Anna Head


Anna Head

Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 24 Dec 1932 (aged 75)
Alameda County, California, USA
Burial Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Plot 6
Memorial ID 8862194 View Source
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In several respects one of the most noted women in Alameda county is Miss Anna Head, who is best known perhaps as the founder of the famous Anna Head School, at Berkeley, one of the best known schools for girls in the west. She is also well known as a traveler and scientist, her love for birds and flowers leading her into extensive travel through the by-ways of this country and to foreign lands. Her life has been a useful one and she commands to a marked degree the respect and admiration of all who know her.

Miss Head was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on the 7th day of May, 1857, and is a daughter of the late Judge Edward F. and Eliza (Clement) Head. Her father was a native of Boston; was graduated from Harvard Law School, and practiced his profession in Massachusetts. In 1861 he came to California, his family joining him in 1868, and here he gained distinction in his profession. He served as judge of the superior court of San Mateo county and became known as “the blind judge,” having been stricken with blindness while in office, regardless of which affliction he was reelected to the bench and rendered able and appreciated service. Miss Head’s brother-in-law, the late Professor Josiah Royce, was a famous educator and philosopher. He was born in Grass Valley, California, was graduated from the University of California at the age of twenty years; studied in one of Germany’s noted universities and later became one of Harvard’s best known professors.

Miss Head came to California in 1868 and was educated in a private French school in Oakland conducted by Professor Miel. She was graduated from the Oakland high school in 1874, after which she studied music in Boston, Massachusetts. She was one of about twelve girls who were graduated from the University of California in 1879, one of her classmates being ex-Governor George Pardee.

After spending several years in travel and study in Europe, she returned to Alameda county and on August 1, 1888, established a school for girls, now known as the Anna Head School. She started with thirty day pupils but later received both boarding and day pupils, and the school made steady and substantial progress under her direction until 1909, when she sold the institution to Miss Mary Elizabeth Wilson, who is still its principal. She started the school with high ideals relative to the training of girls, and adhered to them closely, so that the school soon gained a reputation second to no other school of its kind in this part of the country, a prestige which the institution still enjoys, having more than a thousand graduates scattered throughout the various countries of the world.

Miss Head is a communicant of St. Mark’s Protestant Episcopal church, which she loyally supports, as she also does all other worthy causes. She is a member of the Garden Club of Alameda County, the Botanical Club of the University of California and the Cooper Club, these memberships being indicative of her interest in birds and flowers, of both of which she is passionately fond. For this reason she makes many summer visits to the Yosemite valley and the Feather river district, as well as the mountain districts, in search of something new in nature and in the interest of the Academy of Science. She is regarded as an authority on her favorite subjects and has written a number of interesting and valuable articles for the Bird Magazine.

Miss Head has made six trips to Europe, where she has done much mountain climbing, and she has traveled through Russia, Egypt and Mexico. Out of the kindness of her heart she has assisted in the education of a number of worthy children, and her hand and purse have always been open for assistance for the needy, especially in the parish of the Good Shepherd in West Berkeley, where she organized a large sewing class of over one hundred, making clothing for them during the time of the World war. Kind and thoughtful, she never loses an opportunity to say a helpful word to those with whom she comes in contact, and her high purposes and her goodness of heart have endeared her to all who know her. She has filled a large place in her community and has long been regarded as one of its most useful residents.


Among the famous educational institutions of the west, one of the best known is the Anna Head School, at Berkeley, which for over forty years has been in the front rank of schools of its class and has proven well worthy of the thoughtful attention of those who desire to secure for their daughters thorough training under ideal conditions. Miss Heads’ School, as it was originally known, was founded in 1887 by Miss Anna Head, and continued under her management and ownership until 1909, when she sold the school to Miss Mary Elizabeth Wilson, who had been at the head of the English department for two years. In 1919 the name was changed to Anna Head School. Miss Head, who is no longer in any way connected with the school, still resides in Berkeley, secure in the respect and admiration of all who know her. The school still stands, as it stood during the twenty-two years of Miss Head’s principalship, for earnest, honest work and all that tends towards cultured, upright womanhood. The school is situated in Berkeley, which has long been recognized as the educational center of California. As the Greek theater, the Stadium and Wheeler hall are within easy walking distance, it is possible for the girls to hear and see the best athletic, dramatic and musical programs at California University. The trip to San Francisco takes only forty-five minutes, so that the advantages of a metropolis are also available.

The course of study includes primary, intermediate, high school and two years of post-graduate work. Students enter without examinations all colleges using the accrediting system and those preparing for eastern colleges have without exception passed the college board examinations.

The discipline of the school is founded upon the principal’s earnest desire to develop character. To this end, arbitrary rules and regulations are avoided, and an effort is made to meet the conditions and the temptations which will be encountered in life after leaving school. Punctuality, orderliness, and consideration for the comfort of others are insisted upon. Student government has been introduced, both in the day school and in the boarding department. Student activities form the basis for a division of the students into groups, each group governing its own body and sending representatives to the school council, the highest court of student appeal. Many valuable lessons are learned by experience, both by the governing body and by those who are governed by their schoolmates. Simplicity of dress is insisted upon at all times, which obviously avoids what might be unpleasant comparisons and cultivates a spirit of democracy.

The girls of the Anna Head School are given every opportunity to develop their initiative and to form a habit of employing their free hours to advantage. As previously suggested, each group manages its own affairs, and thus the “Nods and Becks” group plans finances and publishes the school annual. In order to secure the necessary funds for this project, they give a subscription dance at the school during the fall term and an afternoon bridge party in the spring. During recent years they have been so successful in managing their finances that the 1923 group presented the school with a beautiful copper and silver tablet, on which is engraved each year the name of the senior who excels in scholarship and service.

Last year the “Nods and Becks” group presented the school with a beautiful grandfather’s clock for the hall. The Social Service group attracts all girls who are interested in any form of service for others. The Hospitality group preside at all school entertainments and games. The hockey matches come in the fall, basketball holds sway during the winter months and tennis matches keep up the athletic interest in the spring. Throughout the year, however, the school’s own tennis court is in constant use for lessons and games, and every Monday afternoon the eight best players of the year are coached at the courts of the Berkeley Tennis Club. Miss Helen Wills, national and Olympic champion, is a graduate of Anna Head School, as is also Miss Helen Jacobs, national junior champion in 1924. “Good Sportsmanship” is the school motto in all athletic contests.

From a small beginning, this school has steadily grown until now it has an enrollment of three hundred girls and a faculty of thirty-four teachers and housemothers. Over eight hundred girls have graduated from this school, and of these, nearly five hundred have entered college. Many of them have done conspicuous work in various avenues of usefulness, in business, art and music, while others have become better wives and mothers because of the training and influence of the Anna Head School.

- "History Of Alameda County, California, Volume II" by by Frank Clinton Merritt; The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, 1928
Contributor: Stacinator (49423547)
Anna Head, (1857-1932), was born in Boston and raised in San Mateo County where her father was a judge. A graduate of the University of California in 1879, she went on to establish a school for girls in Berkeley in 1888 where the curriculum included cooking, physical education, art and music, in addition to its academic subjects. The school was moved to the Oakland hills and is now known as Head-Royce School.

Inscription: Daughter of E. F. and Eliza Head

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  • Created by: Shiver
  • Added: 2 Jun 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8862194
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Anna Head (7 May 1857–24 Dec 1932), Find a Grave Memorial ID 8862194, citing Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA ; Maintained by Shiver (contributor 46539565) .