principal Mary Hayes Jones). Also noteworthy are Frances E. Willard's handwritten “Biographical Sketch of the Alumnae of the N.W. Female College” (1861) and an undated scrapbook page showing pictures and signatures of Frances and Mary Willard.

The charter and minutes of the Board of Trustees document trustees' meetings from 1857 until 1871.

The bulk of the general correspondence spans the years 1914 to 1967 and pertains mainly to donations of Female College documents to Northwestern's library; and to inquiries fielded by the library concerning the College's history and alumnae. However, one general correspondence folder (1857-1862, n.d.) contains two incoming letters to William P. Jones; a letter by Luella Clark, a College teacher; and an undated letter to Rev. John Dempster. An additional folder of correspondence, dating from 1883 to 1933, concerns Northwestern University's incorporation of Female College alumnae into its alumni records.

Spanning from 1868 to 1908, the sparse financial documents consist mainly of tuition receipts and blank perpetual scholarship bonds (sold for $50 and guaranteeing the purchaser's descendants free tuition at the College). Materials do not include a record of College income and expenditures. The Luella Clark scholarship materials (1942-1947) concern a bequest to Northwestern University in the name of Luella Clark, a teacher at the Female College.

Chronologically arranged, the catalogs of the Northwestern Female College span the years 1855 to 1871 and include rosters of students, trustees, and faculty, as well as information regarding coursework and policies. Circulars date from 1855 to 1870 and describe the College's philosophy, facilities, tuition, and boarding expenses. An issue of the Female College publication entitled Casket and Budget dates from 1858.

The events and activities file contains commencement programs, Minerva Society announcements, and alumni event announcements, chronologically arranged from 1856 to 1871.

One folder of duplicates comprises extra copies of College catalogs.


  • 1855 - 1976
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1855 - 1874


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.


1.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Records of the Northwestern Female College date from 1855 to 1976 and comprise one linear foot of historical materials, minutes, correspondence, financial documents, and publications.

Method of Acquisition

Uncertain. The Records of the Northwestern Female College appear to combine a number of individual donations, including those of Lydia Jones Trowbridge.

Related Materials

William P. Jones (1831-1886) Papers, 1857-1932 (Series 36/1)

Records of the Women's Educational Aid Association, 1871-2000 (Series 55/38)

Records of the Evanston College for Ladies, 1869-1933 (Series 39/1)

Records of the Woman's College of Northwestern University, 1872-1893 (Series 40/1)

Frances E. Willard Papers (Series 40/2)

Separated Materials


Processing Information

Rae Sikula Bielakowski; September 2003. Reformatted by Rachel C. Teuer.  July 22, 2004.

Guide to the Records of the North-Western Female College
Rae Sikula Bielakowski
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US