Mary's World Expands: Her Early Education

Photograph Mary Couts as a young girl
Illinois Female College

Jacksonville Female Academy

Mary is known to have attended boarding school at the Jacksonville Female Academy, established in 1830 in Jacksonville, Illinois (the academy was absorbed by Illinois College in 1903).  The 1872-1873 school catalog listed her by her nickname "Mollie." During her junior year, when she would've been around 17 years old, she likely took classes in reading, grammar, algebra, geometry, natural philosophy, chemistry, and Latin and Greek.  Tuition, room, and board cost $225 per year, and Mary also took classes in drawing and painting for an extra cost of $70.

For her senior year, Mary transferred to the Young Ladies Academy of the Visitation in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the oldest educational institutions in the West, the school was established in 1833 and offered students a thorough classical education in addition to instructions in the arts and religion. Mary graduated with top honors in all subjects including physics, astronomy, chemistry, history, rhetoric, literature, and oil painting.

Print of the Young Ladies' Academy of the Visitation
Young Ladies Academy of the Visitation

An early photograph of the sisters and students of the Young Ladies Academy of the Visitation. Mary may be one of the students pictured.

Mary's Education