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September 26, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute, 1854

Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute.

On July 18, 1854, a lengthy article appeared in Richmond’s The Daily Dispatch detailing the commencement exercises at Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute.  It read as follows:

Messers. Editors: — The interesting commencement exercises of this flourishing institution, came off on the 12th and 13th of July, and I have concluded to give you a brief sketch of what transpired on that occasion. The audience in attendance were entertained on the first day by an able and eloquent address delivered by the Rev. Thomas V. Moore, D. D., of Richmond city. It would be a useless expenditure of time to attempt to give you the outlines of his speech, suffice it to say, his theme was “Woman” and with such a theme few orators could have delivered a more appropriate, pleasing and instructive address. Dr. Moore stands forth in the literary world, and able divine, accomplished scholar and an eloquent orator. In the evening the young ladies engaged in a musical concert and their performance reflects credit upon the unsurpassed qualifications of their instructor and their own tested docility. I never was more sensibly “moved by the concord of sweet sounds” and felt such melting “music in my soul.” The young ladies seemed to rival each other in the melody of song.

On the second day Professor E. M. Hooke of Bethany College addressed the Pocahontas Literary Society, after which Essays of the following graduates were read, viz: Misses Lucie Winston, Mary Jones, Emma Haskins, Mary Blackwell, Fannie Irby, Ellen Stegar, Emily Aimend, Virginia Parham, Eudora Pettus and Susan Darling. All of these Essays were well written and exhibited thorough mental training. The young ladies were fortunate in the selection of their subjects, which they treated in a popular style. There was not a tiresome monotony in the Essays, for while a vein of serious thought ran through some of them a sparkling stream of animation and humor found its way through others.

The president, Mr. Blackwell, accompanied the presentation of the diplomas with very feeling and appropriate remarks. The presidential supervision of Mr. Blackwell, bearing in its relation the striking resemblance of a parent, in connection with the high grade of scholarship, strongly recommend Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute to those who have daughters to educate. May the goddess of propriety and the goddess of beauty, in peaceful harmony, continue to reign over this Institution which stands pre-eminent among Female Colleges for thorough mental and moral discipline.


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