Racine Private Schools

As published in "The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties" (Chicago: 1879)

The Racine Academy
This is a private institution of learning, and was established in 1875. It is located on the corner of College avenue and Tenth street, in Racine. There are three courses of instruction open to the pupil- the English, the classical and the commercial, the three being intended to secure the largest possible range in preparatory study for those who intend to pursue university courses, and to secure to the student, who from choice or necessity stops short of that goal, as full a substitute as can be supplied. John G. McMynn, A. M.. is Principal of the Academy, and he is assisted by the following corps of instructors: Mrs. Marion McMynn, Preceptress; Prof. Sheldon W. Vance, Instructor in French and German; Robert C. Hindley, A. M., Lecturer on Chemistry; W. W. Rowlands, A. M., T. L. Smedes, A. M., Teachers; Miss Sarah M. Morrison, Assistant in Preparatory Class. The Board of Examiners consists of Hon. Charles E. Dyer, John T. Fish, Esq., and Horatio G. Winslow. Esq.

The names of the first year's Alumni, 1877, were:
Ida Clara Canfield
Susan Clara Fratt
Sarah Matilda Morrison
May Wilhelmina Sampson

The names of the Alumni for 1878, are:
Frederick William Barnes
Sara Perry Payne Caven
Mattie Louise Curtis
William Bryan Dyer
Katharine McAuley Eager
Frederick William Fratt
Arthur Hains French
Curry Nelson Lukes
Francis Fayette Root
Katharine Louise Smith
Ida Taylor
Thomas McDowell Weutworth
Frederick Wild, Jr.

St. Catherine's Female Academy
St. Catherine's Female Academy, corner Twelfth and Chippewa streets. This Academy was founded by Mother M. Benedicta and Mother M. Thomasina, two Dominican nuns, from Ratisbonne, Germany, who came to the United States in 1858, to start a branch house of their order. It was not until after they had opened a school in various places, but with poor success, that they finally settled in Racine in 1862. The present Academy was originally a private two story brick dwelling, which the Sisters bought and enlarged. They raised the roof, making the building three stories, added forty feet on the west, and built a chapel on the east side; the principal entrance was then on Twelfth street. In 1865, sickness thinned the thriving little community, depriving the Sisters of their Superior and foundress, Mother M. Benedicta, and in the following year Mother M. Thomasina died. The same year, the present Superior, M. Hyacinthe, was appointed, with M. Cecilia as assistant. In 1869, a wing of 70x33 feet was built on the south side, and the principal entrance was then changed to Chippewa; in 1874, this wing was still further extended eighty-two feet. This same year, the relatives of Mother Thomasina, residing in Germany, contested the will made by her to the Academy, and claimed the entire property which the Sisters had labored so many years to acquire. The legal heirs maintained that, as the Academy was not incorporated at the time of Mother Thomasina's death, in point of law it had no existence. Any one who is acquainted with religious communities, will see the injustice of such a claim. The Superior holds the common property in her name, in trust for the community. When Mother Benedicta and Mother Thomasina bought the two story brick building mentioned and laid the foundation of the Academy, they were enabled to do so, not by their individual wealth, but by the joint labors of the Sisters, and donations from relatives of the same, also by donations from the late King Louis of Bavaria, and a benevolent society in Munich. When Mother Thomasina died, the property was incumbered by debt, which the present sisterhood, as in duty bound, canceled, and added the south wing of 152 feet, all of which was claimed by the avaricious heirs. This suit, of so much importance to the Sisters, was twice decided against them, but finally after a contest of three years, it was satisfactorily settled. In 1874, the Academy was incorporated and empowered to give diplomas. It is at present in a very flourishing condition; the community numbers fifty-five members. The number of pupils, including music scholars, is 100. The academy affords all the advantages of a scientific and classical education. Diplomas are also given those who graduate in music. The grounds are extensive, and, with the exception of a half lot, occupy the entire block.

The Home School for Young Ladies
The Home School for Young Ladies, is conducted by Mrs. J. G. McMurphy, and was established in the fall of 1877. The School is open to both day scholars and boarders. The higher English branches, also the Latin, French and German languages are taught. Special care is given to music, instrumental and vocal, as well as to the art of drawing and painting, the latter being taught by Prof. Earle, of Chicago, the former by Miss Doolittle, daughter of Judge Doolittle. Mrs. McMurphy is a graduate of the Salem Normal School of Massachusetts, and has taught in several prominent academies in the East. Rev. Mr. McMurphy gives instruetions in several branches. The School has a present attendance of fourteen young ladies.

Parsons Business College
Parsons Business College was established by A. C. Parsons, in October, 1877. The present number of scholars is twenty-five. All the branches necessary to complete a business education are taught in this institution.




Click here to go to
WIGenWeb AHGP

Back to the Racine Schools and Colleges Page