Mary Lyon

Mary Lyon

Buckland, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 5 Mar 1849 (aged 52)
South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Mount Holyoke Campus between Porter Hall, Hooker Auditorium, and Gettell Ampitheatre
Memorial ID 3112 · View Source
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Educator and Women’s Rights Activist. Her father, a Revolutionary War veteran, died when she was five years old; her mother remarried when Mary was 13 and left the 100- acre farm for her children to care for; Mary left school at that time to help on the farm. At 17 Mary began teaching with no formal training. In 1817 she began studying at the Sanderson Academy in Ashfield and later at the Ipswich Female Seminary where she took a strong interest in the education of women. In 1836 she chartered the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary which opened with 80 students the following year. The rigorous curriculum placed emphasis on the sciences and required both science and math courses for graduation. To make her school more affordable for women of modest economic backgrounds she required them to help with the upkeep of the school. She served as principal of Mount Holyoke for 12 years and told graduates to, “Go where no else will go. Do what no one else will do”. In 1905 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans and is also honored in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Bio by: Gail Campbell Schulte

Family Members



[Westward facing side]
Mary Lyon
The founder of
Mount Holyoke
Female Seminary
and for twelve years
its Principal.
A Teacher
for thirty five years
and of more than
three thousand pupils.
Born Feb. 28, 1797
Died March 5, 1849.

[Northward facing side]
"Give her of the
fruit of her hands
and let her own works
praise her in the gates."

[Eastward facing side]
"There is nothing in the
universe that I fear but
that I shall not know all
my duty. Or shall fail
to do it."

[Southward facing side]
Servant of God well done
Rest from thy loved employ
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master's joy.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 30 Jun 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3112
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Lyon (28 Feb 1797–5 Mar 1849), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3112, citing Mount Holyoke College Burial Site, South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .