Willard, Emma Hart

Willard, Emma Hart (1787-1870) Educator: Born on February 23, 1787, in Berlin, Connecticut, Emma Hart was the ninth of ten children to her parents. An extraordinarily bright and curious young lady, she received a broad education from her father. In 1807, she became the principal of an all-girls' academy in Middlebury, Vermont. In 1809, she married John Willard, a progressive gentleman who supported his wife in her efforts, including her founding of a boarding school in 1814. She addressed the New York State legislature in 1819, requesting educational equality for women and state aid for the founding of girls' schools. The legislature rejected her proposals , but Governor De Witt Clinton supported her ideas. He invited her to move her school to Waterford, New York. She did so in 1821, renaming the school the Troy Female Seminary (now the Emma Willard School). Willard wrote many textbooks, which were widely used, and a book of poetry. In 1854, she joined educator Henry Barnard in representing the United States at the 1854 World's Educational Convention in London. Willard died in Troy, New York, on April 15, 1870.