Ida Gardner

Full name

Ida Mason Gardner

Presence at Shimer



Beloit College 1895


Academy period faculty, Academy period staff

Ida Mason Gardner served as Dean and Instructor in History at Shimer College, then known as the Frances Shimer Academy, for the 1896-1897 school year, the first year of the Academy period.

Gardner taught in Rhode Island public schools from 1866 to 1872, and served as an Assistant in the State Normal School of Rhode Island from 1875 to 1880. Subsequently she was principal of the Private High School for Girls in Providence from 1880 to 1891. She studied history at the Summer Meeting of Oxford University in 1891 and worked as a lecturer at the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching in Philadephia from 1891 to 1892. She then returned to executive work, serving as principal of the Warren Academy in Warren, Illinois from 1892 to 1896. She received her A.M. from Beloit College in 1895.


  • in Shimer College History (1853-1950), by Rose Glass:
    Miss Gardner was often perplexed as to how to pay for furniture she felt was needed and for other necessary school supplies, wages of workers and teachers' salaries. At every turn the real Principal, in Chicago, had to be consulted by mail, or the Board appealed to by the lady in distress in an effort to resolve her difficulties. Much was expected of her, yet little authority given her.
    Since Miss Gardner was somewhat inexperienced as an executive, unable to speak with authority, and hampered in carrying out her duties, it is no wonder that confidence in the school and faith in its future sank to an all-time low, that patronage fell off alarmingly. How to get the school back on a sound basis and to restore public confidence in its excellence and stability was the paramount problem. So when Ida M. Gardner bowed herself out of a difficult, if not impossible, situation in April, 1897, Dr. Harper recommended his esteemed friend, William Parker McKee, as his choice for a new directing head of the school, to be clothed with authority to function on the ground in his own right, not by remote control from Chicago.

Archival materialsEdit


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