Selection criteria:

1. Listed in 1864 state directory, and
2. Not located in Chicago, and
3. Either:
a) Having a name in the 1864 directory that identifies it as a "female", "ladies'", etc. institution, or
b) Listed in the 1869 report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a "female" or "ladies'" school


  1. Mount Carroll Seminary appears to be the sole beneficiary of criterion 3b (all others would be included under 3a anyway).



  • Bloomington Female College, Bloomington
    • Defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
  • Bloomington Female Seminary, Bloomington
    • Defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • Incorporated 1836,[1] but only started in 1856 by Presbyterian Rev. Conover [2] (actual same institution, or just shared name?)
    • Still in operation in 1874 [3]


  • Carlinville Female Academy, Carlinville
    • Presumed defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • No other trace whatsoever -- conceivably absorbed into Blackburn College?


  • Clinton Female Seminary, Clinton
    • Presumed defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • No other trace found on b.g.c. except 1854-55 Montague directory; but much static caused by institutions of same name in Georgia & Kentucky


  • DuQuoin Female Seminary, DuQuoin
    • Defunct
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools
    • Founded 1853 by two alumnae of Mt. Holyoke Seminary, Eliza Paine and Hannah Louisa Plimpton[4]
    • Construction complicated by the entire town being moved in 1853 so as to be closer to the IC tracks; the original unfinished Seminary building in "Old Du Quoin" burned in 1903.[5]
    • Tens of thousands of dollars in support from Eastern backers[6]
    • Bankrupt 1860-1864, rescued by patron.
    • Closed 1910.[7]
    • Described in Seventh Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, pp. 278-279:
      This seminary is under the control of the Alton Presbytery (New School), inasmuch as the board of directors is to be selected from nominations made by the presbytery. The board is now so arranged that three go out of office every year, and three come in by proper election of the board. The board consists of eighteen members.

      The idea of this institution originated with Miss Eliza Paine, of South Hadley, Massachusetts, who had been sent out by the Ladies' Western Educational Society of Boston, to teach in the public school of DuQuoin." Articles of compact were adopted, and a board of directors organized in the fall of 1853. Miss Paine was elected principal, and early in the following year appointed as agent of the board. Through her efforts and influence Eastern subscriptions to more than $14,000 were received. The charter bears date February 28th, 1855, and the building was begun in the summer of the same year. But owing to the want of proper material for the unusual class of structure, to want of ready money in the hands of the board, to an incorrect estimate of the cost of building, and, in connection with the delay thus caused, to the financial crisis of 1857, the institution was brought into embarrasments from which it could not recover; and in 1860, the property was sold under the hammer. Through the favor of the creditors and the liberality of Mrs. Patience O. Morrison, of Collinsville, Illinois, who donated six thousand dollars, the institution was freed from encumbrance. The board resumed control of the property in 1864. Respecting the need for such a school, the secretary of the board says that "there is not only no rival, but no similar institution within a distance of a hundred miles."

      The whole amount of donations are equal to some $35,000, and there is a small debt impending.

      More than 250 young ladies have received instruction in the institution. There are ample accommodations for fifty pupils. The school was suspended during last year, but has opened for the current year, though with a small attendance. Average total annual expenses per student, $220.

      The plan of instruction embraces a preparatory and higher department.


  • North Western Female College, Evanston
    • Extant; absorbed into Northwestern University (though not originally affiliated)
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools
    • Founded 1855
    • Described by alumna Frances Willard in A Classic Town (1891).
    • Absorbed first into the Evanston College for Ladies (1870) and then into Northwestern University as the "Women's College" (1873) (Willard 1891, p. 65)


    • Extant; absorbed into Knox College
    • Listed in 1869 report (as "Knox Female Seminary") among 4-year women's schools


  • Monticello Female Seminary, Godfrey
    • Defunct; closed in 1971 (when it was operating as "Monticello College")
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools (as "Monticello Seminary")
    • Campus became home to Lewis and Clark Community College[8]
    • Founded 1838
    • Profiled by Kristen Brueckner in Monticello Ladies' Seminary, in January 1998 issue of Illinois History


  • Almira College, (female,) Greenville
    • Extant as Greenville College
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools
    • Founded 1855 by Rev. John Brown White
    • Affiliated with Free Methodist Church


  • Henry Female Seminary, Henry
    • Defunct
    • Listed in 1869 report among non-4-year women's schools
    • Founded 1849 by Congregational minister
    • Profiled in 1896 biography of benefactor Daniel Needham Blood, in The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois:
      He was a great friend to education and gave freely toward the erection of the Henry Female seminary which stood on a part of his farm, and which was erected under the auspices of Rev. H. G. PENDLETON, the first Congregational minister of Henry, and opened November 12, 1849. For some years the school was conducted by Rev. PENDLETON as a boarding school for young ladies, having an attendance of about one hundred pupils. The first building was burned February 15, 1855, after which a more pretentious four-story brick was built, together with a handsome brick residence, the latter still standing. The first corps of teachers employed were from Mount Holyoke seminary. Until after the beginning of the war the school flourished, but it then began to decline, and that struggle proved its death blow. For some years school was conducted in the building by various parties, but without success, and it was finally passed into the hands of Mr. BLOOD, who, on being convinced no good would come of it, had the main building torn down.


  • Jacksonville Female Academy, Jacksonville
    • Extant; absorbed into Illinois College in 1903
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools


  • Lebanon Female Institute, Lebanon
    • Presumed defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • No trace found in casual search of b.g.c., but much static due to school of same name in Tennessee


  • Mattoon Female Seminary, Mattoon
    • Female counterpart of "Mattoon College"
    • Both defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report

Mount CarrollEdit

  • Mount Carroll Seminary, Mount Carroll
    • Extant; now Shimer College
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools


  • Rockford Female Seminary, Rockford
    • Extant; now Rockford College
    • Listed in 1869 report among 4-year women's schools


  • Central Female Seminary, Springfield
    • Presumed defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • Possibly same institution as the "Central Academy" in Springfield headed by Reuben Andrus [9] in mid-19th century
    • On casual search, unable to locate any other mention of a school by this name in this place.


  • Warrenville Female Seminary, Warrenville
    • Defunct
    • Not listed in 1869 report
    • Established 1853 [10] (but there was also a "Warrenville Academy" dating to 1843, chartered 1850 [11])

Non-female seminaries, academies and institutes in 1864 directoryEdit

Cherry Grove Seminary, Abingdon

Hedding Seminary, Abingdon

North Sangamon Academy, Athens

Clark Seminary, Aurora

Belvidere Seminary, Belvidere

Champaign and Urbana Institute, Champaign


Danville Seminary, Danville

Elgin Academy, Elgin

Farm Ridge Seminary, Farm Ridge

North Illinois Institute, Henry

Hyde Park Seminary, Hyde Park

Kankakee Academy, Kankakee

Lake Forest Seminary, Lake Forest

LaSalle Seminary, LaSalle

Marshall Academy, Marshall

Rock River Seminary, Mount Morris

Fowler Institute, Newark

Olney Seminary, Olney

Onargo Seminary, Onargo

Arnold M. A., Ottawa

Prairie City Academy, Prairie City

Washington Academy, Washington

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