by Richard Teller ’70, Archivist and Librarian. Originally published as a “web extra” to the Fall 2011 Bulletin.
The idea of a formal statement of mission is relatively new, but schools have always had equivalents, whether found in the prefaces to catalogs or as essential portions of re-accreditation studies. It would appear impractical, if not impossible, to found a school without some kind of declaration of one’s purpose in doing so. At the time of their founding, both Northampton School for Girls and Williston Seminary, as it was originally called, issued documents that not only set out their plans, but reflected the personalities of their founders.
Northampton School for Girls, which opened in 1924, was imagined by Sarah B. Whitaker and Dorothy M. Bement to be rightly considered … the lineal descendant of their former employer, the Capen School for Girls. They said as much in a 1923 prospectus, “Announcing the Northampton School for Girls”: